Five People Born on March 16

Today is March 16, 2010 and the 75th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar.  There are 289 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 1011 days till the end of the current cycle.  On this date, in 1926, Robert Goddard launches the first liquid-fueled rocket.  Here are five people that share a birthday on this day:

James Madison (1751-1836)
The fourth U.S. President of the United States and  one of the founding fathers of our country.  At the Constitutional Convention (1787), he influenced the planning and ratification of the U.S. Constitution and collaborated with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay in the publication of the Federalist papers. As a member of the new House of Representatives, he sponsored the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, commonly called the Bill of Rights. He was secretary of state under President Thomas Jefferson when the Louisiana Territory was purchased from France. The War of 1812 was fought during his presidency. Madison was the first president to serve in the U.S. Congress and is often called the “Father of the Constitution” since he is chiefly responsible for writing the document, as well as the Federalist Papers, the most influential commentary on the Constitution. 

Will Eisner (1917-2005)
Cartoonist, writer, and publisher, born in New York City, New York. After studying at the Arts Students’ League in New York City, he became staff artist on the New York American, and in 1937 formed a ‘shop’ for mass-producing comic strips for Wags, turning out such strips as Sheena, and developing The Flame into the long-running weekly serial Hawks of the Seas. During 1940–52 he produced the first comic-book insert for Sunday newspapers that included perhaps his most admired creation, The Spirit. In the army in World War 2 he used his comic art for educational purposes. He has been internationally honoured for his varied achievements, which include graphic novels, a history book, Comics and Sequential Art (1985), and for his teaching at the New York School of Visual Arts (1973)

Erik Estrada (Born 1949)
New York City actor who rose to fame on television’s CHiPS as Frank “Ponch” Poncherello on the police drama.  Estrada first started acting in high school as a member of the drama club. After graduation, he studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Estrada had his first big break in 1970’s The Cross and the Switchblade, playing Nicky, a gang leader, opposite Pat Boone who starred as a preacher seeking to convert two rival gangs to Christianity.  Earning strong reviews for his performance, Estrada went on to play his first cop role as a rookie officer in The New Centurions (1972). Other roles followed in such films as Airport 1975, Trackdown (1976), and Midway (1976). Around this time, he also made many television guest appearances on such shows as Medical Center, Hawaii Five-O, and Baretta.  In September 1977, Estrada first appeared as Frank “Ponch” Poncherello on the new police show, CHiPs, which followed members of the California Highway Patrol. His partner on the show, Jon Baker, was played by Larry Wilcox, and the two had a rocky relationship during the series’ run. Initially Wilcox was intended to be the show’s star, but Estrada soon became the program’s most popular performer. This led to some tension behind the scenes.  After the show was cancelled in 1983, Estrada continued to act on television and in films, but these were largely forgettable projects. He went through a career renaissance in the early 1993 when he took a leading role in the telenovela Dos Mujeres, Un Camino, a Spanish-language soap opera. Estrada, who already knew some Spanish, had to take language classes for the project. Hugely popular in Mexico and other parts of the Spanish-speaking world, the series help revive his career and win him a new legion of fans.  In recent years, Estrada has been a popular figure on reality television. He joined porn star Ron Jeremy, rapper Vanilla Ice, former televangelist Tammy Faye Messner, and others in the second season of The Surreal Life in 2004. Three years later, Estrada appeared in Armed & Famous, which had celebrities work alongside real police officers. He also had a small role in the Jamie Kennedy comedy Kickin’ It Old Skool (2007) that same year.  In addition to his on-camera performances, Estrada has done a lot of voice work for cartoons, including Maya & Miguel, JoJo’s Circus, and Sealab 2021. He also does a lot of public service work, serving as the face of D.A.R.E. (Drug Awareness Resistance Education) in 2000. Working with the California Highway Patrol, the real “CHiPs,” Estrada helped promote car seat safety.

Jerry Lewis (Born 1926)
Born Jerome Levitch,  Lewis is an American comedian whose unrestrained comic style made him one of the most popular performers of the 1950s and ’60s.  Lewis was born into a vaudeville family, and, at age 12, he developed a comedy act in which he mimed to records. He dropped out of high school in order to perform his speciality in New York City theatres, burlesque shows, and nightclubs. He first met singer Dean Martin in 1944, and two years later they officially became a performing team. Their act consisted of Martin singing, Lewis clowning, and both joining forces for a rousing finale of music and comedy. Well-received performances in Atlantic City and at New York City’s Copacabana nightclub resulted in an offer from Hollywood.  Martin and Lewis became the most popular comedy team of the decade and appeared in 16 films in eight years, including Scared Stiff (1953), Living It Up (1954), Artists and Models (1955), and Hollywood or Bust (1956). They were also frequent television guests and part of a series of rotating hosts of NBC’s The Colgate Comedy Hour. It was during their stint with NBC that Lewis began his long involvement with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).  After making Pardners (1956), Martin and Lewis had a much-publicized falling out and dissolved their partnership. Lewis then began a series of solo comedies, starting with The Delicate Delinquent (1957). Though he worked with such directors as Frank Tashlin and Norman Taurog, Lewis directed the majority of his films himself. Many of his pictures employed the formula of loose strings of gags and routines centred around Lewis’s bungling character in a new job, such as the title character in The Bellboy (1960), a Hollywood messenger in The Errand Boy (1961), and a handyman at a girls’ school in The Ladies’ Man (1961). His comedy version of the Jekyll and Hyde story, The Nutty Professor (1963), opened to good reviews and is generally considered to be his best film.  Lewis returned to the screen in 1981 with the episodic comedy Hardly Working. However, most of the critical accolades he would receive in the next two decades would be for dramatic or offbeat performances. He essayed acclaimed supporting roles in Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy (1983), in the dramatic television series Wiseguy (1988–89), and in the film Funny Bones (1995). A successful revival of the musical Damn Yankees gave Lewis his first taste of Broadway success in 1995. A longtime cult figure in France, Lewis was awarded that country’s Order of Arts and Letters and the Legion of Honour in 1984. In 2009 he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

John Butler Yeats (1839-1922)
An Irish painter, Yeats attended Trinity College, Dublin and studied law at King’s Inn. He was admitted to the bar in 1866 and had a short-lived career as a barrister before pursuing his love of drawing in 1867.  John Butler Yeats attended Heatherleys Art School in London and his portraits were frequently commissioned. A poor businessman, however, he and his family were never financially secure. The father of poet William Butler Yeats and painter and illustrator Jack Butler Yeats, the artist’s portrait of the former is one of his most famous. It is housed among others in the Yeats museum in the National Gallery of Ireland. His 1904 portrait of John O’Leary is considered to be his masterpiece.  John Butler Yeats moved several times between England and Ireland throughout his life. At age 69 in 1907, he moved to New York City, where he lived for 14 years. While there, he roomed in a boarding house and communed with artists, intellectuals, and writers, among them the Ashcan School of painters. John Butler Yeats never returned to Ireland, though he stayed in contact with his family and friends through extensive correspondence.