On This Day

Famous Birthdays on April 8

  • 563 Gautama Buddha's birthday, the founder of Buddhism, is commonly celebrated on this day (or May)
  • 1320 Pedro I, King of Portugal (also called "the Just" or "the Cruel"), King of Portugal and of the Algarves (1357-67), born in Coimbra, Portugal (d. 1367)

Juan Ponce de León

1460 Juan Ponce de León, Spanish explorer and conquistador who searched for the fountain of youth and the first European to discover Florida, born in Santervás de Campos, Castile, Spain (d. 1521)

  • 1533 Claudio Merulo, Italian organist and composer, born in Correggio, Italy (d. 1604)
  • 1541 Michele Mercati, Italian physician and gardener, born in Rome, Italy (d. 1593)
  • 1582 Phineas Fletcher, English poet, born in Cranbrook (d. 1650)
  • 1605 Louis de Vadder, Flemish painter, born in Brussels (d. 1655)
  • 1605 Philip IV, King of Spain & Portugal (1621-65), born in Royal Palace of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain (d. 1665)
  • 1631 Cornelis de Heem, Dutch painter, born in Leiden, Netherlands (d. 1695)
  • 1641 Henry Sydney, 1st Earl of Romney, English statesman, born in Paris (d. 1704)
  • 1655 Louis Willem I, Margrave of Baden-Baden, born in Paris (d. 1707)
  • 1692 Giuseppe Tartini, Venetian Baroque composer and violinist (Trillo del Diavolo), born in Piran, Venice (d. 1770)
  • 1695 Johann Christian Gunther, German poet, born in Striegau, Silesia (d. 1723)
  • 1697 Pierre Prowo, German composer, born in Altona (d. 1757)
  • 1708 Georg Zarth, Bohemian composer, born in Hochtann, Bohemia (d. 1778)
  • 1726 Lewis Morris, American landowner and farmer (signed US Declaration of Independence), born in Morrisania, New York (d. 1798)
  • 1732 David Rittenhouse, American astronomer, inventor, and mathematician, born in Paper Mill Run, Pennsylvania (d. 1796)
  • 1756 Joseph Gehot, Belgian composer, born in Brussels, Belgium (d. 1820)
  • 1775 Adam Albert von Neipperg, Austrian general and Napoleon's wife Marie's lover and later husband, born in Vienna (d. 1829)
  • 1776 Thaddäus Weigl, German-Austrian composer, publisher, and conductor, born in Vienna, Austria (d. 1844)
  • 1783 John Claudius Loudon, Scottish horticulturist, born in Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, Scotland (d. 1843)
  • 1798 Dionysios Solomos, Greek poet of the Greek national anthem, born in Zakynthos Island, Greece (d. 1857)
