After completing her drama school education, Leigh appeared in small roles in four films in 1935 and progressed to the role of heroine in Fire Over England (1937). Lauded for her beauty, Leigh felt that her physical attributes sometimes prevented her from being taken seriously as an actress. Despite her fame as a screen actress, Leigh was primarily a stage performer. During her 30-year career, she played roles ranging from the heroines of Noël Coward and George Bernard Shaw comedies to classic Shakespearean characters such as Ophelia, Cleopatra, Juliet and Lady Macbeth. Later in life, she performed as a character actress in a few films. (Full article...)
Despite being heavily built, Ponsford was quick on his feet and renowned as one of the finest ever players of spin bowling. His bat, much heavier than the norm and nicknamed "Big Bertha", allowed him to drive powerfully and he possessed a strong cut shot. However, critics questioned his ability against fast bowling, and the hostile short-pitched English bowling in the Bodyline series of 1932–33 was a contributing factor in his early retirement from cricket a year and a half later. Ponsford also represented his state and country in baseball, and credited the sport with improving his cricketing skills. (Full article...)
In 1920, Anderson was institutionalized in a mental hospital after a suicide attempt in Berlin. At first, she went by the name Fräulein Unbekannt (German for Miss Unknown) as she refused to reveal her identity. Later, she used the name Tschaikovsky and then Anderson. In March 1922, claims that Anderson was a Russian grand duchess first received public attention. Most members of Grand Duchess Anastasia's family and those who had known her, including court tutor Pierre Gilliard, said Anderson was an impostor but others were convinced she was Anastasia. In 1927, a private investigation funded by the Tsarina's brother, Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse, identified Anderson as Franziska Schanzkowska, a Polish factory worker with a history of mental illness. After a lawsuit lasting many years, the German courts ruled that Anderson had failed to prove she was Anastasia, but through media coverage, her claim gained notoriety. (Full article...)
Inglis served in the Royal Engineers during the First World War and invented the Inglis Bridge, a reusable steel bridging system – the precursor to the more famous Bailey bridge of the Second World War. In 1916 he was placed in charge of bridge design and supply at the War Office and, with Giffard Le Quesne Martel, pioneered the use of temporary bridges with tanks. Inglis retired from military service in 1919 and was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. He returned to Cambridge University after the war as a professor and head of the Engineering Department. Under his leadership, the department became the largest in the university and one of the best regarded engineering schools in the world. Inglis retired from the department in 1943. (Full article...)
Æthelflæd was born around 870 at the height of the Viking invasions of England. By 878, most of England was under Danish Viking rule – East Anglia and Northumbria having been conquered, and Mercia partitioned between the English and the Vikings – but in that year Alfred won a crucial victory at the Battle of Edington. Soon afterwards the English-controlled western half of Mercia came under the rule of Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians, who accepted Alfred's overlordship. Alfred adopted the title King of the English, claiming to rule all English people not living in areas under Viking control. In the mid-880s, Alfred sealed the strategic alliance between the surviving English kingdoms by marrying Æthelflæd to Æthelred. (Full article...)
Mary Martha Sherwood
Mary Martha Sherwood (née Butt; 6 May 1775 – 22 September 1851) was a writer of children's literature in 19th-century England, with over 400 books, tracts, magazine articles, and chapbooks to her name. Among the best known are The History of Little Henry and his Bearer (1814), The History of Henry Milner (1822–1837), and The History of the Fairchild Family (1818–1847). Sherwood is known mainly for the evangelicalism that coloured her early writings, but her later works explore common Victorian themes such as domesticity. After an uneventful and happy childhood, she married Captain Henry Sherwood and moved to India, converted to evangelical Christianity and began to write for children. Though initially intended for children of military encampments in India, they were well received in Britain, where the Sherwoods returned after a decade. She opened a boarding school and published scores of texts for children and the poor. She has been described as "one of the most significant authors of children's literature of the nineteenth century". Her depictions of domesticity and Britain's relations with India may have influenced many young British readers. However, her works fell from favour as children's literature broadened in style in the late 19th century. (Full article...)
