Thursday, March 31, 2011

Angela Lansbury

Country of origin: England

Angela Brigid Lansbury, CBE (born 16 October 1925) is an English-American actress in theater, television and motion pictures, whose career has spanned seven decades. Her first film appearance was in Gaslight (1944) as a conniving maid, for which she received an Academy Award nomination. Among her other films are The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) and Beauty and the Beast (1991).

She expanded her repertoire to Broadway and television in the 1950s and was particularly successful in Broadway productions of Gypsy, Mame and Sweeney Todd. Lansbury is perhaps best known to modern audiences for her 12 year run as writer and sleuth Jessica Fletcher on the U.S. television series Murder, She Wrote, in which she starred from 1984 to 1996. Her recent roles include Lady Adelaide Stitch in the 2005 film Nanny McPhee, Leona Mullen in the 2007 Broadway play Deuce, Madame Arcati in the 2009 Broadway revival of the play Blithe Spirit (2009) and Madame Armfeldt in the 2010 Broadway revival of the musical A Little Night Music.

Respected for her versatility, Lansbury has won five Tony Awards, six Golden Globes, and has been nominated for numerous other industry awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress on three occasions, and eighteen Emmy Awards.

To read more about Angela Lansbury, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cachao López

Country of origin: Cuba

Israel "Cachao" López (September 14, 1918 – March 22, 2008), often known just as "Cachao" (pronounced /kəˈtʃaʊ/ (kər-CHOW)) was a Cuban mambo musician, bassist and composer, who has helped bring mambo music to popularity in the United States in the early 1950s.

He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, won several Grammy Awards, and has been described as "the inventor of the mambo". He is considered a master of descarga (Latin jam sessions).

To find out more about Cachao López, see his page on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mikhail Baryshnikov

Country of origin: Russia (Latvia)

Mikhail Nikolaevich Baryshnikov (Russian: Михаил Николаевич Барышников, Latvian: Mihails Barišņikovs) (born January 27, 1948) is a Soviet-born Russian American dancer, choreographer, and actor, often cited alongside Vaslav Nijinsky and Rudolf Nureyev as one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century. After a promising start in the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad, he defected to Canada in 1974 for more opportunities in western dance. After freelancing with many companies, he joined the New York City Ballet as a principal dancer to learn George Balanchine's style of movement. He then moved to New York to dance with the American Ballet Theatre, where he later became artistic director.

Baryshnikov has spearheaded many of his own artistic projects and has been associated in particular with promoting modern dance, premiering dozens of new works, including many of his own. His success as a dramatic actor on stage, cinema and television has helped him become probably the most widely recognized contemporary ballet dancer.

For more about Mikhail Baryshnikov, see his page on Wikipedia.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Concepcion Picciotto

Country of origin: Spain

Concepcion Picciotto (born 1945), also known as Conchita or Connie, has lived in Lafayette Square on the 1600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., in a peace camp across from the White House, since August 1, 1981, in protest of nuclear arms. She has carried on the longest continuous act of political protest in the United States.

See this link for a short clip about Concepcion Picciotto, or her page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Marco Lopez

Country of origin: Mexico

Marco Antonio Lopez (born April 7, 1978) is an Arizona politician. He has served in both elected and non-elected public offices, including Mayor of Nogales, Arizona, Executive Director of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, Policy Adviser to Governor Janet Napolitano for Mexico and Latin America, and Senior Adviser for International Affairs to the Governor. Born in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and raised in Nogales, Arizona, United States, he graduated from the University of Arizona. Lopez served at the Arizona State Capitol as Director of the Arizona Department of Commerce appointed by Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. With the Homeland Security Nomination made for Napolitano. Lopez was appointed to serve as the Chief of Staff for United Customs and Border Protection. This position he currently serves.

To read more about Marco Lopez, see his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Edward "Papa" Danziger

Country of origin: Austria

The Ram's Head Rathskeller in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was opened in 1948 by an Austrian Jew by the last name of Danziger, who came to Chapel Hill as a refugee from the Holocaust. "The Rat" was the first restaurant in the area to employ an entirely African-American staff. Long a popular spot with students and alumni, the restaurant, which extends over a catacomb-like basement with many different rooms, was filled with UNC memorabilia and history. "The Rat" was one of the oldest continuously operating businesses in Chapel Hill, but was closed down in 2008 due to non-payment of taxes. Its decor and memorabilia was auctioned off leaving just the bones of the structure. It is scheduled to reopen under new management in early 2011.