  • 1816 Frederic William Burton, Irish painter, born in Wicklow, Ireland (d. 1900)
  • 1818 Christian IX, King of Denmark (1863-1906), born in Gottorf Castle, Schleswig, Duchy of Schleswig (d. 1906)
  • 1826 Pancha Carrasco, Costa Rican war heroine (Costa Rica's first woman in the military), born in Cartago, Costa Rica (d. 1890)
  • 1827 Ramón Emeterio Betances, Puerto Rican politician, medical doctor and diplomat, born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico (d. 1898)
  • 1828 George Baird Hodge, American Brigadier General (Confederate Army), born in Fleming County, Kentucky (d. 1892)
  • 1831 Allard Pierson, Dutch theologist, philosopher and art historian, born in Amsterdam (d. 1896)
  • 1832 Alfred von Waldersee, Prussian field marshal and Chief of the German General Staff, born in Potsdam, Province of Brandenburg, Kingdom of Prussia (d. 1904)
  • 1842 Elizabeth Bacon Custer, American author, public speaker and wife of George Armstrong Custer, born in Monroe, Michigan (d. 1933)
  • 1843 Asger Hamerik [Hammerich], Danish composer, and educator (Peabody Institute, 1878-91), born in Frederiksberg, Denmark (d. 1923)
  • 1850 William H. Welch, American pathologist who founded Johns Hopkins Hospital, born in Norfolk, Connecticut (d. 1934)
  • 1859 Edmund Husserl, German philosopher (founded School of Phenomenology), born in Proßnitz, Margraviate of Moravia, Austrian Empire (d. 1938)
  • 1869 Harvey Cushing, American neurosurgeon (blood pressure studies), born in Cleveland, Ohio (d. 1939)
  • 1871 Clarence Hudson White, American photographer, born in Newark, Ohio (d. 1925)
  • 1874 Stanisław Taczak, Polish general, commander-in-chief of the Greater Poland Uprising, born in Mieszków, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland (d. 1960)
  • 1875 Albert I, King of Belgium (1909-34), born in Brussels, Belgium (d. 1934)
  • 1878 Rudolf Nelson, German composer, born in Berlin (d. 1960)
  • 1881 Fernand Lamy, French composer, born in Chauvigny, France (d. 1966)
  • 1882 Lulu McConnell, American vaudeville, radio, and television comedienne (It Pays To Be Ignorant), born in Kansas City, Missouri (d. 1962)
  • 1883 R. P. Keigwin, English academic, born in Lexden, Essex (d. 1972)
  • 1885 Dimitrios Levidis, Greek composer, born in Athens, Greece (d. 1951)
  • 1886 Margaret Ayer Barnes, American playwright and writer (Years of Grace), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1967)

