On This Day

Famous Birthdays on May 21

Aurelia Cotta

120 BC Aurelia Cotta, Mother of Julius Caesar, born in Rome (d. 54 BC)

  • 1471 Albrecht Dürer , German Renaissance painter and printmaker (Adam and Eve), born in Nuremberg, Germany (d. 1528)
  • 1527 Philip II, King of Spain (1556-98) and Portugal (1580-98), born in Valladolid, Spain (d. 1598)
  • 1633 Joseph de La Barre, French composer, born in Paris, France (d. 1678)
  • 1653 Eleonora Maria Josefa of Austria, queen consort of Poland and Lithuania (d. 1697)
  • 1671 Azzolino Bernardino Della Ciaia, Italian organist and composer, born in Siena (d. 1755)
  • 1680 Frederich Karl Erbach, German composer, born in Odenwald (d. 1731)

Alexander Pope

1688 Alexander Pope, English poet (Rape of the Lock, translation of Homer) (d. 1744), born in London, England

  • 1720 Antonio Corbisiero, Italian composer (d. 1790)
  • 1722 Wilhelm Gottfried Enderle, German composer and violinist, born in Bayreuth (d. 1790)
  • 1755 Alfred Moore, American judge (d. 1810)
  • 1763 Joseph Fouché, French statesman (d. 1820)
  • 1775 Lucien Bonaparte, prince of Canino and Musignano

