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Athlete Willie Davenport 1943 - 2002

Track and field athlete and military officer. Born William D. Davenport on June 8, 1943 in Troy, Alabama. An Army private, Willie Davenport was the surprise winner of the 110-meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympic trials in 1964. An injury cost him the Olympic Games that year, but he went on to compete three more times, winning the title in Mexico in 1968. He finished fourth in 1972 and won the bronze in 1976.

Arguably Davenport's best event, however, was the 60-yard hurdles, which is not on the Olympic program. He was national champion in that event five times. In 1980, he was the runner for a four-man bobsled team at the winter Olympics in Lake Placid, making him the fourth American to compete in both the summer and winter games.

Davenport rose through Army ranks to serve as Colonel of the United States National Guard. He died of a heart attack on June 17, 2002.

US Republican Newt Gingrich 1943

(born June 17, 1943, Harrisburg, Pa., U.S.) American politician, who served as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (1995–98). He was the first Republican to hold the office in 40 years.

After graduating from Emory University (1965), Gingrich studied modern European history at Tulane University (M.A., 1968; Ph.D., 1971) and taught at West Georgia College (1970–78). After unsuccessful runs for the U.S. Congress in 1974 and 1976, he won a seat from a district outside Atlanta in 1978. Gingrich quickly became known for his confrontational manner and conservative policies. In 1987 he attacked Speaker of the House Jim Wright for questionable financial dealings; the charges forced Wright to resign in 1989. That same year, Gingrich was narrowly elected House minority whip by his Republican colleagues with a vote of 87–85.

Aided by President Bill Clinton's unpopularity, the Republican Party gained control of Congress following the 1994 midterm elections. Gingrich was seen as the architect of the victory, especially noted for helping draft the “Contract with America,” a document outlining legislation to be enacted by the House within the first 100 days of the 104th Congress. Among the proposals were tax cuts, a permanent line-item veto, and a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. In December 1994 Gingrich was chosen by the majority Republicans as House speaker, and he assumed the office the following month. With one exception, all parts of the “Contract with America” were passed by the House.

Shortly after becoming speaker, however, Gingrich's popularity began to wane. In late 1995 he was widely blamed for partial government shutdowns after refusing to compromise with President Clinton on the federal budget. He also faced a series of ethics investigations. In 1995 he returned a $4.5-million book advance after the House ethics committee questioned its appropriateness. The following year the committee concluded that he had violated House rules concerning a college course he taught from 1993 to 1995; it found he had wrongly used tax-exempt donations to fund the class and that he had inaccurately denied the involvement of GOPAC, a political action committee that he once headed, in the course's development. In January 1997 the House of Representatives ordered Gingrich to pay a fine of $300,000. The House also reprimanded him for providing false information to the committee investigating his case. Amid the controversies, Gingrich was narrowly reelected speaker in early 1997.

In January 1998, reports surfaced alleging that Clinton had lied before a federal grand jury concerning his involvement in an extramarital affair with a former White House intern. Gingrich backed a bid to impeach and remove the president from office. Many voters concluded that the House had overreached in its attack on Clinton, and the Republicans lost five seats to Democrats in the 1998 midterm elections. Following the election, there was a backlash against Gingrich within the Republican Party, with numerous Republicans blaming him for failing to present a clear and innovative agenda to the country and instead choosing to focus party strategy upon the impeachment proceedings against a highly popular president. Faced with dwindling support, Gingrich stepped down as speaker of the House in November 1998, and in January 1999 he resigned his seat in Congress.

Gingrich remained involved in politics, serving as a consultant and television commentator. He wrote a number of books, including Lessons Learned the Hard Way (1998), Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America (2005), and Rediscovering God in America (2006).

Actor Joe Piscopo 1951

Actor. Born Joseph Charles John Piscopo on June 17, 1951 in Passaic, New Jersey. Piscopo began his career in entertainment as a stand-up comic and in 1980 was invited to join the cast of Saturday Night Live. His hire was part of an all-cast replacement, and he and Eddie Murphy dominated the show for the next few years. It was there that Piscopo made a name for himself, most notably for his impressions of celebrities like Frank Sinatra and for his hit single “The Honeymooners Rap.” Piscopo stayed with SNL until 1984.

