People born in July 1953

Take Off!

Here’s a list of folks who were born in July 1953. I’m only doing this in 2023 since it’s the year I turned 70.

Nancy Griffith (6th) – I have two of her albums and probably should have more. Per NPR,  she was “a Texas-born singer-songwriter celebrated in folk and country-music circles for her crystalline voice and storytelling skill… Griffith was known for her skills as a story-telling songwriter, producing memorable songs like Late Night Grand Hotel and It’s A Hard Life Wherever You Go. Her songs also proved successful for other singers: Kathy Mattea scored a country Top 5 hit with Love at the Five and Dime, while Suzy Bogguss cracked the country Top 10 with Outbound Plane, written by Griffith with Tom Russell… She survived bouts with breast cancer in 1996 and thyroid cancer in 1998,” but no cause of her death in 2021 was announced.

Anna Quindlen (8th) – I used to read her column in Newsweek. She recently wrote an article for the Saturday Evening Post on Why Writing Is for Everyone.

The boxer

Leon Spinks (11th). There was a time that I could name every heavyweight boxing champion. I remember Leon because he won the title by being Muhammad Ali in 1978 in a split decision, a massive sports upset. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer, the disease that killed my father. Spinks died on February 5, 2021, at the age of 67.

Thomas Carter (17th) is a prolific television director. He started as an actor, most notably on the TV series The White Shadow.

Claire McCaskill (24th) was a two-term Democratic US Senator from Missouri (2007-2019). She was moderately conservative. In 2018, she lost to the odious Josh Hawley. She shows up as a talking head on MSNBC. The most interesting thing I read about her was that she was a contestant on the game show High Rollers, hosted by Alex Trebek. She was champion for four days and “later sold several of her prizes to pay off her student loan debt.”

Thomas Friedman (20th) – I read his column regularly, even though I disagree with him about half the time. For every forward-thinking on the environment, he’ll follow it with It’s Time for Biden to Out-Trump Trump on Immigration.


Walter Payton (25th) was a great football player, a running back who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.

However, the “Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award isn’t just an athletic award. It “recognizes an NFL player for his excellence on and off the field. The award was established in 1970. It was renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back, Walter Payton. Each team nominates one player who has had a significant positive impact on his community.”

“In early 1999, Payton revealed he had primary sclerosing cholangitis, a condition in which the bile ducts are blocked. He died on November 1 of that year of cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer), but not before helping to raise awareness of the rare disease.

“The football great was survived by his wife, Connie, and two children, Jarrett and Brittney. His charitable organization became the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation, with his wife taking over the foundation’s mission of helping children and veterans.”

Geddy Lee (29th) is the lead singer of the Canadian trio Rush, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. Alas, I have no Rush unless it’s on a compilation I’m not remembering. The only Geddy Lee vocal I have in my collection is Take Off by Bob & Doug McKenzie.

There’s one more birthday, about whom I’ll write later in the month.

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