On This Day

Famous Birthdays on December 31

  • 695 Muhammad bin Qasim, Umayyad general, born in Ta'if, Saudi Arabia (d. 715)
  • 1378 Pope Callixtus III [Alfonso de Borgia], head of the Catholic Church & ruler of the Papal States (1455-58), born in Kingdom of Valencia (d. 1458)

Jacques Cartier

1491 Jacques Cartier, French explorer who claimed what is now Canada for France, born in St. Malo, Brittany (d. 1557)

Andreas Vesalius

1514 Andreas Vesalius [Andries van Wesel], Flemish physician and anatomist (De humani corporis fabrica), born in Brussels, Belgium (d. 1564)

  • 1540 Silvio Antoniano, Italian cardinal/theologist (Tre libri)
  • 1572 Emperor Go-Yozei of Japan, (d. 1617)
  • 1573 Giulio Cesare Monteverdi, Italian composer (Giulio Cesare in Egitto), born in Italy (d. 1630 or 31)
  • 1668 Hermannus Boerhaave, Dutch botanist & physician, born in Voorhout, Netherlands (d. 1738)
  • 1714 Yoriyuki Arima, Japanese mathematician (approximated the value of pi and its square, pi^2), born in Kurume, Kyūshū, Japan (d. 1783)

Bonnie Prince Charlie

1720 Bonnie Prince Charlie [Charles Edward Stuart], English pretender to throne (Jacobite rebellion), born in Palazzo Muti, Rome, Papal States (d. 1788)

  • 1724 Franz Joseph Oehlschlagel, Czech organist & composer, born in Lahošť, Czech Republic (d. 1788)

Charles Cornwallis

1738 Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis, British general and colonial administrator (leading British general in the American War of Independence), born in London (d. 1805)

  • 1741 Isabella Maria of Parma, wife of future Holy Roman emperor, born in Madrid, Spain (d. 1763)
  • 1763 Pierre-Charles Villeneuve, French admiral, born in Valensole, France (d. 1806)
  • 1776 Johann Spurzheim, German physician, born in Trier, Electorate of Trier, Germany (d. 1832)
  • 1799 Thomas Taglichsbeck, German violinist & composer, born in Ansbach, Germany (d. 1867)
  • 1805 Marie d'Agoult (Daniel Stern), French author (Knife), born in Frankfurt, Germany (d. 1876)
  • 1815 George Gordon Meade, Spanish-American Major General (Union Army), born in Cádiz, Spain (d. 1872)
  • 1818 Maria Gartmann, Dutch actress, born in The Hague, Netherlands (d. 1885)
  • 1825 Francis Trowbridge Sherman, American Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Newtown, Connecticut (d. 1905)
  • 1826 Henry Hiles, English composer, born in Shrewsbury (d. 1904)
  • 1830 Isma'il Pasha, Khedive of Egypt (1863-79), born in Cairo, Egypt (d. 1895)
  • 1838 Emile Loubet, French politician (President 1899-1906), born in Marsanne, France (d. 1929)
  • 1846 Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis, vicar/Dutch anarchist (Right for all)
  • 1846 Richard Kleinmichel, Russian composer, born in Poznań, Poland (d. 1901)
  • 1855 Giovanni Pascoli, Italian classicist & poet, born in San Mauro Pascoli, Italy (d. 1912)
  • 1857 King Kelly, American baseball player, born in Troy, New York (d. 1894)
  • 1859 Max Fiedler, German conductor and composer, born in Zittau, Saxony, (d. 1939)
  • 1860 Joseph S. Cullinan, American oil industrialist, born in Pennsylvania, United States (d. 1937)
  • 1863 Alfredo Panzini, Italian author (Dizionario Moderno), born in Senigallia, Italy (d. 1939)
  • 1864 Robert G Aitken, American astronomer (Binary Stars), born in Jackson, California (d. 1951)

