On This Day

Famous Birthdays on January 20

  • 225 Gordian III, Roman Emperor (d. 244)
  • 1292 Elisabeth I of Bohemia (d. 1330)
  • 1358 Eleanor of Aragon, wife of John I of Castile (d. 1382)
  • 1435 Ashikaga Yoshimasa, Japanese shogun (d. 1490)
  • 1554 King Sebastian of Portugal (d. 1578)
  • 1586 Johann Hermann Schein, German composer (Fontana d'Israel), born in Grünhain, Saxony (d. 1630)
  • 1622 Susanna van Baerle, Dutch poet/wife of Geeraert Burns
  • 1651 Edward Tyson, British Physician and father of comparative anatomy (The Anatomy of a Pygmy, 1698)
  • 1654 Michiel de Swaen, South Netherland physician/poet
  • 1664 Giovanni Vincenzo Gravina, Italian writer and jurist (d. 1718)
  • 1681 Francesco Bartolomeo Conti, Italian composer and mandolin player, born in Florence, Italy (d. 1732)
  • 1703 Joseph-Hector Fiocco, Flemish composer, born in Brussels (d. 1741)
  • 1716 Carlos III, King of Spain (1759-88) and King of Naples and Sicily (1734-59), born in Royal Alcazar of Madrid, Spain (d. 1788)
  • 1716 Jean-Jacques Barthélemy, French writer and numismatist (d. 1795)
  • 1732 Richard Henry Lee, American farmer (signed US Declaration of Independence), born in Westmoreland county, Virginia (d. 1794)
  • 1743 Pascal Boyer, French composer, born in Tarascon, Provence, France (d. 1794)
  • 1761 Giovanni Domenico Perotti, Italian composer, born in Vercelli (d. 1855)
  • 1762 Jerome-Joseph de Momigny, Belgian French composer, born in Philippeville, Belgium (d. 1842)
  • 1775 André-Marie Ampère, French physicist (d. 1836)
  • 1781 Joseph Hormayr Freiherr zu Hortenburg, Austrian politician (d. 1848)
  • 1782 Archduke John of Austria, Austrian general and Regent of Germany (1848), born in Florence (d. 1859)
  • 1783 Justus Johann Friedrich Dotzauer, German cellist and composer (d. 1860)
  • 1798 Anson Jones, 5th and last President of Texas, born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts (d. 1858)
  • 1804 Eugène Sue, French novelist (d. 1857)
  • 1806 Nathaniel Parker Willis, American writer, editor and founder of the American Monthly Magazine, born in Portland, Maine (d. 1867)
  • 1809 Sebastian de Iradier, Spanish-Basque composer (La Paloma), born in Lanciego, Álav, Spain (d. 1865)
  • 1812 Ralph Pomeroy Buckland, American Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Leyden, Massachusetts (d. 1892)
  • 1812 Thomas Meik, Scottish engineer (d. 1896)
  • 1813 Jacon Gartner Lauman, American Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Taneytown, Maryland (d. 1867)
  • 1820 Anne Clough, English suffragette, promoted higher education for women, first principal of New College, born in Liverpool, England (d. 1892)
  • 1831 Piet Joubert, South African general and vice-president, born in Prince Albert, British Cape Colony (d. 1900)
  • 1834 George D. Robinson, 34th Governor of Massachusetts (d. 1896)
  • 1837 David Josiah Brewer, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (d. 1910)
  • 1843 Pierre-Paul Cambon, French diplomat (Madrid, Constantinople, London)
  • 1844 Johan Peter Selmer, Norwegian composer, born in Christiania, Norway (d. 1910)
  • 1847 William R. Pettiford, African American minister and banker, founder of the Alabama Penny Savings Bank, born in Granville county, North Carolina (d. 1914)
  • 1855 Ernest Chausson, French Romantic composer (Poème; Solitude dance le bois), born in Paris, France (d. 1899)
  • 1865 Friedrich A H von Waldeck, brother of queen Emma/last ruler of Waldeck
  • 1866 Richard Le Gallienne, English writer (Maker of Gainborg)
  • 1867 Yvette Guilbert [Emma Laure Esther Guilbert], French singer and actress, born in Paris, France (d. 1944)
  • 1870 Guillaume Lekeu, Belgian composer (Épithalame), born in Heusy, Belguim (d. 1894)
  • 1873 Charles A Ellwood, American sociologist/psychologist
  • 1873 Johannes V Jensen, Danish novelist/poet (Energy Storage, Nobel 1944)
  • 1876 Józef Hofmann, Polish-American pianist, composer, educator (Curtis Institute, 1924-38), and inventor, born in Podgórze, Austro-Hungarian Galicia (now Poland) (d. 1957)
  • 1877 Ruth St. Denis, ballerina (Dances of the 5 Senses), born in Newark, New Jersey (d. 1968)
  • 1878 Finlay Currie, Scottish actor (Quo Vadis, Ivanhoe, Avengers), born in Edinburgh (d. 1968)
  • 1880 Walter W. Bacon, American politician (d. 1962)
  • 1883 Betram Home Ramsay, English admiral/Commander Allied Naval Forces
  • 1884 A[braham] Merritt, American sci-fi author (The Moon Pool, Burn Witch Bun), born in Beverly, New Jersey (d. 1943)

