More on this Day - May, 18 (2024)

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Born On

Tina Fey

American comedian, writer, and actress

May 18, 1970 -

Tina Fey is an American writer and actress whose work on the television shows Saturday Night Live (SNL)—she was its first female head writer (1999–2006)—and 30 Rock (2006–13) helped establish her as one...

Born On

Nicholas II

tsar of Russia

May 18, 1868 - July 17, 1918

Nicholas II was the last Russian emperor (1894–1917), who, with his wife, Alexandra, and their children, was killed by the Bolsheviks after the October Revolution. Nikolay Aleksandrovich was the eldest...

Born On

St. John Paul II

pope

May 18, 1920 - April 2, 2005

St. John Paul II ; beatified May 1, 2011; canonized April 27, 2014; feast day October 22) was the bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005. He was the first non-Italian pope...

Born On

Bertrand Russell

British logician and philosopher

May 18, 1872 - February 2, 1970

Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher, logician, and social reformer, a founding figure in the analytic movement in Anglo-American philosophy, and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950....

Born On

Ai Weiwei

Chinese activist and artist

May 18, 1957? -

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist and activist who produced a multifaceted array of creative work, including sculptural installations, architectural projects, photographs, and videos. While Ai’s art was lauded...

Born On

Chow Yun-Fat

Chinese actor

May 18, 1955 -

Chow Yun-Fat is a Hong Kong-born Chinese actor who emerged in the 1980s as one of Asian cinema’s most popular leading men, especially known for his roles in action films, and who later forged a successful...

Died On

Jim Brown

American football player and actor

February 17, 1936 - May 18, 2023

Jim Brown was an outstanding American professional gridiron football player who led the National Football League (NFL) in rushing for eight of his nine seasons. He was the dominant player of his era and...

Died On

Gustav Mahler

Austrian composer

July 7, 1860 - May 18, 1911

Gustav Mahler was an Austrian Jewish composer and conductor, noted for his 10 symphonies and various songs with orchestra, which drew together many different strands of Romanticism. Although his music...

Died On

Jeannette Rankin

American politician

June 11, 1880 - May 18, 1973

Jeannette Rankin was the first woman member of the U.S. Congress (1917–19, 1941–43), a vigorous feminist and a lifetime pacifist and crusader for social and electoral reform. Rankin graduated from the...

Born On

Frank Capra

American film director

May 18, 1897 - September 3, 1991

Frank Capra was an American motion-picture director who was the most prominent filmmaker of the 1930s, during which he won three Academy Awards as best director. His most-beloved films, many of which were...

Born On

Omar Khayyam

Persian poet and astronomer

May 18, 1048 - December 4, 1131

Omar Khayyam was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet, renowned in his own country and time for his scientific achievements but chiefly known to English-speaking readers through the translation...

Born On

Walter Gropius

German-American architect

May 18, 1883 - July 5, 1969

Walter Gropius was a German American architect and educator who, particularly as director of the Bauhaus (1919–28), exerted a major influence on the development of modern architecture. His works, many...

Born On

Reggie Jackson

American baseball player

May 18, 1946 -

Reggie Jackson is an American professional baseball player whose outstanding performance in World Series games earned him the nickname “Mr. October.” Jackson was encouraged in sports by his father and...

Died On

Mary McLeod Bethune

American educator

July 10, 1875 - May 18, 1955

Mary McLeod Bethune was an American educator who was active nationally in African American affairs and was a special adviser to U.S. Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt on the problems of minority groups. Mary...

Died On

Aleksandr Vasilyevich Suvorov, Count Rimniksky

Russian military officer

November 24, 1729 - May 18, 1800

Aleksandr Vasilyevich Suvorov, Count Rimniksky , Count Rimniksky was a Russian military commander notable for his achievements in the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–91 and in the French Revolutionary Wars....

Died On

Ernie Davis

American football player

December 14, 1939 - May 18, 1963

Ernie Davis was an American collegiate gridiron football player who was the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy. As a student at Elmira (N.Y.) Free Academy, Davis was a high-school All-American...

Died On

Sam Zell

American entrepreneur

September 28, 1941 - May 18, 2023

Sam Zell was an American commercial real-estate entrepreneur. Zell was the son of Polish émigrés who had circled more than half the globe before settling in the American Midwest, where Zell’s father entered...

