17 April


1885

 Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen)
Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke (17 April 1885 – 7 September 1962) was a Danish author who wrote works in Danish and English. Blixen is best known for Out of Africa, an account of her life while living in Kenya, and for one of her stories, Babette’s Feast, both of which have been adapted into Academy Award-winning motion pictures. Born Karen Christenze Dinesen in Rungsted, Zealand, Denmark. (d. 1962)

1896

 Señor Wences
Señor Wences (April 17, 1896 – April 20, 1999) was a Spanish ventriloquist. His popularity grew with his frequent appearances on CBS-TV’s The Ed Sullivan Show in the 1950s and 1960s. One of Wences’s trademark bits of shtick involves his dialogue with a low voice emanating from inside a box. At the conclusion of the dialogue, he would open the lid of the box and ask “S’aright?” and the box voice would answer “S’ariiight!”. Born Wenceslao Moreno in Peñaranda de Bracamonte, Salamanca, Spain. (d. 1999)

1897

 Thornton Wilder
Thornton Wilder (April 17, 1897 – December 7, 1975) was an American playwright and novelist. He won three Pulitzer Prizes—for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey, and for the plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth — and a U.S. National Book Award for the novel The Eighth Day. Born Thornton Niven Wilder in Madison, Wisconsin. (d. 1975)

1915

 Sirimavo Bandaranaike
Sirima Bandaranaike (April 1916 – 10 October 2000) was a Sri Lankan stateswoman. She became the world’s first non-hereditary female head of state or government in modern history, when she was elected Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in 1960. Born Sirima Ratwatte in Ratnapura, British Ceylon. (d. 2000)

1918

 William Holden
William Holden (April 17, 1918 – November 12, 1981) was an American actor who was one of the biggest box-office draws of the 1950s and 1960s. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for the film Stalag 17 (1953), and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for the television film The Blue Knight (1973). Holden starred in some of Hollywood’s most popular and critically acclaimed films, including Sunset Boulevard, Sabrina, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Wild Bunch, Picnic and Network. Born William Franklin Beedle Jr in O’Fallon, Illinois. (d. 1981)

1923

 Lindsay Anderson
Lindsay Anderson (17 April 1923 – 30 August 1994) was a British feature film, theatre and documentary director, film critic, and leading light of the Free Cinema movement and the British New Wave. He is most widely remembered for his 1968 film if…., which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival and was Malcolm McDowell’s cinematic debut. Born Lindsay Gordon Anderson in Bangalore, British India. (d. 1994)

1926

 Gordon Rollings
Gordon Rollings (17 April 1926 – 7 June 1985) was an English actor who mainly appeared on television. He was the first presenter of BBC 2’s daily programme for young children, Play School, alongside Virginia Stride. He played the character of Charlie Moffitt in Coronation Street. He was a storyteller in Jackanory in 1966-67, reading among others, the story of Worzel Gummidge. He later narrated The Herbs. Born Gordon Charles Rollings in Batley, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. (d. 1985)

1929

 James Last
James Last (17 April 1929 – 9 June 2015) was a Bremen composer and big band leader. Initially a jazz bassist, his trademark “happy music” made his numerous albums best-sellers in Germany and the United Kingdom, with 65 of his albums reaching the charts in the UK alone. His composition “Happy Heart” became an international success in interpretations by Andy Williams and Petula Clark. Born Hans Last in Bremen, Germany. (d. 2015)

1930

 Chris Barber
Chris Barber OBE (born 17 April 1930) is an English jazz musician, best known as a bandleader and trombonist. Born Donald Christopher Barber in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England.

1940

 Billy Fury
Billy Fury (17 April 1940 – 28 January 1983) was an English singer from the late 1950s to the mid 1960s. He equalled the Beatles’ record of 24 hits in the 1960s, and spent 332 weeks on the UK chart, without a chart-topping single or album. Fury concentrated on ballads, such as “Halfway to Paradise” and “Jealousy” (which reached No. 3 and No. 2 respectively in the UK Singles Chart in 1961). Born Ronald Wycherley in Liverpool, Lancashire, England. (d. 1983)
 John McCririck
John McCririck (born 17 April 1940) is an English television horse racing pundit. Born in Surbiton, Surrey, England.

