Beautiful New York

A Celebration of the City

Category Archives: Birthday Tribute

BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE — Thelonious Monk

Happy 100th Birthday to the late, great Thelonious Monk! The distinctive, inventive, idiosyncratic jazz musician and composer from North Carolina moved to New York when he was four years old and ultimately became the second most recorded jazz composer (after Duke Ellington) in history. Becoming house pianist at Minton’s in his early 20’s, Monk became …

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BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE — Louis Auchincloss

Happy 100th Birthday to the late, great Louis Auchincloss! The privileged and pedigreed son of the Upper East Side who worked as a lawyer but lived as a novelist published over 60 books before his death at age 92. Following in the tradition of other upper crust New York authors like Edith Wharton and Henry …

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BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE — Phil Rizzuto

Happy 100th Birthday to the late, great Phil Rizzuto! The Brooklyn native who played his entire professional baseball career with the New York Yankees went on to become the longest serving announcer in the team’s history, with 40 years in the booth. Voted MVP in 1950 and still holding several World Series records, Rizzuto was …

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BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE — Jacob Lawrence

Happy 100th Birthday to the late, great Jacob Lawrence! Born in Atlantic City, Lawrence came to Harlem and studied art at the age of 16 during the height of the Renaissance. He would go on to depict dynamic cubist representations of African-American life and became a star of the art world with his 60-panel Migration …

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BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE — Jack Kirby

Happy 100th Birthday to the late, great Jack Kirby! Born Jacob Kurtzberg, the native New Yorker became one of the most legendary pioneers of comics and comic book art, working for both Marvel and DC as well as many of their earlier incarnations. With famous collaborators like Joe Simon and Stan Lee, Kirby either created …

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BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE — Lena Horne

Happy 100th Birthday to the late, great Lena Horne! Born in Brooklyn, Horne joined the chorus line at the Cotton Club when still a teenager and toured with Noble Sissle before moving to Hollywood. After appearing in such classics as Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather, she came back to the Big Apple nightclubs …

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BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE — Ella Fitzgerald

Happy 100th Birthday to the late, great Ella Fitzgerald! Dubbed “the First Lady of Song”, the Queen of Jazz saw her career begin with a bang at an Amateur Night at the Apollo competition when she was 17 years old. Winning the $25 prize money, she soon signed with Chick Webb’s orchestra and became a …

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BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE — Betty Comden

Happy 100th Birthday to the late, great Betty Comden! Born Basya Cohen in Brooklyn, Comden teamed up with Adolphe Green to become one of the most successful songwriting duos in Broadway and Hollywood history. Their work with song-and-dance men such as Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly became legendary, winning Screen Writers Guild Awards for the …

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BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE — Kirk Douglas

Happy 100th Birthday to legendary Broadway and Hollywood actor Kirk Douglas! Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky in upstate New York, Kirk Douglas came to the city to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. After playing tiny walk-on roles on Broadway and working in radio commercials, his former classmate and friend Lauren Bacall recommended him for …

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BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE — Charlie Christian

Happy 100th Birthday to the late, great Charlie Christian! In the early days of jazz, Christian was enormously influential in the acceptance of the electric guitar as a lead instrument, taking the stringed stalwart out of the rhythm section and placing it center stage, while performing with Benny Goodman and his sextet. His solos were …

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