Five People Born on April 13
Today is April 13, 2010 and the 103rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 262 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 983 days till the end of the current cycle. On this date, in 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is founded in New York City. Here are five people born on this day.
Guy Fawkes (1570-1606)
“Remember, remember the fifth of November…” Guy Fawkes was a British conspirator who was part of the Catholic Restorationists at the turn of the seventeenth century. The plan of the Catholic Restorationists was to displace the Protestant rule by blowing up the House of Parliament in 1605. It was called the Gunpowder Plot and it failed miserably. The Gunpowder Plot was led by Robert Catesby, but Fawkes was put in charge of the actual deployment. He was arrested a few hours before the explosion was about to happen in the basement of the Parliament by guards who were tipped off by an anonymous warning letter. “Guy Fawkes Night” is a celebration held in England every November 5, where an effigy of Fawkes is burned and accompanied by fireworks. As for Guy Fawkes, he was hung for treason.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
The third President of the United States, author of the Declaration of Independence, inventor, and architect, Thomas Jefferson was the epitome of the Renaissance Man. He was one of the most influential of our Founding Fathers. During his Presidency, Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase from France, sent Lewis and Clark out to discover the west, and escalated tension between England and France that eventually led to the War of 1812. He is the only US President to serve two terms in office without vetoing a single bill of Congress. He is consistently ranked as one of the best U.S. Presidents. Jefferson died on the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, of which he wrote. He is buried at his home in Monticello. During his life, he was a man of science and education. He founded the University of Virginia, of which he also designed.
Antonio Meucci (1808-1890)
You’ve probably never have heard of this Italian inventor, unless you are a fan of the Godfather, Part 3. He is responsible for inventing a voice apparatus in 1857 and many scholars credit him with inventing the telephone. However, he is often not recognized for this invention with credit going to Alexander Graham Bell. Even though he invented this device, he didn’t have the $10 required to pay for the patent on the device and one year later, Bell came out with his invention. In 2002, the US House of Representatives officially recognized his contribution. He actually did have a patent caveat purchased in 1871, but needed to renew it in 1874. When he did not do this, Alexander Graham Bell got his patent in 1876. Meucci’s device transmitted sound from the first floor of his Staten Island home to the basement. Additional inventions by Meucci include: an improved propellant for fireworks (1825), an advanced way to chemically preserve corpses (1849), and paraffin candles (1860).
Butch Cassidy (1866-1908???)
This American outlaw was born Robert Leroy Parker in Beaver, Utah. He was the leader of the Hole In The Wall Gang, who were responsible for train and bank robberies. Together, with his co-patriot, the Sundance Kid (Harry Longabaugh), he also formed a gang, known as The Wild Bunch. American movie-goers will know both of these gangs from movies “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969) and “The Wild Bunch” (also in 1969). Cassidy got into trouble with the Pinkerton detectives, hired by the railroads, to stop his robberies. Cassidy was having problems with his gang, and with the added trouble from the law, he decided to leave the United States and head to Bolivia, along with the Sundance Kid and his girlfriend, school teacher, Etta Place. While in Bolivia, the duo ran into trouble with the law and were gunned down by the Bolivian government…or so it would seem. There is a rumor that Cassidy survived the ordeal and returned to the United States. Family members and others close to Butch Cassidy claim that he lived (along with the Sundance Kid) until the late 1930s. Books have been written on this, but the truth might never be known.
Don Adams (1923-2005)
This American actor, comedian, and director was born Donald James Yarmey and is possibly best known for as Agent 86, Maxwell Smart on television’s Get Smart (1965-70), which he also directed and wrote. Adams won three consecutive Emmy Awards for his portrayal of the bumbling superspy. He also provided the voices of Tennessee Tuxedo (1963-1966) and Inspector Gadget (1983-1986). Adams was born in Manhattan and dropped out of high school to work as a theater usher. He joined the US Marine Corps during World War Two and was at Guadalcanal, as a replacement after the battle. There, he contacted an illness and missed the rest of the war. When he returned, he was made a drill sergeant. He began working on television in 1954, after a series of dead end jobs. From 1963-65, he worked on the Bill Dana Show as an accident-prone detective, which would later be the inspiration for his Get Smart character. That show, created by Mel Brooks, was the comedic answer to the spy shows that were popular during the Cold War. After the show was cancelled – which Adams was happy for – he found himself typecast in the role and found it difficult to find serious work. He turned to doing voice-over acting on cartoons. He died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in 2005 from lymphoma. Among the people at his funeral was his Get Smart wife from the television series, Barbara Feldon (Agent 99), who performed his eulogy.