Source: Wikipedia

To read more about Edward Danziger, see this website, as well as this page about the restaurant he opened which was one of my favorites in Chapel Hill.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tracey Ullman

Country of origin: England

Tracey Ullman (born 30 December 1959) is an English-born stage and television actress, comedienne, singer, dancer, screenwriter and author.

Her early appearances were on British TV sketch comedy shows A Kick Up the Eighties (with Rik Mayall and Miriam Margolyes) and Three of a Kind (with Lenny Henry and David Copperfield). She also appeared as Candice Valentine in Girls On Top with Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

She emigrated from the UK to the US and created her own network television series, The Tracey Ullman Show, from 1987 until 1990, from which The Simpsons was spun off in 1989. She later produced programs for HBO, including Tracey Takes On..., for which she has won numerous awards. She has also appeared in several feature films. Ullman's most recent sketch comedy series, Tracey Ullman's State of the Union, ran from 2008—2010 on Showtime.

To read more about Tracey Ullman, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yoko Ono

Country of origin: Japan

Yoko Ono (Katakana: オノ ヨーコ, Hiragana: おの ようこ「Kanji: 小野 洋子」, Ono Yōko?, born February 18, 1933) is a Japanese artist, musician, author and peace activist, known for her work in avant-garde art, music and filmmaking as well as her marriage to John Lennon. Ono brought feminism to the forefront through her music which prefigured New Wave music (whether she was a direct influence is still debated). She is a supporter of gay rights and is known for her philanthropic contributions to the arts, peace and AIDS outreach programs.

To read more about Yoko Ono, see her page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor

In honor of her recent passing, I'm going to double up today. Technically while she isn't an immigrant (since she was born to American parents outside of the country), she still has an interesting and relevant story worth reading, in particular regarding her failed attempt to renounce her American citizenship for monetary reasons:

Country of birth: England

Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, DBE (27 February 1932 – 23 March 2011), also known as Liz Taylor, was an English-American actress. A former child star, she grew to be known for her acting talent and beauty, as well as her Hollywood lifestyle, including many marriages. Taylor was considered one of the great actresses of Hollywood's golden age. The American Film Institute named Taylor seventh on its Female Legends list.

My condolences to her family; if you would like to find out more about Elizabeth Taylor you can read more about her on Wikipedia.

Yasser Seirawan

Country of origin: Syria

Yasser Seirawan (Arabic: ياسر سيروان‎; born March 24, 1960) is a chess grandmaster and 4-time US-champion. He was winner of the World Junior Chess Championship in 1979. Seirawan is also a respected chess author and commentator.


He is married to FIDE Master Yvette Nagel, daughter of former Leefbaar Nederland political party president and politician Jan Nagel.

To read more about Yasser Seirawan, see his page on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Liam Neeson

Country of origin: Ireland

Liam John Neeson OBE (born 7 June 1952) is an Irish actor born in Northern Ireland, who has been nominated for an Oscar, a BAFTA and three Golden Globe Awards.

To read more about Liam Neeson, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Peter Koo

Country of origin: China

Peter Koo (traditional Chinese: 顧雅明) is a New York City-based American politician. He is a Republican member of the New York City Council, representing City Council District 20, which includes the Queens neighborhoods of Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Mitchell Gardens, Kissena Park, Harding Heights, Auburndale, and parts of Whitestone. Koo was elected to the city council seat on November 3, 2009, defeating Democratic Party nominee Yen Chou, Working Families Party nominee S.J. Jung, and Green Party nominee Evergreen Chou. He assumed the position that was held by John Liu, the New York City Comptroller. He and Manhattan Council member Margaret Chin comprise the Asian-American delegation of the Council. Liu, whom Koo succeeded, also served in the Council from 2002–2009, as its sole Asian-American member

To read more about Peter Koo, see his page on Wikipedia or the page about him on the NYC Council website.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hector P. Garcia

Country of origin: Mexico

Hector P. Garcia (January 17, 1914-July 26, 1996) was a Mexican-American physician, surgeon, World War II veteran, civil rights advocate, and founder of the American G.I. Forum. As a result of the national prominence he earned through his work on behalf of Hispanic Americans, he was instrumental in the appointment of Mexican American and American G.I. Forum charter member Vicente T. Ximenes to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1966, was named alternate ambassador to the United Nations in 1967, was appointed to the United States Commission on Civil Rights in 1968, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 1984, and was named to the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II in 1990.

