Births today begin with future Pope Pius VII, yes, Barnaba Niccoló Maria Luigi Chiaramonti started pontificating in 1740. Physicist Hans Christian Ørsted (or Oersted) was known for his magnetic personality from 1777. Gambler/dentist and gunfighter at the O.K. Corral – John Henry ‘Doc’ Holliday didn’t have a plaque erected at his birth place in 1851. Novelist responsible for scribbling The Forsyth Saga – John Galsworthy was the eldest son from 1867. Aleksander Obernovic, (not the meerkat advertising some price comparison site), but Aleksander I of Serbia turned out regally in 1876. Co-owner of American Football team New York Giants, Wellington Timothy Mara was first down in 1916. Actress/singer Alice Margaret Ghostley wondered what’s happening in 1926. Also born that year, co-creator of Astérix the Gaul – René Goscinny, made a splash upon his arrival. Member of two legendary acts and slightly older Bill Bailey looky likey, David Van Cortlandt Crosby took a few years to remember his name from 1941. Born Melody Dawn Miller before going onto be named Caroline Smith, jockey and Mrs F Astaire (being all of 42 years his junior) – Robyn Smith Astaire tapped her way out in 1944. Comedy actor (if you discount the dire Pink Panther films he starred in), Stephen Glenn ‘Steve’ Martin took a leap, (or rather drop) of faith in 1945. Known for his role in classic 1970’s sit-com Are You Being Served? (whilst glossing over his role in dire sit-com Last of the Summer Wine), Trevor Gordon Bannister slid through in 1946. Also born that year, actor who had a part in Starsky & Hutch, Antonio Juan Fargas was quite a huggy baby. Tambourine and spoons player, not to mention being lead singer with electric folk, (can it get any worse?) group Steeleye Span, Madelaine Edith ‘Maddie’ Prior was under the covers in 1947. Also born that year is author who’s made a fortune out of the same story line, Danielle Fernandes Dominique Schuelein-Steel very sensibly didn’t want to waste all that print on her name given she’s known as Danielle Steel and answered her mum’s prayers. Off beat cartoonist Gary Larson made it through the far side in 1950. Lanky basketball player, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson Jr. slam dunked himself in 1959. Singer, ex-dancer and Mrs. A. Lloyd-Webber, Sarah Brightman didn’t make a song and dance about her birth in 1960. Having nearly won the Miss USA pageant before taking up acting, careless driver Maria Halle Berry (who swopped her first and middle name around), had her initial casting call in 1966. If you can tell the difference between the singers in The Scissor Sisters, you’ll know the lead (female) singer is Ana Lynch, (or Ana Matronic), who’s parents didn’t feel like dancing in 1974. Joint holder of the Guinness World Record for longest continual role in a Australian soap opera, (yes, they’ll dole them out for anything these days), Home & Away actress Kate Ritchie wasn’t talkin’ bout her generation in 1978. Pole vaulter from the land of sharks, sunshine and Foster’s who’s one of 13 people to jump 6 metres, (or 19ft 8ins in old money), Paul Burgess strode out in 1979. Ukrainian born ex-British tennis player – Elena Sergeevna Baltacha was served to the world in 1983. Now ex-host of Radio One breakfast show – Nicholas Peter Andrew ‘Nick’ Grimshaw started to turn people off from 1984.
Having begun the births paragraph with a Pope, it seems only right to begin the deaths paragraph with one too, and Pope Pius II, (or Enea Silvio Bartolomeo Piccolomini), had his last view of St. Peter’s Square in 1464. Inventor William Ford Robinson Stanley who filed 78 patents failed to lodge 79 given he had a heart attack in 1909. Inventor of the first commercially successful automatic dishwasher – Josephine Garis Cochrane failed to have her final wash in 1913. Poet/playwright/theatre director Bertolt Brecht was contemplating hell from 1956. Mum to Elvis – Gladys Presley left the planet in 1958. Actor Patrick Magee entered the sleep of death in 1982. Playwright John Boynton (J.B.) Priestley saw the blackout in Gretley back in 1984. Founder of overpriced sports car company bearing his name, Enzo Ferrari found himself no longer ‘II Grande Vecchio’ from 1988. Singer with The Platters, Tony Williams found heaven isn’t on earth in 1992. Singer Lillian Patricia Lita Roza never did manage to find out how much that doggy in the window was after she keeled over in 2008. Actor born Shamsher Raj Kapoor, but known as Shammi Kapoor hasn’t spent an evening in Paris since 2011. Finally, not the bookmaker, but Defence Minister for Ireland, Patrick ‘Paddy’ Power obviously powered down in 2013.