Lead Belly

1888 Lead Belly [Huddie William Ledbetter], American blues 12 string guitarist (Rock Island Line), born in Mooringsport, Louisiana (d. 1949)

  • 1889 Allan Haines Loughead, American aviation executive (d. 1969)
  • 1891 Mischa Elman, Russian-American concert violinist, born in Talnoye, Kiev Governorate, Russian Empire (now Talne, Ukraine (d. 1967)
  • 1893 Kaj Birket-Smith, Danish etnologist/anthropologist (Eskimos)
  • 1893 Georg Åberg, Swedish athlete (Olympic silver triple jump; bronze long jump 1912), born in Norrköping, Sweden (d. 1946)
  • 1894 Harold L Gray, creator (Little Orphan Annie)
  • 1894 Walter Hamor Piston, Jr., American two-time Pulitzer Prize winning composer (Incredible Flutist), music theorist, and educator (Harvard, 1926-60), born in Rockland, Maine (d. 1876)
  • 1895 Roscoe Ates, American actor (Freaks, Cimarron, Marshal of Gunsight Pass), born in Grange, Mississippi (d. 1962)
  • 1895 Eva Jessye, American singer, actress, songwriter (Hallelujah) and 1st black woman to receive international distinction as a choral conductor, born in Coffeyville, Kansas (d. 1992)
  • 1896 Elmer Diktonius, Finnish poet, composer, and musicologist (Janne Kubrik; Stenkol), born in Helsinki (d. 1961)
  • 1896 George Burns [Nathan Birnbaum], American actor, comedian and singer (Oh God; Burns and Allen), born in NYC, New York (d. 1996)
  • 1896 Rolfe Sedan, American actor (Young Frankenstein, Ninotchka, George Burns Show), born in NYC, New York (d. 1982)
  • 1896 Isabel Withers, American actress (Possessed, Lady of Burlesque), born in Frankton, Indiana (d. 1968)
  • 1898 U Razak, Burmese politician (d. 1947)
  • 1899 Kenjiro Takayanagi, Japanese engineer, born in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka (d. 1990)
  • 1900 Boris Semyonovich Shekhter, Russian composer, born in Moscow, Russia (d. 1961)
  • 1900 Doris Deane, American actress, born in Wisconsin (d. 1974)
  • 1900 Colin Clive, British actor (Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Mad Love), born in St Malo, France (d. 1937)
  • 1903 Leon Ames, American actor (Mister Ed, Father of the Bride), born in Portland, Indiana (d. 1993)
  • 1903 Sybil Marion Rosenfeld, English theatre historian, born in London, England (d. 1996)
  • 1904 Renato Caccioppoli, Italian mathematician, born in Campania, Italy (d. 1959)
  • 1904 Theodore Brameld, American philosopher & educator (Use of Explosive Ideas), born in Neillsville, Wisconsin (d. 1987)
  • 1907 Roy Welensky, Northern Rhodesian politician, born in Harare, Zimbabwe (d. 1991)
  • 1907 Paula Wessely, Austrian actress & producer (Masquerade), born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary (d. 2000)
  • 1908 Ian Peebles, English cricketer (Scottish leg-spinner, England 1927-31), born in Aberdeen, United Kingdom (d. 1980)
  • 1908 Wilfred Conwell Bain, American music educator, born in Shawville, Canada (d. 1997)
  • 1910 Abram Hill, African-American playwright & author (American Negro Theater), born in Atlanta, Georgia (d. 1986)
  • 1910 Ennio Porrino, Italian composer, born in Cagliari, Italy (d. 1959)

Joy Adamson

1910 Joy Adamson [Friederike Viktoria Gessner], Austrian naturalist and author (Born Free), born in Troppau, Austria-Hungary (d. 1980)

  • 1910 Lauritz Lauritzen, German politician, born in Kiel, Germany (d. 1980)
  • 1910 Nina Verchinina, Russian-Brazilian dancer & choreographer, born in Russia (d. 1995)
  • 1912 Christopher Casson, Irish-English actor (Zardoz, Educating Rita, The Riordans), born in Manchester, Lancashire, England
  • 1912 Walter Briggs Jr, American sports executive (owner Detroit Tigers 1952-56), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 1970)
  • 1914 Wensley Pithey, South-African actor (Oliver!, The Saint, Little Women), born in Cape Town, South Africa (d. 1993)
  • 1914 Gerald Holtom, British artist and graphic designer (Nuclear Disarmament (ND) logo, which later became an international peace symbol), born in Twickenham, England (d. 1985)
  • 1915 C. W. Ceram, German/ journalist & author (March of Archaeology), born in Berlin, Germany (d. 1972)
  • 1915 Ghulam Ishaq Khan, President of Pakistan, born in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan (d. 2006)
  • 1916 Johan Adolf Pengel, Surinamese politician (Prime Minister, 1963-69), born in Paramaribo, Suriname (d. 1970)
  • 1916 Walter Bartley, English biochemist, born in Brighton, London (d. 1994)
  • 1916 Alex Nicol, American actor (The Screaming Skull, Man From Laramie, Air Cadet), born in Ossining, New York (d. 2001)
  • 1918 [Juan Garcia] Esquivel!, Mexican musician ("The King of Space Age Pop"), born in Tampico, Mexico (d. 2002)
  • 1919 Royalton Kisch, British conductor, born in Marylebone, London (d. 1995)
  • 1919 Stepan Lucky, Slovak film score composer, born in Žilina, Slovakia (d. 2006)
  • 1920 DeForest Kelley, American actor (Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy-Star Trek), born in Atlanta, Georgia (d. 1999)
  • 1920 Peter Clemoes, British historian, born in Southend-on-Sea, United Kingdom (d. 1996)
  • 1920 Richard J. C. Atkinson, British archaeologist, born in Evershot, United Kingdom (d. 1994)
  • 1920 Sam Gibbons, American politician (Rep-D-FL, 1963- ), born in Tampa, Florida (d. 2012)
  • 1920 Michael Higgins, American actor (Angel Heart, 1918, Wanda, Black Stallion), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2008)
  • 1920 Thorleif Schjelderup, Norwegian author & ski jumper, born in Aker, Norway (d. 2006)

Federico Fellini

1920 Federico Fellini, Italian film director & scriptwriter (8 1/2, La Dolce Vita), born in Rimini, Italy (d. 1993)

  • 1920 Ely Landau, American television and film producer (Play of the Week; Long Day's Journey into Night; King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis), born in New York City (d. 1993)
  • 1921 Bernt Engelmann, German writer, born in Berlin, Germany (d. 1994)
  • 1921 Telmo Zarraonaindía, Spanish footballer, born in Erandio, Spain (d. 2006)
  • 1921 Connie Haines [Yvonne Jasme], American big-band vocalist (Harry James; Tommy Dorsey), born in Savannah, Georgia, (d. 2008)
  • 1922 James Hanson, English industrialist, born in Huddersfield, United Kingdom (d. 2004)
  • 1922 Ray Anthony [Antonini], American orchestra leader (Ray Anthony Show; "Peter Gunn Theme"), born in Bentleyville, Pennsylvania
  • 1923 Nora Brockstedt, Norwegian pop and jazz singer, born in Oslo, Norway (d. 2015)
  • 1923 (Ottis) "Slim" Whitman, American country singer (Rose Marie), born in Tampa, Florida (d. 2013)
  • 1924 Yvonne Loriod, French pianist, composer (Mélopées africaines), and teacher, born in Houilles, France (d. 2010)
  • 1925 Ernesto Cardenal, Nicaraguan Catholic priest, politician and writer, born in Granada, Nicaragua
  • 1925 Eugen Gomringer, Bolivian-born German poet, born in Cachuela Esperanza, Bolivia
  • 1926 David Tudor, American composer, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1996)

Patricia Neal

1926 Patricia Neal, American actress (Hud, Subject Was Roses) and wife of Roald Dahl, born in Packard, Kentucky (d. 2010)

  • 1926 Jamiluddin Aali, Pakistani poet & writer, born in New Delhi, India (d. 2015)
  • 1926 Qurratulain Hyder, Indian Urdu novelist & writer, born in Aligarh, India (d. 2007)
  • 1927 Geoffrey Atkins, British World Champion racket player (1954-72)
  • 1927 Olivier Strebelle, Belgian sculptor, born in Brussels, Belgium (d. 2017)
  • 1928 Peter Donat, Canadian-American actor (Flamingo Road, Different Story), born in Kentville, Canada (d. 2018)
  • 1928 Robert Satanowski, Polish opera conductor and general, born in Łódź, Poland (d. 1997)
  • 1928 Lionel Hebert, American golfer (PGA Championship 1957), born in Lafayette, Louisiana (d. 2000)
  • 1929 [Wilbur James] Jimmy Cobb, American jazz drummer (Miles Davis' First Great Sextet), born in Washington D.C. (d. 2020)
  • 1929 Arte Johnson, American comedian (Laugh-in, Don't Call Me Charlie), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2019)
  • 1929 Bob Denard, French soldier & mercenary, born in Grayan-et-l'Hôpital, France (d. 2007)
  • 1929 Glenn "Fireball" Roberts, American auto racer (Daytona 500 1962; NASCAR 33 wins), born in Tavares, Florida (d. 1964)

Buzz Aldrin

1930 Buzz Aldrin, American astronaut & fighter pilot (Gem 12, Ap 11), born in Montclair, New Jersey

  • 1930 Raymond Van Gestel, Belgian soccer winger (5 caps; Lyra) and athlete (Belgian long jump champion), born in Mol, Belgium (d. 2020)
  • 1931 Sawako Ariyoshi, Japanese writer (Compound Pollution, Doctor's Wife), born in Wakayama, Japan (d. 1984)
  • 1931 Hachidai Nakamura, Japanese jazz pianist and songwriter, born in Tsingtao, Republic of China to (d. 1992)
  • 1931 Earl Grant, American musician and singer (Ebb Tide, Winter Wonderland), born in Idabel, Oklahoma (d. 1970)
  • 1932 Lou Fontinato, Canadian ice hockey player, born in Guelph, Ontario (d. 2016)
  • 1932 Frank Arok, Yugoslavian-Australian soccer coach (Australia 1983-89), born in Kanjiža, Serbia (d. 2021)
  • 1933 Ron Townson, American rock vocalist (The 5th Dimension - "Up, Up And Away"), born in St Louis, Missouri (d. 2001)
  • 1934 Tom Baker, English actor (fourth Doctor in Doctor Who), born in Liverpool, England
  • 1935 Joan Weston, American Roller Derby Queen, born in Huntington Beach, California (d. 1997)
  • 1936 Luther Tucker, American blues guitarist, born in Memphis, Tennessee (d. 1983)
  • 1937 Dorothy Provine, American actress (Good Neighbor Sam, Darn Cat), born in Deadwood, South Dakota
  • 1939 Murle Breer, American golfer (US Women's Open 1962), born in St. Petersburg, Florida
  • 1939 Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe, Sri Lankan-born British mathematician & astronomer, born in Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • 1939 Paul Coverdell, American politician, born in Des Moines, Iowa (d. 2000)
  • 1940 Carol Heiss Jenkins, American figure skater (Olympic gold singles 1960; silver 1956; World C'ship gold 1956–1960), born in NYC, New York
  • 1940 Jorge Peixinho, Portuguese pianist, composer, and conductor, born in Montijo, Portugal (d. 1995)
  • 1940 Krishnam Raju, Indian actor & politician, born in Mogalthur, India
  • 1940 Lars-Åke Lagrell, Swedish sports administrator (President Swedish Football Association 1991-2012) and politician (Governor Kronoberg County), born in Växjö, Sweden (d. 2020)
  • 1941 Pierre Lalonde, Canadian singer and television host, born in Montreal, Quebec (d. 2016)
  • 1941 Richard Friedman, American psychoanalyst who proved sexual orientation was biological, born in the Bronx, New York (d. 2020)
  • 1942 William Powell, American R&B singer (O'Jays - "Love Train"), born in Canton, Ohio (d. 1977)
  • 1943 Farhad [Mehrad], Iranian pop, rock and folk singer-songwriter ("Jomeh"), born in Tehran, Iran (d. 2002)
  • 1943 Louis Cardiet, French soccer defender (6 caps; Paris SG), born in Quimperlé, France (d. 2020)
  • 1944 Eddie Shah, English businessman & publisher (Today, Post), born in Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1944 Isao Okano, Japanese judoka (Olympic gold 1964), born in Ryugasaki, Japan
  • 1945 Eric Stewart, English rock singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer (10cc - "I'm Not in Love"), born in Droylsden, United Kingdom
  • 1945 Christopher Martin-Jenkins, British cricket journalist and broadcaster (President MCC; BBC Radio), born in Peterborough, England (d. 2013)

David Lynch

1946 David Lynch, American actor & director (Dune, Eraserhead), born in Missoula, Montana

  • 1946 Susan Vreeland, American author (The Passion of Artemisia), born in Racine, Wisconsin (d. 2017)
  • 1946 Johnny Oates, American MLB baseball catcher, 1970-81 (Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and 3 other teams), and manager, 1991-2001 (Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers), born in Sylva, North Carolina
  • 1947 George Grantham, American drummer and vocalist (Poco - "Crazy Eyes"), born in Cordell, Oklahoma
  • 1947 Cyrille Guimard, French cyclist & directeur sportif, born in Bouguenais, France
  • 1947 Stephen A. Schwarzman, American CEO of The Blackstone Group & Chairman of President Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum, born in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania
  • 1948 Jerry Ross, American Air Force officer & NASA astronaut (STS 61B, 27, 37, 55, 74, sk:88), born in Crown Point, Indiana
  • 1948 Mel Pritchard, British progressive rock drummer (Barclay James Harvest), born in Oldham, Lancashire (d. 2004)
  • 1948 Natan Sharansky, Israeli politician & human rights activist, born in Donetsk, Ukraine
  • 1948 Nancy Kress, American science fiction writer, born in Buffalo, New york
  • 1950 Liza Goddard, British actress, born in Smethwick, United Kingdom
  • 1950 Edward Hirsch, American poet, born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1950 Chuck Lefley, Canadian ice hockey player, born in Winnipeg, Canada
  • 1950 Mahamane Ousmane, President of Niger, born in Zinder, Niger
  • 1951 Magomed Omarovich Tolboyev, Russian cosmonaut & test-pilot, born in Sogratl', Russia
  • 1951 Ivan Fischer, Hungarian conductor and composer, born in Budapest, Hungary
  • 1952 Ian Hill, English rock bassist (Judas Priest - "Breakin the Law"), born in West Bromwich, United Kingdom
  • 1952 Paul Stanley [Stanley Eisen], American rock guitarist, songwriter, and singer (KISS - "Rock and Roll All Nite"), born in Manhattan, New York
  • 1955 Joe Doherty, Irish IRA activist (jailed in US), born in Belfast, Ireland
  • 1955 Wyatt Knight, American actor (d. 2011)
  • 1955 Hiromi Ōta, Japanese pop singer (Momen no handkerchief), born in Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture, Japan

