Melody is a genealogist who enjoys learning the history of people and places.
Many Famous People Were Born On Christmas
Is December 25th your birthday? If so, you get to share your birthday with a long of scientists, athletes, entertainers, writers, and world leaders. And lucky you! In most countries, you get the whole day off because of this holiday called Christmas! Stretch it out and you might be off until New Years
There were way many fascinating and famous people born on this day. I've whittled my list down to ten people? My list includes Isaac Newton, Humphrey Bogart, Clara Barton, Demaryius Thomas, Annie Lennox, Cab Calloway, Rickey Henderson, Carlos Castenada, Emma Slater, and Robert Ripley. That's an impressive list if you ask me!
Why don't we get right to it and see who these famous folks are?
Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1703)
Isaac Newton Jr. was born in 1642 at Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, England, to Isaac Newton Sr. and Hannah Ayscough. His father died three months before he was born. Newton never married, though was engaged once.
He was an unremarkable student and was once sent back home where his mother tried to turn him into a farmer. I guess that was enough to make him return to school. He excelled the second time around and went on to Trinity College in Cambridge.
Newton was a part of the 17th Century Scientific Revolution. He was a physicist, alchemist, and mathematician. We all know him for “Newton's Law of Universal Gravity". But, did you know that he helped develop calculus and laid the foundation for modern physics? His greatest contributions were in his book “Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica”.
In addition to contributing to our scientific knowledge, he held several positions including being a member of parliament (1689-1690 and 1701), Master of the Mint in 1696, and President of the Royal Society in 1703.
He died in his sleep at the age of 83.
Clara Barton (1823-1912)
Clarissa Harlowe Barton was born in 1821 in Oxford, MA to Stephen Barton and Sarah Stone. As a child, healing came naturally to her. When her brother injured himself falling off the barn, Clara was the one who sat by his side aiding his recovery. She was 10 years old.
She became a teacher in 1838 and later opened her own free school in New Jersey. After teaching for 12 years, she went to work for the U.S. Patent Office. She may have been the first woman to hold a job in the U.S. government.
In 1862, she was given permission to provide care on the front lines during the U.S. Civil War. After the war, she found herself in Switzerland in 1873 observing a group called the Red Cross. She was quite impressed and determined to bring this organization to the United States. When she returned, she met with President Hayes but he wasn't interested. Her later meeting with President Arthur turned out more favorable.
Barton became the first president of the American Red Cross in 1881. She held the post until 1904 when her health declined. Barton died of TB at the age of 92.
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I Bet You Know What Movie This Is From
Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957)
Humphrey DeForest Bogart was born in 1899, New York City, NY to Belmont DeForest Bogart and Maud Humphrey. His father was a cardiopulmonary surgeon and his mother a commercial illustrator.
Bogart was a bad student and had no prospects when he left school. He joined the Navy in 1918 and was in the reserves after WWI.
He debuted on the stage in 1921 and had a small part in a film called “Dancing Town” in 1928. He made several films in the 1930s, but his bring break was “High Sierra” in 1941. He made one of my favorite movies that year, "The Maltese Falcon." “Casablanca” followed in 1942.
He made a total of 42 films between 1928-1940; 26 films between 1941-1950, and 14 films between 1951-1956. It's hard to believe he was only nominated for three Oscars. He won the best actor award in 1951 for The African Queen.
He was outspoken about his political beliefs. He founded a group called “Organized Committee for the First Amendment” to fight the House UnAmerican Activities Committee and their unrelenting attack on alleged communists.
He was married 4 times. His most notable marriage was to the woman who co-starred in several of his films, Lauren Bacall. They married in 1945.
No doubt we would have seen many more films from this actor had his health not taken a bad turn in the 1950s. He died from esophageal cancer at the age of 57.
Cab Calloway (1907-1999)
Cabell Calloway III was born in 1907, Rochester, New York to Cabell Calloway II and Winona Betty Conacher. Both his parents were college graduates and professionals--his father a lawyer and his mother a teacher.
At 15, he began getting voice lessons and right after graduating high school he joined a musical revue. He did make an effort at college but pursued music instead.
Cab Calloway is most notable for his ability to scat. It is said he learned scat from Louis Armstrong. He formed an orchestra in the 1920s that played on radio shows and in clubs across the country. His most famous song was "Minnie the Moocher" which was recorded in 1931. You know it by its “Hi De Ho” call and response. I don't think Calloway ever sang it the same way twice. He had 44 songs hit the charts from 1930-1948.
