Peer Gynt Festival in Lillehammer, Norway (The Peer Gynt Festival, taking place in the Gudbrandsdalen valley every August, celebrates the iconic play-in-verse by the famous Norwegian play writer, as well as the historical person who inspired the taleóbecause Per Gynt actually lived in this valley during the 17th century)
1999 – Discovery Program: Lunar Prospector: NASA intentionally crashes the spacecraft into the Moon, thus ending its mission to detect frozen water on the moon's surface.
1991 – The United States and Soviet Union both sign the START I Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the first to reduce (with verification) both countries' stockpiles.
1971 – Apollo program: Apollo 15 astronauts become the first to ride in a lunar rover.
1964 – Ranger program: Ranger 7 sends back the first close-up photographs of the moon, with images 1,000 times clearer than anything ever seen from earth-bound telescopes.
1938 – Archaeologists discover engraved gold and silver plates from King Darius the Great in Persepolis.
1874 – Dr. Patrick Francis Healy became the first African-American inaugurated as president of a predominantly white university, Georgetown University.
1865 – The first narrow-gauge mainline railway in the world opens at Grandchester, Queensland, Australia.
1790 – The first U.S. patent is issued, to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process.
1777 – The U.S. Second Continental Congress passes a resolution that the services of Gilbert du Motier "be accepted, and that, in consideration of his zeal, illustrious family and connexions, he have the rank and commission of major-general of the United States."
1498 – On his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to discover the island of Trinidad.
1992 – Kyle Larson, American race car driver. Kyle Miyata Larson (born July 31, 1992) is an American professional stock car racing driver and World of Outlaws Sprint car team owner.
1986 – Brian Orakpo, American football player. Brian Ndubisi Orakpo (born July 31, 1986) is a former American football outside linebacker who played 10 seasons in the National Football League (NFL).
1982 – DeMarcus Ware, American football player. After spending nine seasons with the Cowboys, Ware departed in 2013 as the franchise's all-time leader in quarterback sacks with 117.
1981 – Vernon Carey, American football player. Carey Sr (born July 31, 1981) is a former American football offensive tackle who played eight seasons for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL).
1979 – B.J. Novak, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. Benjamin Joseph Manaly Novak (born July 31, 1979) is an American actor, writer, comedian, and director.
1979 – J.J. Furmaniak, American baseball player. J." Furmaniak (born July 31, 1979) is a former American professional baseball infielder, who played in the major leagues for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Oakland Athletics.
1978 – Nick Sorensen, American football player and sportscaster. Nicholas Carl "Nick" Sorensen (born July 31, 1978) is an American football coach and former safety who is currently a Secondary coach for the Seattle Seahawks.
1978 – Zac Brown, American country singer-songwriter and guitarist. The lineup consists of Zachary Alexander "Zac" Brown (lead vocals, guitar), Jimmy De Martini (fiddle, vocals), John Driskell Hopkins (bass guitar, guitar, baritone guitar, banjo, ukulele, upright bass, vocals), Coy Bowles (guitar, keyboards), Chris Fryar (drums), Clay Cook (guitar, keyboards, mandolin, steel guitar, vocals), Matt Mangano (bass guitar), and Daniel de los Reyes (percussion).
1976 – Joshua Cain, American guitarist and producer. Cain is also a music producer with multiple past projects; comprising an EP for Epitaph-signed band Sing It Loud and two songs (including the lead single) from Metro Station's debut album.
1975 – Gabe Kapler, American baseball player and manager. Gabriel Stefan Kapler (born July 31, 1975; nicknamed "Kap") is an American former professional baseball outfielder and current manager of the San Francisco Giants.
1975 – Randy Flores, American baseball player and coach. Flores attended the University of Southern California (USC) before becoming the New York Yankees' ninth-round selection in the 1997 MLB draft.
1974 – Jonathan Ogden, American football player. Jonathan Phillip Ogden (born July 31, 1974) is a former American football offensive tackle who played his entire career with the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL).
1974 – Leona Naess, American-English singer-songwriter and guitarist. She released her debut album, Comatised, in March 2000, which produced the single "Charm Attack" (Adult Top 40 #29).
1971 – Gus Frerotte, American football player and coach. He played college football at Tulsa.
1969 – Kenneth D. Schisler, American lawyer and politician. Schisler (born July 31, 1969) is a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates and former chair of the Maryland Public Service Commission.
1969 – Loren Dean, American actor. He has appeared on stage and in feature films.
