Famous Birthdays on December 23

Zenobia (c. 245-274 AD)

Queen of Palmyra, born in Palmyra, Syria

  • 1173 Louis I, Duke of Bavaria (d. 1231)

Jacques Cartier (1491-1557)

French explorer who claimed what is now Canada for France, born in St. Malo, Brittany [1]

  • 1513 Thomas Smith, English diplomat and scholar (d. 1577)
  • 1544 Anna, Duchess of Saxony, 2nd wife of prince William of Orange (1561-71 (divorced and imprisoned for adultery), born in Dresden (d. 1577)
  • 1548 Pieter C. Bockenberg, Dutch historian (Annales Hollandiae et Zeelandiae), born in Gouda (d. 1617)
  • 1582 Severo Bonini, Italian composer and monk, born in Florence (d. 1663)
  • 1597 Martin Opitz, German poet "Father of Modern German Poetry", born in Bunzlau, Silesia (d. 1639)
  • 1613 Carl Gustaf Wrangel, Swedish soldier (d. 1676)
  • 1621 Edmund Berry Godfrey, English magistrate (d. 1678)
  • 1621 Heneage Finch, 1st Earl of Nottingham, Lord Chancellor of England (d. 1682)
  • 1644 Tomas de Torrejon y Velasco, Spanish composer, born in Villarrobledo, Spain (d. 1728)
  • 1689 Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, French Baroque composer, one of the 1st to work without patrons, born in Thionville, France (d. 1755)
  • 1699 Joseph Gibbs, English composer and organist, born in Colchester (d. 1788)
  • 1709 Jean-Noel Hamal, Belgian composer, born in Liège, Belgium (d. 1778)
  • 1714 Johann Siebenkas, German composer, born in Free Imperial City of Nuremberg, Holy Roman Empire (now Germany) (d. 1781)
  • 1716 Johann Heinrich Rolle, German composer, born in Quedlinburg (d. 1785)
  • 1722 Axel Fredrik Cronstedt, Swedish Chemist who discovered nickel and tungsten, born in Turinge, Sweden (d. 1765)

Richard Arkwright (1732-1792)

English industrialist and inventor (created the spinning frame, built Cromford Mill), born in Preston, England

  • 1743 Ippolit Bogdanovich, Russian author and poet (Dushenka), born in Perevolochna, Cossack Hetmanate (d. 1803)
  • 1749 Johann Lukas Schubaur, German composer, baptized in Lechfeld (d. 1815)
  • 1750 Frederik Augustus I of Saxony (1806-27) last Elector of Saxony, (d. 1827)
  • 1758 Nathan Wilson, U.S. Representative from New York, born in Bolton, Massachusetts (d. 1834)
  • 1763 John Davy, English composer, born at Creedy Bridge, Devon (d. 1824)

Alexander I (1777-1825)

Tsar of Russia (1801-25), born in Saint Petersburg, Russia

  • 1780 Charles-Louis Panckoucke, French publisher and editor (Bibliothèque latine-française) (d. 1844)
  • 1790 Jean-Francois Champollion, French scolar who deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics with Rosetta Stone, born in Figeac, France (d. 1832)
  • 1795 Philippe Vandermaelen, Flemish cartographer (Atlas Universel de Geographie) and globe maker, born in Brussels, Belgium (d. 1869)
  • 1800 Marco Aurelio Zani de Ferranti, Italian classical guitarist and composer, born in Bologna, Cisalpine Republic (now Italy) (d. 1878)
  • 1804 Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve, French critic and writer (Informal Talk), born in Boulogne, France (d. 1869)

Joseph Smith (1805-1844)

American founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, born in Sharon, Vermont

