Today's Birthday

  • Shel Silverstein (1932)
    Shel Silverstein (1932)

    Silverstein was an American cartoonist, children's author, poet, songwriter, and playwright. Often compared to Dr. Seuss, he wrote and illustrated innovative books of verse for children, including Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and The Giving Tree. His quirky verse, which touches on common childhood anxieties and wishes, is credited with helping youngsters develop an appreciation for poetry. What hit song, performed by Johnny Cash, was written by Silverstein?

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896)
    F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896)

    An American novelist and short-story writer, Fitzgerald was the literary spokesman of the "jazz age" of the 1920s. The characters in his books—which include This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and the Damned, and his masterpiece, The Great Gatsby—lead madcap, gin-drenched, spiritually bankrupt lives that closely resemble his own. In his later years, Fitzgerald was plagued by financial worries and his wife's insanity. Why might he have lied about having tuberculosis?

  • John Coltrane (1926)
    John Coltrane (1926)

    Coltrane was an influential American jazz saxophonist and composer. He worked with numerous big bands before emerging in the 1950s as a major stylist while playing with Miles Davis. His playing exhibited a dazzling technical brilliance as well as ardent emotion. Coltrane made a number of influential recordings, among them the 1960s classics My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. He was deeply spiritual and interested in all religions. What church made him a saint after his death?