1942

 David Bradley
David Bradley (born 17 April 1942) is an English actor. He is known for playing Argus Filch in the Harry Potter film series, Walder Frey in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones and Abraham Setrakian in the FX horror series The Strain. He is also an established stage actor with a career that includes a Laurence Olivier Award for his role in a production of King Lear. Other acting credits include the BBC series Our Friends in the North, the ITV series Broadchurch (for which he won the best supporting actor award at the 2014 British Academy Television Awards), and the films Hot Fuzz, The World’s End and Captain America: The First Avenger. Born David John Bradley in York, England.

1946

 Henry Kelly
Henry Kelly (born 17 April 1946) is an Irish television presenter and radio DJ. Kelly became a household name in the UK as part of the team presenting LWT’s practical-joke show Game for a Laugh. From 1987 to 1996 he presented Going for Gold, a lunchtime TV quiz show on BBC1. In 1992 Kelly was one of the launch presenters of Classic FM. Born Patrick Henry Kelly in Athlone, County Westmeath, Ireland.

1951

 Olivia Hussey
Olivia Hussey (born 17 April 1951) is an Argentine-British actress. After appearing in theatre in London, Hussey was chosen to play the role of Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 film version of Romeo and Juliet. She won a Golden Globe and the David di Donatello Award for her performance, and gained international recognition. She reunited with Zeffirelli in the miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (1977), as Mary, mother of Jesus. Born Olivia Osuna in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

1957

 Nick Hornby
Nick Hornby (born 17 April 1957) is an English writer and lyricist. He is best known for his memoir Fever Pitch and novels High Fidelity and About a Boy, all of which were adapted into feature films. Born Nicholas Peter John Hornby in Redhill, Surrey, England.
 Afrika Bambaataa
Afrika Bambaataa (born April 17, 1957) is an American disc jockey, singer, songwriter and producer from the South Bronx, New York. He is notable for releasing a series of genre-defining electro tracks in the 1980s that influenced the development of hip hop culture. Born Lance Taylor in The Bronx, New York.

1959

 Sean Bean
Sean Bean (born 17 April 1959) is an English actor. He first found mainstream success for his portrayal of Richard Sharpe in the ITV series Sharpe. Bean subsequently gained further recognition for his performance as Ned Stark in the HBO epic fantasy series Game of Thrones, and won both a BAFTA and an International Emmy, both for Best Actor. He has also been nominated for a Saturn Award. One of his most prominent film roles was Boromir in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03). Born Shaun Mark Bean in Handsworth, South Yorkshire, England.

1970

 Tamara Beckwith
Tamara Beckwith (born 17 April 1970) is an English socialite. Beckwith has appeared on a number of television programmes and reality shows. Born Tamara Jane Beckwith in Hammersmith, London, England.

1971

 Claire Sweeney
Claire Sweeney (born 17 April 1971) is an English actress, singer and television personality, best known for playing the role of Lindsey Corkhill in the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside. Born Claire Jane Sweeney in Walton, Liverpool, England.

1972

 Jennifer Garner
Jennifer Garner (born April 17, 1972) is an American actress. Following a supporting role in Pearl Harbor (2001), Garner gained recognition for her performance as CIA officer Sydney Bristow in the ABC spy-action thriller Alias. For her work on the series, she won a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, and received four Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Born Jennifer Anne Garner in Houston, Texas.

1974

 Victoria Beckham
Victoria Beckham OBE (born 17 April 1974) is an English businesswoman, fashion designer and former singer. In the late 1990s, Beckham rose to fame with the all-female pop group Spice Girls, and was dubbed Posh Spice. Born Victoria Caroline Adams in Harlow, Essex, England.

1982

 Josie Long
Josie Long (born 17 April 1982) is a British comedian. She started performing as a stand-up at the age of 14 and won the BBC New Comedy Awards at 17. In 2006, she won the If.comeddies Best Newcomer award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Born in Sidcup, England.

1985

 Rooney Mara
Rooney Mara (born April 17, 1985) is an American actress. In 2011, Mara had a career breakthrough when she portrayed Lisbeth Salander, the title character in David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. She received critical acclaim for her performance and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. Born Patricia Rooney Mara in Bedford, New York.
 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (born 17 April 1985) is a French professional tennis player. A member of the Tennis Club de Paris (TCP), Tsonga’s career-high singles ranking is world No. 5, which he achieved in February 2012. Born in Le Mans, France.

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