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Looking Back - Aug. 4 2013

History column

The name of Prince William and Kate’s son is George Alexander Louis. He will be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. Here is a look back, in no particular order, at other famous folks with the name George.

George Burns was born Nathan Birnbaum on January 20, 1896 in New York City. He lived to be 100 years old.

• As a child, George attended P.S. 22 but left after the fourth grade due to economic reasons.

• At age 13, George charged immigrants coming by boat from Ellis Island $5 for dance lessons, telling his clients that this was a necessary prerequisite for becoming a U.S. citizen.

• George took the name “Burns” from the Burns Brothers Coal Company. He had stolen lumps of coal from their trucks while growing up, to help heat the family home. “George” was a nickname his brother occasionally used.

• Although Gracie Allen was in love with another man when they first met, Burns carried a ring in his pocket until she finally agreed to marry him.

George Timothy Clooney was born on May 6, 1961, in Lexington, Ky., to Nina Bruce nee’ Warren, a former beauty pageant queen, and Nick Clooney, an anchorman and game show host.

• George committed to “O Brother, Where Art Thou” (2000) before even reading the script because of his desire to work with Ethan and Joel Coen, writers/producers.

• It was the TV series “ER” that propelled George into stardom. He played the role of Dr. Doug Ross in 107 episodes from 1994-2009.

• Talia Balsam was married to Clooney from from 1989-1993. While he said he would never remarry nor have any children, Michelle Pfeiffer and Nicole Kidman did not believe him. Both bet he would be a father before he turned 40. Both paid their bets to the tune of $10,000 each.

George Harrison was born February 25, 1943 in Liverpool, England. The musician, singer and songwriter achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles.

• In early 1956, while riding his bicycle, Harrison heard Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” playing from a nearby house, and the song piqued his interest in rock and roll. Later that same year, Harrison’s father bought him a Dutch Egmond flat top acoustic guitar. On the bus to school Harrison met Paul McCartney and the pair bonded over their shared love of music.

• In March 1958 Harrison auditioned for the John Lennon’s band Quarrymen but Lennon felt that Harrison, then 14, was too young to join the band. By the time he turned 15, however, Harrison was accepted as a member.

• Thirty years later and eight years after the murder of John Lennon, Harrison formed the Traveling Wilburys with Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. The group never performed live.

• On December 30, 1999, 36-year-old Michael Abram broke into the Harrison’s home and attacked Harrison with a kitchen knife, puncturing a lung and causing head injuries before Olivia Harrison incapacitated the assailant by striking him repeatedly with a poker and a lamp.

• Aside from music, Harrison’s greatest love was gardening. He claimed to have planted 10,000 trees in his lifetime.

• On November 29, 2001, Harrison died from cancer.

Reader poll

Who said, “Why does the Air Force need expensive new bombers? Have the people we’ve been bombing over the years been complaining?”

  • a) George Carlin 50%
  • b) George C. Wallace 0%
  • c) George McGovern 50%
  • d) George W. Bush 0%

2 total votes.

George Glenn Jones was born Sept. 12, 1931 in Saratoga, Texas.

• Jones was raised in Vidor, Texas, with his brother and five sisters. His father, George Washington Jones, played harmonica and guitar while his mother, Clara, played piano in the Pentecostal Church.

•Jones’ father sometimes chased him while in inebriated rages, but also introduced him to Grand Ole Opry on the radio, and bought him his first guitar at age nine, an inexpensive model endorsed by Gene Autry.

• In 1954, Jones signed with a record label, Starday, but had a number of singles that flopped before making the charts with “Why Baby Why” in 1955.

• In 1966, Jones tried to start a country music theme park, George Jones Rhythm Ranch, in Vidor, Texas. It failed after Jones gave an initial live performance and then disappeared for a month on an alcoholic bender.

• “He Stopped Loving Her Today” was Jones’ signature song, winning a Grammy in 1981. Jones had predicted that it was too morbid to be a hit.

• After a career that spanned more than four decades, Jones died on April 26, 2013. Wynonna Judd sang “How Great Thou Art” at the 1998 funeral of Jones’ ex-wife Tammy Wynette, with Jones sitting in the front row. She sang the same song at Jones’ memorial service.

Curious George appeared in 1941.

• The children’s series was written and drawn by the team of Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Rey. The couple fled Paris in June 1940 on self-made bicycles, carrying the Curious George manuscript with them.

• Before appearing in his own series, Curious George was a character in another children’s book written and illustrated by H.A. Rey, “Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys” (1939).

• “Curious George” begins with George living in Africa and tells the story of his capture by the Man with the Yellow Hat. There are seven books in the original series, 1941-1966.

• The only recurring character in the original adventures, other than George himself, is the Man with the Yellow Hat. The Man is never mentioned by name in the original adventures, or in any subsequent content over more than six decades. This tradition was broken in the 2006 film, in which the Man is referred to as “Ted” throughout the film.

• In the movie “Forrest Gump” an edition of “Curious George” is used as Forrest’s favorite book, which his mother reads to him.

George Washington Carver was born a slave in the early 1860’s in Missouri.

• When Carver was just an infant, he and his mother, Mary, were kidnapped. Moses Carver, his owner, offered a $300 racehorse for their return. Only George was returned and probably because he had the whooping cough.

• At the end of the Civil War , George and his brother Jim were free but without parents or a home, they continued to live with Moses and Susan Carver in their farmhouse. Susan Carver taught George to read from an old spelling book.

• At the age of 12, George was sent to Neosho, Missouri to attend a public school for blacks. In Neosho he did housework in exchange for room and board.

• At around age 30, Carver became the first black to attend Iowa State College. In 1896, he received a masters degree in agriculture.

• Carver is most famous for his innovations with peanuts which included cheese, facial powder, shampoo, printer’s ink, soap and wood stain and more.

• Carver died on January 5, 1943, leaving his life savings to Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute. He never applied for a patent for any of his scientific discoveries, saying that “God gave them to me. How can I sell them to someone else?”