Happy Tuesday!  

2 posts
9/12/2006 11:24 am
Happy Tuesday!

A glorious hello from Seattle, sunny again! Guess what? I signed up for "Hot or Not"! For those unfamiliar with the web site, it's a place where you can rate people on their appearance and also meet people. My first day there I got a 6.1 out of 10, which is in the top 57%, with 31 people voting!

I have a number of birthdays today:

Yao Ming (Chinese: 姚明; pinyin: Yáo Míng) (born September 12, 1980 in Shanghai, China) is a Chinese professional basketball player and is currently considered one of the best centers (according to statistics) in the NBA. Yao Ming is currently the tallest player in the NBA, and at 7 feet 6 inches (2.29 m) is also one of the world's tallest men. [1][2].

He plays for the Houston Rockets in the National Basketball Association. He was selected by Houston as the 1st overall pick of the 2002 NBA Draft and eventually signed with them on October 21, 2002. In his rookie season, though now less so, he spoke via his interpreter and now close friend, Colin Pine. Yao is regarded as the most dominant player to come out of China.

Rachel Claire Ward (born at Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, September 12, 1957), granddaughter of the 3rd Earl of Dudley, is an English actress (and more recently, a director) who has made most of her career in Australia.

She attended the Byam Shaw School of Art in London before leaving at 16 to become a top fashion model. In 1983 she was voted one of the ten most beautiful women in the United States.

She became well known when she starred opposite Richard Chamberlain in the television mini-series The Thorn Birds. She disappeared from pictures for three years and studied acting. Ward then reappeared in 1987, playing opposite her husband, Bryan Brown (whom she met on the set of The Thorn Birds), in The Good Wife. Married since 1983, they have three children: Rosie, Matilda (who has followed her parents into the acting profession), and Joe.

She briefly dated David Kennedy, son of Robert F Kennedy. In 2003, a portrait of Rachel Ward by artist Jan Williamson won the Packing Room award at the Archibald Prize.

She is one of my favorite actresses and a very sexy lady, you may remember her in the film "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" opposite Steve Martin and "Against All Odds" opposite Jeff Bridges.

Maria Muldaur (Born Maria Garsia Rosa Domenica D'Amato, on September 12, 1943, in Greenwich Village, New York) is a roots-folk singer best known for her song "Midnight at the Oasis".

She performed in the early 1960s in Greenwich Village with Bob Dylan, John Sebastian, David Grisman, and Stefan Grossman. Later in the 1960s her distinctive vocals were heard in many of the tracks recorded by Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band. Some of her recollections of the period, particularly with respect to Dylan, appear in the mid-2000s Dylan documentary film, No Direction Home.

She was married to singer Geoff Muldaur.

At present time (2006) Maria is very well known in the field of blues.

Linda Ann Gray (born September 12, 1940 in Santa Monica, California) is an American actress, best known for her role as Sue Ellen Ewing on the television soap opera Dallas as a recurring character in the series first season in the spring of 1978, and as a regular cast member from 1978 to 1989. She returned to the role in the series finale in 1991 and again in the reunion films "J.R. Returns" in 1996 and "The War of the Ewings" in 1998.

She later starred in the short-lived FOX soap opera, Models, Inc., which was a spin-off of Melrose Place, and had a recurring role in The Bold and the Beautiful.

In 2001, Gray portrayed Mrs. Robinson in the West End production of Charles Webb's The Graduate. Coincidentally, Gray was the model whose stockinged leg appeared in the promotional poster for the film version of The Graduate 34 years earlier.

She is said to be related by marriage to fellow actress Lindsay Wagner.

James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens (September 12, 1913 ‒ March 31, 1980) was an extremely popular African-American athlete and civic leader. He participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany where he achieved international fame by winning four gold medals; one each in the 100 meter dash, the 200 meter dash, the long jump, and for being part of the 4x100 meter relay team.

Owens was born in Oakville, Alabama and moved to Cleveland, Ohio when he was nine years old as the seventh of the eleven children of Henry and Emma Owens. Owens was the grandson of a slave and the son of a sharecropper. He was often sick with what his mother reportedly called "devil's cold". He was given the name Jesse by a teacher in Cleveland who did not understand his accent when the young boy said he was called J.C.

