Five People Born on Cinco de Mayo

Today is May 5, 2010 and the 125th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 240 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 961 days till the end of the current cycle. Today is Cinco de Mayo – the Fifth of May, celebrating Mexico’s win over the French at the Battle of Puebla.  Here are five people born on this day.

Karl Marx (1818-1883)
As much as this man’s name is feared in America, who is he? Well, he isn’t a Russian-guy, like many people may think.  Actually, he lived in England most of his life.  Karl Marx was born in Germany and was a political philosopher, economic theorist, and revolutionary. Marx also worked for a New York newspaper.  In school, he studied humanities at the University of Bonn (1835) and law and philosophy at the University of Berlin (1836–41), where he was exposed to the works of the philosopher, Hegel. Working as a writer in Cologne and Paris (1842–45), he became active in leftist politics. In Paris he met Friedrich Engels, who would become his lifelong collaborator. Expelled from France in 1845, he moved to Brussels, where his political orientation matured and he and Engels made names for themselves through their writings. Marx was invited to join a secret left-wing group in London, for which he and Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto (1848).  In that same year, Marx organized the first Rhineland Democratic Congress in Germany and opposed the King of Prussia when he dissolved the Prussian Assembly. Exiled, he moved to London in 1849, where he spent the rest of his life. He worked part-time as a European correspondent for the New York Tribune (1851–62) while writing his major critique of capitalism, Das Kapital (3 vol., 1867–94).  He died in London at the age of 64 and is buried there.

Tyrone Power (1914-1958)
This Cincinnati-born actor was most famous on the silver screen for his swashbuckling roles.  Power was a descendent of a long line of theatrical actors: his great grandfather was a nineteenth century comedian; his father, Tyrone Power Sr., was a London stage actor; while his mother, Helen Emma Raeume (stage name Patia Power), often acted opposite her husband in Shakespearean productions.  Power spent his childhood frequently traveling from Hollywood to New York, due to his parents’ various film and stage engagements. Tyrone Power inherited their love of theatre and spent his early teens being coached by his mother.  During the early 1930s, Power toured with a Shakespeare repertory company and secured several minor film roles, making his debut in Tom Brown of Culver (1932). He gained a foothold in the theatre when he debuted in the 1935 Broadway production of Romeo and Juliet. He received positive reviews, and shortly after, 20th Century Fox signed him to a seven-year contract. Power’s first effort with the studio was in the costume drama Lloyd’s of London (1936). His performance exceeded all expectations, and that same year he was featured in Ladies in Love and Girls’ Dormitory.  Power maintained his popularity over the next few years with roles ranging in scope from a conniving playboy in Cafe Metropole (1937), to an indignant bandleader in Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1938), to a notorious outlaw in Jesse James (1939). Tyrone Power also received attention with commanding performances in The Mark of Zorro (1940) and The Black Swan (1942).  After an impressive start, Power’s career was put on hold when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, where he served from 1942-46. Upon his discharge, he was welcomed back by Hollywood with a starring role in the film adaptation of the philosophical novel The Razor’s Edge (1946), followed by the highly original melodrama Nightmare Alley(1947), and the costume epic Prince of Foxes (1949).  During the 1950s, Power continued to take on roles in period pieces such as The Black Rose (1950) and King of the Khyber Rifles (1953). In addition to his trademark adventure films, he was also distinguished by the onscreen chemistry he shared with some of Hollywood’s leading actresses. Among the most notable were his pairings with Susan Hayward in the adventure feature Untamed (1955) and with Marlene Dietrich in Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution (1957).  Throughout his career, Power moved between screen and stage projects. In the years before his death, he had steady successes on Broadway in Mr. Roberts (1950), The Devil’s Disciple (1950), John Brown’s Body (1952), The Dark is Light Enough (1955), and Back to Methuselah (1958).  In 1957, Power died of a heart attack in Madrid, Spain while shooting the film Solomon and Sheba. He was 44 years old.

