.1895 ~ Walter Gieseking, German pianist
.1912 ~ Roy Rogers (Leonard Slye) ‘King of the Cowboys’, singer, married to Dale Evans
.1929 ~ McKinney’s Cotton Pickers picked and fiddled their way to the Victor studios to record Plain Dirt. Among those pickin’ and grinnin’ were luminaries such as Fats Waller (on piano), Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins.
.1931 ~ Ike Turner, American soul-rock singer, pianist and guitarist, duo with Ike and Tina Turner Revue, owner of a recording studio
.1936 ~ Billy Sherrill, Songwriter, musician: saxophone, record producer, VP/Executive Producer of CBS Nashville
.1941 ~ Art Garfunkel, American folk-rock singer, songwriter and actor, duo ~Simon and Garfunkel
1942 ~ George M. Cohan passed away at the age of 64. Cohan was a legendary songwriter whose spirited and star~spangled tunes lit up Broadway and will be a part of Americana forever.
More information about Cohan
.1946 ~ Gram Parsons (Cecil Ingram Connor), Singer with The Byrds, songwriter
.1947 ~ Peter Noone (Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone), Guitarist, piano, singer, Herman of Herman’s Hermits, actor
.1955 ~ The Vienna State Opera House in Austria formally opened, celebrating the end of 17 years of foreign occupation.
.1959 ~ Bryan Adams, Singer, songwriter
.1963 ~ Andrea McArdle, Actress, singer in Annie
.1977 ~ Guy Lombardo passed away at the age of 75. He was a musical fixture for decades, especially on New Year’s Eve. Guy Lombardo, leader of the Royal Canadians, is fondly remembered for many songs he made famous but his most popular remains Auld Lang Syne.
.1986 ~ Dick Clark registered for an initial public stock offering for his TV production company (DCP). On the registration form, he called his product ‘mind candy’.
1989 ~ Vladimir Horowitz passed away
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.1989 ~ Barry Sadler passed away
.2000 ~ Frances Mercer, a leading model of the 1930s who went on to star in films, radio, television and on Broadway, died at the age of 85. Chosen as one of New York’s most beautiful models while still in her teens, Mercer made her film debut in 1938 playing Ginger Rogers’ rival for James Stewart’s affections in “Vivacious Lady.” In the next two years Mercer made eight more movies, including “The Mad Miss Manton” opposite Barbara Stanwyck. In theater work, she had costarring roles in the Broadway musicals “All the Things You Are” and “Something for the Boys.” Mercer also had her own New York-based radio show, “Sunday Night at Nine.” On TV, Mercer played a vituperative mother-in-law on the soap opera “For Better or Worse” and surgical nurse Ann Talbot in the 1955-1957 syndicated series, “Dr. Hudson’s Secret Journal.”
.2000 ~ Jack O’Brian, a newspaper columnist and Associated Press critic who wrote about television and Broadway gossip, died at the age of 86. O’Brian chronicled soap opera plot twists and celebrities and the quiz show scandals of the 1950s. The cultural figures who met with his approval included Bert Lahr, Perry Como and Walter Cronkite. He took a job as a cub reporter with a Buffalo newspaper and established a reputation for cantankerousness when he skewered the local orchestra’s young accordionists. He joined the AP as its drama and movie critic in 1943. Later, he wrote about television and Broadway for a string of newspapers and a nationally syndicated column. He also hosted a WOR-AM radio show.