Joe Piscopo failed to find the same level of success after leaving Saturday Night Live. In the 1980s, he became known for his outrageous Miller Lite commercials, which he produced and starred in. During the 1990s, he was involved in a scandal regarding his use of steroids, though he repeatedly denied the allegations. He appeared on Broadway in Grease and made television guest appearances on such shows as Law & Order. He also had bit parts in such feature films as Johnny Dangerously, Sidekicks and Bartleby.

Joe Piscopo married Nancy Jones in 1973; the couple has a son. He married his son’s nanny, Kimberly Driscoll, in 1997, and they have three children. She filed for divorce in 2006. Piscopo has been the subject of widespread allegations of child abuse, though he denies any wrongdoing.

Journalist & Publisher Robert C. Maynard 1937 - 1993

Journalist and publisher. Born in New York City. The son of immigrants from Barbados, Maynard decided early he wanted to be a writer. He quit school at age 16 and began to work as a reporter for the New York Age, an African American weekly, obtaining his first job on a white newspaper in 1961, the York Gazette and Daily (Pennsylvania).

He spent 1966 as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, returned to the Gazette and then joined the Washington Post (1967) as its first black national correspondent. In 1972 he was named an associate editor of the Post, and his stature was such that he was one of three journalists invited to question President Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter in their 1976 campaign debate.

In 1972 he was co-director of a program at Columbia University School of Journalism to train minority journalists, and in 1977 he left the Post and went to establish (with his wife, Nancy Hall Hicks, also a journalist) a similar program at the University of California, Berkeley, the Institute for Journalism Education.

Maynard became the editor of the Oakland Tribune (California) (1979), the first African American to direct editorial operations for a major daily paper, and became the first African American to own and publish a major daily newspaper when he bought controlling interest in the Tribune (1983). Eroding circulation and advertising forced him to sell it to the Alameda Newspaper Group (1992), but he remained as publisher and editor.

A Pulitzer Prize juror, and a leader in various professional organizations, Maynard took greatest pride in helping scores of minority youths enter journalism, an effort that earned him the title "the Jackie Robinson of publishing."

Bollywood Actress Amrita Rao 1981

Amrita Rao (born 17 June 1981) is an Indian actress who appears in Bollywood films.

Beginning her career as a model, Rao made her acting debut with Ab Ke Baras (2002). She then starred in Ken Ghosh's love-story Ishq Vishk (2003) and earned a Filmfare nomination in the "Best Female Debut" category.

Born 17 June 1981 (1981-06-17) (age 30)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Occupation Actress / Model
Years active 2002–present

Amrita was born in Mumbai to a Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin family. She speaks Marathi, Hindi, English and her mother tongue, Konkani. She attended Canossa Convent Girls High school in Mumbai, and later enrolled in Sophia College to pursue a degree in Psychology. Her younger sister, Preetika Rao, is a Model, Journalist-Columnist and a South-Indian film actress.


While studying in Sophia College, Amrita auditioned for an advertisement for Fairever Face Cream. Her appearance in Cadbury’s Perk Karwa Chaut ad and the Bru Coffee advertisement helped her receive offers from film directors in Bollywood.


Amrita made her acting debut with Ab Ke Baras (2002), and followed that with her (2003) film, Ishq Vishk, in which she portrayed Payal. She became an overnight star after the success that film. She followed this up with films Masti (2004) and Main Hoon Na, Deewaar (2004), Vaah! Life Ho To Aisi (2005), Shikhar (2005), and Pyare Mohan (2006). She starred in Sooraj R. Barjatya's Blockbuster Vivah (2006) opposite Shahid Kapoor.

In 2007 Amrita made her debut in the Telugu film industry with Athidhi opposite Mahesh Babu. Amrita's releases in 2008 include My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves and Welcome to Sajjanpur. Amrita's releases in 2009 are Victory, and Shortkut. Since then Amrita has not had a major movie release. Year 2011 will see her comeback with the movie Love U...Mr. Kalakaar!.

