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May 1st Today in History

Famous People & Celebrities Born on May 1st:

  • Kate Smith
    (1909) - Smith recorded more than 3,000 songs. "God Bless America" was performed for the first time in 1938 when Smith belted out the Irving Berlin tune on her radio show. Berlin originally wrote the song for a 1918 musical called Yip, Yip, Haphank -- but he never used it for the show. The tune caused an immediate sensation and Eleanor Roosevelt thought "God Bless America" should replace "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the U.S. national anthem. Sadly, the idea was doomed after many anti-Semitic Americans said they didn't want a national anthem written by a Russian-Jewish immigrant. Other Smith trivia: She was terrified of being underground and refused to use the New York subway. Smith died on June 17, 1986.
  • Glenn Ford
    (1916) - Actor. Played Clark Kent's adoptive father in Superman (1978), Blackboard Jungle (1955)
  • Jack Paar
    (1918) - Former host of Tonight Show from 1957 to 1962. Paar suffered from stuttering as a kid but cured it by speaking with buttons in his mouth. In 1960 Paar walked off the set of The Tonight Show in protest of NBC censors who had deleted a joke he made the previous evening regarding a "water closet." The censors substituted a three-minute news update in lieu of the loo joke. Paar later returned to the Tonight Show after a getaway trip to Hong Kong.
  • Art Fleming
    (1924) - Fleming was the original host of Jeopardy. He died on April 25, 1995.
  • Judy Collins
    (1939) - Collins chooses her songs based on chemical reactions. If it doesn't fit her, she doesn't sing it: "I am always examining the lyrics I sing from every possible angle but I don't think they stand on their own -- they need the music. Otherwise, it's a poem, not a song." In 1970, Collins, Jimi Hendrix and other artists participated in a seven-hour anti-Vietnam War concert at Madison Square Garden. Collins hits: "Send in the Clowns" (1975), "Both Sides Now" (1968).
  • Rita Coolidge
    (1945) - The singer is the daughter of a Baptist minister and a Native American Cherokee. Hits: "All Time High"(1983), "The Way You Do The Things You Do" (1978), "Higher and Higher" (1977).
  • Joanna Lumley
    (1946) - Played Patsy Stone on Absolutely Fabulous. Lumley says she's not surprised reruns of Absolutely Fabulous are popular with gay audiences because her character is really a gay man in a woman's body.
  • John Woo
    (1946) - Film director best known for his gangster and thriller flicks. Woo flicks: Honor Among Thieves (2002), Windtalkers (2002), Windtalkers (2001), Face/Off (1997), Broken Arrow (1996), Hard Target (1993).
  • Ray Parker, Jr.
    (1954) - Best known for the theme to the 1984 film "Ghostbusters." Musician Huey Lewis sued Parker in 1984 claiming the "Ghostbusters" tune was a rip off of his hit "I Want a New Drug." Other Parker hits: "The Other Woman" (1982), "You Can't Change That" (1979).
  • Charlie Schlatter
    (1966) - Dr. Jesse Travis on Diagnosis Murder. Played Ferris Bueller (TV series). Schlatter played opposite George Burns in the 1988 body-switching comedy 18 Again. He says he enjoyed imitating Burns on-screen even though he thinks it was probably "the world's worst George Burns impression." Either way, Schlatter says the then 92-year-old Burns convinced him to make acting a full-time job. These days he remembers Burns on a daily basis because he owns the comedian's grandfather clock. Unfortunately, Schlatter says the clock " as well as Burns does these days."
  • Johnny Colt
    (1966) - The Black Crowes.
  • Tim McGraw
    (1967) - When the country singer was growing up in Louisiana, he helped his stepfather haul cottonseed to Texas. Tim says that's where he started paying attention to country music. When he arrived in Nashville on May 9, 1989, he didn't even own a car to sleep in -- he sold it for $600 to get to Music City. "It's so strange," says Tim. "You dream about what you're going to do when all this happens. And when it does, none of it seems real. We lived in a converted barn for a year, so I'm about as country as you can get. I'm a redneck, so no matter what I sing, it's gonna come out country." McGraw's biological father, former New York Mets pitcher Tug McGraw, has become a big fan of his son's music. However, Tim admits "The only song he knows all the way through beside 'Indian Outlaw' is 'The Star Spangled Banner'."
  • D'arcy Wretzky
    (1968) - Former bass player with The Smashing Pumpkins.
  • Julie Benz
    (1975) - Actress. The Brothers (2001).
  • Darius McCrary
    (1976) - Played Eddie Winslow on Family Matters.
Famous and Noteworthy Events on May 1st:
(1931) - The Empire State Building opened its doors to the public for the first time. The 1454-foot-high, 102-story building has 60 miles of plumbing, 1860 steps and more than 6500 windows.

(1912) - Just days after the Titanic sank, a new federal ship safety regulation was issued requiring all cruise ships to carry enough life boats to hold all passengers.

(1941) - Cheerios cereal was introduced to America's supermarket shelves.

(1951) - Mickey Mantle hit his first home run in the big leagues.

(1965) - "Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter" by Herman's Hermits was the No. 1 song.

(1967) - Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu in an extravagant ceremony at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. The wedding cake alone cost $3,500. Elvis met Priscilla in Germany where he was stationed during a stint in the Army. The marriage lasted only four years, and Elvis filed for divorce in 1972. It was finalized in 1973.

(1970) - President Nixon declared that student protesters of the Vietnam War were "...bums..." who burn books and "...blow up buildings."

(1971) - Amtrak started daily service, combining the operations of 18 intercity passenger railroads.

(1972) - The Tonight Show permanently moved from New York City to Los Angeles.

(1980) - Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue were married.

(1981) - Tennis star Billie Jean King publicly announced she was having a lesbian affair with a woman named Marilyn Barnett.

(1997) - John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet, publicly declared their innocence in the still unsolved murder case. The couple pleaded with the public to help find the killer of their daughter.

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