On This Day

Famous Birthdays on May 12

  • 1401 Emperor Shōkō, 101st Japanese Emperor (412-428) (d. 1428)
  • 1496 Gustav I of Sweden (1523-60), born in Rydboholm Castle, Sweden (d. 1560
  • 1590 Cosimo II de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (d. 1621)
  • 1626 Louis Hennepin, Flemish missionary who explorer the interior of North America, born in Ath, Spanish Netherlands (d. 1705)
  • 1662 Jan F van Bloom [Orizonte], Flemish painter, baptized
  • 1670 Frederick Augustus I/ August II, the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland (reputed to have sired 355 children) (d. 1733)
  • 1679 Giovanni Antonio Ricieri, Italian composer and castrato (d. 1746)
  • 1700 Luigi Vanvitelli, Italian architect (Palace of Caserta), born in Naples, Kingdom of Naples (d. 1773)
  • 1725 Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, French Prince of the Bourbon House, born at the Palace of Versailles, France (d. 1785)
  • 1739 Johann Baptist Wanhal [Jan Krtitel], Czech composer (d. 1813)
  • 1751 Gaetano Manna, Italian composer, born in Naples (d. 1804)
  • 1753 Giovanni Battista Viotti, Italian violonist and composer, born in Fontanetto Po, Savoia, Kingdom of Sardinia (d. 1824)
  • 1754 Franz Anton Hoffmeister, German composer, born in Rottenburg am Neckar, Holy Roman Empire (d. 1812)
  • 1767 Manuel de Godoy 'Prince of the Peace', Spanish statesman, 1st Secretary of State of Spain, born in Badajoz, Spain (d. 1851)
  • 1790 [Johannes] Carsten Hauch, Danish poet and writer, born in Frederikshald, Norway (d. 1872)
  • 1797 Johann Hermann Kufferath, German composer, born in Mülheim an der Ruhr (d. 1864)
  • 1803 Justus von Liebig, German agricultural and biological chemist who is considered the founder of organic chemistry, born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany (d. 1873)
  • 1804 Robert Baldwin, (L) help establish government in Canada (or 1904)
  • 1806 Amos Beebe Eaton, American Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Catskill, New York (d. 1877)
  • 1806 Johan Vilhelm Snellman, Finnish journalist, statesman and nationalist, born in Stockholm, Sweden (d. 1881)
  • 1812 Edward Lear, English landscape painter and poet (Complete Nonsense Book), born in London, England (d. 1888)
  • 1812 Louis Ludwig Blenker, German-American Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Worms, Germany (d. 1863)
  • 1813 Johann Czerski, German clergyman, founded German Catholicism, born in Warlubien, West Prussia (d. 1893)

Florence Nightingale

1820 Florence Nightingale, British nurse (revolutionized nursing during the Crimean War), born in Florence, Italy (d. 1910)

  • 1828 Gabriel Dante Rossetti, English Pre-Raphaelite figure poet and painter, born in London, England (d. 1882)
  • 1829 Pavlos Carrer, Greek composer (Isabella d'Aspeno), born in Zakynthos (d. 1896)

