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Pop Culture

Born on the Fourth of July

From a president to a trumpet player to a couple of crooks, several prominent Americans — including first daughter Malia Obama — share their birthday with that of the nation.

 / Updated 17 PHOTOS
Nathaniel Hawthorne in the 1860s.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

The poet and novelist ("The Scarlet Letter" and "The House of the Seven Gables") was born in Salem, Mass., and spent the majority of his life in New England, where he was a contemporary of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Herman Melville. This picture is believed to be from the early 1860s. July 4, 1804 - May 19, 1864

Mathew Brady
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Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States. Picture copyright Dec. 4, 1923.

Calvin Coolidge

The 30th president of the United States was born in Plymouth, Vt., and is the only U.S. president to be born on the nation's birthday. Working his way up through Massachusetts politics he became governor of that state in 1919, before joining republican presidential candidate Warren Harding's successful campaign for the presidency as running mate in 1920. Coolidge became president in 1923 when Harding died in office. He won the presidency in his own right in 1924 and chose not to run again in 1928. July 4, 1872 - Jan. 5, 1933

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Louis Burt Mayer

Louis B. Mayer

Born Eliezer Meir in what is now Belarus, the future mogul emigrated with his family to Canada before moving to Massachusetts. There, Mayer started a chain of movie theaters, an enterprise that eventually became Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. As head of MGM in the 1920s and '30s, he ran the world's biggest film studio and is credited with creating Hollywood's star system. The growth of TV led to his being forced into retirement in the early '50s. July 4, 1882 - Oct. 29, 1957 (July 4 is the date Mayer adopted as his birthday, the true timing of which is a mystery because of poor recordkeeping in his birth country.)

Hulton Archive / Hulton Archive
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Blow! Louis! Blow!

Louis Armstrong

New Orleans, the city that gave birth to jazz, also gave birth to one of its greatest exponents, Louis Armstrong. Raised in great poverty, Armstrong played and sang from an early age and soon was performing professionally. He left the city in 1922 to move to Chicago, then a big jazz center, before eventually settling in New York, where he died in 1971 after a long and storied career. (*Armstrong always claimed he didn't know his real birthdate and that he celebrated his birthday on July 4; recent research, though, suggests he was born on August 4, 1901.) July 4, 1900*- July 6, 1971

Hulton Archive / Hulton Archive
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Meyer Lansky

Mayer Lansky

Born Majer Suchowlinski in what is now Belarus, Lansky emigrated with his family in 1911 and settled in New York, where he became involved with Prohibition-era mobsters Lucky Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel. Lower-key than his contemporaries, Lansky managed to avoid the attentions of law-enforcement for many years and concentrated on gambling enterprises (legal and illegal) when Prohibition had ended. He faced tax-evasion charges in the 1970s and fled to Israel, where he lived for several years before being sent back to the United States, where he was found not guilty. He died in Florida. July 4, 1902 - Jan. 15, 1983

Hulton Archive / Hulton Archive
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Ann Landers and Dear Abby

Born Esther "Eppie" Pauline Friedman and Pauline "Popo" Esther Friedman in Sioux City, Iowa, the identical-twin daughters of Russian-Jewish immigrants went on to write America's most prominent advice columns. Using the pen names Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby) respectively, Eppie Lederer and Pauline Phillips (as they became after they married on the same day in 1939) competed for space in newspapers across the nation for almost 50 years. The Ann Landers column was retired after Lederer (seen here at right) died in 2002, the same year Phillips's daughter, Jeanne, took over Dear Abby. Phillips, left, died on Jan. 16, 2013 at age 94.

John Gaps Iii / AP
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Leona Helmsley Arrives For Dinner At The Four Seasons Restaurant

Leona Helmsley

Born in upstate Ulster County, New York, Lena Rosenthal was married twice before she met New York City real-estate mogul Harry Helmsley and wed him in 1972. (She changed her first name early in her career.) As Helmsley acquired more hotel properties, his wife took over their management, her tough ways resulting in her being dubbed "The Queen of Mean." She got comeuppance for her boast that "only the little people pay taxes" when she was convicted of tax evasion in 1989, for which she served 18 months in a federal prison. After her husband died in 1997, Helmsley inherited his empire, which included partial ownership of the famed Empire State Building. July 4, 1920 - Aug. 20, 2007

Paul Hawthorne / Getty Images North America
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All About Eva

Eva Marie Saint

Born in Newark, N.J., Saint rose to prominence with Marlon Brando in 1954's "On the Waterfront," for which she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She went on to star in "North By Northwest" and "Exodus" before her career shifted to mainly TV roles, such as in "Moonlighting" and "People Like Us," for which she won an Emmy. Saint, however, has not entirely left film behind, and played Martha Kent, the adoptive mother of Superman, in this 2006's "Superman Returns." She has two stars on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, one each for her TV and film work. Born July 4, 1924

Columbia Tristar / Hulton Archive
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Opening Night Of "The Odd Couple" - Arrivals

