Happy Birthday Django Reinhardt!
Jean "Django" Reinhardt (January 23, 1910 – May 16, 1953) was a pioneering jazz guitarist and composer who is often credited as the first European jazz musician who significantly influenced the genre. Reinhardt developed a new technique, sometimes known as 'hot' jazz guitar, that has since become a living musical tradition within French gypsy culture. His most popular compositions which have since become jazz standards, include "Minor Swing", "Daphne", "Belleville", "Djangology", "Swing '42", and "Nuages". (Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Happy Birthday George Balanchine!
Giorgi Melitonovitch Balanchivadze (January 22, 1904 – April 30, 1983) was a prolific choreographer, developer of ballet in the United States, and and the co-founder and balletmaster of the New York City Ballet. Balanchine's works are noted for their incredible musicality and thoughtful incorporation of many different art forms. Balanchine's most frequent collaborator was the composer Igor Stravinsky, whose music is incorporated into 39 of his more than 400 ballets. Balanchine also worked with composers Claude Debussy and Darius Milhaud, while the sets and costumes of his ballets have been designed by artists like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Upon his arrival to the United States, Balanchine established the School of American Ballet, which remains one of the most highly regarded ballet schools in the world.
Benny Hill, January 21st 1924 - April 20th 1992, was a British comedian, actor, and songwriter, best known for "The Benny Hill Show" which ran on the BBC, and later Thames Televison, from 1955-1989.
Happy Birthday, David Lynch!
David Lynch, born on January 20th, 1946 is an American filmmaker and director, best known for his surrealist style and highly visual, psychological stories. Lynch's first feature Eraserhead (1977) became a cult classic. He went on to direct: The Elephant Man (1980), Dune (1984), Blue Velvet (1986), Mulholland Drive (2001) and his television series Twin Peaks (1990-1991). Lynch's career inspired and influenced a generation of filmmakers including Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Tarantino, and the Cohen Brothers. Lynch's era-defining films have won him over 42 awards.
"I could paint for a hundred years, a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing." – Paul Cézanne
Happy Birthday Paul Cézanne!
Paul Cézanne ( January 19, 1839 – 1906) was a French Post-Impressionist painter whose work is often considered to bridge the Impressionism of the 19th century and the Cubism of the early 20th century. Cézanne's work is marked by small brushstrokes that form complex fields, and reveal the artist's intense study of each of his subjects. Both Matisse and Picasso have been attributed with saying that Cézanne "is the father of us all."
Happy Birthday, Danny Kaye!
Danny Kaye (January 18, 1913 - March 3, 1987) was a popular American comedian, actor, singer and dancer. Kaye appeared in seventeen films, some of the most well-known being: The Kid From Brooklyn (1946), The Inspector General (1949), Hans Christian Andersen (1952), White Christmas (1954) and The Court Jester (1956). Kaye's comedic talents were highlighted by his physical comedy, pantomime and nonsense songs, many of which were written by his wife and lyricist Sylvia Fine, whom he met while starring in Broadway show The Straw Hat Revue.
Danny Kaye was the first ambassador-at-large of UNICEF and worked with the organization for many years, eventually receiving the French Legion of Honor for his dedication.
Andrew Geoffrey Kaufman (January 17, 1949 – May 16, 1984) was an American entertainer and actor. Although he is often referred to as a comedian, Kaufman considered himself a "song and dance man." Kaufman is best remembered for his portrayal of the "Foreign Man," who would perform inept and incomprehensible impressions of Americans celebrities--and then do a dead-on impression of Elvis. Kaufman appeared on the first episode of Saturday Night Live, where he performed the theme to "Mighty Mouse" (see the video below) and later developed the recurring role of Latka Gravas on Taxi. Kaufman hadn't been considered for the show until the producers of Taxi saw Andy's Foreign Man, at which point they wrote a part for him. In order to allow Kaufman to exercise his comedic range on the show, Latka was given multiple personality disorder, and Kaufman was able to randomly portray different characters. Throughout his life, Kaufman was known for blurring the boundaries in his performances between truth and fiction, and audience and stage. For instance, even after establishing himself as a performer and entertainer, Kaufman once appeared on The Dating Game under an assumed name as a supposedly real contestant, and once appeared on The David Letterman Show claiming to be homeless man with adopted children.