Henri Matisse

1869 Henri Matisse, French impressionist painter (Odalisque), born in Le Cateau-Cambresis, France (d. 1954)

  • 1870 Tom Connolly, American Baseball HOF umpire (AL-record 8 x World Series), born in Manchester, England (d. 1961)
  • 1874 Ernest Austin, English composer, born in Poplar, London (d. 1947)
  • 1877 Lawrence Beesley, English journalist and author, born in Wirksworth, United Kingdom (d. 1967)
  • 1878 Horacio Quiroga, Uruguayan playwright, poet, and short story writer (Anaconda, El Crimen del Otro), born in Salto, Uruguay (d. 1937)
  • 1878 Elizabeth Arden, Canadian businesswoman, born in Woodbridge, Ontario (d. 1966)

George Marshall

1880 George Marshall, US Secretary of State (1947-49) who authored the Marshall Plan (Nobel 1953), born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania (d. 1959)

  • 1880 Fred Beebe, American baseball player, born in Lincoln, Nebraska (d. 1957)
  • 1881 Colin G Fink, American chemist (electro chemistry), born in Hoboken, New Jersey
  • 1881 Jacob Israël de Haan, Dutch poet/writer (Pipelines, Jewish Song), born in Holland, Netherlands (d. 1924)
  • 1881 Max Pechstein, German "entartet" painter and graphic artist (The Bridge), born in Zwickau, Germany (d. 1955)
  • 1882 Ben A. Jones, American horse trainer (US Champion trainer by earnings 1941, 43, 44, 52; Kentucky Derby x 6 including Citation, Whirlaway), born in Parnell, Missouri (d. 1961)
  • 1882 David Cohen, Dutch historian and chairman of the Jewish Council, born in Deventer, Holland (d. 1967)
  • 1884 Bobby Byrne, American baseball player, born in St. Louis, Missouri (d. 1964)
  • 1885 Princess Victoria Adelaide of Schleswig-Holstein, born in Province of Schleswig-Holstein (d. 1970)
  • 1892 Jason Robards Sr, American actor (Acapulco, Isle of the Dead), born in Hillsdale, Michigan (d. 1963)
  • 1893 Jimmy Blanckenberg, South African cricket medium pace bowler (18 Tests, 60 wickets; Western Province), born in Cape Town, South Africa (d. 1955)
  • 1893 Jimmy Blanckenberg, South African cricketer (60 wkts in 18 Tests for South Africa), born in Cape Town, South Africa (d. 1955)
  • 1893 Max Lamberty, Flemish sociologist & author (Flemish Resurrection), born in Saint-Gilles, Brussels (d. 1975)
  • 1894 Ernest John Moeran, English composer, born in London Borough of Hounslow, United Kingdom (d. 1950)
  • 1896 Ronald Adam, British actor (Lost Horizon, The Prisoner of Zenda, Phantom Shot), born in Herefordshire, England (d. 1958)
  • 1897 Rhys Williams, Welsh actor (How Green Was My Valley, Nightmare, Okinawa, Cross My Heart), born in Clydach, Swansea, Wales (d. 1969)
  • 1899 Gaston Glass, American-French actor & producer, born in Paris, France (d. 1965)
  • 1899 Silvestre Revueltas, Mexican composer (Sensemaya), born in Santiago Papasquiaro, Mexico (d. 1940)
  • 1902 Lionel Daunais, Quebec singer and composer, born in Montreal, Quebec (d. 1982)
  • 1904 Chuck Gardiner, Canadian NHL goalie (Vezina winner), born in Edinburgh, United Kingdom (d. 1934)
  • 1904 Nathan Milstein, Ukrainian-American concert violinist (Philadelphia Orch 1942), born in Odessa, Ukraine
  • 1905 Guy Mollet, Prime Minister of France (1956-57), born in Flers, France (d. 1975)
  • 1905 Jule Styne, English songwriter & composer (1954 Acad Award, 1968 Tony), born in London, United Kingdom (d. 1994)
  • 1905 Tadeusz Breza, Polish writer (The Bronze Gate), born in Sekežintsõ, Ostrog (d. 1970)
  • 1906 Erna Bogen-Bogáti, Hungarian foils (Olympic bronze 1932), born in Jaroslaw, Poland (d. 2002)
  • 1908 Marko Rothmuller, Croatian composer, born in Slavonski Brod, Croatia (d. 1993)
  • 1908 Simon Wiesenthal, Jewish-Austrian holocaust survivor & Nazi hunter (Wiesenthal Center), born in Buchach, Ukraine (d. 2005)
  • 1908 John Kirby [Kirk], American jazz double-bassist and tuba player (Benny Goodman; "Undecided"), born in Winchester, Virginia (d. 1952)