Jim Barnes

1886 Jim Barnes, English golfer (PGA C'ship 1916, 19; US Open 1921, British Open 1925), born in Lelant, Cornwall (d. 1966)

  • 1887 Walter Connolly, American actor (Good Earth, 5th Avenue Girl), born in Cincinnati, Ohio (d. 1940)
  • 1888 Victor Schertzinger, American composer and director (Uptown NY), born in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania (d. 1941)
  • 1888 Dennis Chavez, American politician, 1st US Hispanic Senator elected to serve full term, born in Los Chavez, New Mexico Territory (d. 1964)
  • 1889 Adrian Boult, British conductor (BBC Symphony Orchestra, 1930-50; London Philharmonic, 1950-59), born in Chester, England (d. 1983)

Mary Pickford

1892 Mary Pickford [Gladys Smith], Canadian actress (Poor Little Rich Girl), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1979)

  • 1892 Richard Neutra, Austrian American modernist architect (Kaufmann Desert House), born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary (d. 1970)
  • 1893 Grace Cunard, American silent screen actress (Untamed, Resurrection), born in Columbus, Ohio (d. 1967)
  • 1893 Henri Puvrez, Belgian sculptor (Sereniteit)
  • 1895 Bert Gordon [Barney Gorodetsky], Comedian, born in NYC, New York (d. 1974)
  • 1895 Sigurdur Thordarson, Icelandic composer (d. 1968)
  • 1896 Karl Hermann Pillney, Austrian composer and painist, born in Graz, Austria-Hungary (d. 1980)
  • 1896 Yip Harburg [Isidore Hochberg], American lyricist ("Over The Rainbow"; "It's Only A Paper Moon"), born in NYC, New York (d. 1981)
  • 1897 Herbert Eimert, German composer and musicologist (Glockenspiel)
  • 1898 Achiel H. Acker, Belgian premier (1945-46, 1954-58), born in Bruges, Belgium (d. 1975)
  • 1898 Cecil [Maurice] Bowra, British classics expert (Greek experience)
  • 1902 Arthur Wellard, English cricketer (big hitting Somerset & England batsman)
  • 1902 Josef Krips, Austrian conductor (London Symphony, 1954-63), born in Vienna, Austria
  • 1904 John Antill, Australian composer (Corroboree; New Guinea Patrol), born in Sydney (d. 1986)
  • 1904 John R. Hicks, British economist ( Value and Capital), (Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Science 1972), born in Warwick, England (d. 1989)
  • 1905 Ilka Chase, American actress (Masquerade Party, Trials of O'Brien), born in NYC, New York (d. 1978)
  • 1905 George Baxter, French actor (Flying Saucer, Lili, Caged), born in Paris, France (d. 1976)
  • 1905 Hans Scherfig, Danish marxist/writer (Idealister, Frydenholm)
  • 1905 Helen Joseph, South African anti-apartheid activist and writer (Side by Side), born in Easebourne, England (d. 1992)
  • 1905 Pierre Wigny, Belgian minister of Foreign affairs (1958-61) [or 4/18]
  • 1906 Charles J. B. Jonckheere, Flemish poet and writer (Mirror of the Sea)
  • 1906 Raoul Jobin, French Canadian operatic tenor, born in Quebec City, Quebec (d. 1974)
  • 1907 Maurice Stacey, British chemist who worked to synthesize vitamin C, born in Moreton, England (d. 1994)
  • 1908 Neil Lawson, British high court judge
  • 1909 George Dixon, American jazz trumpeter, born in New Orleans, Louisiana (d. 1994)
  • 1909 Olavi Pesonen, Finnish composer, born in Helsinki, Finland (d. 1993)
  • 1909 William James Millar Mackenzie, Scottish political scientist, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1996)
  • 1909 John Fante, Italian-American author and screenwriter (Wait Until Spring, Bandini, Ask the Dust, Full of Life), born in Denver, Colorado (d. 1983)
  • 1910 George Musso, American NFL guard (Chicago Bears), born in Collinsville, Illinois (d. 2000)
  • 1910 Wendell Bill, Australian cricketer (NSW bat 1929-36 Century on debut 1930)
  • 1911 Douglas Hyde, England political journalist, born in Worthing, England (d. 1996)
  • 1911 Emil Mihai Cioran, Romanian born writer and aphorist, born in Resinár, Kingdom of Hungary (d. 1995)
  • 1911 Melvin Calvin, US chemist (photosynthesis, Nobel 1961)

Sonja Henie

1912 Sonja Henie, Norwegian figure skater (Olympic gold 1928, 32, 36), actress (My Lucky Star), born in Oslo, Norway (d. 1969)

  • 1912 Alois Brunner, Austrian Nazi, assistant to Adolf Eichmann (convicted in absentia for crimes against humanity) born in Nádkút, Austria-Hungary (d. c. 2010)
  • 1913 Hubertus Ernst, Dutch Roman Catholic bishop of Breda, born in Breda, Netherlands (d. 2017)
  • 1914 John Cameron, Jamaican cricketer (brother of Jimmy WI v-capt 1939 England tour), born in Kingston, Jamaica (d. 2000)
  • 1914 María Félix, Mexican actress (Doña Bárbara), born in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico (d. 2002)

Betty Ford

1918 Betty [Bloomer] Ford, US 1st lady (1974-77) and founder of the Betty Ford Center clinic, born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2011)

