Today's Famous Person
March 20 - Elizabeth Manley - Ice Skater Today's Famous Person is a Canadian former competitive figure skater. She is the 1988 Olympic silver medalist, the 1988 World silver medalist, and a three-time Canadian national champion.

She was born in 1965 in Trenton, Ontario, the fourth child and only daughter in her family. Her father's military career necessitated occasionally moving, and when she was nine years old, her family moved from Trenton to Ottawa. After her parents' divorce in the 1970s, she was raised by her mother, Joan.

She began skating at an early age. Her mother invested much time and money in her daughter's figure skating career. She won the bronze medal at the 1982 World Junior Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany. Later that season, she competed at her first senior World Championships and finished 13th in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In the 198283 season, she relocated from Ottawa to Lake Placid, New York to receive more intensive training but became depressed and homesick, which resulted in her hair falling out and weight gain. She finished off the podium at the Canadian Championships and briefly dropped out of the sport, but resumed her skating career after Peter Dunfield and Sonya Dunfield agreed to coach her in Ontario.

She competed at the 1984 Winter Olympics, placing 13th, and the World Championships between 1984 and 1987. At the 1987 Worlds, she was in a position to vie for the world title after compulsory figures and the short program, but a poor result in the long program left her in fourth place overall in the competition.

Entering the 1988 Winter Olympics, few considered her to be a contender for an Olympic medal, and she received no offers of sponsorship. Battling illness, she nevertheless did well in compulsory figures and the short program. Heading into the long program, she was in third place behind the East German skater Katarina Witt and the American skater Debi Thomas.

Witt and Thomas were both favorites for the gold medal, and the media had dubbed their rivalry as the "Battle of the Carmens", as both women chose to skate to music from the opera Carmen. Witt skated her long program cleanly but conservatively, and Thomas fell apart in her long program. Our Famous Person, however, gave the performance of her life, winning the long program and coming within a fraction of a point of beating Witt for the Olympic title. Her come-from-behind victory made her a national celebrity in Canada.

After winning the silver medal at the 1988 World Championships, she retired from amateur skating. She performed in ice shows and television specials, and competed in professional events, for a number of years afterwards, being notable for her unusually imaginative programs. She now works as a figure skating coach and occasional media commentator. In 1988, she was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

In 1990, she published an autobiography: Thumbs Up!; a second volume of autobiography, As I Am: My Life After the Olympics, followed in 1999. She has been popular at ice shows, and even professional competitions, for a rather unusual trademark: she jumps off the ice, in mid-performance, and onto the lap of a randomly selected male spectator.

In September 1990, radio personality The Real Darren Stevens, as a radio stunt, admitted that he suffered from a rare affliction: being a Canadian who can't skate. While on the air, he openly "stalked" his fellow Ottawa native, our Famous Person, to teach him how to skate. Finally, after about 150 days, in January 1991, she put the skates on Stevens, and taught him how to skate.

She starred as Red Riding Hood in CBC's 1992 television film The Trial of Red Riding Hood which premiered on the Disney Channel two years later. In 2014, she was inducted into the Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.

In August 2006, she married Brent Theobald, a former junior ice hockey player from Cochrane, Ontario. They currently live in Orleans, Ottawa, Ontario. She is a spokesperson for mental health issues due to her own battle with depression, which began before the 1984 Olympics. As of 2009, she is also an official spokesperson for Ovarian Cancer Canada's Winners Walk of Hope. Her mother died from ovarian cancer in July 2008 and her father died of Alzheimer's disease in 2010. Petra Burka
Barbara Gratton
Elizabeth Manley
Lynn Nightingale

Today's Famous Person
March 21 - Edward S. Curtis - Photographer Today's Famous Person, (February 16, 1868 October 19, 1952), was an American photographer and ethnologist whose work focused on the American West and on Native American peoples.

He was born on a farm near Whitewater, Wisconsin. His father, the Reverend Asahel "Johnson" [Deleted], was a minister, farmer, and American Civil War veteran born in Ohio. His mother, Ellen [Deleted], was born in Pennsylvania. His siblings were Raphael, Eva and Asahel. Weakened by his experiences in the Civil War, Johnson had difficulty in managing his farm, resulting in hardship and poverty for his family. Around 1874, they moved from Wisconsin to Minnesota to join Johnson's father, Asahel, who ran a grocery store and was a postmaster in Le Sueur County. Our Famous Person left school in the sixth grade and soon built his own camera.

In 1885, at the age of 17, he became an apprentice photographer in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1887 the family moved to Seattle, Washington, where he purchased a new camera and became a partner with Rasmus Rothi in an existing photographic studio. He paid $150 for his 50% share in the studio. After about six months, he left Rothi and formed a new partnership with Thomas Guptill. They established a new studio, [Deleted] and Guptill, Photographers and Photoengravers.

In 1895, he met and photographed Princess Angeline, also known as Kickisomlo, the daughter of Chief Sealth of Seattle. This was his first portrait of a Native American. In 1898, three of his images were chosen for an exhibition sponsored by the National Photographic Society. Two were images of Princess Angeline, "The Mussel Gatherer" and "The Clam Digger". The other was of Puget Sound, entitled "Homeward", which was awarded the exhibition's grand prize and a gold medal.

