Five People Born on December 16

dec_16Today is December 16, 2009 and the 350th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar.  There are 15 days left in the year 2009.  Tonight is the sixth day of Hanukkah.  According the Mayan calendar, there are 1100 days till the end of the current cycle.  Today, in 1773, patriots from the American colonies held the Boston Tea Party.  Here are five people that share a birthday on this day:


number1Ludwig Von Beethoven (1770-1827)
Born in Bonn, Germany – part of the Holy Roman Empire – Beethoven was a composer most famous for his intense symphonies.  Widely regarded as the greatest composer who ever lived, he dominated the musical era between Classical and Romance periods.  In his early twenties, he moved to Vienna to study under Joseph Haydn and quickly gained notoriety as being a virtuoso pianist.  In the late 1790s, his hearing started to deteriorate and became completely deaf.  The cause of the deafness is unknown, but has been attributed to diseases such as syphilis, lead poisoning, or typhus.  Despite his handicap, he continued to write, conduct and perform. By 1811, his hearing became so bad that he failed to play one of his own piano concertos that he quit performing for the remainder of his life.  Writing was also difficult, but it is said that he had a piano created, without legs, so he could feel the vibrations through the floor.  Beethoven was so skilled as a musical theorist, he could picture the other instruments in his head and would compose the parts of the music.  His music would go on to inspire dozens of later composers.  Beethoven died of liver disease –the result of years of alcoholism brought on by depression from his loss of hearing.



number2William “the Refrigerator” Perry (Born 1962)
Former defensive lineman and fullback of the Chicago Bears, Perry was born in Aiken, South Carolina.  He was nicknamed “the Refrigerator” for his huge, box-like size (6’2” tall and 385lbs.).  After playing for Clemson University, he was picked in the NFL draft in the first round by the Chicago Bears.  In his nine years with the Bears, he helped lead them to the Superbowl XX win and scored a touchdown.  His Superbowl ring is the largest made in the history of the game – a size 25 ring.  The average adult male size ring is 12.  His final season was played with the Philadelphia Eagles.  He played in 138 games, recording 29.5 sacks, and had 12 touchdowns.  After football, he did some acting in television ads.  He was diagnosed with Guillian-Barré syndrome in 2008 and resides with his family in North Carolina.


number3Benny Andersson (Born 1946)
Born Göran Bror Benny Andersson in Stockholm, Sweden, Andersson is a musician, composer and member of the seventies rock group, ABBA.  He is also responsible for co-composing such plays as Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla, and Mamma Mia!. Currently active with his own band Benny Anderssons Orkester (BAO!), and executive-producing the film version of the musical Mamma Mia! ABBA was one of the best known 70’s musical groups.  He met fellow ABBA band mate, Björn Ulvaeus, in 1966, while performing with a group called the Hep Stars.  The two started writing music together and formed a new group with their girlfriends – ABBA.  Both couples eventually married and stayed together until 1983.  When they divorced, ABBA broke up, but Andersson and Ulvaeus remained writing partners and friends.  It was announced today that ABBA would be inducted into the 2010 class of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.

number4Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008)
Born Arthur Charles Clarke in Somerset, UK, Clarke was a writer who worked in scientific research before turning to fiction.  During World War 2, he was a radar instructor and originated the idea of satellite communication in an article that he wrote in 1945 – decades before they became a reality.  He also conceived the ideas of space shuttles, our modern home computer, worldwide communications and of man on the moon.  In his lifetime, he authored more than 100 books, of which the Space Odyssey books (2001, 2010, 2062, 3001) are his most famous.  He was knighted in 2000, but poor health prevented him from leaving his home in Sri Lanka.  He died at the age of 90 in Sri Lanka from breathing problems and issues of post-polio syndrome, of which he suffered for decades.


number5Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
Born Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky in Moscow, Russia, he spent most of his youth in Odessa.  Kandinsky was an artist, art theorist and is credited with painting the first modern abstract work.  He originally majored in Economics and law at the University of Moscow, where he became a professor of Roman Law, but found a love for painting at the age of 30.  He switched professions and moved to Munich to study art.  Here, he taught at the Bauhaus school of art and architecture until the Nazis closed the school in 1933.  He fled Germany and moved to France where he spent the rest of his life.  Some of his most famous works are: Composition VII, On White II, Composition X, and Yellow, Red, and Blue.