On This Day

Famous Birthdays on August 17

  • 1473 Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, son of King Edward IV, one of the princes in the tower who disappeared (d. 1483?)
  • 1578 Francesco Albani, Italian painter (d. 1660)
  • 1586 Johann V Andreae, German vicar and writer (Christenburg)
  • 1607 Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician who needed wider margins (Fermat's Last Theorem) [or 1608], born in Beaumont-de-Lomagne, France (d. 1665)
  • 1629 King John [Jan] III Sobieski of Poland. Victor over the Turks in 1683 (d. 1696)
  • 1686 Nicola Antonio Porpora, Italian composer and singing teacher, born in Naples (d. 1768)
  • 1720 Charles-Dominique-Joseph Eisen, French engraver and painter (Contes de La Fontaine), born in Valenciennes, France (d. 1778)
  • 1753 Josef Dobrovský, Czech linguist (d. 1828)
  • 1768 Louis Charles Antoine Desaix, French general (d. 1800)
  • 1775 Philippe Libon, Spanish composer, born in Cadiz, Spain (d. 1838)
  • 1779 Franz de Paula Roser, Austrian composer and conductor, born in Naarn, Upper Austra (d. 1830)

Person of interestDavy Crockett

1786 Davy Crockett, American frontiersman, adventurer and politician, born in Greene County, Tennessee (d. 1836)

Frontiersman/Soldier Davy Crockett
Frontiersman/Soldier
Davy Crockett
  • 1786 Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, mother of Queen Victoria, born in Coburg, Holy Roman Empire (d. 1861)
  • 1794 Prince Alexander of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst, German priest (d. 1849)
  • 1811 Johannes H Scholten, Dutch theologist (Free Will)
  • 1817 Joseph baron Kervyn de Lettenhove, Belgian Internal minister (1870-71)

  • 1819 James Henry Van Alen, American Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Kinderhook, New York (d. 1886)
  • 1828 George William Warren, American composer and organist, born in Albany, New York (d. 1902)
  • 1828 Jules Bernard Luys, French neurologist (d. 1897)
  • 1834 Peter Benoit, Flemish composer and conductor (Leie/Rubens Cantata), born in Harelbeke, Flanders (d. 1901)
  • 1838 Laura de Force Gordon, California lawyer, a prominent suffragette, and 1st woman to run a daily newspaper in the US (Stockton Daily Leader, 1874), born in North East, Pennsylvania (d. 1907)
  • 1839 Hubert Platt Main, composer
  • 1839 Thijs [Matthijs] Maris, Dutch painter/etcher
  • 1840 Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, England, writer (Irish Land League)
  • 1841 Luis NF Varela, Brazilian romantic poet

Person of interestMenelik II

1844 Menelik II, Emperor of Ethiopia (1889-1913) and Negus/King of Shewa (1866–89), born in Angolalla, Ethiopia (d. 1913)

Emperor of Ethiopia Menelik II
Emperor of Ethiopia
Menelik II
  • 1851 Henry Drummond, Scottish geologist and evangelist
  • 1856 Violet Paget [Vernon Lee], British author (Satan the master)
  • 1863 Gene Stratton-Porter, American author and naturalist (d. 1924)
  • 1866 Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, 6th Nizam of Hyderabad (d. 1911)
  • 1866 Julia Marlowe [Sarah Frances Frost], English-American Shakespearean actress, born in Cumberland, England (d. 1950)
  • 1870 Frederick F. Russell, American army physician, developed 1st successful typhoid fever vaccine, born in Auburn, New York (d. 1960)
  • 1873 John A. Sampson, American gynecologist (d. 1946)
  • 1876 Eric Drummond, British politician and diplomat, 1st Secretary-General of League of Nations (1919-33), born in Fulford, England (d. 1951)
  • 1876 Henri Winkelman, Dutch general, Commander-in-Chief of Dutch Armed Forces during WWII, born in Maastricht, Netherlands (d. 1952)
  • 1878 Reggie Duff, Australian cricket batsman (23 Tests; 104 on debut), born in Sydney, Australia (d. 1911)

  • 1880 Leo Ascher, Austrian-born composer who moved to the US, born in Vienna (d. 1942)
  • 1880 Percy Sherwell, South African cricketer (great South African batsman-keeper-captain), born in Isipingo, Natal (d. 1948)

