Gene Kelly, one of the major stars of filmed dance, said that “the history of dance on film begins with Fred Astaire.” We remember his life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
Gene Kelly, one of the major stars of filmed dance, said that “the history of dance on film begins with Fred Astaire.” Astaire made 31 musical films including such classics as “Swing Time” and “Easter Parade.” He had an uncanny sense of rhythm and was known for his legendary perfectionism. His favorite dance partner in the movies was Ginger Rogers. We remember his life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1957: Sid Vicious, born John Simon Ritchie, English bassist and singer who was a member of the iconic punk band the Sex Pistols, is born in London, England.
Writing on WhatCulture.com in 2013, writer Matt Aspin listed five reasons for Vicious’ enduring legacy. One was “the pogo,” a dance move credited to Vicious that involves jumping up and down with your arms straight by your sides. Another was his relationship with Nancy Spungen, immortalized in books and on film, most notably in the 1986 motion picture “Sid and Nancy.” There also was the image. As Aspin wrote, Vicious “was the trendsetter and the member of the band that everyone wanted to be like.” Read more
1940: Wayne Dyer, U.S. author whose self-help book “Your Erroneous Zones” has sold over 35 million copies, is born in Detroit, Michigan.
The prolific author and avuncular public speaker counted such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, and fellow self-help guru Tony Robbins among his friends, and tributes from them and others poured across the Internet. “The world has lost an incredible man,” said Ellen DeGeneres, who posted a photo on Twitter of Dyer officiating at her wedding to Portia de Rossi. Read more
1935: Larry Williams, U.S. singer-songwriter whose hits include “Bony Moronie” and “Short Fat Fannie,” is born in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1934: Gary Owens, U.S. disc jockey and voice actor who was the announcer for “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” and provided the voice for the main character in “Space Ghost,” is born in Mitchell, South Dakota.
On “Laugh-In,” the 1968-73 sketch show starring Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, Owens was shown on camera in a parody of an old school announcer, with his hand cupped firmly over his ear. But his voice was always the real thing, rich and authoritative. Owens had “such a great voice, so smooth. That was his real voice, even if he was ordering in a restaurant,” said Tom Kenny, the “SpongeBob SquarePants” voice actor who worked with Owens on cartoons including “Dexter’s Laboratory.” Read more
1930: Pat Summerall, U.S. football player and sportscaster who announced a record-setting 16 Super Bowl games on television, is born in Lake City, Florida.
Summerall played 10 NFL seasons (1952-61) with the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants. In his second career, he became a voice so familiar to several generations of sports fans, not only those of the NFL. He started doing NFL games for CBS in 1964, and became a play-by-play guy 10 years later. He was also part of CBS’ coverage of the PGA Tour, including the Masters from 1968-94, and the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Read more
1929: George Coe, U.S. character actor who appeared in the movie “Kramer vs. Kramer” and on TV shows such as “Columbo” and “The King of Queens,” is born in Queens, New York.
1922: Nancy Walker, U.S. actress and director who had notable roles in “McMillan & Wife” and “Rhoda,” and directed several episodes of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
When his instructional book was first published in 1957, he became something of a spiritual godfather to a generation of would-be guitar heroes. Its title, “Play in a Day,” offered the hope of instant musical gratification. The lessons began at the most basic level, with an illustration of how to hold a guitar. Weedon taught novices how to get through many rock ‘n’ roll tunes with three basic chords and included pointers on how to play a few basic tunes. Read more
1911: Bel Kaufman, U.S. teacher and author known best for her novel “Up the Down Staircase,” is born in Berlin, Germany.
“Up the Down Staircase,” a scrapbook of letters, notes, and memos, follows a few months in the life of the idealistic young Sylvia Barrett, the new teacher at Calvin Coolidge High School. She is a kind soul staggering under a blizzard of administrative nonsense and student impudence. When she’s not being reprimanded for her kids’ failure to memorize the school’s alma mater song, she faces a crowded but endearing class of misfits and other characters, from rebel Joe Ferone to the brown-nosing Harry A. Kagan. Read more
1909: Maybelle Carter, U.S. singer and musician who was a member of Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters, and the mother of June Carter Cash and Anita and Helen Carter, is born in Nickelsville, Virginia.
Carter may have been the best-known and best-loved mother in all of country music. For the matriarch of the Carter Family, motherhood was such a crucial part of her identity that she was known as Mother Maybelle. And indeed, she helped found a country music dynasty – daughters June, Helen and Anita, and son-in-law Johnny Cash – that’s still revered among the very greatest of the Grand Ole Opry. Read more
At RKO, he produced the original “King Kong” (1933) and was responsible for giving director George Cukor his big break. But it was at MGM that Selznick really began to flourish. He was put in charge of a prestige production unit separate from that of Irving Thalberg (then in poor health), which specialized in big-budget literary adaptations like “David Copperfield” (1935), “Anna Karenina” (1935), and “A Tale of Two Cities” (1935). He’d been promoted to his position at MGM not long after marrying the daughter of studio chief Louis B. Mayer, inspiring quips that “the son-in-law also rises.” Read more
1899: Fred Astaire, U.S. dancer, actor, and singer who was named the fifth greatest male star of all time by the American Film Institute, is born in Omaha, Nebraska.
Though Fred and Ginger danced beautifully together, Astaire was initially reluctant to be her regular partner. Having grown up dancing, he knew what it was like to be one-half of a dance team – he and his sister Adele danced together for more than 20 years on stages from London to Broadway. When that partnership ended upon Adele’s marriage, Astaire didn’t want to be tied on one partner again. Eventually he relented, and Astaire and Rogers became staples of the silver screen. Read more