Elizabeth Fry

1780 Elizabeth Fry, English prison reformer, social reformer and Quaker Minister, born in Norwich, England (d. 1845)

  • 1792 Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis, French scientist ( Coriolis effect), born in Paris, France (d. 1843)
  • 1796 Reverdy Johnson, American politician and jurist (Dred Scott v. Sandford), born in Annapolis, Maryland (d. 1876)
  • 1799 Mary Anning, British fossil collector, dealer, and palaeontologist (Jurassic marine fossil beds of Lyme Regis), born in Lyme Regis, Dorset (d. 1847)
  • 1821 John F. Loudon, Dutch sugar and indigo manufacturer, whose Deft collection was left to the Rijksmuseum, born in Rotterdam, Netherlands (d. 1895)
  • 1822 Dabney Herndon Maury, American Major General (Confederate Army), born in Fredericksburg, Virginia (d. 1900)
  • 1822 Mosby Monroe Parsons, United States officer in the Mexican–American War and brigadier general of the Confederate States Army, born in Charlottesville, Virginia (d. 1865)
  • 1825 George Lafayette Beal, American politician and Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Norway, Maine (d. 1896)
  • 1826 Danillo II, ruler of Montenegro (1851-60), born in Njeguši, Montenegro (d. 1860)
  • 1827 Konstantin Pobedonostsev, Russian reactionary lawyer and senator, born in Moscow, Russian Empire (d. 1907)
  • 1827 William P. Sprague, American politician from Ohio (d. 1899)
  • 1832 Elizabeth Storrs Mead, American educator (d. 1917)
  • 1835 Newton Martin Curtis, American Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in De Peyster, New York (d. 1910)
  • 1835 František Chvostek, Moravian physician (d. 1884)
  • 1841 Joseph Parry, Welsh composer and musician, born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales (d. 1903)
  • 1843 Charles-Albert Gobat, Swiss politician, recipient of the 1902 Nobel Peace Prize, born in Tramelan, Switzerland (d. 1914)
  • 1843 Louis Renault, French lawyer, born in Autun, France (d. 1918)
  • 1844 Henri Rousseau, French post-impressionist painter (The Dream, The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope), born in Laval, France (d. 1910)
  • 1850 Giuseppe Mercalli, Italian volcanologist (d. 1914)
  • 1851 Léon Bourgeois, French politician, French Prime Minister (1895-96, Nobel 1920), born in Paris, France (d. 1925)
  • 1853 Jacques Marie Eugène Godefroy Cavaignac, French politician (d. 1905)
  • 1855 Emile Verhaeren, Belgian poet and writer (Les Flammes Hautes), born in Sint-Amands, Belgium (d. 1916)
  • 1858 José Batlle y Ordóñez, President of Uruguay (1899, 1903-7, 1911-15), born in Montevideo, Urguay (d. 1929)
  • 1860 Willem Einthoven, Dutch physiologist and inventor of the electrocardiodiogram (Nobel Prize in Medicine 1924), born in Semarang, Dutch East Indies (d. 1927)
  • 1864 Princess Stephanie of Belgium (d. 1945)
  • 1867 John James Ferris, Australian cricketer (mighty Australian bowler of late 1880's)
  • 1867 Désiré Pâque, Belgium composer, born in Liège, Belgium (d. 1939)
  • 1872 Henry Warren, American inventor (Telechon electric clock), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1873 Emil Ermatinger, Swiss literature historian, born in Schaffhausen, Switzerland (d. 1953)
  • 1873 Everard Verachtert, Flemish translator (I speak beschaafd Dutch)
  • 1873 Hans Berger, German neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and inventor of electroencephalography (EEG), born in in Neuses, German Empire (d. 1941)
  • 1878 Glenn Hammond Curtiss, American inventor (hydroplane) and founder of the US aviation industry, born in Hammondsport, New York (d. 1930)
  • 1880 Pablo Luna, Spanish composer (De España vengo), born in Alhama de Aragón, Spain (d. 1942)
  • 1880 Tudor Arghezi, Romanian writer (d. 1967)
  • 1882 Georgine M "May" Basting, actress (Occupier, Hostage Rights of Aemstel), (d. 1950)
  • 1884 Manuel Pérez y Curis, Uruguayan poet (d. 1920)
  • 1885 Sophie of Schönburg-Waldenburg, wife of Prince William of Wied (d. 1936)
  • 1887 Mabel "Nell" Taliaferro, American actress (Sentimental Tommy, My Love Come Back), born in NYC, New York (d. 1979)
  • 1888 May Aufderheide, American ragtime composer (Dusty Rag), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1972)
  • 1890 Albert van Raalte, Dutch conductor (AVRO-orchestra), (d. 1952)
  • 1892 John Peale Bishop, American poet (This Side of Paradise), born in Charles Town, West Virginia (d. 1944)
  • 1893 Arthur Carr, English cricket captain (England v Australia 1926), born in Mickleham, England (d. 1963)
  • 1898 Armand Hammer, American millionaire industrialist (Occidental Petroleum), born in NYC, New York
  • 1898 Karel Haba, Czech composer and violinist, born in Vizovice, Moravia (d. 1972)
  • 1899 Ralph Sanford, American actor (Life & Legend of Wyatt Earp), born in Springfield, Massachusetts (d. 1963)
  • 1901 Horace Heidt, American orchestra leader (Swift Show Wagon), born in Alameda, California (d. 1986)
  • 1901 Suzanne Lilar [Verbist], France Belgian writer (Le burlador)
  • 1901 Sam Jaffe, American music and film producer (Born Free, The Fighting Sullivans), born in Harlem, New York (d. 2000)
  • 1902 Earl Averill, American baseball player (Cleveland Indians), born in Snohomish, Washington (d. 1983)
  • 1902 Marcel Breuer, Hungarian-born modernist architect and furniture designer, born in Pécs, Hungary (d. 1981)
  • 1903 Ali Sastroamidjojo, Indonesian attorney, minister and Prime Minister of Indonesia (1953-7), born in Grabag, Central Java, Dutch West Indies (d. 1975)
  • 1903 Manly Wade Wellman, Angolan born American sci-fi author (After Dark, Devil's Planet), born in Kamundongo, Portuguese West Africa (d. 1986)
  • 1903 Pedro Aramburu, Argentine army leader, President and Dictator of Argentina (1955-58), born in Río Cuarto, Argentina (d. 1970)