Died On

Roger Ailes

American television producer and political consultant

May 15, 1940 - May 18, 2017

Roger Ailes was an American television producer and political consultant who became the founding president of Fox News Channel (1996–16). Ailes, the son of a foreman at a Packard Electric plant, grew up...

Born On

H.D. Deve Gowda

prime minister of India

May 18, 1933 -

H.D. Deve Gowda is an Indian politician and legislator who served as chief minister of Karnataka from 1994 to 1996 and as prime minister of India from June 1996 to April 1997. Born into a Vokkaligas family,...

Died On

Túpac Amaru II

Incan revolutionary

c.1740? - May 18, 1781

Túpac Amaru II was a Peruvian Indian revolutionary, a descendant of the last Inca ruler, Túpac Amaru, with whom he was identified when he led the Peruvian peasants in an unsuccessful rebellion against...

Died On

Leroy Anderson

American musician

June 29, 1908 - May 18, 1975

Leroy Anderson was an American conductor, arranger, and composer of “Sleigh Ride,” “Blue Tango,” and other popular light orchestral music with memorable, optimistic melodies and often unusual percussion...

Born On

Dame Margot Fonteyn

British ballerina

May 18, 1919 - February 21, 1991

Dame Margot Fonteyn was an outstanding ballerina of the English stage whose musicality, technical perfection, and precisely conceived and executed characterizations made her an international star. She...

Born On

W.G. Sebald

German-English author

May 18, 1944 - December 14, 2001

W.G. Sebald was a German-English novelist and scholar who was known for his haunting, nonchronologically constructed stories. Sebald’s work imaginatively explored themes of memory as they related to the...

Born On

Oliver Heaviside

British physicist

May 18, 1850 - February 3, 1925

Oliver Heaviside was a physicist who predicted the existence of the ionosphere, an electrically conductive layer in the upper atmosphere that reflects radio waves. In 1870 he became a telegrapher, but...

Died On

Isaac Albéniz

Spanish composer

May 29, 1860 - May 18, 1909

Isaac Albéniz was a composer and virtuoso pianist, a leader of the Spanish nationalist school of musicians. Albéniz appeared as a piano prodigy at age 4 and by 12 had run away from home twice. Both times...

Died On

William Saroyan

American author

August 31, 1908 - May 18, 1981

William Saroyan was a U.S. writer who made his initial impact during the Depression with a deluge of brash, original, and irreverent stories celebrating the joy of living in spite of poverty, hunger, and...

Died On

Eli Cohen

Israeli spy

1924 - May 18, 1965

Eli Cohen was an Egyptian-born Israeli spy who infiltrated the highest ranks of the Syrian military and government by posing as a Syrian businessman. Between 1961 and 1965, Cohen passed Syrian secrets...

Born On

Rudolf Carnap

German-American philosopher

May 18, 1891 - September 14, 1970

Rudolf Carnap was a German-born American philosopher of logical positivism. He made important contributions to logic, the analysis of language, the theory of probability, and the philosophy of science....

Died On

Elvin Jones

American musician

September 9, 1927 - May 18, 2004

Elvin Jones was an American jazz drummer and bandleader who established a forceful polyrhythmic approach to the traps set, combining different metres played independently by the hands and feet into a propulsive...

Died On

Jacques Marquette

Jesuit explorer

June 1, 1637 - May 18, 1675

Jacques Marquette was a French Jesuit missionary explorer who, with Louis Jolliet, travelled down the Mississippi River and reported the first accurate data on its course. Marquette arrived in Quebec in...

Died On

Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais

French author

January 24, 1732 - May 18, 1799

Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais was a French author of two outstanding comedies of intrigue that still retain their freshness, Le Barbier de Séville (1775; The Barber of Seville, 1776) and Le Mariage...

Born On

Thomas Midgley, Jr.

American chemical engineer

May 18, 1889 - November 2, 1944

Thomas Midgley, Jr. was an American engineer and chemist who discovered the effectiveness of tetraethyl lead as an antiknock additive for gasoline. He also found that dichlorodifluoromethane (a type of...

Born On

Pierre Balmain

French couturier

May 18, 1914 - June 29, 1982

Pierre Balmain was a French couturier who in 1945 founded a fashion house that made his name a byword for elegance. His clients included the duch*ess of Windsor, the Queen of Belgium, and many of the leading...