Harriet Bosse as Indra's daughter at the 1907 première of A Dream Play (1902) by August Strindberg
Harriet Sofie Bosse (19 February 1878 – 2 November 1961) was a Swedish–Norwegian actress. A celebrity in her day, Bosse is now most commonly remembered as the third wife of the playwright August Strindberg. Bosse began her career in a minor company run by her forceful older sister Alma Fahlstrøm in Kristiania (now Oslo, the capital of Norway). Having secured an engagement at the Royal Dramatic Theatre ("Dramaten"), the main drama venue of Sweden's capital Stockholm, Bosse caught the attention of Strindberg with her intelligent acting and exotic "oriental" appearance.
After a whirlwind courtship, which unfolds in detail in Strindberg's letters and diary, Strindberg and Bosse were married in 1901, when he was 52 and she 23. Strindberg wrote a number of major roles for Bosse during their short and stormy relationship, especially in 1900–01, a period of great creativity and productivity for him. Like his previous two marriages, the relationship failed as a result of Strindberg's jealousy, which some biographers have characterized as paranoid. The spectrum of Strindberg's feelings about Bosse, ranging from worship to rage, is reflected in the roles he wrote for her to play, or as portraits of her. Despite her real-life role as muse to Strindberg, she remained an independent artist. (Full article...)
Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎あゆみ, Hamasaki Ayumi, born October 2, 1978) is a Japanese singer, songwriter, record producer, actress, model, spokesperson and entrepreneur. Through her entire career, she has written all her lyrical content, and has sometimes composed her music.
Born and raised in Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture, Hamasaki moved to Tokyo at fourteen in 1993 to pursue a career in singing and acting. In 1998, under the tutelage of Avex CEO Max Matsuura, Hamasaki released her debut single "Poker Face" and debut major-label album A Song for XX. The album debuted at the top of the Oricon charts and remained there for five weeks, selling over a million copies. Her next ten albums shipped over a million copies in Japan, with her third, Duty, selling nearly three million. A Best, her first compilation album, is her best-selling album, with more than four million copies sold in Japan. Since 2006, after her album (Miss)understood was released, album and single sales have declined. (Full article...)
Nick Drake in 1969
Nicholas Rodney Drake (19 June 1948 – 25 November 1974) was an English singer-songwriter and musician known for his acoustic guitar-based songs. Though he never found a wide audience during his lifetime, his work has gradually achieved wider notice and recognition. Drake signed to Island Records when he was 20 years old and a student at the University of Cambridge. He released his debut album, Five Leaves Left, in 1969. By 1972, he had recorded two more albums—Bryter Layter and Pink Moon. Neither sold more than 5,000 copies on initial release. His reluctance to perform live, or be interviewed, contributed to his lack of commercial success. There is no known video footage of the adult Drake; he was only ever captured in still photographs and in home footage from his childhood.
Drake suffered from depression, particularly during the latter part of his life, a fact often reflected in his lyrics. On completion of his third album, 1972's Pink Moon, he withdrew from both live performance and recording, retreating to his parents' home in rural Warwickshire. On 25 November 1974, Drake died from an overdose of amitriptyline, a prescribed antidepressant; he was 26 years old. Whether his death was an accident or suicide has never been resolved. (Full article...)
Maxim Gorky (1868–1936) was a Russian political activist and writer who helped establish the Socialist Realism literary method. This portrait dates from a trip Gorky made to the United States in 1906, on which he raised funds for the Bolsheviks. During this trip he wrote his novel The Mother.
Ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky, as a member of the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL) in 1997. Gretzky, nicknamed "The Great One", is widely considered the best hockey player of all time. Upon his retirement in 1999, he held forty regular-season records, fifteen playoff records, and six All-Star records. He is the only NHL player to total over 200 points in one season—a feat he accomplished four times. In addition, he tallied over 100 points in 15 NHL seasons, 13 of them consecutively. He is the only player to have his number (99) officially retired by the NHL for all teams.
Walt Whitman (1819–1892) was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass (first published in 1855, but continuously revised until Whitman's death), which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality.
Aminah Cendrakasih (born 29 January 1938) is an Indonesian actress. She started in films in her teens, her first starring role being in 1955. She continued acting into her seventies, appearing in almost 120 feature films during her career, as well as in several television roles. In 2012, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bandung Film Festival, and received another at the 2013 Indonesian Movie Awards.