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MILESTONES: December 14, birthdays for Vanessa Hudgens, Miranda Hart, Michael Owen

December 14, 2018 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Vanessa Hudgens Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

NOTABLE PEOPLE born on this day include Hall of Fame baseball player Craig Biggio, who was born in 1965; actress Jane Birkin, who was born in 1946; theologian Leonardo Boff, who was born in 1938; former baseball player Bill Buckner, who was born in 1949; actress Miranda Hart, who was born in 1972; actress Vanessa Hudgens, who was born in 1988; actress Natascha McElhone, who was born 1969; soccer player Michael Owen, who was born in 1979; Olympic gymnast Samantha Peszek, who was born in 1991; and actress Dee Wallace Stone, who was born in 1948.

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THE SOUTH POLE WAS DISCOVERED ON THIS DAY IN 1911. The elusive object of many expeditions dating from the 17th century, the South Pole was located and visited by Roald Amundsen with four companions and 52 sled dogs. All five men and 12 dogs returned to basecamp safely. Next to visit the South Pole in 1912 was a party of five led by Capt. Robert F. Scott, all of whom perished during the return trip. A search party found their frozen bodies 11 months later.

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HALCYON DAYS BEGIN TODAY. Traditionally, they are the seven days before and the seven days after the winter solstice. To the ancients, it was a time when the halcyon, a fabled bird, calmed the wind and waves — a time of calm and tranquility.

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ERNIE DAVIS WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1939. The football running back was born at New Salem, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Elmira, N.Y. Playing for Syracuse University, the “Elmira Express” became the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy in 1961. Drafted by the Cleveland Browns, he never played a game as he succumbed to leukemia at age 23. Davis died in 1963 Cleveland, Ohio.

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SHIRLEY JACKSON WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1916. The author was best known for her 1948 short story “The Lottery,” which was published in The New Yorker. The story about a sinister force at work in small-town America brought controversy, threats and finally praise — as well as an O. Henry Prize. Jackson also wrote the influential horror novel “The Haunting of Hill House.” She died in Vermont in 1965.

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PRESIDENT GEORGE WASHINGTON DIED ON THIS DAY IN 1799. The first president of the U.S. died at his home in Mount Vernon shortly before midnight. He had battled a sudden acute respiratory infection and had been bled four times. “I die hard, but I am not afraid to go” were his famous near-dying words. After he confirmed his own burial plans, Washington’s actual last words were, “’Tis well.” He was mourned throughout the U.S. and Europe.

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NOSTRADAMUS WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1503. The French physician, best remembered for his astrological predictions (written in rhymed quatrains), was born in France. Many believed that his book of prophecies actually foretold the future. Nostradamus died in Salon, France, in 1566.

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

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“I delight in what I fear.” Shirley Jackson, who was born on this day in 1916