Five People Born on March 28

Today is March 28, 2010 and the 87th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar.  There are 277 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 999 days till the end of the current cycle.  On this date, in 845, the French, in typical fashion, loses Paris to the Vikings.  The Vikings leave after being paid off.   Here are five people that share a birthday on this day:

Marlin Perkins (1905-1986)
The original Crocodile Hunter, Richard Marlin Perkins was a zoologist best known as the host of the television program, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. He developed a fascination for snakes at a very young age and dropped out of college to become a laborer at the St. Louis Zoological Park.  It was the start of a brilliant zoological career. He rose through the ranks, becoming the reptile curator in 1928.  After being hired as a curator of the Buffalo Zoological Park in Buffalo, New York, Perkins was eventually promoted to director in 1938. He then served as director at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois, from 1944 until 1962, when he returned to the St. Louis Zoo, this time as director.  During his time at the Lincoln Park Zoo, Perkins joined Sir Edmund Hillary as the zoologist for Hillary’s 1960 Himalayan expedition to search for the legendary Yeti.   Perkins first started on television as the host of Zoo Parade, a program that originated from the Lincoln Park Zoo, when he was the director there. During a rehearsal of Zoo Parade, he was bitten by a timber rattlesnake, one of several bites from venomous snakes Perkins suffered throughout his career.  Although the incident occurred during a pre-show rehearsal and was not filmed, it has become something of an urban legend, with many people ‘remembering’ seeing Perkins receive the bite on television.  As a result of his work on Zoo Parade Perkins was offered the job in 1963 for which most Americans remember him: host of the famed nature show Wild Kingdom with co-host, Jim Fowler (not me).  The enormous fame he gained in his television career allowed Perkins to become an advocate for the protection of endangered species, and through Wild Kingdom he gave many Americans their first exposure to the conservation movement.  Perkins also helped establish The Wild Canid Survival and Research Center (WCSRC) near St. Louis in 1971.  This wolf sanctuary has been instrumental in breeding wolves for eventual re-placement in to their natural habitats.  Perkins retired from active zoo keeping in 1970 and from Wild Kingdom in 1985 for health reasons. Perkins remained with the Saint Louis Zoo as Director Emeritus until his death on June 14, 1986, when he died of cancer.

Frederick Pabst (1836-1904)
Who doesn’t like beer?  This German-American brewer was born in Saxony, Germany, but immigrated to Chicago, with his family, when he was 12.  He started out as a sailor on Lake Michigan, but soon went to work for a fellow German, Phillip Best, who was a Milwaukee brewer and ended up marrying his daughter. In 1862, Pabst was taken into partnership in his father-in-law’s brewery and began to study the details of the business. After obtaining a thorough mastery of the art of brewing, Pabst turned his attention to extending the market for the beer and before long had raised the output of the Best brewery to 100,000 barrels a year. The brewery was eventually converted into a public company and its capital repeatedly increased in order to cope with the continually increasing trade. He became president of the corporation in 1873. Later, the brewing company’s name was changed to the Pabst Brewing Company.  The brewing company’s renowned “Blue Ribbon” label was introduced in the 1890s. The beer’s name resulted from the blue ribbon that was awarded to it at the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition.

Vince Vaughn (Born 1970)
Born Vincent Anthony Vaughn in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this actor, writer, and producer was raised in the wealthy Chicago suburb of Lake Forest.    He is NOT the son of actor Robert Vaughn.   Vaughn spent seven years in Hollywood before he landed the role of smooth-operating Trent in 1996’s surprise hit Swingers.  The irreverent comedy written by co-star and real-life pal Jon Favreau led to a role in Steven Spielberg‘s The Lost World: Jurassic Park.  Vaughn’s other notable films include Return to Paradise, Clay Pigeons and Psycho, in which he played the legendary Norman Bates in director Gus Van Sant’s controversial remake.   Unfortunately, the much-hyped film turned out to be a disappointment both at the box office and among critics.   In 2000, Vaughn appeared in the thriller The Cell with Jennifer Lopez, Prime Gig and South of Heaven, West of Hell, which marked the directorial debut of country singer Dwight Yoakam.  Vaughn also re-teamed with Favreau for Made and appeared as a deceptive stepfather in the thriller Domestic Disturbance. In 2003, the actor joined Saturday Night Live alum Will Ferrell for the hit sophomoric comedy Old School.   Recent popular film credits include Starsky & Hutch (2004), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Wedding Crashers (2005), The Break-Up (2006) in which he starred with then girlfriend Jennifer Aniston, Fred Claus and Four Christmases (2008)

