Born on the 4th of July

Fun facts about people who have their birthday on Independence Day.
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What do Ann Landers, Neil Simon, Gina Lollobrigida, Calvin Coolidge, and Louis B. Mayer have in common? Apart from being recognizable figures in American popular culture and history, they share a birthday with our country: all were born on the Fourth of July.

Despite their patriotic birthdays, some of these folks weren't even born in the United States. Gina Lollobrigida was born in Subiaco, Italy, and made several Italian films before launching here career as a sex symbol in American movies in the 1950s.

Movie executive Louis B. Mayer was born in Russia and personified the American dream as heworked his way to the top of the movie industry through industrious labor and a timely merger with Samuel Goldwyn's company to form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He revolutionized the industry with his introduction of the "studio system," which placed big-name stars under contract with a particular studio and lent each production studio its own distinct reputation for the types of films it turned out.

Other entertainment personalities were born right here in the US, including Bronx-born playwright Neil Simon, known for comedies such as Barefoot in the Park (1963), The Odd Couple (1964), Plaza Suite (1968), and Biloxi Blues (1984), which were also made into films. He also wrote a number of screenplays not based on existing works, including The Goodbye Girl (1977), California Suite (1978), and The Marrying Man (1991).

Actress Eva Marie Saint was born a little further south of Simon, in Newark, New Jersey. She is perhaps best known for her role opposite Cary Grant in Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959), one of the American Film Institute's recently announced picks for the top 100 films.

Advice twins Ann Landers and her sister Abigail Van Buren (better known as Dear Abby) were born in Sioux City, Iowa and have been doling out advice to middle-America ever since.

But the prize for the person born on July 4 holding highest public office goes to Calvin Coolidge, born in Plymouth, Vermont on July 4, 1872. Perhaps not surprisingly, he is the only president born on July 4; however, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe all died on the Fourth of July, as did modern-day lover of bucolic Americana, Charles Kuralt.

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