Five People Born on January 29

jan29Today is January 29, 2010 and the 29th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar.  There are 336 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 1057 days till the end of the current cycle.  On this date in 1845, The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe, was first published.   Here are five people that share a birthday on this day:




number1W.C. Fields (1880-1946)
Actor, born William Claude Dukenfield, whose flawless timing and humorous cantankerousness made him one of America’s greatest comedians. His real-life and screen personalities were often indistinguishable, and he is remembered for his distinctive nasal voice, his antisocial character, and his fondness for alcohol.   Most stories about W.C. Fields are fabricated by himself and the studio, so it is hard to get any facts on him.  He did not, as has been widely reported, run away from home at age 11 after dropping a heavy wooden box on his father’s head. Rather, he left home at age 18 after many years of practicing his craft as a juggler, and he was a headline star in vaudeville by age 21. He toured the world extensively with his comedy juggling act, playing the world’s most prestigious venues, including the Folies Bergère in Paris. He added verbal humor to his act shortly after joining the Ziegfeld Follies in 1915; he starred in annual Follies productions until 1921 and made occasional return appearances until 1925. Fields became one of Broadway’s top stars when his performance in the musical comedy Poppy (1923) garnered raves from critics.  He signed a contract with Paramount Pictures, in which he made his greatest films between 1933-1938. He wrote most of his own screenplays, and, although he worked for several directors, there is little doubt that Fields’s films were very much his own.  He died on Christmas Day, 1946—ironically appropriate for a disbeliever who once confessed to be studying the Bible “for loopholes.” 


number2Oprah Winfrey (Born 1954)
American television host, actress, producer, philanthropist. Oprah Gail Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi. She entered Tennessee State University in 1971 and began working in radio and television broadcasting in Nashville.  After a brief film career, in which she was in Spielberg’s The Color Purple, Winfrey launched the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986 as a nationally syndicated program. With its placement on 120 channels and an audience of 10 million people, the show grossed $125 million by the end of its first year, of which Winfrey received $30 million. She soon gained ownership of the program from ABC, drawing it under the control of her new production company, Harpo Productions (‘Oprah’ spelled backwards) and making more and more money from syndication.  Winfrey, who became almost as well-known for her weight loss efforts as for her talk show, lost an estimated 90 pounds (dropping to her ideal weight of around 150 pounds) and competed in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC, in 1995. In the wake of her highly publicized success, Winfrey’s personal chef, Rosie Daley, and trainer, Bob Greene, both published best-selling books.  The media giant contributed immensely to the publishing world by launching her “Oprah’s Book Club,” as part of her talk show. The program propelled many unknown authors to the top of the bestseller lists and gave pleasure reading a new kind of popular prominence.  According to Forbes magazine, Oprah was the richest African American of the 20th century and the world’s only Black billionaire for three years running. Life magazine hailed her as the most influential woman of her generation. In 2005, Business Week named her the greatest Black philanthropist in American history. Oprah’s Angel Network has raised more than $51,000,000 for charitable programs, including girls’ education in South Africa and relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. 


number3William McKinley (1843-1901)
25th president of the United States (1897–1901), born in Niles, Ohio. . Under McKinley’s leadership, the United States went to war against Spain in 1898 and thereby acquired a global empire, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. McKinley was a veteran of the Civil War in the Ohio regiment under future President Rutherford B. Hayes.  Promoted second lieutenant for his bravery in the Battle of Antietam (1862), he was discharged a brevet major in 1865. Returning to Ohio, he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1867, and opened a law office in Canton, where he resided—except for his years in Washington, D.C.—for the rest of his life.  McKinley served in the House of Representatives until 1891.  McKinley became most closely identified during his congressional years was the protective tariff, a high tax on imported goods which served to protect American manufacturers from foreign competition.  A genuinely compassionate man, McKinley cared about the well-being of American workers, and he always insisted that a high tariff was necessary to assuring high wages. As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, he was the principal sponsor of the McKinley Tariff of 1890, which raised duties higher than they had been at any previous time. Yet by the end of his presidency McKinley had become a convert to commercial reciprocity among nations, recognizing that Americans must buy products from other countries in order to sustain the sale of American goods abroad.  He went on to win two terms as governor of the state of Ohio.  He would then go on to win the Republican nod for president in 1896 and would beat William Jennings Bryan for the Presidency.  Emerging from decades of isolationism in the 1890s, Americans had already shown signs of wanting to play a more assertive role on the world stage. Under McKinley, the United States became an empire.  On April 20  of his first year in office, Congress authorized the president to use armed force to secure the independence of Cuba, and five days later it passed a formal declaration of war.  The United States easily defeated Spanish forces in the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Combat began early in May and ended with an armistice in mid-August. The subsequent Treaty of Paris, signed in December 1898 and ratified by the Senate in February 1899, ceded Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States; Cuba became independent.  McKinley again faced Democrat William Jennings Bryan in the presidential election of 1900.  Again he defeated Bryan.  In 1901, McKinley was giving a speech in Buffalo, New York at the Pan-American conference when he was shot by anarchist, Leon Czolgosz.  Rushed to a hospital in Buffalo, McKinley lingered for a week before dying in the early morning hours of September 14.  He was succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt.


