From the video vault
Today marks the fifth anniversary of David Foster Wallace’s death. His 2005 Kenyon College commencement address, which went viral this year, has been called one of the best commencement speeches of the past quarter-century.
On this day in 1828, Leo Tolstoy was born. This surprisingly clear footage from 1910 shows the author towards the end of his life.
On this day in 1920 jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker was born. In the video below, Parker performs "Hot House" with trumpeter (and frequent collaborator) Dizzy Gillespie in 1951. Image via Shutterstock.
In June of 1963, James Baldwin appeared on Boston public television producer Henry Morgenthau III's show "The Negro and the American Promise," where he discussed Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and how the civil rights movement must proceed.Image via Shutterstock.
Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury was born on this day in 1920. While now heralded as one of the best science fiction writers ever, Bradbury initially struggled to get stories published. Below, he talks about his early years and writing through rejection. Image via Shutterstock.
Leon Trotsky, exiled from Russia and living in Mexico, died after being stabbed with an ice pick on this day in 1940. Trotsky lived with painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera from 1937 to 1939—though he and Rivera later became enemies after his affair with Kahlo. Watch Kahlo and Rivera welcome Trotsky and his wife to their home. Image via Shutterstock.
Novelist and screenwriter Elmore Leonard passed away this morning at the age of 87. Known for his Westerns and thrillers, Leonard wrote Get Shorty, 3:10 to Yuma, and the novel that became Jackie Brown, among others. Watch below as he discusses the 1996 novel Naked Came the Manatee with co-authors Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen on the Charlie Rose show.
Former president Bill Clinton is 67 today. While on a private White House tour with the American Legion's Boys Nation event in the summer of 1963, 16-year-old Clinton met President John F. Kennedy in the Rose Garden.
On this day in 1922, Virginia Woolf took to her diary to pan what she had read of James Joyce's Ulysses. “An illiterate, underbred book it seems to me,” she wrote, “the book of a self-taught working man, & we all know how distressing they are, how egotistic, insistent, raw, striking, & ultimately nauseating.” Below is footage of Joyce roaming Paris in the 20s.
Salman Rushdie's 1980 novel Midnight's Children is set on this day, August 15, in 1947—which is also Partition Day in India and Pakistan. Below, Rushdie discusses the film adaptation of his novel Midnight's Children at the Toronto Film Festival in 2012 (via Red Carpet Diary)Image via Shutterstock.