Benjamin Franklin FRS, FRSE (January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790) was a renowned polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions. He founded many civic organizations, including Philadelphia’s fire department and the University of Pennsylvania. Born in Boston, Massachusetts Bay, English America. (d. 1790)
Anne Brontë (17 January 1820 – 28 May 1849) was an English novelist and poet, the youngest member of the Brontë literary family. She published a volume of poetry with her sisters (Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, 1846) and two novels. Agnes Grey, based upon her experiences as a governess, was published in 1847. Her second and last novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which is considered to be one of the first sustained feminist novels. Born in Thornton, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. (d. 1849)
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, OM, PC (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was a British statesman of the Liberal Party. As Chancellor of the Exchequer (1908-1915), Lloyd George was a key figure in the introduction of many reforms which laid the foundations of the modern welfare state. His most important role came as the highly energetic Prime Minister of the Wartime Coalition Government (1916-22), during and immediately after the First World War. He was a major player at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 that reordered Europe after the defeat of the Central Powers. Born in Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, Lancashire, England. (d. 1945)
Konstantin Stanislavski (17 January 1863 – 7 August 1938) was a seminal Russian theatre practitioner and actor. He was widely recognised as an outstanding character actor and the many productions that he directed garnered a reputation as one of the leading theatre directors of his generation. His principal fame and influence, however, rests on his ‘system’ of actor training, preparation, and rehearsal technique. Born Konstantin Sergeievich Alekseiev in Moscow, Russian Empire. (d. 1938)
Carl Laemmle (January 17, 1867 – September 24, 1939) was a pioneer in American film making and a founder of Universal Studios. Laemmle produced or worked on over 400 films. Born Karl Lämmle in Laupheim, Württemberg, German Confederation. (d. 1939)
Mack Sennett (January 17, 1880 – November 5, 1960) was a Canadian-born American director and actor and was known as an innovator of slapstick comedy in film. During his lifetime, he was known at times as the “King of Comedy”. His short Wrestling Swordfish was awarded the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 1932 and he earned an Academy Honorary Award in 1937. He founded Keystone Studios in Edendale, California in 1912. Born Michael Sinnott in Richmond, Quebec, Canada. (d. 1960)
Sir Compton Mackenzie
Sir Compton Mackenzie, OBE (17 January 1883 – 30 November 1972) was an English born Scottish writer of fiction, biography, histories and a memoir, as well as a cultural commentator, raconteur and lifelong Scottish nationalist. He was one of the co-founders in 1928 of the Scottish National Party. Born Edward Montague Compton Mackenzie in West Hartlepool, County Durham, England. (d. 1972)
Tommy Handley (17 January 1892 – 9 January 1949) was a British comedian, mainly known for the BBC radio programme ITMA (“It’s That Man Again”). Born Thomas Reginald Handley in Toxteth Park, Liverpool, Lancashire, England. (d. 1949)
Al Capone (January 17, 1899 – January 25, 1947), sometimes known by the nickname “Scarface”, was an American mobster, crime boss, and businessman who attained notoriety during the Prohibition era as the co-founder and boss of the Chicago Outfit. Born Alphonse Gabriel Capone in Brooklyn, New York, New York. (d. 1947)
Nevil Shute (17 January 1899 – 12 January 1960) was an English-Australian novelist and aeronautical engineer who spent his later years in Australia. He used his full name in his engineering career and Nevil Shute as his pen name to protect his engineering career from any potential negative publicity in connection with his novels, which included On the Beach and A Town Like Alice. Born Nevil Shute Norway in Ealing, Middlesex, England. (d. 1960)
Freddie Frinton (17 January 1909 – 16 October 1968) was an English comedian and music hall and television actor who remains a household name in Germany and Scandinavia because of his performance in Dinner for One. Frinton became a success as the plumber husband in the popular television sitcom Meet the Wife, which ran for 40 episodes (the wife was played by Thora Hird). Born Frederick Bittiner Coo in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England. (d. 1968)
Keith Joseph, Baron Joseph, CH, PC, QC (17 January 1918 – 10 December 1994), known as Sir Keith Joseph, 2nd Baronet, for most of his political life, was a British barrister and politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he served in the Cabinet under four prime ministers. He was a key influence in the creation of what came to be known as “Thatcherism” and the subsequent decline of one-nation conservatism and the postwar consensus. Born Keith Sinjohn Joseph in London, United Kingdom. (d. 1994)
Betty White (born January 17, 1922) is an American actress and comedian, with the longest television career of a female entertainer. Regarded as a pioneer of television, she was one of the first women to have control both in front of and behind the camera; and is recognized as the first woman to produce a sitcom. Born Betty Marion White in Oak Park, Illinois.
