Famous & Infamous Births & Deaths 9th April

Today’s posting starts with mechanical and civil engineer – Isambard Kingdom Brunel gauged opinion over his birth date in 1806. Chain wearing bushy bearded second King of Belgium and Sovereign of the Congo Free State, Leopold II – started having portraits of him painted in 1835. Born John Christian Tanck before going onto be known as John Christian ‘Chris’ Watson – third Prime Minister of Australia, inaugurated himself in 1867. Not to be outdone, three time Prime Minister of France André Léon Blum moderately left his mum in 1872. Co-developer of the oral contraceptive pill, Gregory Goodwin Pincus must have been quite thankful his mum didn’t have the opportunity to take such a tablet otherwise he wouldn’t have been born in 1903. Also born that year linguist Willem Pee, but I’ll leave it there with him. Actor/ballet dancer who’s probably best known for his portrayal as the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Robert Murray Helpman(n) was centre stage in 1909. Founder of everything Playboy, Hugh Marston Hefner graduated from diapers (nappies) in 1926 to pyjamas and dressing gowns. Co-founder of frozen chip company Wallace McCain left the oven in 1930. Rockabilly singer/songwriter Carl Lee Perkins was obviously born to rock in 1932. Iconic presenter of children’s favourite television programme Blue Peter, Valerie Singleton slipped anchor in 1937. Actress Hannah Campbell Grant Gordon was out of the unknown in 1941. Country singer, (it gets worse as she’s also considered a world class yodeller), Betty Lou Miller aka Margot Smith, found this was just the beginning in 1942. Indian actress/MP Jaya Bhaduri Bachchan didn’t play a supporting role in 1948.
Ex-fan of Colombian marching powder, actor Dennis William Quaid gave his folks something to talk about in 1954. Mikhail Gorbachev looky likey (minus the birthmark), principled politician and former leader of the blues, George Iain Duncan Smith is another year nearer retirement given he’s now 63. Spanish divot maker Severiano ‘Seve’ Ballesteros had a free drop in 1957. Fashion designer Marc Jacobs was out in 1963. F1 champ Jacques Joseph Charles Villeneuve left his first skid marks in 1971. Alternative rock singer, with the alternative hip name Gerard Arthur Wait isn’t quite one of the kids from yesterday given he was born 1977. One of the Columbine High School killers, Eric David Harris found it wasn’t close season in 1981. Keeping it in the family, son of Hugh (mentioned above), Marston Glenn Hefner has ensured his mum hasn’t forgotten his birthday since 1990. Also born that year, actress Kristen Jaymes Stewart had the doctor shout, ‘Catch that kid’.

As for deaths, there are two Popes to start things off – Pope Constantine stepped down from the pulpit in 715, then in 1024 Pope Benedict VIII hung his smock up for the final time. King of England Edward IV managed to bag a place in Windsor Castle back in 1483. William V, Prince of Orange found everything went black in 1806. Keeping with European royalty, Isabella II Queen of Spain had her last jug of sangria in 1904. Lepidoterist (someone who specialises in moths and butterflies apparently), Hans Fruhstorfer didn’t so much flutter as stumble off in 1922. American freak show performer, Zip the Pin Head undid himself in 1926. Dead Norwegian of the day is pioneer of modern weather forecasting Vilhelm Friman Koren Bjerknes who found he was as vague about his death in 1951 as he was about his forecasting capabilities. Ahmet Muhtar Zogolli or Zog I, King of the Albanians has been in permanent exile since 1961. One half of singing pair Sam & Dave, David ‘Dave’ Prater Jr. found it was so nice while it lasted, until he rolled over in 1988. Film title designer responsible for The James Bond opening sequence, Maurice Binder would have been better at the end credits in 1991. Cartoonist who drew Dan Dare for Eagle Comics, Keith Watson left his speech bubble blank in 1994. Fan of pancakes and fried chicken (seemingly), feminist author Andrea Rita Dworkin didn’t suffer from morning hair after 2005. Finally, third President of Trinidad and Tobago, Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson started to use his absence voting right from 2014.


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