January 21st People

January 21st

01-21-1885 – 05-08-1978 Duncan Grant – Born in Rothiemurchus, Aviemore, Scotland. He was a British painter and designer of textiles, pottery, theatre sets, and costumes. Grant was a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Although he was gay, he had a relationship with Vanessa Bell and they had a daughter. Grant continued to live with Bell for more than 40 years, their relationship one of friendship, respect, and creativity. They often painted in the same studio, praising and critiquing each other’s work. While living with Bell, Grant had many affairs with men, including the writer and publisher, David Garett, who ended up married to Grant and Bell’s daughter, Angelica. Other affairs included the writer Lytton Strachey, politician Arthur Hobhouse, and the economist John Maynard Keynes. In Grant’s later years, his lover, the poet Paul Roche, whom he had known since 1946, took care of him until his death in 1978.

01-21-1895 – 03-23-1972 Cristóbal Balenciaga – Born in Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain. He was a gay Spanish Basque fashion designer and founder of the Balenciaga fashion house. His business partner and greatest love was Vladzio cristobal-balenciagaZawrorowski d’Attainville, who died in 1948. Balenciaga was successful during his early career as a designer in Spain. It was his designs in the post-war years that showed the full scale of the inventiveness of a highly original designer. In 1951, he  transformed the silhouette, broadening of the shoulder, and removing the waist. In 1955, he designed the tunic dress, which later developed into the chemise dress of 1957. And eventually, in 1959, his work culminated in the Empire line, with high-waisted dresses and coats cut like kimonos. He was one of the few couturiers in fashion history who could use their own hands to draw, cut, and sew the designs which symbolized the height of his artistry.

01-21-1952 – 02-21-1998 Penny Severns – Born in Decatur, Illinois. She was a member of the Illinois Senate, representing the 51st Senate District from penny-severns1987 until her death in 1998. She was viewed as an advocate for working families, breast cancer awareness, and who helped in the preservation of the Dana-Thomas House, built by Frank Lloyd Wright. In late 1993, Severns was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time of her death, she was in a relationship with journalist Terry Mutchler. Due to the stigma against same-sex relationships at the time, they kept their relationship a secret. In November 2014, Mutchler wrote a book about her relationship with Severns, titled Under This Beautiful Dome.

01-21-1953   Rick Welts – Born in Seattle, Washington. He is an American sports executive, serving as the President and Chief Operating Officer for the Golden State Warriors basketball association. On May 15, 2011, Welts publicly came out as gay in an interview with The New York Times. He is the first prominent American sports executive to come out. He is a member of the Advisory Board for You Can Play, a campaign dedicated to fighting homophobia in sports. On January 10, 2020, Welts married Todd Gage, his partner of nine years, at San Francisco City Hall. The ceremony was officiated by Mayor London Breed.

01-21-1968 – 01-26-2001 Diane Whipple – Born in Princeton, New Jersey. She was a lacrosse player and coach at Saint Mary’s College of California, who is best known as the victim of a fatal dog attack in San Francisco in January 2001. The dogs involved were two Presa Canario dogs owned by neighbors diane-whippleliving in the same apartment building. In March 2001, a grand jury indicted Knoller and Noel (owners of the dogs). The jury found both Noel and Knoller guilty of involuntary manslaughter, and found Knoller guilty of second-degree murder. After their convictions in 2002, the State Bar of California suspended their law licenses. Noel was disbarred in February 2007. Knoller is serving her sentence (15 years to life) in Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla. At the time of her death, Whipple lived with her domestic partner of six years, Sharon Smith. Smith also succeeded in suing Knoller and Noel for $1,500,000 in civil damages. She donated some of the money to Saint Mary’s College of California to fund the women’s lacrosse team.

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