The Tenth of April

Today we celebrate the birthday

Morgan & Felton

… of Harry Morgan. IMDb lists 162 credits for Morgan, who died in 2011 at the age of 96. If you’d like to see him as a relatively young actor, view the 1943 classic The Ox-Bow Incident. Morgan was Henry Fonda’s sidekick. Great, great film.

You may not know the name Verna Felton, but you know the voice. She was the character actress heard in many Disney animations — a matriarchical elephant in Dumbo, the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, Aunt Sarah in Lady and the Tramp. She also appeared with Harry Morgan in an early fifties sitcom December Bride — and its 1960 spinoff Pete and Gladys. She died in 1966, but Morgan kept Felton’s photo on Sherman Potter’s desk on the M*A*S*H set to portray Mrs. Potter.

That’s Morgan in the photo, with Felton (right) and Spring Byington, who played the title role on the TV series, December Bride.

… of Max von Sydow, 85.

… of Omar Sharif. Dr. Zhivago is 72. Sharif was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for Lawrence of Arabia.

… of John Madden. He’s 78. Madden was the Raiders head coach for 158 games, including post season. His team won 112 of them including Super Bowl XI. Why is John Madden’s Birthday not a significant national holiday?

… of Paul Theroux (rhymes with through). He’s 73.

It’s the birthday of novelist and travel writer Paul Theroux, born in Medford, Massachusetts (1941). After college he decided to join the Peace Corps in 1963. He later said, “I had thought of responsibilities I did not want—marriage seemed too permanent, grad school too hard, and the army too brutal.” He said the Peace Corps was a kind of “Howard Johnson’s on the main drag to maturity.”

The Peace Corps sent him to live in East Africa. He was expelled from Malawi after he became friends with a group that planned to assassinate the president of the country. He continued traveling around Africa, teaching English, and started submitting pieces to magazines back in the United States. While living in Africa, he became friends with the writer V.S. Naipaul, who became his mentor and who encouraged him to keep traveling.

He had published several novels when he decided to go on a four-month trip through Asia by train. He wrote every day on the journey, and he filled four thick notebooks with material that eventually became his first best-seller, The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia (1975).

The Writer’s Almanac (2006)

… of Anne Lamott. She’s 60 today.

“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” Anne Lamott

Don Meredith was born in Mount Vernon, Texas, on April 10th, 1938. He died in 2010. “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.”

The Pulitizer Prize winning author David Halberstam should have been 80 today.

One of America’s most successful authors, David Halberstam began his career as a journalist in the 1950s, first as a reporter for The Daily Times Leader in West Point, Mississippi and later for the Nashville Tennessean. In 1960 he joined The New York Times and shortly thereafter was assigned to the paper’s bureau in Saigon. Halberstam was among a small group of reporters there who began to question the official optimism about the growing war in Vietnam. Halberstam’s work from Vietnam so rankled official Washington that President Kennedy once asked the publisher of The New York Times to transfer Halberstam to another bureau. In 1964, at age 30, Halberstam earned a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from Vietnam. His best-selling book, The Best and The Brightest, chronicles America’s deepening involvement in Vietnam through the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

Reporting America at War | PBS

Joseph Pulitzer himself was born in Budapest, Hungary, on this date in 1847.

Frances Perkins, the first woman presidential cabinet member — FDR’s Secretary of Labor — was born on this date in 1880. Perkins and Interior Secretary Harold Ickes were the only cabinet members to serve Roosevelt’s entire 12+ years. The Department of Labor Building in Washington is named for Secretary Perkins.

When Frances Perkins married in 1913 she had to go to court to win the right to keep her own name.

Frances Perkins Time 1933