27 October: today's birthdays

  • Roberto Benigni - Roberto Benigni is an Italian film director, actor and screenwriter. He directed the film Life is Beautiful (La vita è bella) and he won an Oscar for Best Actor for starring in it and an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Roberto Benigni is considered one of the greatest Italian actors and without doubt the most internationally influential Italian actor who is currently alive.
    Outside of his filmmaking activities, Benigni holds numerous honorary degrees. Many of these are connected to his much celebrated one man show TuttoDante, where he recites, comments and explains Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy in connection to current events. Through his work on Dante, Benigni managed to expand awareness and knowledge of the Divine Comedy to English speakers around the world in a more accessible and entertaining manner.
    The correct pronunciation of Roberto Benigni in Italian can be phonetically transcribed as Roh-behr-toh Beh-knee-ñee. To achieve a proper pronunciation of his first name, Roberto, it is important to pronounce the "o"s with a closed sound, like in the word "more". The "e" in -behr must also be pronounced with a closed sound like in the word "set". His last name, Benigini, begins with another closed "e", like in "set". The final challenge in pronouncing Benigni is the much dreaded "gn" sound. We have chosen to transcribe it, as "ñ" as it is equivalent to the "gn" sound in Italian and because it will be familiar to English-speakers, as it is used in common foreign words like "piñata" or "niño".
  • John Cleese - English actor and comedian, one of the members of the Monty Python group
  • Ruby Dee - American actress, author, screenwriter and journalist, born Ruby Ann Wallace 
  • Stephan El Shaarawy (IT) - Italian footballer of Egyptian descent
  • Geert Geertsz - Dutch theologian, humanist and philosopher, best known as Erasmus of Rotterdam
  • Roy Lichtenstein - American artist, one of the major exponents of Pop Art
  • Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva - Brazilian politician
  • Marla Maples - American actress
  • Mary T. Meagher - Former American swimmer
  • Piet Oudolf - Dutch garden designer and nurseryman
  • Sylvia Plath - American poet e novelist. She suffered from depression and she committed suicide. She was married to British poet Ted Hughes
  • Theodore Roosevelt - American polician who served as the 26th President of the United States. He is considered one of the founding fathers of the country. His portrait appears carved on Mount Rushmore, along with Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington 
  • Wolfgang Streeck - German economic sociologist 
  • Vanessa-Mae - British violinist and Olympic skier born in Singapore. Her complete name is Vanessa Mae Vanakorn
  • Scott Weiland - American musician and singer-songwriter, born Scott Richard Kline. He was the frontman of the rock band Stone Temple Pilots and supergroup Velvet Revolver
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