  • 1918 Glendon Swarthout, American novelist (Where The Boys Are; The Shootist), born in Pickney, Massachusetts (d. 1992)
  • 1918 Lenore Engdahl, American classical pianist, and educator (Boston University School of Music, 1972–83), born in Minneapolis, Minnesota (d. 2018)
  • 1919 [Douglas] Ian Smith, premier of Rhodesia (1964-79), born in Selukwe, Rhodesia (d. 2007)
  • 1920 Carmen McRae, American jazz singer and pianist ("Dream of Life"), born in New York City (d. 1994)
  • 1920 Erik Pausin, Austrian figure skating pairs (Olympic silver 1936)
  • 1921 Jan Novák, Czech classical composer, born in Nová Říše, Morovia (d. 1984)
  • 1923 Edward Mulhare, Irish actor (Knight Rider), born in Cork, Ireland (d. 1997)
  • 1923 Franco Corelli, Italian tenor (Carmen), born in Ancona, Italy (d. 2003)
  • 1923 George Fisher, American cartoonist (d. 2003)
  • 1924 Frédéric Back, German-born Canadian short film director and screenwriter
  • 1924 Anthony Farrar-Hockley, English army officer (NATO Commander) and historian, born in Coventry, England (d. 2006)
  • 1925 Shecky Greene [Fred Greenfield], American comedian and actor (Love Machine; Combat), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1926 Henry N. Cobb, American architect (Pei Cobb Freed & Partners), born in Boston, Massachusetts (d. 2020)
  • 1926 Jürgen Moltmann, German Reformed theologian, born in Hamburg, Germany
  • 1927 Oliver "Ollie" Mitchell, American musician and bandleader (The Wrecking Crew), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2013)
  • 1928 Eric Porter, British actor (Antony & Cleopatra; The 39 Steps), born in London, England (d. 1995)
  • 1928 Mary Zeldenrust-Noordanus, Dutch CEO (NVSH - Dutch Association for Sexual Reform), born in The Hague, Netherlands (d. 1984)
  • 1928 Leah Rabin (nee Schloßberg), wife of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, born in Königsberg, Germany (now Kaliningrad, Russia) (d. 2000)
  • 1928 Fred Ebb, American musical theater lyricist, with John Kander (Cabaret; Chicago; New York, New York; Funny Lady), born in New York City (d. 2004)
  • 1929 Jacques Brel, Belgian singer, songwriter, actor, director and composer (Le Far West, Pain in the A--), born in Schaerbeek, Brussels (d. 1978)
  • 1929 Renzo de Felice, Italian historian of Fascism, born in Rieti, Italy (d. 1996)
  • 1929 WIlliam K. Everson, English American film historian, born in Yeovil, England (d. 1996)
  • 1929 Walter Berry, Austrian singer, ex-husband of Christa Ludwig
  • 1929 Eiji Kitamura, Japanese jazz clarinetist, born in Tokyo, Japan
  • 1930 Dorothy Tutin, British actress (Importance of Being Earnest; Cromwell), born in London, England (d. 2001)
  • 1930 John Reardon, American stage actor and operatic baritone (Metropolitan Opera, 1965-77), born in NYC, New York (d. 1988)
  • 1930 Julien Van Remoortere [Piet Mortelman], Flemish writer (Fist), born in Beveren, Belgium (d. 2018)
  • 1930 Mary Moore, English principal (St Hilda's College, Oxford) (d. 2017)
  • 1930 Carlos Hugo of Bourbon-Parma, Duke of Parma
  • 1931 John Gavin [Juan Vincent Apablasa Jr], American actor (Imitation of Life, Psycho), and US Ambassador to Mexico (1981–86), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2018)
  • 1933 Jaroslav Smolka, Czech composer
  • 1934 Kisho Kurokawa, Japanese architect (d. 2007)
  • 1935 Albert G. Bustamante, American politician (Rep-D-TX, 1985-93), born in Asherton, Texas
  • 1935 Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, epidemiologist (Living legacy award-1984)
  • 1936 Klaus Lowitsch, German actor (Despair, Marriage of Marla Braun), born in Berlin, Germany
  • 1937 Tony Clegg, English property trader (Montleigh), born in Littleborough, England (d. 1995)
  • 1937 Seymour Hersh, award-winning investigative reporter (NY Times)
  • 1938 Barton Keith McLean, American composer, born in Poughkeepsie, New York
  • 1938 Lory Patrick, American actress (Trina-Tales of Welles Fargo), born in Beckley West Virginia
  • 1938 Mohammad Farooq, Pakistani cricket fast bowler (7 Tests, 21 wickets; Karachi), born in Junagadh, India

Kofi Annan

1938 Kofi Annan, Ghanaian diplomat and 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997-2006), born in Comassie, Gold Coast (d. 2018)

