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MILESTONES: December 11, birthdays for John Kerry, Hailee Steinfeld, Rey Mysterio

December 11, 2018 Shlomo Sprung
John Kerry AP Photo/Matt Dunham

NOTABLE PEOPLE born on this day include former baseball player Jay Bell, who was born in 1965; rapper and actor Mos Def, who was born in Brooklyn in 1973; actor Gary Dourdan, who was born in 1966; actress Teri Garr, who was born in 1944; singer and songwriter David Gates, who was born in 1940; singer Jermaine Jackson, who was born in 1954; former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was born in 1943; singer Brenda Lee, who was born in 1936; actress Donna Mills, who was born in 1940; Oscar Award-winning actress Mo’Nique, who was born in 1967; Oscar Award- and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Rita Moreno, who was born in 1931; filmmaker Susan Seidelman, who was born in 1952; actress Hailee Steinfeld, who was born in 1996; hockey player Mark Streit, who was born in 1977; actor Rider Strong, who was born in 1979; actor Ken Wahl, who was born in 1957; and singer Curtis Williams, who was born in 1934.

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TODAY IS KALEIDOSCOPE DAY. It is a day to celebrate the kaleidoscope on the day its inventor, the prominent scientist David Brewster, was born in 1781. Brewster, a physicist, mathematician and astronomer, invented the instrument in 1815 to assist him in his study of optics and patented it in 1817. His term “kaleidoscope” comes from the Greek: kalos, meaning “beauty”; eidos, meaning “form”; and scopos, meaning “watcher.” Upon its initial manufacture, the kaleidoscope was a roaring success in Europe and the U.S. Brewster died in 1868 in Scotland.

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FIORELLO HENRY La GUARDIA WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1882. La Guardia, who was mayor of New York City from March 1923 to 1933, was often called “the Little Flower” for his five-foot-two frame. A Republican who appealed across party lines, he read the comics over the radio while a newspaper strike was underway. La Guardia was born in New York and died there in 1947.

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NAGUIB MAHFOUZ WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1911. The only author from the Arab world to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1988, Mahfouz was born in Cairo, Egypt. His work depicted a rapidly transforming Egypt, and his masterwork “The Cairo Trilogy” chronicles three generations of an Egyptian family in the 1920s and 1930s. He wrote scores of novels, short stories and articles and much of that work was made into films in the Arab world. In 1994, he survived a knife attack that damaged his nerves and slowed his output. Mahfouz died in Cairo in 2006.

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KING EDWARD VIII WAS ABDICATED ON THIS DAY IN 1936. Christened Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David, King Edward VIII became prince of Wales in July 1911. He ascended to the English throne upon the death of his father George V in 1936, but the coronation never took place. He abdicated on Dec. 11, 1936, in order to marry “the woman I love,” twice-divorced American Wallis Warfield Simpson. They were married in France in 1937. Edward was named duke of Windsor by his brother-successor George VI. The duke died in Paris in 1972, but was buried in England.

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Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.

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“Good art provides people with a vocabulary about things they can’t articulate.” — Mos Def, who was born in Brooklyn on this day in 1973

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