Jules Massenet

1842 Jules Massenet, French composer (Manon, Le Cid), born in Montaud, France (d. 1912)

  • 1845 Gabriel Fauré, French organist, composer (Requiem; Ballade), and educator (Paris Conservatoire, 1905-20), born in Pamiers, France (d. 1924)
  • 1848 Cyrill Kistler, German composer, educator, and music theorist, born in Großaitingen, Swabia, Germany (d. 1907)
  • 1850 Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. statesman, born in Beverly, Massachusetts (d. 1924)
  • 1861 Ivan Caryll [Félix Tilkin], Belgian composer of operetta and musical comedy (The Shop Girl; The Spring Chicken; The Pink Lady), born in Liège, Belgium (d. 1921)
  • 1863 Charles Bordes, French composer, born in La Roche-Corbon, France (d. 1909)
  • 1867 Hugh Trumble, Australian cricket spin bowler and captain (32 Tests, 141 wickets; 2 x Test hat-tricks), born in Melbourne, Australia (d. 1938)
  • 1868 Halsey William Wilson, American publisher of reference books
  • 1874 Clemens Freiherr von Pirquet, Austrian physician (Reaction of Pirquet)
  • 1876 Harold, grandson of English queen Victoria
  • 1880 Lincoln Ellsworth, American polar explorer, led 1st transarctic, transantarctic flights, born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1951)
  • 1880 W. Hupkes, Dutch engineer and Dutch Rail director
  • 1886 Albert Saverys, Flemish painter (d. 1964)
  • 1886 Hermann Grabner, Austrian composer (Die Richterin), born in Graz, Austria (d. 1969)
  • 1886 Piotr F. Scharoff, Russian-Italian actor and director (Chechov), born (d. 1969)
  • 1887 Nandor Zsolt, Hungarian composer, born in Esztergom, Hungary (d. 1936)
  • 1889 Otto Frank, German born father of Anne Frank who saw her diaries published, born in Frankfurt (d. 1980)
  • 1892 Fritz Kortner, Austrian-born director (d. 1970)
  • 1894 Cleo Ridgely, American silent screen actress (I Remember Mama), born in NYC, New York (d. 1962)
  • 1895 Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher (Songs of Life), born in Madanapalle, India (d. 1986)
  • 1899 Indra Devi, Latvian Yoga Instructor (d. 2002)
  • 1900 Helene Weigel, Austrian-German actress (Metropolis, Mutter Courage), born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary (d. 1971)
  • 1901 Hyam Greenbaum, British violinist, composer and conductor of the 1st TV orchestra (BBC), born in England (d. 1942)
  • 1902 Heinrich Kirchner, German sculptor (d. 1984)
  • 1903 Lennox R. F. Berkeley, British composer and pedagogue (Castaway), born in Boars Hill, England (d. 1989)
  • 1903 Wilfrid Hyde-White, British actor (My Fair Lady, Peyton Place), born in Gloucestershire, England (d. 1991)
  • 1906 Maurice Ewing, US pioneering geologist and geophysicist, born in Lockney, Texas (d. 1974)

Katharine Hepburn

1907 Katharine Hepburn, American actress (Adam's Rib, On Golden Pond), born in Hartford, Connecticut (d. 2003)

  • 1907 Leslie Charteris, Chinese English American detective writer (Simon Templar character in The Saint), born in Singapore (d. 1993)
  • 1910 Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, British biochemist who developed protein crystallography to study molecular structure, including that of vitamin B12 (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1964), born in Cairo, Egypt (d. 1994) [1]
  • 1910 Gordon Jenkins, American arranger and orchestra leader (Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra), born in Webster Groves, Missouri (d. 1984)
  • 1910 Charles B. Fulton, American jurist (d. 1996)
  • 1912 Marshall Royal, American jazz alto saxophonist and clarinetist (Count Basie Orchestra), born in Sapulpa, Oklahoma (d. 1995)
  • 1912 Archibald Cox, U.S. Solicitor General (d. 2004)
  • 1914 Bertus Aafjes, Dutch poet and writer, born in Amsterdam, Netherlands (d. 1993)
  • 1914 Dan Daniel, American politician (Rep-D-VA, 1969-88), born in Chatham, Virginia (d. 1988)
  • 1914 Howard K. Smith, American TV newsman and journalist (ABC, Moderated Kennedy-Nixon debate), born in Ferriday, Louisiana (d. 2002)
  • 1915 Mary Kay Ash, American businesswoman, founded Mary Kay Cosmetics (d. 2001)
  • 1916 Ellis Kohs, American composer (Lohiau and Hiiaka), educator, and musicologist, born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2000)
  • 1917 Andries Antonie Rieu, Dutch conductor (Maastricht Symphony Orchestra, 1949-80), born in Haarlem, Netherlands (d. 1992)
  • 1918 Oscar Beregi Jr, Hungarian actor (Young Frankenstein, Panic in City), born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary (d. 1976)

