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Composer, FELIX MENDELSSOHN was born on this day in 1809 in Germany.  A musical prodigy and composer of the Romantic era, he suffered anti-Jewish sentiment and comparison with more adventurist composers such as List, Wager and Berlioz.  After a period of denigration, the originality of his work has been re-evaluated and he is now among the most popular composers of the Romanic era.
Avant-garde writer, GERTRUDE STEIN who was born on this day in 1874 in Allegheny Pennsylvania spent most of her life in France.  She, along with her brother, Leo, and her partner, Alice B Toklas, were at the heart of the modern art and literature scene.  The Stein’s art gallery in Paris included works by Matisse, Picasso, Cezanne, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and Renoir.  The Gallery achieved international fame and Gertrude’s Salon was frequented by many artists and writers such as Hemingway and William James.
Novelist, JAMES MICHENER was born on this day in 1907 in Doylestown, Pennsylvania – not knowing who his parents were.  Adopted by Quakers he became the author of sweeping sagas, such as the Tales of the South Pacific - for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1948.  Other works included Hawaii. The Drifters, Centennial, The Source, Chesapeake, Caribbean, Caravans, and Alaska.
Comedian, SHELLEY BERMAN was born on this day in 1926 in Chicago, Illinois.  His debut album, Inside Shelley Berman, was the first-ever winner of the spoken word Best Comedy Album at the Grammy Awards of 1960.He went on to appear in the Ed Sullivan Show and many other variety and TV specials throughout the 1960s.  More recently he has appeared in TV shows such as Boston Legal, Friends, and Meet the Fockers as well as more serious documentaries.  He teaches at the University of Southern California.
Also born on this day in 1926 was novelist, RICHARD YATES.   Born in Yonkers, into an unstable family home, he worked as a journalist and freelance ghost-writer – briefly writing speeches for Attorney General Robert Kennedy. His career as a novelist took off with his acclaimed novel Revolutionary Road.  Partly autobiographical, the novel is regarded as one of the bleakest books ever written about the 1950s suburban malaise.  It was translated to the screen starring Kate Winslet and Leonado diCaprio.
Singer, FRANKIE VAUGHAN was born on this day in 1928 in Liverpool, England.  A suave top-hat and tails cabaret performer, he starred in the British stage production of the musical 42nd Street.  Regularly in the Top.10, his hits included, Kisses Sweeter than Wine and Give me the Moonlight, Give Me the Girl.  His most famous film moment is performing a musical number with Marilyn Monroe in Let’s Make Love. He was awarded and OBE in 1965 and a CBE in 1997.

American, screenwriter and film director, JAMES BRIDGES was born on this day in 1936 in Paris, Arkansas..  He got his start as a writer for Alfred Hitchcock Presents and went on to write and direct a number of notable films, including The Paper Chase, Urban Cowboy (starring John Travolta and Debra Winger)  and The China Syndrome (starring Jane Fonda, Jack Lemon and Michael Douglas. 
American film director, MICHAEL CIMINO was born on this day in 1939 in New York City.  A graduate from Yale University, he wrote the second Dirty Harry film, Magnum Force and went on to direct his script for Clint Eastwood’s film Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.  His second film, The Deer Hunter became a massive critical and commercial success and won a number of Oscar’s, including Best Director and Best Picture.  However, his next film, Heaven’s Gate, was a critical bomb and a financial disaster owing to his extravagant demands.  It was the end of an otherwise promising career.
Actor, NATHAN LANE, was born on this day in 1956 in Jersey City, New York.  After a long struggle, his career began to take off and he appeared in The Birdcage, The Producers, Mouse Hunt, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He was also did voice-over work in The Lion King and Stuart Little.
British actor, WARWICK DAVIS was born on this day in 1970 in Epsom, Surrey.  Noted for his dwarfism, he starred in many films including Willow and the Leprechaun series of films.  He also appeared as Wicket W Warrick in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, as Professor Filius Flitwick in the Harry Potter movies and as Marvin the Paranoid Android in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Scottish-Australian Actress, ISLA (eye-la) FISHER was born on this day in 1976 in Muscat, Oman where her father worked for the United Nations.  She began appearing in commercials at nine years of age and as a teenager she played the role of Shannon Reed in the soap opera Home and Away.  After leaving soap, Fisher went on to play comedy roles in Wedding Crashers, Hot Rod, Definitely, Maybe and Confessions of a Shopaholic