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Caras, Roger (24 May 1928–18 February 2001), animal rights activist, Hollywood executive, and naturalist, was born in Methuen, a rural Massachusetts town around thirty miles north of Boston, the son of Jacob Caras, an insurance salesman, and Bessie Caras, an accountant. His affection for animals developed at an early age. At home he was exposed to dogs, cats, and canaries, and in the woods surrounding his house were raccoons, deer, opossums, and skunks. "Methuen was a wonderful place in which to learn and to explore," he recalled in his autobiography, ...

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Ditmars, Raymond Lee (22 June 1876–12 May 1942), zoo curator and popular writer on reptiles, was born in Newark, New Jersey, son of John Van Harlingen Ditmars, a furniture dealer and Confederate veteran, and Mary Knaus. When Raymond was six the family moved to New York City. His interest in nature began with visits to Central Park, which had a small menagerie and natural areas teeming with snakes and other creatures, and to the salt marshes on the outskirts of Brooklyn, where his family spent the summer. These experiences captivated his interest, and, although his family intended for him to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, his mind was on snakes....

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Kalmus, Herbert Thomas (09 November 1881–11 July 1963), and Natalie Mabelle Dunfee Kalmus (1883–15 November 1965), cinematographer, were born, respectively, in Chelsea, Massachusetts, and Norfolk, Virginia. Herbert was the son of Benjamin G. Kalmus and Ada Isabella Gurney, musicians. Natalie was the daughter of George Kayser Dunfee (wife’s name unknown). Herbert attended schools in Boston and intended to become a concert pianist, but he gave up the idea when he injured his fingers playing baseball. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he received a B.S. in physics in 1904. He married Natalie in 1902; they had no children. When very young Natalie had moved with her parents to Boston. She attended Stetson University in Florida, the Boston School of Art, and the Curry School of Expressionism in Boston....

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See Kalmus, Herbert Thomas

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Barbara Bennett Peterson

Lamarr, Hedy (09 November 1913–19 January 2000), actress, was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria, the daughter of Emil Kiesler, a director of the Bank of Vienna, and Gertrude Kiesler (maiden name unknown), a concert pianist. She was of Jewish extraction on both sides of her family, which proved fateful for her life and her career. As a child, she took ballet and piano lessons and was educated by tutors as well as at private schools. In 1929 she studied design in a Viennese finishing school. At ...

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Hedy Lamarr. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Leigh, Vivien (05 November 1913–08 July 1967), actress, was born Vivian Mary Hartley in Darjeeling, India, the daughter of Ernest Richard Hartley, a junior partner in a brokerage firm, and Gertrude Robinson. The family spent half the year in India and the other half in England until 1920, when they moved back to England permanently. Leigh was enrolled in the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Roehampton. There she discovered her lifelong passion for acting when, at age eight, she appeared as a fairy in a school production of ...

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Porter, Edwin Stanton (21 April 1870–30 April 1941), pioneer director-producer-inventor of cinema, was born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Richard Porter, a merchant, and Mary Jane Clark. Porter received his education in the public schools of Connellsville. He worked at various jobs, including plumber, exhibition skater, sign painter, tailor, and telegrapher. In 1893 Porter enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he found his calling in working with electrical machines. In conjunction with ...

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Waller, Frederic (10 March 1886–18 May 1954), inventor and motion picture technician, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Frederic Waller, a commercial photographer, and Katherine Stearns. Waller was educated at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, which he left at age fourteen when he began working in his father’s photographic studio. In 1905 he married Irene Seymour, with whom he had two children; the marriage ended in divorce in 1919. In 1920 Waller married Grace Fortescue Hubbard; the childless marriage ended with her death in 1941. His third wife, Doris Barber Caron, whom he married in 1942, outlived him; they also had no children....