Five Famous People Born on February 22
And One Not-So-Famous Person
Why write about celebrity birthdays for February 22? Because it also happens to be my grandfather's birthday. Above is a picture of him with my grandmother, taken in the 1980s, I think.
He was a WWII soldier, a farmer, a gas station owner, and a security guard at the Fort Knox gold vault (I still remember the day he took our family there on a tour when I was little).
If he was still alive, he would be 92 years old. I always thought it was cool how he was born on 2/22/22! So, in honor of his birthday, here is my list of five famous people who were born on the same day he was, just not in the same year.
Drew Barrymore is one of my favorite actresses. I am a big fan of a lot of her movies. I first saw Drew Barrymore in E.T. She was so cute as Elliott (Henry Thomas)'s little sister Gertie. In fact, Drew's done cute very well throughout her acting career, with the exception of some notably darker performances, like her role in Poison Ivy.
Drew is one of the queens of romantic comedy, as far as I'm concerned. These are some of my favorite Drew Barrymore movies: Never Been Kissed, Ever After, 50 First Dates , and The Wedding Singer. I've seen all of these about 20 times each, and I never really get tired of watching them. So, because she's provided me with hours of entertainment, I wanted to include Drew in this list to honor her on her special day.
George Washington was born on this day in 1732 in Virginia - that is, at least, for those of us who follow the Gregorian calendar, which the British Empire started using in 1752. According to the previously used Julian calendar, Washington was actually born on February 11, 1731. But, for most of his life, he lived under the Gregorian calendar rules, so we can still count this as his birthday. I can only imagine how confusing it must have been to Washington to have two birthdays!
He was the first president of the United States and one of the main reasons we celebrate President's Day in February. Not only that, but he was one of the greatest military heroes this country has ever had. No list of people born on this day would be complete without a mention of him.
The Real George Washington
Steve Irwin, much better known as the Crocodile Hunter, would be 49 years old if he was still alive. His mother (who was also born on the same day) and father were both wildlife experts, so it was only natural that Irwin would develop a love of animals at an early age and decide to turn that into a career. What was extraordinary about this man was his energetic personality (which won him a spot on television) and the worldwide impact his work had.
And, even after his death, he is teaching children about animals through the syndication of The Wiggles. I'm not really sure what the connection is, other than that they're both Australian, but Steve Irwin did a lot with The Wiggles, and Wiggle Anthony Field even co-hosted Irwin's memorial service. And, since my little girl loves The Wiggles, she knows who Steve Irwin is, even though she was born a few years after he died. Long live the Crocodile Hunter!
The Wiggles and Steve Irwin Singing Crocodile Hunter
Jayson Williams was born on February 22, 1968 - the same year as my husband. Famous? Infamous is more like it. Even though he played professional basketball for all of the 1990s for both the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets, I'd never even heard of Jayson Williams until the unfortunate incident involving the death of private limo driver Costas Christofi.
But this was not the first time Williams had had trouble with the law. In 1992, he was involved in a bar fight in Chicago. In 1994, he got in trouble for firing a semiautomatic weapon in the Meadowlands Sports Complex parking lot. No charges were filed in either case, though.
In 2002, Williams was tried and acquitted of murder charges involving the shooting of Costas Christofi, but he was later retried for lesser charges. He is currently serving a five-year sentence for an aggravated assault charge in the shooting death of limo driver Costas Christofi. He will be eligible for parole in August of this year.
Will Williams settle down once he gets out of prison? It seems unlikely, given that shortly before his sentencing for assault, he got arrested for a DWI. This added another year to his prison term. Maybe the justice system should learn from this and just deny parole and keep Williams in prison as long as they can. He'll probably just be back there again, anyway.
Ted Kennedy, the younger brother of assassinated President John F. Kennedy, was born on my grandfather's tenth birthday. And even though he was a major political figure for so many years, this is another person who, to me, is more infamous than famous.
I'm not from Massachusetts, so the first thing I ever heard about Ted Kennedy was his connection to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick Island. It still amazes me that Kennedy was able to continue his political career for so long after this event. Even if he was not directly responsible for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, he did run away from the scene and did not seek immediate help for her. But then again, he was a politician, and a Kennedy, so maybe it's not surprising he got away with behaving so irresponsibly.
Still, Ted Kennedy did serve the state of Massachusetts for almost five decades, so I need to give the man his due. That's why I'm including him on this list of people born on February 22.
And That's the List
From the cute to the brave to the morally questionable, this list covers it all. All these people, as different as they are, share the same birthday. And they all, to a greater or lesser extent, have a place in American culture and history.
And, for anyone reading this whose birthday is also on February 22, I'd just like to wish you a very happy birthday, and I hope you've enjoyed reading this list of people who share your special day.