This Day in Comedy History
September 22 - 30
1902 - British-American actor John Houseman is born Jacques Haussmann in Bucharest, Romania. He’s best remembered for his Best Supporting Actor Oscar winning role in The Paper Chase (1973).
1915 - Even with having done more than 240 episodes of Coronation Street, this British actor is best remembered as Captain Mainwaring on the BBC sitcom Dad’s Army. Arthur Lowe is born in Hayfield, Derbyshire, England.
1945 - Winner of the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year - Actor for his role in American Graffiti (1973), he also starred in Jonathan Demme’s comedies Handle with Care (1977) and Melvin and Howard (1980). Paul Le Mat is born in Rahway, New Jersey.
1956 - The final episode of The Honeymooners airs. Jackie Gleason’s classic sitcom remains one of the most beloved of all time.
1957 - Western comedy series Maverick premieres on ABC, starring James Garner.
1959 - Sitcom The Dennis O'Keefe Show premieres on CBS, and lasts for one season.
1960 - He starred in four sitcoms: as Chachi Arcola in Happy Days (1977–1984) and its spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi (1982–1983), as Charles in Charles in Charge (1984–1990), and as David Hobbs in See Dad Run on Nickelodeon’s “Nick-at-Nite”. His movie credits include his big screen debut as the title character in the musical Bugsy Malone (1976), Zapped! (1982), Very Mean Men (2000) and Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004). Scott Baio is born in Brooklyn, NY.
1961 - Emmy and Golden Globe winning comedian and actor, from her shows The Building, Life With Bonnie, Bonnie and The Bonnie Hunt Show, as well as the films Jerry Maguire, Jumanji, and the Beethoven and Cheaper by the Dozen movie series, Bonnie Hunt is born in Chicago.
1961 - While her beau and de facto manager newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst preferred to see her in costume period pieces, her preference was for the comedies she would do whenever she could - American actress and comedian Marion Davies dies aged 64.
1962 - Best known for playing eldest son Kevin Owens in the 1980s sitcom Mr. Belvedere, Rob Stone is born in Dallas, Texas.
1963 - The Bill Dana Show premieres on US TV. The comedy follows the misadventures of Jose Jimenez, the bellhop at a New York City hotel.
1964 - The musical Fiddler on the Roof premieres on Broadway.
1965 - Dan Bucatinsky is born in New York City. He starred on NBC's Marry Me and HBO’s The Comeback.
1969 - Comedian and radio personality Sue Perkins, half of the comedy duo Mel and Sue, is born in Croydon, London, England.
1982 - Notwithstanding the work done by Michael Gross, Meredith Baxter, Justine Bateman and Tina Yothers, the series that would make Michael J. Fox a star and win him three straight Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy Awards, Family Ties debuts on NBC.
1985 - Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany is born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Comedy credits include the films Picture Day, Defendor, Violet & Daisy, and Cas and Dylan.
1987 - Best known as one of the two hosts (along with Dick Martin) of the crazed, counter-culture comedy series Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, Emmy winner Dan Rowan passes away of lymphoma in Englewood, Florida at the age of 65.
1987 - Film (Chi-Raq, Dear White People) and TV (WandaVision) actress Teyonah Parris is born in Hopkins, South Carolina.
1989 - Perfect Strangers spinoff Family Matters premieres as part of ABC’s new “TGIF” lineup - a block of Friday evening programming that would dominate the other networks in the ratings. The show would soon introduce Steve Urkel to the world, and run for 9 seasons (its ninth airing on CBS). Also premiering on ABC that night: Free Spirits, a fantasy sitcom about a witch who moves in with a divorced dad to help him raise his three kids. That one was Urkel-less, and didn’t last so long.
1991 - Jamie Foxx joins the cast of In Living Color for the debut of Season 3. The future Oscar winner spent two years billed as a Featured player on the show before receiving a "starring" credit for the final season.
1992 - Stand-up Mark Curry stars as an ex-NBA player who takes a high school teaching job on the series Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper which had its debut on ABC on this date.
1994 - Jerry Seinfeld is declared “The King of Prime-Time Comedy” on two separate covers of Rolling Stone magazine.
1994 - Riding Mad About You’s coattails, a series from the creators of Dream On about six twenty-something friends living well beyond their means, Friends debuts on NBC.
1995 - Director Michael Moore’s only non-documentary release, the political satire about US/Canadian relations Canadian Bacon is released. The cast includes John Candy, Alan Alda, Rhea Perlman, Steven Wright, Rip Torn and Kevin Pollak.
1996 - Big band singer turned comic actress best remembered as the foil to Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in their “Road To….” series of films, Dorothy Lamour passes away at her North Hollywood home at the age of 81.
1997 - The New Yorker publishes Steve Martin’s "The Paparazzi of Plato."
1998 - Aaron Sorkin’s series Sports Night, and its cast that included Josh Charles, Peter Krause, Felicity Huffman, Josh Malina, Sabrina Lloyd and Robert Guillaume, debuts on ABC.
1999 - The British Film Institute announce their picks for the 100 Best British Films of all time. Two comedies make the top ten, and both of them are dark: Kind Hearts and Coronets (1946) comes in at #6, and Trainspotting (1996) at #10.
1999 - After more than four years of incarceration for aggravated stalking, Jerry Lewis’s stalker, the boyfriend of a housekeeper he had fired, does a phone interview with Inside Edition to apologize. The day before, a court had extended a protection order until 2000 after Lewis alleged the man had continued calling him to say such things as “Jerry, I’ll be out in 65 days.”
1999 - Oscar winning film and Broadway actor George C. Scott dies of an aortic aneurysm at his home, at age 71. Though best known for his dramatic work, he also did plenty of comedy, including co-starring with Tony Curtis in Not with My Wife, You Don't! (1966), as well as Bank Shot (1974), They Might Be Giants (1971), and his Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Golden Globe nominated double-performance in Movie Movie (1978). He was also a five time Tony Award nominee, who starred in such plays as Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite (1968), Larry Gelbart's Sly Fox (1976), and the Broadway revival of Noel Coward's Design for Living (1984), which he also directed.
2000 - Two weeks after its premiere in Toronto, Cameron Crowe’s love letter to his teen years writing for Rolling Stone, Almost Famous opens in wide release. Besides the main cast of Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Frances McDormand, Jason Lee et al, keep your eyes peeled for the likes of Marc Maron, Rainn Wilson, Mitch Hedberg, Eric Stonestreet, Jimmy Fallon and Jay Baruchel.
2003 - With no idea of what successes and turmoil lay ahead, Two and a Half Men premieres on CBS.
2003 - Best known for playing station manager Arthur Carlson on WKRP in Cincinnati, but who was also great as the Maytag Repair Man in commercials from 1989 up until two months before his death, Gordon Jump passes away at his home in Los Angeles, aged 71.
2005 - Based around Chris Rock’s life as a teen, the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris debuts on UPN.
2012 - Two days before what would have been his 64th birthday, and with his brother Paul standing in, Phil Hartman is inducted to Canada’s Walk Of Fame.
2019 - Big surprise at the 71st Emmys as the biggest winner on the night, is the British series Fleabag, which takes home four awards including Outstanding Comedy Series.
1912 - Director Mack Sennett’s first short featuring the Keystone Kops, Cohen Collects a Debt premieres.
1920 - Beginning as a child as Mickey McGuire in more than 70 shorts, on to starring in the Andy Hardy comedies and films with Judy Garland, and later on in Breakfast At Tiffany’s, It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World, How To Stuff A Wild Bikini and many more, comic actor whose career spanned 9 decades, Mickey Rooney is born in New York City.
1945 - Paul Petersen is born in Glendale, CA. He is best known for playing Jeff Stone in the 1950s sitcom The Donna Reed Show.
1947 - Comic actress who would win an Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy Award for her work on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, also known for The Big Chill, Private Benjamin, Being John Malkovich, Citizen Ruth and Captain Ron, Mary Kay Place is born in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
1957 - Soon-Lee Klinger in CBS’s M*A*S*H follow-up series AfterMASH, Rosalind Chao is born in Anaheim, CA.