Filmfare Awards


  • 2004: Filmfare Best Female Debut Award for Ishq Vishk
  • 2005: Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for Main Hoon Na

Star Screen Awards


  • 2003: Star Screen Award Most Promising Newcomer - Female for Ab Ke Baras
  • 2004: Star Screen Award Most Promising Newcomer - Female for Ishq Vishk
  • 2007: Star Screen Award Best Actress for Vivah
  • 2007: Star Screen Award Jodi No. 1 along with Shahid Kapoor - Vivah

Zee Cine Awards


  • 2004: Zee Cine Award Best Female Debut for Ishq Vishk

International Indian Film Academy Awards


  • 2004: IIFA Awards, Best Female Debut for Ishq Vishk

Stardust Awards


  • 2004: Stardust Superstar of Tomorrow - Female for Ishq Vishk
  • 2009: Stardust Searchlight Best Actress Award for Welcome to Sajjanpur

Other awards won

  • 2004: Sansui Awards, Best Debut - Female for Ishq Vishk
  • 2007: GR8 Women Awards, Young Achiever
  • 2007: Anandalok Puroshkar Awards, Most Promising New Talent for Vivah
  • 2007: Sports World Awards, Jodi of the Year along with Shahid Kapoor for Vivah
  • 2007: Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Award for Vivah


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Ab Ke Baras Anjali Thapar/Nandini
The Legend of Bhagat Singh Mannewali
2003 Ishq Vishk Payal Mehra Nominated, Filmfare Best Female Debut Award
2004 Masti Aanchal Mehta
Main Hoon Na Sanjana (Sanju) Bakshi Nominated, Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award
Deewaar Radhika
2005 Vaah! Life Ho To Aisi Priya
Shikhar Madhvi
2006 Pyare Mohan Piya
Vivah Poonam
2007 Heyy Babyy Special appearance in song "Heyy Babyy"
Athidhi Amrita Telugu film
2008 My Name is Anthony Gonsalves Riya
Shaurya Neerja Rathode Special appearance
Welcome to Sajjanpur Kamla Winner, Stardust Best Actress Award
2009 Victory Nandini
Short Kut: The Con is On Mansi
Life Partner Anjali Kumar Special appearance
2010 Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai Tara's sister Special appearance
2011 Love U...Mr. Kalakaar! Ritu

Physician Susan La Flesche Picotte 1865 - 1915

Physician and tribal leader. Born on June 17, 1865, on the Omaha reservation in Nebraska. Susan La Flesche Picotte broke new ground as the first female Native American to become a doctor. She was the daughter of Omaha Chief Joseph La Flesche, also known as Iron Eye. She left the reservation to go to school and earned her medical degree at the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1889.

Returning to the reservation, Susan La Flesche Picotte worked as a physician for her people. She stayed there for several years until she married Henry Picotte in 1894. The couple moved to Bancroft, Nebraska. La Flesche Picotte practiced medicine in her new locale.

With the founding of the town of Walthill in the Omaha reservation, Susan La Flesche Picotte became so active in community and child affairs, as well as a medical doctor, that she was effectively the leader of the Omahas. The hospital she founded in 1913 was named after her upon her death in 1915.

Actor Writer Greg Kinnear 1963

Actor, writer. Born June 17, 1963 in Logansport, Indiana. The son of a career diplomat, Kinnear graduated from the University of Arizona in 1986. He got his big break in Hollywood as the first host of E! Television’s popular Talk Soup for which he won an Emmy Award in 1994.

In 1997, Kinnear was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in As Good as It Gets. His big-screen career has primarily consisted of supporting roles, including work in such films as Nurse Betty, Someone Like You and the animated movie Robots.

Kinnear married Helen Labdon in 1999. Their have a daughter, Lily.