Died On

Robert Rogers

American soldier

November 7, 1731 - May 18, 1795

Robert Rogers was an American frontier soldier who raised and commanded a militia force, known as Rogers’s Rangers, which won wide repute during the French and Indian War (1754–63). A unique corps of 600...

Born On

Big Joe Turner

American singer

May 18, 1911 - November 24, 1985

Big Joe Turner was an American blues singer, or “shouter,” whose music included jazz, rhythm and blues, and boogie-woogie. He has been credited as a progenitor of jump blues and of early rock and roll....

Born On

Tom Udall

United States senator

May 18, 1948 -

Tom Udall is an American Democratic politician who served in the U.S. Senate (2009–21), representing New Mexico. He had previously been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1999–2009). In 2021,...

Born On

Richard Brooks

American writer and director

May 18, 1912 - March 11, 1992

Richard Brooks was an American screenwriter and director whose best-known movies were adaptations of literary works, notably Blackboard Jungle (1955), Elmer Gantry (1960), and In Cold Blood (1967). (Read...

Died On

Bill Haywood

American labor leader

February 4, 1869 - May 18, 1928

Bill Haywood was an American radical who led the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, or “Wobblies”) in the early decades of the 20th century. A miner at the age of 15, Haywood became active in the Western...

Died On

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

German opera singer

May 28, 1925 - May 18, 2012

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was a German operatic baritone and preeminent singer of lieder, distinguished for his lyrical voice, commanding presence, and superb artistry. Fischer-Dieskau studied with Georg...

Born On

Brooks Robinson

American baseball player

May 18, 1937 - September 26, 2023

Brooks Robinson was an American professional baseball player who was widely considered the best defensive third baseman in the history of the sport. In 23 seasons (1955–77) with the Baltimore Orioles of...

Died On

George Meredith

English novelist

February 12, 1828 - May 18, 1909

George Meredith was an English Victorian poet and novelist, whose novels are noted for their wit, brilliant dialogue, and aphoristic quality of language. Meredith’s novels are also distinguished by psychological...

Died On

Werner Sombart

German historical economist

January 19, 1863 - May 18, 1941

Werner Sombart was a German historical economist who incorporated Marxist principles and Nazi theories in his writings on capitalism. The son of a wealthy landowner and politician, Sombart was educated...

Born On

Ruggero Giuseppe Boscovich

Italian astronomer and mathematician

May 18, 1711 - February 13, 1787

Ruggero Giuseppe Boscovich was an astronomer and mathematician who gave the first geometric procedure for determining the equator of a rotating planet from three observations of a surface feature and for...

Died On

Caroline Bonaparte

queen of Naples

March 25, 1782 - May 18, 1839

Caroline Bonaparte was the queen of Naples (1808–15), Napoleon’s youngest sister and the wife (1800) of Joachim Murat. As a result of her ambitious and intriguing nature, her husband became governor of...

Born On

Joseph Butler

British bishop and philosopher

May 18, 1692 - June 16, 1752

Joseph Butler was an Anglican bishop, moral philosopher, preacher to the royal court, and influential author who defended revealed religion against the rationalists of his time. Joseph Butler was born...

Born On

Hermann Müller

chancellor of Germany

May 18, 1876 - March 20, 1931

Hermann Müller was a statesman and leader of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) who was twice chancellor of coalition governments during the Weimar Republic. Unable to avert the disastrous effects...

Died On

Pierre-Gilles de Gennes

French physicist

October 24, 1932 - May 18, 2007

Pierre-Gilles de Gennes was a French physicist, who was awarded the 1991 Nobel Prize for Physics for his discoveries about the ordering of molecules in liquid crystals and polymers. The son of a physician,...

Born On

Josephus Daniels

United States diplomat

May 18, 1862 - January 15, 1948

Josephus Daniels was an American editor, secretary of the U.S. Navy during World War I, and diplomat. Daniels was a newspaper publisher in Raleigh, North Carolina, and became influential in the Democratic...

Born On

John Bruton

prime minister of Ireland

May 18, 1947 - February 6, 2024

John Bruton was an Irish politician who served as the taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland (1994–97). Bruton played a crucial role in advancing the process that led to the Good Friday Agreement (1998)....

Born On

Ezio Pinza

Italian-American singer

May 18, 1892 - May 9, 1957

Ezio Pinza was an Italian-born operatic bass and actor. Pinza studied civil engineering before turning, at his father’s urging, to singing. At 18 he sang Oroveso in Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma at Cremona....

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