Today is February 5, 2010 and the 36th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 329 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 1050 days till the end of the current cycle. On this date in 1968, the Battle of Khe Sanh begins in Vietnam. By the end of this battle, the U.S. would have nearly 3400 casualties out of 6000 men. Here are five people that share a birthday on this day:
Belle Starr (1848-1889)
Belle Starr was an outlaw, named Myra Belle Shirley and born in Missouri. She later moved to a farm at Scyene, near Dallas, Texas. She bore a child by the outlaw Cole Younger (1844–1916) and another by Jim Reed, with whom she rustled cattle and horses in Texas in 1869. She fashioned herself the “bandit queen,” dressing in velvet and feathers or buckskin and moccasins. In 1880 she became the common-law wife of Sam Starr, and their Oklahoma ranch became an outlaws’ hideout. Sam was killed in a gunfight in 1886, and Belle herself was later shot down near her ranch.
John Carradine (1906-1988)
American actor, born Richmond Reed Carradine in New York City. Considered one of Hollywood’s most prolific character actors, Carradine grew up in Peekskill and Kingston, New York, and attended Christ Church School. He worked as a painter and sculptor in the South before making his acting debut in a production of Camille in New Orleans in 1925. Ready to try his luck as an actor, he moved to Hollywood in 1927, but didn’t make his screen debut until 1930 in Tol’able David. In 1935, he signed with Fox, changed his name from John Peter Richmond to John Carradine, and began a non-stop career both vast and varied. Early in his career, he appeared in ten films by director John Ford, including the The Prisoner of Shark Island in 1936. Though he turned in fine performances in numerous character roles throughout the 1930s and 1940s, he took on an increasing number of parts in cheap horror flicks, eventually appearing in more films of that genre than virtually any other actor. In addition, he toured in one-man Shakespeare productions and continued to play every imaginable role, including Dracula, Presidents and Nazis. His unusual credits and booming presence earned him a reputation as an eccentric, and he became known as the “Bard of the Boulevard” because he often recited Shakespeare while strolling the Hollywood streets. In 1988, Carradine died in Milan, Italy. He is survived by his sons, also actors, Keith, and Robert. Another son, David Carradine, died in 2009.
Hank Aaron (Born 1934)
Born Henry Louis Aaron in Mobile, Alabama. Formerly baseball’s all-time home-run king, Aaron played 23 years as an outfielder for the Milwaukee (later Atlanta) Braves and Milwaukee Brewers (1954–76). He holds many of baseball’s most distinguished records, including runs batted in (2,297), extra base hits (1,477), total bases (6,856) and most years with 30 or more home runs (15). He is also in the top five for career hits and runs. Aaron also had the record for most career home runs (755) until Barry Bonds broke it with his 756th home run on August 7, 2007, in San Francisco. He quit school in 1951 to join the Negro Leagues for the Indianapolis Clowns. Two years later, the Milwaukee Brewers picked him to join their farm team, the Eau Claire Bears. He was picked up by the Braves and by 1973, he was one home run behind Babe Ruth’s all time home run record of 714. But the chase to beat the Babe’s record revealed that world of baseball was far from being free of the racial tensions that prevailed around it. Letters poured into the Braves offices, as many as 3,000 a day for Aaron. Some wrote to congratulate him, but many others were appalled that a black man should break baseball’s most sacred record. Death threats were a part of the mix. Still, Aaron pushed forward. He didn’t try to inflame the atmosphere, but he didn’t keep his mouth shut either, speaking out against the league’s lack of ownership and management opportunities for minorities. On April 15, 1974, he banged out his record 715th homerun at 9:07 P.M. in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was a triumph and a relief. The more than 50,000 fans on hand cheered him on as he rounded the bases. There were fireworks and a band, and when he crossed home plate, Aaron’s parents were there to greet him. After retiring as a player, Aaron moved into the Atlanta Braves front office as executive vice-president, where he has been a leading spokesman for minority hiring in baseball. He was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1982. His autobiography, I Had a Hammer, was published in 1990. Hank Aaron was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.
Red Buttons (1919-2006)
American actor and comedian who was born Aaron Chwatt in New York City. At the age of 16, he got a job working as a bellhop and a singer at a bar on City Island in New York State. His uniform and his flame-colored hair served as inspiration for his stage name “Red Buttons” — a name he would use for his entire career. He joined the U.S. Army in 1943 and served in the entertainment unit. In 1952, he signed a deal to star in his own television program, “The Red Buttons Show”. Audiences responded enthusiastically to the show’s comedy sketches and the different characters Buttons played. The show also highlighted Buttons’ talents as a songwriter. Two of his most well-known creations are the songs “Strange Things Are Happening” and “Ho-Ho Song”. Lasting only three years, the show featured the works of many different comedy writers, such as Neil Simon, who later become famous in their own right. While possibly best known as a comedian, Buttons displayed his dramatic talents in the 1957 film Sayonara. Costarring with Marlon Brando, Buttons played an American soldier in love with a Japanese woman while stationed in Japan, grappling with issues of cultural and racial prejudice and discrimination. He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work that same year. He went to perform in more than 25 films, including Hatari (1961) with John Wayne, The Longest Day (1962) with Eddie Albert, The Poseidon Adventure (1972) with Gene Hackman, They Shoot Horses, (1969) with Jane Fonda, and It Could Happen to You (1994) with Nicholas Cage. Buttons died on July 13, 2006 in Los Angeles at the age 87 of vascular disease. A widower, he had been married three times.
Sarah Evans (Born 1971)
Country music singer who was born Sara Lynn Evans in New Franklin, Missouri. The oldest of seven children, Evans grew up on a farm and played in the family band from the age of five. After an auto accident left her with two broken legs, she sang traditional country songs to help pay her medical expenses. As a teenager Evans sang in nightclubs, and she soon decided to move to Nashville to pursue a career in music. After signing a contract with RCA, Evans released her first album, Three Chords and the Truth, in 1997. Her next effort, No Place that Far, had a more popular sound and was certified gold thanks in part to a chart-topping duet with Vince Gill. More hits followed, including “Suds in the Bucket,” “Saints and Angels” and “Born to Fly,” which was named Video of the Year at the 2001 Country Music Awards. Her 2003 platinum album, Restless, was followed by 2005′s Real Fine Place, which was No. 1 and No. 3 on the country and pop charts respectively, making it the best-selling album of her career.