Moira Shearer, Lady Kennedy (17 January 1926 – 31 January 2006), was an internationally renowned British ballet dancer and actress. She achieved international success with her first film role as Victoria Page in the Powell & Pressburger ballet-themed film The Red Shoes, (1948). Born Moira Shearer King in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. (d. 2006)
Eartha Kitt (January 17, 1927 – December 25, 2008) was an American singer, actress, dancer, activist and comedian, known for her highly distinctive singing style and her 1953 recordings of “C’est si bon” and the enduring Christmas novelty smash “Santa Baby”, which were both US Top 10 hits. Born Eartha Mae Keith in North, South Carolina. (d. 2008)
E. W. Swackhamer Jr. (January 17, 1927 – December 5, 1994) was an American television and film director. Swackhamer’s credits included M*A*S*H, L.A. Law, Murder, She Wrote, Bewitched, The Partridge Family and The Flying Nun. Of the 27 pilots for television series directed by Swackhamer, 18 went into regular production. Born Egbert Warnderink Swackhamer Jr in Middletown Township, New Jersey, United States. (d. 1994)
Vidal Sassoon, CBE (17 January 1928 – 9 May 2012) was a British and American hairstylist, businessman, and philanthropist. He was noted for repopularizing a simple, close-cut geometric hair style called the Bob cut, worn by famous fashion designers and film stars. Born in Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom. (d. 2012)
Philip Latham (born 17 January 1929) is a British actor. In the late 1960s/early 1970s he was well known to British TV viewers for his portrayal of chief accountant Willy Izard in the BBC series The Troubleshooters (1965-72). Born Charles Philip Latham in Essex, United Kingdom.
James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones (born January 17, 1931) is an American actor. His career has spanned more than 60 years, and he has been described as “one of America’s most distinguished and versatile” actors. Jones has won many awards, including a Tony Award and Golden Globe Award for his role in The Great White Hope. Jones has won three Emmy Awards, including two in the same year in 1991, and he also earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role in the film version of The Great White Hope. He is also known for his voice roles as Darth Vader in the Star Wars film series and Mufasa in Disney’s The Lion King, as well as many other film, stage and television roles. Born in Arkabutla, Mississippi.
Sheree North (January 17, 1932 – November 4, 2005) was an American actress, dancer and singer, known for being one of 20th Century-Fox’s intended successors to Marilyn Monroe. Born Dawn Shirley Crang in Los Angeles, California. (d. 2005)
Shari Lewis (January 17, 1933 – August 2, 1998) was an American ventriloquist, puppeteer, and children’s entertainer and television show host. She was best known as the original puppeteer of sock puppet Lamb Chop. Born Sonia Phyllis Hurwitz in The Bronx, New York, United States. (d. 1998)
Kipchoge Keino (born 17 January 1940) is a retired Kenyan track and field athlete. He was the chairman of the Kenyan Olympic Committee (KOC) until 29th September 2017. A two-time Olympic gold medalist, Keino was one of 24 athletes inducted as inaugural members of the International Association of Athletics Federations Hall Of Fame. Born Kipchoge Hezekiah Keino in Kipsamo, Nandi, Rift Valley, Kenya.
Muhammad Ali (January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) was an American professional boxer and activist. He is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century. Ali remains the only three-time lineal heavyweight champion. During 1964, Ali reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion. His record of the most wins in heavyweight title bouts in modern boxing history at 22 was unbeaten for more than 35 years. Ali is the only boxer to be named The Ring magazine Fighter of the Year six times. He was also ranked as the greatest athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated, the Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC, and the third greatest athlete of the 20th century by ESPN SportsCentury. Nicknamed “the Greatest”, he was involved in several historic boxing matches. Notable among these were the first Liston fight; the “Fight of the Century”, “Super Fight II” and the “Thrilla in Manila” against his rival Joe Frazier; and “The Rumble in the Jungle” against George Foreman. Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr in Louisville, Kentucky. (d. 2016)
Chris Montez (born January 17, 1943) is an American guitarist and vocalist, whose stylistic approach has ranged from rock & roll to pop standards and Latin music. His rock sound is exemplified in songs such as his 1962 hit “Let’s Dance”, which reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Born Ezekiel Christopher Montanez in Los Angeles, California.
