BORN ON THIS DAY – 22 JANUARY
Actress, NYREE DAWN PORTER, was born on this day in 1936 in Napier, New Zealand where she began her career as a stage actress before moving to Britain in the late 1950s. Although she appeared in several stage productions and a few films, it was in television that Porter really made her name. The Forsyte Saga, in which she played the tragic wife of the wicked Soames Forsyte, gripped the attention of British viewers and, later, audiences around the world. She won a BAFTA Award, and, in 1970, the OBE for her performance in that series. She died in London in 2001 of leukaemia leaving one daughter.
Australian Musician, MICHAEL HUTCHENCE, was born on this day in 1960 in Sydney. Enigmatic front man for rock band INEXS, he also appeared in the Australian movie Dogs in Space and played Percy Shelley in Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound. Hutchence’s private life involved a string of love affairs including Paula Yates who was still married to Bob Geldof. INEX’s 1997 tour to promote the album, Elegantly Wasted was cut short when Hutchence was found dead in his room at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Double Bay. The NSW Coroner determined that his death was the result of suicide.
Actor, PIPER LAURIE, was born on this day in 1932 in Detroit of Polish and Russian Ancestry. While she featured in many films she is probably best known for her roles in the television series Twin Peaks for which she was awarded a Golden Globe and the film Carrie. Appearing opposite Paul Newman in The Hustler, earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Later she appeared in the Australian film Tim (1979) opposite a very young Mel Gibson. Laurie received several Emmy nominations; including one for playing Magda Goebbels in The Bunker opposite Anthony Hopkins as Hitler; another for her role in the The Thorn Birds; and two for her work in Twin Peaks.
Actor, JOHN HURT, was born on this day in 1940 in Chesterfield, England. Known for his leading roles in The Elephant Man and Nineteen Eighty-Four, Hurt initially came to prominence for his role as Richard Rich in the 1966 film, A Man for all Seasons and has since appeared in such popular movies as: Alien, Midnight Express, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skill. He is one of England’s best-known, more prolific and sought-after actors and has had a versatile film career spanning five decades. His character’s demise in Alien is widely regarded as one of the most memorable scenes in cinematic history!
Romantic Poet, LORD BYRON, was born on this day in 1788 in London. Lame from birth, he exercised by wandering over the countryside, inspired by the grandeur of the scenery. He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read today. Described by Lady Caroline Lamb as “mad, bad and dangerous to know” his life featured aristocratic excesses, huge debts, numerous love affairs and self-imposed exile. He is revered by the Greeks as a national hero who fought with them their War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire.
ROBERT S BROOKINGS was born on this day in 1850 in Cecil Country, MD. He was an American Businessman and philanthropist well known for his involvement with Washington University in St Louis and is the founder of the Brookings Institute which is still one of the leading think tanks in the United States.
Actress, LINDA BLAIR was born on this day in 1959. She landed her most famous role at only 13 years of age as an adolescent possessed by demons in The Exorcist with Ellen Burstyn and Max von Sydow. While most people would know that the film’s scary movement were done by special effects, Blair says, “You wouldn’t believe how often people ask me to make my head spin around”.
FRANCIS BACON was born on this day in 1561 in London. He was a philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist and author. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England. Although his political career ended in disgrace, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as an advocate of the scientific revolution. His novel New Atlantis depicts a Utopian New World in North America in which there would be greater rights for women, the abolition of slavery, the separation of church and state, and freedom of religion and political expression.
Actor, TELLY SAVALAS, was born on this day in 1922 in Garden City, Long Island NY of Greek-American parents. He early developed a love of radio and during a stint in the Army during WWII he hosted “Your Voice of America” series. He later embarked on an acting career that spanned four decades. He was best known for his role in the 1970s crime drama Kojak - a bald New York City detective with a fondness for lollipops and whose trademark line was “Who loves ya, baby?” Describes a generous, graceful and compassionate man, he died in 1994 from prostate cancer.
Black singer, WILLIAM WARFIELD, was born into a devout Baptist family on this day in 1920 in West Helena, Arkansas. He gave his recital debut in New York’s Town Hall at the age of 30 and was quickly invited by the ABC to tour Australia for 35 concerts. He is best known for his role in Porgy and Bess which - sponsored by the US State Department - toured Europe six times. He also appeared in the musical Show Boat on stage and in film. A Graduate of the Eastman School of Music, he was appointed Professor of Music at the University of Illinois before moving to Northwester University’s School of Music, were he stayed until his death in 2002.