Neil Simon

Born Marvin Neil Simon in The Bronx, New York City, Simon first made his name in writing for early-TV comics such as Sid Caesar. He then turned his attention to playwriting, turning out hit after hit, including "Barefoot in the Park," "The Odd Couple," "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and "Biloxi Blues." Simon also became a prolific movie writer, contributing scripts both based on his plays and the original work of others. Born July 4, 1927

Paul Hawthorne / Getty Images North America
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New York Fans Cheer Yankee Parade

George Steinbrenner

Born and raised in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, the future owner of the Yankees -- seen here with New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 2000 -- was involved in sports at university (Williams College and Ohio State), but concentrated on football and track rather than baseball. A short career in coaching ended when he took over his father's struggling shipbuilding firm, which he turned around -- thus providing him with enough money to buy the New York Yankees in 1978. During his ownership the Bronx Bombers won six World Series, in part due to Steinbrenner's willingness to dig deep to buy top talent. In his later years, Steinbrenner encountered several health problems starting in 2006 and handed over control of the team to his sons. He succumbed to a heart attack in July 2010. July 4, 1930 - July 13, 2010

Chris Hondros / Getty Images North America
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**FILE**Televison  personality Geraldo Rivera walks on a New York street on Dec. 9, 2002. The popular blog has launched a new "Gawker Stalker" feature that pinpoints the locations of readers' random celebrity sightings on the Internet, using a Google map of Manhattan. A reader's impression of Rivera, spotted Monday, March 20, 2006, at Rockefeller Center: "Shorter than expected (aren't they all), his moustache definitely greased into place and so tan he looked like he just popped out of an Easy Bake Oven." (AP Photo/Matt Moyer)

Geraldo Rivera

The future TV reporter and anchor was raised on New York's Long Island and looked set for a career as a lawyer before he was noticed by the local ABC affiliate in New York City and hired as a reporter. This led to network exposure on ABC's "20/20" newsmagazine, a gig that ended when he argued with ABC News chief Roone Arledge. Rivera then went on to various roles including the much-hyped 1986 opening of Al Capone's vault and stints at NBC and Fox. He then went on to host his own syndicated TV talk show before returning to Fox. Born July 4, 1943

Matt Moyer / AP
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Ron Kovic

Kovic, who was born in Wisconsin and brought up on Long Island, is an anti-war activist and author of the memoir "Born on the Fourth of July," which was made into an Oscar-winning movie starring Tom Cruise and directed by Oliver Stone. The book and film detail his service as a decorated Marine in Vietnam, where he was shot and paralyzed from the waist down in 1968. This picture shows him addressing the Democratic National Convention in 1976. Born July 4, 1946

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File photo dated 29 March 1989 shows Michael Milke

Michael Milken

The future king of junk bonds was born in Encino, Calif., and went on to graduate from Berkeley before joining investment firm Drexel Burnham Lambert. At Drexel, Milken specialized in high-yield debt (aka junk bonds), which became a tool in the much-criticized leveraged buyout boom of the 1980s. In 1989, his ride came to an end when he faced charges for massive fraud. He struck a plea deal, was jailed and ordered to pay fines totaling almost $1 billion. Banned for life from securities work, Milken emerged from jail and pursued philanthropy in an attempt to rinse the stain from his name. (He also dumped the much-derided wig seen in this pre-prison photo.) Born July 4, 1946

James Colburn / AFP
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Wimbledon Shriver

Pam Shriver

The future hall-of-fame tennis player was born in Baltimore, Md., and leapt to stardom in 1978, when as a 16-year-old amateur she beat Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova to reach the final of the U.S. Open (where she lost to Chris Evert). It was to be her last Grand Slam final as a singles player; Shriver, however, went on to win 22 Grand Slam doubles titles, most of them with Navratilova. After retiring from tennis in 1994, she shifted into a TV-commentating career, as well as marrying former James Bond actor George Lazenby and raising four children. The marriage, however, did not last and the couple entered divorce proceedings in 2008. This picture is from 1981. Born July 4, 1962

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Image: Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama, Malia Obama

Malia Obama

The eldest daughter of President Barack Obama, left, was born in Chicago, Ill., and has celebrated more than a few birthdays on the campaign trail. Malia now lives with the president, the first lady and her younger sister, Sasha, in the White House and attends the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. The family is seen here on the White House lawn. Born July 4, 1998

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP
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Image: FILE: Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino Arrested At Tanning Salon

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino

Michael Paul Sorrentino, known by his nickname The Situation, is an American television personality. He has appeared on the MTV reality show Jersey Shore in all six seasons from its premiere in December 2009 through its final episode in December 2012. Born July 4, 1982

Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images North America
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Actress Gloria Stuart arrives for the 70th Annual

Gloria Stuart

American actress, activist, painter, bonsai artist and fine art printer and printmaker. Stuart had a Hollywood career which spanned (with a long break in the middle) from 1932 until 2004 where she appeared on stage, television and in film, for which she was best-known. She appeared as Claude Rains' sweetheart in The Invisible Man, and as the elderly Rose Dawson Calvert in the Academy Award-winning film Titanic. She was the oldest person to be nominated in a supporting role for a competitive Oscar, for her role in Titanic, at the age of 87. July 4, 1910 – September 26, 2010

Vince Bucci / AFP
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