To read more about Hector Garcia, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Craig Ferguson

Country of origin: Scotland

Craig Ferguson (born 17 May 1962) is a Scottish-born, naturalized American television host, stand-up comedian, writer, actor, director, and producer. He is the host of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, an Emmy Award-nominated, Peabody Award-winning late-night talk show that airs on CBS. In addition to hosting that program and performing stand-up comedy, Ferguson has written two books: Between the Bridge and the River, a novel, and American on Purpose, an autobiography. He became a citizen of the United States in 2008.

To read more about Craig Ferguson, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ève Curie

Country of origin: France

Ève Denise Curie Labouisse (December 6, 1904 – October 22, 2007) was a French-American writer, journalist and pianist of Polish descent. Ève Curie was the younger daughter of Marie Curie and Pierre Curie. Her sister was Irène Joliot-Curie and her brother-in-law Frédéric Joliot-Curie. Ève was the only member of her family who did not choose a career as a scientist and did not win a Nobel Prize, although her husband Henry Richardson Labouisse, Jr. did collect the Nobel Peace Price in 1965 on behalf of UNICEF. She worked as a journalist and authored her mother's biography Madame Curie and a book of war reportage, Journey Among Warriors. From the 1960s she committed herself to work for UNICEF, providing help to children and mothers in developing countries.

To read more about Ève Curie, read her page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Reza Aslan

Country of origin: Iran

Reza Aslan (Persian رضا اصلان , born 1972, Tehran, Iran) is an Iranian-American activist, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions. He is on the faculty at the University of California, Riverside, and is a contributing editor for the Daily Beast. His books include the international bestseller, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been translated into thirteen languages, and named one of the 100 most important books of the last decade. He is also the author of How to Win a Cosmic War, published in paperback as Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in a Globalized Age. He is also editor of Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, published by W.W. Norton, and co-editor with Aaron Hahn-Tapper of Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities, published by Palgrave Macmillan. Dr. Reza Aslan is CEO of Aslan Media Inc., whose holdings include BoomGen Studios, the first ever motion picture studio entirely focused on entertainment content about the Greater Middle East and its Diaspora communities. His non-profit organization Aslan Media Initiatives ( utilizes social media technology to provide news and information about the Middle East to young people all over the world.

To read more about Reza Aslan, see his page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ted Koppel

Country of origin: England

Edward James "Ted" Koppel (born February 8, 1940) is an English-born American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline from the program's inception in 1980 until his retirement in late 2005. After leaving Nightline, Koppel worked as managing editor for the Discovery Channel before resigning in 2008. Koppel is currently a senior news analyst for National Public Radio and contributing analyst to BBC World News America.


Koppel, an only child, was born in Nelson, Lancashire, England, after his German Jewish parents fled Germany due to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism. Koppel, at 13, immigrated to the United States in 1953 with his family. His mother, Alice, was a singer and pianist, and his father, Edwin, was a tire factory owner. He graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science Degree and from Stanford University with a Master of Arts Degree in Mass Communications Research and Political Science.

To read more about Ted Koppel, read his page on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Eva Hesse

Country of origin: Germany

Eva Hesse (January 11, 1936 – May 29, 1970), was a German-born American sculptor, known for her pioneering work in materials such as latex, fiberglass, and plastics.


Her art is often viewed in light of all the painful struggles of her life including escaping the Nazis, her parents' divorce, the suicide of her mother when she was ten, her failed marriage and the death of her father. Danto describes her as "cop[ing] with emotional chaos by reinventing sculpture through aesthetic insubordination, playing with worthless material amid the industrial ruins of a defeated nation that, only two decades earlier, would have murdered her without a second thought." She also always felt she was fighting for recognition in a male dominated art world.

