Happy Birthday to director-screenwriter George Lucas who turns 75. Receiving 5 Oscar nominations (including Best Picture) for his 1973 debut film American Graffiti proved that he could write and direct; and producing the groundbreaking science fiction franchise Star Wars proved he could create a cultural phenomenon worth billions of dollars. He also dreamed up Indiana Jones, played by Harrison Ford in the blockbuster 1980’s trilogy that opened with Raiders of the Lost Ark.
After studying anthropology at Modesto Junior College, he attempted to join the U.S. Air Force but they wouldn’t accept him because of multiple speeding tickets while driving, so he enrolled at USC as a graduate student in film production.
One of Hollywood’s most successful filmmakers, Lucas has been nominated for four Academy Awards, and has an estimated net worth of over $5 billion. (1944)
– 2009 Photo by Nicolas Genin, CC license
MORE Good News on this Day:
- Jamestown, Virginia became the first lasting English settlement, establishing the American Colonies (1607)
- In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, delegates first meet to write a new Constitution for the United States (1787)
- The Lewis and Clark Expedition began their historic journey by traveling up the Missouri River (1804)
- The London Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children became a national organization in Great Britain and Ireland, founded by Liverpool businessman, Thomas Agnew, who wanted to mirror the group he admired in America—and they successfully passed the first UK law to protect children from abuse and neglect (1884)
- The Rockefeller Foundation was launched with $100 million from John D. Rockefeller to invest in scientific research, public health, higher education and nurturing the leaders of the future (1913)
- Israel declared itself to be an independent state and a provisional government was established (1948)
- Skylab, the United States’ first space station, was launched (1973)
- The final episode of Seinfeld aired after a 9-year run on NBC with an audience of 76 million viewers tuned in to see Jerry, Elaine, Kramer and George in court, put on trial and charged with criminal indifference for breaking the Good Samaritan Law in a small New England town (1998)
- Diane Humetewa (a Hopi) became the first Native American woman confirmed as federal judge with a U.S. Senate vote of 96-0 (2014)
- The European Union announced it will have cut its carbon emissions by 20 percent more than it pledged it would under the Kyoto climate change treaty (2014)
Happy Birthday to Talking Heads singer, songwriter, and musician David Byrne, who turns 67 today.
Before high school, Byrne already knew how to play the guitar, accordion, and violin, but he was rejected from his school’s choir because they claimed he was “off-key and too withdrawn”. Since the 1991 disbanding of the punk–new wave group, Byrne has worked in various media including filmmaking, ballet, photography, drawing, opera, fiction and non-fiction–and received an Oscar (for his original score of The Last Emperor), Grammys, and Golden Globe awards.
Byrne founded the world music record label Luaka Bop in 1990, and is known for his activism in support of increased cycling and for having used a bike as his main means of transport throughout his life, especially around New York City. He even designed a series of bicycle parking racks, like the one in the shape of a dollar sign on Wall Street. (1952)