09-24-1902 — 10-07-1986 Cheryl Crawford – Born in Akron, Ohio. She was an American theatre producer and director. Crawford majored in drama at Smith College. Following graduation in 1925, she moved to New York City. In 1931, she, Harold Cluman, and Lee Strasberg formed The Group Theatre. Crawford was influential in the early careers of Helen Hayes, Bojangles Robinson, Mary Martin, Ethel Barrymore, Ingrid Bergman, Tallulah Bankhead, and Paul Robeson. In 1946, she and Eva Le Gallienne founded the American Repertory Theatre. In 1947, Crawford with Group Theatre members Elia Kazan and Robert Lewis founded The Actor’s Studio, which trained Marlon Brando, James Dean, Paul Newman, Marilyn Monroe, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Steve MdQueen, Martin Landau, Shelley Winters, Jane Fonda, Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel, Jack Nicholson, John Astin, and many more. Former partner Strasberg joined them as artistic director in 1951. Crawford was a lesbian and linked romantically with fellow Group Theatre actress Dorothy Patten, with whom she lived for several years in the 1930s. Following the breakup with Patten, she later became the lifelong partner of chef Ruth Norman. Crawford was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1979.
09-24-1923 – 03-03-2001 Louis Edmonds – Born in Baron Rouge, Louisiana. He was an American actor best known for his roles in Dark Shadows and All My Children. Edmonds appeared in the musical Ernest in Love in 1960. He also played Max in the original Broadway production of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. In the 1970s and 1980s, Edmonds toured in two of the most successful musicals, Man of La Mancha, as Cervantes/Quixote, and My Fair Lady, as Henry Higgins. He came out publicly in the biography Big Lou by Craig Hamrick, published while Edmonds was in his 70s. The actor gave details of his life as a gay man. He died of respiratory failure.
09-24-1951 Mark Leno – Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is an American politician, representing California’s 11th State Senate district. He was first elected to the State Senate in 2008 and is the first openly gay man to serve there. In 2005, Leno authored a bill legalizing same-sex marriages that became the first bill of its kind to pass a legislative body in the United States. The bill passed both the Assembly and the State Senate but was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.
09-24-1975 – 09-09-2017 Michael Friedman – Born in Boston, Massachusetts. He was an American composer and lyricist. In 2007 he received an Obie award for sustained excellence. His musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson opened on Broadway in October 2010. He died from complications of H.I.V./AIDS nine weeks after he found out he had the disease. Friedman wanted people to know he died of AIDS to remind them that the disease was still around and the importance of getting tested.
09-24-1979 – 01-04-2010 Casey Johnson – Born in Florida, city unknown. She was an American heiress, socialite, and celebutante (famous for doing nothing), as well as an occasional actress, model, and author. She was the great-great-granddaughter of Robert Wood Johnson I, co-founder of Johnson & Johnson. As a child, she was diagnosed with diabetes. At the age of 14, she co-wrote a book with her father entitled Managing Your Child’s Diabetes. Johnson was openly bisexual and dated both men and women. After refusing to seek treatment for drug abuse, Johnson was cut off financially by her family. On December 9, 2009, Johnson announced that she and reality television star Tila Tequila were engaged. On December 29. 2009, she left a message on Twitter saying, “Sweet dreams everyone…I’m getting a new car…” On January 4, 2010, the Daily News reported that a maid found Johnson’s body in the bedroom of her West Hollywood home. It was announced by the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office that she died of diabetic ketoacidosis. She was reported to have neglected to take insulin and therefore died due to lack of proper medical treatment.
09-24-1979 Ross Mathews – Born in Mount Vernon, Washington. He is an American television personality who first rose to fame with his role as an intern, and later, a correspondent, for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Matthews is openly gay. Since 2008, he has been in a relationship with stylist Salvador Camarena. In 2013, the couple appeared in an episode of House Hunters while shopping for a home in Palm Springs.