  • 1940 John Havlicek, American basketball Hall of Fame guard (8-time NBA champion-Boston Celtics; 13-time NBA All Star), born in Martin's Ferry, Ohio (d. 2019)
  • 1941 Peggy Lennon, American singer (Lennon Sisters), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1941 Vivienne Westwood [Dame], English fashion designer, born in Tintwistle, England
  • 1941 Murray Khouri, New Zealand classical clarinet player (Australia Ensemble), writer, and broadcaster, born in Wellington, New Zealand (d. 2018)
  • 1942 Douglas Trumbull, American film director (Silent Running, Brainstorm), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1942 Eduard Visser, Dutch writer (Fyffes are now called Chiquita)
  • 1942 Roger Chapman, British progressive rock vocalist (Family - "In My Own Time"), born in Leicester, England
  • 1943 Carol Lavell, American equestrian dressage (Olympic bronze 1992, 96), born in Newport, Rhode Island
  • 1943 Michael Bennett, American theater director and choreographer (Chorus Line), born in Buffalo, New York (d. 1987)
  • 1943 Robby Weaver, American actor (Stone), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1943 Tony Banks, English politician (Labour), born in Belfast (d. 2006)
  • 1943 William Garth Morrison, British Chief scout of UK and Overseas territories (d. 2013)
  • 1943 James Herbert, English horror writer (The Rats), born in London, England (d. 2013)
  • 1944 Christoph Hein, German writer and translator, born in Heinzendorf, Germany
  • 1944 Hywel Bennett, Welsh, actor (Family Way, Shelley), born in Garnant, Wales (d. 2017)
  • 1944 Santiago Jiménez Jr, American folk and Tejano accordionist (El Mero Mero, Viva Seguin), born in Texas
  • 1944 Odd Nerdrum, Norwegian painter
  • 1945 Derrick Walker, Scottish auto racing team owner (President of operations and competition of IndyCar), born in Leven, Scotland
  • 1946 Jim "Catfish" Hunter, American Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher (MLB All-Star 1966, 67, 70, 72–1976; World Series 1972–74, 77, 78; AL Cy Young Award 1974; Oakland A's, NY Yankees), born in Hertford, North Carolina (d. 1999)
  • 1946 Stuart Pankin, American comedian (Striptease, Congo, Earl-Dinosaurs), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1946 Tim Thomerson, American actor (Trancers), born in Coronado, California
  • 1947 Cindy Pickett, American actress (Guiding Light, St Elsewhere), born in Norman, Oklahoma
  • 1947 Hsiao-hsien Hou, Taiwanese director (Cheerful Wind, City of Sadness, The Puppetmaster), born in Mei County, China

Steve Howe

1947 Steve Howe, English progressive rock guitarist (Yes - "Roundabout"; Asia - "Heat Of The Moment"), born in London, England

  • 1947 Tom DeLay, American politician (Rep-R-Texas, 1985-2006), born in Laredo, Texas
  • 1947 Robert Kiyosaki, American investor (Rich Dad Company), born in Hilo, Hawaii
  • 1947 Larry Norman, American musician and pioneer of Christian rock music (Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?), born in Corpus Christi, Texas (d. 2008)

