Five People Born on January 26
Today is January 26, 2010 and the 26th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 339 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 1060 days till the end of the current cycle. On this date in 1988, The Phantom of the Opera opens in New York City. Here are five people that share a birthday on this day:
Bob Uecker (Born 1935)
Baseball player, sportscaster, comedian, actor. Born Robert George Uecker in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. An aspiring athlete, Bob Uecker was a huge fan of minor league baseball as a kid. In 1956, he signed with the Milwaukee Braves where he played catcher. Uecker, who later poked fun at his undistinguished playing career, did stints with the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies before returning to the Braves in Atlanta. He retired from the league in 1967. In 1970, Uecker reinvented himself as a sportscaster covering his hometown Milwaukee Brewers. A talented on-air personality, he also appeared in televised games, providing running commentary in the 1970s for ABC's Monday Night Baseball and in the 1990s for NBC. He also hosted two syndicated shows, Bob Uecker's Wacky World of Sports and Bob Uecker's War of the Stars. His humor and charisma endeared him to sports fans of all ages, and he became much more famous as a commentator than he ever was as a player. Bob Uecker also launched an acting career and had a successful run as George Owens on the sitcom Mr. Belvedere in the 1980s. He is also known for his part as one of the Miller Lite All-Stars in the company’s popular beer commercials. He has published two books, an autobiography entitled Catcher in the Wry and Catch 222.
Eartha Kitt (1927-2008)
American singer and dancer noted for her sultry vocal style and slinky beauty who also achieved success as a dramatic stage and film actress. The daughter of a white father and a black mother, Kitt from the age of eight grew up with relatives in an ethnically diverse section of Harlem, New York City. At 16 she joined Katherine Dunham's dance troupe, touring the United States, Mexico, South America, and Europe. When the Dunham company returned to the United States, the multilingual Kitt stayed in Paris, where she won immediate popularity as a nightclub singer. She made her acting debut as Helen of Troy in Time Runs, an Orson Welles adaptation of Faust, in 1950. With her appearance in the Broadway revue New Faces of 1952 and with early 1950s recordings such as “C'est Si Bon,” “Santa Baby,” and “I Want to Be Evil,” Kitt became a star. Kitt's success continued in nightclubs; theatre productions, such as Mrs. Patterson (1954) and Shinbone Alley (1957); films, including St. Louis Blues (1958) and Anna Lucasta (1959); and television appearances, notably the role of Catwoman in the late 1960s series Batman. After she publicly criticized the Vietnam War at a 1968 White House luncheon in the presence of the first lady, Lady Bird (Claudia) Johnson, Kitt's career went into a severe decline; in the 1970s it began to recover after news surfaced that she had been subjected to U.S. Secret Service surveillance. She continued to perform in nightclubs, theatres, films, and recordings until her death, and she received two Daytime Emmy Awards (2007 and 2008) for her role in a children's television program. She wrote the autobiographies Thursday's Child (1956), Alone with Me (1976), and I'm Still Here: Confessions of a Sex Kitten (1989).
Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)
U.S. general who commanded the Southwest Pacific Theatre in World War II, administered postwar Japan during the Allied occupation that followed, and led United Nations forces during the first nine months of the Korean War. He was a graduate of West Point in 1903, where he was the top of his class. He fought in France during World War One and served on the court martial of Billy Mitchell. By 1930, he became the army chief of staff. After the Japanese attacked the United States in December of 1941, he was placed in charge of the Pacific Theater. From 1941-1945, MacArthur was very successful in defeating the Japanese. He preceded over the Japanese surrender in 1944. In 1950, when the UN decided to go to war with North Korea, MacArthur was again put in charge of the forces. However, due to disagreements with President Harry S. Truman, he was relieved of his duties in 1951. Throughout this time, the Republican party sought to make him President of the United States, though, he never took the offer seriously. He went into seclusion and died in 1964.