1959 - Jason Alexander, best known for playing George in the hit 1990s sitcom Seinfeld, for which he earned seven straight Emmy nominations as well as four Golden Globe nods, is born in Newark, New Jersey. He has a lot of other TV, stage and film credits, but we’re just going to mention one of our faves: the family comedy Dunston Checks In!
1961 - Emerson Cod on Pushing Daisies, Chi McBride is born in Chicago.
1962 - Two sitcoms debuted on this day in 1962. Dean Jones starred as Ensign O'Toole on NBC, and on ABC it was time to “meet George Jetson” as Hanna-Barbera’s The Jetsons hit the airwaves for the first time.
1964 – The Cara Williams Show airs its first episode. The sitcom is about a couple who try to conceal their marriage from their employer.
1967 - The cover of TV Guide lets you know, this is what The Monkees look like when they rebel.
1967 - LisaRaye McCoy, known mononymously as LisaRaye, is born in Chicago. She is best known for portraying Diana "Diamond" Armstrong in the dark comedy The Players Club (1998), and for her TV roles, as Neesee James on the UPN/The CW sitcom All of Us (2003-2007) and as Keisha Greene in the VH1 series Single Ladies (2011-2014).
1968 – Two sitcoms premiere on CBS: Mayberry R.F.D., the post-Andy Griffith follow-up to the hugely successful The Andy Griffith Show, and Lucille Ball returns with her third series, Here’s Lucy.
1969 - The Governor & J.J. premiered on this day in 1969. The show, starring Dan Dailey as a midwestern state Governor and Julie Sommars as his helpful daughter, ran on CBS in the United States and on CBC in Canada. The series won three Golden Globes in 1970: Best Comedy Series, Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical TV series for Sommars (shared with Carol Burnett) and Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical TV Series for Dailey.
1975 - Kip Pardue (Rules of Attraction, The Trouble with Romance, Remarkable Power, Bitter/Sweet) is born in Atlanta, GA.
1983 - A sizable career boost to local acts and nice perk for touring stand-ups, Seattle late-night show Almost Live with Ross Shafer debuts on KING-TV.
1985 - Stand-up and actor who first became known for his more than 100 appearances as a correspondent on The Daily Show, only to move on to his Peabody Award winning Netflix series Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj, Hasan Minhaj is born in Davis, California.
1986 - Sledge Hammer! premieres. Originally written as a feature film send-up of Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry films by 16 year old Alan Spencer, he retooled it as a sitcom and ABC, hurting in the ratings, took a chance on it. David Rasche stars as the insanely violent cop with Anne-Marie Martin and Harrison Page co-starring as his partner and long-suffering, Pepto Bismol guzzling captain, respectively. Despite critical acclaim, the show skipped around on the schedule and was badly beaten in the ratings - in season one it aired in the so-called “Friday Night Death Slot” (against both Miami Vice and Dallas), and in season two it was up against The Cosby Show - and was sadly cancelled not once, but twice.
1987 - He played Jesse Swanson in the musicals Pitch Perfect (2012) and Pitch Perfect 2 (2015), and took over the role of Greg in the series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Other film credits include Hamlet 2 (2008), Taking Woodstock (2009), Cavemen (2013), 21 & Over (2013) and Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist (2020). Skylar Astin is born Skylar Astin Lipstein in NYC.
1988 - Adapting it from the successful BBC Radio programme, Britain’s Channel 4 debuts Whose Line Is It Anyway, The show would feature a rotating cast of British, Canadian, and American improvisers including Stephen Fry, Ryan Stiles, John Sessions, Greg Proops, Mike McShane, Wayne Brady, Josie Lawrence, Wayne Brady, and Colin Mochrie, and its success would prompt further adaptations around the world.
1989 - Produced by and starring veteran actor Billy Barty, the SNL-inspired sketch comedy series with a cast of little people Short Ribbs premieres on KDOC-TV in the Los Angeles area. Sponsored by 7 Up, the series would last 13 episodes and would have been largely forgettable - if it weren’t for the worldwide headlines Barty got the next year after he was successfully sued for money owed by two of his writers. Stories such as “Barty Comes Up Short in Small Claims,” “Short Takes: Barty to Pay” and “Small Billy Barty in Small Claims” in 1990 led Barty to say that he was getting as much negative publicity as Zsa Zsa Gabor, who had recently slapped a police officer.
1992 - The story of a 1950s Catskills comic who makes the big time with his own TV show, and where his personality leads him from there. Billy Crystal, David Paymer and Helen Hunt star in Mr. Saturday Night.
1993 - The problem with not being able to hear what someone is saying is you can end up agreeing to things you might regret. Wendel Meldrum guests as the Close-Talker on the classic Seinfeld episode The Puffy Shirt.
1996 - Actors (and Dumb & Dumber co-stars) Jim Carrey and Lauren Holly get married. They would divorce less than a year later.
1998 - An actor who had appeared on everything from Get Smart to Bonanza, The Wild Wild West to Hawaii Five-0, and That Girl to The Incredible Hulk, along with The Rockford Files, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, WKRP In Cincinnati and more before starring as Bob Newhart’s wife Joanna on his series Newhart, Mary Frann dies in her sleep from a heart attack at the age of 55, in her home in Beverly Hills, CA.
2007 - In his first three weeks the LA Dodgers Taiwanese call up Chin-Lung Hu had been brought in as a pinch runner from second base, and hit a home run, but it wasn't until this date he hit his first major league single, prompting legendary broadcaster Vin Scully to offer “shades of Abbott and Costello, I can finally say, Hu is on first base”.
2009 - A sitcom that would win the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series in each of its first five seasons (unfortunately it ran for 11), Modern Family debuts on ABC.
2010 - Singer Katy Perry is cut from an episode of Sesame Street because the producers think her dress is too low-cut.
2011 - After somehow becoming involved in/witnessing a fight between a man and a woman on a Vancouver street, DJ Qualls ends up tackled and handcuffed by the police. He would be taken to the ER, not be arrested, and announce that he would be filing a complaint.
2016 - Netflix releases the stand-up special Iliza Shlesinger: Confirmed Kills.
2019 - It would seem like an unlikely pairing, except for one thing - Bob Hearts Abishola. That series, starring Billy Gardell and Folake Olowofoyeku, premiered on this date on CBS.
1919 - Comedian and actor Dayton Allen, best known as one of Steve Allen’s “men on the street” and for his catchphrase “Whooooyyy not, Bubbe?” is born in New York City.
1930 - A huge night on the stage as Noel Coward’s romantic comedy Private Lives opens London’s Phoenix Theatre, while in New York, Moss Hart and George F. Kaufman’s satire Once In A Lifetime has its premiere at the Music Box Theatre.
1936 - Muppets creator Jim Henson is born in Greenville, Mississippi.
1948 - Go-to guy for eight seasons at SNL, the voices of Troy McClure, Lionel Hutz and more on The Simpsons, news anchor Bill McNeal on NewsRadio, and actor in the films, House Guest, Sgt. Bilko, So I Married An Axe Murderer and Jingle All The Way, Phil Hartman is born in Brantford, Ontario.
1954 - English comedian, writer and actress Helen Margaret Lederer was born. She was part of Britain’s alternative comedy boom at the beginning of the 1980s.
1958 - The Donna Reed Show premieres on ABC TV.
1958 - He’s not just Hercules! Kevin Sorbo, whose comedy credits include the films FDR: American Badass! (2012), Alone for Christmas (2013), An American Carol (2008) and Pool Boy (2010), is born in Mound, Minnesota.
1962 - Greek-Canadian writer and actress best known for writing the script that became the one person show that would evolve into the huge film success My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Nia Vardalos is born in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
1963 – Petticoat Junction premieres on CBS. The sister series to The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres would be a hit, running until 1970.
1964 – CBS sitcom The Baileys of Balboa premieres.
1964 – The first episode of The Munsters airs on TV, starring Fred Gwynne and Yvonne De Carlo. FUN FACT: The Munsters and The Addams Family both premiered in the same week, and were both canceled one month apart.
1964 - The Bullwinkle Show premieres on NBC.
1965 – The sitcom Hank, starring Kick Kallman, premieres.
