On this day 100 years ago, Leonard Bernstein, pianist and composer of ‘West Side Story’ was born. Though his working class father objected to his musical aspirations, the family acquired a cousin’s unwanted piano, and ‘Lenny’ was able to pursue his passion.

A notably young conductor at the age of 25 with the New York Philharmonic, he became a towering figure of 20th-century music. Also the composer of ‘Candide’ and ‘On the Town’, the winner of 16 Grammys and 10 Emmys nurtured a love for classical music in American youth with his televised lectures and Young People’s Concerts. WATCH a tribute to his 100th anniversary… (1918–1990)

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • Hundreds of French colonists arrived in Louisiana and settled in New Orleans (1718)
  • Galileo Galilei demonstrated his first telescope to Venetian lawmakers (1609)
  • Uruguay declared independence from Brazil (1825); Belgium revolted from the Netherlands (1830)
  • Paris was liberated after four years under German occupation, as the French 2nd Armoured Division led the U.S. Infantry into the city (1944)
  • Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run was released (1975)
  • Linus Torvalds first revealed he was creating a new free operating system – Linux (1991)
  • Belarus declared independence from the Soviet Union (1991)
  • NASA’s Voyager 1 space probe entered interstellar space, becoming the first manmade object to leave the solar system (2012)

Happy Birthday to Scottish actor Sean Connery who turns 88 today. With his deep, alluring voice he portrayed the iconic James Bond in seven films. 

The debonair secret agent earned an Academy Award for his role in the 1987 gangster film The Untouchables. He also played memorable roles in The Hunt for Red October, The Name of the Rose, Highlander, The Rock, and the Indiana Jones series. (1930)

Other Notable Birthdays: Elvis Costello, 64; and Tim Burton, 60

And on this day in 1916, the National Park Service was created in the United States—and with 412 national parks today, you can likely celebrate by finding a park near you.