On May 7th, a lot of famous people were born.

In 1833, Johannes Brahms was born, and seven years later, in 1840, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky was born.  You’ll find piles of CDs featuring their music in our classical collection.

In 1901, Gary Cooper, the star of High Noon, The Virginian, Love in the Afternoon and Sergeant York (among many others) was born.  We have a biography of him that was written by his daughter Maria — Gary Cooper Off Camera : a Daughter Remembers (as usual, unless otherwise stated, the descriptions that follow each title are from the publishers):

Gary Cooper (1901-1961) is an American icon-an actor whose handsome features and unstudied poise made him one of the great stars of Hollywood’s Golden Era. Now, his only child gives us an extraordinary memoir-a book that reveals the Gary Cooper only she knew. Illustrated throughout with 175 photographs, including many never-before-published family pictures, Maria Cooper Janis’ heartfelt book offers an unprecedented look at her father’s private side, from his Montana boyhood and his Hollywood home life to his friendships with Ernest Heming way, Pablo Picasso, and Jimmy Stewart, among others. Filled with anecdotes that capture the off-screen humor and warmth of this avid outdoorsman and great humanitarian, Gary Cooper Off Camera is an unforgettable portrait of a great star and a beloved father.

We also have a copy of High Noon on VHS, but very little on DVD — that’s a little hole in the collection that I’ll have to fill!:

Gary Cooper won the Oscar(R) for the Best Actor in this classic tale of a lawman who stands alone to defend a town of cowardly citizens against a gang of revenge-seeking criminals. In the greatest showdown in the history of cinema, Cooper stands to lose not only the town but his new wife, Grace Kelly. The film also stars one of Hollywood’s most beloved and prolific actors, Lloyd Bridges, and marks the first starring role for a beautiful young actress and internationally adored screen legend – Grace Kelly. HIGH NOON garnered a total of four Academy Awards(R) including Best Editing, Score and Original Song.

Also born on May 7th was Eva Perón, in 1919.  We’ve got the biography by Alicia Dujovne Ortiz:

In this best-selling biography, French and Argentine journalist Alicia Dujovne Ortiz examines the mythology that surrounds Eva Peron as she penetrates the complexities behind Peron’s ever-lasting allure. Born in 1919, the illegitimate daughter of destitute Argentine farmers, Eva Duarte spent her adolescence aspiring to the grand and glorious fame of the theater. At the first opportunity, she fled the deprivation of her origins and the backwaters of her poor village for the glittering lights of Buenos Aires. However, because she lacked both formal training and talent to be an actress, Eva quickly realized that it would take many years of hardship for even a small chance at becoming the star of her generation. It was during this time of disillusion that Eva met Juan Peron. Abandoning her pursuit of stardom, Eva concentrated all of her efforts on helping the future dictator of Argentina ascend politically. Her theatrical ambition was substituted with the desire not only to launch her husband’s career, but to remake herself as a figure of providence for the millions of impoverished workers of her country. With access to the newly declassified archives of the Peron government, Ortiz has uncovered new information, including connections between Juan Peron and the German Nazi party. Taking into account every source of information — many never available to any other previous biographer — Ortiz has tapped into dozens of personal testimonies, including that of Father Hernan Benitez, Eva’s personal confessor, as well as Eva’s own private memoirs.

And (my personal favorite in this round up) in 1922, actor Darren McGavin, best-known for his role as the father in the holiday classic A Christmas Story:

From the All Movie Guide:  Nine years after the Yuletide slasher flick Black Christmas, Porky’s director Bob Clark once again took on the holiday genre, switching from gasps to laughs with A Christmas Story. Adapted from a memoir by humorist Jean Shepherd (who narrates), the film centers on Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), a young boy living in 1940s Indiana, desperately yearning for a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas. Despite protests from his mother (Melinda Dillon) that he’ll shoot his eye out, Ralphie persists, unsuccessfully trying to enlist the assistance of both his teacher and Santa Claus. All the while, Ralphie finds himself dealing with the constant taunts of a pair of bullies and trying to not get in the middle of a feud between his mother and father (Darren McGavin) regarding a sexy lamp.

Finally, in 1950, broadcast journalist Tim Russert, author of Big Russ and Me: Father and Son: Lessons of Life:

“The older I get, the smarter my father seems to get. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t remember something that Big Russ taught me.”

Over the last two decades, Tim Russert has become one of the most trusted and admired figures in American television journalism. Throughout his career he has spent time with presidents and popes, world leaders and newsmakers, celebrities and sports heroes, but one person stands out from the rest in terms of his strength of character, modest grace, and simple decency—Russert’s dad, Big Russ.

In this warm, engaging memoir, Russert casts a fond look back to the 1950s Buffalo neighborhood of his youth. In the close-knit Irish-Catholic community where he grew up, doors were left unlocked at night; backyard ponds became makeshift ice hockey rinks in winter; and streets were commandeered as touch football fields in the fall. And he recalls the extraordinary example of his father, a WWII veteran who worked two jobs without complaint for thirty years and taught his children to appreciate the values of self-discipline, of respect, of loyalty to friends.

Big Russ and Me, written in Russert’s easygoing, straight-talking style, offers an irresistible collection of personal memories. Russert recalls the dedicated teachers who stimulated his imagination and intellect, sparking a lifelong passion for politics and journalism, and inspired a career that took him from editor of his elementary school newspaper to moderator of Meet the Press.

It has been an eventful and deeply satisfying journey, but no matter where his career has taken him, Russert’s fundamental values still spring from that small house on Woodside Avenue and the special bond he shares with his father—a bond he enjoys now with his own son. As Tim Russert celebrates the indelible connection between fathers and sons, readers everywhere will laugh, cry, and identify with the lessons of life taught by the indomitable Big Russ.

As well as Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons:

What does it really mean to be a good father? What did your father tell you, that has stayed with you throughout your life? Was there a lesson from him, a story, or a moment that helped to make you who you are? Is there a special memory that makes you smile when you least expect it?

After the publication of Tim Russert’s number one New York Times bestseller about his father, Big Russ & Me, he received an avalanche of letters from daughters and sons who wanted to tell him about their own fathers, most of whom were not superdads or heroes but ordinary men who were remembered and cherished for some of their best moments–of advice, tenderness, strength, honor, discipline, and occasional eccentricity.

Most of these daughters and sons were eager to express the gratitude they had carried with them through the years. Others wanted to share lessons and memories and, most important, pass them down to their own children.

This book is for all fathers, young or old, who can learn from the men in these pages how to get it right, and to understand that sometimes it is the little gestures that can make the big difference for your child. For some in this book, the appreciation came later than they would have liked. But as Wisdom of Our Fathers reminds us, it is never too late to embrace it.

From the father who coached his daughter in sports (and life), attending every meet, game, performance, and tournament, to the daughter who, after a fifteen-year estrangement, learned to make peace with her difficult father just before he died, to the son who came, at last, to appreciate the silent way his father could show affection, Wisdom of Our Fathers shares rewarding lessons, immeasurable gifts, and lasting values.

Heartfelt, humorous, engaging, irresistibly readable, and bound to bring back memories of unforgettable moments with our own fathers, Tim Russert’s new book is not only a fitting companion to his own marvelous memoir, but also a celebration of the positive qualities passed down from generation to generation.

As always, if you would like to place a hold, please call the library at 985-2173 or visit our website.

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