Cesar Chavez was one of history’s greatest labor leaders, working tirelessly to bring justice to farm workers. We remember Chavez’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
Cesar Chavez was one of history’s greatest labor leaders, working tirelessly to bring justice to farm workers. He co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (which later became UFW, the United Farm Workers), organizing widely known actions including the grape boycott of the 1980s that drew attention to toxic pesticides used on the fruit. Chavez popularized the slogan “Si, se puede,” or “Yes, we can,” later adopted by U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Chavez’s legacy is one of a folk hero and a crusader for civil rights. We remember Chavez’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
2015: Richard Corliss, U.S. film critic known best for his long tenure with Time magazine, dies at 71.
2015: Sawyer Sweeten, U.S. child actor known best for playing Geoffrey Barone on the sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” takes his own life at 19.
2013: Norman Jones, English actor who appeared on “Doctor Who” and in the James Bond film “You Only Live Twice,” dies at 80.
2012: Tommy Marth, U.S. saxophonist who appeared on albums with the Killers and toured with the band as well, dies at 33.
2011: Tom King, U.S. songwriter and guitarist who co-founded the band the Outsiders and co-wrote their one hit song, “Time Won’t Let Me,” dies at 68.
2007: Boris Yeltsin, Russian politician who was the first president of the Russian Federation, dies at 76.
The first freely elected leader of Russia, Yeltsin was initially admired abroad for his defiance of the monolithic Communist system. But many Russians will remember him mostly for presiding over the steep decline of their nation. Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet president, summed up Yeltsin’s complex legacy by referring to him as one “on whose shoulders are both great deeds for the country and serious errors.” Read more
2007: David Halberstam, U.S. journalist known for his reporting on the Vietnam War and later for his sports-related books, dies in a car accident at 73.
By age 30 he had won the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the Vietnam War for The New York Times. He quit daily journalism in 1967 and wrote 21 books covering such diverse topics as the Vietnam War, civil rights, the auto industry, and a baseball pennant race. His 2002 best-seller, “War in a Time of Peace,” was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction. Read more
2006: Phil Walden, U.S. record label owner who founded Capricorn Records, which pioneered Southern rock with the Allman Brothers and Marshall Tucker bands, dies at 66.
He discovered Otis Redding, and then, after the soul titan died in a plane crash, went on to found Macon, Georgia-based Capricorn Records and launch the Allman Brothers Band. He endured the bankruptcy of his label, a falling out with the Allmans, rumors of mob connections, and a serious substance abuse problem, yet still managed to resurrect Capricorn in Nashville and find new success with Southern-fried jam band Widespread Panic. Read more
2005: John Mills, English actor who appeared in more than 120 movies and won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in “Ryan’s Daughter,” dies at 97.
1996: P.L. Travers, English author and actress who was well-known for writing “Mary Poppins,” dies at 96.
1995: Howard Cosell, U.S. sports broadcaster who was known for “Monday Night Football” and for announcing premier boxing matches, especially bouts featuring Muhammad Ali, dies at 77.
TV Guide named Cosell the all-time greatest sportscaster. Yet he notably never won the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award, the highest honor in sports broadcasting. The omission may be in part because as much as his fans loved his frank style, colleagues were sometimes put off by his unabashed arrogance. Cosell didn’t need TV Guide to tell him he was the best – he already knew it. Read more
1993: Cesar Chavez, U.S. activist and labor leader who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, dies at 66.
1991: Johnny Thunders, U.S. rock guitarist and singer-songwriter who was a member of the New York Dolls, dies at 38.
1990: Paulette Goddard, U.S. actress who was a star in the 1940s, was married to Charlie Chaplin, and appeared in his movies, including “Modern Times” and “The Great Dictator,” dies at 79.
1986: Otto Preminger, Austrian movie director who was twice nominated for an Academy Award for best director and whose movies include “Laura,” dies at 80.
1986: Harold Arlen, U.S. composer of popular music who composed the music for “The Wizard of Oz,” including the song “Over the Rainbow,” dies at 81.
1985: Kent Smith, U.S. actor who appeared in numerous movie and TV roles, including Dr. Robert Morton in “Peyton Place,” dies at 78.
1984: Red Garland, U.S. jazz pianist who was a member of the Miles Davis Quintet, dies at 60.
1983: Buster Crabbe, U.S. swimmer and actor who won an Olympic gold medal and then starred in the “Flash Gordon” and “Buck Rogers” serials, dies at 75.
1976: James Flavin, U.S. character actor whose career spanned more than 40 years, dies at 69.
1975: William Hartnell, English actor who played the first doctor in “Doctor Who,” dies at 67.
Hartnell’s doctor was older than his modern counterparts, with a bit of “cranky old man” about him. In a long white wig and Edwardian dress, he set the tone for the doctor as a misfit, standing out from the world around him by his dress and action. Read more
1850: William Wordsworth, English poet who helped launch the romantic age in English literature, dies at 80.
1616: William Shakespeare, English playwright whose classic plays include “Othello,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “Hamlet,” among many others, dies at 52.
Shakespeare tackled the entire spectrum of human emotions in his plays and sonnets, but one of his favorite subjects was love. Although the language is old-fashioned, the observations and sentiments remain as true today as they were four centuries ago. Read more