Son of Henry III and king of England Edward I 1239 – 1307

(born June 17, 1239, Westminster, Middlesex, Eng.—died July 7, 1307, Burgh by Sands, near Carlisle, Cumberland) son of Henry III and king of England in 1272–1307, during a period of rising national consciousness. He strengthened the crown and Parliament against the old feudal nobility. He subdued Wales, destroying its autonomy; and he sought (unsuccessfully) the conquest of Scotland. His reign is particularly noted for administrative efficiency and legal reform. He introduced a series of statutes that did much to strengthen the crown in the feudal hierarchy. His definition and emendation of English common law has earned him the name of the “English Justinian.”

Early life.

Edward was the eldest son of King Henry III and Eleanor of Provence. In 1254 he was given the duchy of Gascony, the French Oléron, the Channel Islands, Ireland, Henry's lands in Wales, and the earldom of Chester, as well as several castles. Henry negotiated Edward's marriage with Eleanor, half sister of Alfonso X of Leon and Castile. Edward married Eleanor at Las Huelgas in Spain (October 1254) and then traveled to Bordeaux to organize his scattered appanage. He now had his own household and officials, chancery and seal, with an exchequer (treasury) at Bristol Castle; though nominally governing all his lands, he merely enjoyed the revenues in Gascony and Ireland. He returned to England in November 1255 and attacked Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, prince of Gwynedd, to whom his Welsh subjects had appealed for support when Edward attempted to introduce English administrative units in his Welsh lands. Edward, receiving no help from either Henry or the marcher lords, was defeated ignominiously. His arrogant lawlessness and his close association with his greedy Poitevin uncles, who had accompanied his mother from France, increased Edward's unpopularity among the English. But after the Poitevins were expelled, Edward fell under the influence of Simon de Montfort, his uncle by marriage, with whom he made a formal pact. Montfort was the leader of a baronial clique that was attempting to curb the misgovernment of Henry.

Edward reluctantly accepted the Provisions of Oxford (1258), which gave effective government to the barons at the expense of the king. On the other hand, he intervened dramatically to support the radical Provisions of Westminster (October 1259), which ordered the barons to accept reforms demanded by their tenants. In the dangerous crisis early in 1260 he supported Montfort and the extremists, though finally he deserted Montfort and was forgiven by Henry (May 1260). He was sent to Gascony in October 1260 but returned early in 1263. Civil war had now broken out between Henry and the barons, who were supported by London. Edward's violent behaviour and his quarrel with the Londoners harmed Henry's cause. At the Battle of Lewes (May 14, 1264) his vengeful pursuit of the Londoners early in the battle contributed to Henry's defeat. Edward surrendered and became a hostage in Montfort's hands. He escaped at Hereford in May 1265 and took charge of the royalist forces, penned Montfort behind the River Severn, and, by lightning strategy, destroyed a large relieving army at Kenilworth (August 1). On August 4 he trapped and slew Montfort at Evesham and rescued Henry. Shattered and enfeebled, Henry allowed Edward effective control of government, and the latter's extreme policy of vengeance, especially against the Londoners, revived and prolonged rebel resistance. Finally, the papal legate Ottobuono, Edward's uncle Richard, Earl of Cornwall, and other moderates persuaded Henry to the milder policy of the Dictum of Kenilworth (Oct. 31, 1266), and after some delay the rebels surrendered. Edward took the cross (1268), intending to join the French king Louis IX on a crusade to the Holy Land, but was delayed by lack of money until August 1270. Louis died before Edward's arrival; and Edward, after wintering in Sicily, went to Acre, where he stayed from May 1271 to September 1272, winning fame by his energy and courage and narrowly escaping death by assassination but achieving no useful results. On his way home he learned in Sicily of Henry III's death on Nov. 16, 1272.

Accession and character.