1968 – The Doris Day Show premieres on CBS. The sitcom would run for 128 episodes over five seasons, until 1973.
1968 – ABC’s musical comedy That's Life, starring Robert Morse and E.J. Peaker, debuts.
1970 – ABC premieres two sitcoms based on hit Broadway plays by Neil Simon. Barefoot in the Park features a predominantly black cast, making it the first series since Amos N’ Andy to have a majority black cast, and The Odd Couple, starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman, which would be a huge hit and run until 1975… and much longer than that, in perpetual reruns.
1976 - A revival of the sex comedy musical revue Oh! Calcutta! raises the curtain for the first time at The Edison Theatre on Broadway, and unlike its original 1969 Off-Broadway production which ran 1,000+ shows, this version of the revue would have real staying power - running for 5,659 performances! By the time it closed nearly 13 years later, it was the longest running show in Broadway history. Today it still remains Broadway’s longest-running revue and eighth longest running show of all time.
1977 - The Love Boat premieres on ABC.
1988 - Kyle Sullivan is born in Los Angeles. He is known for his roles as Dabney Hooper in Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2003), as well as Fox’s sitcom The War at Home, and Nickelodeon’s sketch comedy series All That.
1991 - Theodor Geisel, better known as children’s author Dr. Seuss, dies of cancer at the age of 87 at his home in La Jolla, CA. His honours include two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award and the Pulitzer Prize.
1993 - Felix’s daughter is getting married and his wife kicks him out of the house so she can plan the wedding. Where can Felix possibly go? Back to Oscar’s, of course! The Odd Couple: Together Again airs on CBS. The TV movie cleverly incorporates star Jack Klugman’s real life throat cancer surgery into its plot, as Tony Randall’s character helps with his rehabilitation. Co-stars include Barbara Barrie, Penny Marshall and Dick Van Patten.
1993 - What teenagers get up to on the last day of school in 1976 Texas, Ben Affleck, Milla Jonovich, Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, Joey Lauren Adams and Cole Hauser star in Dazed And Confused, released on this date.
1993 - Broadway and screen actor Ben Platt is born in Los Angeles. His Broadway credits include The Book of Mormon (2012–2013) and Dear Evan Hansen (2015–2017), for which he won Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Awards, becoming, at 23, the youngest ever Tony Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical solo winner. He also stars in the Netflix series The Politician, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe, and the films Pitch Perfect (2012) and Pitch Perfect 2 (2015), and Ricki and the Flash (2015).
1996 - On the second episode of Roseanne’s 9th season the working class Conners family win $108 million in the Illinois Lottery. Look behind you Roseanne, you just jumped a shark! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apYue0RCZFQ
1998 - NBC’s Christina Applegate-starring sitcom Jesse premieres. It would run for 42 episodes over two seasons, and co-stars George Dzundza as her overbearing father.
1999 - With Natasha Henstridge, Luke Wilson, Janeane Garofalo, Harland Williams and the director himself in the cast, Bruce McCulloch’s film Dog Park opens.
1999 - Spaced premieres on Channel 4 in Britain.
1999 - Jakob the Liar hits theatres, starring Robin Williams.
2002 - The Bill Engvall recording Cheap Drunk: An Autobiography is released by Warner Bros.
2004 - The first release in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy ( an anthology series of British comedy genre films), Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Lucy Davis, Bill Nighy and Dylan Moran take on Zombies as Shaun of the Dead opens on North American screens.
2005 - Actors Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore marry in Beverly Hills, California. They would divorce in 2013.
2007 - The Big Bang Theory premieres.
2010 - Greg Giraldo performs his last stand-up set, at The Stress Factory comedy club in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
2013 - The set-in-the-80’s sitcom The Goldbergs debuts on ABC.
2014 - British comic Rik Mayall makes his final TV appearance posthumously, in the first episode of the second series of Crackanory.
2014 - Starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross as the heads of an upper class African-American family, the sitcom Black-ish debuts on ABC.
2015 - Melbourne police search for comedian of Hey Hey It’s Saturday fame who disappeared after failing to show up at his girlfriend’s funeral two days prior, after social media appeals are posted (including by Nova’s Ryan “Fitzy” Fitzgerald and David Campbell) requesting help finding him. Luckily police successfully locate him in good health.
1929 - Best known as one of The Two Ronnies (the first one, even!), Ronnie Barker (OBE) is born in Bedford, Bedfordshire, England.
1943 - Robert Walden is born in New York City. He is best known for his role as Joe Rossi on The Mary Tyler Moore Show's spinoff Lou Grant, for which he was nominated for three Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Emmy Awards, as well as for playing Joe Waters on Brothers, and Glenn Newman on Happily Divorced.
1944 - Actor and producer Michael Douglas is born in Brunswick, New Jersey. He is the winner of two Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, and a Primetime Emmy Award. His extensive comedy resume includes producing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and starring in the acclaimed series The Kominsky Method as well as the films Romancing the Stone and its sequel Jewel of the Nile, The American President, Wonder Boys, One Night at McCool's, It Runs in the Family, The In-Laws, You, Me and Dupree, King of California, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, and The War of the Roses.
1948 - Her film credits include Erin Brockovich (2000), In the Loop (2009), Due Date (2010), Midnight in Paris (2011), and The Five-Year Engagement (2012), but she’s best known for her sitcom roles, particularly Chuck Lorre’s Dharma & Greg (1997–2002), and Mom (2013–2021). Mimi Kennedy is born in Rochester, NY.
1949 - Anson Williams is born in Los Angeles. Best known for playing Potsie in the smash hit television series Happy Days (1974–1984), behind the camera he is also a prolific director, who has worked on such series as Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996–2003) and Lizzie McGuire (2001–2004).
1951 - Mark Hamill is born, a long time ago in an Oakland far, far away (over in California). Aside from the obvious (cough, cough, Star Wars, cough), he starred in such films as Corvette Summer (1978), Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), Brigsby Bear (2017), Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), Walking Across Egypt (1999) and Comic Book: The Movie (2004), which he also directed. He is also a prolific voice actor, starring in the animated sitcom Regular Show (2010–2017) and guest starring in The Simpsons episode Mayored to the Mob (“Luke, Be a Jedi Tonight!”).
1957 - Comedy movie roles include Straight Talk, Fatal Instinct, Trouble Bound, Money for Nothing and Scary Movie 4 - Michael Madsen is born in Chicago.
1961 - Actress from the TV series Spin City, Franklin & Bash and Hot In Cleveland, and the movies Wayne’s World 2 (1993), Money Talks (1997), Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) and The Perfect Man (2005), Heather Locklear is born in Los Angeles.
1963 – The short-lived sitcom Glynis premieres on CBS.
1964 – “Well Goll-lley!” The first episode of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. aired on CBS on this date in 1964. The Andy Griffith Show spinoff would run until 1969.
1965 - The first weekly animated series to feature real, living people - the cartoon The Beatles debuts on ABC.
1966 - Jason Flemyng, known for his roles in Guy Ritchie’s British films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000), is born in Putney, London, UK.
1968 – The ABC comedy western Here Come the Brides and the CBS sitcom The Good Guys both premiere. Both shows would run until 1970.
1968 - Actor, producer and rapper known for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Wild Wild West, Bad Boys, Hitch, and the Men In Black film series, Will Smith is born in Philadelphia… presumably West Philadelphia born and raised.
1969 – Variety show The Jim Nabors Hour premieres on CBS, and runs until 1971.
1969 - Oscar and BAFTA winning actress known for Chicago, America’s Sweethearts, Intolerable Cruelty, High Fidelity, No Reservations and Ocean’s Twelve, Catherine Zeta-Jones is born in Mumbles, Swansea, Wales.
1969 - Comedian Hal Sparks is born in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1970 – The Partridge Family premieres on ABC. The musical sitcom starred Shirley Jones and David Cassidy, and would run until 1974.
1972 - Time magazine examines the shift in popular television with Redd Foxx, Bea Arthur and Carroll O'Connor on the cover.
