07-07-1899 – 01-24-1983 George Cukor – Born in the Lower East Side, New York City, New York. He was an American film director. Cukor directed The Philadelphia Story (1940), Born Yesterday (1950), A Star Is Born (1954), My Fair Lady (1964), and many other films. It was an open secret in Hollywood that Cukor was gay, although he was discreet about his sexual orientation and “never carried it as a pin on his lapel,” as producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz put it. His luxurious home was the site of weekly Sunday afternoon parties attended by closeted celebrities and the attractive young men they met in bars and gyms. At least once, in the midst of his reign at MGM, he was arrested on vice charges, but studio executives managed to get the charges dropped, all records of it expunged, and the incident was never published by the press. The PBS series American Masters produced a comprehensive documentary about his life and work titled On Cukor directed by Robert Trachtenberg in 2000.
07-07-1980 Deidre Downs – Born in Alabama, city unknown. She is an American physician, former Miss Alabama (2004), and Miss American (2005). In March 2008, she married her college sweetheart, Andrew Gunn. They had a son in 2010 and later the couple divorced. In a private ceremony at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, Alabama, she remarried. Her wife, Abbott Jones, is an attorney and writer. Downs is the first former Miss America national titleholder to enter a same-sex marriage. (Photo was taken at the Jimmy Carter Work Project – June 2005)
07-07-1911 – 02-01-2007 Gian Carlo Menotti – Born in Cadegliano-Viconago, Italy. He was an Italian-American composer and librettist. Although he often referred to himself as an American composer, he kept his Italian citizenship. He wrote the classic Christmas opera Amahl and the Night Visitors. He won the Pulitzer Prize twice, for The Consul (1950) and for The Saint of Bleecker Street (1955). In 1984 Menotti was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor for achievement in the arts. He was in a relationship for over forty years with American composer Samuel Barber.
07-07-1972 Kirsten Vangsness – Born in Pasadena, California. She is an American actress and writer. She stars as FBI Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia on the CBS drama series Criminal Minds. Vangsness says that she is “as queer as a purple unicorn singing Madonna.” She began dating film and television editor Melanie Goldstein in 2006. They were engaged but separated in 2013. In April 2015, she revealed on smashinginterviews.com that she had entered into a relationship with a new boyfriend and was examining that aspect of her sexuality. In November 2015, it was reported that she was engaged to her boyfriend, actor-writer Keith Hanson. Although Vangsness doesn’t like to label herself as bisexual, she is attracted to both men and women.
07-07-1975 Andre Oktay Dahl – Born in Lørenskog, Norway. He was a Norwegian politician from 1999-2006. During his time in parliament, he focused on fighting homophobia, fighting for female rights, anti-corruption, and fighting against child abuse. After leaving the Norwegian Parliament, Dahl took the position as an account director in Norway’s biggest consultancy firm. He is still active in public debates, especially those involving child abuse, human rights, and LGBT issues. Dahl is also a highly skilled clarinet player. He served as a solo clarinet player in his Majesty’s Kings Guards band when he served in the Norwegian Army. Dahl is a former victim of child sexual abuse and he is openly gay.
07-07-1988 Jen Kish – Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She is a Canadian professional rugby player. Kish won a gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games as a member of the Canadian women’s rugby team. In 2016, she was named to Canada’s first-ever women’s Olympic rugby team. She and the team won the Bronze Medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Kish is one of 49 out LGBT athletes at the 2016 Olympic Games.