Ken Morley (born 17 January 1943) is an English actor and comedian. He is best known for playing the role of Reg Holdsworth in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street from 1989 to 1995 and as General Leopold von Flockenstuffen in the BBC sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo! from 1988 to 1991. Born in Chorley, Lancashire, England.
Françoise Hardy (born 17 January 1944) is a French singer-songwriter. She made her musical debut in the early 1960s on Disques Vogue and found immediate success with her song “Tous les garçons et les filles”. Hardy also began modelling, and soon became a popular fashion icon as well. Born Françoise Madeleine Hardy in Paris, France.
Joanna David (born 17 January 1947) is a British actress, best known for her television work. Joanna featured in the TV series The Last of the Mohicans (BBC), and two episodes of Colditz. In 1979, she played the heroine of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, opposite Jeremy Brett in the BBC miniseries of the same name. David’s many other television appearances have included The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Foyle’s War, Rumpole of the Bailey, Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders, and The Darling Buds of May. Born Joanna Elizabeth Hacking in Lancaster, England.
Andy Kaufman (January 17, 1949 – May 16, 1984) was an American entertainer, actor, writer, performance artist and professional wrestler. His Foreign Man character was the basis of his role as Latka Gravas on the hit television show Taxi, on which he appeared from 1978 until 1983. Born Andrew Geoffrey Kaufman in New York City, New York. (d. 1984)
Mick Taylor (born 17 January 1949) is an English musician, best known as a former member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (1966-69) and the Rolling Stones (1969-74). He has appeared on some of the Stones’ classic albums including Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main St. Born Michael Kevin Taylor in Welwyn Garden City, England.
Sharon Duce (born 17 January 1950) is a British actress. Her best known screen role was with Ray Brooks in the BBC comedy drama Big Deal (1984). She also appeared in many other TV programmes. Born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England.
Paul Young (born 17 January 1956) is an English singer, songwriter and musician. His solo success turned him into a 1980s teen idol. He is famous for hit singles such as “Love of the Common People”, “Wherever I Lay My Hat”, “Come Back and Stay”, “Everytime You Go Away” and “Everything Must Change”, all reaching the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart. Born Paul Antony Young in Luton, Bedfordshire, England.
Keith Chegwin (17 January 1957 – 11 December 2017) was an English television presenter and actor, appearing in several children’s entertainment shows in the 1970s and 1980s, including Multi-Coloured Swap Shop and Cheggers Plays Pop. Born in Walton, Liverpool, England. (d. 2017)
Jim Carrey (born January 17, 1962) is a Canadian-American actor, comedian, impressionist, screenwriter, and producer. He is known for his highly energetic slapstick performances. He gained critical acclaim starring in serious roles in The Truman Show (1998) and Man on the Moon (1999), with each garnering him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. Born James Eugene Carrey in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.
Michelle Obama (born January 17, 1964) is an American lawyer and writer who was First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. She is married to the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, and is the first African-American First Lady. As First Lady, Obama became a role model for women, an advocate for poverty awareness, education, nutrition, physical activity and healthy eating. Born Michelle LaVaughn Robinson in Chicago, Illinois.
Shabba Ranks (born 17 January 1966) is a Jamaican dancehall musician. He was one of the most popular dancehall artists of his generation and one of the first Jamaican deejays to gain worldwide acceptance, and recognition for his ‘slack’ lyrical expressions and content. Born Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon in St Ann, Jamaica.
Genndy Tartakovsky (born January 17, 1970) is a Russian-American animator, director, storyboard artist, producer, and screenwriter. He is best known for creating the Cartoon Network animated television series Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, and Star Wars: Clone Wars. Born Gennady Borisovich Tartakovsky in Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union.
Ricky Wilson (born 17 January 1978) is an English singer-songwriter, and the frontman of five-piece band Kaiser Chiefs. Wilson was a coach on The Voice UK. He was the winning coach for both the fourth and fifth series of the show. Born Charles Richard Wilson in Keighley, West Yorkshire, England.
Zooey Deschanel (born January 17, 1980) is an American actress and singer-songwriter. Deschanel became known for her deadpan comedy roles in the films The Good Girl (2002),Elf (2003), and Failure to Launch (2006). Since 2011, she has played Jessica Day on the Fox sitcom New Girl, for which she has received an Emmy Award nomination and three Golden Globe Award nominations. Born Zooey Claire Deschanel in Los Angeles, California.