1973 - Bridgette Wilson-Sampras is born in Gold Beach, Oregon. Her movie debut came in Last Action Hero (1993); other credits include Billy Madison (1995), The Wedding Planner (2001), and Shopgirl (2005).
1975 - One of the most popular sitcoms in Canadian TV history, The King of Kensington debuts on the CBC, starring Al Waxman.
1977 - Clea DuVall is born in Los Angeles. She’s known from the movies She's All That (1999) and But I'm a Cheerleader (1999), and for playing Marjorie in the HBO series Veep (2016-2019).
1980 - He played Chuck Sherman (aka “The Sherminator”) in the American Pie film franchise. Chris Owen is born in Houghton, Michigan.
1981 - In Greenville, North Carolina, actor Lee Norris is born. He is known for playing Stuart Minkus in the sitcoms Boy Meets World and its spin-off/sequel Girl Meets World.
1983 - Before he went all Childish (Gambino), he was best known as Troy Barnes on the series Community. He was also previously a writer on 30 Rock… and how could we forget his amazeballs FX show Atlanta? Donald Glover is born in Edwards, California.
1984 - Actor and comedian Zachary Woods is born in Trenton, New Jersey. He is best known for playing creepy Gabe in the US version of The Office, and weirdo Jared in HBO’s Silicon Valley. Other series credits include USA Network’s Playing House, and HBO’s Veep and Avenue 5.
1985 - “Weird Al” Yankovic’s autobiographical mockumentary The Compleat Al is released on video.
1991 - In Mineola, New York, Emmy Clarke is born. She is best known for her recurring role on Monk as Julie Teeger, the daughter of Adrian Monk's assistant, Natalie.
1992 - Roseanne (AKA Roseanne Barr, AKA Roseanne Arnold) receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1999 - Created by Paul Feig and exec-produced by Judd Apatow, an unsuccessful show that launched a number of successful careers (Seth Rogen, James Franco, Busy Philipps, Jason Segel, Linda Cardellini), the series Freaks and Geeks debuts on NBC.
2003 - It all looked great on paper… The US version of the hit UK series Coupling premieres on NBC. Unlike its parent show, however, it would crash and burn, getting canceled after less than a month with 6 of its 10 episodes left unaired.
2005 - Agent 86, Maxwell Smart on the 1960s sitcom Get Smart, actor Don Adams passes away aged 82.
2006 - Bryon Allen’s series where four stand-ups gather waiting in turn for the host to set them each up for bits from their acts, Comics Unleashed debuts with guests David Brenner, Dane Cook, Carol Leifer and George Wallace.
2007 - A year after the material aired as his first stand-up special in 16 years, it comes out as his second album: Steven Wright’s I Still Have a Pony comes out 22 years after his first hit album I Have a Pony, and like that first album, it would also be nominated for a Grammy.
2008 - You knew it was coming, but you didn’t know when, and neither did Pam. On The Office episode Weight Loss, Jim finally pops the question.
2010 - Amy Poehler hosts Saturday Night Live, which includes a sketch called "Ladies Who Lunch" which is quickly accused of being a ripoff of a Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! segment called "Tiny Hats".
2013 - Sandra Bullock gets her prints in the concrete at the TCL Chinese Theatre.
2017 - Don Rickles’ final project, the web talk series Dinner with Don, premieres on YouTube.
2017 - Crash Pad is released on Video On Demand. It stars Domhnall Gleeson, Christina Applegate, Thomas Haden Church and Nina Dobrev. It would get a limited theatrical release one month later.
2018 - Disgraced comedy legend Bill Cosby is sentenced to 3 to 10 years for sexual assault and is processed into Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Eagleville, Pennsylvania.
2020 - Crazy schemes going bad lead to bigger schemes as the series Sneakerheads premieres on Netflix.
1923 - One of the most successful actors in the history of Indian cinema, comedian, actor and filmmaker Dharam Devdutt "Dev" Anand is born in Shakargarh, British India (now Pakistan). His career would span more than six decades, with Anand continuing to make films until shortly before his death at age 88.
1930 - Actor from Trading Places, Working Girl, The Money Pit, Three Men and a Baby, The First Wives Club and My Best Friend’s Wedding, Philip Bosco is born in Jersey City, New Jersey. His list of comedy credits is about as long as your arm, and he was no slouch on the stage either, winning a Tony Award for his role in the 1989 Broadway production of Lend Me a Tenor. We remember him fondly.
1932 - Best known as beautiful tomboy Elly Mae Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies, Donna Douglas is born in Pride, Louisiana.
1946 - Three time Tony nominated stage and screen actor Mary Beth Hurt is born in Marshalltown, Iowa. Her movie credits include The World According to Garp (1982) and Six Degrees of Separation (1993).
1948 - Her movie credits include Two of a Kind (1983), A Mom for Christmas (1990), Score: A Hockey Musical (2010), A Few Best Men (2011), Sharknado 5: Global Swarming (2017) and The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee (2020), but she’ll forever be remembered as the star of the mega-smash-hit musical Grease (1978), and its ubiquitous soundtrack. British-Australian singer and actor Olivia Newton-John is born in Cambridge, England.
1952 - Actor James Keane (Bulworth, Pleasantville, Hey Arnold! The Movie) is born in Buffalo, NY.
1955 - Debbie Reynolds (of Singin’ in the Rain fame) marries singer Eddie Fisher. They would divorce in 1959.
1956 - Linda Hamilton is born in Salisbury, Maryland. When she wasn’t squaring off against The Terminator she found time to do some comedy, including her recurring role as Mary Elizabeth Bartowski in NBC's action-comedy Chuck.
1961 - The sitcom Ichabod and Me premieres on CBS, starring Robert Sterling and George Chandler.
1961 - The Second City makes its New York debut as the Chicago troupe brings the revue From The Second City to Broadway’s Royale Theatre. The cast for the show included original Chicago 1959 cast members Howard Alk, Severn Darden, Barbara Harris, Eugene Troobnick, Mina Kolb, and Andrew Duncan, as well as newer recruits Alan Arkin and Paul Sand, and would run for 87 performances.
1962 - Come and listen to a story ‘bout a man named Jed! On this day in the world met the Clampett clan as The Beverly Hillbillies premiered on CBS. Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas and Max Baer Jr starred in what would become one of the most enduring sitcoms of all time.
1963 – The sketch/variety series Here's Edie, starring Edie Adams, Don Chastain, Peter Hanley and Dick Shawn, premieres on ABC.
1964 - Gilligan’s Island premieres. The series runs for three seasons and becomes a staple in syndication ever since.
1968 – CBS premieres the sitcom Blondie, an updated version of the 1957 TV series that was based on the comic strip. Meanwhile on ABC, The Ugliest Girl in Town premieres, starring Canadian Peter Kastner as a man forced to pose as a female model to pay off debts.
1968 - Tricia O’Kelley is born in Melrose, Massachusetts. She played Marly in the Julia Louis-Dreyfus sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine (2006–2010) on CBS and Nicole Leahy on The WB’s Gilmore Girls (2003–2004). On the big screen, she starred in the movie Weather Girl (2009).
1968 - He played Dr. Jeremiah Sacani in the TV series Royal Pains, co-starred in NBC’s The Paul Reiser Show, and on Broadway co-starred in Larry David’s hit Broadway play Fish in the Dark, opposite David and then Jason Alexander. Ben Shenkman is born in New York City.
1969 – “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!” The Brady Bunch premiered on ABC on this date in 1969, and ran until 1974.
1975 - The movie version of The Rocky Horror Show, appropriately named The Rocky Horror Picture Show, makes its premiere in Westwood, California.
1980 - Written, directed and starring Marty Feldman, who plays a monk on a mission to raise $5000 to save his monastery, the film In God We Trust opens. Also in the cast: Peter Boyle, Louise Lasser, Richard Pryor and Andy Kaufman as Armageddon T. Thunderbird.
1980 - Monty Python settle in for a four-night run at The Hollywood Bowl. The shows would be recorded and later released as a concert film.
1981 - Christina Milian is born in Jersey City, New Jersey. The singer and actor has starred in such films as Love Don't Cost a Thing, Be Cool, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Bring It On: Fight to the Finish, and the ABC Family TV movie Christmas Cupid. On TV, she starred in the sitcom Grandfathered (2015-2016).