Robert Allen Litchfield

1948 Robert A. Litchfield, American bank robber who was on the FBI most wanted list in the 1980s

  • 1948 Michael Leshner, Canadian lawyer and gay rights advocate
  • 1949 Jim Lampley, American broadcaster (Monday Night Baseball), born in Hendersonville, North Carolina
  • 1950 Grzegorz Lato, Polish footballer and manager, born in Malbork, Poland
  • 1950 Carmen Twillie, American session singer (The Lion King - "Circle of Life"; Celene Dion; Pink Floyd), born in Playa del Rey, California
  • 1951 Mel Schacher, American bassist (Grand Funk Railroad - "Some Kind of Wonderful"'; "We're An American Band"), born in Owosso, Michigan
  • 1951 Phil Schaap, American Grammy Award-winning jazz historian, DJ, author and educator, born in Queens, New York City (d. 2021)
  • 1952 Adam Woods, British rock drummer (The Fixx - "One Thing Leads To Another"; "Saved By Zero")
  • 1954 Gary Carter, American Baseball Hall of Fame catcher (11 × MLB All-Star; World Series 1986; Gold Glove Award 1980–82; Montreal Expos, NY Mets), born in Culver City, California (d. 2012)
  • 1954 G.V. Loganathan, American professor (d. 2007)
  • 1954 George Mesterhazy, Hungarian-American jazz pianist, and arranger, born in Hungary (d. 2012)
  • 1955 John Campbell, Canadian harness racing driver (6 x Hambletonian Stakes; 3 x Yonkers Trot; 8 x Kentucky Futurity), born in Ailsa Craig, Ontario
  • 1955 Kane Hodder, American actor and stuntman (Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th franchise), born in Auburn, California
  • 1955 Barbara Kingsolver, American novelist (The Poisonwood Bible), born in Annapolis, Maryland
  • 1955 David Wu, Taiwanese-born American politician (Rep-D-Ore 1999-2011), born in Hsinchu, Taiwan
  • 1956 Christine Boisson, French actress, born in Salon-de-Provence, France
  • 1956 Jim Piddock, English actor, writer and producer (Best in Show), born in Rochester, England
  • 1956 Justin Sullivan, British rock singer-songwriter (New Model Army), born in Jordans, Buckinghamshire, England
  • 1957 Fred Smerlas, American football player, born in Waltham, Massachusetts
  • 1959 Franklyn Stephenson, Barbados born cricketer (great all-rounder), born in Saint James, Barbados
  • 1960 John Schneider, American actor (Dukes of Hazzard), born in Mt Kisco, New York
  • 1961 Richard Hatch, American reality television personality (Survivor), born in Newport, Rhode Island
  • 1962 Izzy Stradlin [Jeff Isabelle], American guitarist (Guns & Roses), born in Lafayette, Indiana
  • 1962 Adam Mole, British guitarist (Pop Will Eat Itself - "Get The Girl! Kill The Baddies!"), born in England
  • 1963 Alec Stewart, English cricketer (son of Micky, opening batter, occasional wicket keeper), born in Merton Park, England
  • 1963 Erica Terwillegar, American lugist, born in Nelsonville, New Jersey
  • 1963 Julian Lennon, English singer-songwriter ("Too Late for Goodbyes"), philanthropist (The White Feather Foundation), photographer, and son of John, born in Liverpool, England
  • 1963 Terry Porter, American basketball point guard and coach (Portland Trail Blazers; Minnesota Timberwolves; NBA All Star 1991, 93), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1963 Seth Tobias, American financial commentator (d. 2007)
  • 1963 Donita Sparks, American singer, guitarist, and songwriter (L7), and podcaster (The Hi-Low Show), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1964 Biz Markie [Marcel Hall], American rapper, DJ and record producer ("Just A Friend"), born in New York City (d. 2021)
  • 1964 Lisa Guerrero, American sports broadcaster, journalist and model, born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1964 John McGinlay, Scottish footballer (Bolton Wanderers), born in Inverness, Scotland

Robin Wright

1966 Robin Wright, American actress (Princess Bride, House of Cards), born in Dallas, Texas

  • 1966 Mazinho, Brazilian footballer (1994 FIFA World Cup) and manager, born in Santa Rita, Brazil
  • 1966 Bobby Ologun, Nigerian television personality
  • 1966 Mark Blundell, British auto racer (24 Hours of Le Mans 1992), born in London, England
  • 1967 Kenneth Benjamin, West Indian cricketer, born in St John's, Antigua
  • 1967 Arwyn Davies, Welsh actor
  • 1968 Patricia Arquette, American actress (Boyhood, True Romance), born in NYC, New York
  • 1968 Patricia Girard-Léno, French athlete (100m hurdles)
  • 1969 Steve Jackson, American NFL cornerback (Houston/Tennessee Oilers), born in Houston, Texas
  • 1970 Harold Bishop, NFL tight end (Cleveland Browns), born in Booneville, Mississippi
  • 1971 Craig Mazin, American scriptwriter and film director (Chernobyl), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1971 Christophe "Titou" Lamaison, French rugby footballer fly-half, 1996-2004, all-time leading points scorer for France, with 380 points, born in Dax, France