Given today is card (and flower sellers) rip off day aka Valentine’s Day, (who gets a mention later on), we start with inventor of the QWERTY keyboard and co-inventor of the typewriter – Charles Latham Sholes tapped his way through in 1819. Margaret E. Knight, inventor of a machine able to fold and glue paper bags nearly bottomed out in 1838. Engineer who came up with a wheel named after him, George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., turned out ok in 1859. Comedian Benjamin Kubelsky or Jack Benny as he became known, had his timing to perfection in 1894. Actor Stuart Erwin found his mother knows best from 1903. Hugh Malcolm Downs previous co-host of Today had the concentration just right in 1921. Actress best known for playing Miss Moneypenny in over running film franchise James Bond, Lois Maxwell saw it from a woman’s angle in 1927. Fellow thespian Brian Kelly – star of Flipper, thrashed about a bit after his birth in 1931. The ‘Marilyn Munro of Bollywood’, Mumtaz Jehan Dehlavi or just Madhubala had her passport granted in 1933. Mum to The Brady Bunch, actress Florence Agnes Henderson started to live the surreal life from 1934. 108th Mayor of New York and business magnate, Michael Rubens ‘Mike’ Bloomberg didn’t get to see the main event in 1942. Film director Alan William Parker made the commitment to celebrate his birthday today from 1944. One half of American magic duo, Penn & Teller – Raymond Joseph Teller probably made a noise when born in 1948. Permed haired ex-ball kicker who has a car park named after him at the top of Reigate Hill, (where he himself received a kicking), Joseph Kevin Keegan didn’t get a penalty being delivered in 1951. Greek born English entrepreneur who learnt a lot (including non working in flight entertainment systems) from Sir Dick of Branson, Stelios Haji-Ioannou had an easy birth in 1967. Actor who’s made a successful career out of recycling one plot for his films, sandy haired Simon John Pegg/Beckingham made it through some hot fuzz in 1970. Chief songwriter for power pop band Matchbox Twenty, Robert Kelly ‘Rob’ Thomas saw the bright lights in 1972. Norwegian of the day goes to gothic metal singer/songwriter Liv Kristine Espenæs, or just Liv Kristine, faked a smile in 1976. Dimpled chinned, non cheating Australian cyclist Cadel Evans led the breakaway in 1977. Actor Dean Gaffney wasn’t quite the unexpected guest in 1978.
As for deaths, we owe a huge debt (in more ways than one), to St. Valentine who obviously over did things in 270. Ancient Royal of the day is Richard II aka Richard of Bordeaux, aka King of England let his crown slip in 1400. Inventor of the ocant, (which was obviously before sex was acknowledged given it was the precursor to the sextant), John Hadley lost his bearings in 1744. Well known captain in the Royal Navy along with his tendency to explore James Cook took a wrong turn in 1779. Having mentioned the 108th Mayor of New York, here’s the 73rd and 75th one – Fernando Wood would have got to see the knots in his coffin but for his death in 1881. Gangster brothers Frank and Peter ‘Goosey’ Gusenberg didn’t get a card each, rather a bullet in the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre back in 1929. Pakistani movement leader and Muslim League stalwart Sarda Abdur Rab Nishtar found his movement somewhat curtailed from 1958. Author of some classic books, Pelham Grenville ‘P.G’ Wodehouse stopped inspecting kludges in 1975. James Bond, no, not that one, but American ornithologist flapped his last in 1989. Given this blog is primarily for people, it’s pretty rare an animal warrants a mention, but genetically modified sheep Dolly obviously didn’t get very good genes given she was seven when she died in 2003. Alleged cheating cyclist partial to a bit of the ‘Columbian marching powder’, Marco ‘The Pirate’ Pantani fell off his bike (and the wagon) permanently in 2004. Husband to flowery dress maker Laura, Sir Bernard Albert Ashley wasn’t so wrapped up in business from 2009. Steeplechase jockey and crime writer Richard Stanley ‘Dick’ Francis had a dead cert in 2010. Also not making it through that year, musician Douglas Lars ‘Doug’ Fieger found he had the knack of dying. Oscar Pistorious’ girlfriend Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp didn’t find her legs to avoid the shots in 2013. Son of Jim, who created The Muppets – John Paul Henson stopped pulling the strings in 2014. Finally, owner of company responsible for Ferraro Rocher, Tic Tacs, Kinder/Kinder Eggs and Nutella to name but five, Michele Ferraro spread himself a bit thin from 2016.