Happy Brthday, Jacques Pépin!
Jacques Pépin (December 18, 1935) is an internationally renowned French chef, author, and television personality. Pépin has been the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle. Since 1959, Pépin has worked in the United States, where he also completed his master's degree in French Literature at Columbia University. He has collaborated with fellow French chefs, Julia Childs and Jacques Torres, whom we've previously interviewed.
Happy Birthday, Eugene Levy!
Eugene Levy (December 17, 1946) is a Canadian actor and writer who is known for his many comedic roles. Levy is an alumnus of the The Second City, Toronto, as well as the sketch comedy series, Second City Television. Levy frequently collaborates with fellow screenwriter and comedian Christopher Guest, and is frequently seen in Guest's mockumentary films, including Best in Show and A Mighty Wind. The actor turns 66 today.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke
Happy Birthday, Arthur C. Clarke!
Arthur C. Clarke (December 16, 1917 – March 19, 2008) was a British science fiction writer, futurist, and inventor who passionately championed the value of scientific exploration. Clarke is often referred to as one of the "Big Three" major authors of science fiction, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. Among his most well-known works is 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was concurrently developed with Stanley Kubrick's film version and published soon after the release of the film.
Happy Birthday, Ray Eames!
Bernice Alexandra "Ray" (December 15, 1912 – August 21, 1988) was an American designer, artist, and filmmaker who, along with her husband Charles, made up the famous Eames design team. The duo is responsible for many major contributions to modern architecture and furniture, as well as graphic design and film.
Happy Birthday, Clark Terry!
Clark Terry, born December 14, 1920, is one of the living legends of jazz, having mentored the late Miles Davis, and having appeared on at least 905 known recording sessions. Terry himself was mentored by Louis Armstrong, and has performed frequently with fellow jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Carter. Today, Terry turns 92 years old.
Happy Birthday, Heinrich Heine!
Harry Heine (December 13, 1797 - February 17, 1856) was one of the most influential German poets and literary figures of the 19th century. In addition his lyric poetry, he was a prolific journalist, essayist, and literary critic. His poetry was set to music in the form of Lieder, or art songs, by composers like Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert, and became increasingly recognized for a distinct satirical wit and sense of irony. He was known as a political dissident in his native Germany and spent the last 25 years of his life as an expatriate in Paris.
"From my rotting body,
flowers shall grow
and I am in them
and that is eternity."
Happy Birthday, Edvard Munch!
Edvard Munch (December 12, 1893 – January 23, 1944) was a Norwegian painter and printmaker who is known for his exploration of psychological themes and his contributions to the 19th century movement of Symbolism, and German Expressionism of the early 20th century. His most well–known work is The Scream, completed in 1893.
Happy Birthday, Big Mama Thorton!
Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton (December 11, 1926 – July 25, 1984) was an American rhythm and blues singer and songwriter. In 1952, Thorton was the first artist to record the song "Hound Dog," which then stayed on the Billboard R&B charts for seven weeks in the following year. The B-side was "They Call Me Big Mama." Three years later, Elvis Presley recorded his version of the song. Thorton was also the artist who wrote and recorded "Ball 'n' Chain", which Janis Joplin made popular in 1967.
Happy Birthday, Olivier Messiaen!
Olivier Messiaen (December 10, 1908 – April 27, 1992) was a major French composer as well as an avid ornithologist and organist. His music drew on ancient Greek and Hindu sources and is noted for being incredibly rhythmically complex and diversely influenced. Messiaen experienced synesthesia, a condition in which different sensory experiences influenced one another. In his case, the composer perceived colors while listening to certain musical chords, and considered these experiences crucial to his compositional process.
Happy Birthday John Malkovich!
John Malkovich (December 9, 1953) is an American actor, director, and producer who has appeared in over 70 films, including Dangerous Liaisons and the mind-bending comedy– drama, Being John Malkovich, in which a mousy puppeteer finds a portal near the New Jersey Turnpike that leads into the mind of John Malkovich. The actor studied theatre at Illinois State University, and is known for a certain magnetic acting style that makes him both fearsome and a joy to watch.
Happy Birthday, Jean Sibelius!
Johan Julius Christian Sibelius (December 8, 1865 – September 20, 1957) was a Finnish composer is remembered for his tremendous contributions to music of the later Romantic period. Sibelius contributed so much to Finnish national identity that until it was taken out of circulation in 2002, he was featured in the Finnish 100 mark bill. In Finland, the composer's birthday is known as the 'Day of Finnish Music'. His best known work includes a set of seven symphonies, as well as Finlandia, Valse Triste, The Swan of Tuonela, and several other compositions.