  • 1910 Richard "Dick" Kollmar, American actor (Broadway Spotlight, Guess What), born in Rigewood, New Jersey (d. 1971)
  • 1910 Roy Rowland, American film director, born in NYC, New York (d. 1995)
  • 1911 Dal Stivens, Australian novelist, born in Blayney, Australia (d. 1997)
  • 1912 John Frost, British airborne officer, born in Pune, India (d. 1993)
  • 1914 Pat Brady [Robert Ellsworth O'Brady], American actor (The Roy Rogers Show, Man from Music Mountain), born in Toledo, Ohio (d. 1972)
  • 1916 Suzy Delair, French actress and singer (The Murderer Lives at Number 21, Utopia, White Paws), born in Paris, France (d. 2020)
  • 1917 Joan McCracken, American actress, dancer and comedian (Claudie Story of a Marriage), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1961)
  • 1919 Tommy Byrne, American baseball player, born in Baltimore, Maryland (d. 2007)
  • 1919 Artur Fischer, German inventor with more patents than Edison, born in Tumlingen, Baden-Württemberg (d. 2016)
  • 1919 Recy Taylor, American sexual assault victim, born in Abbeville, Alabama (d. 2017)
  • 1920 Rex Allen, American actor and singer-songwriter known as the "the Arizona Cowboy" (Dr Baxter-Frontier Doctor), born in Willcox, Arizona (d. 1999)
  • 1921 Lynn Compton, American jurist (Sirhan Sirhan prosecutor) and commissioned officer (Easy Company, 101st Airborne), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2012)
  • 1924 Victoria Draves, American platform/springboard diver (Olympic gold 1948)
  • 1924 Taylor Mead, American writer, actor and performer (Factory, Taylor Mead's Ass), born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan (d. 2013)
  • 1925 Jaap Schröder, Dutch violinist, conductor, musicologist, and pedagogue ( Academy of Ancient Music), born in Amsterdam (d. 2020)
  • 1927 Dieter Noll, German writer (Die Abenteuer des Werner Holt), born in Riesa, Saxony (d. 2008)
  • 1928 Hugh McElhenny, American NFL halfback (SF, Minnesota, Giants, Detroit), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1928 Ross Barbour, American singer (4 Freshmen), born in Columbus, Indiana (d. 2011)
  • 1928 Veijo Meri, Finnish writer, born in Viipuri (d. 2015)
  • 1928 Siné [Maurice Sinet], French cartoonist, born in Paris, France (d. 2016)
  • 1928 Amarillo Slim [Thomas Preston], American hall of fame professional poker player (1971 World Series main event), born in Amarillo, Texas (d. 2012)
  • 1929 Mies Bouman, Dutch television presenter (Open the Village), born in Amsterdam, Netherlands (d. 2018)
  • 1929 Peter May, English cricketer (dashing batsman of 50's), born in Reading (d. 1994)
  • 1929 Sidney Greenbaum, British scholar, born in London, United Kingdom (d. 1996)
  • 1930 Odetta [Holmes], American folk singer (Sanctuary), actress and civil rights activist, born in Birmingham, Alabama (d. 2008)
  • 1931 Bob Shaw, Northern Irish sci-fi author (Light of Other Days, The Ragged Astronauts), born in Belfast, Northern Ireland (d. 1996)
  • 1931 Gil Mellé, American jazz saxophonist and composer, born in New York City (d. 2004)
  • 1932 George Schlatter, American television producer & director (Laugh-in), born in Birmingham, Alabama
  • 1933 Edward Bunker, American author & actor, born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2005)
  • 1933 Chryssa [Vardea-Mavromichali], Greek-American artist, born in Athens, Greece (d. 2013)
  • 1933 Fred F. Carter Jr., American country session guitarist, singer, producer and composer (Nashville's "A-Team"), born in Winnsboro, Louisiana (d. 2010)
  • 1934 Akram Awan, Islamic scholar & spiritual leader, born in Chakwal, Pakistan (d. 2017)
  • 1935 Peter Allan, Australian cricketer (1 Test Australia v England 1965, 2-58 & 0-25), born in Brisbane, Australia
  • 1935 Rolf Haufs, German writer, born in Düsseldorf (d. 2013)
  • 1936 Jerry Sturm, American football tackle (AFL All-Star 1964, 66; Denver Broncos, NO Saints), born in English, Indiana (d. 2020)

