James Gandolfini became a small-screen legend when he took on the memorable role of Tony Soprano on HBO’s “The Sopranos.” We remember Gandolfini’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
James Gandolfini became a small-screen legend when he took on the memorable role of Tony Soprano on HBO’s “The Sopranos.” Portraying a Mafia boss, he won three Emmys, three Screen Actors Guild awards, and a Golden Globe. Notable movies for Gandolfini included ?True Romance” and “Get Shorty.” He also produced the documentaries “Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq” and “Wartorn: 1861 – 2010,” both about soldiers who have returned from war. We remember Gandolfini’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1961: James Gandolfini, U.S. actor known best for starring as Tony Soprano on “The Sopranos,” is born in Westwood, New Jersey.
Gandolfini and his wife, Deborah, who were married in 2008, have a daughter, Liliana, born last year, HBO said. The actor and his former wife, Marcy, have a teenage son, Michael. Gandolfini’s performance in “The Sopranos” was indelible and career-making, but he refused to be stereotyped as the bulky mobster who was a therapy patient, family man, and apparently effortless killer. In a December 2012 interview with The Associated Press, a rare sit-down for the star who avoided the spotlight, he was upbeat about a slew of smaller roles following the breathtaking blackout ending in 2007 of “The Sopranos.” Read more
1954: Dennis Johnson, U.S. professional basketball player and coach who won NBA championships while playing with the Seattle SuperSonics and the Boston Celtics, is born in Lose Angeles, California.
Johnson, a five-time All-Star and one of the top defensive guards, was part of the last Boston dynasty. He spent 14 seasons in the league and retired after the 1989-90 season. He played on title teams with the Celtics in 1984 and 1986 and with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1979, when he was the NBA finals MVP. Johnson was a favorite teammate of Larry Bird’s, and the two were part of one of the most memorable plays in Celtics history. Read more
1951: Dee Dee Ramone, born Douglas Colvin, U.S. musician and songwriter who was the bassist for punk band the Ramones, is born in Fort Lee, Virginia.
1933: Fred Willard, comic actor beloved for roles in films including “Best in Show,” “A Mighty Wind,” and “This Is Spinal Tap,” is born in Cleveland, Ohio.
1933: Bob Bennett, U.S. senator for the state of Utah from 1993 until 2011, is born in Salt Lake City, Utah.
1927: Phyllis Kirk, U.S. actress known for roles in the movie “House of Wax” and the TV series “The Thin Man,” is born in Syracuse, New York.
She gained the most attention for her role in “House of Wax” because it was the first major 3-D movie. Kirk later worked in television, memorably playing Peter Lawford’s wife on the series “The Thin Man.” She was also a regular on “The Red Buttons Show” and hosted the ABC talk show “The Young Set.” Her acting career slowed down by the late 1950s and she turned her focus to social causes. Read more
1926: Joe Kubert, Polish-American comic book artist who founded the Kubert School, is born in Jezierzany, Poland.
Kubert is closely tied to war comics thanks to Sgt. Rock and his fabled Easy Company, along with the strip “Tales of the Green Beret.” He worked on a manual for the U.S. Army on how to fix Humvees. His work was also poignant. “Yossel April 19, 1943,” explored the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in World War II and what his life would have been if his parents did not emigrate from Poland to the United States when he was a baby. Read more
1924: J.D. Tippit, U.S. officer with the Dallas Police Department who was shot and killed while investigating the scene of President John F. Kennedy‘s assassination, is born in Annona, Texas.
1922: Grayson Hall, U.S. actress known for her performance in “Night of the Iguana,” is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
He won a supporting actor Emmy Award for his role as Chicago Bears coach George Halas in the 1971 TV movie “Brian’s Song” and was twice nominated in the 1980s for best leading actor in a comedy for his show “Crazy Like a Fox.” Warden, with his wild white hair, weathered face, and gravelly voice, was in demand for character parts for decades. In real life, the former boxer, deckhand, and paratrooper was anything but a tough guy. Read more
1917: June Foray, the legendary voice actress behind Rocky the flying squirrel and Dr. Seuss’s Cindy Lou Who, is born in Springfield, Massachusetts.
1905: Greta Garbo, Swedish-American actress whose notable films include “Anna Karenina” and “Camille,” is born in Stockholm, Sweden.
1888: Grey Owl, born Archibald Belaney, English-Canadian conservationist and author, is born in Hastings, England.
During his life and career, the man known as Grey Owl crafted for himself a biography befitting a man who wanted to be one with nature. And while he lived, nobody – including his publisher and future biographer – knew the truth of his origins: No son of the wilderness, his parents were not Native American, nor were they performers in a Wild West show. Grey Owl was in fact born Archibald Belaney in Hastings, England, where he was raised by aunts after his father abandoned the family. Read more