Leonard Nimoy was an icon of pop culture, thanks to his legendary portrayal of Mr. Spock on “Star Trek.” We remember Nimoy’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
Leonard Nimoy was an icon of pop culture, thanks to his legendary portrayal of Mr. Spock on “Star Trek.” He played the level-headed, half-human, half-Vulcan character on the original series and in eight movies, but he also branched out into other notable roles, starring on TV’s “Mission: Impossible,” hosting “In Search Of …”, and narrating the computer game “Civilization IV.” He became a director, helming projects including “Three Men and a Baby;” a writer, publishing two autobiographies; and a recording artist, releasing albums of folk songs, sci-fi-themed music, and more. We remember Nimoy’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1950: Teddy Pendergrass, U.S. R&B singer whose hits include “Turn Off the Lights” and “Joy,” is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
After a 1982 car accident, the R&B star was paralyzed from the waist down. But he didn’t give up, and he didn’t stop singing. His career and his determination remained strong after his injury – he continued recording and performing live; he received more Grammy nominations after the accident than before it; and he branched out to do good beyond the music world, creating The Teddy Pendergrass Alliance to help others with spinal cord injuries. Read more
1947: Dar Robinson, U.S. stuntman who broke 19 world records, is born in Los Angeles, California.
1936: Harry Kalas, U.S. sportscaster who was the play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1971 to 2009, is born in Naperville, Illinois.
Kalas lent his sonorous voice to everything from puppies to soup. He did work for NFL Films, was the voice for Chunky Soup commercials and Animal Planet’s annual tongue-in-cheek Super Bowl competitor, the Puppy Bowl. Kalas joined the Phillies radio and TV broadcast team the year the club moved into its former home, Veterans Stadium, replacing fan favorite Bill Campbell. Read more
Although Nimoy followed his 1966-69 Star Trek run with a notable career as both an actor and director, in the public’s mind he would always be Spock. His half-human, half-Vulcan character was the calm counterpoint to William Shatner’s often-emotional Captain Kirk on one of the most revered cult series on TV and in films. Read more
1930: Gregory Corso, U.S. poet who was one of the Beat Generation writers, is born in New York, New York.
1925: Pierre Boulez, French composer and conductor who won 26 Grammys during his career, is born in Montbrison, France.
1923: Bob Elliott, U.S. comedian and actor known best for being one-half of the comedy duo Bob and Ray, is born in Winchester, Massachusetts.
Elliott’s colorful cast of characters included the handy helper Fred Falvy, cowboy Tex Blaisdell, and sportscaster Wally Ballou. Bob and Ray also performed sendups of soap operas, such as “One Fella’s Family,” and sponsors including “The Monongahela Metal Foundry, casting steel ingots with the housewife in mind.” Read more
1919: Strother Martin, U.S. character actor known best for his role as the prison captain in “Cool Hand Luke,” is born in Kokomo, Indiana.
1916: Sterling Hayden, U.S. actor with notable roles in “Dr. Strangelove,” “The Godfather,” and “The Asphalt Jungle,” is born in Montclair, New Jersey.
1914: William Westmoreland, U.S. Army general who commanded U.S. military operations in the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1968, is born in Saxon, South Carolina.
The silver-haired, jut-jawed officer, who rose through the ranks quickly during World War II and later became superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, contended the United States did not lose the conflict in Southeast Asia. “We held the line. We stopped the falling of the dominoes,” he said in 1985 at the 20th anniversary of the Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade’s assignment to Vietnam. “It’s not that we lost the war militarily. The fact is, we as a nation did not make good our commitment to the South Vietnamese.” Read more
1911: Tennessee Williams, U.S. playwright whose famous works include “The Glass Menagerie,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” and “A Streetcar Named Desire,” is born in Columbus, Mississippi.
When he died in 1983 at 71, Williams was the most widely acclaimed American dramatist of his day, winning the Tony Award, two Pulitzer Prize honors, four New York Drama Circle awards and even a Presidential Medal of Freedom. His plays had been adapted into blockbuster films helmed by directors like Elia Kazan, Sidney Lumet, and Joseph Mankiewicz, starring the likes of Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Wyman, Katharine Hepburn, Kirk Douglas, Karl Malden, and Marlon Brando. Read more
1904: Joseph Campbell, U.S. author known for his books about comparative mythology and religion, is born in White Plains, New York.
1881: Guccio Gucci, Italian fashion designer who founded the House of Gucci, is born in Florence, Italy.
1874: Robert Frost, U.S. poet whose widely known poems include “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” and “Mending Wall,” is born in San Francisco, California.
1859: A.E. Housman, English poet known best for his cycle of poems titled “A Shropshire Lad,” is born in Bromsgrove, England.