Anthony Hopkins

1937 Anthony Hopkins, Welsh actor (Elephant Man, QB VII, Magic, Bounty), born in Port Talbot, Glamorgan, Wales

  • 1937 Nicolas Born, German writer, born in Duisburg (d. 1979)
  • 1937 Avram Hershko, Hungarian-born Israeli biochemist and Nobel laureate in Chemistry, born in Karcag, Hungary
  • 1938 Atje Keulen-Deelstra, Dutch speed skater (world champ, born in Grou, Netherlands (d. 2013)
  • 1938 Henricus G Wijmans, Dutch graphic artist
  • 1938 Rosalind Cash, American actress (Omega Man, Wrong is Right), born in Atlantic City, New Jersey (d. 1995)
  • 1939 Afaq Hussain, Pakistani cricketer (Pakistani off-spinner in 2 Tests 1961-64), born in Lucknow, India (d. 2002)
  • 1939 Willye White, American athlete (Olympic silver long jump 1956, 4x100m relay 1964; Sports Illustrated 100 greatest women athletes of 20th century), born in Money, Mississippi (d. 2007)
  • 1939 Hugh Lewin, South African anti-apartheid activist and writer (Bandiet: Seven Years in a South African Prison), born in Lydenburg, South Africa (d. 2019)
  • 1940 Tim Considine, American actor (Mike-My 3 Sons), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1940 Oleg Anatolyevich Yakovlev, Russian cosmonaut, born in Leningrad
  • 1940 Mani Neumeier, German musician (Guru Guru), born in Munich, Germany
  • 1940 Bobby Notkoff, American rock and blues violinist (Crazy Horse; The Rockets), born in New York City (d. 2018) [1]
  • 1941 Milkha Singh, Indian cricketer (brother of Kripal Singh India batsman in 4 Tests), born in Madras, India (d. 2017)
  • 1941 Sarah Miles, English actress (Ryan's Hope, Big Sleep, Venom), born in Essex
  • 1941 Sir Alex Ferguson, Scottish football manager, born in Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • 1942 Andy Summers, English rock guitarist (Police-Roxanne), born in Blackpool, Lancashire
  • 1943 Pete Quaife, English rock bassist (The Kinks), born in Tavistock, England (d. 2010)

Ben Kingsley

1943 Ben Kingsley, English actor (Gandhi, Betrayal), born in Scarborough, England

John Denver

1943 (Henry) John Denver [Deutschendorf], American pop songwriter ("Leaving On A Jet Plane"), country-pop singer ("Sunshine On My Shoulders"; "Calypso"; "Thank God I'm A Country Boy"), and actor (Oh, God!), born in Roswell, New Mexico (d. 1997)

  • 1944 Taylor Hackford, American director (Devil's Advocate, Ray), born in Santa Barbara, California
  • 1945 Claude Marks, FALN member (FBI most wanted), born in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 1945 Barbara Carrera, Nicaraguan actress (Angelica-Dallas), born in Bluefields, Nicaragua
  • 1946 Pius Ncube, Zimbabwean human rights advocate, born in Filabusi, Zimbabwe
  • 1946 Cliff Richey, American tennis player (Davis Cup 1969-70), born in San Angelo, Texas
  • 1947 Burton Cummings, Canadian rock singer-songwriter, and keyboardist (Guess Who - "These Eyes"), born in Winnipeg, Canada
  • 1947 Tim Matheson, American actor (Animal House, Fletch, Up the Creek), born in Glendale, California
  • 1947 Rita Lee [Jones], Brazilian rock singer, songwriter and musician (Os Mutantes), born in São Paulo, Brazil
  • 1947 June Tabor, British folk singer, born in Warwick, England

