On This Day

Famous Birthdays on May 20

  • 1315 Bonne of Luxembourg, wife of John II of France (d. 1349)
  • 1364 Henry Percy [Harry Hotspur], English knight, soldier and politician (d. 1403)
  • 1470 Pietro Bembo, cardinal/theologian
  • 1537 Hieronymus Fabricius Ab, Aquapend Italy, physician (De Formato Foetu)
  • 1547 Melchior Bischoff, German composer, born in Pößneck, Germany (d. 1614)
  • 1554 Paolo Bellasio, Italian composer, born in Verona (d. 1594)
  • 1593 Jacob Jordaens, Flemish baroque artist
  • 1593 Salomo Glassius, German theologian (d. 1656)
  • 1660 Andreas Schlüter, German sculptor (d. 1714)
  • 1663 William Bradford, English-born colonial printer (Pennsylvania's first printing press), born in Leicestershire, England (d. 1752)
  • 1706 Seth Pomeroy, American gunsmith and soldier (d. 1777)
  • 1719 Roger Newdigate, British politician (sat in the House of Commons 1742-80), born in Arbury, Warwickshire (d. 1806)
  • 1726 Francis Cotes, English painter (d. 1770)
  • 1750 Stephen Girard, bailed out US bonds during War of 1812
  • 1754 Hans Gram, Danish-born American composer (d. 1804)
  • 1759 William Thornton, British-American architect (Capitol Building in Washington, D.C), born in Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands (d. 1828)
  • 1764 J Gottfried Schadow, German sculptor/cartoonist/lithographer
  • 1768 Dolley Dandridge Payne Madison, 1st lady (1809-17)
  • 1769 Andreas Vokos Miaoulis, Greek admiral and politician (d. 1835)
  • 1772 William Congreve, English artillery officer and inventor who designed fire rockets, born in London (d. 1829)
  • 1799 Honoré de Balzac, French novelist (La Comédie Humaine), born in Tours, Indre-et-Loire, France (d. 1850)
  • 1812 Gustav Adolf Mankell, composer
  • 1818 William George Fargo, founder (Wells Fargo)
  • 1822 Emile Erckmann [E-Chatrian], French writer (Waterloo)
  • 1822 Frederic Passy, French economist/pacifist (Nobel 1901)
  • 1825 Antoinette Brown Blackwell, clergy (1st ordained US female minister)
  • 1828 James William Reilly, American lawyer, politician, and Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Akron, Ohio (d. 1905)
  • 1830 Amalia MdGA, princess of Saxon-Weimar-Eisenach/wife of prince Henry
  • 1830 Hector H Malot, French writer (Without Family)
  • 1838 Jules Méline, French statesman (d. 1925)
  • 1841 Sara Louisa Oberholtz, social reformer, anti-smoking advocate
  • 1843 Pedro Miguel Marques y Garcia, Spanish violinist and composer, born in Palma, Majorca (d. 1918)
  • 1850 Eaton Faning, composer
  • 1851 Emile Berliner, German inventor (flat phonograph record)
