It’s always fun to find out things about popular people, celebrities, sports stars, etc. that we didn’t know. There are some very interesting, fun and informative stories here that many people may not even know about. Here are a few we think you will enjoy and even be surprised by.
- Vanna White, TV personality – Long before fame and fortune came her way, Vanna was a struggling model and actress. In 1980 she played a stripper in the movie “Gypsy Angels” showing a lot of skin in her role. Also in 1980, Vanna was a contestant on “The Price is Right” with Bob Barker. She didn’t win the big prizes then, but in 1982 she auditioned for a new game show and got the job and the “Wheel of Fortune” would certainly change her life.
- Tom Glavine, baseball player – Today he is a Hall of Famer for his brilliant pitching career mainly with the Atlanta braves, but could he have been in another Hall of Fame? Tom was also a top tier hockey player. Glavine was drafted by both the Los Angeles Kings in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft in the 4th round two rounds ahead of future National Hockey League Hall of Famer Brett Hull and the Atlanta Braves in the 2nd round of the 1984 amateur baseball draft. Glavine elected to play baseball and the rest as they say is history.
- Sid Caesar, TV comedian – This popular comedian from TV’s early days had no idea what the future held. After getting out of the Navy at the end of WW II, Ceaesar, also a musician, hooked up with the Claude Thornhill Orchestra playing in the sax section. But his comedic ways were eventually spotted by early TV execs during the band’s breaks. With the dawning of TV in the 50’s Caesar was offered to head a new show call “Your Show of Shows” with a new comedienne named Imogene Coca, and the rest, as they say, is history.
- Charles G. Dawes, VP of US – He was a banker, diplomat and also served as the Vice President under President Calvin Coolidge. He was also an amateur song writer, composer and a classical musician and in 1911 wrote piece called “Melody in A Major”. Years later it was rediscovered, lyrics were added to make it into a popular song. In 1958 “It’s All in the Game” became a #1 hit for Tommy Edwards. It is the only No. 1 single in the U.S. to have been co-written by a U.S. Vice President, a record that may never be matched or broken.
- Tom Selleck, actor – Long before Magnum P.I. made him a household name and took women’s breath away Tom Selleck made 2 different appearances on the 60’s TV show “The Dating Game”. Unfortunately neither appearance went well as Tom was not picked by the ladies to go on a date with on either show. You have to wonder what those two women thought years later after his success with Magnum and more recently Blue Bloods.
- Moe Berg, baseball player – He was a second string catcher for the Dodgers, White Sox, Indians and Red Sox in the 20’s and 30’s. Berg, who was Jewish, was also a very private man who spoke a number of languages and was recruited by the U.S. government to work as a spy against the Nazis and their attempts at building an atomic bomb in WW II for the OSS, which was a forerunner of the CIA. He received the Medal of Freedom for his work. His exploits as a major league ballplayer and spy were made into a movie titled “The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg”. The film had its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
- Neil Young, singer- While Young is mainly known for all his singing gigs with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and other musical forms, he is also an inventor. In 1999, Young, who is an avid model railroad collector and operator, devised a wireless controller to operate the trains. He did it mainly for his son who had cerebral palsy. Young had it patented and today it is the standard controller for all model trains. By the way, it is interesting to note that Young is now also a part owner of the famed Lionel Trains company.
- Hedy Lamarr, actress – She was the epitome of beauty and brains. The Austrian born actress always had a keen interest in mechanics and electronics. After WWII broke out she devised a system that torpedoes would be controlled by radio frequencies. Aware of the fact that the enemy could easily hack and jam the signals she and her partner George Antheil, then added an idea which they called, “frequency-hopping.” A brilliantly thought of the concept, frequency hopping would allow the sequencer to randomly jump through 88 different frequencies, which was derived from the 88 keys of a piano and made it impossible for the Axis to follow. In 1942, they were awarded a patent for their secret communication system and handed it to the Navy for further use. Lamarr’s innovation is the reason and source for most of the wireless technologies available today. GPS, cellular networks, and Bluetooth are all inventions derived from her idea. In 2014, at the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Lamarr and Antheil were inducted into the hall.
- Steve McQueen, actor – He was one of Hollywood’s most popular actors and lost his life too soon. What many people may not know is that because McQueen did most of his own driving stunts in films, he was also an inventor. McQueen invented the bucket seat for automobiles. Because he wanted something more comfortable and reliable to sit in doing the stunts he invented the bucket seat. That new seat would go on to become a staple of sports cars around the world.
- Rod Stewart, singer – In addition all his hit songs, million sellers, sold out concerts over the years this music legend has another life. He is an avid model railroader. He spent 25 years putting together a massive model train display recreating New York City, Chicago and other areas with some buildings as tall as 5 feet high. It has been featured on TV, in model railroad magazines and was all done by Stewart himself. The only help he had was with some of the electricals, other than that Stewart was the sole builder of this incredible layout.
It is amazing to think of these different celebrities that we all know from movies, TV, recordings, concerts, etc. but rarely are aware of their none celebrity side. There are a number of other celebs besides the ones we highlighted, who are inventors, creators, etc., so maybe we’ll do a part two in the future. Hope you have enjoyed this and will share it with others.