Donna Summer

1948 Donna Summer [LaDonna Gaines], American disco and pop singer-songwriter ("Love to Love You, Baby"; "On the Radio"; "Last Dance"), born in Boston, Massachusetts (d. 2012)

  • 1948 Joe Dallesandro, American actor (Heat, Trash, AW Frankenstein), born in Pensacola, Florida
  • 1948 Viktor Mikhailovich Afanasieyv, Russian cosmonaut (Soyuz TM-11, TM-18)
  • 1948 René Robert, Canadian ice hockey winger (NHL All Star 1972-73, 74-75; Buffalo Sabres 1st 100 point player 1974-75), born in Trois-Rivières, Quebec (d. 2021)
  • 1948 Stephen Cleobury, British organist and music director (King's College - Cambridge, 1982-2019), born in Bromley, England (d. 2019)
  • 1949 Ellen Datlow, American editor, born in NYC, New York
  • 1949 Susan Shwartz, American author, born in Youngstown, Ohio
  • 1949 Sara K. [Sara Katherine Wooldridge], American musician (Gypsy Alley), born in Dallas, Texas
  • 1950 Inge Helten, German sprinter (Olympic bronze 1976), born in Sinzig, Germany
  • 1950 Bob Gilder, American golfer (6 PGA tour titles), born in Corvallis, Oregon
  • 1951 Fermin Goytisolo, American musician (KC & Sunshine Band-Give It)
  • 1951 Michael Allen Bantom, American basketball player (Olympic silver 1972), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1951 Tom Hamilton, American rock bassist (Aerosmith - "Dream On"), born in Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • 1953 James Remar, American actor (48 Hours, Rent-a-Cop, Cotton Club), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1953 Jane Badler, American actress (Fine Gold, Easy Kill, V), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1953 Yahya Ould Hademine, Mauritanian politician & 13th Prime Minister of Mauritania (2014-present), born in Timbédra, French West Africa
  • 1953 Michael Hedges, American new age guitarist and composer, born in Sacramento, California (d. 1997)
  • 1954 Alex Salmond, Scottish politician (Scottish National Party) First Minister of Scotland (2007-14), born in Linlithgow, Scotland
  • 1954 Hermann Tilke, German racing circuit architect, born in Olpe, Germany
  • 1955 Dawood Ibrahim, Indian crime boss (D-Company), born in Khed, Ratnagiri, India
  • 1955 Michigan J. Frog, Warner Bros. cartoon character created by Chuck Jones (Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series), first debuts in "One Froggy Evening"
  • 1956 Martin Joseph Fettman, American researcher & astronaut (STS 58), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1956 Steve Rude, American comics artist, born in Madison, Wisconsin
  • 1958 Geoff Marsh, Australian cricket batsman (50 Tests, 4 x 100s; 117 ODIs, 9 x 100s), born in Northam, Australia
  • 1959 Bebe Neuwirth, American actress (Lilith in Cheers, Damn Yankees), born in Princeton, New Jersey
  • 1959 Paul Westerberg, American rock singer-songwriter and guitarist (The Replacements), born in Edina, Minnesota
  • 1959 Val Kilmer, American actor (Top Secret, Top Gun, Willow), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1959 Phill Kline, American politician, born in Kansas City, Kansas
  • 1959 Baron Waqa, Nauruan politician and musician, born in Boe District, Nauru
  • 1959 Alfie Anido, Filipino actor, born in Calamba, Laguna, Philippines (d. 1981)
  • 1960 Broderick Dyke, Australian tennis player, born in Gumeracha, Australia
  • 1961 Joanna Johnson, American actress (Caroline-Bold & Beautiful), born in Phoenix, Arizona
  • 1961 Rick Aguilera, American baseball pitcher (Minnesota Twins), born in San Gabriel, California
  • 1962 Don Diamont, American actor (Brad-Young & Restless), born in NYC, New York