  • 1808 Thomas Turner, American Commander (Union Navy), (d. 1883)
  • 1812 Samuel Smiles, Scottish writer and reformer (Self-Help, Character, Duty), born in Berwickshire, Scotland (d. 1904)
  • 1812 William Hauser, American composer and minister, born in Bethania, North Carolina (d. 1880)
  • 1815 Henry Highland Garnet, American minister, abolitionist and diplomat, born in Maryland (d. 1882)
  • 1818 David Addison Weisiger, Brigadier General (Confederate Army), (d. 1899)
  • 1819 Jan Jakob Lodewijk ten Kate, Dutch poet and clergyman (d. 1889)
  • 1822 Wilhelm Bauer, German engineer (built the Brandtaucher an incendiary submarine), born in Dillingen, Bavaria (d. 1875)
  • 1823 Alexandru Flechtenmacher, Romanian composer, born in Iaşi, Romania (d. 1898)
  • 1827 Wilhelm Freiherr von Tegetthoff, Austrian admiral (Helgoland/Lissa), born in Marburg, Styria, Austrian Empire (d. 1871)
  • 1828 Mathilde Wesendonk, German writer and poet (Tagebuchblatter) whom composer Richard Wagner was infatuated with, born in Elberfeld (d. 1902)
  • 1830 Adam Minchejmer, Polish composer and conductor, born in Warsaw (d. 1904)
  • 1843 Richard Conner, American Civil War Medal of Honor Recipient (d. 1924)
  • 1845 Gustave Ador, Swiss politician and 36th President of the Swiss Confederation (1919), born in Cologny, Geneva, Switzerland (d. 1928)
  • 1854 Henry B. Guppy, British botanist who studied in the Pacific, born in Falmouth, England (d. 1926)
  • 1855 Alan Gray, British composer (Trinity College), born in York (d. 1935)
  • 1858 Vladimir Nemirovitch-Dantshenko, Russian playwright (Life in Russian Theater), born in Shemokmedi, Georgia (d. 1943)
  • 1860 Harriet Monroe, American poet (You & I, A Poet's Life) and editor of Poetry magazine, born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1936)
  • 1862 Henri Pirenne, Belgian historian (History of Belgium) (d. 1935)
  • 1864 Zorka of Montenegro, Princess of Serbia (d. 1890)

Madam C. J. Walker (1867-1919)

African American entrepreneur (First American self-made female millionaire, Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company), born in Delta, Louisiana

  • 1869 Hugh Allen, British organist, conductor (Bach Choir; Leeds Festival), and educator (Oxford, 1918-46-; Royal College of Music, 1918-37), born in Reading, Berkshire, England (d. 1946)
  • 1878 Stephen Timoshenko, Ukrainian-born mechanical engineer (d. 1972)
  • 1883 Hubert Pierlot, Belgian advocate and politician, Prime Minister of Belgium (1939-45), born in Cugnon, Belgium (d. 1963)
  • 1885 Pierre Brissaud, French artist (d. 1964)
  • 1886 Albert Ehrenstein, Austrian writer and poet (Message from the Madhouse), born in Ottakring, Vienna (d. 1950)
  • 1887 Eric Blore, British stage and screen actor (The Lone Wolf; Bowery to Baghdad; Abie's Irish Rose; Love Happy), born in Finchley, Middlesex, England (d. 1959)
  • 1887 John Cromwell, American actor and director (Spitfire, Of Human Bondage), born in Toledo, Ohio (d. 1979)
  • 1888 Friedrich Wolf, German writer and diplomat, born in Neuwied, Germany (d. 1953)

Cy Denneny (1891-1970)

Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame left wing (NHL leading scorer 1923-24), born in Farran's Point, Ontario

