1802 – Letitia Elizabeth Landon, English poet, novelist, and literary critic who wrote under her initials, L.E.L. and was highly regarded in her time. For example, Novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote that, as a young college student, he and his classmates would “rush every Saturday afternoon for the Literary Gazette, [with] an impatient anxiety to hasten at once to that corner of the sheet which contained the three magical letters L.E.L. And all of us praised the verse, and all of us guessed at the author. We soon learned it was a female, and our admiration was doubled, and our conjectures tripled.”
1863 – Ernest Thayer, American writer and poet who wrote “Casey at the Bat.”
1867 – John Galsworthy, Nobel Prize-winning English novelist and playwright.
1876 – Sibilla Aleramo (pseudonym of Marta Felicina “Rina” Faccio), Italian author, poet, and feminist writer, best known for her autobiographical depictions of life as a woman in late 19th century Italy.
1899 – Alma Lucy Reville, prolific English-American screenwriter and editor who married famed director Alfred Hitchcock and wrote many of the scripts for his films, as well as for other top directors.
1904 – Kar de Mumma (birth name Erik Harald Zetterström) – Swedish playwright and humorous writer.
1907 – Godavari Parulekar, Indian writer, freedom fighter, and independence activist; she was influenced by Marxist and Communist ideologies and spent her life fighting for the farmers and working class.
1910 – Nathan Alterman, Warsaw-born Israeli poet, playwright, journalist, and translator who was influential in Socialist Zionist politics.
1914 – Stieg Ivar Trenter, Swedish journalist and popular crime writer, often described as the Agatha Christie of Sweden.
1921 – Julia Hartwig-Miedzyrzeck, Polish writer, poet, children’s author, and translator who is considered to be one of Poland’s most important poets.
1925 – Russell Baker, Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer of satirical commentary and self-deprecating prose, best known for his autobiography Growing Up.
1926 – Alice Adams, American short-story writer, journalist, and novelist who became the third author ever to receive the O. Henry Special Award for Continuing Achievement.
1926 – René Goscinny, French comics writer and editor.
1928 – Anatoly Fedorovich Kasheida, Ukrainian writer, poet, and journalist.
1940 – Alexei Panshin, American science fiction author and critic, winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards.
1941 – Lynne Ann Cheney, novelist and conservative scholar who is the wife of former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.
1943 – Stephanie Laurens, best-selling Australian author of romance novels; she was born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).
1945 – Steve Martin, American comedian, actor, musician, producer, and writer.
1947 – Wang Ping, Chinese-born American novelist, poet, writer, photographer, performance and installation artist, dancer, singer, and professor.
1947 – Danielle Steel, the pen name of blockbuster American romance novelist Danielle Fernandes Dominique Schuelein-Steel.
1950 – Gary Larson, syndicated cartoonist best known for “The Far Side.”
1952 – Alex van Warmerdam, Dutch screenwriter, film director, actor, and painter.
1955 – Mary E. Pearson, award-winning American children’s writer best known for her young-adult fiction, especially the books A Room on Lorelei Street and The Adoration of Jenna Fox.
1964 – Andrew Kevin Walker, American screenwriter.
1965 – Brannon Braga, award-winning American television producer, director, and screenwriter, best known for his work on Star Trek.