  • 1962 Tyrone Corbin, American NBA forward (Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks), born in Columbia, South Carolina
  • 1962 Heather McCartney, American-British potter & artist, born in Tucson, Arizona
  • 1962 Jennifer Higdon, American classical music composer (2010 Pulitzer; 3 Grammy Awards) and educator (Curtis Institute of Music, 1994 - present), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1963 Ed Simmons, American NFL tackle (Washington Redskins), born in French Camp, California
  • 1963 Scott Ian, American heavy metal guitarist (Anthrax-I'm the Man), born in Queens, New York
  • 1963 Konishiki, Japanese-Samoan sumo wrestler, born in Honolulu, Hawaii
  • 1964 Denis Hickey, Australian cricketer (fast bowler for Vic, SA & Glamorgan), born in Mooroopna, Australia
  • 1964 Klari MacAskill, Canadian kayaker (Olympics-5-92, 96), born in Budapest, Hungary
  • 1964 Liz Masakayan, Filipino WPVA volleyball player (Best of Beach-3rd-1994), born in Quezon City, Philippines
  • 1964 Winston Benjamin, Antiguan cricketer (WI right armed fast bowler 1987-95), born in All Saints, Antigua and Barbuda
  • 1964 Michael McDonald, American actor-comedian, born in St. Louis, Missouri
  • 1964 Lowri Turner, British TV presenter, born in London, United Kingdom
  • 1965 Julie Doucet, Canadian underground cartoonist, born in Montreal, Quebec
  • 1965 Gong Li, Chinese actress (Farewell My Concubine), born in Shenyang, China
  • 1965 Nicholas Sparks, American author (The Notebook), born in Omaha, Nebraska
  • 1966 Paula Barbieri, American model & actress (Dangerous), born in Panama City, Florida
  • 1967 Brad Daluiso, American NFL placekicker (NY Giants), born in San Diego, California
  • 1968 Gerry Dee, Canadian comedian & actor, born in Scarborough, Canada
  • 1969 Dominik Diamond, Scottish presenter & newspaper columnist, born in Arbroath, United Kingdom
  • 1969 David Rawlings, American guitarist and singer, works with Gillian Welch (All the Good Times), born in North Smithfield, Rhode Island
  • 1970 Bryon Russell, American NBA forward (Utah Jazz), born in San Bernardino, California
  • 1970 Dunstan Anderson, NFL defensive end (Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Rhein Fire), born in Fort Worth, Texas
  • 1970 Michel Brunet, Canadian ice dancer (1996 Canadians-2nd), born in Gatineau, Quebec
  • 1971 Brent Barry, American NBA guard (LA Clippers), born in Hempstead, New York
  • 1971 Erin Warren, American luger (Olympics 1994), born in Winchester Massachusetts
  • 1971 Heath Shuler, NFL quarterback (Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints), born in Bryson City, North Carolina
  • 1971 Ricardo López Felipe, Spanish footballer, born in Madrid, Spain
  • 1972 Joey McIntyre, American singer-songwriter (New Kids On The Block - "Lovin' You Forever"), born in Needham, Massachusetts
  • 1972 Kelvin Kinney, American football defensive end (Washington Redskins), born in Montgomery, West Virginia
  • 1972 Cole Ford, American football placekicker (Oakland Raiders), born in Tucson, Arizona
  • 1973 Curtis Myden, Canadian 200m/400m swimmer (Olympic 2 bronze-96), born in Calgary, Alberta
  • 1973 George Jones, American running back (Pittsburgh Steelers), born in Greenville, South Carolina
  • 1973 Malcolm Middleton, Scottish musician (Arab Strap), born in Dumfries, United Kingdom
  • 1974 Mario Aerts, Belgian cyclist, born in Herentals, Belgium
  • 1974 Tony Kanaan, Brazilian racing driver, born in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil