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)
  • 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, composer
  • 1703 Joseph-Hector Fiocco, composer
  • 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 H Lee, US farmer (signed US Declaration of Independence)
  • 1743 Pascal Boyer, French composer, born in Tarascon, Provence, France (d. 1794)

  • 1761 Giovanni Domenico Perotti, composer
  • 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 Johan B J F S, archduke of Austria
  • 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 Willis, writer/editor/founder (American Monthly Mag)
  • 1809 Sebastian de Iradier, Spanish composer (La Paloma)
  • 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 Pieter J Joubert, general (South Africa)
  • 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, composer
  • 1847 W R Pettiford, Founder (Alabama Penny Savings Bank)

  • 1855 Amedee-Ernest Chausson, composer
  • 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 Jean Joseph Nicolas Lekeu, composer
  • 1873 Charles A Ellwood, American sociologist/psychologist
  • 1873 Johannes V Jensen, Danish novelist/poet (Energy Storage, Nobel 1944)
  • 1876 Józef Hofmann, Polish pianist (d. 1967)
  • 1877 Ruth St Denis, ballerina (Dances of the 5 Senses), born in Newark, New Jersey
  • 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)

Person of interestLead Belly

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

Blues Musician Lead Belly
Blues Musician
Lead Belly
  • 1889 Allan Haines Loughead, American aviation executive (d. 1969)
  • 1891 Mischa Elman, Talnoye Ukraine, US violinist
  • 1893 Kaj Birket-Smith, Danish etnologist/anthropologist (Eskimos)
  • 1893 Georg Åberg, Swedish athlete (d. 1946)
  • 1894 Harold L Gray, creator (Little Orphan Annie)
  • 1894 Walter Hamor Piston, Rockland Maine, composer (Incredible Flutis)
  • 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 R Diktonius, Finnish musicologist/author (Janne Kubik)
  • 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)

Person of interestJoy Adamson

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

Naturalist and Author Joy Adamson
Naturalist and Author
Joy Adamson
  • 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)
  • 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)

Person of interestFederico Fellini

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

Film Director and Scriptwriter Federico Fellini
Film Director and Scriptwriter
Federico Fellini
  • 1921 Bernt Engelmann, German writer, born in Berlin, Germany (d. 1994)
  • 1921 Telmo Zarraonaindía, Spanish footballer, born in Erandio, Spain (d. 2006)
  • 1922 James Hanson, English industrialist, born in Huddersfield, United Kingdom (d. 2004)
  • 1922 Ray Anthony, American orchestra leader (Ray Anthony Show, Peter Gunn Theme), born in Bentleyville, Pennsylvania
  • 1923 Nora Brockstedt, Norwegian singer, born in Oslo, Norway (d. 2015)
  • 1923 Slim Whitman, American country singer (Rose Marie), born in Tampa, Florida (d. 2013)
  • 1924 Yvonne Loriod, French pianist, born in Houilles, France
  • 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)

Person of interestPatricia Neal

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

Actress Patricia Neal
Patricia Neal
  • 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 Fireball Roberts, American racing driver (Daytona 500 1962), born in Tavares, Florida (d. 1964)

Person of interestBuzz Aldrin

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

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin
Buzz Aldrin

  • 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 songwriter & pianist, born in China (d. 1992)
  • 1931 Earl Grant, American musician & singer (Ebb Tide, Winter Wonderland), born in Idabel, Oklahoma (d. 1970)
  • 1932 Lou Fontinato, Canadian ice hockey player, born in Guelph, Ontario (d. 2016)
  • 1933 Ron Townson, American rock vocalist (The 5th Dimension), 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)
  • 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 composer & conductor, born in Montijo, Portugal
  • 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 & 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), born in Canton, Ohio (d. 1977)
  • 1943 Farhad Mehrad, Iranian musician, 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 singer-songwriter & musician (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)

Person of interestDavid Lynch

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

Filmmaker David Lynch
David Lynch
  • 1946 Susan Vreeland, American author (The Passion of Artemisia), born in Racine, Wisconsin (d. 2017)
  • 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 & composer, born in Budapest, Hungary
  • 1952 Ian Hill, English musician (Judas Priest-Breakin the Law), born in West Bromwich, United Kingdom
  • 1952 Paul Stanley, American musician (KISS-Beth), 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 singer, born in Tokyo, Japan

Person of interestBill Maher

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

Political Commentator and Comedian Bill Maher
Political Commentator and Comedian
Bill Maher
  • 1956 John Phillips Naber, American swimmer (Olympic-4 gold/silver-76), born in Evanston, Illinois
  • 1956 Maria Larsson, Swedish politician, born in Långasjö, Sweden
  • 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
  • 1964 Ozzie Guillén, Venezuelan baseball shortstop and manager (3-time MLB All Star; Chicago White Sox), born in Ocumare del Tuy, Venezuela
  • 1964 Roger Smith, Bahamas tennis doubles player, born in Freeport, Bahamas
  • 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., American musician & singer (The Offspring), 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 football quarterback (KC Chiefs), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1966 Tracii Guns, American musician (LA 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, 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
  • 1968 Nick Anderson, American basketball player (Orlando Magic), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1968 Fantastic Negrito [Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz], American singer-songwriter (The Last Days of Oakland, Please Don't Be Dead), born in Massachusetts
  • 1969 Andre Cason, American sprinter, born in Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • 1969 Melissa Rivers, American TV hostess (MTV, CBS Morning News), born in NYC, New York
  • 1969 Patrick K. Kroupa, American hacker & activist, born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1969 Nicky Wire, British musician (Manic Street Preachers), born in Blackwood, United Kingdom
  • 1970 Marvin Benard, American baseball outfielder (SF Giants), born in Bluefields, Nicaragua