Famous & Infamous Births & Deaths 17th July


Today sees the births of, among others, Songs of Praise favourite hymn writer Isaac Watts, who started to bring joy to the world, (with a hallelujah to follow) in 1674. Actor/dancer James Francis Cagney Jr., was an angel with a clean face when born in 1899. Film/stage actress, Barbara O’Neil started to go with the wind from 1910. Football, (soccer to my American followers), commentator in the 1966 World Cup, Kenneth Wolstenholme kicked things off in 1920. Surbiton, Surrey, racing legend who’s name still features on Minis, John Newton Cooper didn’t reverse out in 1923. Actor of more than 50 years, Donald McNichol Sutherland started getting into character in 1935. One third of 1970’s comedy group – The Goodies, Timothy Julian ‘Tim’ Brooke-Taylor didn’t have a clue what was going on in 1940. Autocue reader and pronouncer of difficult names, Peter Sissons didn’t quite make the news in 1942. Second wife to Prince Chas, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, (or Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland), née Shand and taking the surname Parker Bowles along the way, will probably get another name to try and remember in celebration of her 69th birthday. Also celebrating that milestone is synth pioneer with Kraftwerk, Wolfgang Flür. Star of both Baywatch and Knight Rider before launching a singing career (in Germany), David Hasselhoff bailed out in 1952. The German theme continues with former research scientist who’s now got the biggest seat in the Bundestag, Angela Merkel stood for the first time a year or so after being born in 1954. Television presenter/author/gastric band enthusiast Fern Margaret Price Britton was delivered in 1957, for what it’s worth. Ex-Rolling Stone Bill Wyman’s teenage bride Amanda Louise ‘Mandy’ Smith just couldn’t wait to come along in 1970. Convicted burglar with the potty mouth who’s gone onto be a successful chef – Gennaro ‘Gino’ D’Acampo was a plump baby in 1976. Member of pop rock band McFly Thomas Michael ‘Tom’ Fletcher busted out in 1985.

As for deaths, really ancient King of England – Edward the Elder showed that to be true given he died in 924. Philosopher/Economist Adam Smith found he no longer needed any money in 1790. British Prime Minister Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey/Viscount Howick known also for the tea named after him became dust in 1845. Thankfully not the legendary Reigate confectionary shop owner, but American frontiersman, trapper, scout and guide James Felix ‘Jim’ Bridger found himself trapped in a box from 1881. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia along with his family: Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna, Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna and Tsarvich Alexi Nikolaevna each found a bullet with their name on it in 1918. 39th President of Mexico Álvaro Obregón Salido eased off the tequila from 1928. Eleanora Fagan who’s better known as singer Billie Holiday, found it was all or nothing at all in 1959. Having mentioned wrestler/actor Francis Patrick ‘Pat’ Roach on 19th May when he was born, here he is again given he had his burial in 2004. Another ex-British Prime Minister, Edward Heath got to have his final wake in 2005. Writer of the Mike Hammer detective books, Frank Morrison ‘Mickey’ Spillane found the long wait over in 2006. Known for his role in Blade Runner, Morgan Paull was out cold in 2012. Finally actress/singer Elaine Stritch ascended the spiral staircase in 2014.


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