Fats Waller

1904 Thomas "Fats" Waller, American jazz organist, piano player, singer and composer ("Ain't Misbehavin'"; "Honeysuckle Rose";"Hot Chocolate"), born in NYC, New York (d. 1943)

  • 1904 Robert Montgomery, American actor and director (Robert Montgomery Presents, Earl of Chicago, Yellow Jack), born in Fishkill Landing, New York (d. 1981)
  • 1905 Edward Lockspeiser, British composer and musicologist (Debussy: His Life and Mind), born in London (d. 1973)
  • 1906 Keith Rigg, Australian cricketer (Test batsman in the thirties)
  • 1906 Dorothy Tree [Triebitz], American actress (Abe Lincoln in Illinois; Confessions Of A Nazi Spy; The Asphalt Jungle), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 1992)
  • 1907 Dandy Nichols [Daisy Sander], British actress (Till Death Us Do Part, Confessions of a Window Cleaner), born in London, England (d. 1986)
  • 1909 Guy de Rothschild, French banker ( Rothschild Frères), born in Paris, France (d. 2007)
  • 1909 François-Albert Angers, Quebec economist (d. 2003)
  • 1912 John Curtis Gowan, American psychologist (d. 1986)
  • 1912 Monty Stratton, American MLB pitcher, born in Palacios, Texas (d. 1982)
  • 1913 Gina Bachauer, Greek classical pianist of Austrian heritage, born in Athens, Greece (d. 1976)

Harold Robbins

1916 Harold Robbins, American author (Moneychangers, Carpetbaggers, Betsy), born in NYC, New York (d. 1997)

  • 1916 Leonard Manasseh, British architect (Rutherford School), born in Singapore (d. 2017)
  • 1916 Dennis Day [Owen Patrick Eugene McNulty], Irish-American tenor and comedian (Jack Benny Show, Danny Boy), born in New York City (d. 1988)
  • 1916 Tinus Osendarp, Dutch runner (d. 2002)
  • 1917 Raymond Burr, Canadian-American actor (Perry Mason, Ironsides, Godzilla), born in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada (d. 1993)
  • 1917 Ronald Colville, Scottish businessman and Governor of the Bank of Scotland, born in Glasgow, Scotland (d. 1996)
  • 1918 Leonard Mullens, British rubber physicist (Mullins effect) (d. 1997)
  • 1920 Anthony Steel, British actor and singer (Malta Story, The Wooden Horse), born in London, England (d. 2001)

Andrei Sakharov

1921 Andrei Sakharov, Russian nuclear physicist and an activist for disarmament, peace and human rights (1975 Nobel), born in Moscow, Russia (d. 1989)

  • 1921 Leona Wood, painter and dancer, born in Seattle, Washington
  • 1923 Ara Parseghian, American football player and coach (Northwestern, Notre Dame), born in Akron, Ohio
  • 1923 Bettye Danoff, American golfer (co- founder LPGA Tour), born in Dallas, Texas (d. 2011)
  • 1923 Doris Mae Akers, American gospel singer-songwriter (Sky Pilot Choir - Sweet, Sweet Spirit), born in Brookfield, Missouri (d. 1995)
  • 1923 Armand Borel, Swiss mathematician (d. 2003)
  • 1924 Mary Margaret "Peggy" Cass, American actress, comedian, game show panelist and announcer (To Tell The Truth), born in Boston, Massachusetts (d. 1999)
  • 1924 Robert Parris, American composer (Book of Imaginary Beings), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1999)
  • 1924 Jack Twyman, American basketball player (Rochester/Cincinnati Royals), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (d. 2012)
  • 1926 Rick Jason [Richard Jacobson], American actor (Day of the Wolves, Eagles Attack at Dawn), born in NYC, New York (d. 2000)
  • 1926 Robert Creeley, American, poet and novelist (Island), born in Arlington, Massachusetts (d. 2005)
  • 1927 George Levy, English antique dealer and heritage campaigner (d. 1996)
  • 1927 Kay Kendall [Justine McCarthy], British actress (Genevieve, The Constant Husband, Les Girls), born in Withernsea, East Riding of Yorkshire (d. 1959)
  • 1928 Alice Drummond, American actress (Awakenings), born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island (d. 2016)
  • 1929 Larance Marable, American jazz drummer (Charlie Haden's Quartet West; Stan Getz; Groove Holmes), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2012)
  • 1929 Charles Wadsworth, American pianist (Lincoln Center), born in Barnesville, Georgia
  • 1929 Paul Winslow, South African cricketer (big-hitter for South Africa, 108 v England 1955)
  • 1929 Robert Welch, English designer, silversmith (Robert Welch flatware), born in Hereford, England (d. 2000)

