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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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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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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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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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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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Grange, Red (13 June 1903–28 January 1991), football player, coach, and broadcaster, was born Harold Edward Grange in Forksville, Pennsylvania, the son of Lyle Grange, a lumber camp foreman, and Sadie Sherman. When Grange’s mother died in 1908, his father moved the family, which included Red’s older sisters and his three-year-old brother, to Wheaton, Illinois, where the elder Grange had grown up. Years later, Red, as he was nicknamed because of his auburn hair, recalled that “at first I missed Forksville terribly,” but as time passed he realized that Wheaton “offered a more civilized way of life.”...

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Huntley, Chet (10 December 1911–20 March 1974), broadcast journalist, was born Chester Robert Huntley in Cardwell, Montana, the son of Percy Adams “Pat” Huntley, a railroad telegrapher, and Blanche Wadine Tatham, a former schoolteacher. In 1913 his parents claimed a homestead on 960 acres of land near Saco in northern Montana. Chet’s earliest memories were of farm chores, and his early schooling was in a one-room schoolhouse built on a corner of his parents’ land, where he was taught to read by phonics (sounding out letters), a system he later advocated....

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Murrow, Edward R. (25 April 1908–27 April 1965), broadcast journalist, was born Egbert Roscoe Murrow in Polecat Creek, near Greensboro, North Carolina, the son of Roscoe Murrow, a farmer and later an engineer on a logging railroad, and Ethel Lamb, a teacher. The Murrow family soon traveled to the state of Washington, which was still thought of as a frontier, full of labor strikes and conflicts over free speech, trade unionism, and legislative reform....

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Sevareid, Eric (26 November 1912–09 July 1992), journalist and author, was born Arnold Eric Sevareid in Velva, North Dakota, the son of Alfred Eric Sevareid, a bank teller, and Clare Pauline Elizabeth Hougen. He enjoyed setting type at the weekly Velva Journal, owned by a friend of his father’s. When wheat-killing droughts closed many local banks, the Sevareids moved in 1925 to Minot, North Dakota, and a year later to Minneapolis, where Sevareid attended high school. He said that the only thing he learned there was how to manage the school paper. Upon his graduation in 1930 Sevareid and a friend took a 2,200-mile canoe trip from Minneapolis to York Factory on Hudson Bay. (He later wrote a book for juveniles based on this adventure, titled ...

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Swayze, John Cameron (1906–15 August 1995), television news anchor and product spokesman, was born in Wichita, Kansas, and grew up in nearby Atchison. After high school, Swayze, whose childhood dream was to become an actor, took a job with the Kansas City Journal-Post...