Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
December 29: Paula Poundstone (1959)

It was on this date, December 29, 1959, that American stand-up comedian and writer Paula Poundstone was born in Huntsville, Alabama, but grew up in Sudbury, Massachusetts, where she dropped out of high school to pursue show business. Now known for her trademark suits and ties, Poundstone started doing stand-up in Boston in 1979, then […]

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December 27: Marlene Dietrich (1901)

It was on this date, December 27, 1901, that German-American actress and singer Marlene Dietrich was born Marie Magdalene Dietrich in Schöneberg, now a district of Berlin, Germany. Nicknamed “Lena” by her family, around age 11 she contracted her two first names to become “Marlene.” Early on, she became a performer, working briefly as a […]

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December 3: Julianne Moore (1960)

It was on this date, December 3, 1960, that British-American actress Julianne Moore was born Julie Anne Smith in the Fort Bragg, North Carolina, army installation, the daughter of a military father who later became a military judge and a psychologist/social worker mother who had emigrated from Scotland. Because of her mother’s heritage, Moore claimed […]

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December 1: Sarah Silverman (1970)

It was on this date, December 1, 1970, that American comedienne, writer, and actress Sarah Silverman was born Sarah Kate Silverman into a Jewish family in Manchester, NH. Silverman says she was not “raised with any religion,” only considering herself ethnically Jewish. Her comic style addresses social taboos and controversial topics such as racism, sexism, […]

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November 27: Bruce Lee (1940)

It was on this date, November 27, 1940, that Chinese-American martial artist, actor and creator of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee (李小龍) was born Lee Jun-fan (李振藩) in San Francisco’s Chinatown, the son of a Chinese opera star father and a half-Caucasian mother. Lee’s family returned to their home in Hong Kong after his birth, […]

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November 22: Rodney Dangerfield (1921)

It was on this date, November 22, 1921, the American comedian Rodney Dangerfield was born Jacob Rodney Cohen to Jewish parents. Quipped Rodney, “When I was born I was so ugly the doctor slapped my mother. … I was so ugly my mother used to feed me with a sling shot. … When I was […]

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November 13: Ayaan Hirsi Ali (1969)

It was on this date, November 13, 1969, that Somali-born American feminist and atheist activist, writer and politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born Ayaan Hirsi Magan in Mogadishu, Somalia. While her father, a leading figure in the Somalian Revolution, was in prison, Ayann’s grandmother had the 5-year-old young girl’s genitals ritually cut off in what […]

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October 10: Julia Sweeney (1959)

It was on this date, October 10, 1959, that American actress, comedian and author Julia Sweeney was born in Spokane, Washington. From her start with the improvisational comedy troupe The Groundlings, Sweeney was discovered in 1989 by “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels and became a featured player on the TV show from 1990 to […]

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October 5: Robin Lane Fox (1946)

It was on this date, October 5, 1946, that English historian of antiquity, educator and gardening writer Robin Lane Fox was born. He was educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was a Fellow from 1970-1973. Lane Fox has written acclaimed studies of Alexander the Great and Ancient Macedon, Christianity and Paganism and […]

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July 14: Ingmar Bergman (1918)

It was on this date, July 14, 1918, that Swedish film and theater director Ingmar Bergman was born Ernst Ingmar Bergman in Uppsala. Although the son of a Lutheran pastor, and reared in a devout Lutheran family, Bergman said he lost his faith at age eight but did not come to terms with his nonbelief […]

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

Our Fearless Leader.

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The Week in Freethought History (September 30-October 6)

Here’s your Week in Freethought History: This is more than just a calendar of events or mini-biographies – it’s a reminder that, no matter how isolated and alone we may feel at times, we as freethinkers are neither unique nor alone in the world. Last Sunday, September 30, but in 1452, the first book printed […]

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