Hesse is one of a few artists who led the move from Minimalism to Postminimalism. Danto distinguishes it from minimalism by its "mirth and jokiness" and "unmistakable whiff of eroticism", its "nonmechanical repetition". She was influenced by, and in turn influenced, many famous artists of the 1960s through today. Eva Hesse was for many artists and friends who knew her so charismatic that her memory remains simply unforgettable to this day.

To read more about Eva Hesse, see her page on Wikipedia.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Willem de Kooning

Country of origin: Netherlands

Willem de Kooning (April 24, 1904 – March 19, 1997) was a Dutch American abstract expressionist artist who was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

In the post-World War II era, de Kooning painted in a style that came to be referred to as Abstract expressionism or Action painting, and was part of a group of artists that came to be known as the New York School. Other painters in this group included Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann, Adolph Gottlieb, Robert Motherwell, Philip Guston and Clyfford Still.

To read more about this artist, see his page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Salma Hayek

Country of origin: Mexico

Salma Valgarma Hayek Jiménez-Pinault (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsalma ˈxaʝek]; born September 2, 1966 in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz) is a Mexican actress, director and producer. She is one of the most prominent Mexican figures in Hollywood. She received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role as as Frida Kahlo in the movie Frida.

To learn more about Salma Hayek, see her Wikipedia page. Also, here is an article about her time as an illegal immigrant in the United States.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Henry Kissinger

Country of origin: Germany

Henry Alfred Kissinger (pronounced /ˈkɪsɪndʒər/; born May 27, 1923) is a German-born American political scientist, diplomat, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. After his term, his opinion was still sought by many following presidents.

To read more about Henry Kissinger, see his page on Wikipedia.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Nadia Comăneci

Country of origin: Romania

Nadia Elena Comăneci (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈnadi.a koməˈnet͡ʃʲ]; born November 12, 1961) is a Romanian gymnast, winner of three Olympic gold medals at the 1976 Summer Olympics, and the first gymnast ever to be awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic gymnastic event. She is also the winner of two gold medals at the 1980 Summer Olympics. She is one of the best-known gymnasts in the world. In 2000 Comăneci was named as one of the athletes of the century by the Laureus World Sports Academy.

To read more about Nadia Comăneci, see her page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Elizabeth O. Ofili

Country of origin: Nigeria

Because she had trained overseas, when Elizabeth Ofili, M.B.B.S., first came to the United States from Nigeria in 1982, she had to work especially hard to receive the proper recognition she deserved. Today, she is a professor of medicine, chief of cardiology, and director and principle investigator of the Clinical Research Center at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia.

To read more about Dr. Elizabeth O. Ofili, see her page at

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lissy Jarvik

Country of origin: Netherlands

As a pioneer in the field of neuropsychogeriatrics, Dr. Lissy Feingold Jarvik was one of the first physicians to demonstrate that mental decline was not a part of the normal aging process. Her studies have focused on the mental changes that occur in both healthy and physically impaired people as they age. She also established the first inpatient psychogeriatric unit at the University of California, Los Angeles, and established the first such unit within the Department of Veterans Affairs.

For more about Dr. Lissy Jarvik, see her page at

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Elizabeth Blackwell

Country of origin: England

Elizabeth Blackwell (3 February 1821 – 31 May 1910) was the first female doctor in the United States and the first on the UK Medical Register. She was the first openly identified woman to graduate from medical school, a pioneer in educating women in medicine in the United States, and was prominent in the emerging women's rights movement.

To find out more about this pioneering woman, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Also I'd like to wish everyone a happy International Women's Day!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Yen Ngoc Do

Country of origin: Vietnam

Yen Ngoc Do (May 25, 1941 — August 17, 2006) was a Vietnamese American newspaper publisher; the founder of Nguoi Viet Daily News, the oldest and largest Vietnamese daily publication; and a founding father of Little Saigon in Orange County, California.


Among many honors, in 1999, Do received the Sky Dunlap Lifetime Achievement Award from the Orange County Press Club. In 2003, he received the Asian American Journalists Association's Lifetime Achievement Award. Do has also been recognized with an Ethics in Business Award from the Chamber of Commerce in the city of Westminster, home to Little Saigon. Throughout the years, he has also received dozens of citations given in thanks for personal and newspaper donations to community projects, scholarships, internships and to fund fine arts and performing arts programs.

