Sunday, December 24, 2006



  • Jean-Louis Pons, astronomer, who discovered thirty-seven comets between 1801 and 1827, December 24, 1761 – October 14, 1831

  • Christopher Houston KIT Carson, frontiersman, trapper, and scout, December 24, 1809 – May 23, 1868

  • James Prescott Joule, FRS, physicist, who studied the nature of heat, and discovered its relationship to mechanical work, leading to the theory of conservation of energy, and the development of the first law of thermodynamics; the SI unit of work, the joule, is named after him; he discovered the relationship between the flow of current through a resistance and the heat dissipated, now called Joule's law, December 24, 1818 – October 11, 1889

  • Emanuel Lasker, chess player and mathematician; in 1894, he became the second World Chess Champion by defeating Wilhelm Steinitz; he held this title for 27 years, the longest tenure of any officially recognized world champion of chess, December 24, 1868 – January 11, 1941

  • John Barton JOHNNY Gruelle, artist, political cartoonist, and writer of children's books, the creator of Raggedy Ann; he provided colour illustrations for a 1914 edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales, December 24, 1880 - January 8, 1938

  • Juan Ramón Jiménez, poet, and author of several dozen books, awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Literature, December 24, 1881 – May 29, 1958

  • Michael Curtiz, film director, who directed at least 50 films in Europe, and a further hundred in the U. S., including Casablanca, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and White Christmas, December 24, 1886 - April 10, 1962

  • Louis Jouvet, actor and producer, December 24, 1887 - August 16, 1951

  • Salvatore Anthony Guaragna, aka Harry Warren, composer and lyricist, composed music with Ira Gershwin, Johnny Mercer, Billy Rose, and Al Dubin, December 24, 1893 – September 22, 1981

  • Warren BABY Dodds, jazz drummer, born in New Orleans; one of the most important early jazz drummers; he recorded with Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Art Hodes, and his brother, clarinetist Johnny Dodds, December 24, 1898 – February 14, 1959

  • Howard Robard Hughes, Jr., pioneering aviator, engineer, industrialist, and film producer; he built the Hughes H-1 Racer and H-4 Hercules airplanes, produced the movies Hell's Angels and The Outlaw, and owned and expanded TWA, December 24, 1905 – April 5, 1976

  • Fritz Reuter Leiber, Jr., writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction, chess player, and champion fencer, whose science fiction novels The Big Time and The Wanderer, and the short stories Gonna Roll the Bones and Ship of Shadows all won Hugo awards - Bones also won a Nebula; many of his most-acclaimed works are short stories, especially in the horror genre, and he is widely regarded as one of the forerunners of the modern urban horror story; created Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser; Our Lady of Darkness, serialised in 1977, won the World Fantasy Award; the short parallel worlds story Catch That Zeppelin added another Nebula and Hugo award to his collection - the story shows a plausible alternate reality that is much better than our own, as opposed to the usual dystopian alternate universe; Belsen Express won him another World Fantasy Award; fans awarded him the Gandalf (Grand Master) award at the World Science Fiction Convention; in 1981, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America voted him the recipient of their Grand Master award; he was also a member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America (SAGA), a loose-knit group of Heroic Fantasy authors founded in the 1960s', December 24, 1910 – September 5, 1992

  • Ava Lavinia Gardner, actress and Hollywood film star, December 24, 1922 – January 25, 1990

  • Irving LEE Dorsey, pop/R&B singer; much of his best work was produced by Allen Toussaint, with instrumental backing by The Meters; from 1965 to 1969, Dorsey put seven songs in the Hot 100, the most successful of which was 1966's Working In The Coal Mine, December 24, 1924 — December 1, 1986

  • Paul Buissonneau, theatre director, 1926

  • Mauricio Kagel, composer, famous for his interest in developing the theatrical side of musical performance, 1931

  • Raphael Homer RAY Bryant, jazz pianist and composer, the uncle of musicians Kevin Eubanks and Robin Eubanks, 1931

  • John Anthony Woods, aka John Levene, actor, whose most famous role was that of Sergeant Benton of UNIT on Doctor Who, 1941

