From King Philip II to Mr. T

Published 11:00 am Saturday, May 8, 2010

It’s not my birthday today, but it will be soon. On May 21, I turn 34, an age I thought was unthinkable in my teens, old in my 20s and young now.

I’m not usually one to make a big deal about my birthday.

When a family member asks if there’s something special I would like or need, I usually respond with the cliché, “You don’t need to get me anything.”

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But I’m writing today’s column about my birthday because I’m intrigued about which famous people were also born on May 21.

One of my favorite jobs to do when laying out the paper is putting together the opinion page because there are some many unique and interesting elements to it. One of those elements is the “On this Date” feature that lists all the important events from that day in history.

That list also includes a sample of famous people who were born that day.

The people who were born on May 21 is an interesting mix.

Take for instance Greek philosopher Plato, who was born on May 21, 427 B.C.

Plato had Socrates as a mentor and Aristotle as a student. My mentors have all had two names, and I’ve never been a teacher.

King Philip II of Spain was born in 1526.

Philip II ruled one of the world’s largest empires that included territories in every continent then known to Europeans.

French-Post Impressionist painter Henri Rousseau was born in 1844.

In 1917, actor Raymond Burr was born.

Burr was an American actor who was perhaps best known for his role in the Perry Mason series.

On May 21, 1923, Ara Parseghian was born. Parseghian coached for Notre Dame and was there at the same time as Rudy Ruettiger and Joe Montana.

Mr. T. was born in 1951.

The actor starred in The A Team, a TV series I was glued to as a kid and which was written by one of my father’s fraternity brothers from the University of Oregon.

Actor Judge Reinhold was born in 1956. Reinhold was best known for the Beverly Hills Cop movies.

The list continues.

In 1967, wrestler Chris Benoit was born.

Late rapper The Notorious B.I.G was born in 1972.

I listened to his music quite a bit in college, and I especially enjoy his version of “Going Back to Cali.”

The list basically ends there, although there are several other names I’ve never heard of.

As your birthday nears, take a look at our opinion page to see who shares your birthday.

I’ve found it interesting, and for those younger than I am who think I’m old, I disagree.

Plato would be 2,437 this year.