Julius Rosenberg

1918 Julius Rosenberg, 1st US civilian executed for espionage, born in NYC, New York

  • 1921 Edvard Mirzoyan, Armenian composer, born in Gori, Georgia (d. 2012)
  • 1921 Giovanni Benelli, Italian archbishop (Florence) and Papal candidate
  • 1921 Henry Mackie, designer of the Belfast Calorimeter
  • 1921 Joseph Beuys, German avant-garde painter (Fluxus, movement), born in Krefeld, Germany (d. 1986)
  • 1921 Farley Mowat, Canadian writer and naturalist, born in Belleville, Ontario, (d. 2014)
  • 1921 (Otis W.) "Joe" Maphis, American session and country music guitarist ("Dim Lights"), born in Suffolk, Virginia (d. 1986)
  • 1922 Barend Busnac, Dutch office clerk and resistance fighter (d. 1944)
  • 1922 Marco Denevi, Argentine writer (d. 1998)
  • 1923 Ewart Abner, American record company executive (President of Motown, manager of Stevie Wonder), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1997)
  • 1923 Giovanni Testori, Italian writer (Rocco e i suoi fratelli), born in Milan, Italy (d. 1993)
  • 1923 Hector Laing, English biscuit manufacturer (McVitie & Price), pilot and Director of the Bank of England (d. 2010)

Tony Hancock

1924 Tony Hancock, English comedian and actor (Hancock's Half Hour), born in Birmingham, England (d. 1968)

  • 1924 Alexander Esenin-Volpin, Russian mathematician (ultrafinitism) and human rights activist, born in Leningrad, Soviet Union (d. 2016)
  • 1925 John Simon, American author, literary and theater critic (NY Times), born in Subotica, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes

Yogi Berra

1925 Lorenzo "Yogi" Berra, American Baseball Hall of Fame catcher and manager (18X MLB All-Star; 13X World Series champion; NY Yankees, Mets; AL MVP (1951, 54, 55), and Purple Heart recipient, born in St. Louis, Missouri (d. 2015)