  • 1893 Ann O'Neal [Patsy Ann Epperson], American actress (Professional Father), born in St. Louis, Missouri (d. 1971)
  • 1894 Arthur Gilligan, English cricketer (England captain in 1920's), born in London, England (d. 1976)
  • 1896 Alberto Hemsi, Turkish composer (Sephardic Melodies), born in Turgutlu, Ottoman Empire (d. 1975)
  • 1896 Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Sicilian prince and writer (The Leopard), born in Palermo, Sicily (d. 1957)
  • 1897 Julien Carette, French actor (Sylvia & the Phantom), born in Paris, France (d. 1966)
  • 1900 Otto Soglow, American comics artist (d. 1975)
  • 1902 Charan Singh, Indian politician, 5th Prime Minister of India (1979-80), born in Noorpur District, British India (d. 1987)
  • 1902 Norman Maclean, American author (A River Runs Through It and Other Stories), born in Clarinda, Iowa, (d. 1990)
  • 1903 (Fredericka) "Fredi" Washington, American stage and screen actress (Black & Tan), writer, and civil rights activist, born in Savannah, Georgia (d. 1994)
  • 1903 Michael Kalatozov, Russian director and cinematographer (When the Cranes Fly), born in Tiflis, Russian Empire (d. 1973)
  • 1905 Árni Björnsson, Icelandic composer, born in Lóni, Iceland (d. 1995)
  • 1906 Ross Lee Finney, American composer (Landscapes Remembered), born in Wells, Minnesota (d. 1997)
  • 1907 Avraham Stern, Polish-born Zionist leader (d. 1942)
  • 1907 Don McNeill, American Radio and TV host (Don McNeill TV Club), born in Galena, Illinois (d. 1996)
  • 1907 Manuel Lopes, Cape Verdean writer and poet (d. 2005)
  • 1908 Yousuf Karsh, American Canadian portrait photographer (Life Magazine), born in Mardin, Ottoman Empire (d. 2002)
  • 1909 Barney Ross, American Welterweight Boxing Champ (1934), born in NYC, New York (d. 1967)
  • 1909 Don Cleverley, New Zealand cricketer (two Tests for NZ 1932 & 1946, took 0-130), born in Otago, New Zealand (d. 2004)
  • 1909 Maurice Denham, British actor (Mr Love, Damn the Defiant), born in Beckenham, England (d. 2002)
  • 1910 Kurt Meyer, German SS officer (d. 1961)
  • 1911 James Gregory, American actor (My Favorite Martian, Barney Miller), born in The Bronx, New York (d. 2002)
  • 1911 Niels Jerne, Danish immunologist (1984 Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology), born in London, England (d. 1994)
  • 1913 Hans Henkemans, Dutch composer and teacher, born in The Hague, Netherlands (d. 1995)
  • 1913 Leo Ketelaars, Dutch violinist and baritone oratorio vocalist, born in Maasniel, Netherlands (d. 1992)
  • 1914 Dezider Kardos, Slovak composer, born in Nadlice, Slovakia (d. 1991)
  • 1916 Dino Risi, Italian film director and screenwriter (Scent of a Woman), born in Milan, Italy (d. 2008)
  • 1918 Helmut Schmidt, German politician, Chancellor of West Germany (SPD, 1974- 82), born in Hamburg (d. 2015)
  • 1918 Jose Greco, Italian-American flamenco dancer (Holiday for Lovers), born in Montorio nei Frentani, Italy (d. 2000)