Edward had nominated Walter Giffard, archbishop of York, Philip Basset, Roger Mortimer, and his trusted clerk Robert Burnell to safeguard his interests during his absence. After Henry's funeral, the English barons all swore fealty to Edward (Nov. 20, 1272). His succession by hereditary right and the will of his magnates was proclaimed, and England welcomed the new reign peacefully, Burnell taking charge of the administration with his colleagues' support. The quiet succession demonstrated England's unity only five years after a bitter civil war. Edward could journey homeward slowly, halting in Paris to do homage to his cousin Philip III for his French lands (July 26, 1273), staying several months in Gascony and reaching Dover on Aug. 2, 1274, for his coronation at Westminster on August 19. Now 35 years old, Edward had redeemed a bad start. He had been arrogant, lawless, violent, treacherous, revengeful, and cruel; his Angevin rages matched those of Henry II. Loving his own way and intolerant of opposition, he had still proved susceptible to influence by strong-minded associates. He had shown intense family affection, loyalty to friends, courage, brilliant military capacity, and a gift for leadership; handsome, tall, powerful, and tough, he had the qualities men admired. He loved efficient, strong government, enjoyed power, and had learned to admire justice, though in his own affairs it was often the letter, not the spirit of the law that he observed. Having mastered his anger, he had shown himself capable of patient negotiation, generosity, and even idealism; and he preferred the society and advice of strong counselors with good minds. As long as Burnell and Queen Eleanor lived, the better side of Edward triumphed, and the years until about 1294 were years of great achievement. Thereafter, his character deteriorated for lack of domestic comfort and independent advice. He allowed his autocratic temper full rein and devoted his failing energies to prosecution of the wars in France and against Scotland.

Parliament and statutes.

Shrewdly realistic, Edward understood the value of the “parliaments,” which since 1254 had distinguished English government and which Montfort had deliberately employed to publicize government policy and to enlist widespread, active support by summoning representatives of shires and boroughs to the council to decide important matters. Edward developed this practice swiftly, not to share royal power with his subjects but to strengthen royal authority with the support of rising national consciousness. From 1275 to 1307 he summoned knights and burgesses to his parliaments in varying manners. The Parliament of 1295, which included representatives of shires, boroughs, and the lesser clergy, is usually styled the Model Parliament, but the pattern varied from assembly to assembly, as Edward decided. By 1307, Parliament, thus broadly constituted, had become the distinctive feature of English politics, though its powers were still undefined and its organization embryonic.

Edward used these parliaments and other councils to enact measures of consolidation and reform in legal, procedural, and administrative matters of many kinds. The great statutes promulgated between 1275 and 1290 are the glory of his reign. Conservative and definitory rather than original, they owed much to Burnell, Edward's chancellor. With the vast developments and reorganization of the administrative machine that Burnell coordinated, they created a new era in English government. The quo warranto inquiry, begun in 1275, the statutes of Gloucester (1278) and of Quo Warranto (1290) sought with much success to bring existing franchises under control and to prevent the unauthorized assumption of new ones. Tenants were required to show “by what warrant” or right they held their franchises. Edward strove, unsuccessfully, to restore the feudal army and strengthen local government institutions by compelling minor landowners to assume the duties of knighthood. His land legislation, especially the clause de donis conditionalibus in the miscellaneous Second Statute of Westminster (1285) and the statute Quia Emptores (Third Statute of Westminster, 1290), eventually helped to undermine feudalism, quite contrary to his purpose. By the Statute of Mortmain (1279) the crown gained control of the acquisition of land by ecclesiastical bodies. The Statute of Winchester (1285) codified and strengthened the police system for preserving public order. The Statute of Acton Burnell (1283) and the Statute of Merchants (1285) showed practical concern for trade and merchants. These are but the most famous of many statutes aimed at efficiency and sound administration.


Meanwhile, Edward destroyed the autonomous principality of Wales, which, under Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, had expanded to include all Welsh lordships and much territory recovered from the marcher lords. Domestic difficulties had compelled Henry III to recognize Llywelyn's gains by the Treaty of Shrewsbury (1267), but Edward was determined to reduce Llywelyn and used Llywelyn's persistent evasion of his duty to perform homage as a pretext for attack. He invaded Wales by three coordinated advances with naval support (1277), blockaded Llywelyn in Snowdonia, starved him into submission, and stripped him of all his conquests since 1247. He then erected a tremendous ring of powerful castles encircling Gwynedd and reorganized the conquered districts as shires and hundreds. When English rule provoked rebellion, he methodically reconquered the principality, killing both Llywelyn (1282) and his brother David (1283). By the Statute of Wales (1284) he completed the reorganization of the principality on English lines, leaving the Welsh marchers unaffected. A further Welsh rising in 1294–95 was ruthlessly crushed, and Wales remained supine for more than 100 years.