Happy Birthday Marilyn Horne!
Marilyn Horne (January 16, 1934) is an American mezzo-soprano opera singer who has been performing professionally since the 1950s, when she dubbed the singing voice of Dorothy Dandridge in the film Carmen Jones. The singer also appeared as "Jackie" on The Odd Couple, as a meek singer who transforms into a diva and performs the role of Carmen to great acclaim. She later sang on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and debuted with the Los Angeles Guild Opera in the role of Hata in the The Bartered Bride. Her singing prowess was recognized by Igor Stravinsky and she was invited to perform in the 1956 Venice festival, when she was 22. Her subsequent operatic career in Europe earned the young singer a serious reputation for her bel canto performances. Today, the singer turns 79.
Happy Birthday, Gene Krupa!
Gene Krupa (January 15, 1909 – October 16, 1973) was an American jazz and big band drummer who was slated for the priesthood, until he decided to pursue his love of music. Krupa was known for his highly energetic style and played for the "King of Swing", Benny Goodman's band. Krupa is featured in their hit song, "Sing, Sing, Sing" and his performance includes the first extended drum solos to be recorded commericially. In 1939, Krupa and his Orchestra appeared in Some Like It Hot, and in 1941 he made a cameo appearance in Ball of Fire. Krupa was a highly respected musician and teacher, and his pupils included Peter Criss of KISS and Jerry Nolan from The New York Dolls.
Happy Birthday, Faye Dunaway!
Dorothy Faye Dunaway (January 14, 1941) is an American actress who has appeared in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Chinatown (1974), The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), and many other films. She won an Academy Award for her performance in Network (1976). Dunaway is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Joan Crawford in the biographical film, Mommie Dearest which highlights the tense relationship between Joan and her adopted daughter Christina. In a pivotal scene, Joan storms into Christina's room in the middle of the night and discovers one of Christina's dresses on a wire hanger. Joan becomes incensed and screams, "I told you! No wire hangers, ever!" She then beats Christina, who is sobbing and screaming, with the hanger, and ravages her bedroom and her bathroom, and then screams at her to clean up the mess.
Variety said of her performance, "Dunaway does not chew scenery. Dunaway starts neatly at each corner of the set in every scene and swallows it whole, costars and all." The actress turns 71 today.
"Everything is permissible if it sounds beautiful, if it is justified artistically." –Daniil Shafran
Happy Birthday, Daniil Shafran!
Daniil Borisovich Shafran (January 13, 1923–February 7, 1997) was a Russian cellist known for his incredible range and technique, which allowed him to play violin pieces on the cello at original pitch, and often transcribed works meant for other instruments. Shafran was raised in a musical family where he was instilled with a great attention to detail and taught to be "mercilessly strict" about practicing. His drive for perfection served him well, as he gained national renown for his performance at the 1937 USSR All-Union Competition for Violinists and Cellists, when he was 14. Shafran was below the qualifying age limit, but was allowed to enter as an "unofficial" contestant, and won first prize. From this competition, he was awarded an Antonio Amati cello, which would become the only instrument he played for the rest of his life.
Howard Allan Stern (January 12, 1954) is an American radio personality, television host, and author who has hosted The Howard Stern Show since 1979. From 1986 until 2005, the show was nationally syndicated on terrestrial radio.
In 2006, Stern moved his show exclusively to Sirius XM Radio. Since 1994, The Howard Stern Show has been broadcast on television, and remains one of the most popular radio shows in the U.S. To celebrate his birthday, we bring you a list of interesting facts about the King of All Media, below.