On this day in 1850, the great poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox was born. Now I don’t go in for all that positive nonsense, but I appreciate it. For example, she wrote, “Love lights more fires than hate extinguishes.” I don’t believe that, but it is a beautiful sentiment. She also wrote:
Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth
But has trouble enough of its own
Again: bullshit! But I love the thought!
I almost gave this day to Ike Turner who was born in 1931. Yeah, there’s the whole thing about the domestic violence. Having had a wife who brutalized me and who was eventually arrested for it, I understand things from Tina’s perspective; even under the best of circumstances, it can be really hard to manage such situations. (I hate the question, “Why did you stay?” It shows a complete lack of understanding of the situation.) On the other hand, that very same brutalizing wife told other people that I had attacked her, which I never did. That was the source of her power; all I would do was fend off her attacks because I was far more afraid of being labeled a “wife beater” than of the severe physical abuse she administered. So I worry about any claims coming from one side. Of course, I don’t really doubt that Ike was a violent asshole. Still, he was a great musician. Here is “Rocket 88,” arguably the first rock song from way back in 1951:
Art Garfunkel is 72 today. I’m not that fond of him as a singer, but he’s always had excellent taste in songwriters. Here he is doing Gallagher & Lyle’s “A Heart in New York”:
Other birthdays: union organizer Eugene V Debs (1855); Natalie Schafer, best known as Lovey Howell (1900); actor Joel McCrea (1905); child actor Baby Marie Osborne (1911); the great actor Vivien Leigh (1913); playwright Sam Shepard (70); basketball player Bill Walton (61); one of the most underrated character actors Robert Patrick (55); musician Bryan Adams (54); actor Tilda Swinton (53); crush of my youth, singer Andrea McArdle (50); crush of my old age, actor Famke Janssen (48); and one of my favorite actors Sam Rockwell (45).
The day, however, belongs to probably the greatest child actor of all time, Tatum O’Neal who is 50 today. In general, I have a problem with the praise we heap on children for various things they do. But O’Neal’s work in Paper Moon absolutely deserved the Academy Award. Her performance is incredibly deep and nuanced. And it’s all her—director Peter Bogdanovich shot the film with very long takes. If you haven’t seen the film, you really must. It is one of the great ones and O’Neal is the high point of it. Here is the first scene where her character Addie joins in the family business:
Happy birthday Tatum O’Neal!