1967 – Tony Massenburg, American basketball player. He shares a National Basketball Association (NBA) record with Chucky Brown, Joe Smith, and Jim Jackson for having played with twelve different teams over his career.
1966 – Dean Cain, American actor, producer, and screenwriter. Dean George Cain (né Tanaka; born July 31, 1966) is an American actor, producer and television show host, best known for playing the role of Clark Kent/Superman in the TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
1965 – John Laurinaitis, American wrestler and producer. John Hodger Laurinaitis (born July 31, 1962), also known as Johnny Ace, is an American senior producer and retired professional wrestler, currently employed by WWE.
1965 – Scott Brooks, American basketball player and coach. Scott William Brooks (born July 31, 1965) is an American professional basketball coach and former player who is the head coach of the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
1962 – Wesley Snipes, American actor and producer. His prominent film roles include New Jack City (1991), White Men Can't Jump (1992), Passenger 57 (1992), Demolition Man (1993), and the Marvel Comics character Blade in the Blade film trilogy (1998–2004).
1959 – Stanley Jordan, American guitarist, pianist, and songwriter. Stanley Jordan (born July 31, 1959) is an American jazz guitarist whose technique involves tapping his fingers on the fretboard of the guitar with both hands.
1958 – Bill Berry, American drummer and songwriter, was the drummer for the alternative rock band R.E.M. Although best known for his solid, economical drumming style, Berry also played other instruments including guitar, bass guitar, and piano, both for songwriting and on R.E.M. albums.
1958 – Mark Cuban, American businessman and television personality. Mark Cuban (born July 31, 1958) is an American entrepreneur and investor.
1956 – Deval Patrick, American lawyer and politician, 71st Governor of Massachusetts. He was reelected in 2010.
1956 – Lynne Rae Perkins, American author and illustrator. Lynne Rae Perkins (born July 31, 1956) is an American writer and illustrator of children's books.
1956 – Michael Biehn, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. Michael Connell Biehn (born July 31, 1956) is an American actor, primarily known for his military roles in science fiction films directed by James Cameron; as Sgt.
1956 – Ron Kuby, American lawyer and radio host. Kuby (born July 31, 1956) is an American criminal defense and civil rights lawyer, radio talk show host and television commentator.
1952 – Alan Autry, American football player, actor, and politician, 23rd Mayor of Fresno, California. Carlos Alan Autry Jr. (also known for a period of time as Carlos Brown; born July 31, 1952), is an American actor, politician, and former National Football League player.
1952 – Faye Kellerman, American author. Faye Marder Kellerman (born July 31, 1952) is an American writer of mystery novels, in particular the "Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus" series as well as three non-series books, The Quality of Mercy, Moon Music and Straight into Darkness.
1945 – William Weld, American lawyer and politician, 68th Governor of Massachusetts. Weld is currently running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States of America in 2020.
1944 – Geraldine Chaplin, American actress and screenwriter. After beginnings in dance and modeling, she turned her attention to acting, and made her English-language acting debut (and came to prominence in what would be a Golden Globe-nominated role) in her portrayal of Tonya in David Lean's Doctor Zhivago (1965).
1944 – Robert C. Merton, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate. Robert Cox Merton (born July 31, 1944) is an American economist, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureate, and professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, known for his pioneering contributions to continuous-time finance, especially the first continuous-time option pricing model, the Black–Scholes–Merton model.
1944 – Sherry Lansing, American film producer. Sherry Lansing (born Sherry Lee Duhl; July 31, 1944) is an American former actress and film studio executive.
1943 – William Bennett, American journalist and politician, 3rd United States Secretary of Education. W.
1939 – Susan Flannery, American actress. Susan Flannery (born July 31, 1939) is an American actress and director known for her roles in the daytime dramas The Bold and the Beautiful and Days of Our Lives.
1932 – John Searle, American philosopher and academic. Widely noted for his contributions to the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and social philosophy, he began teaching at UC Berkeley in 1959.
1932 – Ted Cassidy, American actor and screenwriter (d. 1979), was an American voice artist and actor in radio, television and film. Noted for his tall stature at 6 ft 9 in (206 cm) and his deep bass voice, he tended to play unusual characters in offbeat or science-fiction series such as Star Trek and I Dream of Jeannie, and is best known for the role of Lurch on The Addams Family in the mid-1960s.