  • 1918 Kumar Pallana, Indian character actor and vaudevillian (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore), born in Indore, India (d. 2013)
  • 1919 Kenneth M. Taylor, American pilot (d. 2006)
  • 1919 Peggy Fortnum, British Illustrator (first to draw Paddington Bear), born in London (d. 2016)
  • 1921 Gerald S O'Loughlin, American actor and director (Storefront Lawyer, Rookies, Wheels), born in NYC, New York (d. 2015)
  • 1922 Ian Powell Bancroft, British senior civil servant, born in Barrow-in-Furness, England (d. 1996)
  • 1922 Micheline Ostermeyer, French athlete (Olympic gold shot put, discus; bronze high jump 1948), born in Rang-du-Fliers, Pas-de-Calais, France (d. 2001)
  • 1923 Günther Schifter, Austrian music journalist and radio host, born in Vienna, Austria (d. 2008)
  • 1923 James Stockdale, American admiral (Vietnam) andRoss Perot's 1992 running mate, born in Abingdon, Illinois (d. 2005)
  • 1923 Kenneth Lamb, English broadcaster, born in Croydon, England (d. 1995)
  • 1923 Leonard B. Stern, American television screenwriter (The Honeymooners; The Phil Silvers Show: Get Smart), and producer, born in NYC, New York (d. 2011)
  • 1923 Lucas Mangope, 1st president of Bophuthatswana (1977-94) (d. 2018)
  • 1923 Milt Okun, American music producer, conductor, and arranger (John Denver; Peter, Paul and Mary), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2016)
  • 1923 Onofre Marimón, Argentine racing driver, born in Zárate, Argentina (d. 1954)
  • 1923 Ruth Roman, American actress (Strangers on a Train, Knots Landing, Dallas), born in Boston, Massachusetts (d. 1999)
  • 1924 Floyd Kalber, American television journalist & anchorman (NBC Weekend News Anchor-1973), born in Omaha, Nebraska (d. 2004)
  • 1925 Harry Guardino, American actor (Monty Nash; Perry Mason; Hill Street Blues), born in NYC, New York (d. 1995)
  • 1925 Henry Charles Gordon, American engineer and astronaut (Dynasoar), born in Valparaiso, Indiana (d. 1996)
  • 1926 Raymond Daveluy, Canadian organist (St. Joseph's Montreal, 1960-2002), composer and educator, born in Victoriaville, Quebec (d. 2016)
  • 1926 Robert Bly, American poet & essayist (Loving a Woman in 2 Worlds), born in Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota
  • 1926 Ron Gowans, Australian jazz saxophonist, born in Sydney (d. 2009)
  • 1927 (Cornelius) "Pinocchio" James, American jazz and R&B singer (Lionel Hampton Revue), born in Macon, Georgia
  • 1927 Charlie Williams MBE, English soccer defender (Doncaster Rovers 151 games) and comedian, born in Royston, England (d. 2006)
  • 1927 Joseph Castaldo, American composer, born in NYC, New York (d. 2000)
  • 1928 (Murrey) "Buddy" Harman, American country music session drummer (Grand Ole Opry; Elvis Presley; Patsy Cline; Brenda Lee; Ween), born in Nashville, Tennessee (d. 2008)
  • 1928 Chronis Aidonidis, Greek folk and traditional music singer, born in Karoti, Greece
  • 1929 Charles R. Bentley, American pioneer of polar science, born in Rochester, New York (d. 2017)