  • 1851 Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, American nun/daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • 1856 Henri E Cross [Delacroix], French painter
  • 1860 Eduard Buchner, German chemist, Nobel laureate (d. 1917)
  • 1869 Joshua Pim, Irish tennis player (Wimbledon 1893-94), born in Bray, Wicklow (d. 1942)
  • 1874 Folkert E Posthuma, Dutch minister of Agriculture/Industry
  • 1876 John Owen Jones, composer
  • 1878 Karel Komzák III, Austrian conductor and composer, born in Vienna, Austria (d. 1924) [1]
  • 1881 Władysław Sikorski, Polish World War II general and Prime Minister of Poland in exile (1939-43), born in Tuszów Narodowy, Austria-Hungary (d. 1943)
  • 1882 Sigrid Undset, Norwegian novelist (Kristin Lavransdatter, Nobel 1928)
  • 1883 Paul Arntzenius, Dutch painter, graphic artist and etcher, born in The Hague, Netherlands (d. 1965)
  • 1883 Faisal I of Iraq, King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria (1920–1933) & King of Iraq (1921–1933), born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia (d. 1933)
  • 1889 Felix Arndt, American composer, born in NYC, New York (d. 1918)
  • 1889 Margery Allingham, detective story writer
  • 1889 William Lawther, union leader
  • 1890 Beniamino Gigli, Italian tenor (Enzo-La Gioconde)
  • 1894 Adela Rogers St John, journalist/author (Foreign Correspondent)
  • 1894 Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, Indian Hindu sage, Jivanmukta (d. 1994)
  • 1895 Reginald J "R" Mitchell, English aviation manufacturer (Spitfire)
  • 1897 Diego Abad de Santillán, Spanish anarchist (d. 1983)
  • 1899 Estelle Taylor, American actress (The Ten Commandments), born in Wilmington, Delaware (d. 1958)
  • 1899 John M Harlan, 91st Supreme Court justice (1955-71), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1899 Alexander Deyneka, Ukrainian painter (d. 1969)
  • 1900 Lydia Cabrera, Cuban Anthropologist, born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1901 Max Euwe, Netherlands, world chess champion (1935-37)
  • 1901 Otto Waldis, Austrian actor (Port of Hell, Unknown World), born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary (d. 1974)
  • 1902 Hans Sahl, German American anti-Nazi Jewish writer, born in Dresden (d. 1993)
  • 1903 Jerzy Fitelberg, Polish composer, born in Warsaw, Russian Empire (d. 1951)
  • 1904 Russell Hardie, American actor (Sequoia, In Old Kentucky), born in Buffalo, New York (d. 1973)
  • 1905 Gerrit Achterberg, Dutch poet (Sailing)
  • 1905 Harry Campion, statistician/founder (British Central Statistical Office)
  • 1905 John Emery, American actor (Ship Ahoy, Kronos), born in NYC, New York (d. 1964)
  • 1906 Giuseppe Siri, Italian Catholic cardinal (d. 1989)