1931 – Kenny Burrell, American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Kenneth Earl Burrell (born July 31, 1931) is an American jazz guitarist known for his work on the Blue Note label.
1931 – Nick Bollettieri, American tennis player and coach. He has also worked with Maria Sharapova, Daniela Hantuchová, Jelena Janković, Nicole Vaidišová, Sabine Lisicki, Sara Errani, Tommy Haas, Max Mirnyi, Xavier Malisse, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Martina Hingis, Anna Kournikova, Marcelo Ríos, Kei Nishikori.
1928 – Bill Frenzel, American lieutenant and politician (d. 2014), was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Minnesota, representing Minnesota's Third District, which included the southern and western suburbs of Minneapolis.
1926 – Bernard Nathanson, American physician and activist (d. 2011). Nathanson (July 31, 1926 – February 21, 2011) was an American medical doctor and co-founder in 1969 of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws — NARAL — later renamed National Abortion Rights Action League.
1926 – Hilary Putnam, American mathematician, computer scientist, and philosopher (d. 2016), was an American philosopher, mathematician, and computer scientist, and a major figure in analytic philosophy in the second half of the 20th century. He made significant contributions to philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, and philosophy of science.
1924 – Jimmy Evert, American tennis player and coach (d. 2015), was an American tennis coach and player. He was the father of Chris Evert, who was one of the world's top women tennis players in the 1970s and 1980s.
1923 – Ahmet Ertegun, Turkish-American songwriter and producer, founded Atlantic Records (d. 2006), was a Turkish-American businessman, songwriter and philanthropist.
1923 – Stephanie Kwolek, American chemist and engineer, invented Kevlar (d. 2014), was an American chemist who is known for inventing Kevlar. She was of Polish heritage and her career at the DuPont company spanned more than 40 years.
1922 – Hank Bauer, American baseball player and manager (d. 2007). Henry Albert Bauer (July 31, 1922 – February 9, 2007) was an American right fielder and manager in Major League Baseball.
1921 – Donald Malarkey, American sergeant and author, was a non-commissioned officer with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army during World War II. Malarkey was portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Scott Grimes.
1921 – Peter Benenson, English lawyer and activist, founded Amnesty International (d. 2005), was a British lawyer, human rights activist and the founder of human rights group Amnesty International (AI). Benenson refused all honours but in his 80s, largely to please his family, he accepted the Pride of Britain Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2001.
1921 – Whitney Young, American activist (d. 1971), was an American civil rights leader. He spent most of his career working to end employment discrimination in the United States and turning the National Urban League from a relatively passive civil rights organization into one that aggressively worked for equitable access to socioeconomic opportunity for the historically disenfranchised.
1920 – James E. Faust, American religious leader, lawyer, and politician (d. 2007). Faust was Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1995 until his death, an LDS Church apostle for 29 years, and a general authority of the church for 35 years.
1919 – Curt Gowdy, American sportscaster and actor (d. 2006), was an American sportscaster, well known as the longtime "voice" of the Boston Red Sox and for his coverage of many nationally televised sporting events, primarily for NBC Sports and ABC Sports in the 1960s and 1970s. His accomplishments include coining the nickname "The Granddaddy of Them All" for the Rose Bowl Game, taking the moniker from the Cheyenne Frontier Days in his native Wyoming.
1918 – Hank Jones, American pianist, composer, and bandleader (d. 2010), was an American jazz pianist, bandleader, arranger, and composer. Critics and musicians described Jones as eloquent, lyrical, and impeccable.
1918 – Paul D. Boyer, American biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate, was an American biochemist, analytical chemist, and a professor of chemistry at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). He shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for research on the "enzymatic mechanism underlying the biosynthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP)" (ATP synthase) with John E.
1916 – Bill Todman, American screenwriter and producer (d. 1979), was an American television producer and personality born in New York City. He produced many of television's longest running shows with business partner Mark Goodson, with whom he created Goodson-Todman Productions.
1916 – Billy Hitchcock, American baseball player, coach, and manager (d. 2006). His older brother, Jimmy Hitchcock, played briefly for the 1938 Boston Braves.
1914 – Paul J. Christiansen, American conductor and composer (d. 1997), was an American choral conductor and composer. As the youngest son of F.
1912 – Irv Kupcinet, American football player and journalist (d. 2003), was an American newspaper columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, television talk-show host, and radio personality based in Chicago, Illinois. He was popularly known by the nickname "Kup".
