Today is December 10, 2009 and the 344th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 21 days left in the year 2009. It is also remembered as the day Nobel prizes are given out. This started in 1901 in honor of its benefactor, Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. Here are five people that share a birthday on this day:
Rod Blagojevich (Born 1956)
Politician born in Chicago, Illinois, Blagojevich served the state of Illinois as a State Representative and most recently as its governor. His time in office was riddled with scandal, including: showing favoritism to campaign donors, extorting money from local businesses and nepotism. By 2008, Blagojevich had an approval rating of 18% and was named the “Least popular governor in the nation.” Everything came to a head after the election of President Barack Obama when Blagojevich was accused of trying to sell the empty senate seat left vacant by Obama for campaign funds. This was something Blagojevich completely denied, but federal agents had enough evidence to arrest him. There were telephone conversations with him trying to block the media and fire Chicago Tribune employees for reporting on his activities. In late January, 2009, Blagojevich was impeached by the Senate and forbidden to hold public office in the state of Illinois.
Emily Dickenson (1830-1886)
A poet born in Amherst, Massachusetts, Dickenson was never popular during her lifetime. However, today she has become one of the most widely known American poets. She was educated at Amherst Academy from 1840 to 1847 and Mount Holyoke Female Seminary from 1847 to 1848. She met the Reverend Charles Wadsworth in Philadelphia in 1854, and he may have been the inspiration for some of her love poems. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a former minister and author, seems to have been her literary mentor, as indicated in an extended correspondence beginning in 1862. Not much is known about Emily Dickinson’s personal life, which has led to much speculation by scholars and readers alike. It is noted that she lived in Amherst all of her life and became a recluse around 1862. Dickinson died a few years later on May 15, 1886. Only two of her poems were published in her lifetime.
Michael Clarke Duncan (Born 1957)
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Michael Clarke Duncan is an imposing figure who worked as a ditch digger, bouncer, and bodyguard for such famous celebrities as Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Before breaking into acting in 1995 with a walk on role in the movie, Friday. At 6’5” and weighing well over 300 pounds of pure muscle, Duncan found himself typecast into playing the roles of bodyguards in small parts until his breakthough happened as the character Bear in the 1998 blockbuster, Armageddon, starring Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck. He would later work with Willis again in the The Whole Nine Yards series and Breakfast of Champions. Affleck would have him appear as the Kingpin in the Marvel Comics movie, Daredevil. He was later to star with Tom Hanks in the Stephen King thriller, The Green Mile, which won him critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Kenneth Branagh (Born 1960)
This Irish-born actor, director, and playwright is best known for his adaptations of Shakespearian plays. He is credited for making “Shakespeare accessible to the masses”, with such movies as Henry V, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, and Othello. In addition to Shakespeare, Branagh has also tackled Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He continues to direct and act in a variety of British-made movies and plays.
Susan Dey (Born 1952)
An American actress born Susan Hallock Smith in Pekin, Illinois. Dey was a part-time model when she won the part of Laurie Partridge in the television series, The Partridge Family, starring Shirley Jones. After the series ended in 1974, she struggled with small acting parts before landing a part in L.A. Law where she earned a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She was also nominated for an Emmy award in 1987, 1988, and 1989. She currently is an advocate of helping women who are the victims of rape at the UCLA Medical Center.