MILESTONES: January 17, birthdays for Michelle Obama, Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel
NOTABLE PEOPLE born on this day include actor Naveen Andrews, who was born in 1969; former soccer player Cuauhtemoc Blanco, who was born in 1973; actor Jim Carrey, who was born in 1962; dancer, choreographer, instructor and TV personality Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who was born in 1980; actress Zooey Deschanel, who was born in 1980; actor James Earl Jones, who was born in 1931; attorney and former head of the Federal Communications Commission Newton Minow, who was born in 1926; former first lady Michelle Obama, who was born in 1964; talk show host Maury Povich, who was born in 1939; basketball player Dwyane Wade, who was born in 1982; and actress Betty White, who was born in 1922.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1706. The elder statesman of the American Revolution and the oldest signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution was also a scientist, diplomat, author, printer, publisher, philosopher, philanthropist and self-made, self-educated man. Franklin was also the author, printer and publisher of Poor Richard’s Almanack (1733–‘58). Born in Boston, he died in Philadelphia in 1790. His birthday is commemorated each year by the Poor Richard Club of Philadelphia with graveside observance.
POPEYE DEBUTED ON THIS DAY IN 1929. In E.C. Segar’s newspaper comic strip “Thimble Theatre,” Popeye appeared on the scene and was an immediate success. Olive Oyl quickly dumped her beau Ham Gravy for the colorful sailor.
MUHAMMAD ALI WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1942. Born Cassius Clay, boxing’s “The Greatest” lived up to his nickname. He won the gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Rome Olympics and won the world heavyweight title three times (1964, 1974, 1978). Ali was also nicknamed the “Louisville Lip”— always ready with a quote-worthy quip or challenge. He converted to Islam in 1964 (under Malcolm X’s mentorship) and dropped his “slave name” for that of Muhammad Ali. Later, as a conscientious objector, he refused to be drafted to fight in the Vietnam War — he was arrested and stripped of his title. In a battle that went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971, Ali saw his conviction overturned. His refusal to bow to the establishment, his civil rights beliefs and leadership and his outsized personality made him one of the great iconic figures — in sports or otherwise — of the 20th century. After battling Parkinson’s disease (diagnosed in 1984) for 30 years, Ali died in Arizona in 2016.
AL CAPONE WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1899. Gangster Alphonse “Scarface” Capone was born in Brooklyn to immigrants from Naples, Italy. Capone dominated organized crime in Chicago throughout the Prohibition era. Targeted by the “Untouchables” after 1929’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (which he allegedly ordered), Capone was finally imprisoned on tax evasion charges. He died in 1947 in Miami, after suffering from syphilis.
VIDAL SASSOON WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1928. Born into poverty in London, the future hairdresser to the stars was raised partly in an orphanage and apprenticed to a beauty shop at age 14. He opened his first salon in 1954 and was soon experimenting with geometric styles and angular cuts. He moved to New York in 1965 where his groundbreaking new styles worn by women like Mary Quant, Grace Coddington and Mia Farrow made him into a superstar. His chain of salons and line of affordable hair care products made him a household name among American women. “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good” was the signature line for his brand. He died in California in 2012.
Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.
“There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.” — former first lady Michelle Obama, who was born on this day in 1964
Leave a Comment