Throughout his life Owens attributed the success of his athletic career to the encouragement of Charles Riley, his junior-high track coach at Fairview Junior High, who had picked him off the playground and put him on the track team. Since Jesse worked in a shoe repair shop after school, Riley allowed Jesse to practice before school instead.

Owens first came to national attention when, as a student of East Technical High School in Cleveland,Ohio, he tied the world record of 9.4 seconds in the 100-yard dash and long-jumped 24 feet 9 1/2 inches at the 1933 National High School Championship meet in Chicago.

Maurice Chevalier (September 12, 1888 ‒ January 1, 1972) was a French actor and popular entertainer. Chevalier's signature songs included "Louise", "Mimi", and "Valentine." His trademark was a casual straw hat, which he always wore on stage with his tuxedo.

He was born in Paris, France in 1888. His father was a house painter. His mother was of Belgian descent. Maurice made his name as a star of musical comedy, appearing in public as a singer and dancer at an early age.

It was in 1901 that he first began in show business at the age of 13. He was singing, unpaid, at a café when a well-known member of the theatre saw him and suggested that he try out for a local musical. He did so, and got the part. Chevalier got a name as imitator and singer. His act in l' Alcazar in Marseille was so successful he made a triumphant rearrival in Paris.

In 1909 he became the partner of the biggest female star in France at the time, Fréhel. However, due to her alcohol and drug addiction their liaison ended in 1911. Chevalier then started a relationship with the 36 year old Mistinguett at the Folies Bergére; they would eventually play out a very public romance.

When in 1914 World War I broke out, Chevalier was called up for army service. He was shot in the back in the first weeks of combat and taken as a prisoner of war in Germany for two years. In 1916 he managed to escape due to Mistinguett's numerous relations.

After the war Chevalier went back to Paris and created several famous songs that are still known today, such as ‘Valentine’ (1924). He played in a few pictures and made a huge impression in the operette, ‘Dédé’. He met the American composers George Gershwin and Irving Berlin and brought ‘Dédé’ to Broadway in 1922. It was not a success and a Chevalier returned to France where he tried to commit suicide in 1924 because of this failure. The same year he met Yvonne Vallée, a young dancer, who became his wife in 1927.

In 1937 he divorced his wife and married the dancer Nita Raya. He had several successes such as his revue Paris en Joie in the Casino de Paris. A year later he performed in Amours de Paris. His songs remained big hits, such as Prosper (1935), Ma Pomme (1936) and Ça fait d'excellents français (1939)

During World War II Chevalier kept performing for audiences, even German soldiers. He admired Henri Philippe Pétain, who led the collaborating Vichy regime during the war. (It must be stated that many Frenchmen at that time admired Pétain for his victories in World War I.) He moved to Cannes where he and his Jewish wife, Nita Raya, lived and where he gave several performances.

In 1942 he returned to Bocca, near Cannes, but returned to the French capital city in September. In 1944 when the Allied forces freed France, Chevalier was accused of collaboration. Even though he was formally acquitted of these charges, the English speaking press remained very hostile and he was refused a visa for several years.

In his own country, however, he was still very popular. In 1946 he divorced from Nita Raya and starting writing his memoirs, which took him many years to complete.

He started to paint and collect things and acted in Le Silence est d' Or (1946) by René Clair. He still toured throughout the United States and other parts of the world and returned to France in 1948.

Chevalier continued to work up until very old age with energy and enthusiasm. In the early sixties he toured the United States and between 1960 and 1963 he made eight films. When he returned to France he was invited by president Charles de Gaulle for a meal.

In 1965, at the age of 77 he made another world tour and visited again the US and other countries like South Africa. In 1967 he toured in Latin America, again the US, Europe and Canada.

In 1968, on October 1st, he announced his official farewell tour. Tired but nonetheless still able to entertain people he stopped twenty days later.

In 1970, he sang the title song of the Disney film The Aristocats. During a tour in the US he decided to stay there. However in December 1971 he got ill and had to be taken to hospital.

Maurice Chevalier died on January 1, 1972, aged 83, and was interred in the cemetery of Marnes la Coquette in Hauts-de-Seine, France.

As always I thank "Famous Birthdays" web site and Wikipedia for back ground material.

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