September 14th

Today is the birthday of Margaret Sanger, born on this date in 1879. From her obituary in The New York Times (1966):

As the originator of the phrase “birth control” and its best-known advocate, Margaret Sanger survived Federal indictments, a brief jail term, numerous lawsuits, hundreds of street-corner rallies and raids on her clinics to live to see much of the world accept her view that family planning is a basic human right.

The dynamic, titian-haired woman whose Irish ancestry also endowed her with unfailing charm and persuasive wit was first and foremost a feminist. She sought to create equality between the sexes by freeing women from what she saw as sexual servitude.

Hal Wallis was born on this date in 1898. A producer, Wallis was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar 15 times, winning for Casablanca in 1942. Wallis died in 1986.

The itinerant hall-of-fame basketball coach, Larry Brown, is 72 today.

Davenie Johanna Heatherton was born 68 years ago today. She was called Joey and had a lot of appearances when she was 16-25 on various TV shoes with older male singers — Perry Como, Dean Martin, Andy Williams — Bob Hope’s Christmas shows for the troops. It was mostly about her looks.

Sam Neill was born in Northern Ireland 65 years ago today. Neill has appeared in numerous films, most famously The Hunt for Red October, Jurassic Park and as the ass-of-a-husband in The Piano.

The wonderful actress Melissa Leo is 52 today. See was nominated for best actress for Frozen River (a superb performance) and won for best supporting actress for The Fighter. She was in the TV series Homicide: Life on the Street and is currently in Treme as Antoinette “Toni” Bernette.

Wendy Thomas, for whom Wendy’s is named, is 51 today.

In a different universe Amy Winehouse would be 29 today.

Clayton Moore was born Jack Carlton Moore on this date in 1914. He was, of course, The Lone Ranger for 169 episodes of the 221 of the TV series 1949-1957, training his voice to sound like the radio version. (Moore was not on the radio series; it ran for 2,956 episodes, 1933-1954.) Moore had to sue to maintain his rights to appear as the Lone Ranger after the show ended. He died in 1999.

Actor Jack Hawkins was born 102 years ago today. He was the Roman admiral Quintus Arrius in Ben Hur, “We keep you alive to serve this ship. So row well, and live.”

Handel completed the Messiah 271 years ago today.

In the British American Colonies it was September 2nd 260 years ago yesterday and September 14th 260 years ago today. (The British Empire adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752.)

William McKinley died on this date in 1901, seven days after being shot by Leon Czolgosz. Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States, and the youngest ever. He was 42 years, 10-1/2 months old.

And it was on September 14th in 1814 that Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that became “The Star-Spangled Banner.”