In 1932, he appeared in his first film. From there he made 13. Those from my generation will remember his performance in the 1980s film “The Blues Brothers”.
He died of a stroke at the age of 86. He left behind a wife and son. He was admitted posthumously to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
Never heard Calloway? Here's Minnie the Moocher
Your Traits If You Were Born on December 25th
Some believe that people born on a certain day share certain personality traits. I'm not sure I buy that, but it's interesting to consider.
Let's talk about the upside. Those born on December 25th are considered mature. That's always a good thing to be especially when you're an adult. They also possess a high level of intelligence and creativity. They are good in a crisis because they don't panic easily. Always nice to have a cool head around.
On the downside (there is always a downside), they can be overly curious. They have a reputation for being a nosy neighbor. Perhaps Gladys Kravitz on Bewitched was born on this day. They are worriers, too. Sleepless nights await them.
If you were born on this day, do these traits sound like you? How about the people on my list? Well, we know several of them were smart and artistic. And, Clara Barton was definitely was great to have around in an emergency.
Your Special Day
Robert Ripley (1890-1949)
Robert Ripley was born in 1890 in Santa Rosa, CA to Isaac Davis Ripley and Lillie Bell. In 1906, he played semi-pro baseball. An injury ended his dream of going to the pros. In 1926, he was New York State Handball Champion. He wrote a book on the topic as well.
Ripley began his publishing career as a cartoonist. In 1906, he sold his first one to Life magazine. He then worked for the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Globe. He also published a travel journal in 1925 based on his travels. He did a radio show that was recorded at odd places along his travels like a cave or underwater.
In 1929, he caught the eye of William Randolph Hearst. This is when Believe It Or Not column took off. In 1930, in cooperation with Warner Brothers Vitaphone, he produced the first Believe It or Not short films.
While keeping up that side of his career, Ripley opened his first museum in 1932. It was in Chicago and he called it the Odditorium. Seems appropriate. 10 years later, he had five museums in five cities.
In 1948, his radio and cartoon series both came to an end. He started a TV show based on the Believe It or Not stories. He made 13 episodes before his health issues got in the way. He died of a heart attack at the age of 58.
How Well Do You Know These Christmas Celebrities?
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- What organization did Clara Barton run?
- The Salvation Army
- The American Red Cross
- National Woman Suffrage Organization
- What film did Humphrey Bogart win best actor for?
- High Sierra
- The African Queen
- What was the Eurythmics first hit called?
- Dream Weaver
- Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
- Dream a Little Dream of Me
- What was Rickey Henderson famous for?
- Backflips at short stop
- Throwing a knuckleball
- Base stealing
- What was Robert Ripley's first dream?
- To be a pro baseball player
- To give people the creeps
- To make handball the U.S. national pasttime.
- The American Red Cross
- The African Queen
- Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
- Base stealing
- To be a pro baseball player
Carlos Castaneda (1925-1998)
Carlos Castenada was born in 1925 in Cajamarca, Peru. He came to the US in the early 1950s where he got his university education.
He earned a Ph.D. in anthropology at UCLA. As a student, he set out in 1968 to do scholarly research on the Yaqui Indians in Mexico. He met up with a shaman named Don Juan Matus who taught him about the mystical path including extensive use of hallucinogenic drugs. That first meeting lead to a lifelong journey for Castaneda.
He documented his experiences in twelve of books starting with “The Teachings of Don Juan: a Yaqui Way of Knowledge”. His works were seen as groundbreaking and he was applauded for his efforts. However, skepticism began to grow over the veracity of his works. Some claim them to be works of pure fiction, some claim them as outright falsehoods, while others think they were allegories and never to be taken at face value.
Whatever the case, we will never know since Castaneda went into seclusion in 1973. He died of cancer at the age of 72.
Annie Lennox (1954- )
Annie Lennox was born in 1954 in Aberdeen, Scotland to Thomas and Dorothy Lennox. She was a student of the Royal Academy of Music for three years. Lennox can play the flute, piano, keyboards, guitar, harpsichord, harmonium, and bass guitar. Oh, and she can sing.