After 1294, matters deteriorated. Queen Eleanor had died in 1290, Burnell in 1292, and Edward never thereafter found such good advisers. The conquest and fortification of Wales had badly strained his finances; now endless wars with Scotland and France bankrupted him. He quarrelled bitterly with both clergy and barons, behaving as a rash and obstinate autocrat who refused to recognize his limitations. Philip III and Philip IV of France had both cheated him of the contingent benefits promised by the Treaty of Paris (1259). By constant intervention on pretext of suzerainty they had nibbled at his Gascon borders and undermined the authority of his administration there. After doing homage to Philip IV in 1286, Edward visited Gascony to reorganize the administration and restore authority. On returning to England in 1289 he had to dismiss many judges and officials for corruption and oppression during his absence. In 1290, having systematically stripped the Jews of their remaining wealth, he expelled them from England. French intervention in Gascony was now intensified; affrays between English and French sailors inflamed feelings; and in 1293 Philip IV tricked Edward's brother Edmund, earl of Lancaster, who was conducting negotiations, into ordering a supposedly formal and temporary surrender of the duchy, which Philip then refused to restore. The Welsh rising and Scottish troubles prevented Edward from taking action, and when at last, in 1297, he sailed to attack France from Flanders, his barons refused to invade Gascony, and William Wallace's rising forced him to return. He made peace with Philip (1299) and by Boniface VIII's persuasion married Philip's sister Margaret, and eventually recovered an attenuated Gascon duchy.

For more than 100 years relations between England and Scotland had been amicable, and the border had been remarkably peaceful. Edward inaugurated 250 years of bitter hatred, savage warfare, and bloody border forays. The deaths of Alexander III of Scotland (1286) and his granddaughter Margaret, the Maid of Norway (1290), whom Edward planned to marry to his heir, Edward of Caernarvon (afterward Edward II), ended the line of succession. Many dubious claimants arose, and the Scottish magnates requested Edward's arbitration. Edward compelled the nobles and the claimants to recognize his suzerainty, and only then adjudged John de Balliol king (1292). Balliol did homage and was crowned, but Edward's insistence on effective jurisdiction, as suzerain, in Scottish cases eventually provoked the Scottish nobles to force Balliol to repudiate Edward's claims and to ally with France (1295). Edward invaded and conquered Scotland (1296), removing to Westminster the coronation stone of Scone. Wallace led a revolt in 1297, and Edward, though brilliantly victorious at Falkirk (July 22, 1298), could not subdue the rebellion despite prolonged campaigning (1298–1303).

Last years.

The strain of these years provoked heavy collisions between Edward and his magnates. He had quarrelled violently with his archbishops of Canterbury, John Peckham (1279–92) and Robert Winchelsey (1293–1313), over ecclesiastical liberties and jurisdiction. In 1297 Winchelsey, obeying Pope Boniface VIII's bull Clericis Laicos (1296), rejected Edward's demands for taxes from the clergy, whereupon Edward outlawed the clergy. His barons now defied his orders to invade Gascony and, when Edward went to Flanders, compelled the regents to confirm the charters of liberties, with important additions forbidding arbitrary taxation (1297), thereby forcing Edward to abandon the campaign and eventually to make peace with France. Although Pope Clement V, more pliant than Boniface, allowed Edward to exile Winchelsey and intimidate the clergy (1306), the barons had exacted further concessions (1301) before reconciliation. Edward renewed the conquest of Scotland in 1303, captured Stirling in 1304, and executed Wallace as a traitor in 1305; but when Scotland seemed finally subjected, Robert I the Bruce revived rebellion and was crowned in 1306. On his way to reconquer Scotland, Edward died near Carlisle.