James Stewart

1908 Jimmy Stewart, American actor (Mr Smith Goes to Washington, It's a Wonderful Life), born in Indiana, Pennsylvania (d. 1997)

  • 1909 Edward Moss Hutchinson, educationalist
  • 1909 John Arkell, director of administration (BBC)
  • 1911 Annie M G Schmidt, writer (Fam Doorsnee, Jip & Janneke)
  • 1911 Gardner Fox, American sci-fi author (Atom, Hawkman, Zatanna), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1912 Joseph Proce, 3rd victim of NYC's Zodiac killer (survives)
  • 1913 Henry Cadbury Brown, architect
  • 1913 Ion Dumitrescu, composer

Bill Hewlett

1913 William Hewlett, American engineer and businessman (co-founder Hewlett-Packard), born in Ann Arbor, Michigan (d. 2001)

  • 1914 Corneliu Coposu, Romanian politician (Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party), born in Bobota, Austro-Hungarian Empire (d. 1995)
  • 1914 Hideko Maehata, Japanese swimmer (d. 1995)

Moshe Dayan

1915 Moshe Dayan, Israeli Military Leader and politician, born in Degania Alef, Ottoman Empire (d. 1981)

  • 1915 Peter Copley, British actor (Victim, Kingdom of Heaven, King & Country), born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, England (d. 2008)
  • 1916 John McIntyre, theologian
  • 1916 Owen Chadwick, English historian, priest and university chancellor, born in London, England (d. 2015)
  • 1916 Trebisonda Valla, Italian athlete (d. 2006)
  • 1916 Alexei Petrovich Maresiev, Russian flying ace (d. 2001)
  • 1917 Enyss Djemil, composer
  • 1917 Richard Cobb, British historian, born in Frinton-on-Sea (d. 1996)
  • 1917 Guy Favreau, French Canadian lawyer (d. 1967)
  • 1917 Bergur Sigurbjörnsson, Icelandic politician (d. 2005)
  • 1918 Edward B. Lewis, American geneticist, Nobel laureate (d. 2004)
  • 1919 George Gobel, comedian/TV personality (I Love My Wife), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1920 Elizabeth "Betty" Driver, British singer and actress (Coronation Street, Pardon the Expression), born in Leicester, England (d. 2011)
  • 1920 John Cruickshank, banker
  • 1920 William Simpson, British trade union leader
  • 1921 John Harrison, British vice admiral/surgeon
  • 1921 John Marchi, US Senator (Rep-R-NY)
  • 1921 Wolfgang Borchert, German writer, born in Hamburg (d. 1947)
  • 1921 Hal Newhouser, American baseball player (d. 1998)
  • 1922 Clifford Butler, vice chancellor (Loughborough Univ of Technology)
  • 1923 Edith Fellows, American actress (Pennies From Heaven, She Married Her Boss), born in Boston, Massachusetts (d. 2011)
  • 1923 Hugh Beach, British General
  • 1923 Samuel "Sam" Selvon, Trinidad-born writer (The Lonely Londoners), born in San Fernando (d. 1994)
  • 1924 Peter Shore, MP (Labour)
  • 1925 D French Slaughter Jr, (Rep-R-VA, 1985- )
  • 1925 Chester Ludgin, American baritone (d. 2003)
  • 1926 John Lucarotti, scriptwriter
  • 1926 Vic Ames, singer (Ames Brothers), born in Malden, Massachusetts (d. 1978)
  • 1926 Bob Sweikert, American race car driver (d. 1956)
  • 1927 David Hedison, American actor (Colbys, Voyage to Bottom of Sea), born in Providence, Rhode Island
  • 1927 David Frederick Barlow, composer
  • 1927 Walter Aschaffenburg, German-American composer, born in Essen, Germany (d. 2005)
  • 1927 Franciszek Macharski, Polish Cardinal, Archbishop of Krakow (1978-2005), born in Krakow (d. 2016)
  • 1928 David Berriman, CEO (Rose Thomson Young group of Lloyds Trustees)
  • 1929 Andre Carolus Cirino, Suriname/Indian poet
  • 1930 James McEachin, American actor and author (Perry Mason, Harry-Tenafly), born in Rennert, North Carolina
  • 1930 Robert Bunyard, Commandant (British Police Staff College)
  • 1931 Chiharu Igaya, Japan, slalom (Olympic silver 1956)
  • 1931 Ken Boyer, American baseball player (d. 1982)
  • 1933 Constance Towers, American actress (Capitol, Shock Corridor, Naked Kiss), born in Whitefish, Montana

José Mujica

1935 José Mujica, 40th President of Uruguay (2010-2015), champion of the poor and former urban guerrilla with the Tupamaros, born in Montevideo, Uruguay