Malcolm Fraser

1930 Malcolm Fraser, Australian politician, Prime Minister of Australia (Liberal, 1975-83), born in Toorak, Victoria

  • 1930 Stanley Wells, English scholar of Shakespeare (Shakespeare Institute U of Birmingham), born in Hull, England
  • 1931 Desmond Wilcox, English broadcaster (BBC, ITV), born in Welwyn Garden City, England (d. 2000)
  • 1931 George Vassiliou, Cypriot politician, President of Cyprus (1988-93), born in Famagusta, Cyprus
  • 1932 Gabriele Wohmann, German writer, born in Darmstadt (d. 2015)
  • 1932 Robert Sherlaw Johnson, British composer and music scholar, born in Sunderland
  • 1933 Maurice André, French classical trumpeter and baroque revivalist, born in Alès, France (d. 2012)
  • 1933 Gene “Joe” Byrd, American jazz bassist (Charlie Byrd Trio), born in Chuckatuck, Virginia (d. 2012)
  • 1933 Umberto Colombo, Italian soccer midfielder (3 caps; Juventus, Atalanta), born in Como, Italy (d. 2021)
  • 1934 (Elbert) "Sonny" Forriest, American guitarist (The Coasters; Ray Charles; Hank Crawford), born in Pendleton, North Carolina (d. 1999)
  • 1934 Phillip King, British sculptor, born in Tunis, French Tunisia
  • 1934 Bengt I. Samuelsson, Swedish biochemist, (1982 Nobel laureate for Medicine or Physiology for prostaglandins), born in Halmstad, Sweden
  • 1935 Terry Lightfoot, British clarinetist and bandleader (New Orleans Jazzmen), born in Potters Bar, England (d. 2013)
  • 1935 Johnny Majors, American College Football Hall of Fame halfback (All American 1956; U of Tennessee) and coach (Iowa State; National C'ship 1976, Pittsburgh; Tennessee), born in Lynchburg, Tennessee (d. 2020)
  • 1936 Ama Samy, Indian Jesuit priest, Zen teacher and disciple of Yamada Koun, born in Burma
  • 1936 Dipak Nandy, Indian born British academic and founder of the Runnymead Trust. born in Calcutta, India
  • 1936 Abdul Taib Mahmud, 4th Chief Minister of Sarawak (1981-2014) and 7th Governor of Sarawak (2014-), born in Miri, Kingdom of Sarawak
  • 1938 David Groh, American actor (Rhoda - "Joe"; Another Day - "Don"), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2008)
  • 1938 Urs Widmer, Swiss writer, born in Basel (d. 2014)
  • 1938 (Henry) Lee "Shot" Williams, American blues singer ("I Like Your Style"), born in Mississippi (d. 2011)
  • 1939 Heinz Holliger, Swiss composer, oboist and conductor, born in Langenthal, Switzerland

Tony Sheridan

1940 Tony Sheridan, British singer-songwriter and guitarist who collaborated with The Beatles ("My Bonnie"), born in Norwich, England (d. 2013)