US Congress Politician John Murtha 1932 - 2010

Politician. Born June 17, 1932, in New Martinsville, West Virginia. John Patrick Murtha's family had a deep military history; his great-grandfather served in the Civil War and his father and three uncles in World War II. In 1962, Murtha received a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Pittsburgh. He then completed graduate courses at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

In 1966, as the Vietnam war escalated, Murtha volunteered for active duty in the Marines, joining his brothers in the military. Wounded twice, he was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Upon his return to the United States, he entered politics. In 1969, he was elected to the Pennsylvania House. He served in Pennsylvania until 1974, when he was appointed to the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election to fill a vacancy caused by the death of GOP Rep. John P. Saylor.

Murtha served in the House until his death in 2010. During his time in office, Murtha chaired the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. He also became a critic of the Iraq war, calling it unwinable. He pushed the Bush administration to commit more troops and resources.

The congressman died on the afternoon of February 8, 2010, in the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia, after complications from gall bladder surgery.

Murtha and his wife, Joyce, lived in Washinton, D.C. with their three children until his death in 2010.

Singer Barry Manilow 1946

Singer, songwriter. Born Barry Alan Pincus in Brooklyn, New York, June 17, 1943. Best known for his romantic and borderline saccharine songs, Barry Manilow was a whipping boy for the critics through much of the 1970s even as he sold millions of albums and gained a huge audience base. Though he didn't always write the songs, even when recording work by other artists Manilow still cultivated a lush and melodic musical style that was popular during the pre-rock era. His style evolved during the early-1980s from tame, string-laden, AM-radio pop to a more classic, jazzy sound that was heavily influenced by swing and 1930s and 1940s Broadway show tunes (many of which he later covered).

Unabashedly embracing a sentimental style that appealed primarily to white middle-class women of the working and homemaking sort, it is unsurprising that this Brooklyn born and raised songwriter was frequently denounced by the male-dominated rock and rock critic worlds. Because forms of entertainment associated with women such as soap operas, romance novels, and the like have historically been devalued, those who cater to that audience have been routinely dismissed by mainstream critics.

Unlike his ragtag rock 'n' roll world counterparts, however, Barry Manilow's resume has "professionalism" written all over it. After taking up a variety of instruments at an early age, Manilow attended both the New York College of Music and the Juilliard School, and in 1967 he went on to work as the musical director of a CBS network television show. From there Manilow remained busy writing a successful Off-Broadway adaptation of The Drunkard, doing musical arrangement work for Ed Sullivan Productions, and writing a number of well-known commercial jingles for Dr. Pepper, Band-Aids, and other advertisements. Throughout the 1970s his voice could be heard singing the McDonald's jingle "You deserve a break today." He even released a medley of his commercials on one of his 1970s albums.

He got his foot in the door of the pop music world while working as part of a duo with the then-unknown Bette Midler. Working out of New York City gay bathhouses as her pianist, Manilow soon became her musical director and arranger, co-producing and arranging her Grammy-winning debut album and its follow-up. His own debut album, on the other hand, went nowhere, but his second album featured the number one Billboard Pop single, "Mandy," laying the groundwork for his rise to fame throughout the rest of the 1970s. Many more hit songs--"I Write the Songs," "Looks Like We Made It," "Could It Be Magic," and "Copacabana (At the Copa)"--soon followed, as did a Grammy and a Tony for a Broadway performance.

In the early 1980s, Manilow began to position himself as a modern interpreter of showtunes and pop standards, working with singers Mel Torme and Sarah Vaughan and veteran jazz instrumentalists Gerry Mulligan and Shelly Manne on 1984's 2:00 AM Paradise Cafe. He followed this same path on 1987's Swing Street and 1991's Showstoppers, on which he sang with Michael Crawford and Barbara Cook. One of Manilow's self-described career highlights was scoring music to a collection of unpublished lyrics by Johnny Mercer, the famed lyricist who penned a multitude of pop standards from the 1930s to the 1950s. From pop standards to show tunes, Manilow has captured a devoted audience who continue to maintain his importance to American music and popular culture.

As testament to his signifigance, in June 2002 Manilow was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame alongside Sting and Michael Jackson.

