Garry Shandling was an innovator of television comedy. He broke new ground with his shows, “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show.” We remember his life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
Garry Shandling was an innovator of television comedy. He broke new ground with his shows, “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show.” He frequently broke the “fourth wall” on “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” and “Larry Sanders” was a brilliant satire of late-night talk shows. We remember Shandling’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1962: Ronny Jordan, English guitarist at the forefront of the acid jazz movement, is born in London, England.
1951: Roger Troutman, U.S. singer-songwriter for the band Zapp, which scored many rhythm and blues hits, is born in Hamilton, Ohio.
1949: Garry Shandling, U.S. comic, writer, and producer who received critical acclaim for “The Larry Sanders Show,” is born in Chicago, Illinois.
In 1993, NBC offered Shandling $5 million to take over the talk show “Late Night” when host David Letterman announced his highly publicized move to CBS, but he declined. He was also offered “The Late Late Show” but also turned it down in favor of continuing on “The Larry Sanders Show.” The show spoofed NBC’s efforts to find a Letterman successor. Read more
Besides forming his own band in 1973, Montrose performed with a number of rockers, including Sammy Hagar, Herbie Hancock, Van Morrison, Boz Scaggs, and the Edgar Winter Group. “The guy was such a legendary figure for so many people,” said Montrose’s agent, Jim Douglas. “He influenced so many bands.” Douglas described Montrose as “one of the founding farmers” of rock ‘n’ roll, while Montrose’s wife, Leighsa, noted his work ethic. Read more
1943: Bobbi Martin, U.S. country and pop music singer who had a top-20 song with “Don’t Forget I Still Love You” in 1964, is born in Brooklyn, New York.
1940: Denny Doherty, Canadian singer who was a member of the Mamas and the Papas, is born in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
“What made the group special was their haunting and sumptuous harmony singing,” according to “The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll.” “Everybody used to think that John Phillips, who wrote the songs, was also the main voice of the group, but it wasn’t – it was the angelic voice of Denny Doherty,” said Larry Leblanc, Canadian editor of Billboard Magazine. “He was often overlooked but it was really his voice that carried the group.” Read more
1922: Minnie Minoso, Cuban-born baseball player who was the first black Cuban in the major leagues and the first black player in Chicago White Sox history, is born in Perico, Cuba.
Miñoso was an American League All-Star for seven seasons and a Gold Glove winner for three seasons when he was in his 30s. He batted over .300 for seven seasons. He became the third player to get a hit after the age of 50 and the second player to appear in the major leagues in five decades. Read more
1921: Dagmar, U.S. actress and TV personality who appeared on “The Bob Hope Show,” is born in Yawkey, West Virginia.
1920: Joe Weider, Canadian fitness celebrity who was one of the pioneers of weightlifting and the creator of the Mr. Olympia fitness contests, is born in Montreal, Quebec.
He created one of bodybuilding’s pre-eminent events, the Mr. Olympia competition, in 1965, adding to it the Ms. Olympia contest in 1980, the Fitness Olympia in 1995, and the Figure Olympia in 2003. He also relentlessly promoted Arnold Schwarzenegger, who won the Mr. Olympia title a then-record seven times, including in 1980 and every year from 1970 through 1975. “Every sport needs a hero, and I knew that Arnold was the right man,” he said, according to his obituary by The New York Times. Read more
1918: Madeleine L’Engle, U.S. writer known best for her young-adult fiction, including the novel “A Wrinkle in Time,” is born in New York, New York.
She was a prolific and profound writer who targeted her books at children and young adults because she felt their minds were more open to the difficult concepts that interested her. The approach worked, and generations of young people have cherished her books, from Newbery Medal winner “A Wrinkle in Time” to honoree “A Ring of Endless Light” and many more. Science and religion intertwine in her novels, encouraging young philosophers to think deeply. Fans read her books again and again, wringing layers of meaning out of her words. Read more
1917: Merle Travis, U.S. country singer whose songs included “Sixteen Tons,” is born in Rosewood, Kentucky.
1916: Fran Ryan, U.S. actress who appeared as Doris Ziffel on the sitcom “Green Acres” and also appeared on “Taxi” and “Night Court,” is born in Los Angeles, California.
1915: Billy Strayhorn, U.S. jazz pianist, composer, and arranger known best for his collaboration with Duke Ellington and writing the song “Take the ‘A’ Train,” is born in Dayton, Ohio.
1901: Mildred Harris, U.S. film actress who was a popular leading lady during the silent era and was the first wife of Charlie Chaplin, is born in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
1898: C.S. Lewis, Irish author and Christian apologist whose works include “The Screwtape Letters” and “The Chronicles of Narnia,” is born in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Lewis opposed the idea of turning his creations into movies, especially the “The Chronicles of Narnia.” He worried that the talking animals he created – richly developed and dignified in the context of his books – would “turn into buffoonery or nightmare” onscreen. It was the 1950s when he expressed this fear, and a look at that decade’s special effects goes a long way toward explaining it. Maybe Lewis would look more fondly at the 21st century adaptations of his books, since technology now allows for less nightmarish creatures. Read more
1895: Busby Berkeley, U.S. choreographer and director whose movies include “42nd Street” and “Strike Up the Band,” is born in Los Angeles, California.
With each film, his dance numbers got more lavish and sophisticated. But even with his success, Berkeley felt the limitations of his role. Directors, not choreographers, dictated camera placement and shot selection, and could control pace through editing. He’d get his chance to direct with the follow-up “Gold Diggers of 1935.” In addition to kaleidoscopic, geometric compositions, another Berkeley innovation was using close-ups of his dancer’s faces, unconventional at a time when most filmmakers saved close-ups for the big stars. His reasoning? “We’ve got all the beautiful girls in the picture, why not let the public see them?” Read more
1894: Lucille Hegamin, U.S. singer who was a pioneering African-American blues artist, is born in Macon, Georgia.
1832: Louisa May Alcott, U.S. author well-known for her novel “Little Women,” is born in Germantown, Pennsylvania.