Happy 190th birthday to Henrik Ibsen, born March 20, 1828 in Skien, Norway. He wrote many of theater’s greatest works and influenced god knows how many other playwrights and novelists, yet never won the Nobel, despite three nominations. Must have been the hair (look at that mop)!
Happy birthday to Chico, born Leonard Marx in New York City, March 22, 1887.
That’sa fine, eh!
March 22, 1976: In the Tunisian desert, George Lucas begins rolling film on his low-budget, kids’ space-fantasy film, The Star Wars. Turned out pretty good! Attaboy, George!
A happy 87th birthday to William Shatner, born into a Jewish immigrant family in Montreal, Canada, March 22, 1931.
His career has been so overshadowed by Kirk that you forget all the other fun stuff he did before.
March 22, 1963: Please Please Me, The Beatles’ debut album, is released by Parlophone Records in the UK. All those 50s guys who invented rock’n’roll didn’t know it, but they were done.
Speaking of the Beatles, let’s wish a happy birthday to character actor Wilfrid Bramble (Paul’s spirited grandfather in A Hard Day’s Night), born in Dublin, Ireland, March 22, 1912.
March 24, 1874 : Harry Houdini is born Erik Weisz, a rabbi’s son, in Budapest. His family emigrated to America when he was 4, initially settling in Wisconsin then later New York (where else!). Erik was a champion cross-country runner as a kid (great lungs!) and began studying magic in his early teens.
The name Harry, apparently, is a twisted, Americanized form of Eric, and Houdini allegedly came from the French magician Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin. Harry began his professional career performing slight-of-hand card manipulations in circuses but bombed at it. A colleague advised him to turn his passion toward escape tricks. Good choice.
Happy birthday to Steve McQueen, born March 24, 1930 in Beech Grove, Indiana. He had a tempestuous early life, bouncing between assorted relatives with whom he clashed before his antisocial behavior landed him in reform school. He did a stint in the marine corp armored division, but—ahem—”tanked” at it before finding acting.
He naturally rebelled against authority, a personality trait that served his film persona well but made him the bane of many directors and producers.
Forever The King of Cool.
Everyone join me in wishing a happy 99th birthday—woohoo!—to poet, publisher, and bookseller Lawrence Ferlinghetti, born March 24, 1919 in Bronxville, NY.
Happy birthday, Lawrence! Make it to 100, man!
Michael Rogers (email@example.com) is a Jesse H. Neal Gold Award-winning freelance writer, editor, reviewer, and photographer. He is also former Media Editor and audiobook reviewer at Library Journal.