  • 1936 Anthony Zerbe, Cal, actor (Harry-O, Centennial, They Call Me Mr Tibbs)
  • 1937 Dave Hill, American golfer (13 PGA Tour titles), born in Jackson, Michigan (d. 2011)
  • 1938 Alan Smithers, British professor
  • 1938 Christina Bass-Kaiser, 3K Dutch speed skater (Olympic gold 1972)
  • 1938 Marinella, Greek singer and actress
  • 1938 Astrid Kirchherr, German photographer, helped establish The Beatles image, born in Hamburg, Germany (d. 2020)
  • 1939 María Luisa Ozaita, Spanish pianist, harpsichordist, musicologist, conductor, and composer (Pelleas y Melisanda), born in Baracaldo, Spain (d. 2017)
  • 1940 Sadaharu Oh, of Yomiuri Giants (Japan), hit 868 career HR
  • 1940 (Frederick) "Shorty" Long, American soul singer, and pianist ( "Devil with the Blue Dress On"; "Here Comes The Judge"), born in Birmingham, Alabama (d. 1969)
  • 1940 Stan Mikita, Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame center (Stanley Cup 1961; Hart Memorial Trophy [MVP] 1967, 68; 6 x NHL First All-Star Team), born in Sokolče, Slovak Republic (d. 2018)
  • 1941 Goh Chok Sole, premier of Singapore (1990- )
  • 1941 John Strasberg, American actor
  • 1942 Lynn Davies, long jumper
  • 1942 Paula [Jill Jackson], American pop singer ("Hey Paula"), born in McCamey, Texas
  • 1942 Simon Keswick, British financier/merchant (Hong Kong)
  • 1942 Carlos Hathcock, American Marine sniper (d. 1999)
  • 1943 Deryck Murray, cricket wicket-keeper (West Indian 1963-80)
  • 1943 Iain Vallance [Baron Vallance of Tummel], CEO (British Telecom)
  • 1943 Tison Street, American violinist and composer (Jewel Tree), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1943 Al Bano [Albano Carrisi], Italian-Albanian pop singer, actor, and winemaker, born in Cellino San Marco Italy
  • 1943 Martin Honeysett, British cartoonist (Punch, Private Eye), born in Hereford (d. 2015)
  • 1943 Justin Cartwright, British novelist (In Every Face I Meet), born in Cape Town, South Africa (d. 2018)
  • 1944 Boudewijn de Groot, Dutch folk singer ("Sleep Well, Mr. President"), born in a Japanese concentration camp, near Batavia, occupied Dutch East Indies (now Jakarta, Indonesia)
  • 1944 Cipa Dichter, pianist/wife of Misha Dichter, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 1944 David M Walker, Capt USN/astron (STS 51-A 30, 53, 69), born in Columbus, Georgia

Joe Cocker

1944 (John) "Joe" Cocker, English rock vocalist ("With A Little Help From My Friends"; "Cry Me A River"; "You Are So Beautiful"), born in Sheffield, England, (d. 2014)

  • 1944 Keith Fletcher, cricket captain (Essex & England)
  • 1944 Joseph Benz, Swiss bobsledder (Olympic gold 2-man 1980; World C'ship gold 4-man 1975; 2-man 1978, 79), born in Zurich, Switzerland (d. 2021)

Dietrich Mateschitz

1944 Dietrich Mateschitz, Austrian businessman and co-creator of Red Bull energy drink, born in Sankt Marein im Mürztal, Styria, Austria

  • 1945 Harold E Ford, (Rep-D-TN, 1975- )
  • 1945 Lord Hollick, CEO (MAI)
  • 1945 Nikolai Nikolayevich Fefelov, Russian colonel and cosmonaut
  • 1945 Wally Herger, (Rep-R-California)
  • 1945 Vladimiro Montesinos, Peruvian politician
  • 1946 Bakhaavaa Buidaa, Mongolia, wrestler (Olympic silver 1972) disqualified

Cher

1946 Cher [Cherilyn Sarkisian], American singer ("I Got You Babe"; "If I Could Turn Back Time"), and actress (Mask; Moonstruck), born in El Centro, California

