10 Famous Americans Who Were Born on the Fourth of July

RuthBlack, iStock / Getty Images Plus
RuthBlack, iStock / Getty Images Plus

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.

Oscar Mayer Is Renting Out the Wienermobile on Airbnb For Overnight Stays

Airbnb
Airbnb

Oscar Mayer is about to make all of your hot dog dreams come true. To celebrate National Hot Dog Day (today), the meat-industry titan has listed its legendary Wienermobile on Airbnb for overnight stays. Mark your calendars for July 24, when reservation opportunities will go live throughout the day, with prices starting at $136 per night.

Oscar Mayer Wienermobile on Airbnb
Airbnb

The 27-foot-long locomotive hot dog, parked in Chicago, can accommodate two people and includes a sofa bed, sitting area, and outdoor space with a bathroom and “hot dog picnic zone” where you can lounge in Adirondack chairs while enjoying a savory snack. The 'mobile will also be packed with all the hot dog amenities you didn’t know you needed: Highlights include a mini fridge stocked with hot dogs and Chicago-style fixings, a custom Wienermobile art piece by Chicago artist Laura Kiro, and an Oscar Mayer roller grill that you get to keep forever. And that’s not the only souvenir: each guest will also receive a welcome kit with as-yet-unidentified “hot dog-inspired accessories.”

Other features include air conditioning, free parking, breakfast, a hair dryer, and the essentials: towels, bed sheets, soap, shampoo, and toilet paper.

Interior of Wienermobile on Airbnb
Airbnb

Interior of Wienermobile on Airbnb
Airbnb

The booking dates overlap with Chicago’s famed Grant Park music festival Lollapalooza, which takes place from August 1 through 4. The lineup this year includes Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, The Strokes, and Kacey Musgraves, to name a few. What better way to stay nourished and well-rested after a musical marathon than in a cozy, oblong automobile filled with meat?

If you can't book a Wienermobile getaway, you can still celebrate July as National Hot Dog Month by hosting your own hot dog picnic wherever you are (just make sure you know the proper way to plate, dress, serve, and chow down on a plate full of frankfurters).

Check out the full listing on Airbnb.

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The Proper Way to Eat a Hot Dog

martinedoucet/iStock via Getty Images
martinedoucet/iStock via Getty Images

Attention America: you're probably eating hot dogs the wrong way, which is pretty embarrassing when you consider how much you love them.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, a part of the American Meat Institute, has an official etiquette guide for hot dog-eating, in order to do the summer staple justice. Surprisingly, many of the rules are intended to prevent people from getting too fancy with their franks.

How to plate your hot dog

No need for fancy garnishes—keep the presentation simple. Sticking with the laid-back theme, be sure to only use plain buns or those with poppy or sesame seeds. Even if they're your favorite, the council's website says "sun-dried tomato buns or basil buns are considered gauche with franks," so you might want to stay away.

How to Dress your hot dog

Dressing your hot dog is also a bigger deal than you might think. First, there's an order to follow. Wet condiments (mustard or chili, for example) go on first, followed by chunky ingredients—if you're putting onions or sauerkraut on your hot dog, this is the time to do it. Next comes cheese. Spices, such as pepper or celery salt, come last.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council also has rules about ketchup, much to the dismay of Internet commenters. According to the council, no person over the age of 18 should top their hot dog with ketchup, despite the fact that over half of all Americans use the condiment. Former council president Janet Riley (the so-called "Queen of Wien") is shocked by this: "Ketchup’s popularity was the big surprise, considering our etiquette rules—and ketchup’s notable absence from regional hot dog favorites like the Chicago Dog and the New York Dog."

How to serve your hot dog

According to the Council, always use low-maintenance dishes. Paper plates are preferable, but any everyday dish will do. Want to eat your hot dog off fine china? Sorry, that's a faux pas. Finally, if you're serving cocktail wieners, use colored toothpicks instead of plain ones. Cocktail forks are in poor taste, according to Riley.

How to eat your hot dog

Because hot dogs are such casual foods, you should never use a fork and knife. Instead, always use your hands for any hot dog on a bun. While you're at it, make sure you take no more than five bites to finish your frank (although seven is acceptable for foot-longs). Make sure you eat every part of the hot dog, including any leftover parts of the bun.

Finally, make sure your beverage of choice doesn't outshine the food. Wine shouldn't be paired with hot dogs. Instead, opt for beer, soda, lemonade, iced tea … really, anything that doesn't clash with your non-ketchup topping.

How to clean up after your hot dog meal

If you find yourself covered in mustard (or whatever else you put on your hot dog that isn't ketchup), there's also a way to clean up. Use paper napkins to clean your face—cloth napkins are never okay—but make sure that you lick off any condiments that you find on your fingers.

Finally, if you attend a hot dog barbecue, you don't send a thank you note. While a thoughtful gesture, the council notes that it "would not be in keeping with the unpretentious nature of hot dogs."

Want more advice from the council? The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council put together this handy video, featuring the Queen of Wien herself, boasting all the rules, some patriotic music, and a couple great food puns.

This story originally ran in 2015.

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