This week in Literature and Arts

Happy 66th birthday to Amy Tan, born February 19, 1952 in Oakland, CA. I’ve enjoyed several of her books and have met her once or twice. Nice gal.

Happy birthday to outdoor photography geek Ansel Adams, born February 20, 1902 in San Francisco. I could never get the hang of his Zoning System of exposure, but it certainly worked for him. Amazing photos.

Happy birthday to the fiery Sam Peckinpah, arguably, the last great director of the distinctly American genre, the Western, born David Samuel P., February 21, 1925, in Fresno, CA.

Besides writing and directing, Sam appeared as an actor in a handful of films, including a forgettable part in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (I think he was a seedpod with a nasty attitude!).

Happy birthday to Mr. droll Alan Rickman, born February 21, 1946 in London. Good in everything, really, but Die Hard‘s Hans Gruber is the gold standard for sophisticated villains.

Monster kids, a round of applause for the great Dwight Frye, “The Man with the 1000-Watt Stare,” born February 22, 1899 in Salina, Kansas. I believe he began his career as a pianist before settling on acting.

Frye is such a staple in the old horror films that when you see him playing a normal person elsewhere he seems out of place. The Universals wouldn’t be the same without him; he adds a certain something.  Salute, Dwight!

February 23, 1868: Sociologist/activist William Edward Burghardt Du Bois is born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Happy 75th birthday to guitar kid George Harrison, born February 24, 1943 in Liverpool, England.

George always believed his birthday was February 25, but information revealed near the end of his life showed that he actually entered the world a few minutes before midnight on the 24th, not just after 12 on the 25th.

Whichever is correct (it’s close enough), happy birthday, George. If you thought the world was fucked up before, you should see it now.

Despite his famous epithet, there was nothing “quiet” about him. Love to you, George. We miss you.

Michael Rogers ( 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.

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