number4Tom Selleck (Born 1945)
Actor, producer. Born in Detroit, Michigan,Selleck was a talented collegiate athlete and Sigma Chi fraternity brother. He supported himself as a model, winning small parts in films and television during the 1970s. He received his big break in 1979, when he was cast in the starring role of CBS’s detective series Magnum, PI, in which he played an easy-going private investigator. The top-rated show earned Selleck an Emmy and a Golden Globe, and he continued with the role for eight years.  In 1987, he appeared in the hugely popular Three Men and a Baby alongside Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg. Selleck has appeared in several films since, including 1997’s In and Out (1997) and 1999’s The Love Letter. And though he’s tried his hand at producing and enjoyed a successful run as a recurring guest on the hit sitcom Friends, Selleck has yet to translate his movie star quality into true movie stardom.

number5Victor Mature (1919-1999)
Mature started his acting career at the Pasadena Community Playhouse, appearing in more than 60 plays. He got a small role in 1939’s The Housekeeper’s Daughter, making his first on-screen appearance. He graduated to a more substantial part in the movie One Million B.C. (1940). The film made him a star and was the first of many roles that showcased his good looks and muscular physique. In the early 1940s, Mature appeared in several different types of films—comedy, adventure, drama, and suspense. He even appeared in such musicals as No, No, Nanette (1940), Seven Days’ Leave (1942) with Lucille Ball, and My Gal Sal (1942) with Rita Hayworth. Mature starred in a number of films opposite Betty Grable, including I Wake Up Screaming (1941) and Footlight Serenade (1942). Sometimes called “the Hunk,” he became a very popular film idol and had many adoring female fans.  Putting acting on hold, Mature joined the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. After the war, Mature returned to Hollywood and turned in arguably two of his best performances. In the John Ford-directed western My Darling Clementine (1946), Mature played the legendary Dr. John “Doc” Holliday alongside Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp. In the crime drama Kiss of Death (1947), he starred as Nick Bianco, an ex-con who tries to go straight, but is menaced by someone from his criminal past.  Two years later, Mature took on one of his most famous roles as the long-haired hero in the biblical epic Samson and Delilah (1949). He starred opposite Hedy Lamarr as the legendary temptress. Mature continued to be to a in-demand leading man in the 1950s and appeared in several more epic films, such as The Robe (1953), The Egyptian (1954), and Hannibal (1960).  At the age of 46, Mature retired from Hollywood. He moved to Rancho Santa Fe, California, and spent his time playing golf and pursuing his hobbies. He was lured back into acting a few times over the years, appearing such films as After the Fox (1966) with Peter Sellers and Every Little Crook and Nanny (1972) with Lynn Redgrave. He made his television debut in Samson and Delilah (1984) as Samson’s father. This role turned out to be his last.  Mature died after battling cancer on August 4, 1999, in Rancho Santa Fe, California. He married five times, but his first two were very brief. Mature married for third time in 1948 but got divorced in 1955. His fourth marriage to Adrienne Joy Urwick in 1959 lasted a decade. In 1974, he married Lorey Sabena, and they had a daughter named Victoria. Besides his many marriages, Mature was romantically linked to co-star Rita Hayworth and other several other actresses.