  • 1941 Anatoly Levchenko, Soviet cosmonaut (TM-4), born in Krasnokutsk, Ukrainian SSR, USSR (d. 1988)
  • 1941 Ronald Isley, American singer (Isley Brothers - "Twist and Shout"; "This Old Heart Of Mine"), born in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 1941 Martin Carthy, English folk musician, born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire
  • 1942 David Hunt, British Conservative politician, born in Glyn Ceiriog, Wales
  • 1942 Robert C. Springer, American Army Colonel USMC/astronaut (STS-29, STS-38), born in St. Louis, Missouri
  • 1942 John Konrads, Australian swimmer (Olympic gold 1500m freestyle, bronze 400m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle 1960; 26 individual world records), born in Riga, Latvia (d. 2021)
  • 1943 John Dalton, British rock bass player (The Kinks, 1969-76 -"Lola"; "Celluloid Heroes"), born in Enfield, Middlesex, England
  • 1943 Hilton Valentine, British rock guitarist (Animals - "House of the Rising Sun"), born in North Shields, Northumberland, England (d. 2021)
  • 1943 Vincent Crane [Cheesman], British rock Hammond organist, and songwriter (The Crazy World of Arthur Brown - "Fire"), born in Reading, Berkshire, England (d. 1989)
  • 1944 Janet Dailey, American Romance author, born in Storm Lake, Iowa (d. 2013)
  • 1944 Manual Pina, Spanish fashion designer (d. 1994)
  • 1944 Marcie Blane [Blank], American pop singer (Bobby's Girl), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1944 Mary Robinson, Irish politician, President of the Republic of Ireland (1990-97), born in Ballina, Ireland
  • 1945 Ernst Willi Messerschmid, German astronaut (STS 22), born in Reutlingen Germany
  • 1945 Richard Hatch, American actor (Battlestar Galactica), born in Santa Monica, California (d. 2017)
  • 1946 David Hill, Australian TV-reporter and owner (Fox Sports)
  • 1947 Bill Champlin, American Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and producer (Chicago, 1981-2009; Sons of Champlin), born in Oakland, California
  • 1947 Dorothy Germain Porter, American golfer (US Curtis Cup winning captain 1966), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 2012)
  • 1947 Jonathan Hyde, Australian-born actor (Titanic), born in Brisbane, Australia
  • 1947 Jiggs Kalra, Indian food writer "Czar of Indian cuisine", born in Punjab region, India (d. 2019)
  • 1948 (Gerard) "Leo" Sayer, British songwriter and singer ("You Make Me Feel Like Dancing"; "When I Need Love"), born in Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, England
  • 1948 Carol Potter, American actress (Beverly Hills 90210, Today's FBI), born in NYC, New York
  • 1949 Andrew Neil, Scottish newspaper editor, (Sunday Times), born in Paisley, Scotland
  • 1949 Arno Hintjens, Belgian singer (T C Matic)
  • 1949 Rosalind Plowright, British soprano (Aida, Senta)
  • 1951 Al Franken, US politician (Senate-D-Minnesota 2009-18) comedian, writer, actor (SNL, 1975-80; 1985-90), born in NYC, New York
  • 1951 Arthur Russell, American experimental classical-pop fusion cellist, and composer, born in Oskaloosa, Iowa (d. 1992)