Person of interestSamuel Goldwyn

1882 Samuel Goldwyn [Shmuel Gelbfisz], Jewish Polish American movie producer (MGM), born in Warsaw, Poland (d. 1974)

Hollywood Mogul Samuel Goldwyn
Hollywood Mogul
Samuel Goldwyn
  • 1885 Clara [G Meijer-] Wichmann, German anarchist and feminist (Wife & society), born in Hamburg, Germany (d. 1922)
  • 1885 Kurt Hiller, German writer, born in Berlin (d. 1972)
  • 1887 Charles I, last emperor of Austria-Hungary (1916-18)

Person of interestMarcus Garvey

1887 Marcus Garvey, Jamaican-born black nationalist who began the back-to-Africa movement among US African Americans, born in Saint Ann's Bay, Jamaica (d. 1940)

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey
Black Nationalist
Marcus Garvey
  • 1888 Monty Wooley, American actor (Pied Piper, The Man Who Came to Dinner), born in NYC, New York (d. 1963)
  • 1890 Harry Hopkins, US politician, Secretary of Commerce under FDR (Loan & Lease law), born in Sioux City, Iowa (d. 1946)
  • 1890 Stefan Bastyr, Polish aviator (d. 1920)

Person of interestMae West

1893 Mae West, American actress and singer (She Done him Wrong), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 1980)

Actress Mae West
Actress
Mae West
  • 1894 Erik A Blomberg, Swedish art historian, poet and author (Jorden), born in Stockholm, Sweden (d. 1965)
  • 1894 Johan Polet, Dutch sculptor
  • 1896 Henry P de Vries, Dutch painter/poet (Laws of the Americas)

Person of interestLeslie Groves

1896 Leslie Groves, American army engineer who directed the Manhattan Project and construction of the Pentagon, born in Albany, New York (d. 1970)

US Army Engineer and WWII General Leslie Groves
US Army Engineer and WWII General
Leslie Groves
  • 1898 Gerard Schmook, Flemish librarian/historian/custodian
  • 1900 Quincy Howe, American newscaster (CBS Weekend News), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1903 Abram Chasins, American composer, born in New York City (d. 1987)
  • 1904 Leopold Nowak, Austrian musicologist (d. 1991)
  • 1904 Mary Cain, American newspaper editor and politician (d. 1984)
  • 1905 John Hay Whitney, American diplomat and publisher (NY Herald Tribune 1961-67), born in Ellsworth, Maine (d. 1982)
  • 1906 Hazel Bishop, American chemist and cosmetics manufacturer, born in Hoboken, New Jersey (d. 1998)
  • 1906 Marcello Caetano, last Portuguese prime minister of the Estado Novo regime (1968-1974), born in Graça, Lisbon, Portugal (d. 1980)
  • 1907 Marian Viktorovich Koval, Russian composer, born in Pristan Voznesenya, Olonets district, Russian Empire (d. 1971)
  • 1907 Roger Peyrefitte, French writer (Special Friendships), born in Castres, Tarn (d. 2000)
  • 1908 Kurt Hessenberg, German composer, born in Frankfurt, Germany (d.1994)
  • 1909 Larry Clinton, American trumpeter and bandleader (d. 1985)
  • 1910 Erkki Aaltonen, Finnish composer, born in Hämeenlinna, Finland (d. 1990)
  • 1910 Johan Manusama, Moluccan politician, born in Banjarmasin, Indonesia (d. 1995)
  • 1911 Frederik de Merode, Belgian prince (d. 1958)
  • 1911 Jan Lode Cantens, Flemish dramatist (God's Murderer)
  • 1912 Edgar Fernhout, Dutch painter, son of Charley Toorop
  • 1913 Mark Felt, American FBI official and Watergate secret informant known as "Deep Throat", born in Twin Falls, Idaho (d. 2008)
  • 1913 Rudy York, American baseball player (Detroit Tigers), born in Ragland, Alabama (d. 1970)
  • 1913 Oscar Alfredo Gálvez, Argentine racing driver (d. 1989)
  • 1914 Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr, son of FDR/(Rep-D-NY, 1949-55)
  • 1917 Safa Khulusi, Iraqi writer and historian, born in Baghdad (d. 1995)
  • 1918 Mort Marshall [Mortimer Haig Lichtenstein], American actor (Kiss Me Deadly, Dumplings), born in NYC, New York (d. 1979)
  • 1918 Ike Quebec, American tenor-saxophone player, born in Newark. New Jersey (d. 1963)
  • 1920 Georgia Gibbs, singer (Ballin the Jack, Kiss of Fire), born in Worcester, Massachusetts
  • 1920 Maureen O'Hara [FitzSimons], Irish actress and singer (Miracle on 34th St, The Quiet Man), Ranelagh, County Dublin (d. 2015)
  • 1921 Geoffery Elton, German born British historiographer, born in Tübingen, Germany (d. 1994)
  • 1922 Paul Wiens, German writer, born in Königsberg, East Prussia (d. 1982)
  • 1922 Roy Tattersall, English cricketer (brilliant England off-spinner early 50's), born in Bolton, England (d. 2011)
  • 1923 Anton Kersjes, Dutch violinist and conductor (Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra) (d. 2004)
  • 1923 Larry Rivers [Grossberg], American painter (Wash crossing Delaware-1953), born in NYC, New York
  • 1923 Chaleo Yoovidhya, Thai co-creator of Red Bull energy drink, born in Phichit, Thailand (d. 2012)
  • 1924 Helen Wallis, English cartographer and librarian (British Museum), born in Barnet, England (d. 1995)
  • 1924 John A Emmens, Dutch art historian and poet (Kunst & Vliegwerk) (d. 1971)
  • 1924 Laurence Deniz, Welsh jazz guitarist, born in Cardiff, Wales
  • 1924 Evan Connell, American author (The Patriot), born in Kansas City, Missouri (d. 2013)
  • 1925 John Hawkes, American writer (2nd Skin), born in Stamford, Connecticut (d. 1998)
  • 1925 John Howard Purnell, Welsh chemist (Royal Society of Chemistry), born in Rhondda, South Wales (d. 1996)
  • 1926 Hakon Barfod, Norwegian sailor (Olympic gold 1948, 52), born in Oslo, Norway (d. 2013)
  • 1926 Jean Poiret [Jean-Gustave Poiré], French actor, director, and screenwriter (La Cage Aux Folles), born in Paris, France (d. 1992)