1983 - Zoe Perry is born in Chicago. She played the young version of Mary Cooper in the prequel to The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon.
1986 - Small budget, fish-out-of-water film about an Australian outback bush hunter in New York that ended up being the second highest grossing film of the year - and spawning a whole industry - Crocodile Dundee is released in North America, starring Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski.
1989 - Living Dolls, penned by a Who’s the Boss alum and starring Halle Berry, premieres on TV. Berry’s acting debut, the show lasted one season.
2000 - Emmy winner as Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series for his role as Burt Campbell on Soap, and then again for playing Harry Weston on Empty Nest, Richard Mulligan passes away of cancer at the age of 67.
2007 - Phil Spector’s first trial for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson (My Favorite Year, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Amazon Women on the Moon) ends in a mistrial, with the jury deadlocked at a 10-2 vote to convict. She had been found shot dead in the record producer’s mansion in February, 2003. A second trial in 2008-2009 would result in his conviction, and a sentence of 19 years to life.
2008 - One of the film industry’s all time great stars who, among his many films, performed in comedies including The Sting, Slap Shot, The Hudsucker Proxy, Blaze and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Paul Newman passes away at the age of 83.
2008 - After he and his team use fake IDs to access the Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada fashion show in Milan, Sacha Baron Cohen walks onto the runway as one of his characters, Brüno, wearing a velcro costume with a blanket and items of clothing stuck to it. Lights were turned off while security apprehended Baron Cohen and escorted him out of the room.
2012 - Todd Glass punches a heckler.
2016 - As election coverage ramps up, Time magazine features Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, John Oliver, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Myers and Stephen Colbert on its cover.
2017 - With a mixture of archival footage and a live event recorded at the Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom (featuring the likes of Dave Chappelle, Tiffany Haddish, Steve Harvey, Bill Bellamy, Barbara Carlyle, Cedric The Entertainer, Mike Epps, Adele Givens and Eddie Griffin), celebrating the impact and legacy of the HBO series, Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam 25 is released on Netflix.
2019 - Series about a recently widowed Ivy league music professor who ends up as the musical director for a Southern church choir, Bradley Whitford stars in Perfect Harmony, debuting on this date on NBC.
1921 - Self-deprecating storyteller comedian who was popular in nightclubs and on TV, both as a solo act and as part of a team - most notably as part of a duo with his longtime friend Redd Foxx for a number of years, and also as a duo with Steve Rossi, credited as the first major black/white nightclub act. He performed everywhere from the chitlin’ circuit to the White House, though he was most comfortable in the showrooms of Atlantic City and Las Vegas, where in 1973 he was given a million dollar contract to perform at The Flamingo. The great Slappy White is born in Baltimore, Maryland.
1933 - Nagash is born in Dharapuram, Tamil Nadu, India. The legendary Indian comedian, known as “The Jerry Lewis of India” for his wacky style, was one of the country’s biggest stars in the 1960s, and is one of the most prolific entertainers in the history of Tamil cinema, having acted in over 1,000 films is his career, which lasted five decades, from 1958 to 2008, when he retired shortly before he passed away.
1933 - Kathleen Nolan is born Joycelyn Schrum in St. Louis, Missouri. She’s best known for playing housewife Kate McCoy in the sitcom The Real McCoys (1957-1962), a role for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award. FUN FACT: Nolan also served as president of the Screen Actors Guild for two terms, from 1975-1979, making her the guild’s first female president.
1947 - Actress and comedian best known for her role as Mahalia Sanchez on The John Larroquette Show (two Emmy and Golden Globe nominations), who also played Miss Patty in Gilmore Girls, Julie in Cloris Leachman’s sitcom Phyllis and Teresa in All in the Family, and co-starred with Annie Potts in Over the Top and with Marla Gibbs in Checking In, Liz Torres is born in The Bronx, New York.
1947 - Marvin Lee Aday is born in Dallas, Texas - but you’ll know him a little better as Michael Lee Aday - and you’ll know him a LOT better by his stage name, Meat Loaf. As an actor, he has many comedy credits but is best known for playing Eddie in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), which he also played in the first Los Angeles stage production of The Rocky Horror Show.
1948 - In Glendale, CA, A Martinez is born with the much meatier name Adolfo Larrue Martínez III. Acting credits include the films Once Upon a Scoundrel (1974), Powwow Highway (1989), She-Devil (1989), The Cherokee Kid (1996) and What's Cooking? (2000).
1954 - “Heeeeere’s, well, not Johnny - yet!” American late night TV institution The Tonight Show premieres on NBC with original host Steve Allen. Also debuting on NBC that night: Sid Caesar’s sketch comedy show Caesar’s Hour, which would run for three years.
1960 - Sitcom The Tom Ewell Show premieres on CBS.
1961 - Hanna-Barbera’s animated sitcom Top Cat premieres on NBC.
1963 - Stand-up comedian, actor (GLOW, Maron), podcaster (WTF with Marc Maron) and radio personality (The Marc Maron Show), Marc Maron is born in Jersey City, New Jersey.
1964 - The Beach Boys make their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
1964 – The Desilu-produced sci-fi sitcom My Living Doll premieres on CBS.
1965 - Comic actress who rose to stardom in the silent era, who successfully made the transition to “talkies” where she headlined the smash hit Mantrap (1926) and was the top box office draw in the world for 1928 and 1929 - and gained the title as Hollywood’s “It Girl”, Clara Bow dies of a heart attack in Culver City, CA, at 60 years old.
1972 - Academy Award and Golden Globe winning movie actress known for Shakespeare in Love (1998), Emma (1996), Sliding Doors (1998), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), Shallow Hal (2001), View from the Top (2003), Thanks for Sharing (2012) and Mortdecai (2015)... Emmy Award winning TV actress known for Glee and The Politician… Founder of “Goop”... Gwyneth Paltrow is born in Los Angeles.
1974 - Musician who formed the band Sleater-Kinney, who then employed her comedy chops to co-create and star in the Emmy and Peabody Award winning sketch series Portlandia, Carrie Brownstein is born in Seattle, Washington.
1979 - British actress, comedian, singer and music hall star who was the highest paid performer in the world for 1937, Gracie Fields (DBE) passes away from pneumonia after contracting it following an outdoor performance on Queen Elizabeth’s Royal yacht Britannia.
1982 - Actress known for playing Aubrey Posen in the Pitch Perfect film series, as well as her work on The Mindy Project and the series Perfect Harmony, Anna Camp is born in Aiken, South Carolina. She’s also a Drama Desk Award nominee for originating the role of Kim in Zach Braff’s play All New People.
1986 - The sitcom What a Country!, a vehicle for Yakov Smirnoff, premiered.
1986 - While one was definitely stranger than the other, and nobody is perfect, Perfect Strangers hits the cover of TV Guide.
1986 - The Beatles song “Twist and Shout” climbs back into the pop charts after it was featured in the hit comedy movies Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Back to School. It would eventually reach #23.
1987 - Dolly Parton’s variety show Dolly premieres on ABC. It would be canceled after one season.
1991 - On TGIF’s Family Matters, Steve Urkel uses a jetpack to climb the rope in gym class in the episode Brain Over Brawn... And it’s not even close to being in that show’s “top ten most implausible inventions.”
1992 - After a brief, initial run on MTV, The Ben Stiller Show (with Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Bob Odenkirk and Andy Dick) makes its Fox TV debut.
1992 - Actor best known for playing Geoff Schwartz in the sitcom The Goldbergs, and voicing Chowder in Monster House (2006), Sam Lerner is born in Los Angeles.
1994 - The 4-CD “Weird Al” Yankovic box set Permanent Record: Al in the Box is released, featuring a factual biographical booklet written by Dr. Demento, covering Yankovic's life.
1998 - A sad piece of The Simpsons trivia as this marks the final time Phil Hartman’s voice would be featured on the show as Troy McClure. Hartman had been killed by his wife in a murder-suicide the previous May.