USA Tennis Player Venus Williams 1980

American tennis player. Born Venus Ebony Starr Williams on June 17, 1980, in Lynwood, California. One of Richard and Oracene Williams' five daughters, Venus, along with her younger sister, Serena, has redefined women's tennis with her strength and superb athleticism. Since turning pro in 1994, Venus has captured seven Grand Slam titles, including five Wimbledon championships, joining Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf as the only women to have accomplished this.

Venus was introduced to tennis by her father on the public courts in Los Angeles, not far from the family's home in Compton. Richard Williams, a former sharecropper from Louisiana, used what he'd gleaned from tennis books and videos to instruct his girls on the different aspects of the game.

The fact that the family had relocated to Compton was no accident. With its high rate of gang activity, Richard Williams had wanted to expose his daughters to the ugly possibilities of life "if they did not work hard and get an education." In this setting, on courts that were riddled with potholes and sometimes missing nets, Venus and Serena cut their teeth on the game of tennis and the requirements for persevering in a tough climate.

By the age of ten, Venus Williams' serve topped 100 MPH, a weapon she used to go 63-0 on the United States Tennis Association junior tour. On October 31, 1994, Venus turned pro, something she proved she was more than ready for when, in her first match, she beat 50-seeded Shaun Stafford at the Bank of the West Classic in California.

It was a momentous occasion for the Williams family, Richard in particular, who wasn't afraid to let the tennis world know that his girls were going to change the game. "That's one for the ghetto!" he shouted out at the press conference following Venus' victory.

In 1997, Venus became the first unseeded U.S. Open women's finalist in the Open era. She lost to Martina Hingis. In 2000, Williams won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, paving the way for her to ink a $40 million contract with Reebok. Venus then went out and defended her titles in 2001.

At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, Williams captured the gold medal in the singles competition, and then took a second one with Serena in the doubles event. The sisters have credited the other with pushing them in tennis, both as teammates and as competitors. Together, the pair have won 10 Grand Slam doubles titles and have squared off more than 20 times, including the finals of eight Grand Slam tournaments. In addition to their time spent together on the court, the sisters also share a home together in Florida. Their parents continue to coach them.

In recent years, Venus has struggled with injuries—she competed in only a handful of tournaments in 2006—but returned to form in 2007, winning the singles title at Wimbledon. She repeated the victory a year later, when she defeated Serena for a fifth career Wimbledon championship, placing her fifth all-time in women's Wimbledon singles championships. A few months later, the Williams sisters teamed up to capture the doubles title at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Off the court, Venus Williams has cultivated a varied number of pursuits. She's pursued art classes, and earned a certificate in interior design. She has started her clothing line called "EleVen" as well as a collection of women's apparel for Wilson's Leather. In addition, Venus has launched her own interior design company, V Starr Interiors, which works on residential projects throughout the country.

She's also been active in a number of social causes, including working closely with UNESCO on promoting gender equality throughout the world.

Venus lives in Palm Beach, Florida, with her sister Serena and their two dogs, a Jack Russell terrier and a Maltese.

Dutch Graphic Artist M.C. Escher 1898 – 1972

(born June 17, 1898, Leeuwarden, Netherlands—died March 27, 1972, Laren) Dutch graphic artist who is known for his realistic, detailed prints that achieve bizarre optical and conceptual effects.

From 1919 to 1922, Escher studied at the School of Architecture and Decorative Arts in Haarlem, Netherlands, where he developed an interest in graphics and worked mainly in woodcut. He spent a number of years traveling and sketching throughout Europe, living in Italy from 1922 to 1935, and then moving to Switzerland and Belgium. In his prints and drawings from this period, Escher depicted landscapes and natural forms in a fantastic fashion by using multiple, conflicting perspectives.

Escher's mature style emerged after 1937 in a series of prints that combined meticulous realism with enigmatic optical illusions. Working in lithograph, wood engraving, and woodcut, he portrayed with great technical virtuosity impossible spaces and unexpected metamorphoses of one object into another. His images were of equal interest to mathematicians, cognitive psychologists, and the general public, and they were widely reproduced throughout the 20th century.