Person of interestJiang Zemin

1926 Jiang Zemin, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (1989-2002) and President of the People's Republic of China (1993-2003), born in Yangzhou, Jiangsu

Paramount Leader of China Jiang Zemin
Paramount Leader of China
Jiang Zemin
  • 1926 George Melly, English jazz and blues singer, born in Liverpool, England (d. 2007)
  • 1927 Bernard Cornfeld, Romanian American financier (Fund of Funds), born in Istanbul, Turkey (d. 1995)
  • 1927 Robert Moore, American director and actor (Murder by Death, Marshall-Diana), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 1984)
  • 1928 T.J. [Thomas Jefferson] Anderson, American composer, born in Coatesville, Pennsylvania
  • 1928 Willem Duys, Dutch radio/TV host
  • 1929 Francis Gary Powers, American spy captured by the USSR after his U-2 spy was shot plane in 1959, born in Jenkins, Kentucky (d. 1977)
  • 1930 James Gerald Gulliver, Scottish businessman (Argyll Foods), born in Campbeltown, Scotland (d. 1996)

Person of interestTed Hughes

1930 Ted Hughes, English Poet and translator (British Poet Laureate 1984-98), born in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire (d. 1998)

Person of interestV. S. Naipaul

1932 V.S. Naipaul, British novelist (Middle Passage), born in Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago (d. 2018)

Novelist V. S. Naipaul
Novelist
V. S. Naipaul
  • 1933 Glenn Corbett [Glen Edwin Rothenburg], American actor (Route 66, Shenandoah), born in El Monte, California (d. 1993)
  • 1933 Eugene F. Kranz, American NASA Flight Director (Gemini and Apollo programs)
  • 1933 Mark Dinning, American pop singer (Teen Angel), born in Manchester, Oklahoma (d. 1986)
  • 1933 Kenny Sears, American NBA player (NY Knicks), born in Watsonville, California (d. 2017)
  • 1933 Boyd Grant, American college basketball coach (PCAA Coach of the Year 1978, 81, 82; Fresno State, Colorado State), born in American Falls, Idaho (d. 2020)
  • 1935 Oleg Tabakov, Soviet-Russian actor and artistic director (Moscow Art Theatre), born in Saratov, Russian SFSR (d. 2018)
  • 1936 Ivan Parik, Czech composer, born in Bratislava
  • 1936 Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Native American musician and actor and activist, born on Lake Traverse Indian Reservation, South Dakota (d. 2007)
  • 1938 Abu Bakar Bashir, Indonesian Muslim cleric, born in Jombang, Dutch East Indies
  • 1938 Theodoros Pangalos, Greek politician, born in Eleusis, Greece
  • 1939 Luther Allison, American rock guitarist (Bad News is Coming), born in Mayflower Arkansas
  • 1939 Anthony Valentine, British actor (Colditz), born in Blackburn, Lancashire (d. 2015)
  • 1940 David Price, American politician, (Rep-D-North Carolina 1987-95, 1997-), born in Erwin, Tennessee
  • 1940 Thomas Williams, American ice hockey player (Olympic gold 1960)
  • 1941 Boog Powell, American baseball player (AL MVP 1970), born in Lakeland, Florida
  • 1941 Ibrahim Babangida, Nigerian Head of State (1985–1993), born in Northern Region, British Nigeria
  • 1942 John Tyrrell, British musicologist (Leoš Janáček; The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians), born in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe) (d. 2018)
  • 1943 Edward Cowie, English composer, born in Birmingham, England
  • 1943 Koos Postema, Dutch editor-in-chief (Vrije Volk) and TV host