2003 - Actor who starred in the Francis the Talking Mule films series and comedies throughout the 50’s and 60’s, best known for his tour-de-force performance of Make ‘Em Laugh in the hit musical Singin’ in the Rain, Donald O'Connor passes away aged 78.
2005 - Though it’s believed to date back to the early years of the 20th century, and Chevy Chase said it on SNL, and Ricky Gervais used it on the original UK version of The Office, nobody is more associated with the phrase than Steve Carell on the US version of that show... On The Office episode Sexual Harassment, Michael Scott employs “That’s what she said!” for the first of what would turn out to be an almost infinite amount of times.
2007 - Mark Conner-Healy (aka Mark Jr) in season 10 of Roseanne and its follow-up series The Conners, Ames McNamara is born.
2008 - Covering revered Canadian stand-up and TV writer Irwin Barker’s battle for his life, the feature length documentary That’s My Time: A Comedian’s Stand Up To Cancer debuts at The Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax.
2009 - Family Guy spinoff The Cleveland Show premieres on Fox.
2010 - Eight months after his second attempted suicide, Artie Lange performed his first stand up routine as a surprise guest at the Comedy Cellar in New York City and got a warm reception.
2012 - Czech-born actor who would go on to a lengthy career in Britain, known for films including The Ladykillers, Gambit, Hopscotch and especially as Police Commissioner Charles Dreyfus, Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus and Former Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus in the Pink Panther movie series, Herbert Lom dies in his sleep aged 95.
2014 - Actor George Clooney, best known for his appearance in the film Return of the Killer Tomatoes, marries lawyer Amal Alamuddin at a palace in Venice. Not on the guest list: Professor Gangreen!
2016 - On Forbes’ list of The Highest-Paid Comedians 2016, Kevin Hart dethrones Jerry Seinfeld, who had topped the list since 2006, as the “Cash King of Comedy” with $87.5 million earned in the previous year, from his stand-up tour, movie and TV roles, and commercial earnings. Also of note: Amy Schumer becomes the first woman to make the list, at #4 with $17 million in earnings from her stand-up shows, her TV series Inside Amy Schumer, and her movie Trainwreck.
2019 - The Netflix comedy-drama series The Politician premieres, with season one released on this day, starring Ben Platt, Bob Balaban and Gwyneth Paltrow, among others.
1926 - Popular Southern stand-up who would release 27 albums (multiple going Gold), and would have a popular joke thread of “you know a man is a redneck…” long before Jeff Foxworthy ever heard of the term. Jerry Clower is born in Liberty, Mississippi.
1930 - The feature film Soup to Nuts is released in the US, featuring the comedy troupe (Ted Healy, Larry, Moe and Shemp) that would become, after Healy’s departure, The Three Stooges.
1934 - With legendary director John Ford at the helm, the Will Rogers comedy Judge Priest is released. The success of the film helped make Rogers the year’s biggest box office draw. The supporting cast would include Hattie McDaniel and Stepin Fetchit.
1934 - Sex symbol and prolific actress of the 1950s and 1960s Brigitte Bardot is born in Paris. For her role in Louis Malle's Viva Maria! (1965) she was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress.
1943 - Gruff actor from Good Morning, Vietnam as well as Pleasantville, Tin Men, The Big Picture and Crazy People, JT Walsh is born in San Francisco.
1943 - Best known for starring in the NBC sitcom Silver Spoons as childish millionaire Edward W. Stratton III, Joel Higgins is born in Bloomington, Illinois.
1944 - Credited as the first ever musical comedy broadcast live on the fledgling medium of television, The Boys From Boise airs on the DuMont Network.
1946 - Best known as Dean of Students Edward R. Rooney in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and also known for his roles in Beetlejuice, Transylvania 6-5000, Howard the Duck, Ed Wood and Dr. Dolittle 2, Jeffery Jones is born in Buffalo, New York.
1949 - Based on the CBS radio series, and the film that introduced the hot comedy duo of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis to the movies, My Friend Irma has its World Premiere in New York City.
1949 - Vernee Watson is born in New York City. She played the recurring roles of Vernajean on Welcome Back, Kotter (1975–1979) and Will Smith’s mother Vy on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990–1996), but is probably best known for playing Gloria Tyler on Bob Hearts Abishola. She also voiced Dee Dee on Hanna-Barbera's Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels.
1950 - Filmmaker John Sayles is born in Schenectady, NY. His comedy movies include Piranha (1978), The Brother from Another Planet (1984), Baby It’s You (1983), Silver City (2004) and Breaking In (1989).
1957 - British-American co-production Dick and the Duchess premieres. The sitcom, produced in London, stars Patrick O’Neal and Hazel Court.
1957 - Don’t put "The Curfew Kids" to bed yet! They have an anniversary to celebrate... On this date in 1957, variety series The Gisele MacKenzie Show, hosted by the Canadian singer, premiered on NBC.
1959 - One of the first military comedy series, Hennesey, premieres on CBS, with Jackie Cooper in the starring role.
1961 - The NBC series Hazel premieres. The sitcom about a live-in maid and the family she works for would run for 154 episodes over five seasons, and win two Emmy awards for its star Shirley Booth.
1962 - The sitcom I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster premieres on ABC, starring John Astin and Marty Ingels as carpenters.
1963 - Sitcom The New Phil Silvers Show premieres, starring Silvers as a factory foreman who loves get-rich-quick schemes.
1964 - The second oldest Marx Brother, and the only non-verbal member of the team, comic, mime, harp player and actor Arthur “Harpo” Marx dies of heart failure.
1964 - Icon of the alternate set and comic who popularized reading off notes onstage, Janeane Garofalo is born in Newton, New Jersey. As an actor, she was a cast member on The Ben Stiller Show, The Larry Sanders Show and SNL, with many movie credits as well.
1967 - Best Supporting Actress Academy Award and Golden Globe winner for the Woody Allen film Mighty Aphrodite, who would also go on to do Beautiful Girls, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Free Money, Quitters and Union Square, Mira Sorvino is born in New York City.
1968 – The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, a sitcom based on the 1947 film starring Hope Lange, Reta Shaw, Edward Mulhare and Charles Nelson Reilly, premieres on NBC. After being canceled, ABC gave the series a second season before shutting it down for good.
1968 - Naomi Watts is born in Shoreham, Kent, England. She starred in the Australian sitcom Hey Dad..! (1990) and film Flirting (1991), then in US films such as I Heart Huckabees (2004), Birdman (2014), St. Vincent (2014) and While We're Young (2015).
1969 – The CBS sitcom To Rome With Love premieres. The series would last until 1971.
1974 - Paul Sand from the short lived series Friends and Lovers appears on the cover of TV Guide. FUN FACT: When the show was over, he stole, and sold, the bass.
1978 - He played Barry on Grace and Frankie and is also known for his role in the ABC sitcom Notes from the Underbelly and the TBS series Wedding Band. Peter Cambor is born in Houston, Texas.
1979 - Bam Margera is born in West Chester, Pennsylvania. One of the stars of MTV’s Jackass, he also created the Jackass spin-offs Viva La Bam and Bam's Unholy Union. Basically, he hits himself and other people in the nuts, which a surprising number of TV viewers seem to enjoy.
1983 - Three’s Company star John Ritter receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1984 - Comedian Phoebe Robinson, known for co-creating and co-hosting the podcast 2 Dope Queens, and for acting appearances in the films What Men Want (2019) and Ibiza (2018), is born in Bedford, Ohio.
1987 - At this point referred to as “America’s Dad”, Bill Cosby hits the cover of Time magazine... Imagine being funny, famous, fifty and really rich - nothing can stop this guy!
1987 - Hilary Duff is born in Houston, Texas. She is best known for starring as the title character in the teen sitcom Lizzie McGuire (2001–2004) and The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003). Movie credits include Agent Cody Banks (2003), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003) and Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), A Cinderella Story (2004), and War, Inc. (2008).
1992 - Canadian actor Keir Gilchrist is born in Camden, London, England. He’s best known for playing Marshall in Showtime's United States of Tara, and also played roles in Netflix’s Atypical, and the movie It's Kind of a Funny Story.