  • 1926 Earl Hutto, American politician (Rep-D-Florida, 1979-95), born in Panama City, Florida
  • 1926 Mervyn Dymally, American politician (Rep-D-CA, 1981-93), born in Cedros, Trinidad and Tobago (d. 2012)
  • 1926 Philip Springer, American composer (“Santa Baby”; "The Next Time";"The Bells Of Notre Dame"), born in New York City [1]
  • 1928 Manuel Lujan Jr, American politician (Rep-R-NM, 1969-89), born in San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico (d. 2019)
  • 1928 Burt Bacharach, American Grammy and Academy Award-winning composer ("I'll Never Fall in Love Again"; "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head"; Promises, Promises"), born in Kansas City, Missouri
  • 1928 Henry Cosby,American songwriter, musician and producer for Motown ("Tears of a Clown"; "For Once In My Life"), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 2002)
  • 1928 Ivan Král, Czech-American bass player, songwriter, record producer (Patti Smith; Iggy Pop; John Waite), in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) (d. 2020)
  • 1929 Dollard St. Laurent, Canadian ice hockey player, born in Verdun, Quebec (d. 2015)
  • 1929 Sam Nujoma, Namibian revolutionary and politician, first President of Namibia (1990-2005), born in Ongandjera, Soutwest Africa
  • 1930 Pat McCormick, American diver (4 x Olympic gold women's springboard & platform 1952, 56), born in Seal Beach, California
  • 1931 Johan Fleerackers, Flemish vice-president of Dutch One
  • 1933 Andrey Voznesensky, Russian poet, born in Moscow, Soviet Union (d. 2010)
  • 1933 (Antoni) "Ton" Hartsuiker, Dutch pianist, composer, broadcaster, and educator, born in Zwolle, Netherlands (d. 2015)
  • 1934 Elechi Amadi, Nigerian novelist (The Concubine), born in Aluu (d. 2016)
  • 1935 Johnny Bucyk, Canadian ice hockey player, born in Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1935 Gary Peacock, American jazz bassist (Keith Jarrett Trio), born in Burley, Idaho (d. 2020)
  • 1936 Tom Snyder, American television and radio interviewer (The Tomorrow Show, 1973-82), and news anchor (NBC Weekend News), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (d. 2007)
  • 1936 Guillermo Endara, President of Panama (1989-94), born in Panama City, Panama (d. 2009)
  • 1936 Frank Stella, American artist, born in Malden, Massachusetts
  • 1936 Klaus Doldinger, German jazz saxophonist (Passport) and composer for film, born in Berlin, Germany
  • 1936 David Snell, British jazz harpist and conductor, born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, England
  • 1937 Beryl Burton, British cyclist won record (7) women's cycling titles
  • 1937 George Carlin, American comedian (7 dirty words, AM & FM, Carwash), born in The Bronx, New York
  • 1937 Gerry Studds, American politician (Rep-D-MA, 1973-97), first openly gay member of US Congress, born in Mineola, New York (d. 2006)
  • 1938 Millie Perkins, American actress (Diary of Anne Frank, Table for 5, Shooting), born in Passaic, New Jersey
  • 1938 Andrei Amalrik, Russian writer and dissident (Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984), born in Moscow, Soviet Union (d. 1980)
  • 1938 Susan Hampshire, English actress (Vanity Fair, Living Free), born in London, England
  • 1939 Ron Ziegler, American White House press secretary for Nixon, born in Covington, Kentucky (d. 2003)
  • 1939 Reg Gasnier, Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame centre and captain (36 Tests; 3 World Cup; St. George), born in Sydney, Australia (d. 2014)
  • 1940 Norman Whitfield, American songwriter and producer for Motown ("I Heard It Through the Grapevine"; "Just My Imagination"; "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone"), born in New York City (d. 2008)
  • 1941 Anthony Newman, American harpsichordist and organist (Bhajeb), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1941 Ruud de Wolff, Dutch Indonesian singer and guitarist (Blue Diamonds), born in Batavia