1912 – Milton Friedman, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2006), was an American economist who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and the complexity of stabilization policy. With George Stigler and others, Friedman was among the intellectual leaders of the second generation of Chicago school of economics, a methodological movement at the University of Chicago's Department of Economics, Law School and Graduate School of Business from the 1940s onward.
1911 – George Liberace, American violinist (d. 1983), was an American musician and television performer.
1904 – Brett Halliday, American engineer, surveyor, and author (d. 1977). Brett Halliday (July 31, 1904 – February 4, 1977) is the primary pen name of Davis Dresser, an American mystery and western writer.
1892 – Herbert W. Armstrong, American evangelist and publisher, founded Worldwide Church of God (d. 1986). Armstrong (July 31, 1892 – January 16, 1986) was the founder of the Radio Church of God, incorporated October 21, 1933 and later renamed Worldwide Church of God on June 1, 1968, and also started Ambassador College October 8, 1947.
1886 – Fred Quimby, American animator and producer (d. 1965), was an American animation producer and journalist, best known for producing the Tom and Jerry cartoon series, for which he won seven Academy Awards for Best Animated Short Film. He was the film sales executive in charge of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio, which included Tex Avery, as well as William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, the creators of Tom and Jerry.
1886 – Salvatore Maranzano, Italian-American mob boss (d. 1931), was an organized crime figure from the town of Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, and an early Cosa Nostra boss who led what later would become the Bonanno crime family in New York City. He instigated the Castellammarese War in 1930, to seize control of the American Mafia, winning the war after the murder of rival faction head, Joe Masseria, in April 1931.
1867 – S. S. Kresge, American businessman, founded Kmart (d. 1966). He created and owned two chains of department stores, the S.
1860 – Mary Vaux Walcott, American painter and illustrator (d. 1940), was an American artist and naturalist known for her watercolor paintings of wildflowers. She has been called the "Audubon of Botany."
1837 – William Quantrill, American captain (d. 1865), was a Confederate guerrilla leader during the American Civil War.
1835 – Paul Du Chaillu, French-American anthropologist and explorer (d. 1903), was a French-American traveler, zoologist, and anthropologist. He became famous in the 1860s as the first modern European outsider to confirm the existence of gorillas, and later the Pygmy people of central Africa.
1826 – William S. Clark, American colonel and politician (d. 1886), was an American professor of chemistry, botany and zoology, a colonel during the American Civil War, and a leader in agricultural education. Raised and schooled in Easthampton, Massachusetts, Clark spent most of his adult life in Amherst, Massachusetts.
1816 – George Henry Thomas, American general (d. 1870). George Henry Thomas (July 31, 1816 – March 28, 1870) was a United States Army officer and a Union general during the American Civil War, one of the principal commanders in the Western Theater.
1803 – John Ericsson, Swedish-American engineer, co-designed the USS Princeton and the Novelty Locomotive (d. 1889), was a Swedish-American inventor. He was active in England and the United States.
2015 – Alan Cheuse, American writer and critic (b. 1940)
2015 – Billy Pierce, American baseball player and sportscaster (b. 1927)
2015 – Howard W. Jones, American surgeon and academic (b. 1910)
2015 – Richard Schweiker, American soldier and politician, 14th United States Secretary of Health and Human Services (b. 1926)
2014 – Warren Bennis, American scholar, author, and academic (b. 1925)
2014 – Wilfred Feinberg, American lawyer and judge (b. 1920)
2013 – Michael Ansara, Syrian-American actor (b. 1922)
2013 – Trevor Storer, English businessman, founded Pukka Pies (b. 1930)
2012 – Gore Vidal, American novelist, screenwriter, and critic (b. 1925)
2004 – Virginia Grey, American actress (b. 1917)
2000 – William Keepers Maxwell Jr., American editor, novelist, short story writer, and essayist (b. 1908)
1987 – Joseph E. Levine, American film producer (b, 1905)
1985 – Eugene Carson Blake, American religious leader (b. 1906)
1971 – Walter P. Carter, American soldier and activist (b. 1923)
1966 – Bud Powell, American pianist (b. 1924)
1964 – Jim Reeves, American singer-songwriter (b. 1923)
1953 – Robert A. Taft, American soldier and politician (b. 1889)
1875 – Andrew Johnson, American general and politician, 17th President of the United States (b. 1808)
1556 – Ignatius of Loyola, Spanish priest and theologian, founded the Society of Jesus (b. 1491)