Mr. T

1952 Mr. T [Lawrence Tureaud], American actor (A-Team, Rocky III, T & T), born in Chicago, Illinois

  • 1954 Marina Langner, German beauty queen, Miss World runner-up (1975), born in Dusseldorf, Germany
  • 1954 Marc Ribot, American guitarist (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, John Zorn), born in Newark, New Jersey
  • 1955 John Galvin, American rock keyboardist (Molly Hatchet), born in Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1955 Liaqat Ali, Pakistani cricket pace bowler (Pakistan for six Tests 1975-79), born in Karachi, Pakistan
  • 1955 Stan Lynch, American rock drummer (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1976-94), producer, and songwriter, born in Gainesville, Florida
  • 1955 Paul Barber, British field hockey player
  • 1957 Judge Reinhold, American actor (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), born in Wilmington, Delaware
  • 1957 Sue Woodstra, American volleyball player (Olympic silver 1984), born in Colton, California
  • 1957 Bruce Buffer, American Mixed Martial Arts Announcer, born in Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • 1957 Nadine Dorries, British politician (C), born in Liverpool, England
  • 1957 Renée Soutendijk, Dutch actress (The Fourth Man), born in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 1958 Monte Lynch, Guyanese-born English cricketer (Surrey batsman, WI Rebel, England ODI player), born in Plaisance, British Guiana
  • 1958 Sabine Bischoff, German fencer (Olympic gold 1984), born in Tauberbischofsheim, Germany (d. 2013)
  • 1959 Nick Cassavetes, American actor and director (The Notebook), born in NYC, New York
  • 1959 Brisn Lenihan, Jnr, Irish politician and minister, born in Dublin (d. 2011)
  • 1960 Kent Hrbek, American baseball player ( Minnesota Twins), born in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • 1960 Mohanlal, Indian actor, born in Elanthoor, India

Jeffrey Dahmer

1960 Jeffrey Dahmer, American serial killer (Milwaukee Cannibal), born in West Allis, Wisconsin (d. 1994)

  • 1961 Tim Lever, British musician (Dead or Alive-You Spin Me Round)
  • 1962 David Crumb, American contemporary composer, and educator (University of Oregon, 1997-present), born in Colorado
  • 1963 Dave Specter, American Chicago blues and jazz guitarist, born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1963 Elena Vodorezova, Russian figure skater (Olympic-1976) and coach, born in Moscow, USSR
  • 1963 Greg Smith, American session and touring rock bassist (Rainbow; Alice Cooper; Wendy O. Williams, Ted Nugent), born
  • 1963 Richard Appel, American writer and TV showrunner (Family Guy), born in New York City
  • 1963 Kevin Shields, American born Irish musician (My Bloody Valentine), born in Queens, New York
  • 1964 Annabel Schofield, Welsh actress (Laurel Ellis-Dallas), born in Llanelli, Wales
  • 1964 Tommy Albelin, Swedish NHL defenceman (Calgary Flames), born in Stockholm, Sweden
  • 1964 Nancy Daus, American professional wrestler (d. 2007)
  • 1964 Carolyn Lawrence, American actress and voice actress (SpongeBob SquarePants), born in Baltimore, Maryland
  • 1966 Manon Kelley, Canadian actress (Red Lips 2), born in Quebec City, Québec
  • 1967 Tracy Simien, American NFL linebacker (KC Chiefs), born in Bay City, Texas
  • 1968 Julie Vega, Filipina child actress and singer, born in Quezon City, Philippines (d. 1985)
  • 1968 Matthias Ungemach, German rower
  • 1969 Reid Simpson, Canadian NHL left wing (NJ Devils), born in Flin Flon, Canada
  • 1969 Masayo Kurata, Japanese voice actress
  • 1969 Pierluigi Brivio, Italian footballer, born in Milan, Italy
  • 1970 Dorsey Levens, NFL running back (Green Bay Packers-Super Bowl 31)
  • 1970 Carl Veart, Australian footballer, born in Whyalla, Australia
  • 1971 Eric Nies, American reality TV personality (MTV Real World, Grind)
  • 1972 Adriano Cintra, Brazilian musician (CSS)
  • 1972 The Notorious B.I.G. [Christopher Wallace], American rapper (Life After Death), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 1997)
  • 1973 Noel Fielding, British comedian (The Mighty Boosh, The Great British Baking Show), born in London, England
  • 1974 Fairuza Balk, American actress (The Craft, Gas Food Lodging), born in Point Reyes, California
  • 1974 Havoc [Kejuan Muchita], American rapper (Mobb Deep), born in Queensbridge, Queens, New York
  • 1975 Lee Gaze, Welsh guitarist (No Devotion), born in Pontypridd, Wales
  • 1975 Abbas [Mirza Abbas Ali], Indian Tamil film actor and model (Kadhal Desam), born in Kolkata, West Bengal, India
  • 1976 Deron Miller, American rock musician (CKY), born in Chester, Pennsylvania