To read more about Yen Ngoc Do, see his page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Isaac Asimov

country of origin: Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic

Isaac Asimov ( /ˈaɪzək ˈæzɪməv/ EYE-zək AZ-i-məv; born Isaak Yudovich Ozimov, Russian: Исаак Юдович Озимов; c. January 2, 1920 – April 6, 1992) was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 9,000 letters and postcards. His works have been published in nine of the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System.

For more about Isaac Asimov, read his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ricardo Montalbán

Country of origin: Mexico

Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino, KSG (pronounced /ˌmɒntəlˈbɑːn/, Spanish pronunciation: [montalˈβan]; November 25, 1920 – January 14, 2009) was a Mexican radio, television, theatre and film actor. He had a career spanning seven decades (motion pictures from 1943 to 2006) and multiple notable roles. During the mid-1970s, Montalbán was most notable as the spokesman in automobile advertisements for the Chrysler Cordoba (in which he famously extolled the "soft Corinthian leather" used for its interior). From 1977 to 1984, he became famous as Mr. Roarke the main star in the television series Fantasy Island. He played Khan Noonien Singh in both the 1967 episode "Space Seed" of the first season of the original Star Trek series, and the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. He won an Emmy Award in 1978, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 1993. Into his 80s, he continued to perform, often providing voices for animated films and commercials, and appearing in several Spy Kids films as "Grandfather Valentin".

To read more about Ricardo Montalbán, take a look at his page on Wikipedia.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Loung Ung

Country of origin: Cambodia

Loung Ung (born 1970) is a Cambodian American human-rights activist, an internationally-recognized lecturer, and the national spokesperson for the Campaign for a Landmine-Free World. Between 1997 and 2003 she served in the same capacity for the "International Campaign to Ban Landmines", which is affiliated with the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation.

To read more about Loung Ung visit her page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Alfred Hitchcock

Country of origin: England

Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was an English filmmaker and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in his native United Kingdom in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood. In 1956 he became an American citizen while remaining a British subject.

Over a career spanning more than half a century, Hitchcock fashioned for himself a distinctive and recognisable directorial style. Viewers are made to identify with the camera which moves in a way meant to mimic a person's gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. He framed shots to manipulate the feelings of the audience and maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative film editing to demonstrate the point of view of the characters. His stories frequently feature fugitives on the run from the law alongside "icy blonde" female characters. Many of Hitchcock's films have twist endings and thrilling plots featuring depictions of violence, murder, and crime, although many of the mysteries function as decoys or "MacGuffins" meant only to serve thematic elements in the film and the extremely complex psychological examinations of the characters. Hitchcock's films also borrow many themes from psychoanalysis and feature strong sexual undertones. Through his cameo appearances in his own films, interviews, film trailers, and the television program Alfred Hitchcock Presents, he became a cultural icon.

Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films in a career spanning six decades. Often regarded as the greatest British filmmaker, he came first in a 2007 poll of film critics in Britain's Daily Telegraph, which said: "Unquestionably the greatest filmmaker to emerge from these islands, Hitchcock did more than any director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly different without him. His flair was for narrative, cruelly withholding crucial information (from his characters and from us) and engaging the emotions of the audience like no one else." The magazine MovieMaker has hailed him as the most influential filmmaker of all time, and he is widely regarded as one of cinema's most significant artists.

To read more about this incredible filmmaker (I'm biased, since he is one of my favorites) see his page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Yo-Yo Ma

Country of origin: France

Yo-Yo Ma (simplified Chinese: 马友友; traditional Chinese: 馬友友; pinyin: Mǎ Yǒuyǒu; born October 7, 1955) is a French-born American cellist, virtuoso, orchestral composer of Chinese descent, and winner of multiple Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts in 2001 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. He is one of the most famous cellists of the modern age.

To read more about Yo-Yo Ma, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

William Ford

Country of origin: Ireland

William Ford (December 10, 1826 – March 8, 1905) was an Irish-born American businessman. He was the father of Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford.

To read more about William Ford, see his Wikipedia entry.