Today in History: June 28

Mel Brooks is 90 today. Every day is a celebration of life for him. Marc Maron introduced his interview with Brooks with the declaration, “He won life.”

“What were you born?” asked David Susskind of Brooks in 1970. Brooks replied, “George M. Cohan.” That quote is from Kenneth Tynan’s 1978 New Yorker magazine profile, “Frolics and Detours of a Short Hebrew Man,” which I just discovered is only available online, through the new Yorker itself, as a PDF of a photocopy.

There is little I can add to the world’s knowledge or collection of thoughts about Mel Brooks so here is a visit from the 2000 Year Old Man (after the jump):

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Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated 102 years ago today in Sarajevo. With this, Austria-Hungary declared war against Serbia, and with this, a series of treaties throughout Europe were either broken or enforced, depending on the particular treaty, and nations both great and middling declared war on each other over the next month. World War I officially started on July 28, 1914, but the shooting of Franz Ferdinand was the catalyst.

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Governor Al Smith of New York won the nomination of the Democratic Party for President of the United States on this date in 1928. He was the first non-Protestant to win the nomination of any of the major political parties for the office; his Catholicism became a campaign issue and his landslide loss probably contributed to a several-decade wait for another Catholic nominee of either political party.

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President James Madison died 180 years ago today. Mortimer J. Adler died 15 years ago today.

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Richard Rodgers was born on this date in 1902. Gilda Radner was born 70 years ago today.

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A. E. Hotchner, whose most recent book, Hemingway In Love: His Own Story, was published in October, is 96 today. Hans Blix is 88 today. John Byner is 78 today. Muhammad Yunus is 76. Bruce Davison is 70. Mark Helprin is 69. Kathy Bates is 68. Thomas Hampson is 61. John Elway is 56. John Cusack is 50. Mary Stuart Masterson is 50. Elon Musk is 45.

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