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January 1st Today in History

Famous People & Celebrities Born on January 1st:

  • Paul Revere
    (1735) - At about 10 p.m. on the evening of April 18, 1775, Revere made his famous "Midnight Ride" to warn American patriots about approaching British troops. Accompanying Revere on horseback were William Dawes and Samuel Prescott. Together the three men rode from Boston to Concord, New Hampshire, to warn of the nearby British army. Revere was an expert silversmith who created more than just forks and spoons. He crafted surgical instruments and even false teeth made out of silver. Revere also created the famous engraving of the Boston Massacre in 1770 depicting what appears to be British Redcoats shooting a group of defenseless Americans. In reality, the "defenseless Americans" were an angry mob and the Redcoats were acting in self defense. Revere died on May 10, 1818.
  • J. Edgar Hoover
    (1895) - Hoover maintained files on the sex lives of prominent politicians which President Lyndon Johnson reportedly liked to read. Hoover himself enjoyed dressing up in ladies clothing.
  • J.D. Salinger
    (1919) - Author of the "Catcher in the Rye."
  • Idi Amin
    (1925) - The former dictator of Uganda lived in Saudi Arabia. In 1973, he sent Richard Nixon a get-well card wishing him a "speedy recovery from Watergate." After Amin was booted out of Uganda, he reportedly wanted to open a chain of fried chicken restaurants in the United States. He died August 16, 2003, of renal failure.
  • Frank Langella
    (1940) - Actor. Dracula (1979).
  • Don Novello
    (1943) - The comedian is better known as Father Guido Sarducci. Appeared on Saturday Night Live in the 1970s. Flicks: Rent Control (2002), Just One Night (2000), The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000).
  • Grandmaster Flash
    (1958) - Considered by some to be the originator of rap. His real name is Joseph Saddler. "White Lines" (Don't Do It)" (1983)
  • Embeth Davidtz
    (1966) - Actress. The Palace Thief (2002), Thirteen Ghosts (2001), Bridget Jones's Diary (2001).
  • Verne Troyer
    (1969) - Troyer, who played Mini-Me in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, is only 32 inches tall. By comparison, well-known little person Billy Barty towers over Troyer by more than a foot. Troyer also starred in the short 2000 film, Bit Players, which depicts the making of Willie Wonka And The Chocolate Factory from the point-of-view of the actors who played the tiny Oompa-Loompas. Other flicks: You'll Never Wiez in This Town Again (2002), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000).
  • Paul Thomas Anderson
    (1970) - Film director. Boogie Nights. (1997) Anderson reportedly chose Mark Wahlberg over Leonardo DiCaprio for the lead role in Boogie Nights after Wahlberg dropped his pants and flashed Anderson his "manhood." As a result, Wahlberg landed the role of Dirk Diggler, the well-endowed porn star of Boogie Nights.
Famous and Noteworthy Events on January 1st:
(1863) - President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in the U.S.

(1892) - Immigrants to the U.S. were processed for the first time at a brand new facility: Ellis Island. More than 20 million people passed through the gates at Ellis Island until it closed its doors in 1954.

(1902) - The first Tournament of Roses football game was held in Pasadena, California. The outcome: Michigan blew the doors off Stanford 49-0. By the way, the Rose Bowl game wasn't even called the "Rose Bowl" until 1923.

(1908) - A ball was dropped from Times Square for the first time to ring in the new year.

(1946) - America's first official baby boomer was born one second into the new year of 1946. Kathleen Casey Wilkens was born in Philadelphia at 12:00:00:01 a.m. She now lives in Haddon Heights, New Jersey.

(1953) - Country singer Hank Williams was found dead in the back seat of his Cadillac. The vehicle was parked at a Puroil gas station in Oak Ridge, West Virginia. At the time, the 29-year-old singer was being driven to a performance in Canton, Ohio. Williams had been drinking whiskey at the time and had ingested chloral hydrate, a sedative. Ironically, one of Williams' Top Ten country hits is called "I'll Never Get Out of this World Alive."

(1959) - Fidel Castro and his guerrillas ousted the Batista regime in Cuba.

(1971) - American TV and radio stations were banned from broadcasting cigarette ads. The night before, the tobacco companies blitzed the airwaves with hundreds of advertisements hawking their smoky wares.

(1976) - Amid much ridicule, NBC TV debuted its new corporate logo: an abstract capital "N." The simplistic letter replaced the network's familiar peacock. NBC spent nearly $1 million designing the letter. It was later discovered that the $1-million NBC "N" was a virtual carbon copy of an "N" used by Nebraska Public Television. Its "N" cost only $35 to create.

(1985) - VH1 premiered on cable TV systems.

(1994) - Microsoft executive Bill Gates married Melinda French.

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