  • 1946 Craig Patrick, American NHL center and executive (USA Olympic gold 1980; GM Pittsburgh Penguins, Stanley Cup 1991-92, 2009), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1946 Bobby Murcer, American baseball outfielder (5-time MLB All Star), born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (d. 2008)
  • 1948 Dave Thomas, St Catherines Ontario, comedian (SCTV, Grace Under Fire)
  • 1948 John Amiel, director (Queen of Hearts, Tune in Tomorrow)
  • 1948 John R McKernan Jr, (Rep-R-ME, 1983-86/Gov-Maine)
  • 1948 Samuel Gejdenson, (Rep-D-Connecticut, 1981- )
  • 1948 Aleksandr Timoshinin, Russian rower (Olympic gold Soviet Union double sculls 1968, 72), born in Moscow, Russia (d. 2021)
  • 1949 Nick Joe Rahall II, (Rep-D-WV, 1977- )
  • 1950 Reinaldo Merlo, Argentine footballer
  • 1950 Andy Johns, British sound engineer and record producer (Humble Pie; Free; Joe Satriani), born in Epsom, Surrey, England (d. 2013)
  • 1951 Michael D Crapo, (Rep-R-Idaho)
  • 1951 Thomas D Akers, American former astronaut (STS 41, 49, 61, 79), born in St. Louis, Missouri
  • 1951 William Cullen Bryant, actor (Hell Squad)
  • 1952 Warren Cann, Canadian rock drummer (Ultravox), born in Victoria, British Columbia
  • 1952 Roger Milla, Cameroonian footballer
  • 1953 Robert Doyle, Australian politician
  • 1954 Galina Vasilyevna Amelkina, Russian doctor/cosmonaut
  • 1954 James Henderson, American southern rock guitarist (Black Oak Arkansas, 1975-79 - Ain't Life Grand), born in Jackson, Mississippi (d. 2016)
  • 1954 Guy Hoffman, American drummer (BoDeans, 1984-87; Violent Femmes, 1993-2002), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1954 David Paterson, American politician
  • 1954 Cindy Hensley McCain, American businesswoman, wife of politician John McCain, born in Phoenix, Arizona
  • 1954 Robert Van de Walle, Belgian judoka
  • 1955 Nigel Griffiths, MP (Labour)
  • 1955 Steve George, American rock keyboardist (Mr Mister - "Broken Wings"; "Kyrie"), born in, Bloomington, Indiana
  • 1955 Zbigniew Preisner, Polish film composer (Three Colors film trilogy), born in Bielsko-Biała, Poland
  • 1955 Anton Corbijn, Dutch music video (Depeche Mode), and film director, born in Strijen, Netherlands,
  • 1956 Andrew Hilditch, cricketer (Australian opening bat 1979-85)
  • 1956 Tomas Smid, Czech, tennis star
  • 1956 Ingvar Ambjørnsen, Norwegian author (Elling tetralogy, Brødre i blodet), born in Tønsberg, Norway
  • 1956 Dean Butler, American actor
  • 1956 William Michaelian, American novelist and poet
  • 1956 John Carney, American politician, Governor of Delaware (2017-), born in Willington, Delaware
  • 1958 Jane Wiedlin, American pop-rock singer, guitarist, and songwriter (The Go-Gos - "Vacation"; "We Got The Beat"; solo - Fur), born in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
  • 1958 Ronald Prescot Reagan Jr, LA, TV host (Ron Reagon Show) and son of Ronald and Nancy Reagon
  • 1958 Mike Stefanik, American auto racer (9 NASCAR Modified Championships), born in Wilbraham, Massachusetts (d. 2019)
  • 1959 Bronson Pinchot, American actor (Perfect Strangers, Beverly Hills Cop), born in NYC, New York
  • 1959 Peter Greene, American producer (After Midnight), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1959 Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Native Hawaiian singer, songwriter ("Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World"), and Hawaiian sovereignty advocate, born in Honolulu, Hawaii (d. 1997)
  • 1960 Susan Cowsill, American rock vocalist (The Cowsills - "We Can Fly"), born in Newport, Rhode Island
  • 1960 Tony Goldwyn, actor (Ghost, Kuffs, Traces of Red), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1960 John Billingsley, American actor
  • 1961 Kit Clarke, Scottish rocker (Danny Wilson - "Mary's Prayer"), born in Dundee, Scotland
  • 1961 Nick Heyward, British rock guitarist and vocalist (Haircut 100 - "Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)"), born in Becjenham, Kent, England
  • 1961 Vaughn Jefferis, New Zealand equestrian rider (World C'ship gold 1994, 98; Olympic bronze 1996), born in Huntly, New Zealand
  • 1962 Lydia Cheng, American Ms Big Apple bodybuilder (1982) (Pumping Iron 2), born in NYC, New York