Chet Baker (1929-1988)

American jazz trumpeter and vocalist ("My Funny Valentine"), born in Yale, Oklahoma

  • 1929 Dick Weber, American ten-pin bowling pro (16x 300 games), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 2005)
  • 1930 Barbara Ruick, American actress (Carousel; Fearless Fagan), and singer (Jerry Colonna Show), born in Pasadena, California (d. 1974)
  • 1931 Ronnie Schell, American comedian (Gomer Pyle, Good Morning World), born in Richmond, California
  • 1932 Tertius Metcalf, English businessman, born in Essex, England (d. 1996)

Akihito (89 years old)

1933 Emperor of Japan (1989-2019), born in Tokyo, Japan

  • 1934 Claudio Scimone, Italian conductor (I Solisti Veneti), born in Padua (d. 2018)
  • 1935 Esther Phillips [Jones], American R&B singer ("What A Diff'rence A Day Makes"), born in Galveston, Texas (d. 1984)
  • 1935 Paul Hornung, American College Football Hall of Fame halfback (Heisman Trophy 1956, Notre Dame; Pro Bowl 1959, 60, Green Bay Packers), born in Louisville, Kentucky
  • 1936 Bobby Ross, NFL coach (San Diego Chargers), born in Richmond, Virginia
  • 1936 Claude Albert Coppens, Belgian pianist, born in Schaerbeek, Belgium
  • 1936 Frederic Forrest, American character actor (The Rose; Apocalypse Now; Lonesome Dove; One from the Heart), born in Waxahachie, Texas (d. 2023) [1]
  • 1936 James Stacy [Maurice William Elias], American actor (Lancer), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2016)
  • 1936 Willie Wood, American Pro Football Hall of Fame safety (Pro Bowl 1962, 64–70; Super Bowl 1967, 68; Green Bay Packers), born in Washington, D.C. (d. 2020)
  • 1937 Karol Joseph Bobko, American Col USAF/astronaut (STS 6, STS 51D, STS 51J), born in NYC, New York
  • 1938 Bob Kahn, American internet pioneer, born in Brooklyn, New York City
  • 1939 Johnny Kidd [Frederick Heath], British rock singer-songwriter (Johnny Kidd & Pirates - "Shakin' All Over"), born in London, England (d. 1966)
  • 1940 Eugene Record, American musician (Chi Lites - "Give It Away"; "Have You Seen Her"), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2005)
  • 1940 Jorma Kaukonen, American rock guitarist (Jefferson Airplane; Hot Tuna), born in Washington, D.C.
  • 1940 Robert Labine, French Canadian politician, born in Québec, Canada
  • 1941 Serge Reding, Belgian weightlifter, born in Auderghem, Belgium (d. 1975)
  • 1941 Tim Hardin, American singer ("If I Were A Carpenter"; "Black Sheep Boy"; "Reason to Believe"), born in Eugene, Oregon (d. 1980)
  • 1942 Friedrich Schenker, composer, born in Zeulenroda, Germany (d. 2013)
  • 1942 Jerry Koosman, American pitcher (NY Mets), born in Appleton, Minnesota
  • 1943 Derek Small, British fictional heavy metal bassist (Spinal Tap), born in Nilford-on-Null, West Midlands, England
  • 1943 Elizabeth Hartman, American actress (A Patch of Blue, Beguilled), born in Youngstown, Ohio (d. 1987)
  • 1943 Harry Shearer, American screenwriter, actor (SNL, 1975-85; The Simpsons; This Is Spinal Tap), radio host (Le Show), and musician, born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1943 Mikhail Gromov, Russian-born mathematician, born in Boksitogorsk, Russia
  • 1943 Roelof den Ambtman, Dutch actor and director (One Evening at Eva), born in Maurik, Netherlands
  • 1943 Ross Edwards, Australian composer (Dawn Mantras), born in Sydney, Australia
  • 1943 Silvia Sommerlath, German wife of King Carl XVI of Sweden, born in Heidelberg, Germany
  • 1943 Stephen Wallace, Australian director (For Love Affair, Hunger, Mail Order Bride), born in New South Wales, Australia
  • 1944 Wesley Clark, American military officer, born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1945 Donald A. Ritchie, American Historian Emeritus of the United States Senate, born in NYC, New York
  • 1945 Georges Aperghis, Greek composer, born in Athens, Greece
  • 1945 Richard Wohlhuter, 800m runner (Olympic bronze 1976), born in St. Charles, Illinois
  • 1945 Ron Bushy, American rock drummer (Iron Butterfly - “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”), born in Washington, D.C. (d. 2021)
  • 1946 Edita Gruberova, Slovak operatic soprano, born in Bratislava, Slovakia (d. 2021)
  • 1946 John Sullivan, English television scriptwriter, born in Balham, London (d. 2011)

Susan Lucci (76 years old)

1946 American actress (All My Children, Mafia Princess), born in Scarsdale, New York

  • 1946 Tony Craig [Kulasa], American actor (That Boy Next Door), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Bill Rodgers (75 years old)

1947 American athlete (Boston Marathon 1975, 78, 79, 80; NY Marathon 1976, 77, 78, 79; Fukuoka Marathon 1977), born in Hartford, Connecticut

