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February 14th Today in History

Famous People & Celebrities Born on February 14th:

  • Jack Benny
    (1894) - He was born with the name of Benjamin Kubelsky. His parents bought him his first violin when he was 6 years old. Benny and Richard Nixon performed a musical duet on TV in 1959. Benny played his violin and Nixon played the piano.
  • Hugh Downs
    (1921) - The former 20/20 co-host holds the Guinness World's Record for the greatest number of hours spent on network television. Downs is color blind but that doesn't stop him from looking sharp. He has numbered labels stitched into his clothing to ensure that anything he wears is color coordinated.
  • Florence Henderson
    (1934) - Played Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch. Henderson credits her new calcium-loaded lifestyle with maintaining her sex life. Henderson says that ever since she was diagnosed with osteoporosis, she's been loading up on calcium and claims the supplement allows her to keep active with all sorts of things including sex. Other trivia: Florence confesses that when she rode a mule in the Brady Bunch Grand Canyon episodes, she was so scared she actually wet the saddle.
  • Donna Shalala
    (1941) - Former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Clinton administration.
  • Alan Parker
    (1944) - Film director. Evita (1996), The Road to Wellville (1994), Mississippi Burning (1988), Angel, Heart (1987), Pink Floyd The Wall (1982), Fame (1980), Midnight Express (1978), Bugsy Malone (1976).
  • Carl Bernstein
    (1944) - The former Washington Post reporter's investigation into the Watergate scandal resulted in President Nixon's resignation.
  • Gregory Hines
    (1946) - Actor and dancer. Waiting to Exhale (1995), A Rage in Harlem (1991), White Nights (1985), The Cotton Club (1984), History of the World: Part I (1981).
  • Meg Tilly
    (1960) - Actress.
  • Gheorghe Muresan
    (1971) - The Romanian-born 7-foot, 7-inch former NBA player also played the giant in Billy Crystal's 1998 flick My Giant. He wears a size-19 shoe and his arms span an amazing 7 feet, 10 1/2 inches. Gheorghe -- along with Manute Bol -- was the tallest player in the history of the NBA. His height doesn't come from genetics (his mother was 5' 7" and his father is 5' 9") Instead, his stature is due to a pituitary gland condition.
  • Rob Thomas
    (1972) - Lead singer with Matchbox 20. Rob may sound "smooth" singing with Santana on the hit tune "Smooth" -- but he wasn't supposed to be the original vocalist on the Grammy-winning track. George Michael was scheduled to sing "Smooth," but Rob wound up recording it after Carlos Santana thought he could do a better job.
  • Drew Bledsoe
    (1972) - New England Patriots quarterback.
Famous and Noteworthy Events on February 14th:
(1849) - A photograph of President James Polk was taken on this day, making him the first U.S. president to have his picture taken while in office. Photographer Matthew Brady snapped the photo of Polk sitting in the dining room of the White House. The photo took 30 seconds to expose.

(1859) - Oregon became the 33rd state. Nickname: Beaver State. State Tree: Douglas fir. Well-Known Oregon Residents and Natives: food writer James Beard, Simpsons creator Matt Groening, bandleader Doc Severinsen, actress Sally Struthers.

(1912) - Arizona became the 48th state. Nickname: Grand Canyon State. Official State Neckwear: Bolo tie. State Gemstone: Turquoise. Well-Known Arizona Residents and Natives: Farm rights activist Cesar Chavez, Senator Barry Goldwater, Apache chiefs Cochise and Geronimo.

(1920) - The League of Women Voters was formed.

(1929) - Chicago's infamous Valentine's Day Massacre took place as seven members of the "Bugs" Moran gang were mowed down by members of Al Capone's gang.

(1966) - Wilt Chamberlain, of the Philadelphia 76ers, set a National Basketball Association record with 20,884 in rebounds. By the time he retired, his career total was 23,924.

(1972) - John Lennon and Yoko Ono were guest hosts of The Mike Douglas Show.

(1972) - The musical, Grease, opened for the first time at the Eden Theatre in New York City. The musical later moved to the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway where it played for 3,388 performances. The hit movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John was released in 1978.

(1973) - The first Vietnam POWs returned to the United States.

(1974) - Rolling Stone reported that David Bowie turned down an offer to write the "...first Gay National Anthem."

(1989) - Union Carbide agreed to pay the government of India $470 million to settle claims concerning the Bhopal gas factory accident, which killed more than 2,000 people in 1984. India had asked for $3 billion.

(1989) - Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini ordered his followers to kill author Salmon Rushdie because he was offended by Rushdie's book, The Satanic Verses. Rushdie went into hiding.

(1990) - The Perrier water company issued a world-wide recall of its water after trace amounts of a cancer-causing chemical were found in some bottles. More than 160 million bottles were recalled.

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