Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Famous People Born In 1919 - J.D. Salinger, Jackie Robinson, Liberace, Nat King Cole, Kalashnikov, And Others

There seem to be fewer notable people born in 1919.  World War I had ended in November1918.  There had been a big influenza epidemic in 1918 as well.  Births dropped significantly in 1919.

Excerpted from a cdc chart
Someone born in 1919 would be ten when the stock market crashed, spend their adolescence during the depression, and start their twenties as WW II broke out.  Maybe that explains why there are fewer notables compared to other years.

I've only picked out a few folks born in 1919.  What has struck me since I first started doing "famous people born" posts, is thinking about a group of people who would have been in the same school year had they all lived in the same neighborhood.  So try to imagine these people being classmates together at some school.  Did any of these people know each other?  Ever meet?

I've put them in order of when they were born in 1919 from the oldest (at least at birth) to the youngest.  It's also sobering to see how some lived much shorter lives than others.

J. D. Salinger  January 1, 1919 - January 27, 2010 (91)
"American writer known for his widely read novel, The Catcher in the Rye. Following his early success publishing short stories and The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger led a very private life for more than a half-century. He published his final original work in 1965 and gave his last interview in 1980."
The first paragraph of Catcher In The Rye.
"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them. They’re quitee touchy about anything like that, especially my father. They’re nice and all - I’m not saying that - but they’re also touchy as hell. Besides, I’m not going to tell you my whole goodam autobiography or anything. I’ll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out and take it easy. I mean that’s all I told D.B. about, and he’s my brother and all. He’s in Hollywood. That isn’t too far from this crumby place, and he comes over and visits me practically every week end. He’s going to drive me home when I go home next month maybe. He just got a Jaguar. One of those little English jobs that can do around two hundred miles an hour. It cost him damn near four thousand bucks. He’s got a lot of dough, now. He didn’t use to. He used to be just a regular writer, when he was home. He wrote this terrific book of short stories, The Secret Goldfish, in case you never heard of him. The best one in it was «‘The Secret Goldfish.’ It was about this little kid that wouldn’t let anybody look at his goldfish because he’d bought it with his own money. It killed me. Now he’s out in Hollywood, D.B., being a prostitute. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the movies. Don’t even mention them to me."

Jackie Robinson - January 31, 1919 -  October 24, 1972 (53)

"The first African American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era.[2] Robinson broke the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base on April 15, 1947. When the Dodgers signed Robinson, they heralded the end of racial segregation in professional baseball that had relegated black players to the Negro leagues since the 1880s.[3] Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.[4]"

Eva Gabor  February 11, 1919 - July 4, 1995 (76)

"Born in Budapest, Eva aspired to acting from the age of 4. She began studying at 15, but her parents thought acting was too vulgar a profession and forced her to withdraw. Two years later, the 5-foot-2-inch beauty met a Swedish-born Hollywood physician at a party. They married in 1939 and moved to California. , ,
Described as the most down-to-earth of the Gabor sisters, Eva nevertheless had a lot in common with her many-times-married siblings, Zsa Zsa and Magda. Eva, who married and divorced at least four times, was said to have coined the phrase, "Marriage is too interesting an experiment to be tried only once or twice."
They were all entertainers. And they all possessed the unmistakably breezy Gabor style. When introduced to President Lyndon B. Johnson, Eva Gabor greeted him in her trademark Hungarian accent: 'Hello, Mr. President, darling.'"

Nat King Cole   March 17, 1919- February 15, 1965 (45)

" For a mild-mannered man whose music was always easy on the ear, Nat King Cole managed to be a figure of considerable controversy during his 30 years as a professional musician. From the late '40s to the mid-'60s, he was a massively successful pop singer who ranked with such contemporaries as Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, and Dean Martin. He shared with those peers a career that encompassed hit records, international touring, radio and television shows, and appearances in films. But unlike them, he had not emerged from a background as a band singer in the swing era. Instead, he had spent a decade as a celebrated jazz pianist, leading his own small group."

Madalyn Murray O'Hair  April 13, 1919 – September 29, 1995 (76)
"Madalyn Murray O'Hair (née Mays; )[1] was an American activist supporting atheism and separation of church and state. In 1963 she founded American Atheists and served as its president to 1986, after which her son Jon Garth Murray succeeded her. She created the first issues of American Atheist Magazine.
O'Hair is best known for the Murray v. Curlett lawsuit, which challenged the policy of mandatory prayers and Bible reading in Baltimore public schools, in which she named her first son William J. Murray as plaintiff. Consolidated with Abington School District v. Schempp (1963), it was heard by the United States Supreme Court, which ruled that official Bible-reading in American public schools was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court had prohibited officially sponsored prayer in schools in Engel v. Vitale (1962) on similar grounds. Through American Atheists, O'Hair filed numerous other suits on issues of separation of church and state."