Lady Gaga (Born 1986)
Born Stefania Gabrielle Germanotta in Yonkers, New York, this internationally known singer is best known as Lady Gaga.  Gaga learned to play the piano by the age of four. At the age of 11, she was accepted to the Juilliard School in Manhattan, but instead attended a private Catholic school in the city. She continued studying music and performing, writing her first piano ballad at the age of 13 and holding her first performance at the age of 14 in a New York nightclub. The self-dubbed “Lady Gaga” (she has attributed the inspiration for her name to the Queen song, “Radio Ga-Ga”) was granted early admission to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts at the age of 17—one of only 20 students in the world to receive the honor of early acceptance. While there, she studied music and worked on her songwriting skills. She later withdrew from school in order to find creative inspiration. To make ends meet, she took three jobs—including a stint as a gogo dancer—while she honed her performance-art act.  In 2005, Lady Gaga was briefly signed by Def Jam Records, but was dropped just months after signing. Being dropped by the label propelled the singer to perform on her own in clubs and venues on New York City’s Lower East Side. There, she collaborated with several rock bands, and began her experimentation with fashion.  In 2007, at the age of 20, Lady Gaga began work at Interscope Records as a songwriter for other groups on the label, including Britney Spears, New Kids on the Block, and The Pussycat Dolls. R&B singer Akon discovered Gaga while she was performing a burlesque show she called “Lady Gaga and the Starlight Revue,” which she had created to make a name for herself. Impressed, he signed the performer to his label under the Interscope umbrella, Kon Live. Through 2007 and 2008, Lady Gaga wrote and recorded her debut album, The Fame. The record was received positive reviews and popular success in the United States. With the help of her own creative team, “Haus of Gaga,” the performer also began to make a name for herself internationally.  Lady Gaga’s debut single, “Just Dance,” was released to radio in early 2008 to both popular and commercial acclaim. The song was then nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Dance Recording in 2008. The song lost to Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” but this didn’t keep Gaga from reaching No. 1 on the mainstream pop charts in January 2009. The second single off of her album, “Poker Face,” earned Lady Gaga even more success. The song topped singles charts in almost every category, and in almost every country. Both songs were produced by Akon’s affiliate RedOne, who co-wrote most of Lady Gaga’s album.  Most recently, Lady Gaga opened for the newly reformed New Kids on the Block. She also collaborated with the group on the song “Big Girl Now” from New Kids on the Block’s album The Block. She is now headlining on The Fame Ball Tour, and has announced plans to tour with Kanye West in the very near future.

Maxim Gorky (1868-1936)
He was born Aleksey Maksimovich Peshkov and was a Russian author and political activist.  He was born in Novgorod, became an orphan at the age of ten and ran away to live with his grandmother when he was twelve.  Gorky, which means bitter, was unhappy with the way life in Russia was on the common man.  He wrote about the hardships of life and how it was morally and politically responsible for people to act.  His first book, entitled Essays and Stories (1898), was an immediate success with the people and launched his career as a writer.   He set himself aside as a unique literary voice from the lower class which made him very popular with the Marxists who were emerging to power at the turn of the twentieth century.  However, this also made him very unpopular with the royalty and the Tsarists who threw Gorky into jail on several occasions.  By publicly deposing the Russian upper class, he befriended those that would eventually rule Russia.  Lenin was a personal friend of his.  He was given an honorary literary doctorate in 1902, but Czar Nicholas II, whom Gorky had denounced, forced the University to rescind their award.  Because of this, authors Anton Chekhov and Vladimir Korolenko left the Academy.  He continued to write and spend time in prison.  From 1906-1913, he left Russia to live on the Isle of Capri for health reasons and to stay out of prison.  A nationwide amnesty in honor of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty allowed Gorky to return to Russia in 1913, however, he found himself now at odds with the growing Communist party over his endorsement of the Bolsheviks.  He was making a lot of enemies on all sides.  At one point, he called his friend Lenin a tyrant for his senseless arrests and stopping the freedom of speech.  He fled Russia again, this time to Italy, although he was brought back to Russia on the prodding of Stalin.  He was forced to write positive comments about the gulags, which he did.  On the face, Gorky was treated like a hero of the Russian people, but behind the scenes, he was a puppet of propaganda and under the influence of the Communists.  In 1934, he was officially placed under house arrest and in 1936, he died at the age of 68.   It is not known how he died, but speculation is that he was killed on the orders of Stalin – who helped to carry his coffin at his funeral.