Five People Born on January 17

jan17Today is January 17, 2010 and the 17th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar.  There are 348 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 1069 days till the end of the current cycle.  On this date in 1929, Popeye the Sailor first appeared in the newspaper.  Here are five people that share a birthday on this day:




number1Michelle Obama (Born 1964)
U.S. First Lady, born Michelle Robinson, is a lawyer, community outreach worker, and Chicago city administrator.  Michelle graduated in 1981 from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in Chicago’s West Loop as class salutatorian. After high school, she followed her brother to Princeton University, graduating cum laude in 1985 with a B.A. in Sociology. She went on to earn a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1988, where she took part in demonstrations demanding more minority students and professors.  Following law school, Michelle worked as an associate in the Chicago branch of the law firm Sidley Austin in the area of marketing and intellectual property. There in 1989, she met her future husband, Barack Obama, a summer intern whom she was assigned as an adviser.  After two years of dating, Barack proposed.  The couple married at Trinity United Church of Christ on October 18, 1992.  Michelle soon left her job to launch a career in public service, serving as an assistant to Mayor Daley and then as the assistant commissioner of planning and development for the City of Chicago.  In 1993, she became Executive Director for the Chicago office of Public Allies, a non-profit leadership-training program that helped young adults develop skills for future careers in the public sector.  Michelle Obama first caught the eye of a national audience at her husband’s side when he delivered a high-profile speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate from Illinois that November.  Since her husband’s political role pushed the Obama family into the spotlight, Michelle has been publicly recognized for her steely, no-nonsense campaign style as well as her sense of fashion. In May of 2006, Michelle was featured in Essence magazine as one of “25 of the World’s Most Inspiring Women.” Then in September 2007, Michelle was listed in 02138 magazine as number 58 in “The Harvard 100,” a list of the most influential alumni for the year. She has also made the Vanity Fair best-dressed list two years in a row, as well as People Magazine’s 2008 best-dressed list.  As the 44th First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama has focused her attention on issues such as the support of military families, helping working women balance career and family, and encouraging national service.



number2Al Capone (1899-1947)
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Alphonse “Scarface” Capone was the most famous American gangster to dominate organized crime in Chicago.  Al, the fourth of nine children, quit school in Brooklyn after the sixth grade and joined Johnny Torrio’s James Street Boys gang, rising eventually to the Five Points Gang. In a youthful scrape in a brothel-saloon, a young hoodlum slashed Capone with a knife or razor across his left cheek, prompting the later nickname “Scarface.”Torrio moved from New York to Chicago in 1909 to help run the giant brothel business there and, in 1919, sent for Capone. It was either Capone or Frankie Yale who allegedly assassinated Torrio’s boss, Big Jim Colosimo, in 1920, making way for Torrio’s rule. As Prohibition began, new bootlegging operations opened up and drew in immense wealth. In 1925 Torrio retired, and Capone became crime czar of Chicago, running gambling, prostitution, and bootlegging rackets and expanding his territories by the gunning down of rivals and rival gangs. His wealth in 1927 was estimated at close to $100,000,000. The most notorious of the bloodlettings was the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, in which members of Bugs Moran’s gang were machine-gunned in a north-side garage on Feb. 14, 1929.In June 1931 Capone was indicted for federal income-tax evasion and in October was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to 11 years in prison and $80,000 in fines and court costs. He entered Atlanta penitentiary in May 1932 but was transferred to the new Alcatraz prison in August 1934. In November 1939, suffering from the general deterioration of paresis (a late stage of syphilis), he was released and entered a Baltimore hospital. Later he retired to his Florida estate, where he died in 1947 from syphilis, a powerless recluse.



number3Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
American printer and publisher, author, inventor and scientist, and diplomat. One of the foremost of the Founding Fathers, Franklin helped draft the Declaration of Independence and was one of its signers, represented the United States in France during the American Revolution, and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He made important contributions to science, especially in the understanding of electricity, and is remembered for the wit, wisdom, and elegance of his writing.  As an inventor, he created the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and the glass ‘armonica,   As a physicist, he is responsible for many theories on how lightning worked and early discoveries in electricity. Franklin is also considered responsible to the history of American values and character, figuring thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions amongst it’s highest attributes.  Franklin was also a newspaper editor, writer, and merchant in Philadelphia, publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack and the Pennsylvania Gazette.  He also played an integral role in the foundation of the University of Pennsylvania.  During the Revolutionary War, Franklin was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and was influential in getting the French involved on the side of the Americans, where he was an ambassador there from 1776-1785.  Franklin died in 1790 at the age of 84.



number4James  Earl Jones (Born 1931)
The son of an ex-prizefighter-actor, Jones was raised by his maternal grandparents and is of Irish, Cherokee and African decent. He developed a severe stutter in childhood and refused to speak in school until a teacher helped him out of his silence in high school. He graduated from the University of Michigan, and after Army service he studied acting in New York.  Jones made his Broadway debut in 1957 with his first major role as boxer Jack Jefferson in 1966’s The Great White Hope. He also starred in the film version, earning an Academy Award nomination for the performance. Famous for his distinctive bellow, Jones is perhaps best known as the voice for the character of Darth Vader in the seminal Star Wars movies (1977, 1980, 1983).  Jones film career has been vast, often playing strong, authoritative characters. Notable film performances include Field of Dreams, The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. 

number5Jim Carrey (Born 1962)
Actor, comedian. Born James Eugene Carrey, in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. Carrey got his start with a spot doing stand-up at a Toronto comedy club when he was just 15 years old. By 1979, he had left the factory janitor job he had taken in 1978 to help support his family and was making his living as opening act for successful comics Buddy Hackett and Rodney Dangerfield.  At 19, Carrey headed west to Hollywood where, in 1983,he started with a made-for-television movie called Introducing…Janet.  Carrey’s appearances on television’s The Duck Factory; and Jim Carrey’s Unnatural Act (1991) led to a regular role on the hit comedy In Living Color.  Carrey’s big screen debut came with 1984’s Finders Keepers, but he didn’t have a big success until 1994’s Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. From there, Carrey’s expressive face, expert mimicry skills, and physical brand of comedy kept the hits coming. He followed with The Mask (1994), Dumb andDumber (1994), Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995), Batman Forever (1995),The Cable Guy(1996), and Liar Liar (1997).   In the summer of 2000, Carrey portrayed a character with two dueling personalities (both in love with the same woman) in the comedy Me, Myself and Irene. That fall, wearing pounds of green fur and makeup, he starred as the titular curmudgeon in the long-awaited big budget film version of Dr. Seuss’ holiday classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, directed by Ron Howard. In 2003, the actor starred as a man endowed with God-like powers in Bruce Almighty with Jennifer Aniston. The following year, Carrey starred opposite Kate Winslet in Charlie Kaufman’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Upcoming projects include two remakes: Steven Spielberg’s version of the 1947 comedy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and the 1977 flick Fun with Dick and Jane.