Pete Seeger   May 3, 1919 - January 27, 2014 (94)
 In 1938, he settled in New York City and eventually met Alan Lomax, Woody Guthrie, Aunt Molly Jackson, Lead Belly, and others. The quality of music coming from this group immediately captured his attention. He assisted Alan Lomax at the Library of Congress’ Archive of Folk Song and was exposed to a wonderful array of traditional American music. Many in this group of musicians eventually formed the Almanac Singers in 1940. In addition to Pete, the group included Lee Hays, Woody Guthrie, Bess Lomax, Sis Cunningham, Mill Lampell, Arthur Stern, and others. They lived in a communal home, “The Almanac House,” in New York. The group performed for gatherings, picket lines, and any place where they could lend their voices in support of the social causes they believed in. Later, after World War II, many of the same people became involved in the musical organizations People’s Songs and People’s Artists.

His best-known songs include "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" (with Joe Hickerson), "If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)" (with Lee Hays of the Weavers), and "Turn! Turn! Turn!"

Liberace  May 16, 1919 - February 4, 1987 ( 67)
American pianist, singer and actor.[2] A child prodigy and the son of Polish and Italian immigrants, Liberace enjoyed a career spanning four decades of concerts, recordings, television, motion pictures, and endorsements. At the height of his fame, from the 1950s to the 1970s, Liberace was the highest-paid entertainer in the world,[3] with established concert residencies in Las Vegas, and an international touring schedule. Liberace embraced a lifestyle of flamboyant excess both on and off stage, acquiring the nickname "Mr. Showmanship".

Margot Fonteyn  May 18, 1919 - February 21, 1991 (71)
Dame Margot Fonteyn, DBE (18 May 1919 – 21 February 1991), stage name of Margaret Evelyn de Arias, was an English ballerina. She spent her entire career as a dancer with the Royal Ballet (formerly the Sadler's Wells Theater Company), eventually being appointed prima ballerina assoluta of the company by Queen Elizabeth II. Beginning ballet lessons at the age of four, she studied in England and China, where her father was transferred for his work. Her training in Shanghai was with George Goncharov, contributing to her continuing interest in Russian ballet. Returning to London at the age of 14, she was invited to join the Vic-Wells Ballet School by Ninette de Valois. She succeeded Alicia Markova as prima ballerina of the company in 1935. The Vic-Wells choreographer, Sir Frederick Ashton, wrote numerous parts for Fonteyn and her partner, Robert Helpmann, with whom she danced from the 1930s to the 1940s.

Sir Edmund Hillary   July 20 1919 -  Jan 11, 2008  (88)

Best-known internationally as the first man to climb Mt. Everest in May 1953 with Tenzing Norgay, for the last 50 years he has devoted himself to environmental and humanitarian efforts that have made a profound difference to communities in Nepal where his famous summiting was achieved.

George Wallace  August 25, 1919 – September 13, 1998
American politician and the 45th Governor of Alabama, a position he occupied for four terms, during which he promoted "low-grade industrial development, low taxes, and trade schools".[1] He sought the United States presidency as a Democrat three times, and once as an American Independent Party candidate, unsuccessfully each time. He is best remembered for his staunch segregationist and populist views.[2][3][4] Wallace famously opposed desegregation and supported the policies of "Jim Crow" during the Civil Rights Movement, declaring in his 1963 Inaugural Address that he stood for "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever".[5]

I'm offering this video, because I was at this talk. (The actual date is January 10,1964)  I came early to be sure to get a seat. The first several rows were already filled with black students. Wallace was known as the racist governor of Alabama who opposed integration. UCLA was a relatively liberal California college. It was going to be tense. But Wallace used charm and humor to win over the audience quickly - even the front few rows. We didn't agree with him, but laughter created a human connection. It was an important lesson for me about preconceptions, my notions about evil people, and how people who violently disagree on fundamental issues, nevertheless can communicate. It also helped me understand why Alabamans voted for him.  I absolutely do not endorse most of the comments under this video on Youtube.