1994 - The Tim Burton directed and Johnny Depp starring biographical film covering the life and work of the infamous cult director, Ed Wood opens in limited release.
1999 - Tyler Perry’s stage play I Can Do Bad All By Myself premiere’s at the Avalon Regal Theatre in Chicago. It marks the first public appearance of the character Madea.
1999 - Here's Your Christmas Album, Bill Engvall’s fourth CD, is released by Warner Bros. Records.
2001 - Based on two shorts Ben Stiller and Drake Sather produced for the VH1 Fashion Awards, the expanded, feature film length (with Owen Wilson, Christine Taylor and Will Ferrell in tow) Zoolander opens in theatres.
2006 - Based on a Colombian telenovela, and with America Ferrera starring, the series Ugly Betty debuts on ABC.
2015 - Eight weeks after Jon Stewart stepped down, Trevor Noah debuts as the new host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.
2018 - The Cool Kids premieres on Fox. The sitcom, created by Charlie Day and Paul Fruchbom, follows three male retirement community residents (David Alan Grier, Martin Mull and Leslie Jordan) who enjoy their status quo until the arrival of a rebellious new female occupant (Vicki Lawrence) forces them to adapt. In October Fox ordered an additional nine episodes of the series, bringing season one to a total of 22 episodes, but after they aired, in May, the network decided to cancel the show.
1931 - A former Miss Sweden, she's known for Fellini’s La Dolce Vita... BUT, she also did Abbott and Costello Go To Mars, Artists and Models and Hollywood or Bust with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Way Way Out with Jerry Lewis by himself, 4 for Texas with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, and Call Me Bwana and Paris Holiday alongside Bob Hope. Anita Ekberg is born in Malmo.
1939 - Major Frank Burns on the first 5 seasons of M*A*S*H, actor Larry Linville is born in Ojai, California.
1942 - Mel Brooks favourite known for Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety and History of the World: Part 1, as well as What’s Up Doc?, The Cheap Detective, City Heat and Mixed Nuts, actress Madleine Kahn is born in Boston, Massachusetts.
1942 - Ian McShane is born in Blackburn, Lancashire, England. Though the acclaimed, Golden Globe winning and Emmy nominated actor is best known for his intense dramatic roles in Deadwood, American Gods and the John Wick film series, he also has some impressive comedy credits, including starring as Charlie Cartwright in If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969), playing Frank Powell in Hot Rod (2007), and voicing Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda (2008).
1946 - Patricia Hodge is born in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, England. She first rose to prominence by starring in Bob Fosse’s West End production of Pippin in 1973, and won a Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Olivier Award in 2000 for her role in the play Money. On TV, she co-starred in comedian Miranda Hart’s self-titled BBC sitcom Miranda (2009-2015).
1953 - Make Room for Daddy premieres on ABC. Later renamed The Danny Thomas Show, it would run for 343 episodes over 11 seasons on that network then CBS, where it took over I Love Lucy’s timeslot. The show was a hit but is probably best remembered for including the first death of a major character in a sitcom, after Jean Hagen (who played his wife) quit the show. FUN FACT: The Danny Thomas Show also spawned The Andy Griffith Show.
1956 - The Gale Storm Show premieres on CBS and runs until 1960.
1957 - Andrew Dice Clay is born in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York, and probably promptly recites a dirty limerick to his nurses.
1958 - Holy Hanna-Barbera! The Huckleberry Hound Show premiered on this day in 1958.
1959 - The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis premieres on CBS. The sitcom would stay on the air until 1963.
1960 - The sitcom My Three Sons premieres on ABC. The show would have a long run, through 1972. Also premiering on the network that night was the sitcom Guestward, Ho!
1961 - Based on the hit Fox film, a sitcom version of Father of the Bride premieres on CBS.
1962 - Roger Bart is born in Norwalk, Connecticut. He won a Tony and a Drama Desk Award for his role in the revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and received a second Tony nomination for playing Carmen in The Producers. On the big screen, he has had roles in such films as Spy School, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Ghost Light and Internet Famous. On TV, he had recurring roles in Graves and Desperate Housewives.
1962 – Based on the classic 1939 Frank Capra/Jimmy Stewart film, ABC premieres a sitcom version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, starring Fess Parker. Also premiering on ABC that night: the western comedy-variety series The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show, hosted by the real life husband and wife.
1963 – Sci-Fi sitcom My Favorite Martian debuts on CBS, starring Ray Walston and Bill Bixby. It would run for 107 episodes, over three years.
1966 - Jill Whelan is born in Oakland, CA. She played Captain Steubing’s daughter Vicki in The Love Boat.
1966 - Ben Miles is born in Wimbledon, London, England. He’s best known for playing Patrick Maitland in Coupling (2000-2004).
1969 – Love, American Style premieres on ABC. The anthology comedy series would run until 1974, and is probably most famous for airing what would become the pilot of Happy Days.
1969 - Elly May Clampett in the movie version of The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), she also starred in Chasers (1994), A Pyromaniac’s Love Story (1995) and Bordello of Blood (1996) - Erika Eleniak is born in Glendale, CA.
1970 - Russell Peters is born in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. And in the process, we’re guessing his mother got "a hurt real bad.”
1970 - Emily Lloyd is born in London. Her breakthrough role came very early, as she starred at 16 years of age in the film Wish You Were Here (1987). Her other films include Cookie (1989) and Under the Hula Moon (1995). Unfortunately her career suffered because of mental illness, which cost her starring roles in such films as Pretty Woman, Mermaids, Husbands and Wives and Tank Girl.
1970 - Natasha Gregson Wagner - whose film roles include Two Girls and a Guy (1997), High Fidelity (2000), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), S.F.W. (1994) and Modern Vampires (1998) - is born in Los Angeles.
1971 - Double BAFTA winner for his BBC comedy series Detectorists, though maybe best known for playing Gareth Keenan on the original UK version of The Office and his role in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, actor Mackenzie Crook is born in Maidstone, Kent, England.
1971 - She’s best known for playing Shirley Pifko in NBC’s Ed, Canadian actress Rachel Cronin is born.
1980 - In Lake Charles, Louisiana, actor and comedian Zachary Levi is born. He is best known for starring as Chuck Bartowski in the series Chuck. On the big screen, be played another title character, in the comedy DC adaptation Shazam!
1980 - Chrissy Metz is born in Homestead, Florida. Her film roles include Loveless in Los Angeles (2007), The Onion Movie (2008), and Sierra Burgess Is a Loser (2018).
1986 - Do you know what you’d find at Atlanta’s Sugerbaker and Associates? Designing Women. The series debuted on this date.
1990 - At a Gallagher show at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, a woman in the audience was struck on the head with a plush penguin that had a fire extinguisher inside it. She later sued the comedian for over $130,000. The case went to trial in 1993 with the jury ultimately ruling for Gallagher after a raucous trial where he took the stand and had the courtroom laughing. The presiding judge William Froeberg would later say "... in seven years on the bench, I've seen a lot of characters, but none so theatrical...It was entertaining. It certainly wasn't boring."
1990 - Saturday Night Live includes the sketch "Germany's Most Disturbing Home Videos", featuring Kyle MacLachlan as Karl-Heinz Shalke, the wacky neighbor in Munich TV's hit sitcom Who Are You to Accuse Me?, and Mike Myers as his Sprockets character, Dieter.
1990 - Actor and comedian Doug Brochu, who played Grady Mitchell in the Disney Channel sitcom Sonny with a Chance and was also part of the cast in the sketch comedy series So Random!, is born in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
1993 - Stand-up Brett Butler plays single mother Grace Burdette-Kelly as the sitcom Grace Under Fire debuts on ABC.
2000 - The second of director Christopher Guest’s series of mockumentary films, this one tackling the competitive world of canine pageantry, Best In Show opens in limited release.
2004 - With a cast including Jason Bateman, Jeffery Tambor, Jessica Walter, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, David Cross, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale and Michael Cera, Arrested Development premieres on Fox.
2010 - Versatile leading man who could play dark, or play light, as he did in Some Like It Hot, Operation Petticoat, Who Was That Lady?, Not With My Wife, You Don’t!, Drop Dead Darling and Don’t Make Waves, Hollywood star Tony Curtis passes away aged 85.
