Today is February 22, 2010 and the 53rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 311 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 1033 days till the end of the current cycle. On this date, in 1889, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington become U.S. States. Here are five people that share a birthday on this day:
George Washington (1732-1799)
Soldier, General and first United States President, born in Virginia to wealthy estate owners. Little is known about his youth, though he was raised by his older half-brother Lawrence after his father’s death at age 11. In his early years, Washington was a surveyor that longed for more adventure in his life. His brother died when Washington was 20 and he was left one of the largest estates in Virginia – Mount Vernon. In the meantime, he found himself on the side of the British during the French and Indian War. Washington proved himself to be a very capable leader and in the years following that war, he was called up, once again, to lead the rebellion against the British during the Revolutionary War. For his leadership during the previous war, in addition to being a member of the Continental Congress, Washington was named Commander-in-Chief of the colonial army. While he was not very successful at the beginning of the war, Washington made some ingenious and calculated moves that proved the colonies to be victorious. The British surrendered at Yorktown and Washington returned to Mount Vernon. In 1789, Washington was again called by his country to become President of the United States. He served two terms as president, but then was disheartened by the way the country’s politics was leading and left to return to his wife, Martha, and Mount Vernon. He died of pneumonia.
Ted Kennedy (1932-2009)
U.S. Senator born in Boston and brother of President John Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy. First elected senator on the Democratic ticket in 1962, he was re-elected nine times, serving 47 years until his death. At the time of his death, he was the second-most senior member of the Senate and the fourth longest serving senator in U.S. history. In 1969, he was caught up in a scandal which ended in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, when the car he was driving went off of a bridge in Chappaquiddick. He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and this incident cost Kennedy the chance of becoming President of the United States. He became known as the “Lion of the Senate” and was known for his great oratory skills and his battles for major laws addressing immigration, health insurance, AIDS, civil rights, disability discrimination, education, and apartheid. He considered universal healthcare, the “cause of his life”. In May, 2008, he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Over the next year, he missed many senate votes and he died from his illness at his home in Hyannis Port. He is known as a key American spokesperson in progressivism.
Steve Irwin (1962-2006)
Australian herpetologist, television personality, and conservationist, Irwin was known as “The Crocodile Hunter”. Part wildlife expert and part entertainer, Irwin became world famous for his television series, The Crocodile Hunter, and other nature programs. While he had no scientific degree, he grew up studying and caring for animals at his parents’ wildlife park, which is now known as the Australia Zoo. He first learned how to catch and handle his beloved crocodiles from his father and once received a python as a birthday present. Always in his trademark khaki shirt and shorts, Irwin became a well-known figure in popular culture. He even had his own catchphrase—”Crikey!”—an Australian expression of surprise or excitement. There have been countless parodies and spoofs of the famed adventurer—even The Simpsons and South Park featured send-ups of Irwin. He wasn’t afraid to poke fun at his image as an energetic naturalist and showman. Irwin appeared as himself in the 2001 film Dr. Dolittle 2 with Eddie Murphy. Irwin occasionally drew criticism for his stunts. Some said that he was exploiting the animals that appeared on his shows. He stirred up even greater controversy in 2004 for feeding a crocodile while holding his infant son. Many were shocked by the images of Irwin and his son Bob with the snapping crocodile and accused Irwin of child endangerment. Irwin was never charged in regard to this incident and stated that his son was never in harm’s way. On September 4, 2006, Irwin was working on a new program, filming at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Snorkeling near a stingray, he was pierced in the chest by its barb, which hit his heart. Irwin died of cardiac arrest shortly after being stung. Stunned by the news of his sudden death, people around the world mourned his passing.
Don Pardo (Born 1913)
Television announcer, actor. Born Dominick George Pardo in Westfield, Massachusetts. With his smooth-sounding voice, Don Pardo is perhaps one of the best-known television announcers of all time. He worked on news programs and many popular television shows, including Saturday Night Live. He began his career in the 1940s at NBC Radio. Staying with NBC, Pardo made the move to television in the 1950s, serving as a staff announcer. He worked on a number of game shows, including Remember This Date and The Price Is Right and became the announcer for the original version of Jeopardy in the mid-1960s. After about a decade with that game show, Pardo took on a new challenge in 1975, becoming the announcer for the hit sketch comedy series, Saturday Night Live. In addition to his announcing duties, he joined musical guest Frank Zappa to recite part of the song “I’m the Slime” in 1976. This led to further collaboration between Pardo and Zappa with Pardo providing the narration to two other Zappa songs. Despite his distinguished career as a broadcaster, Pardo has not been poking fun at himself, providing the voiceover for numerous commercial and game shows spoofs and other skits. He was even the subject of sketch known as “Don Pardo: The First Fifty Years.” In addition to Saturday Night Live, Pardo has taken on small acting roles, including appearing as a game show announcer in the music video for Weird Al Yankovic’s song, “I Lost on Jeopardy,” in 1984 and as the Guess That Tune host in Radio Days (1987). More recently, he guest starred on the gritty prison drama Oz in 2001. Pardo has also served as the announcer for Wheel of Fortune during some of the show’s visits to New York City and as the for local and national NBC news programs. He is one of the few people ever to receive a lifetime contract from NBC.
Drew Barrymore (Born 1975)
American actress born in Los Angeles to the Barrymore dynasty of actors, Drew Barrymore was destined to follow the family occupation from a very young age. She made her big screen debut at the age of four in Ken Russell’s Altered States (1980). At the age of seven, Barrymore landed her most famous role as Gertie, the adorable little sister in E.T.: The Extraterrestrial (1982). The role pushed Barrymore into the spotlight. After the movie she appeared on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and became the youngest-ever host of Saturday Night Live. Because of her reputation as a wild child in trouble, film projects were slow to materialize. Barrymore made some minor films, including Irreconcilable Differences, Firestarter and Cat’s Eye. In the 1990s, she began starring in a series of films that exploited her bad-girl image, including Poison Ivy (1992), Guncrazy (1992), and The Amy Fisher Story (1993), a made-for-TV movie based on the Joey Buttafuoco scandal. Her luck began to change in 1995, when Barrymore founded her own production company, Flower Films. The same year, she gave a solid performance in the film Boys on the Side co-starring Whoopi Goldberg and Mary-Louise Parker. The next year she made a memorable terror-filled appearance in the blockbuster Scream (1996) and co-starred in Woody Allen’s musical Everybody Says I Love You (1996). In 1998, she proved her strength as a romantic leading lady when she co-starred in the popular comedy, The Wedding Singer with Adam Sandler and in Ever After, a version of the Cinderella story co-starring Anjelica Huston. Charlie’s Angels signaled the beginning of true financial success for Flower Films. Barrymore’s next choice for the company was the dark drama, Donnie Darko, starring Jake Gyllenhaal. The film, in which Barrymore also co-starred, became an instant cult classic and was nominated for more than a dozen independent film awards. In addition to acting, Barrymore has a successful career as a model, becoming the face of CoverGirl Cosmetics and Gucci Jewelry in 2007. That same year, she was listed No. 1 in People magazine’s annual 100 Most Beautiful People list.
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