Nelly Bly (1864-1922)
Born Elizabeth Jane Cochran, Nelly Bly was the pen name of this pioneer woman journalist. She remains notable for two feats: a record-breaking trip around the world in emulation of Jules Verne, and an exposé in which she faked insanity to study a mental institution from within.  In addition to her writing, she was also an industrialist and charity worker.  A sexist column in the Pittsburgh Dispatch prompted her to write a fiery rebuttal to the editor with the pen name “Lonely Orphan Girl”.  He was so impressed with her earnestness and spirit he asked her to join the paper. She took her pen name, when she started writing, from the Stephen Foster song of the same name.  This was the customary thing to do at the time to protect female reporters.  Her early work for the Dispatch on the plight of working women, writing a series of investigative articles on female factory workers. But editorial pressure pushed her to the women’s pages to cover fashion, society, and gardening, the usual role for female journalists.  Bly left the Pittsburgh Dispatch in 1887 for New York City. Penniless after four months, she talked her way into the offices of Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper, the New York World, and took an undercover assignment for which she agreed to feign insanity to investigate reports of brutality and neglect at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island.  In 1888, Nellie suggested to her editor at the New York World that she take a trip around the world, attempting to turn the fictional Around the World in Eighty Days into fact for the first time. A year later, at 9:40 a.m. on November 14, 1889, and with two days’ notice, she began her 24,899-mile journey.  To sustain interest in the story, the World organized a “Nellie Bly Guessing Match” in which readers were asked to estimate Bly’s arrival time to the second, with the Grand Prize consisting at first of (only) a free trip to Europe and, later on, spending money for the trip.  She  made the trip in 72 days, six hours, and eleven minutes.n 1895 Nellie Bly married millionaire manufacturer Robert Seaman, who was 40 years her senior. She retired from journalism, and became the president of the Iron Clad Manufacturing Co., which made steel containers such as milk cans and boilers. In 1904 she invented and patented the steel barrel that was the model for the 55-gallon oil drum still in widespread use in the United States.  She died of bronchopneumonia at St. Mark’s Hospital in New York City in 1922, at age 57.

John Rhys-Davies (Born 1944)
This British actor and singer is probably best known for his roles as the charismatic Arab excavator Sallah in the Indiana Jones films and the dwarf Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, in which he also voiced the Ent, Treebeard. He also played Agent Michael Malone in the 1993 remake of the 1950s television series The Untouchables, as well as portraying Professor Maximillian Arturo in Sliders, General Leonid Pushkin in the James Bond film The Living Daylights, and Macro in I, Claudius. Additionally, he provided the voices of Cassim in Disney’s Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Man Ray in SpongeBob SquarePants, and Tobias in the computer game Freelancer.  He was recently seen in TV comedy Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire.

Tina Yothers (Born 1973)
You may remember this actress and singer from the 1980s sitcom, Family Ties (1982-1989).  She grew up in an entertainment family. Her father, Robert Yothers, was a television producer.  Yothers began her acting career in television advertisements at age three. Her first cinema role was in the 1981 television movie The Cherokee Trail. She also appeared in the 1982 feature film Shoot the Moon. Her most famous role was as Jennifer Keaton, the youngest daughter in the television comedy Family Ties from 1982 to 1989.  She also competed in the Battle of the Network Stars in December 1988.  She wrote the book Being Your Best: Tina Yothers’s Guide for Girls and formed the band Jaded with her brother Cory. She provided the lead vocals while Cory played keyboard. Previously, Yothers sang a cover of The Raes song “Baby I’m Back In Love Again”, which she would later record as a single, in a Family Ties episode “Band on the Run”.  After a nine year absence from acting, Yothers was given the lead role in Lovelace the Musical, a 2004 stage show based on the life of former pornographic movie star Linda Lovelace. She followed that up with a stint as a stock player in the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater in Boca Raton, Florida from 2005 to 2007.  Yothers appeared on the fourth season of the VH1 reality television show Celebrity Fit Club, which began on August 6, 2006. After Yothers’ second pregnancy, she appeared on Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp to try get back to her post-Fit Club weight.  In 2002, Yothers married an electrician, Robert Kaiser, who had twin sons from a previous marriage. Yothers has two children, daughter Lillian Grace ‘Lilly’, born October 2005, and a son, Robert Jake born September 24, 2007. The family resides in Ontario, California, a city in San Bernardino County, east of Los Angeles.