  • 1942 Barry Longyear, American sci-fi author (City of Baraboo), born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • 1942 Dumitru Dediu, Romanian cosmonaut (Soyuz 40 backup)
  • 1942 Ian Dury, English rock musician (The Blockheads) and actor (Judge Dredd), born in Upminster, Essex (d. 2000)
  • 1942 Billy Swan, American country-rock singer-songwriter ("I Can Help"), born in Cape Giradeau, Louisiana
  • 1943 David Walker, American rock guitarist (Gary Lewis & Playboys - "This Diamond Ring"), born in Montgomery Alabama
  • 1943 Linda Dano, American actress (Felicia Gallant-Another World), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1944 Eva Demski, German writer, born in Regensburg
  • 1944 James Purify, American R&B singer ("I'm Your Puppet"), born in Pensacola, Florida (d. 2021)
  • 1944 Orestes Vilató, Cuban-American percussionist and timbalero, born in Camagüey, Cuba
  • 1945 "Little" Jayotis Washington, American cappella singer (The Persuasions), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1945 Linda Carlson, American actress (Bev-Newhart, Katie-Kaz), born in Knoxville, Tennessee
  • 1945 Ian McLagan, English rock keyboardist (Small Face; Faces), born in Hounslow, Middlesex, (d. 2014)
  • 1945 Patrick Ricard, French businessman and CEO of Pernod Ricard, born in Marseille, France (d. 2012)
  • 1945 Keith Olsen, American rock record producer and sound engineer (Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac; Grateful Dead - Terrapin Station; Joe Walsh - The Confessor), born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (d. 2020)
  • 1946 Leonard Baichan, West Indian cricketer (WI opener, 103 v Pakistan on debut 1975), born in Rose Hall, British Guiana
  • 1946 L. Neil Smith, American sci-fi author (Lando Calrissian novels), born in Denver, Colorado
  • 1947 Michael Ignatieff, Canadian politician (Leader of the Liberal Party), born in Toronto, Ontario
  • 1947 Micheline Lanctôt, American film actor, director and screenwriter, born in Frelighsburg, Quebec
  • 1947 Catherine "Cat" Yronwode, American writer and editor-in-chief (Eclipse Comics), born in San Francisco, California
  • 1948 Lindsay Ann Crouse, American actress (Slapshot, Iceman, Places in Heart), born in NYC, New York
  • 1948 Steve Winwood, English singer, songwriter and musician (Spencer Davis Group - "Gimme Some Lovin'"; Traffic - "Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys"; solo - 'Higher Love"; "While You See A Chance"), born in Birmingham, England
  • 1950 Billy Squier, American rock singer-songwriter, and guitarist ("The Stroke"; "My Kind Of Lover"), born in Wellesley, Massachusetts
  • 1950 Bruce Boxleitner, American actor (Scarecrow & Mrs King; Babylon 5), born in Elgin, Illinois
  • 1950 Gabriel Byrne, Irish actor (Hello Again; Cool World), born in Dublin, Ireland
  • 1950 Jocko Marcellino, American rocker (Sha Na Na), born in Quincy, Massachusetts
  • 1950 Renate Stecher-Meissner, German sprinter (3-time Olympic gold 1972, 76), born in Süptitz, Germany
  • 1950 Shōzō Fujii, Japanese judoka (4x World Champion 1971-79)
  • 1951 Gunnar Larrson, Swedish 200m/400m swimmer (Olympic gold 1972)
  • 1953 Phil Beer, English multi-instrumentalist and composer (Show of Hands), born in Exminster, Devon
  • 1955 Kix Brooks, American country music singer (Brooks & Dunn - "Brand New Man"), born in Shreveport, Louisiana
  • 1955 Bashiri Johnson, American session and touring percussionist (Whitney Houston; Micheal Jackson), and educator, born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1956 Bernie Federko, Canadian ice hockey player, born in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan
  • 1956 Glenn Robbins, Australian comedian (Kath & Kim), born in Melbourne, Australia