Lennox started with a group called Dragon's Playground and then went on to the new wave group The Tourist in the late 1970s. In the early 80s, she teamed up with Dave Stewart to form the Eurythmics. They burst on the scene in 1983 with “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)”. It was a huge hit for the group.
Right from the start, she earned accolades for her work. In 1984, she won Best British Female Artist in the BRIT Awards, the group won Best New Artist at the Grammy's, and they won the Best New Artist at the MTV Music Awards.
The Eurythmics went on to produce eight studio albums. Lennox, as a solo artist, produced six studio albums. I am particularly fond of her duet with Al Green, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart”, that came out in 1988.
She was married three times and has three children. She is politically active and has supported many humanitarian causes. She received the Order of the British Empire in 2011.
Rickey Henderson (1958- )
Rickey Nelson Henley was born in 1958 in Chicago, IL to John and Bobbie Henley. He was 2 years old when his father walked out on them. His mother remarried to Paul Henderson and the family moved to Oakland, CA. He was seven years old.
He was an excellent athlete throughout his school career. When he graduated from Oakland Tech in 1976, he was playing baseball, basketball, and football.
He was drafted by the Oakland A's in 1976 and made his debut in 1979. It was with the Oakland A's that he set so many base-stealing records. Henderson played for 9 teams over his career. He didn't officially retire until 2009. In 2011, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The player known simply as "Rickey" was one of the true characters of the game.
Some of Rickey's records include:
- 1980: Only American League player to steal more than 100 bases. He broke the single-season steal record in 1982 with 130.
- 1983: First player to have three seasons with 100 runs, 100 stolen bases, and 100 walks.
- 1991: Stole his 939th base breaking Lou Brock's record.
- End of career: Set base-stealing record at 1,406.
Christmas Birthdays—Take It or Leave It
I know a couple of people who have Christmas birthdays. It seems that each of them has the same complaint. While their siblings got fantastic birthday parties filled with presents and goodies that were all their own, the Christmas babies had to share their birthday with Jesus.
Not that celebrating with Jesus was a bad thing. However, some felt that they were cheated because they didn't get separate presents. You know the drill, "Here's your present! It's for both your birthday and Christmas!"--as if that made it extra special. Also, that birthday party they dreamed of never quite happened because their friends were with their families or away for the winter holidays. Their parents were too tired after the holiday celebrations to put together yet another party. By the time school started back up, it was too late.
Of course, we're all supposed to be grateful for what we've got. But, when you're a kid, you'd like your birthday to be special, to be all your own. And, some Christmas babies don't feel they got that.
Demaryius Thomas (1987- )
Demaryius Antwon Thomas was born in 1987 in Montrose, Georgia to Bob Thomas and Katrina Smith. His childhood was rocked with turmoil. Both his mother and grandmother were convicted of cocaine distribution when he was 12. They are serving 20 years to life sentences. Because of this, he was raised by an aunt and uncle.
He went to West Laurens High School where he played football and basketball. In 2004, as a Junior, he was named an all-Heart of Georgia and all-region player. He repeated those honors his Senior year. He also played in the North-South All-Star game. Scout.com rated him as Georgia's 22nd ranked college prospect when he graduated.
Thomas went to the Georgia Institute of Technology. He majored in management. He got some playing time on the football team the first two years, but it wasn't until his junior year that he really stood out. He earned 1st Team All-ACC honors that year.
He was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2010. They signed him to a five-year contract. He was one of only 9 players since 1970 to make at least 8 reception in their first game.
In his short time with the NFL, Thomas has racked up the honors. He made the Pro Bowl twice, was named to the 2013 All-Pro Team, and has the honor of most receptions made in one Super Bowl (13).
Emma Slater (1988- )
Emma Slater was born in 1988 in Tamworth, England. Her ballroom dancing training started at the young age of 10 and she was in numerous school productions. She was a national champion a couple of times and won many competitions as a teenager.
Her early career boasts appearance in music videos, exercise videos, and on the stage. She was in a touring company production of “Simply Ballroom.”
She made her film debut in 1988 playing Hen in “Mamma Mia.” She appeared on the South African version of Dancing with the Stars. She has worked her way into American hearts as one of the dancing professionals on the American version of the show. Since 2012, she has partnered with Bill Engvall, Billy Dee Williams, and Michael Waltrip.