Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day…and happy birthday today to…

William Farnum (1876, silent movie great [If I Were King, The Sign of the Cross, A Tale of Two Cities] and sound film character actor [A Connecticut Yankee, The Count of Monte Cristo)

Rube Goldberg (1883, cartoonist famous for his wacky “inventions” and creating Boob McNutt)

George W. Trendle (1884, radio visionary whose Detroit, MI station WXYZ gave birth to The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet)

Henry Armetta (1888, Italian character actor who played more waiters and barbers in movies than you would think was humanly possible)

Johnny Lee (1898, consummate character actor best remembered as Algonquin J. Calhoun on radio/TV’s Amos ‘n’ Andy and the voice of Br’er Rabbit in Disney’s Song of the South)

Gertrude Lawrence (1898, peerless London/Broadway stage thesp who can be glimpsed in the films Rembrandt and The Glass Menagerie)

Carlton E. Morse (1901, radio visionary who created the classic shows One Man’s Family and I Love a Mystery)

Cliff Lyons (1901, legendary actor-stuntman in many a John Wayne film [The War Wagon, The Green Berets, Chisum])

George Murphy (1902, actor-singer-dancer and one-time U.S. Senator from California [as immortalized by satirist Tom Lehrer: “At last we’ve got a Senator who can really sing and dance”])

Vince Barnett (1902, peerless character actor in films like Scarface, The Prizefighter and the Lady and She Loves Me Not)

Thomas Carr (1907, actor-director-producer noted for his serials [Jesse James Rides Again, Brick Bradford, Pirates of the High Seas] and TV’s The Adventures of Superman)

Alec Templeton (1909, blind pianist/composer before Ray Charles was fashionable)

Gloria Stuart (1910, consummate character actress remembered for roles in The Old Dark House, The Invisible Man, The Prisoner of Shark Island and Titanic)

Mitch Miller (1911, 99, conductor-musician who once headed up A&R at Columbia Records and invited audiences to sing along on his successful 1960s TV program)

Virginia Graham (1912, actress and host of 1960s talk show Girl Talk)

Abigail Van Buren (1918, 92, legendary advice columnist known as “Dear Abby”)

Ann Landers (1918, Van Buren’s twin sister…also an advice columnist)

Leona Helmsley (1920, evil rich bitch hotel magnate and tax cheat)

Eva Marie Saint (1924, 86, pictured, Oscar-winning TDOY actress goddess who appeared in On the Waterfront, A Hatful of Rain and North by Northwest)

Eric Fleming (1925, actor whose successful stint as trail boss Gil Favor on TV’s Rawhide came to a tragic end when he drowned after falling out of a canoe in the rapids of Peruvian waters)

Mary Stuart (1926, soap opera doyenne best remembered for her long-running roles on Search for Tomorrow and One Life to Live)

Neil Simon (1927, 83, comedy playwright/screenwriter/TV scribe extraordinaire [The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, Plaza Suite])

Otis Young (1932, character actor best remembered as Jack Nicholson’s sidekick in The Last Detail and as Jermal David on the television western The Outcasts)

Ray Pillow (1937, 73, country music vocalist [Thank You Ma’am, I’ll Take the Dog])

Bill Withers (1938, 72, legendary R&B vocalist [Lean on Me, Ain’t No Sunshine] and Slab Fork, WV native)

Ed Bernard (1939, 71, television icon [Police Woman, The White Shadow, Hardcastle and McCormick])

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