In that same year, while photographing Mt. Rainier, he came upon a small group of scientists who were lost and in need of direction. One of them was George Bird Grinnell, considered an expert on Native Americans by his peers. Our Famous Person was appointed the official photographer of the Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899, probably as a result of his friendship with Grinnell. Having very little formal education he learned much during the lectures that were given aboard the ship each evening of the voyage. Grinnell became interested in his photography and invited him to join an expedition to photograph people of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Montana in 1900.

In 1906, J. P. Morgan provided him with $75,000 to produce a series on Native Americans. This work was to be in 20 volumes with 1,500 photographs. Morgan's funds were to be disbursed over five years and were earmarked to support only fieldwork for the books, not for writing, editing, or production of the volumes. Our Famous Person received no salary for the project, which was to last more than 20 years. Under the terms of the arrangement, Morgan was to receive 25 sets and 500 original prints as repayment.

Once he had secured funding for the project, he was able to hire several employees to help him. For writing and for recording Native American languages, he hired a former journalist, William E. Myers. For general assistance with logistics and fieldwork, he hired Bill Phillips, a graduate of the University of Washington. Perhaps the most important hire for the success of the project was Frederick Webb Hodge, an anthropologist employed by the Smithsonian Institution, who had researched Native American peoples of the southwestern United States. Hodge was hired to edit the entire series.

Eventually 222 complete sets were published. Our Famous Person's goal was not just to photograph but also to document as much of Native American traditional life as possible before that way of life disappeared. He wrote in the introduction to his first volume in 1907, "The information that is to be gathered ... respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost." He made over 10,000 wax cylinder recordings of Native American language and music. He took over 40,000 photographic images of members of over 80 tribes. He recorded tribal lore and history, and he described traditional foods, housing, garments, recreation, ceremonies, and funeral customs. He wrote biographical sketches of tribal leaders. His material, in most cases, is the only written recorded history, although there is still a rich oral tradition that preserves history. His work was exhibited at the Rencontres d'Arles festival in France in 1973.

He had been using motion picture cameras in fieldwork for The North American Indian since 1906. He worked extensively with the ethnographer and British Columbia native George Hunt in 1910, which inspired his work with the Kwakiutl, but much of their collaboration remains unpublished. At the end of 1912, he decided to create a feature film depicting Native American life, partly as a way of improving his financial situation and partly because film technology had improved to the point where it was conceivable to create and screen films more than a few minutes long. He chose the Kwakiutl tribe, of the Queen Charlotte Strait region of the Central Coast of British Columbia, Canada, for his subject. His film, In the Land of the Head Hunters, was the first feature-length film whose cast was composed entirely of Native North Americans.

In the Land of the Head-Hunters premiered simultaneously at the Casino Theater in New York and the Moore Theater in Seattle on December 7, 1914. The silent film was accompanied by a score composed by John J. Braham, a musical theater composer who had also worked with Gilbert and Sullivan. The film was praised by critics but made only $3,269.18 in its initial run.

The photographer Ella E. McBride assisted him in his studio beginning in 1907 and became a friend of the family. She made an unsuccessful attempt to purchase the studio with his daughter Beth in 1916, the year of our Famous Person's divorce, and left to open her own studio.

Around 1922, he moved to Los Angeles with Beth and opened a new photo studio. To earn money he worked as an assistant cameraman for Cecil B. DeMille and was an uncredited assistant cameraman in the 1923 filming of The Ten Commandments. On October 16, 1924, he sold the rights to his ethnographic motion picture In the Land of the Head-Hunters to the American Museum of Natural History. He was paid $1,500 for the master print and the original camera negative. It had cost him over $20,000 to create the film.

In 1927, after returning from Alaska to Seattle with Beth, he was arrested for failure to pay alimony over the preceding seven years. The total owed was $4,500, but the charges were dropped. For Christmas of 1927, the family was reunited at the home of his daughter Florence in Medford, Oregon. This was the first time since the divorce that he was with all of his children at the same time, and it had been 13 years since he had seen Katherine.

In 1928, desperate for cash, he sold the rights to his project to J. P. Morgan Jr. The concluding volume of The North American Indian was published in 1930. In total, about 280 sets were sold of his now completed magnum opus.

In 1930, his ex-wife, Clara, was still living in Seattle operating the photo studio with their daughter Katherine. His other daughter, Florence, was still living in Medford, Oregon, with her husband, Henry Graybill. After Clara died of heart failure in 1932, his daughter Katherine moved to California to be closer to her father and Beth.

In 1935, the Morgan estate sold the rights to The North American Indian and remaining unpublished material to the Charles E. Lauriat Company in Boston for $1,000 plus a percentage of any future royalties. This included 19 complete bound sets of The North American Indian, thousands of individual paper prints, the copper printing plates, the unbound printed pages, and the original glass-plate negatives. Lauriat bound the remaining loose printed pages and sold them with the completed sets. The remaining material remained untouched in the Lauriat basement in Boston until they were rediscovered in 1972.

On October 19, 1952, at the age of 84, our Famous Person died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California. Ansel Adams
Edward S. Curtis
William Henry Jackson
Timothy H. O'Sullivan

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March 22 - Dolores Guerrero-Cruz - Artist Dolores Guerrero-Cruz

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March 25 - Manuel King - Lion Tamer Manuel King

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March 26 - June Carter Cash - Singer June Carter Cash

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March 27 - Dangerfield Newby - Alchemist Dangerfield Newby

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March 28 - Eileen Brennan - ACtress Eileen Brennan

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March 29 - Adlai Stevenson - Politician Adlai Stevenson

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Today's Famous Person