Five People Born on March 9

bobby-fischerToday is March 9, 2010 and the 68th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar.  There are 296 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 1018 days till the end of the current cycle.  On this date, in 1862, the first ironclad battleships, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia fight to a draw.  Here are five people that share a birthday on this day:

number1Bobby Fischer (1943-2008)
World Chess Champion, born in Chicago, learned to play chess at the age of six and was the U.S. chess champion by the time he turned 14 and was made a grandmaster chess player by the age of 15.  In 1972, he became an icon of the Cold War when he captured the world championship from Boris Spassky in Reykjavik, Iceland, while competing for what was then the largest purse ($250,000) offered in any sport outside boxing.  A longtime nemesis of tournament officials for his tantrums and phobias, he failed in 1975 to agree to terms for a title defense against Anatoly Karpov, and was stripped of his crown by FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Echecs). Afterwards he refused to compete in public.  In 1992, he disappeared after violating international sanctions by going to Yugoslavia to play Boris Spassky. Fischer became a fierce critic of the U.S.  He lived undetected in Europe and Japan until 2004, when he was arrested in Tokyo for passport irregularities and the US requested his extradition. In 2005, he renounced his U.S. citizenship and left for Iceland, having been granted an Icelandic passport and citizenship.  The cause of his death in 2008, at the age of 64, is unknown.

number2Yuri Gagarin (1934-1968)
Soviet cosmonaut. Son of a carpenter on a collective farm, he graduated from the Soviet air force’s cadet school in 1957. In April 1961, aboard Vostok 1, he became the first human to travel into space. The spacecraft orbited Earth once in 1 hour 29 minutes. Gagarin’s flight brought him worldwide fame, and he was much honored in the Soviet Union. He never went into space again, but he trained other cosmonauts. He was killed at age 34 when his jet crashed during a training flight.

number3Raul Julia (1940-1994)
Born Raul Rafael Carlos Julia y Arcelay in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Julia fell in love with the theater and films as a child. While studying at the University of Puerto Rico, he performed in productions in San Juan and sang in a musical group. He later moved to New York City in 1964 to further his dreams as an actor.  In the 1960s and 1970s, Julia primarily worked on the stage. He earned his first Tony award nomination in 1972 for his work in the Shakespearean comedy Two Gentlemen of Verona. And a second nomination followed only three years later for his role as Charley in Where’s Charley? He received a total of four Tony award nominations during his career. Despite his numerous accomplishments in the theater, Julia is perhaps best remembered for his work in film. He starred in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) with William Hurt, playing a political prisoner. Julia won much critical acclaim for this role. Showing his versatility as an actor, he took a comedic turn, playing Gomez Addams in The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993).  After suffering a stroke a few days earlier, Julia died from complications on October 24, 1994. He received several awards after his death for his performance as Brazilian rainforest activist Chico Mendes in the 1994 television film, The Burning Season, including an Emmy award.

number4Mickey Spillane (1918-2006)
Born Frank Morrison Spillane, he was a U.S. writer of pulp detective fiction. His first novel, I, The Jury (1947), introduced the detective Mike Hammer, who later appeared in a series of works, including My Gun Is Quick (1950) and Black Alley (1996). Several of his Mike Hammer novels were adapted for film, most notably Kiss Me, Deadly (1952; film 1955). His other novels, all characterized by violence and sexual licentiousness, include The Deep (1961) and Day of the Guns (1964), which began a series centred on the international agent Tiger Mann. Spillane claimed to write solely for monetary gain and flouted literary taste with recurring elements of sadism that disturbed some readers, but the captivating vigour of his narrative and of his central characters brought him popular success.

number5Juliette Binoche  (Born 1964)
French actress, who is widely regarded as one of film’s most respected actresses for the intelligence she brought to her complex and varied roles.  Binoche’s father was a sculptor and a theatre director, and her mother was a teacher and an actress. After completing her general education, she studied acting at the Paris Conservatoire and received private instruction from Vera Gregh, a renowned teacher of film acting. During the late 1970s Binoche appeared onstage in Paris, and in the first half of the 1980s she acted in small film roles and on French television. Her first breakthrough came through renowned director Jean-Luc Godard, who wrote into the screenplay of his Je vous salue, Marie (1985; Hail Mary) a part expressly for her. In 1986 Binoche won the Romy-Schneider Prize, awarded by French journalists to the outstanding actress of the year, for her portrayal of Nina, a provincial woman aspiring to be an actress in Paris, in André Téchiné’s Rendez-vous (1985). She made two films with the French director Léos Carax, Mauvais sang (1986; Bad Blood) and Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (1991; Lovers on the Pont-Neuf), over the next few years. In 1988 she earned international acclaim as a woman married to a philanderer in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, her first English-language film. Binoche’s performance was highlighted by her ability to relate a range of emotions without speaking or falling into cliché.  Binoche experienced a great deal of success in the United States throughout the 1990s and 2000s. She won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Hana, a French Canadian nurse stationed in Italy during World War II, in The English Patient (1996). She starred in the successful romantic comedy Chocolat (2000), playing opposite Johnny Depp, and later appeared in both French- and English-language films, including Caché (2005; Hidden), Bee Season (2005), Breaking and Entering (2006), and Dan in Real Life (2007).

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