Pierre Trudeau  October 18, 1919 - Sept. 28, 2000 (80)

He slid down banisters, dated movie stars and wore a red rose in his lapel. Pierre Elliott Trudeau is arguably the most charismatic prime minister in Canada's history. But he was more than just charisma - Trudeau helped shape Canada with his vision of a unified, bilingual, multicultural "just society." Throughout his 16 years as prime minister, he faced some heavy criticism. But when Trudeau died on Sept. 28, 2000, the nation mourned the man who, in the words of one biographer, "haunts us still."
He was also the father of Canada's current prime minister.

Doris Lessing   (October 22, 1919, Kermanshah, Persia (now Iran) - 17 November 2013,

Nobel Prize in Literature.
Doris Lessing's body of work comprises around 50 books and spans several genres. Her writing is characterized by penetrating studies of living conditions in the 20th century, behavioral patterns, and historical developments. Her most experimental novel, 'The Golden Notebook', from 1962, is a study of a woman's psyche and life situation, the lot of writers, sexuality, political ideas, and everyday life. Some of Doris Lessing's books reach into the future. Among other things, she portrays our civilization's final hour from the perspective of an extraterrestrial observer.
Here's the first page of The Golden Notebook.
"Anna meets her friend Molly in the summer of 1957 after a separation
THE two women were alone in the London flat. 'The point is,' said Anna, as her friend came back from the telephone on the landing, 'the point is, that as far as I can see, everything's cracking up.'
Molly was a woman much on the telephone. When it rang she had just enquired: 'Well, what's the gossip?' Now she said, 'That's Richard, and he's coming over. It seems today's his only free moment for the next month. Or so he insists.'
'Well I'm not leaving,' said Anna.
'No, you stay just where you are.'
Molly considered her own appearance-she was wearing trousers and a sweater, both the worse for wear. 'He'll have to take me as I come,' she concluded, and sat down by the window. 'He wouldn't say what it's about-another crisis with Marion, I suppose.'
'Didn't he write to you?' asked Anna, cautious.
'Both he and Marion wrote-ever such bonhomous letters. Odd, isn't it?'
This odd, isn't it? was the characteristic note of the intimate conversations they designated gossip. But having struck the note, Molly swerved off with: 'It's no use talking now, because he's coming right over, he says.'
'He'll probably go when he sees me here,' said Anna, cheerfully, but slightly aggressive. Molly glanced at her, keenly, and said: 'Oh, but why?'
It had always been understood that Anna and Richard disliked each other; and before Anna had always left when Richard was expected. Now Molly said: 'Actually I think he rather likes you, in his heart of hearts. The point is, he's committed to liking me, on principle-he's such a fool he's always got to either like or dislike someone, so all the dislike he won't admit he has for me gets pushed off on to you.'"

Mohammad Reza Shah  October 26, 1919 -  July 27, 1980 (60)
Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (1919-80), king of Iran (1941-1979), was born in Tehran on October 26, 1919, the eldest son of Reza Shah. He completed his primary school in Switzerland. He returned to Iran in 1935, and enrolled in a Tehran military school, from which he graduated in 1938..  . .
He replaced his father, Reza Shah, on the throne on September 16, 1941, shortly before his 22nd birthday. He continued the reform policies of his father, but a contest for control of the government soon erupted between the shah and an older professional politician, the nationalistic Mohammad Mosaddeq.  .  .
By the mid-1970s the Shah reigned amidst widespread discontent caused by the continuing repressiveness of his regime, socioeconomic changes that benefited some classes at the expense of others, and the increasing gap between the ruling elite and the disaffected populace. Islamic leaders, particularly the exiled cleric Ayatollah Khomeini, were able to focus this discontent with a populist ideology tied to Islamic principles and calls for the overthrow of the shah. The Shah's government collapsed following widespread uprisings in 1978 -1979 and consequently an Islamic Republic succeeded his regime.

Mikhail Kalashnikov  November 10, 1919 - December 23, 2013 (94)
Russian soldier, best known as AK-47 inventor. a Russian general, inventor, military engineer and small arms designer. He is most famous for developing the AK-47 assault rifle and its improvements, the AKM and AK-74, as well as the PK machine gun and RPK light machine gun.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the round-up. It's my parents' birth year and now I must do a bit more work on their genealogies!


Comments will be reviewed, not for content (except ads), but for style. Comments with personal insults, rambling tirades, and significant repetition will be deleted. Ads disguised as comments, unless closely related to the post and of value to readers (my call) will be deleted. Click here to learn to put links in your comment.