Homer Simpson

1956 Homer Simpson, fictional character from the long running television show "The Simpsons", born in Springfield

  • 1956 Greg Phillinganes, American session and touring keyboardist, and musical director (Stevie Wonder, Toto, Micheal Jackson, David Gilmour), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1957 Lou Whitaker, American MLB 2nd baseman (Detroit Tigers, 1978 AL Rookie of the Year), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1958 Beth Maitland, American actress (Traci-Young & Restless), born in Rapid City, South Dakota
  • 1958 Christian Brando, son of Marlon who killed his sisters boyfriend, born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2008)
  • 1958 Kim Greist, American actress (CHUD, Brazil, Payoff, Manhunter), born in Stamford, Connecticut
  • 1958 Andreas Petroulakis, Greek political caricaturist
  • 1958 Eric Singer [Mensinger], American hard rock drummer (KISS, 1991-present), born in Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1959 Dave Christian, American NHL right wing (Wash Caps, Olympic gold 1980), born in Warroad, Minnesota
  • 1959 Ving Rhames [Irving Rameses Rhames], American actor (Mission Impossible), born in New York City
  • 1960 Lisa Martin, Australian marathoner (Olympic-silver 1988), born in Gawler, South Australia
  • 1961 Billy Duffy, British rock musician (The Cult), born in Manchester, England
  • 1961 Lar Park Lincoln, American actress, born in Dallas, Texas
  • 1961 Bruce McCulloch, Canadian actor (The Kids in the Hall), born in Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1961 Thomas Dooley, American soccer midfielder (81 caps; FC Homburg, 1. FC Kaiserslautern), born in Bechhofen, Germany
  • 1962 Emilio Estevez, American actor (Breakfast Club, Young Guns, Mighty Ducks), born in NYC, New York
  • 1962 Brett Gurewitz, American guitarist and songwriter (Bad Religion), record label owner, and producer (Epitaph), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1963 Vanessa Williams, American actress (Soul Food, Murder One, Melrose Place - "Rhonda Blair";), born in Brooklyn, New York [not Miss America]
  • 1963 Stefano Modena, Italian racing driver, born in Modena, Italy
  • 1963 Charles Pettigrew, American soul singer (Charles & Eddie - "Would I Lie To You?"), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 2001)
  • 1964 Joy Ellen Kitzmiller, US badminton player (Olympic-92), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1964 José Casanova, Peruvian soccer midfielder (10 caps; Alianza Lima), born in Lima, Peru (d. 1987)
  • 1965 Stacy Wilson, ice hockey forward (Canada, Olympics 1998), born in Moncton, New Brunswick
  • 1966 Rafael Bournigal, Dominican infielder (Oakland A's), born in Azua, Dominican Republic
  • 1966 Stephen Baldwin, American actor (The Usual Suspects), born in Massapequa, New York
  • 1966 Bebel Gilberto, Brazilian-American pop and bossa nova singer, born in New York City
  • 1967 Cara Coughenour, American pitcher (Colorado Silver Bullets), born in Sioux City, Iowa
  • 1967 Robert Blackmon, American defensive back (Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks), born in Bay City, Texas
  • 1967 Warren Rychel, Canadian NHL left wing (Colorado Avalanche), born in Strathroy, Ontario
  • 1968 Mark Clark, American pitcher (NY Mets), born in Bath, Illinois

Tony Hawk

1968 Tony Hawk, American skateboarder, born in Carlsbad, California

  • 1968 Scott Schwartz, American actor, born in Sacramento, California
  • 1968 Catherine Tate, English actress and comedian (The Catherine Tate Show, Doctor Who), born in London, England
  • 1969 Kim Fields Freeman, American actress (Tootie-Facts of Life), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1969 Kevin Nalty, American viral video maker and YouTuber, born in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 1970 Jim Furyk, American golfer (US Open 2003; 17 PGA Tour titles; first to shoot 58 2016), born in West Chester, Pennsylvania
  • 1970 Mike Weir, Canadian golfer (US Masters 2003), born in Sarnia, Ontario
  • 1970 Stevie Anderson, NFL wide receiver (Arizona Cardinals)
  • 1970 Todd Hallett, Canadian rower (Olympics-7-92, 96), born in Shelburne, Nova Scotia
  • 1970 Samantha Mathis, American actress (American Psycho, Billions), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1971 Jamie Luner, American actress (Cindy-Just the 10 of Us), born in Palo Alto, California
  • 1971 Doug Basham, American professional wrestler, born in Louisville, Kentucky
  • 1972 Jason Kyle, NFL linebacker (Seattle Seahawks), born in Tempe, Arizona
  • 1972 Paul Stout, American actor (Phillip-Scarecrow & Mrs King), born in Saugus, California
  • 1973 MacKenzie Astin, American actor (Facts of Life, Garbage Pail Kids), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1973 Kendra Kassebaum, American stage actress (Wicked), born in St Louis, Missouri
  • 1973 Travis Lutter, American Mixed Martial Arts Fighter (The Ultimate Fighter 4), born in Chamberlain, Dakota
  • 1975 Lawrence Phillips, running back (St Louis Rams), born in Little Rock, Arkansas

Jonah Lomu

1975 Jonah Lomu, New Zealand rugby union winger (youngest ever All Black, 63 internationals), born in Auckland, New Zealand (d. 2015)

  • 1975 Jared Polis, American businessman and politician, Governor of Colorado (2018-), born in Boulder, Colorado
  • 1976 Matt Mangano, American country-rock bass player (Zac Brown Band), born in Visalia, CA
  • 1977 Graeme Dott, Scottish snooker player, born in Larkhall, Scotland