01-26-1958 Ellen DeGeneres – Born in Metairie, Louisiana. She is an American comedian, television host, actress, writer, and television producer. She was the star in the popular sitcom Ellen from 1994 to 1998, and has hosted her syndicated talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show since 2003. Her stand up career started in the early 1980s, culminating in a 1986 appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, who likened her to Bob Newhart, and invited her for an onscreen chat after her set. She was the first comedienne invited by Johnny Carson to join him, a national, and the most influential endorsement available at the time for comics. She won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress, for the voice of Dory in the animated film Finding Nemo. This was the first time an actress won a Saturn award for a voice performance. During the forth season of Ellen in 1997, she came out publicly as lesbian in an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. In 2008, she married her long-time girlfriend Portia de Rossi. DeGeneres has hosted the Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, and the Primetime Emmys. She has authored three books, and started her own record company, Eleveneleven. She has won 13 Emmys, 14 People’s Choice Awards, and numerous other awards for her work and charitable efforts. When Ellen came out as a lesbian in 1997, the media coverage stunted her professional career and left her “mired in depression”. In her book Love, Ellen, her mother, Betty DeGeneres describes being initially shocked, but has become one of her strongest supporters; she is also an active member of Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign’s Coming Out Project. Both Ellen and Portia are vegans and are “big animal lovers”. In 2009, PETA named her their “Woman of the Year”. In November 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named her a Special envoy for Global AIDS Awareness. On December 3, 2011, Ellen opened the show at the David Lynch Foundation’s 3rd annual “Change Begins Within” gala at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to raise funds to bring Transcendental Meditation to at-risk populations suffering from epidemic levels of chronic street and stress-related disorders. She says: “TM is the only time I have that stillness…it gives me a peaceful feeling, and I love it so much. I can’t say enough good things about it. All the benefits that you can achieve from sitting still and going within – it really is a beautiful experience.” In 2014, she was named the 46th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. On November 23, 2016, Ellen received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.
01-26-1944 Angela Davis – Born in Birmingham, Alabama. She is an American political activist, academic scholar, and author. During the 1960s, she was a prominent counterculture activist leader. One of her prime interests is to abolish the prison-industrial complex. From 1969 to 1991, she was a member of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party. Now retired, she was a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Davis was prosecuted for conspiracy involving the 1970 armed take-over of a Marin County, California courtroom. She was aquitted by an all white jury on June 4, 1972. She had spent sixteen months incarcerated. Davis is a supporter of Black Lives Matter. She was a co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington on January, 21, 2017. She is an out lesbian. As of 2020, Davis is living with her life partner Gina Dent, a fellow humanities scholar and intersectional feminist researcher at UC Santa Cruz. In 2020, she was listed as the 1971 “Woman of the Year” in Time magazine’s “100 Women of the Year” edition, which selected iconic women over the 100 years since women’s suffrage in the United States of America from 1920. In 2020, she was included on Time’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
01-26-1908 – 07-28-1990 Jill Esmond – Born in London, England. She was an English stage and screen actress. Esmond was the first wife of Laurence Olivier. They were married from 1930 to 1940. The couple had one son. Esmond made her film debut in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Skin Game (1931). She also appeared in two Broadway plays, Private Lives (1931) and The Green Bay Tree (1933). Olivier stated, “The marriage was a pretty crass mistake. She had admitted to me that she was in love elsewhere and could never love me as completely as I would wish.” Esmond was a lesbian and because it was socially unacceptable in her lifetime, it was rarely mentioned. After divorcing Olivier, she lived the rest of her life with another woman.
01-26-1943 Susan Griffin – Born in Los Angeles, California. She is an eco-feminist author. She describes her work as “draw[ing] connections between the destruction of nature, the diminishment of women and racism, and trac[ing] the causes of war to denial in both private and public life.” In addition to her many published writings, Griffin co-wrote and narrated the award-winning 1990 documentary, Berkeley in the Sixties. She is an out lesbian.
01-26-1963 — 03-09-1995 Scott Amedure – Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was an American murder victim. On March 6, 1995, during a taping of The Jenny Jones Show (a television talk show), Amedure revealed that he was attracted to an acquaintance, Jonathan Schmitz (born July 18, 1970) who lived near him in Lake Orion, Michigan. Until the taping, Schmitz didn’t know who would be revealed as his secret admirer. During the segment, Amedure was encouraged by Jones to share his fantasies about Schmitz, after which Schmitz was brought onstage. In response to Amedure’s disclosure, Schmitz laughed, then stated that he was “definitely heterosexual.” Three days later, Schmitz confronted Amedure and shot him twice in the chest. At the murder trial, a friend of Amedure’s stated that Amedure and Schmitz went out drinking together after the taping and an alleged sexual encounter occurred. Three days later, Amedure left a “suggestive” note at Schmitz’s house.After finding the note, Schmitz withdrew money from a bank, purchased a shotgun, and then went to Amedure’s mobile home. He then asked Amedure if he was the one that left the note. According to court documents, Amedure responded with a smile. Schmitz then returned to his car, got his gun, and returned to Amedure’s trailer and killed him. After killing Amedure, Schmitz left the residence, telephoned 9-1-1, and confessed to the killing. At trial, defense attorneys argued that Schmitz, who had been diagnosed with manic depression and Graves’ disease, was caused to commit homicide by mental illness and humiliation, by way of the “gay panic defense.” Schmitz was found guilty of second degree murder in 1996 and sentenced to 25–50 years in prison, but his conviction was overturned on appeal. Upon retrial, he was found guilty of the same charge once again and his sentence was reinstated. Schmitz was released from prison on August 22, 2017, after being granted parole.