  • Ian Fraiser LEMMY Kilmister, lead vocalist and bass guitarist, the founding member and leader of Motörhead, 1945

  • Nicholas Meyer, film writer, producer, director, and novelist, known for his involvement in the Star Trek films; he wrote three Sherlock Holmes novels; The Seven-Per-Cent Solution was his most famous Holmes novel, and the project for which he was best known prior to his Star Trek involvement - it was adapted into a 1976 film, for which he wrote the screenplay, 1945

  • John D'Acquisto, former MLB pitcher, who played from 1973 to 1982; in 266 games, he won 34 and lost 51, with 15 saves, 600 strikeouts, and a 4.56 ERA, 1951

  • Clarence Darnell Gilyard, Jr., film and TV actor, known for his role as private investigator Conrad McMasters on Matlock, 1989 to 1993, and as Texas Ranger James Trivette on Walker, Texas Ranger, 1955

  • Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, since December 7, 2004, 1957

  • Doyle Bramhall II, musician, the guitarist and vocalist for Smokestack and guitarist in Eric Clapton's band, 1968

  • Mark Millar, comic book writer, 1969

  • Will Oldham, singer, songwriter, and actor, 1970

  • Enrique Martín Morales, aka Ricky Martin, pop singer, 1971


  • John Dunstaple, composer of polyphonic music of the late medieval era and early Renaissance, c. 1390 – December 24, 1453

  • Vasco da Gama, explorer, the first person to sail directly from Europe to India, c. 1469 – December 24, 1524

  • Alban Maria Johannes Berg, composer, a member of the Second Viennese School, producing works that combined Mahlerian romanticism with a highly personal adaptation of Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique, February 9, 1885 – December 24, 1935

  • Siegfried Alkan, composer, May 30, 1858 – December 24, 1941

  • Norma Talmadge, actress and model, May 26, 1893 – December 24, 1957

  • Bernard Herrmann, composer, known for his film scores, June 29, 1911 – December 24, 1975

  • Siggie Nordstrom, model, actress, entertainer, socialite, and lead singer of The Nordstrom Sisters, with her sister, Dagmar, June 14, 1893 – December 24, 1980

  • Peter Sydney Lawford, film and TV actor, and member of Frank Sinatra's "Rat Pack;" appeared in many movies and TV shows; he starred in the TV series Dear Phoebe in the mid-50's; married Patricia Kennedy, who eventually divorced him in 1966 due to his alcoholism and infidelity, September 7, 1923 – December 24, 1984

  • Gardner Francis Fox, writer, best known for creating numerous comic book characters for DC Comics; he co-created numerous DC characters including The Sandman, Starman, Doctor Fate, The Flash, and Hawkman, and the first superhero team, the Justice Society of America, May 20, 1911 – December 24, 1986

  • Pierre Culliford, aka Peyo, comics artist, known for the creation of The Smurfs comic strip, June 25, 1928 – December 24, 1992

  • Bobby LaKind, conga player and vocalist, who sessioned with the Doobie Brothers from 1976; in the early 1980's, he was invited to join the band, just before they broke up; when the band reformed in 1988, he rejoined, and played on the album Cycles, 1945 - December 24, 1992

  • Rossano Brazzi, singer and actor, with an extensive filmography, much of it in Italian and French films; his most famous role was as Emile de Becque in South Pacific, September 18, 1916 – December 24, 1994

  • Toshiro Mifune, actor, who appeared in almost 170 feature films, including Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, The Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo, Chushingura, Hell in the Pacific, and Red Sun, April 1, 1920 – December 24, 1997

  • Nicholas Macioci, aka Nick Massi, the bass singer for The Four Seasons from 1961 to 1965, September 19, 1935 - December 24, 2000

  • Johnny Lane Oates, MLB catcher and manager; he was the manager of the Baltimore Orioles from 1991 to 1994, and the manager of the Texas Rangers from 1995 to 2001; he was selected the American League Manager of the Year in 1996, January 21, 1946 – December 24, 2004


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