BORN ON THIS DAY FEBRUARY 2nd
Author, AYN RAND, who was born on this day in 1905 in Saint Petersburg moved to America in 1926 where she worked as a screen writer in Hollywood. She first achieved fame with her best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. She was a fierce opponent of fascism, communism, socialism and the welfare state instead promoting individual rights and laissez-fairs capitalism along with “small government”. As with many famous novels, The Fountainhead was made into a movie starring Cary Cooper, Patricia Neal and Raymond Massy.
American poet and novelist, JAMES DICKEY, was born on this day in 1923 in Atlanta, Georgia. Dickey served in the US Army night fighter squadrons during WWII and the US Air Force during the Korean War. Between wars he graduated with degrees in English and Philosophy, taught at various universities and was appointed Poet Laureate to the Library of Congress in 1966. His popularity soared after film version of his novel, Deliverance, was released in 1972 starring Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight. Dickey, himself, had a cameo role in the film as a sheriff.
Composer, BURTON LANE was born on this day in 1912 in New York City. He was known for his Broadway musicals, the most popular of which were Finian’s Rainbow and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. He also wrote music for more than 30 films including that funniest of all comedies - Some Like it Hot starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemon and Tony Curtis.
Jazz Musician, SONNY STITT was born into a musical family on this day in 1924 in Boston, Massachusetts. Jazz saxophonist of the bebop/hard bop idiom he was nicknamed the “Lone Wolf” for his relentless touring and his devotion to jazz. Considered the greatest disciple of Charlie Parker - whom he replaced in Dizzy Gillespie’s band - Stitt eventually developed his own style which, in turn, influenced artists such as John Coltrane.
English comedian, LES DAWSON, was born on this day in 1931 in Collyhurst, Manchester. He made his television debut on the 1967 talent show Opportunity Knocks. His most characteristic routines featured Dawson and Roy Barraclough as two elderly women, Cissie and Ada, based on millworkers he knew in real life. A talented pianist he found he could get laughs by starting a familiar piece such as Beethooven’s Moonlight Sonata and then introducing jarringly wrong notes without appearing to realise it. He is remembered for his deadpan style and jokes about his mother-in-law and wife.
Irish author, JAMES JOYCE was born on this day in 1941 in Dublin. Considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century he was a key figure in the development of the modernist novel. Although exiling himself to Europe Joyce’s Irish experiences are essential to his writing. Ulysses, for example, is set in the real streets and alleyways of Dublin city. Other novels include: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Finnegans Wake.
English model, CHRISTINE KEELER was born on this day in 1942 in Uxbridge, Middlesex. Brought up in two converted railway carriage she left school at 15, gave birth to a son who survived only six days, moved to London, worked as a topless showgirl and met Dr Stephen Ward. In 1961 Ward introduced her to John Profumo, the British Secretary of State for War at the Buckinghamshire mansion owned by Lord Astor. She entered an affair with Profumo who was unaware that she was also sleeping with a known Russian spy. When questioned about it, he lied in the House of Commons and was forced to resign.
Also born on this day in 1942 is musician, GRAHAM NASH. Born in Blackpool, Lancashire, Nash was a contributing songwriter to the English band, The Hollies. During a visit to the United States Nash began exploring recreational drug use and soon left The Hollies for form a new group - the folk-rock band Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Their rendition of Woodstock (written by Joni Mitchell) in the film documentary of the Festival is said to have defined the Woodstock era. Nash is also a published photographer and photography collector.
Knighted British actor, Sir DAVID JOHN WHITE – known by his stage name as DAVID JASON - was born on this day in 1940 in Edmonton, North London. A precocious teenage actor he first found fame as Ronnie Barker’s corner shop delivery boy in Open All Hours. He later starred in Only Fools and Horses before moving into more serious territory as the gruff Inspector Jack Frost on the long-running crime drama A Touch of Frost.
Actress, SARAH FAWCETT was born on this day in 1947 in Corpus Christi, Texas. She rose to international fame as private investigator in Charlie’s Angels after which she appeared in many TV movies including Poor Little Rich Girl:The Barbara Hutton Story. Fawcett was also a pop cult figure whose hairstyle was copied by millions of young women and whose poster sales broke records, making her an international sex symbol in the 1970s and 1980s. Last year she lost her battle with cancer having been comforted by her on-again, off-again partner, Ryan O’Neal to whom she became engaged in 2009.