10 Famous Americans Who Were Born on the Fourth of July
One of our favorite pieces of presidential trivia is that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, and James Monroe followed in their footsteps exactly five years later. However, there's only one president, who was born on the Fourth of July: Calvin Coolidge. Although they may not have been presidents, here are 10 other people who celebrate their birthdays on the same day as the United States.
1. Nathaniel Hawthorne // 1804
You no doubt remember Hawthorne from your ninth-grade English class: he wrote The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables, among other things. He also wrote a biography of president Franklin Pierce, whom he counted among his good friends.
2. Stephen Foster // 1826
Foster is sometimes called the "Father of American Music" because he wrote the tunes that have been frequently stuck in our heads ever since: "Oh! Susanna," "Camptown Races," "Beautiful Dreamer," "My Old Kentucky Home," and "Swanee River," to name a few. And, you'll notice he was born on the same date that Adams and Jefferson died.
3. Louis B. Mayer // 1882
The story goes that Mayer chose his own birthday when he came to America with his parents. He also chose his name, his birthplace, and his birth year—he was born Lazar Meir in a small town in Belarus, but by the time he became involved with the movie business, he was Louis B. Mayer, born July 4, 1885, from Minsk. You'd know him best as the third name in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, a.k.a. MGM.
4. Rube Goldberg // 1883
Reuben "Rube" Goldberg wasn't just the namesake for large-scale, complex, ridiculous contraptions. He was also a famous political cartoonist and won a Pulitzer in 1948 for a cartoon called "Peace Today."
5. and 6. Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren // 1918
Twin advice columnists Ann Landers (born Esther "Eppie" Pauline Friedman) and Dear Abby (born Pauline "Popo" Esther Friedman) grew up in Sioux City, Iowa. It's safe to say that they didn't celebrate many adult birthdays together; although they were very close in their younger years (they even had a joint wedding), a falling out caused the two to stop speaking to one another for years.
7. Neil Simon // 1927
The New York playwright won numerous Tony Awards and a Pulitzer for his comedic shows, including The Odd Couple and Biloxi Blues. In 1983, he became the only living playwright to have a Broadway theater named for him.
8. George Steinbrenner // 1930
It's fitting that the legendary owner of the baseball team formerly known as the New York Americans was born on July 4th, don't you think? (That would be the Yankees—a newspaper editor coined that name in 1904.)
9. Geraldo Rivera // 1943
The tabloid talk show host/journalist was born "Gerald" in New York City, but when graduated college and headed into the reporting field, he changed it to what his Puerto Rican father's side of the family called him.
10. Ron Kovic // 1946
Kovic is the Vietnam Vet who wrote the book Born on the Fourth of July, which was later turned into the movie starring Tom Cruise. During his second tour of Vietnam, he became paralyzed from a gunshot wound that caused a spinal cord injury. Upon his return to the U.S., he became arguably the most famous veteran peace activist.
This story was updated in 2019.