Bill Maher

1956 Bill Maher, American comedian & political commentator (Real Time with Bill Maher, Politically Incorrect), born in NYC, New York

  • 1956 John Phillips Naber, American swimmer (Olympic-4 gold/silver-76), born in Evanston, Illinois
  • 1956 Maria Larsson, Swedish politician, born in Långasjö, Sweden
  • 1956 Adrian Vernon Fish, British classical composer, born in Bristol, England
  • 1958 Lorenzo Lamas, American actor (Lance-Falcon Crest, California Fever), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1959 Lea Antonoplis, American tennis player, born in West Covina, California
  • 1959 Joel Rifkin, American serial killer believed to have killed up to 17 victims between 1989 and 1993 in NYC and Long Island, born in New York
  • 1959 Bernard Tyson, American healthcare advocate & 1st African American CEO of Kaiser Permanente, born in San Francisco Bay Area, California
  • 1963 James Denton, American actor, born in Nashville, Tennessee
  • 1963 Mark Ryden, American Pop Surrealist painter, album cover art creator (Micheal Jackson; Aerosmith; 4 Non-Blondes), born in Medford, Oregon
  • 1964 Ozzie Guillén, Venezuelan baseball shortstop and manager (3-time MLB All Star; Chicago White Sox), born in Ocumare del Tuy, Venezuela
  • 1964 Ron Harper, American NBA guard (Chicago Bulls), born in Dayton, Ohio
  • 1964 Victoria Sellers, English actress (Crime Zone, Warlords), born in London, England
  • 1964 Kazushige Nojima, Japanese video game writer, born in Hokkaido, Japan
  • 1965 Brad Brink, American baseball pitcher (SF Giants, Philadelphia Phillies), born in Roseville, California
  • 1965 Anton Weissenbacher, Romanian footballer, born in Baia Mare, Romania
  • 1965 Colin Calderwood, Scottish footballer, born in Stranraer, United Kingdom
  • 1965 Greg K. [Kreisel], American rock bassist (The Offspring, 1984-2018), born in Glendale, California
  • 1965 John Michael Montgomery, American country music singer, born in Danville, Kentucky
  • 1966 Bert Weidner, American NFL guard (Miami Dolphins), born in Eden, New York
  • 1966 Chris Morris, American NBA forward (Utah Jazz), born in Atlanta, Georgia
  • 1966 Rich Gannon, American NFL quarterback (Pro Bowl 1999–2002; First-team All-Pro 2000, 02; NFL MVP 2002; Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1966 Tracii Guns [Tracy Ulrich], American rock guitarist and songwriter (L.A. Guns - "It's Over Now"), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1966 Rainn Wilson, American actor (The Office, Juno), born in Seattle, Washington
  • 1967 Joe Pasquale, American pop-rock singer and songwriter (Prey)
  • 1967 Mark Stepnoski, American football player (Houston/Tennessee Oilers), born in Erie, Pennsylvania
  • 1967 Stacey Dash, American actress (Dionne-Clueless), born in The Bronx, New York
  • 1968 Junior Murray, West Indian cricketer (WI keeper, no relation to Derryck or David), born in St. George's Grenada