Desi Arnaz played many roles during his life: actor, musician, father, husband, and producer. We remember his life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
Desi Arnaz played many roles during his life: actor, musician, father, husband, producer, and co-creator of television reruns through his groundbreaking comedy, “I Love Lucy.” Together with his real-life wife, Lucille Ball, Arnaz helped to revolutionize television production and created one of the medium’s most beloved comedies. On what would have been his 100th birthday, we remember Arnaz’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1962: Scott La Rock, born Scott Sterling, U.S. disc jockey with Boogie Down Productions, is born in the South Bronx, New York.
1950: Karen Carpenter, U.S. singer and drummer whose hits with the Carpenters include “Rainy Days and Mondays,” is born in New Haven, Connecticut.
In 1979, after 10 years of singing sweetly with the Carpenters, Karen Carpenter wanted to try something new. She recorded a solo album that took a distinctly different direction from her work with her brother. The disco beats were in touch with the hot sound of the day, but the album wasn’t released – record-label execs weren’t impressed; neither was brother Richard. Read more
1942: Lou Reed, U.S. singer and guitarist with the Velvet Underground, who also had solo hits including “Walk on the Wild Side,” is born in Brooklyn, New York.
His unmistakable deadpan voice, haunting lyrics, and unusual instrumentation inspired generations of musicians to follow in his footsteps, with varying degrees of success. His career had more commercial failures than hits — his debut with the Velvet Underground sold just 30,000 copies — but his influence on future artists was massive – and remains huge today. Read more
1938: Lawrence Payton, U.S. singer who was a member of the Four Tops, is born in Detroit, Michigan.
1934: Dottie Rambo, U.S. gospel singer-songwriter who reportedly wrote more than 2,500 songs, is born in Madisonville, Kentucky.
Rambo was known as the Queen of Gospel Music. She was known widely for her own recordings, but some of the more than 2,500 songs that she wrote were recorded by artists such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Whitney Houston, Vince Gill, and Dolly Parton. It has been said that there’s hardly a modern hymnal that doesn’t have at least one Dottie Rambo song in it. Read more
1930: Tom Wolfe, white suited author known for “Bonfire of the Vanities,” is born in Richmond, Virginia.
1919: Tamara Toumanova, Russian-American ballerina who appeared in Hollywood films including “Invitation to the Dance” with Gene Kelly, is born in Tyumen, Siberia.
While Jones is not as widely known as other leading ladies of her time like Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, or Ingrid Bergman, she is still remembered in the art world. In 1971, she married industrialist Norton Simon and helped him expand the art collection now on display at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California. Read more
1917: Desi Arnaz, Cuban-American musician, actor, and TV producer known best for his starring role on TV’s “I Love Lucy,” is born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
When “I Love Lucy” premiered in 1951, the American public wasn’t accustomed to seeing much diversity on TV – and certainly not in the form of an interracial or interethnic relationship. Executives wished Lucille Ball would choose a different TV husband – one who looked a bit more like her. But Ball and Arnaz were determined to star together (it was a great way for the busy showbiz couple to get to spend more time with each other), and they embarked on a vaudeville tour before the show’s launch to get the public used to seeing the redheaded woman with the Latino man. It worked, and “Lucy and Ricky” became TV’s first interethnic couple. Read more
1904: Dr. Seuss, born Theodor Seuss Geisel, U.S. author and illustrator of beloved children’s books including “The Cat in the Hat” and “The Lorax,” is born in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Two of Geisel’s most beloved classics, “The Cat in the Hat” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” were both published in 1957. Geisel deliberately restricted the vocabulary he used in creating his works, and said “The Cat in the Hat” came about because “cat” and “hat” were the first two rhyming words that appeared on a list of 223 easy-to-read words sent by his publisher. Read more
1900: Kurt Weill, German composer known best for “The Threepenny Opera,” which he wrote with Bertolt Brecht, and its song “Mack the Knife,” is born in Dessau, Germany.
1793: Sam Houston, U.S. politician who was the first president of the republic of Texas, and later a became a U.S. senator as well as governor of Texas, is born in Rockbridge County, Virginia.