Person of interestRobert De Niro

1943 Robert De Niro, American actor (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull), born in NYC, New York


  • 1943 Yukio Kasaya, Japanese ski jumper (Olympic gold 1972), born in Yoichi, Japan
  • 1943 Dave "Snaker" Ray, American musician (d. 2002)

Person of interestLarry Ellison

1944 Larry Ellison, American businessman (billionaire founder of Oracle Corporation), born in Manhattan, New York

Entrepreneur and Founder of Oracle Larry Ellison
Entrepreneur and Founder of Oracle
Larry Ellison
  • 1945 Katri-Helena, Finnish singer, born in Tuupovaara, Finland
  • 1946 Hans Vandenburg, Dutch singer/guitarist (Gruppo Sportivo)
  • 1946 Patrick Manning, Trinidad and Tobago politician, Prime Minister (1991-95, 2001-10), born in San Fernando (d. 2016)
  • 1947 Gary Talley, American rock guitarist (Box Tops), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1947 Francine Hughes Wilson, American domestic abuse victim "The Burning Bed" who changed pubic perceptions, born in Stockbridge, Michigan (d. 2017)
  • 1948 Bo Rucker, American actor (Superman, Soup for One, Lock Up), born in Tampa, Florida
  • 1948 Rod MacDonald, American singer-songwriter, born in Southington, Connecticut
  • 1949 Sib Hashian, American rock drummer (Boston), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1949 Norm Coleman, American politician (Senator(R)-Minnesota 2003-09), born in New York City
  • 1951 Alan Minter, English boxer (world middleweight champion 1980), born in Crawley, England (d. 2020)
  • 1951 Robert Joy, Canadian actor (Big Shots, CSI), born in Montreal, Quebec

Person of interestGuillermo Vilas

1952 Guillermo Vilas, Argentine tennis player (4-time Grand Slam winner), born in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Tennis Player and Four-Time Major Champion Guillermo Vilas
Tennis Player and Four-Time Major Champion
Guillermo Vilas
  • 1952 Kathryn C. Thornton, American astronaut (STS 33, 49, 61, 73), born in Montgomery, Alabama
  • 1952 Nelson Piquet, Brazilian auto racer, 3-time Formula One champ (1981, '83, '87), born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 1952 Thomas J Hennen, American astronaut (STS 44), born in Albany, Georgia
  • 1952 Dr. Mario Theissen, German F1 team principal (BMW Sauber)
  • 1953 Kevin Rowlands, British rock vocalist (Dexy's Midnight Runners-Come on Eileen), born in Wednesfield, England
  • 1953 Robert Thirsk, Canadian, astronaut (STS 78), born in New Westminster, British Columbia
  • 1953 Judith Regan, American book publisher, born in Massachusetts
  • 1954 Eric Johnson, American guitarist, born in Austin, Texas
  • 1955 Colin Moulding, English pop guitarist (XTC), born in Swindon, England
  • 1955 Kevin Welch, American country songwriter/actor (Thing Called Love), born in Long Beach, California
  • 1955 Richard Hilton, American heir, father of Paris and Nicky Hilton, born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1956 Gail Berman, American film executive, born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1956 Álvaro Pino, Spanish cyclist, born in Ponteareas, Spain
  • 1957 Robin Cousins, British figure skater (Olympic gold 1980), born in Bristol, England
  • 1958 Belinda Carlisle, American singer (Go-Gos, Heaven on Earth), born in Hollywood, California

  • 1959 David Koresh, American cult leader (Branch Davidians sect), born in Houston, Texas (d. 1993)
  • 1959 Jonathan Franzen, American author (The Corrections), born in Western Springs, Illinois
  • 1960 Bruce Penhall, American actor (Savage Beach), born in Balboa, California

