December 18th

Twas a week before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Except these birthday folks

Today is the birthday

… of actor Roger Smith. He’s 80. Smith has been married to Ann-Margret 45 years. Health issues limited his acting career, which was most notable for 77 Sunset Strip.

… of Keith Richards. The Rolling Stone is 69.

… of Steven Spielberg. The director is 66.

… of Ray Liotta. The actor, a good fella, is 57.

… of Brad Pitt, 49.

… of Christina Aguilera. She’s 32.

Elizabeth Ruth Grable was born on this date in 1916. She was known as Betty Grable and, according to Wikipedia, “Hosiery specialists of the era often noted the ideal proportions of her legs as: thigh (18.5″) calf (12″), and ankle (7.5″). Grable’s legs were famously insured by her studio for $1,000,000 with Lloyds of London.”

James Fletcher Hamilton Henderson, Jr. was born December 18, 1897.

“Fletcher Henderson … led the most important of the pioneering big bands, which helped to set the pattern for most later big jazz bands playing arranged music.” (PBS – JAZZ – Fletcher Henderson)

The electrical engineer and inventor Edwin H. Armstrong was born on December 18, 1890. Armstrong was instrumental in the development of early radio and the inventor of FM.

Ty Cobb was born on this date in 1886.

Ty Cobb Plaque

Ty Cobb may have been baseball’s greatest player, if not the game’s fiercest competitor. His batting accomplishments are legendary — a lifetime average of .367, 297 triples, 4,191 hits, 12 batting titles (including nine in a row), 23 straight seasons in which he hit over .300, three .400 seasons (topped by a .420 mark in 1911) and 2,245 runs. Intimidating the opposition, The Georgia Peach stole 892 bases during a 24-year career, primarily with the Detroit Tigers.

National Baseball Hall of Fame

Paul Klee was born on this date in 1879. That’s his “Red Balloon” (1922).

Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili was born on this date in 1878. We know him as Joseph Stalin (Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин). He was responsible for the execution of an estimated 700,000 people 1937-1938.