Happy 75th Birthday to Wallace Shawn, the American character actor, comedian, playwright and essayist. His films included the Louis Malle directed comedy-drama My Dinner with Andre, which he co-wrote, Clueless, and Toy Story, for which he voiced the character of Rex. Our favorite was The Princess Bride, during which he delivered the classic line, “You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is: Never get involved in a land war in Asia…” He also appeared in dozens of cameo roles featuring his quirky voice and spunky demeanor.  WATCH a sweet interview with Shawn on a front stoop… (1943)

Photo by Sam Felder, CC license, 2005

His father was William Shawn, the long-time editor of The New Yorker. He graduated with a B.A. in history from Harvard College, and later studied philosophy, politics and economics, as well as teaching Latin overseas, originally intending to become a diplomat, before becoming an actor in 1979… He authored the 2009 book, Essays, and was also awarded the Obie Award for best playwriting in 1974 for his play Our Late Night.

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • The women’s suffrage activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was born in Johnstown, New York, where her lawyer father treated her as he would any son, and encouraged her to enter traditionally male-dominated spheres. (1815)
  • The brilliant French sculptor Auguste Rodin, known for his unique ability to mold clay—and for creating works such as The Thinker and The Kiss—was born (1840)
  • Austria became a republic (1918)
  • The Holland Tunnel opened linking New York City to New Jersey (1927); The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened (1936)
  • First drive-up bank teller windows open at Exchange Nat’l Bank in Chicago (1946)
  • Lech Wałęsa, the Polish Solidarity leader, was released from prison after eleven months (1982)
  • The American Medical Association decreed it unethical for a doctor to refuse to treat someone solely because they have AIDS or HIV (1987)
  • Tim Berners-Lee published his formal proposal for the World Wide Web (1990)
  • Marriage for same-sex couples in Connecticut commenced after the state’s Supreme Court affirmed their right to wed, rather than accept a 2005 civil union decree (2008)

Happy 73rd Birthday to Neil Young, the Canadian singer-songwriter who is remembered for such songs as Old Man, After the Gold Rush, Heart of Gold, Ohio, Only Love Can Break Your Heart, and Southern Man. He married actress Daryl Hannah in August this year.

2009 photo by Per Ole Hagen, CC license

He also invented and sells a high-quality digital music device called Pono that plays high quality audio, like musicians hear in the studio as an alternative to Mp3 sound. He is also a devoted environmentalist and advocate for farmers.  (1945)


And, on this day in 1931, Abbey Road Studios officially opened for business at 3 Abbey Road, in the City of Westminster, near London. Known for innovative recording techniques, it became world known in the 1960s as the creative mecca where Pink Floyd and The Beatles engineered their albums—including the Abbey Road LP, with the famous cover photo of the Fab Four in the crosswalk around the corner, where tourists now pose and snap photos by the thousands every day.

In 2011, Abbey Road Studios installed a 24-hour live streaming web camera focused on the historic crosswalk to show tourists trying to recreate the famous Beatles lineup photographed for the Abbey Road album cover.

WATCH a 2-year-old interview with Ringo and McCartney, shot in Abbey Road Studios, where they discussed with director Ron Howard his new Beatles film, Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years, now available on DVD.