Five People Born on March 27

Today is March 27, 2010 and the 86th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar.  There are 278 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 1000 days till the end of the current cycle.  On this date, in 1306, Robert the Bruce is made King of Scotland.   Here are five people that share a birthday on this day:

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969)
This German-American architect is often credited for the pioneering of Modern Architecture along with Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius.  His goal was to create a new style of architecture following World War One. Prior to that, gothic architecture and neo-classicism – or copying styles of ancient Greece and Rome – were the most popular styles.  His buildings are known for their clean lines and simplicity.  He used modern materials to build the structures, making use of steel and glass to define interior spaces.  His architecture stressed open spaces and minimal framework.  Some of his famous works include: The Barcelona Pavilion, Crown Hall, The Seagram Building, and Farnsworth House.  He also designed a specific style of furniture that contained use of leather and chrome and making use of the cantilever to emphasize the weightlessness of the structure.  Most famous is his Barcelona chair and table.  His work is easily identifiable by the open structure and use of primary colors.  Mies, as he was known to his colleagues, taught architecture at IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology) in Chicago.  He died at the age of 83 and is buried in Chicago’s Graceland Cemetary.

Michael York (Born 1942)
One of my favorite actors, this Brit has had a huge career, performing in many films.  Modern fans will recognize him as Basil Exposition in the famous Austin Powers series of films. Born Michael Hugh Johnson, he graduated from the University of Oxford with a degree in English in 1964, but he already had the acting bug, performing in theater.  He made his film debut in 1967 with The Taming of the Shrew and followed it up with another Shakespeare classic, Romeo and Juliet (1968).   In 1973, York played D’Artagnan in The Three Musketeers, with Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain, Christopher Lee, Faye Dunaway, and Charlton Heston.  He would reprise the role in The Four Musketeers (1974) and The Return of the Musketeers (1989), the latter based on Alexandre Dumas’ book, Twenty Years After.  In 1976, he portrayed the title character in the science fiction film, Logan’s Run, which also starred Farrah Fawcett and Jenny Agutter.  In the 1990s, York took on the role of the head of the British secret service in Mike Myers’ Austin Powers series.  The part led to voice over performances in several cartoons and more theatrical work.  York currently lives in California with his wife, Patricia, who he married in 1968.

Austin Pendleton (Born 1940)
This Warren, Ohio native is a character-actor of stage, television, and film.  He is a graduate of Yale University, where he was a member of the Scroll and Key Society, Yale’s second oldest secret society.  He has written several plays and directed Elizabeth Taylor and Jean Stapleton in the play, The Little Foxes, which won him a Tony nomination.  He has had character parts in the movies: My Cousin Vinnie, The Muppet Movie, Searching For Bobby Fischer, A Beautiful Mind, and Short Circuit, just to name a few.

Quentin Tarantino (Born 1963)
This director, actor, and writer worked as an usher in an adult film theater while he was in high school. Later, he took a job working for Video Archives where he started writing scripts for his movies, Natural Born Killers and True Romance.  His first directorial debut came with the film, Reservoir Dogs (1993) with Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, and Tim Roth.  All of these actors would play a part in Tarantino’s later films.  Reservoir Dogs earned a lot of attention at the Sundance Film Festival that year and Tarantino was put on the map.  With Pulp Fiction (1994), Tarantino created an unpredictable thrill ride filled with violence and pop culture references. In one story in the film, John Travolta played Vincent Vega, a hit man assigned to look after his boss’ girlfriend (Uma Thurman)—a role that helped resuscitate his then-flagging career. Another part examined Vega’s partnership with fellow hit man Jules Winnfield (played by Samuel L. Jackson). And yet another storyline involved Bruce Willis as a boxer. Tarantino managed to successfully interweave all these different stories to make a fascinating film.  Pulp Fiction was both a commercial and critical success. In the United States, it earned over $108 million at the box office, becoming the first independent film to do so. Pulp Fiction won the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1994 and received seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. For his work on the film, Tarantino took home the award for Best Original Screenplay.  Tarantino jumped into the world of martial arts films. The idea for Kill Bill was formed by Tarantino and Thurman in a bar during the filming of Pulp Fiction. In 2000, Thurman ran into Tarantino at an Oscar party and asked about whether he had made any progress on developing that idea. He promised her that he would write the script as a birthday present for her. Initially he said that he would get it done two weeks, but it actually took over a year. For this film, Tarantino learned on the fly how to make a kung fu film, working and reworking the sequences as he went along.  In 2009, he released the long-awaited Inglorious Basterds, which focused on a group of Jewish-American soldiers out to destroy as many Nazis as possible. He had wooed Brad Pitt to play the leader of the “Basterds.”  The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including two for Tarantino for Best Director and for Best Original Screenplay.

Miller Huggins (1879-1929)
US baseball player and manager, known as Mighty Mite.  Huggins managed the “Murderer’s Row” of the New York Yankees in the 1920s and helped to win six American League pennants and three World Series.  He started his professional baseball career as a second basemen for the Cincinnati Reds in 1904.  Due to his short size (5’6” tall) he led the league in walks four times and had an on-base average of almost 400.  He became a player-manager for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1914 and stayed with them for three years, though he was rather unsuccessful.  Even still, he was hired to lead the Yankees for the 1918 season.  He would stay with them until his death in 1929.  He had the privilege to manage such players as: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Bob Meusel.  Huggins died at the age of 50 from erysipelas – a bacterial infection which is now cured by penicillin, which hadn’t been invented at the time of Huggins’ death.  In 1932, Yankee stadium dedicated a monument to Huggins in front of the flagpole at center field.  He was the first of several Yankees to be honored this way. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.