Turning from the funny pages (of recent Posts) to the birth notices and obituaries, let us check out the comings and goings on this day over the past two-plus centuries.
Notable people are born and die every day, but it strikes me that a greater-than-usual number of famous (or once-famous) Americans made their entrance — or their exit — on January 19th. Books could be — and in almost every case, have been — written about each of the individuals I’ve chosen to single out here; therefore, with one exception, I will go into slightly more detail with those whose star has faded with time, and mention the still-renowned only in passing (even if still-living).
Of the following, the first seven were born, and the last three died, on January 19th in the year preceding their names:
1807 – Robert E. Lee, famed Civil War General and Confederate Army leader.
1809 – Edgar Allan Poe, great poet and short-story writer (considered the father of the modern murder mystery), but made his living as a journalist and magazine editor. Regarded as the first great American literary critic, his reviews were at times merciless; upon his death in 1849, the Southern Literary Messenger said in an editorial, “Now that he is gone, the vast multitude of blockheads may breathe again.”
1906 – Lanny Ross, popular vocalist, recording and radio star of the 1930s and 1940s, also appeared in several movies, including STAGE DOOR CANTEEN (1943), in which he beautifully sang this beautiful wartime ballad: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufl5zJn0gkA
1923 – Jean Stapleton, actress best known for role as Archie Bunker’s wife Edith in 1970s TV sitcom ALL IN THE FAMILY. Who can forget this theme song: www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJaseyCitbM
1930 – Tippi Hedren, actress best known for starring roles in Alfred Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS and MARNIE, though she appeared in many other films. Also an animal rights activist.
1943 – Janis Joplin, singer known as the Queen of Psychedelic Soul. Died of heroin overdose at age 27.
1946 – Dolly Parton, singer, song writer and actress; one of country music’s top(-heavy) stars.
2000 – Hedy Lamarr, naturalized American citizen born in Austria, was considered one of the most beautiful women in the world as an actress in the 1930s & 40s. Was also an inventor.
2013 – Stan Musial, Hall of Fame baseball player with St. Louis Cardinals. Was one of the best hitters in Major League history.
2013 – Earl Weaver, Hall of Fame Major League manager with the Baltimore Orioles. Got along well with umpires, as evidenced here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl-4FSRYagc