Person of interestSean Penn

1960 Sean Penn, American actor (Mystic River, Milk), born in Santa Monica, California

Actor and Political Activist Sean Penn
Actor and Political Activist
Sean Penn
  • 1960 Stephan Eicher, Swiss singer, born in Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland
  • 1960 Johnny Bumphus, American boxer (WBA super lightweight title 1984), born in Tacoma, Washington (d. 2020)
  • 1961 Jamie Macoun, Canadian NHL defenceman (Toronto Maple Leafs), born in Newmarket, Ontario
  • 1962 Gilby Clarke, American guitarist (Guns n' Roses), born in Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1962 Buddy Landel 'Nature Boy', American professional wrestler, born in Knoxville, Tennessee (d. 2015)
  • 1963 S. Shankar, Indian film director (Gentleman, Indian, Jeans), born in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, India
  • 1963 Jon Gruden, American NFL coach (Super Bowl 2002, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Oakland Raiders) and broadcaster (ESPN), born in Sandusky, Ohio
  • 1964 Colin James, Canadian singer-songwriter, born in Regina, Saskatchewan
  • 1965 Dottie Mochrie Pepper, American golfer (ANA Inspiration 1992, 99), born in Saratoga Springs, New York
  • 1965 Fred Grim, Dutch soccer player (Cambuur L, Ajax), born in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 1965 Glen Goldsmith, English singer-songwriter (What You See is What You Get), High Wycombe, England
  • 1965 Steve Gorman, American rock drummer (Black Crowes), born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky
  • 1966 Cedric Figaro, American football linebacker (Amsterdam Admirals), born in Lafayette, Louisiana
  • 1966 Zefross Moss, American NFL tackle (Detroit Lions, NE Patriots), born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • 1966 Maysa Leak, American Jazz Singer, born in Baltimore, Maryland
  • 1966 Rodney Mullen, American professional skateboarder, born in Gainesville, Florida
  • 1966 Don Sweeney, Canadian ice hockey player, born in St. Stephen, New Brunswick
  • 1967 Kenny Davidson, NFL defensive end (Houston Oilers), born in Shrevesport, Louisiana
  • 1967 Nelson Emerson, Canadian NHL right wing (Hartford Whalers), born in Hamilton, Ontario
  • 1967 Kevin Max, American singer (dc talk), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 1968 Ed McCaffrey, NFL wide receiver (Denver Broncos-Super Bowl 32), born in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania
  • 1968 Helen McCrory, English actress (The Queen), born in London, England
  • 1969 Christian Laettner, American NBA forward/center (Atlanta Hawks, Olympic gold 1992), born in Angola, New York
  • 1969 Donald E Wahlberg Jr, American rocker (New Kids-Hangin' Tough), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1969 Ed Cunningham, NFL center (Arizona Cardinals) and sports announcer, born in Washington, D.C.
  • 1969 Maria Strandlund, Swedish tennis star (1987 Futures NOR), born in Akersberga Sweden

  • 1970 Bernard Wilson, American NFL defensive tackle (Arizona Cardinals), born in Nasville, Tennessee
  • 1970 Jim Courier, American tennis player, analyst (4-time Grand Slam singles winner), born in Sanford, Florida
  • 1970 Øyvind Leonhardsen, Norwegian footballer, born in Kristiansund, Norway
  • 1970 Rupert Degas, English actor and voice artist, born in London, England
  • 1971 Uhm Jung-hwa, South Korean singer and actress
  • 1971 Jorge Posada, Puerto Rican baseball catcher (5-time MLB All Star and Silver Slugger Award; NY Yankees), born in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • 1971 Shaun Rehn, Australian Rules footballer, born in Arno Bay, Australia
  • 1972 Habibul Bashar, Bangladeshi cricketer (Captain of national side), born in Nagakanda, Bangladesh
  • 1973 A J Wood, American soccer forward (Olympic gold 1996), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 1974 Tony Hajjar, Lebanese-American musician (At the Drive-In, Sparta), born in Beirut, Lebanon
  • 1974 Nicola Kraus, American novelist, born in New York City
  • 1975 İlhan Mansız, German born Turkish footballer and ice skater, born in Kempten, West Germany
  • 1975 Giuliana DePandi, Italian-born American television personality
  • 1977 Jake Patellis, American actor (Paul Bowman-Good Life), born in Santa Clarita, California
  • 1977 William Gallas, French footballer, born in Asnières-sur-Seine, France
  • 1977 Nathan Deakes, Australian race walker (2006 world record), born in Geelong, Australia
  • 1977 Thierry Henry, French footballer and manager (Arsenal), born in Les Ulis, France
  • 1977 Tarja Turunen, Finnish singer, born in Kitee, Finland
  • 1978 Vibeke Stene, Norwegian singer (Tristania), born in Sokndal, Norway