Yes, July 4th is the birthday of America, but it’s also an occasion to salute some of the notable people who share that date—and of course featuring those with the more interesting names. It makes for quite a diverse little birthday party—from NathanielHawthorne, born in 1804, to First Daughter MaliaObama, born in 1998. But we won’t be including three who erroneously claimed the date as their own—composer George M. ‘born on the Fourth of July’ Cohan, MGM’s Louis B. Mayer and LouisArmstrong, whose real date of birth was August 4th.
One of America’s wittiest and most popular playwrights, NeilSimon has received more Oscar and Tony nominations than any other writer, winning a Tony for The Odd Couple. Neil—also spelled Neal—peaked in the 1950’s, but with parents reevaluating short, straightforward, midcentury classics, we’re not counting it out. The Irish Niall has an infusion of Celtic charm.