The great French landscape painter Hubert Robert was born on this day 1733. Inventor of the electromagnet and electric motor William Sturgeon was born 1783. Composer Richard Wagner were born in 1813. Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle was born in 1859.
The great Laurence Olivier was born in 1907. Most Americans probably remember him as the evil Nazi dentist Christian Szell in Marathon Man. Or for older people (or just lovers of old films), Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. And I most remember him in Sleuth. (Never, never, never watch the remake of Sleuth.) But Olivier is probably most important for his work in first bringing Shakespeare to the screen in a compelling way. I’m not that fond of his films, actually. I think Welles (who was widely criticized relative to Olivier at the time) is better and more cinematic. But there is no doubt that the man can act. Here he is doing that scene from Hamlet:
Phil Tucker was born in 1927. He was the director of a delightfully silly, but ultimately terrible film, Robot Monster. That’s the film where the villain is a guy in a gorilla suit with a diving helmet. It’s easy to laugh at, but Tucker got it produced and the film made a lot of money. Here is the trailer:
And Harvey Milk was born in 1930. He was one of the most important gay rights advocates ever. In San Francisco he is a legend. And he would likely be alive today if it weren’t for the unstable Dan White.
Bernie Taupin is 63 today.
The day, however, belongs to the great American impressionist Mary Cassatt who was bore in 1844. I don’t have a lot to say about her. Look:
Happy birthday Mary Cassatt!
Update (23 May 2013 12:52 am)
I just watched Robot Monster again. I take back “terrible.” It is actually an amazing little film. It has pretty much all of the problems of low budget films of that time, but it has a few positives. The acting isn’t bad. And it is truly bizarre in a delightful way. It is also filled with lots of unintentional gems like the whole marriage ceremony. I always love how movies of that time were filled with scientists who were very serious about their Christianity. Anyway, check it out if you get a chance.