February 16th People

February 16th

02-16-1893 – 06-09-1974 Katharine Cornell – Born in Berlin, German Empire to American parents. She was an American stage actress, writer, theatre owner, and producer. Known as one of the greatest American stage actresses of the 20th century. In 1948 she won a Tony Award for Anthony and Cleopatra, it was the first time any actor, male or female, had won a Tony Award playing a Shakespearean role. She won many other awards, including in 1937, the Chi Omega Sorority’s National Achievement Award that was presented to her by Eleanor Roosevelt at a White House reception. Katherine Cornell was a lesbian in a “lavender” marriage with Guthrie McClintic. They formed a production team M.C. & C. Company, which produced all her plays. He directed every play she starred in. She only appeared in one Hollywood film, Stage Door Canteen (1943), in which she played herself.

02-16-1926 — 07-25-2003   John Schlesinger – Born in Hampstead, London, England in a Jewish family. He was an English film and stage director, and actor. His acting career began in the 1950s where he had many supporting roles in British films. In the 1960s, he gave up acting and concentrated on a directing career. Schlesinger won the Academy Award for Best Director for Midnight Cowboy (1969), and was nominated for the same award for Darling (1965) and Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971). Other films he is remembered by are Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), The Day of the Locust (1975), and Marathon Man (9176). Schlesinger was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1970 and as a resident of Palm Springs, California, he had a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars dedicated to him in 2003. On New Year’s Day 2001 he suffered a stroke. On July 24, 2003, he was taken off life support at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. He was survived by his partner of over 30 years, photographer Michael Childers. 

02-16-1937   Paul Bailey – Place of birth unknown. He was a British writer and critic. He is also the author of several novels  as well as biographies of Cynthia Payne and Quentin Crisp. Bailey has also written for plays for radio and television. In 2001, Three Queer Lives: An Alternative Biography of Naomi Jacob, Fred Barnes and Arthur Marshall was published. In 1990 he wrote a childhood memoir called An Immaculate Mistake. It told of growing up working-class, clever and gay in south London during and after the WWII. 


02-16-1953 Steve Kmetko – Born in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. He was a E! cable network entertainment reporter. In 1999, he gave an official “coming out” interview to The Advocate’s Editor in Chief, Judy Wieder, citing his reason for doing it: “It’s like what Nathan Lane told you when he came out in The Advocate. It’s about what happened to Matthew Shepard. By making this simple statement, maybe people will think twice about other gay people they encounter. Hopefully they’ll look at me and say, ‘Well, he’s succeeded and came out and has a pretty good life.” Kmetko now trains celebrities on the art of being interviewed.

02-16-1962 – 11-13-2004 John Balance – Born in Mansfield, United Kingdom. He was an English musician. One of the most influential figures in the industrial, experimental minimalist, and neofolk music scenes. Balance died after falling from a two story balcony at his home. He was survived by his partner, the artist Ian Johnstone.

02-16-1970 Kevin Allison – Born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is an LGBT comedic writer and actor. He is best known as a writing and performing member of The State on MTV. Allison came out as gay to the national media at 24 when The State began airing in 1994. Allison has taught comedy and storytelling classes at New York University, the People’s Improv Theatre in New York City, and the Philly Improv Theater in Philadelphia.

02-16-1978   John Tartaglia – Born in Maple Shade Township, New Jersey. He is an American puppeteer, actor, singer, and dancer. At the age of 16, he joined Sesame Street’s puppetry team in a part-time capacity, making him one of the youngest Sesame Street puppeteers in the show’s history. He became a full-time part of Sesame Street at the age of 18. Tartaglia created and puppeteered the roles of Princeton (a recent college grad) and Rod (a closeted Republican investment banker) in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Avenue Q. For his roles, he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical in 2004. In 2004, he helped to raise $525,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Tartaglia is openly gay. Regarding the matter, he stated, “I’m less worried about being a positive role as a gay person than making sure there’s no negative stereotypes of any sort.” He married Michael Shawn Lewis in New York in 2012.

02-16-1982 Marie-Ève Nault – Born in Trois-Rivières, Canada. She is a Canadian soccer player. Nault represented Canada women’s national team at the 2012 Summer Olympics, which won the bronze medal. She was one of 49 out LGBT athletes at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

02-16-1982   Ralph Shortey – Born in Casper, Wyoming and a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. He is an American former Republican politician and was convicted of child sex trafficking. In early December 2017, police arrested Shortey at a motel where he was found with a 17-year-old male prostitute. It later came out that the two had sex at least twice during the year before he was arrested. As a Republican in the Oklahoma State Senate, he advocated “family values.” The Associated Press reported that as a state senator, Shortey “routinely voted with his Republican colleagues on bills targeting gay and transgender people,” including a measure passed in 2017 to allow business owners to discriminate against LGBT people. Shortey was also known for his imposing size. He’s 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 315 pounds. Shortey was married and has four daughters. Once divorced, his wife and children changed their last name. On September 17, 2018, he received a sentence of 15 years in prison, and 10 years of supervised release. Shortey was also ordered to pay $125,000 in restitution to the seventeen-year-old. 

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