2010 - After four days in a coma following a drug overdose, Greg Giraldo’s family disconnects his machines and he passes away in hospital in New Jersey. That night’s Daily Show “Moment of Zen” is a clip of his stand-up, with the segment retitled “Moment of Greg” in his honour.
2011 - The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart hits the stands on Rolling Stone’s cover.
2015 - The sitcom Grandfathered, starring John Stamos as a bachelor restaurateur who finds out he has a son and a granddaughter, premieres. It would last one season.
2020 - South African comedian Andrew Hughes and his friend, a passenger in his car, are both shot multiple times in a suspected case of mistaken identity in Wentworth. Both survive and a suspect is arrested.
2020 - The special Michelle Buteau: Welcome To Buteaupia debuts on Netflix. It would go on to win a Critics’ Choice Television Awards for Best Comedy Special.
1931 - Angie Dickinson is born in Kulm, North Dakota. Her many roles include such comedies as the original “rat pack” Ocean's 11 (1960), Captain Newman, M.D. (1963), The Art of Love (1965), Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971), Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1994), Sabrina (1995) and Big Bad Love (2001).
1951 - The Red Skelton Show premieres and becomes an institution to an entire generation of TV viewers. The comedy-variety series aired regularly until 1971.
1952 - Heaven for Betsy premieres on CBS TV. The show is unique in that it aired live twice a week, in 15 minute installments/episodes.
1952 - Actor John Finn, whose film roles include Analyze That (2002), Catch Me If You Can (2002) and Being Human (1994), is born in New York City.
1954 - The hit British musical The Boy Friend comes to America, as it opens on Broadway. This version stars Julie Andrews, who takes over Anne Rogers’ starring role.
1954 - Greg Brady, the eldest son on ABC’s hit sitcom The Brady Bunch, Barry Williams is born as Barry William Blenkhorn in Santa Monica, CA.
1954 - He played Joe Gipp in Adventures in Babysitting (1987). Calvin Levels is born in Cleveland, Ohio.
1957 - Two-time Golden Globe and two-time Emmy Award nominated actress best known for starring in the sitcom The Nanny. She also starred in the sitcoms Living with Fran, Happily Divorced and Indebted. She also hosted her own daytime talk (tawk?) show and appeared in many comedy films, including The Hollywood Knights (1980), Gorp (1980), Doctor Detroit (1983), This Is Spinal Tap (1984), UHF (1989), The Big Picture (1989), Cadillac Man (1990), We’re Talking Serious Money (1991), Car 54, Where Are You? (1994), Jack (1996), The Beautician and the Beast (1997), The Creatress (2018) and providing the voice of Eunice in the Hotel Transylvania film series... Fran Drescher is born in (no surprise here) Flushing, Queens, New York City.
1960 - Hanna-Barbera’s The Flintstones premieres on ABC.
1961 - Crystal Bernard is born in Garland, Texas. She’s best known for starring as Helen Chappel-Hackett on the sitcom Wings (1990-1997), but also played Amy in It's a Living (1985–1989), and K.C. Cunningham in Happy Days (1983–1984).
1961 - From his first movie credit as Stoner Bud in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), to The Wild Life (1984), Say Anything… (1989), Naked in New York (1993), Sleep With Me (1994), Kicking and Screaming (1995), Jerry Maguire (1996), Mr. Jealousy (1997), and on and on… Eric Stoltz is born in Whittier, California.
1965 - Popular stage and TV stand-up Kathleen Madigan is born in Florissant, Missouri.
1966 - Actor Lisa Thornhill, best known for her performances in The Family Man (2000) and Life, or Something Like It (2002), is born.
1967 - Sally Field of The Flying Nun lands on the cover of TV Guide.
1967 - Andrea Roth is born in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada. She played Janet Gavin, the wife of main character Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary), on the FX series Rescue Me (2004–2011).
1969 - Amy Landecker is born in Chicago. She played Sarah Pfefferman in Amazon’s comedy-drama Transparent (2014–2019); movie credits include Dan in Real Life (2007), A Serious Man (2009) and All Is Bright (2013).
1969 - Donny Jones in My Name Is Earl (2005-2009), Silas Weir Mitchell is born in Philadelphia, PA.
1970 - Two time Emmy Award winning TV and film actor and comedian best known for starring in two hit comedy series (playing Buster Bluth in Arrested Development and Gary Walsh in HBO’s Veep), Tony Hale is born in West Point, NY.
1971 - Actress best known for her Golden Globe winning and three-time Emmy nominated starring role as Dharma in the ABC sitcom Dharma & Greg (1997-2002), Jenna Elfman is born in Los Angeles. She also starred in the sitcoms Courting Alex (2006), Accidentally on Purpose (2009–2010), 1600 Penn (2012–2013), Growing Up Fisher (2014), and Imaginary Mary (2017). Her movie resume boasts such films as Grosse Pointe Blank (1997), Krippendorf's Tribe (1998), Dr. Dolittle (1998), EDtv (1999), Keeping the Faith (2000), Town & Country (2001), Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) and Big Stone Gap (2014).
1974 - Actor Ashley Hamilton, known for the movies Beethoven's 2nd (1993), Off Key (2001) and Lost Angeles (2012), is born in Los Angeles.
1975 - She broke out in the French action-comedy hit Taxi (1998), then broke into Hollywood in Tim Burton's Big Fish (2003). Other credits include Love Me If You Dare (2003), Dikkenek (2006), and Little White Lies (2010). Academy Award, Golden Globe and Cesar Award winner Marion Cotillard is born in Paris.
1978 - Ventriloquist who became one of radio’s greatest stars with his puppets Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, Edgar Bergen dies of kidney disease three days into his “Farewell To Show Business” engagement at Caesar’s Palace.
1980 - Actor from the TV series Barbershop (2005-2006) and the movies Ruby Sparks (2012), Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2018) and Music & Lyrics (2007), Toni Trucks is born in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
1982 - Boston University professor Dr. Sumner Sloan and his teaching assistant Diane Chambers stop into a local watering hole prior to the flight that will take them to their wedding. Thus the table was set for the first episode of the series Cheers. The bar tales of Sam, Diane, Coach, Carla, Norm, Cliff and those who would follow (most notably Woody, Frasier and Rebecca) would draw viewers and collect accolades for the next 11 years.
1982 - Lacey Chabert is born in Purvis, Mississippi. Film credits include Mean Girls (2004), which was so fetch!, and also Dirty Deeds (2005), Not Another Teen Movie (2001) and Daddy Day Care (2003). Her voice credits include Nickelodeon’s The Wild Thornberrys (1998–2004), and she was also the first Meg Griffin on Family Guy.
1982 - His acting career began with a role in the smash hit Home Alone franchise… but he’s the other Culkin. His breakout role was a starring turn in the film Igby Goes Down (2002), for which he was nominated for a Best Actor Golden Globe. On TV, he starred in FX series Fargo (2015) and as Roman Roy in HBO’s Succession, receiving another Golden Globe nomination as well as an Emmy Award nomination. Kieran Culkin is born in New York City.
1985 - WNBC canceled The Howard Stern Show due to what management termed as "conceptual differences" between themselves and Stern regarding his show. Stern believes that RCA chairman Thornton Bradshaw heard Stern’s “Bestiality Dial-a-Date” segment while driving in his limousine and ordered his firing.
1989 - Bruce Willis hosts Saturday Night Live. Sketches include the third installment of Sprockets, featuring Mike Myers as German art lover Dieter and Dana Carvey as his confused guest, James Stewart.
1991 - Liza Minnelli gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1995 - Comedian, musician and impressionist who was popular with all audiences, and a favourite guest on talk shows for two decades, George Kirby passes away from Parkinson’s in a Las Vegas nursing home.
2003 - The Hollywood Walk of Fame gets to one degree of Kevin Bacon.
2014 - Fox announced plans to adapt the hit Tom Hanks film Big as a TV series, updating it to deal with what it means to be an adult and kid in present times.
2019 - British stand-up and show host’s special Mo Gilligan: Momentum premieres on Netflix.