Five People Born on April 29
Today is April 29, 2010 and the 119th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 246 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 967 days till the end of the current cycle. On this date, in 1945, the Dachau Concentration Camp is liberated by United States troops. Here are five people born on this day.
Bernard Madoff (1938)
In our birthday list of terrible people, the top of today's list goes to Bernie Madoff, the NYC stockbroker, investment advisor, and admitted operator of the biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of the United States. Madoff founded the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC on Wall Street in 1960, and was its chairman until his arrest on December 11, 2008. The firm was one of the top money makers on Wall Street. However, on December 10, 2008, Madoff's sons told authorities that their father had just confessed to them that the asset management arm of his firm was a massive Ponzi scheme, and quoting him as saying it was "one big lie." The following day, FBI agents arrested Madoff and charged him with one count of securities fraud. The SEC had previously conducted investigations into Madoff's business practices, but did not uncover the massive fraud; critics contend that these investigations were very incompetently handled. In March 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal crimes and admitted turning his wealth management business into a massive Ponzi scheme that defrauded thousands of investors of billions of dollars. Madoff said he began the Ponzi scheme in the early 1990s. However, federal investigators believe the fraud began as early as the 1980s, and the investment operation may never have been legitimate. The amount missing from client accounts, including fabricated gains, was almost $65 billion. On June 29, 2009, he was sentenced to 150 years in prison, the maximum allowed.
William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951)
Hearst was a San Francisco newspaper magnate and leading newspaper publisher in the United States. His father was a millionaire mining engineer which afforded Hearst the chance to go to Harvard where he was expelled for giving his professors expensive chamberpots (early toilets) with their names imprinted on the inside. Hearst entered the publishing business in 1887 after taking control of The San Francisco Examiner from his father. Moving to New York City, he acquired The New York Journal and engaged in a bitter circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer's New York World which led to the creation of yellow journalism - sensationalized stories of dubious truth. Acquiring more newspapers, Hearst created a chain that numbered nearly 30 papers in major American cities at its peak. He later expanded to magazines, creating the largest newspaper and magazine business in the world. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, twice, but failed to win as Mayor of New York City and Governor of New York. Nonetheless, through his newspapers and magazines, he exercised enormous political influence, and is sometimes credited with pushing public opinion in the United States into the Spanish-American War in 1898. His life story was a source of inspiration for the lead character in Citizen Kane (1941) with Orson Wells. Hearst played a major part in aiding the anti-marijuana movement, leading to its prohibition in the Marihuana Tax Act of 1938 (that's the correct spelling), a law which also effectively outlawed hemp. Some critics claim that Hearst's paper empire (he owned hundreds of acres of timber forests and a vast number of paper mills designed to manufacture paper from wood pulp) in the early 1930s was threatened by hemp, which: 1) like wood pulp, could also be used to manufacture paper and 2) also had an advantage over wood pulp, because it could be regrown yearly as well. As buyers of newsprint, the Hearst chain had a strong interest in a low price for newsprint. If anyone could produce large amounts of cheap newsprint from a new crop it would lower Hearst's purchasing cost for newsprint. These commentators conclude that Hearst had no relevant financial interest in a ban on hemp cultivation. Hearst died at the age of 88 in Beverly Hills.
Emperor Hirohito (1901-1989)
This was the emperor of Japan during World War Two. He was the 124th emperor of Japan. according to the traditional order, reigning from December 25, 1926, until his death in 1989. Although better known outside of Japan by his personal name Hirohito, in Japan he is now referred to exclusively by his posthumous name, Emperor Shōwa. The word Shōwa is the name of the era that corresponded with the Emperor's reign, and was made the Emperor's own name upon his death. The Shōwa period was the longest reign of any historical Japanese Emperor, encompassing a period of tremendous change in Japanese society. At the start of his reign, Japan was still a fairly rural country with a limited industrial base. Japan's militarization in the 1930s eventually led to Japan's invasion of China and involvement in WW2. After the war, the Emperor cooperated with the reorganization of the Japanese state during the occupation of Japan, and lived to see Japan becoming a highly urbanized democracy and one of the industrial and technological powerhouses of the world. The issue of Hirohito's responsibility for war crimes is a debate regarding how much real control the Emperor had over the Japanese military during the war. The Japanese were extremely brutal to their opponents and the blame was never fully cast upon the Imperial family after the war.
Duke Ellington (1899-1974)
Born Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, he was a jazz musician, composer, pianist, and big band leader. A prominent figure in the history of jazz, his music stretched into various other genres, including blues, gospel, film scores, popular, and classical music. His career spanned more than 50 years and included leading his orchestra, composing an inexhaustible songbook, scoring for movies, and world tours. Due to his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, and thanks to his eloquence and extraordinary charisma, he is generally considered to have elevated the perception of jazz to an artistic level on par with that of classical music. His reputation increased after his death, and he received a special award citation from the Pulitzer Prize award in 1999. Ellington called his music "American Music" rather than jazz, and liked to describe those who impressed him as "beyond category". Ellington led his band from 1923 until his death in 1974. The band ended in 1996, after Ellington's son, Mercer, who had been leading the band since his father's death, died that year from cancer.
Jerry Seinfeld (Born 1954)
American stand-up comedian, actor and comedian best known for playing the semi-fictional version of himself in the situation comedy Seinfeld (1989-1998), which he co-created and wrote with comedian Larry David. Seinfeld was born in Brooklyn and graduated with a degree in communications and theater from Queens College. He developed an interest in stand-up comedy after brief stints in college productions. In 1976, right after graduation from Queens College, he tried out at an open-mic night at New York City's Catch a Rising Star, which led to an appearance on HBO's Rodney Dangerfield Special. In 1979, Seinfeld had a very small recurring role on the Benson sitcom as "Frankie", a mail delivery boy who had comedy routines that no one wanted to hear, but he was abruptly fired from the show due to creative differences. Seinfeld has said that he was not actually told he had been fired until he turned up for the read-through session for an episode and found that there was no script for him. n May 1981, Seinfeld made a highly successful appearance on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, impressing Carson and the audience and leading to regular appearances on that show and others, including Late Night With David Letterman. Seinfeld created The Seinfeld Chronicles with Larry David in 1989 for NBC. The show was later renamed Seinfeld to avoid confusion with the short-lived teen sitcom The Marshall Chronicles and, by its fourth season, had become the most popular and successful sitcom on American television. The final episode aired in 1998; but the show has been a popular syndicated re-run. After his sitcom ended, Seinfeld returned to stand up comedy, instead of pursuing a film career as most other popular comedians have done. In 1998, Seinfeld went on tour and recorded a comedy special entitled I'm Telling You For The Last Time. The process of developing and performing new material at clubs around the world was chronicled in a 2002 documentary, Comedian, which focused also on fellow comic Orny Adams, directed by Christian Charles. He has written several books, mostly archives of past routines. In his first major foray back into the media since the finale of Seinfeld, he co-wrote and co-produced the film Bee Movie.