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American opera singer Maria Callas was born Cecilia Sophia Anna Maria Kalogeropoulos in New York City on December 2, 1923, a date confirmed by the attending physician for the delivery and what is believed to be her birth certificate. (Over the years, discrepancies and confusion have arisen concerning Callas’s birth date. Callas herself, along with school records, had stated she was born on the 3rd while her mother had claimed the 4th.) Her parents, George and Evangelia, were Greek immigrants who eventually shortened their last name to Callas by the time of Maria’s christening.

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Catholic nun and missionary Mother Teresa was born on August 26 1910, in Skopje, the current capital of the Republic of Macedonia. The following day, she was baptized as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. Her parents, Nikola and Dranafile Bojaxhiu, were of Albanian descent; her father was an entrepreneur who worked as a construction contractor and a trader of medicines and other goods. The Bojaxhius were a devoutly Catholic family, and Nikola was deeply involved in the local church as well as in city politics as a vocal proponent of Albanian independence. Continue reading “TLBSPEDIA: MOTHER TERESA”


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British royalty Princess Diana Spencer was born on July 1 1961, near Sandringham, England. Diana, Princess of Wales, was one of the most adored members of the British royal family. She was the daughter of Edward John Spencer, Viscount Althorp, and Frances Ruth Burke Roche, Viscountess Althorp (later known as the Honorable Frances Shand Kydd). Her parents divorced when Diana was young, and her father won custody of the children. Following her initial education at home, Diana attended Riddlesworth Hall School and then West Heath School.



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Writer Mary Shelley was born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin on August 30 1797, in London, England. She was the daughter of philosopher and political writer William Godwin and famed feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, the author of ‘The Vindication of the Rights of Woman’ (1792). Sadly for Shelley, she never really knew her mother who died shortly after her birth. Her father William Godwin was left to care for Shelley and her older half-sister Fanny Imlay. Imlay was Wollstonecraft’s daughter from an affair she had with a soldier.

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Erwin Schrödinger was born on August 12 1887, in Vienna, Austria, the only child of botanist and oil cloth factory owner Rudolf Schrödinger and Georgine Emilia Brenda, daughter of Alexander Bauer, Rudolf’s professor of chemistry at the Technical College of Vienna (Technische Hochschule Vienna). Erwin was taught at home by private teachers until he was 11 years old, and then attended Vienna’s Akademisches Gymnasium. He went on to enter the University of Vienna, where he focused primarily on the study of physics and was strongly influenced by another young physicist, Fritz Hasenöhrl, and graduated with a Ph.D. in physics in 1910. Afterward, he worked for a few years at the institution as an assistant, but was drafted into World War I in 1914, serving with Austro-Hungarian military forces in Italy as an artillery officer.




Legendary filmmaker George A. Romero was born on February 4 1940, in the Bronx, New York. He started out making commercials and short films before moving on to feature films. His iconic movies, including ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and ‘Day of the Dead’, he combines horror with social commentary and satire.

The son of a commercial artist, George Andrew Romero loved watching movies growing up. ‘The Tales of Hoffman’ (1951), a film adaptation of an opera, was an early influence. As a teen, he borrowed the film numerous times, using a projector to watch it at home. Romero once said that only one other person took this movie out as much as he did, and the fellow fan turned out to be Martin Scorsese.

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Veteran character actor Martin Landau was born on June 20 1928, in Brooklyn, New York. He first dreamed of becoming an artist. After graduating from Brooklyn’s James Madison High School, Landau studied at the Pratt Institute and the Art Students League.

Around the age of 17, Landau landed a job with the ‘New York Daily News’ as a cartoonist and illustrator. He made the switch to acting in his early twenties. As Landau explained to ‘Back Stage West’, “I was being groomed to be the next theater cartoonist. But when I looked around the office and saw guys 30 and 40 years my senior doing exactly what I was doing… I knew this wasn’t for me.”




Famed actress Vivien Leigh was born Vivian Mary Hartley on November 5 1913, in Darjeeling, India, to an English stockbroker and his Irish wife. The family returned to England when Hartley was 6 years old. A year later, the precocious Hartley announced to classmate Maureen O’Sullivan that she “was going to be famous.” She was right, though her fame would eventually come under a different name.

As a teen, Vivian Hartley attended schools in England, France, Italy and Germany, becoming fluent in both French and Italian. She went on to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, but put her career temporarily on hold at age 19, when she married a lawyer named Leigh Holman and had his daughter. Replacing the “a” in her first name with the less commonly used “e,” Hartley used her husband’s name to craft a more glamorous stage name, Vivien Leigh.

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An unidentified flying object crashed on a ranch northwest of Roswell, New Mexico, sometime during the first week of July 1947.

Rancher W.W. “Mack” Brazel said later he found debris from the crash as he and the son of Floyd and Loretta Proctor rode their horses out to check on sheep after a fierce thunderstorm the night before. Brazel said that as they rode along, he began to notice unusual pieces of what seemed to be metal debris scattered over a large area. Upon further inspection, he said, he saw a shallow trench several hundred feet long had been gouged into the ground.


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