Today's Famous Person
June 26 - Benjamin Tyler Henry - Gun Maker

Today's Famous Person (March 22, 1821–June 8, 1898 [1]) was an American gunsmith and manufacturer. He was the inventor of a new type of rifle, the first reliable lever-action repeating rifle.

He was born in Claremont, New Hampshire in 1821. He apprenticed to a gunsmith as a young man and worked his way up to shop foreman at the Robins & Lawrence Arms Company of Windsor, Vermont where he worked with Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson on a rifle known as the "Volitional Repeater".

In 1854, Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson formed a new company with Courtlandt Palmer, and further improved the operating mechanism, developing the Smith & Wesson Lever pistol, and a new Volcanic cartridge. Production was in the shop of Horace Smith in Norwich, Connecticut. Originally using the name "Smith & Wesson Company", the name was changed to "Volcanic Repeating Arms Company" in 1855, with the addition of new investors, one of whom was Oliver Winchester. The Volcanic Repeating Arms Company obtained all rights for the Volcanic designs (both rifle and pistol versions were in production by this time) as well as the ammunition, from the Smith & Wesson Company.

Wesson remained as plant manager for 8 months before rejoining Smith to found the "Smith & Wesson Revolver Company" upon obtaining the licensing of the Rollin White rear loading cylinder patent. Winchester forced the insolvency of the Volcanic Arms Company in late 1856, took over ownership and moved the plant to New Haven, Connecticut, where it was reorganized as the New Haven Arms Company in April 1857 and our Famous Person was hired as plant superintendent.

On October 16, 1860, he received a patent on a .44 caliber repeating rifle, which soon proved the worth of the lever-action design on the battlefields of the American Civil War, where his rifles were used alongside muzzle-loading rifled muskets such as the Springfield Model 1861. The first of his rifles were not produced for army use until mid-1862.

In 1864, he grew angry over what he believed was inadequate compensation and attempted to have the Connecticut legislature award ownership of New Haven Arms to him. Oliver Winchester, hastening back from Europe, forestalled the move and reorganized New Haven Arms yet again as the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. Winchester had the basic design of our Famous Person's rifle completely modified and improved to become the first Winchester rifle, the Model 1866, which fired the same .44 caliber rimfire cartridges but had an improved magazine with the addition of a loading gate on the right side of the receiver (invented by Winchester employee Nelson King) and, for the first time, a wooden forearm.

Today's Famous Person left the Winchester Repeating Arms Company over this dispute and worked as an individual gunsmith until his death in 1898. John Browning
Samuel Colt
Henry Deringer
Benjamin Tyler Henry

Today's Famous Person
June 27 - Gale Garnett - Singer Today's Famous Person (born 17 July 1942) is a New Zealand–born Canadian singer best known in the United States for her self-penned, Grammy-winning folk hit "We'll Sing in the Sunshine". She has since carved out a career as a writer and actress.

She was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and moved to Canada with her family when she was 11. She made her public singing debut in 1960, while at the same time pursuing an acting career, making guest appearances on television shows such as 77 Sunset Strip. She made her New York nightclub debut in 1963 and was signed by RCA Victor Records that same year.

In the fall of 1964, she scored a number four pop hit with her original composition "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" (also #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary singles chart for seven weeks and a Top 50 country hit), and recorded her debut album, My Kind of Folk Songs, for RCA Victor. Riding the success of "We'll Sing in the Sunshine", which won a 1965 Grammy for Best Folk Recording, sold over one million copies thus gaining gold disc status, she continued to record through the rest of the 1960s with her backing band the Gentle Reign. Her follow-up to "We'll Sing in the Sunshine", "Lovin' Place", was her only other single to chart in America. Shet appeared twice on ABC's Shindig! and The Lloyd Thaxton Show at the height of her singing fame in the mid 1960s.

She delivered a notable performance in the Rankin-Bass feature Mad Monster Party in the late 1960s, with the memorable tunes Our Time to Shine and Never Was a Love Like Mine. At this period she had begun to be more influenced by the counterculture and had embraced psychedelic themes to some extent. In the late 1960s she recorded two albums of psychedelic-inflected music with the Gentle Reign.

In 1975, she participated in an Off-Off Broadway theater production of "Starfollowers in an Ancient Land," written and directed by H. M. Koutoukas, at the La MaMa Experimental Theater Club in New York City's East Village. She performed in the cast, and also co-wrote the music for the production with Tom O'Horgan.

Although she had retired from the music business by the 1980s, she continued appearing in feature films (including the 2002 sleeper hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and on television shows, usually in supporting roles. In subsequent years, she also branched out into journalism, writing essays, columns, and book reviews for various newspapers and magazines. She also wrote and performed two one-person theater pieces, [deleted] & Company and Life After Latex.

She also did the voice of the "Mother KOIT" liners for KOIT-FM (93.3 FM) in San Francisco in the mid to late 1960's during its Progressive rock formatted era (1968-1970).

Today's Famous Person published her first novel, a romance titled Visible Amazement, in 1999. She followed with Transient Dancing in 2003, the novella Room Tone in 2007, and Savage Adoration, her latest release, in 2009. Joan Baez
Gale Garnett
Leslie Gore
Janis Joplin

Today's Famous Person
June 28 - Lee Duncan - Dog Trainer Today's Famous Person was born on October 1, 1892 in California. He is known for his work on a Hero of the Big Snows in 1926, Where the North Begins (1923) and Find Your Man (1924). He was married to Charlotte Anderson.

He and his sister, Marjorie, were born in Hanford, California. In 1897, their father abandoned them and they spent time in an Oakland area orphanage until their mother was able to care for them.

He enlisted to serve in World War I on November 1, 1917. He was among the first 300 Americans sent to France in the 135th Air Squadron. According to his obituary, “he had charge of the squadron’s ordinance and was the first American to synchronize machine gun fire through aircraft propellers.” Wounded in action and awarded the Purple Heart, he was honorably discharged from the United States Army on May 26, 1919.

In France at the close of World War I, he rescued a litter of German shepherd dogs abandoned in the trenches by the retreating Germans and brought them back to the United States. One of the pups became the original Rin-Tin-Tin, who starred in 22 Warner Brothers films from 1922 until his death in 1932. 

Rin-Tin-Tin and subsequent litters (including Rin-Tin-Tin, Jr., III, & IV) brought fame and fortune to him. Rin-Tin-Tin puppies went to movie stars like Jean Harlow and Greta Garbo and industrialists like W. K. Kellogg.

During World War II, he trained more than 5,000 war dogs for the Army K-9 Corps at Camp Hahn, Riverside, California while continuing to train the descendants of the original Rin-Tin-Tin in successive Hollywood movie roles.

From 1954 to 1959, Rin-Tin-Tin IV starred in the television series, “The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin.”

In Riverside, California he was active in youth work. One of the many groups he aided was Boy Scout Troop 2, sponsored by the First Baptist Church.

Today's Famous Person, 67, died of a heart attack on September 20, 1960 at his ranch home, El Rancho Rin-Tin-Tin.” Lee Duncan
Tamar Geller
Brandon McMillan
Joel Silverman

Today's Famous Person

Today's Famous Person

Today's Famous Person