Gene Siskel (1946-1999)
Popular film columnist and critic. Born Eugene Kal Siskel in Chicago. His nationally televised thumbs-up, thumbs-down assessment of films with Roger Ebert made him a household name. He was hired by The Chicago Tribune in January 1969. He initially worked as a news reporter and staff writer for the paper's Sunday department. But shortly thereafter, he reviewed his first movie. That September, Siskel was named the Tribune's film critic at the age of 23. Ebert was Siskel's fierce Chicago Sun-Times rival when the two were paired in the fall of 1975 to discuss and debate new movies on a start-up public television show called Opening Soon...at a Theater Near You. They argued passionately about their jobs on this and three increasingly popular incarnations of the show. In 1982, Siskel & Ebert & the Movies was nationally syndicated and later bought by the Walt Disney Co. Their contentious arguments over current movies often made the show more entertaining than the films they were dissecting. As the show's popularity increased, so did the duo's influence. One way the pair flexed their muscles was to draw attention to issues that stirred their passions. Their campaign for a non-X adult movie rating in part sparked the creation of the NC-17 rating. Other themed shows condemned colorization and pushed for full-screen letterbox images on video releases and more usage of black-and-white film. They also championed independent and foreign-language films and documentaries otherwise doomed to fall through the cracks. Siskel won numerous awards for his print and broadcast journalism, including five national Emmy Award nominations for Siskel & Ebert and an Iris Award from the National Association of Television Programming Executives (NATPE). Siskel was also one of the first broadcasters initiated into NATPE's Hall of Fame. Siskel and Ebert were honored by The Hollywood Radio and Television Society as Men of the Year in 1993. Siskel had a brain tumor removed in May of 1998. He returned to work on his TV program but took another leave in early February of 1999, citing his further need for time to recover. He died on February 20, 1999, at Evanston Hospital near Chicago.
Eddie Van Halen (Born 1955)
Musician born in the Netherlands, Van Halen is the lead guitar player of the self-named rock group, Van Halen. While growing up in Pasadena, California, Eddie and his brother, Alex, took classical piano lessons. As teenagers, Eddie switched to guitar and Alex to drums, and they started a band called Mammoth. In 1974, they hooked up with vocalist David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony to form Van Halen. Within a few years, the band had become hugely popular in the Los Angeles rock scene. The band got a break in 1977 when Kiss bassist Gene Simmons discovered them at a local club and financed their first recording session. Soon after, Van Halen signed with Warner Bros. In 1978, Van Halen put out its self-titled debut album, which featured the hit single "Runnin' With the Devil." The combination of Eddie Van Halen's electric guitar riffs and Roth's tongue-in-cheek antics launched the album to platinum status within six months of its release. During the next few years, Van Halen became one of the hardest working and most profitable bands in the recording industry, releasing a string of multi-platinum albums in quick succession; 1979's Van Halen II, 1980's Women and Children First, 1981's Fair Warning and 1982's Diver Down. But true superstar status did not come until the release of 1984, which showcased the now classic mega-hits "Jump," "Panama" and "Hot For Teacher." During this time, tension began to grow between Roth and the other band members. And in 1985, after recording his own successful solo album, Roth left the band to be replaced by former Montrose frontman Sammy Hagar. Showing a remarkable resiliency, Van Halen continued to put out several successful albums with Hagar as frontman, including 1986's 5150 and 1991's For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. In 1993, the band released its first double-live album, Van Halen Live: Right Here, Right Now. By the mid-1990s, tension resurfaced, this time between the clean-and-sober Eddie and the unrepentant wild man Hagar. Hagar put out his last Van Halen record, Balance, in 1995. Shortly after Hagar's departure, Roth returned for a much-publicized Van Halen reunion. But after recording two songs for a greatest hits album and making an appearance with the band at the MTV Music Awards, Roth left again. This time, he was replaced by Gary Cherone, formerly of the heavy metal band Extreme. Cherone's debut with the band, Van Halen III, was released in 1998, but after slow sales he made his departure. Eddie Van Halen married actress Valerie Bertinelli in 1981, and their son, Wolfgang, was born in 1990. The couple announced their separation in July 2002.