  • 1948 Jack Ham, American football player (Steelers), born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania
  • 1948 Leslie Moonves, American television executive (CEO and Chairman of CBS), born in New York City
  • 1949 Luther Grosvenor, English rock musician (Spooky Tooth), born in Evesham, United Kingdom
  • 1949 Wally Edwards, Australian cricket batsman (3 Tests; West Australia CA), born in Perth, Australia
  • 1949 [Steven] Adrian Belew, American new wave and progressive rock singer and guitarist (Frank Zappa; David Bowie; King Crimson, 1981-2009; The Bears), born in Covington, Kentucky
  • 1950 Ilchi Lee, South Korean educator and author, born in Cheonan, South Korea
  • 1950 Michael C. Burgess, American politician, born in Rochester, Minnesota
  • 1951 Anthony Phillips, English guitarist (Genesis, 1967-70), born in London, England
  • 1951 Doug Stegmeyer, American rock bassist (Billy Joel Band, 1976-87), born in Flushing, Queens, New York (d. 1995)
  • 1951 Johnny Contardo, American doo-wop singer (Sha Na Na, 1971-83), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1952 Hans Abrahamsen, Danish classical music composer (Let Me Tell You; Left, Alone; Schnee), born in Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
  • 1952 William Kristol, American political commentator, born in NYC, New York
  • 1953 Belinda Lang [Lange], British stage and screen actress (Second Thoughts -"Liza"; 2point4 Children -"Bill"), born in Marleybone, England
  • 1953 Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, born in Madrid, Spain
  • 1953 John Callahan, American actor (Craig-Santa Barbara, Falcon Crest), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1953 Tatsumi Fujinami, Japanese wrestler (WWF/NWA), born in Kunisaki, Ōita Prefecture, Japan
  • 1954 Brian Teacher, American tennis player (Australian Open 1980), born in San Diego, California
  • 1955 Carol Ann Duffy, Scottish poet (British Poet Laureate 2009-19), born in Glasgow, Scotland
  • 1956 Dave Murray, English heavy metal guitarist and songwriter (Iron Maiden), born in London, England
  • 1956 Michele Alboretto, Italian racing driver (Ferrari), born in Milan, Italy
  • 1957 Dan Bigras, Canadian rock singer, born in Montreal, Quebec
  • 1957 Trisha Goddard, English television presenter & actress, born in London, United Kingdom
  • 1958 Joan Severance, American actress (Hear No Evil, See No Evil), born in Houston, Texas
  • 1958 Paula-Mae Weekes, Trinidadian politician and jurist (1st female President of Trinidad and Tobago 2018-), born in Port of Spain, Trinidad
  • 1958 Victoria Williams, American folk-rock-country singer (Loose), born in Shreveport, Louisiana
  • 1959 Geoff Willis, British engineer, born in Southampton, United Kingdom
  • 1960 William Sinnot, Scottish techno-dance pop singer and musician (Shamen - "Move Any Mountain"), born in Glasgow (d. 1990)
  • 1960 [Zindziswa] Zindzi Mandela, South African politician, born in Johannesburg, South Africa (d. 2020)
  • 1961 Carol Smillie, British television personality, born in Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • 1962 Bertrand Gachot, French racing driver, born in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
  • 1962 Jerry Reynolds, NBA guard/forward (Milwaukee Bucks), born in French Lick, Indiana
  • 1962 Kang Je-gyu, South Korean film director, born in Masan, South Korea
  • 1962 Sonny Emory, American session and touring drummer (Earth, Wind & Fire, 1987-99), and music professor, born in Atlanta, Georgia
  • 1963 Carol Peterka, American team handball back court (Olympics 1992, 96), born in Little Falls, Minnesota
  • 1963 Donna Tartt, American writer (The Secret History, The Goldfinch), born in Greenwood, Mississippi
  • 1963 Jim Harbaugh, NFL quarterback (Pro Bowl 1995; Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts) and coach (Stanford 2007–10; SF 49ers 2011–14; Michigan (2015–20), born in Toledo, Ohio
  • 1963 Keiji Muto, Japanese wrestler (NWA/WWC/NJPW), born in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan
  • 1964 Andy Gabel, American short track skater (Olympics 1994), born in Chicago, Illinois

Eddie Vedder (58 years old)

1964 American rock singer (Pearl Jam - Ten; "Jeremy"), born in Evanston, Illinois

  • 1964 Petr Klíma, Czech NHL right wing, 1985-99 (Detroit Red Wings; Edmonton Oilers, and 3 other teams), born in Chomutov, Czech Republic (d. 2023)
  • 1966 Hans van Arum, Dutch soccer player (Vitesse, Willem II), born in Amersfoort, Netherlands
  • 1966 Stephen Layton, English conductor and music director (Trinity College Cambridge, 2006-23; City of London Sinfonia, 2010-16), born in Derby, England
  • 1967 Carla Bruni, Italian-French model and singer-songwriter, born in Turin, Italy
  • 1967 Lamar Lathon, American football linebacker (Carolina Panthers), born in Wharton, Texas