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The Quick 10: 10 People Who Died on Their Birthdays

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Something about dying on your birthday seems very neat and tidy to me. Despite this, not many people seem to manage it. But here are 10 who did:

bergman1. Ingrid Bergman was born on August 29, 1915, in Stockholm, Sweden, She died 67 years later in 1982 in London after battling breast cancer (the official cause of death was lymphoma complications that came after a breast cancer operation).
2. Betty Friedan, the author of The Feminine Mystique, was born on February 4, 1921, and died on the same day in 2006. She was 85 when she was claimed by congestive heart failure.
3. Walter Diemer, the inventor of bubble gum, went "pop!" on his 93rd birthday on January 8, 1998. I apologize for the bad pun.
4. George "Machine Gun" Kelly was gunned down by, um, a heart attack. Sorry, I guess I can't turn all of them into stupid jokes. He was exactly 59 years old, dying on his July 17 birthday in 1954. Kelly was incarcerated at Leavenworth at the time.
5. Levi P. Morton, Benjamin Harrison's vice president, died of pneumonia on his 96th birthday. He was alive from May 16, 1824 to May 16, 1920. That's a pretty good run, if you ask me.
6. Johnny Longden was born on and died on Valentine's Day: 1907-2003. He was a Triple Crown-winning jockey in 1943, taking home the wins at the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes while riding Count Fleet.
7. Kamehameha V, King of Hawaii, died on his 42nd birthday on December 11, 1872.

piccard8. Allen Drury, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, died on his 80th birthday on September 2, 1998. The book that won him the Pulitzer, by the way, was his 1959 political novel Advise and Consent, based partially on the true-life story of the scandal and suicide of Senator Lester Hunt.
9. Swede Risberg of the 1919 Black Sox Scandal died on October 13, 1975, his 81st birthday.
10. Jean Felix Piccard. Name sound familiar? It's because he and his twin brother Auguste Piccard were the inspirations for the name of Star Trek's Jean-Luc Picard. Jean's inventions have been used in building aircrafts, spacecrafts and balloons (see picture at left). He died on his (and his brother's) birthday on January 28, 1963 at the age of 79. Auguste had died the year before on March 24.

A few who were close but didn't quite make it: Telly Savalas was over by a day; he died of prostate cancer on January 22, 1994, the day after his birthday. Marvin Gaye was short by one day; he would have been 45 if his dad hadn't killed him the day before. Everyone's favorite Golden Girl and Sylvester Stallone co-star, Estelle Getty, died three days short of her 85th birthday last year, and Julia Child missed her 91st birthday by just two days in 2004.

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images
6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.


A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.


Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.


Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.


The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.


Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.


Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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Live Smarter
You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]


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