So, I was watching Larry King Live-via-Pacemaker on CNN, and he was having an interview with Phyllis Diller.
This was a followup to an interview I’d heard earlier by Diller, on Fresh Air with Terry Gross, on NPR.
Diller turned 85 recently, and is hanging up live performances because of it. To which one can only say, bully for her.
But it got me to thinking… If she’s 85 this year, that means she was born in 1917.
There’s another famous individual born in 1917, but I’ll bet you think of him as a much younger fellow:
Having been born in Boston, and not moving from there until I was 9 (in 1972), Jack was clearly the Patron Saint of town. So it’s hard not to mingle the mystique of Jack throughout the country with what he had in Massachusetts.
So I went and started trawling though Encarta, looking for others born in 1917. It’s a mixed bunch. In no particular order:
John Lee Hooker
Arthur C. Clarke
Robert C. Byrd
What’s interesting about this list, to me, is how you think of all these people kinda sorta in their “prime”, which was different ages for each. I mean, blues man John Lee Hooker always seemed older than God. To think of him as being as fresh a scrub as JFK was when the PT 109 was hit in WWII is just jolting.
Or how about Byrd, the longtime Senator from West Virgina. Take in his courtly somnolence on C-SPAN one of these days, and realize he’s exactly the same age as JFK. Or Phyllis Diller.
Diller was interesting, too, because she started so late. She didn’t become a comedienne until after her kids were grown, and she was in her late 30′s.
No big meaning here… Although I like stories like that, along with Dennis Farina, John Mahoney, and Danny Aiello, all of whom started acting later in life than any “Brat Pack”.