Fifty years ago, Jim Henson created the Muppets, the world's most famous puppets, for the children's educational television show, Sesame Street. He won two Emmy Awards for his work, and sold his company to Walt Disney for $150 million. The beloved show has produced more than 4500 episodes.
Paul English was Willie Nelson's drummer and best friend for nearly sixty years. In 2014, English told a Rolling Stone writer that Willie Nelson had saved his life, saying, "If I hadn’t gone with Willie, I would be in the penitentiary or dead."
Kirk Douglas, who died at 103 on February 5, 2020, was one of the 20th century’s most famous actors. He starred in more than 90 movies and earned three Academy Award nominations, received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981 from President Jimmy Carter, and an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1996.
John F. Kennedy was probably the sickest U.S. President ever. He suffered from a disease called Autoimmune Polyglandular Syndrome, which was not described until 1981, 18 years after he was assassinated (Medicine, 1981;60(5):355-62). This disease made him miserable by knocking off his thyroid and adrenal glands, and probably his parathyroid glands also.
Marie Antoinette and Sir Thomas More were both reported to have had their hair turn gray on the nights before their executions. However, hair is dead skin, so it can’t possibly change color. Grey hair means that you have a mixture of white and pigmented hairs. The only way that hair could change color overnight would be to have most of your darker hairs fall out suddenly, leaving only the white hairs.
John Havlicek was one of the most gifted athletes ever. Over 16 seasons with the Boston Celtics from 1962-1978, he scored 26,395 points, averaged 20.8 points a game, was named to five NBA all-defensive teams, won eight NBA championships and played in 13 All-Star games.
Don Imus wore an old cowboy hat as the confrontational radio host of “Imus in the Morning,” who shouted tasteless, obscene, sexist, homophobic and even racist remarks about people in the news over more than 100 radio stations to become the "shock jock of radio." In 2009 he was diagnosed with localized prostate cancer and treated with watchful waiting.
Getting credit for a great scientific discovery is sometimes just a matter of luck. You all know that penicillin can be made by fungi to kill bacteria, but most of you do not know the sad story that more than 120 years ago, antibiotics were first discovered by an obscure medical student
Lydia Pinkham’s black cohosh tonic was one of the top selling patent medicines back in 1875, almost 150 years ago, and today many women still buy it to treat their hot flushes of menopause, even though it has been largely discredited by the medical community. One double-blind study showed that it is no more effective for controlling menopausal hot flushes than a placebo sugar pill.
Peter Snell was a New Zealand runner who won three gold medals in the 800 and 1500 meter races in the 1960 and 1964 Olympics. He also set two Olympic records and seven world records.
George Jones and Tammy Wynette, perhaps the most popular married country-singing couple of all time, told us a lot about their marriage and divorce. They were married for only seven years, but they wrote and sang together while they were married and for twenty years after they were divorced.
At age 21, Dallas McCarver won the IFBB North American Bodybuilding Championship to become the youngest professional bodybuilder ever to win a pro qualifier competition. In the next five years, he grew to weigh 300 pounds on 6'1" frame, won many bodybuilding competitions, and became well-known as one of the strongest and most dedicated professional bodybuilders in the world.
Louisa Moritz was a Cuban-American actress who played mostly dumb blonde roles in several films and TV situation comedies. She was best known for her role as Rose in the 1975 film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, with Jack Nicholson.
Doris Day was the top box-office movie star earner in the United States four times and won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Legend Award from the Society of Singers, and the 1989 Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. At age 97, she died suddenly of pneumonia, a lung infection characterized by cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
This is the story of a world-famous scientist who noticed that the Hunzas of Kashmir and the Georgians in Eastern Europe lived to very old age, that they ate yogurt every day, and that yogurt is loaded with lactobacilli bacteria.
“Unknown Kid Wins the Greatest of All Marathons” -- That was the Boston Post headline in 1926. The most unbelievable upset ever in a major marathon was pulled off by Johnny Miles, a 20 year-old who had never entered a marathon.
Edith Piaf was a French cabaret singer who became famous throughout the world during the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. She captivated listeners with her sad, seemingly autobiographical songs of lost love, sorrow and deprivation.
For many years the world’s fastest human was Bob Hayes, the only man to win Olympic gold medals and a Super Bowl ring, and hold world records in the 60-, 100-, and 220-yard dashes and the Olympic 100-meter dash at the same time.
Each year, more than 100,000 North Americans die from medical mistakes. In 1962, newspapers reported that Eleanor Roosevelt may have died because her doctors at one of the most respected medical schools in the world did not diagnose her infection with tuberculosis early enough.
Franco Columbu was considered to be one of the strongest men in the world. He was a bodybuilder, powerlifter, actor, and author who won the Mr. Olympia contest twice and also Mr. Universe, Mr. World, Mr. International, Mr. Europe and Mr. Italy contests. He held several world powerlifting records, and his website states that he achieved a bench press of 525 pounds, a squat of 655 pounds, and dead lift of 750 pounds. These are incredible lifts for a man who was only 5'5" tall and weighed only 185 pounds.
Peggy Lipton was an American television star, actress, model, and singer who played one of three undercover cops on the popular ABC series, The Mod Squad, from 1968 to 1973. She was nominated for four Emmy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama in 1971.
David Koch was incredibly gifted, both genetically and financially, and became a chemical engineer, businessman, political activist, and philanthropist. With one of his brothers, he grew a vast inheritance into joint ownership of Koch Industries, and at the time of his death he was the 11th richest person in the world, worth $48 billion.
Alma Schindler Mahler is famous for marrying and having affairs with some of the most brilliant and accomplished men of the 20th century. She was a composer, sculptor and writer who wanted to be famous for her own intellectual creations, but she lived at a time when it was extremely difficult for women to be prominent in the arts. She took the next best approach by marrying and loving some of the leading musicians, composers, architects, painters and writers of the era.
At age 51, Martin Van Buren became the first native-born president of the United States because he was born after the American Revolution. At age 40, he developed a cough and progressive shortness of breath that would be diagnosed today as "late-onset asthma," but in those days, his physician called it "malignant catarrh."
Frederic Chopin was one of the greatest composers of solo piano music and a gifted pianist whose incredible techniques are still copied by concert pianists. He had a disease that made him sick from early childhood, and he died at the tragically young age of 39. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis, but instead, he probably suffered from cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition that was not even described until 1938.
B.B. King was arguably the best-known blues singer and guitarist in the world. He recorded more than 50 albums, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, won a lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1988, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1990 and a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1991.