Actress and activist Ruby Dee charmed audiences in dozens of films, from an early role in “The Jackie Robinson Story” to her award-winning turn in “A Raisin in the Sun” to more recent roles in Spike Lee films “Do the Right Thing” and “Jungle Fever.” Perhaps as notable as her acting career was her long, high-profile marriage to fellow actor Ossie Davis. The couple acted together, and they were also politically active together, working to advance civil rights along with their friends the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Dee was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Freedom Award, the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, and many more. We remember Dee’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1967: Scott Weiland, U.S. singer known best as the former frontman for the rock band Stone Temple Pilots, is born in San Jose, California.
Stone Temple Pilots’ 1994 album, “Purple,” saw their rise in popularity continue as it debuted at No. 1. “Vasoline” and “Interstate Love Song” were consecutive No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and “Big Empty” also charted, as well as finding a place on the hit soundtrack to the 1994 Brandon Lee film “The Crow.” Read more
1945: Carrie Snodgress, U.S. actress known best for “Blue Sky” and “Diary of a Mad Housewife,” is born in Park Ridge, Illinois.
1945: Dick Dodd, U.S. actor, drummer, and singer who was a member of “The Mickey Mouse Club” and later the drummer and lead singer for the Standells, who are known for their hit song “Dirty Water,” is born in Hermosa Beach, California.
1941: Dick Trickle, U.S. race car driver who was on the NASCAR circuit and was a successful short-track driver, is born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.
A short-track star, Trickle was believed to have won up to 1,000 races while inspiring hundreds of racers throughout the Midwest, according to his 2013 obituary by The Associated Press. Among those inspired was Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace, a St. Louis native who toured the same Midwest circuit and raced Trickle down to the wire for the 1983 ASA championship. Read more
1940: John Gotti, U.S. mobster who was the boss of the Gambino family, is born in the Bronx, New York.
1932: Sylvia Plath, U.S. author and poet who achieved acclaim for her poetry and wrote the novel “The Bell Jar,” is born in Boston, Massachusetts.
1926: H.R. Haldeman, U.S. political aide and President Richard M. Nixon‘s chief of staff during the Watergate scandal, is born in Los Angeles, California.
1924: Bonnie Lou, U.S. singer who was a pioneering female rockabilly performer, is born in Towanda, Illinois.
A Navy pilot during World War II, Wertimer had one-off roles on dozens of TV shows from the early 1960s through the late 1980s, including “Car 54, Where Are You?” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” according to his 2013 obituary by The Associated Press. But he was known best by far as Ralph Hart, the uniformed, mustachioed doorman at the luxury apartment building on “The Jeffersons,” the “All in the Family” spinoff that ran from 1975 to 1985. Read more
1923: Roy Lichtenstein, U.S. artist who was a leading figure in the pop art movement, is born in Manhattan, New York.
1922: Ralph Kiner, U.S. Major League Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder who was a six-time All-Star and later a longtime broadcaster for the New York Mets, is born in Santa Rita, New Mexico.
Kiner hit 369 home runs during his 10-year career, mostly with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He made his debut in 1946, and his power quickly became the talk of baseball — he won or tied for the National League lead in homers in each of his first seven seasons, according to his February 2014 obituary by The Associated Press. “Kiner’s Korner” was already a fixture on the New York Mets’ airways when he was inducted into the Hall in 1975. He was elected with just one vote to spare in his 15th and final year on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. Read more
Dee’s long career earned her an Emmy, a Grammy, two Screen Actors Guild awards, the NAACP Image Award, Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Art, and the National Civil Rights Museum’s award honoring lifetime achievement. She got an Oscar nomination at age 83 for best supporting actress for her role in the 2007 film “American Gangster,” according to her June 2014 obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
1920: Nanette Fabray, actress who made numerous appearances on sitcoms including “One Day at a Time.,” is born in San Diego, California.
Wright’s career skyrocketed after her first film, “The Little Foxes,” which brought her an Oscar nomination as best supporting actress of 1941, according to her 2005 obituary by The Associated Press. In 1942, she was honored with two nominations: lead actress as the wife of Lou Gehrig in “The Pride of the Yankees” and supporting actress as Greer Garson’s daughter in the wartime saga “Mrs. Miniver.” She also starred in three other classics: Alfred Hitchcock‘s “Shadow of a Doubt” in 1943; Marlon Brando‘s first film, “The Men,” in 1950; and the multiple Oscar winner “The Best Years of Our Lives” in 1946. Read more
1914: Dylan Thomas, Welsh author and poet whose works include “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” and “Deaths and Entrances,” is born in Swansea, Wales.
1913: Joseph Medicine Crow, Crow war chief and author who wrote about Montana’s Crow tribe, is born in Lodge Grass, Montana.
1910: Jack Carson, Canadian actor who was a popular character actor during the golden age of Hollywood, is born in Carman, Manitoba.
1872: Emily Post, U.S. author famous for writing books on etiquette, is born in Baltimore, Maryland.
1858: Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909, is born in New York, New York.