On this day in 1619, the great French painter Charles Le Brun was born. King Louis XIV considered him the greatest French painter of all time. But he might have been biased; he was Brun’s employer. But Brun did a lot of work outside his palace work. He produced an incredible amount of art in his 30 prominent years working for the court.
Winslow Homer was born in 1836. He is one of the greatest American painters ever, and perhaps the greatest seascape artist across all borders. Unfortunately, his work has been so copied that it is now hard to see it with fresh eyes. But it is worth trying. For example, I think this painting, The Gulf Stream is wonderful:
Other birthdays: steam engine inventor Thomas Newcomen (1664); automata creator Jacques de Vaucanson (1709); music educator Charles Frederick Horn (1762); playwright George Moore (1852); film director Richard Thorpe (1896); actor John Vernon (1932); actor Barry Bostwick (69); actor Edward James Olmos (67); the most overrated “entrepreneur” in history Steve Jobs (1955); and the actor, who plays the most annoying Sex and the City character, Kristin Davis (49).
The day, however, belongs to the actor Abe Vigoda who is 93 today. We all know him primarily for the part of Fish on Barney Miller, which he was only on for three of its eight seasons. But he’s remarkable because he was so convincing as Fish that most of us thought that Vigoda must be at death’s door. But he was only 56 when he left the show. If you saw him in interviews into his 80s, he seemed younger than Fish ever did. So I fully admit: I gave the day to him because he’s lived so long. And because Barney Miller was one of the greatest television shows ever. And because Abe Vigoda is a fine actor. But mostly, because he’s 93 today. And I don’t think this is the last birthday he will celebrate.
Happy birthday Abe Vigoda!