Bruce Lee’s accomplishments as an actor and martial artist continue to inspire fans decades after his death. We remember Bruce Lee’s remarkable life today as well as other notable people who were born this day in history.
Bruce Lee’s accomplishments as an actor and martial artist continue to inspire fans decades after his death. His martial art style, jeet kun do, is still taught in dojos around the world, and his hit film “Enter the Dragon” is widely regarded as one of the greatest martial arts movies of all time. He is also remembered as Kato on the television adaptation of “The Green Hornet,” a role that brought him great fame overseas. We remember Bruce Lee’s remarkable life today as well as other notable people who died on this day in history.
1964: David Rakoff, Canadian writer who was a regular contributor to WBEZ’s “This American Life,” is born in Montreal, Quebec.
Rakoff has written for The New York Times, Newsweek, and other publications and was a contributor to radio’s “This American Life,” according to his 2012 obituary by The Associated Press. His essay collection “Half Empty” won the Thurber Prize for American Humor. His other best-selling books are “Don’t Get Too Comfortable” and “Fraud.” Read more
1962: Davey Boy Smith, English professional wrestler known best for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation, is born in Golborne, England.
Avery played the family patriarch and a wealthy attorney and judge on the popular TV comedy that launched the acting career of Will Smith as Banks’ troublemaking nephew, according to his Jan. 1, 2014, obituary by The Associated Press. The sitcom, which aired on NBC from 1990 to 1996, was set in the Banks’ mansion, to which Smith’s character was sent from Philadelphia when things got tough in his own neighborhood. Fans came to know the imposing Banks as Uncle Phil. Read more
1942: Jimi Hendrix, U.S. singer-songwriter and guitarist who is considered the greatest rock guitar player of all time and whose hit songs included “Purple Haze,” is born in Seattle, Washington.
Kathy Etchingham, Hendrix’s girlfriend of three years, wasn’t the only one to question the circumstances surrounding the guitarist’s death. As with the deaths of Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, and Brian Jones, conspiracy theories abound. In 2009, James Wright, a former roadie for the Animals, published a book claiming Hendrix’s shady manager Mike Jeffery, admitted he’d had Hendrix murdered. The book alleges Jeffery was overwhelmed with debt, owned a $2 million insurance policy on Hendrix, and knew his star client was actively seeking new management. The wildest Internet theories even suspect FBI involvement. Read more
1941: Eddie Rabbitt, U.S. singer-songwriter and musician who was known for his country-pop crossover sound and had a hit song with “Every Which Way but Loose,” is born in Brooklyn, New York.
In the 1960s and ’70s, Rabbitt began by writing songs like “Kentucky Rain” and “Pure Love” that became hits for Elvis Presley and Ronnie Milsap, respectively. Rabbitt then went on to make a splash of his own on the country charts, hitting No. 1 with “Drinking My Baby (Off My Mind).” But his first big crossover hit was in 1978 with “Every Which Way but Loose,” from the Clint Eastwood movie of the same name. The single rocketed to No. 1 on the country charts and peaked at No. 30 on the Hot 100. Read more
1941: Henry Carr, U.S. track and field star who won two Olympic gold medals in the 1964 Olympics, is born in Montgomery, Alabama.
1940: Bruce Lee, Hong Kong-American martial artist and actor who was one of the most influential martial artists of all time and starred in the classic martial arts-themed movie “Enter the Dragon,” is born in San Francisco, California.
How did Lee, who died in 1973, accomplish so much in such a short life? Perhaps it helped that he was born a Dragon. His birth Nov. 27, 1940, occurred both in the year and the hour of the Dragon, according to Chinese zodiac tradition – an incredibly fortuitous combination. Though Lee was born in San Francisco, his parents were Hong Kong natives, and he grew up in Kowloon, China. In Chinese tradition, dragons are thought to be powerful, lucky, and intelligent, capable of doing absolutely anything. Read more
1935: Al Jackson Jr., U.S. drummer known best as a founding member of Booker T. and the MGs, who had a hit single in 1962 with “Green Onions,” is born in Memphis, Tennessee.
1925: Marshall Thompson, U.S. actor who was in numerous movie and television shows including “They Were Expendable,” “Daktari,” and “Perry Mason,” is born in Peoria, Illinois.
1917: Buffalo Bob Smith, U.S. disc jockey, singer, and musician known best for hosting the popular children’s program “The Howdy Doody Show,” is born in Buffalo, New York.
Smith initially juggled morning radio appearances with producing and hosting the televised “Howdy Doody,” appearing with such unforgettable characters as Clarabell the Clown (played first by Bob Keeshan, aka Captain Kangaroo, and later by Lew Anderson) and the mayor of Doodyville, Phineas T. Bluster, not to mention the Peanut Gallery, the live audience of children (boys in jackets and ties!) singing, “It’s Howdy Doody Time!” Read more
1916: Chick Hearn, U.S. sportscaster known as the play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1965 until 2002, is born in Aurora, Illinois.
Honored as a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and the American Sportscasters Hall of Fame, Hearn was immortalized in 1986 with a star on Hollywood’s “Walk of Fame” where a flower and candle tribute quickly grew, according to his 2002 obituary by The Associated Press. Hearn introduced radio and television fans to now-standard phrases such as “slam dunk” and “air ball” as he became an inseparable part of an organization that has produced nine NBA championship teams. Read more
1912: Connie Sawyer, known as Hollywood’s oldest working actress who appeared on “Seinfeld,” and “The Office,” is born in Pueblo, Colorado.
1909: James Agee, U.S. author, journalist, and screenwriter who was one of the most influential film critics in the 1940s, co-wrote the movie “The African Queen,” and penned the novel “A Death in the Family,” is born in Knoxville, Tennessee.
1874: Chaim Weizmann, Russian-born biochemist and the first president of Israel, is born in Motal, Russia.