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Adams, Don (13 April 1923–25 September 2005), comedian and actor, was born Donald James Yarmy in New York City, the second of the three children of William Yarmy, a restaurant manager, and Consuelo Morgan. Adams, who grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, liked to read and draw but had an aversion to New York public schools. Much of his youth was spent frequenting the movie theaters on 42nd Street, where he believed he received a better education. At parties he and his neighborhood friends, a number of whom also forged careers in show business, tried to top each other performing comic bits. Adams's forte became impersonations of the Hollywood stars of the day....

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Don Adams. With Barbara Feldon, on the set of the spoof spy showGet Smart, 10 September 1965. Courtesy of AP Images.

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Agronsky, Martin (12 January 1915–25 July 1999), broadcast journalist and commentator, was born Martin Zama Agronsky, the son of Isador Agronsky and Marcia Dvorin Agronsky, Jewish immigrants from Minsk, Russia (now Belarus). Born and raised in Philadelphia, he attended public schools and studied journalism at Rutgers University, where he received a bachelor of science degree in 1936. On graduating, Agronsky traveled to Jerusalem to take a job as a reporter with the ...

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Alexanderson, Ernst Fredrik Werner (25 January 1878–14 May 1975), engineer and radio and television pioneer, was born in Uppsala, Sweden, the son of Aron Martin Alexanderson, a professor, and Amelie von Heidenstam. From an early age Alexanderson showed interest in things scientific, and so he was sent to the Royal Institute of Technology at Stockholm, where he studied engineering, graduating in 1900. The Royal Institute had no specific program in electrical engineering, which was Alexanderson’s major interest, and so he spent the following year at the Königliche Technische Hochschule in Charlottenburg, Germany, then one of the best engineering schools of Europe. Here for the first time Alexanderson became acquainted with contemporary work in electromagnetics and wireless communication....

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Amory, Cleveland (02 September 1917–14 October 1998), writer and animal rights advocate, was born in Nahant, Massachusetts, the son of Robert Amory, a textile manufacturer, and his wife, Leonore Cobb Amory. Both parents were descendants of long-established upper-class families in Boston, where Cleveland grew up in a privileged household. He was educated at private schools, including Milton Academy, and enrolled at Harvard in 1935. After graduating four years later, he worked briefly as a reporter for the ...

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Cleveland Amory Standing next to a display case containing a variety of chess sets, 1962. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-112709).

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Blake, Harrison Gray Otis (10 April 1816–18 April 1898), teacher and editor, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of Francis Blake, a successful lawyer, and Elizabeth Augusta Chandler. His father’s death before Blake’s first birthday sharply reduced the family’s living standard. Blake graduated from Harvard College in 1835, ranking fourth and giving the Latin Salutatory Oration. Three years’ study in Harvard’s Divinity School ensued, during which he encountered the religious and ethical philosophy of the Transcendentalists. In 1838 a committee of Blake and two senior theology classmates invited ...

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Bourdain, Anthony (25 June 1956–8 June 2018), chef, author, and television personality, was born in New York City, the eldest of two sons of Pierre Bourdain, whose father had immigrated from France, and Gladys Bourdain (née Sacksman), who grew up in a middle-class Jewish American family in the Bronx. Pierre managed a record store before working as an executive for the London and Columbia classical music labels. Gladys was a copyeditor at the ...

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President Barack Obama with Anthony Bourdain at Bún cha Huong Lien Restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam, 2016, by Pete Souza

President (2009–2017 : Obama). Office of Management and Administration. Office of White House Personnel. Photography Office. (ca. 2010 – 1/20/2017)

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Boyd, Julian Parks (03 November 1903–28 May 1980), documentary editor and historian, was born in Converse, South Carolina, the son of Robert J. Boyd, a railroad telegrapher, and Melona Parks. After graduating with a bachelor of arts degree from Duke University in 1925, he earned a master’s degree in political science from that institution in 1926 and then spent 1926–1927 as instructor and principal at Alliance High School in North Carolina; in 1927–1928 he did further graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania. In December 1927 he married Grace Wiggins Welch; the couple had one son....

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David Brinkley. January 1989. Courtesy of AP Images.

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Brinkley, David (10 July 1920–11 June 2003), broadcast journalist, was born David McClure Brinkley in Wilmington, North Carolina, the son of William Graham Brinkley, a railroad worker, and Mary MacDonald West. Brinkley's father died when the boy was eight, leaving him in the care of a dour, deeply religious mother. Brinkley, seeking escape through reading, spent hours at the Wilmington Public Library. He also enjoyed writing. Encouraged by his high school English teacher, Brinkley worked part‐time at Wilmington's afternoon newspaper, the ...

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Caesar, Sid (8 Sept. 1922–12 Feb. 2014), television comedy star, was born Isaac Sidney Caesar in Yonkers, New York, the youngest of three surviving sons of Max Ziser, a Jew who emigrated from Austria, and his Russian-born wife, Ida Raphael Ziser. As a young boy Sid amused factory workers in his father’s greasy spoon, the St. Claire Buffet and Luncheonette, with Italian, Russian, Polish, Hungarian, and Lithuanian double talk. At eleven, Sid learned to play the saxophone, and he made six dollars a week playing in Mike Cifficello’s Swingtime Six while a student at Yonkers High School....

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John Chancellor Left, dividing a map of political news coverage with Sander Vanocur, far right, and Frank McGee, kneeling, c. 1962. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-115925).

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Chancellor, John (14 July 1927–12 July 1996), television reporter, anchorman, commentator, and documentarian, was born John William Chancellor and raised in Chicago, Illinois, the only child of E. M. J. Chancellor and Mary Barrett Chancellor, hoteliers. Despite comfortable middle-class circumstances and a pronounced appetite for learning, he had little patience with formal education, preferring to adventure into such blue-collar jobs as carpenter's assistant and Mississippi riverboat deckhand while still a teenager....

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Clark, Dick (30 November 1929–18 April 2012), television host, was born Richard Wagstaff Clark in Bronxville, New York, the second of three children, to Richard A. Clark and Julia Barnard. During Dick’s childhood the family lived in Mt. Vernon, a suburb of New York City, and his father commuted to Manhattan daily for his job as a sales manager for a cosmetics company. The death of his older brother in World War II was a devastating loss for the family, particularly for young Dick, who idolized him....

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Collingwood, Charles Cummings (04 June 1917–03 October 1985), broadcast journalist and foreign correspondent, was born in Three Rivers, Michigan, the son of George Harris Collingwood, a professor and forester, and Jean Grinnell Cummings. In 1935 Collingwood spent two years at Deep Springs College in Death Valley, California, an experimental school modeled on the Oxford system. In 1937 Collingwood transferred to Cornell, where he graduated cum laude in 1939. The same year he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship. In 1940, while attending Oxford University, he worked for the United Press wire service. In March 1941 he was invited by ...

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Howard Cosell Left, with Muhammad Ali on WABC radio's "Speaking of Everything with Howard Cosell." Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-120434).

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Cosell, Howard (25 March 1920–23 April 1995), radio and television sportscaster, was born Howard William Cohen in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants Isidore (or Isadore) Cohen and Nellie (maiden name unknown). Cosell’s father, an accountant at a credit clothier, moved his family to Brooklyn, New York, where Howard attended public schools. He graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School with an outstanding academic record in 1938. Cosell, who ran track and played varsity basketball, served as the sports editor of the high school newspaper. After graduating from high school, he wanted to become a newspaper reporter, but his parents persuaded him to pursue a law career instead....

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Nancy Dickerson. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.