Special Report

25 Famous People Born on Leap Day

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The chances of being born on leap day, Feb. 29, the day that is added in a leap year, are remote — one in about 1,500. It is estimated that there are 187,000 leapers, leapsters, or leaplings (yes, there are names for them) in America today.

Among these leaplings are famous rappers, actors, and sports figures who are still among us. Others have passed into history, having made contributions in various fields.

To find out which famous people were born on leap day, 24/7 Tempo reviewed articles and materials from websites such as timeanddate.com.

Click here to see the famous people born on Leap Day.

Leaplings keep two sets of ages, annual and every four years. The birthday observance in non-leap years is either Feb. 28 or March 1. Leaplings have chosen to embrace their unique status with organizations such as The Honor Society of Leap Year Babies and the Order of 29’ers. Anthony, Texas, calls itself the Leap Year Capital of the World and holds a three-day celebration in leap years.

Some leaplings have gained fame for particular leap day quirks. The 19th-century Tasmanian Premier, Sir James Wilson, was born and died on a leap day. Karin Henriksen of Norway gave birth to three kids on consecutive Feb. 29ths — in 1960, 1964, and 1968. These may be quirky examples, but significant events have also occured on Feb. 29. Here are leap days that made news.


To find out which famous people were born on leap day, 24/7 Tempo reviewed articles and materials from websites such as timeanddate.com, a website that provides information about time and the world’s time zones, as well as media sources such as syracuse.com, and celebrity websites such as famousbirthdays.com. We included famous (and some infamous) leapers from the past, as well as contemporary leaplings who have gained fame as actors, rappers, or in sports to create our list.

Source: Ira Goldstein / Wikimedia Commons

1. Ann Lee
> Date: 1736-1784
> Occupation: Founder of the Shakers

Born to Quaker parents in England, Ann Lee came to the United States in 1774 and founded the American branch of the Shakers, a religious movement that believed by being celibate they could do Jesus Christ’s work on Earth.


Source: harvardartmuseums.org / Wikimedia Commons

2. Gioachino Rossini
> Date: 1792-1868
> Occupation: Composer

Gioachino Rossini composed 20 operas, mostly comedic works like “The Barber of Seville.” He is also famous for his grander work “William Tell,” whose overture is among the most recognizable classical musical pieces.

Source: Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University / Wikimedia Commons

3. William Harvey Carney
> Date: 1840-1908
> Occupation: First African-American winner of Medal of Honor

Virginia-born William Harvey Carney, born into slavery, was the first First African American recipient of the Medal of Honor for bravery during the Civil War.

Source: London Stereoscopic Company / Getty Images

4. John Philip Holland
> Date: 1840-1914
> Occupation: Inventor of submarine

Irish-born engineer John Philip Holland built the first modern submarine. He had hoped its creation would deter war.


Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

5. Augusta Savage
> Date: 1892-1962
> Occupation: Sculptor

Augusta Savage, the seventh of 14 children, was an African American equal rights advocate and sculptor who created busts of prominent African American leaders, including W. E. B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey, during the Harlem Renaissance in the early 20th century.

Source: Clifton L. Kling / Getty Images

6. William Wellman
> Date: 1896-1975
> Occupation: Movie director

Oscar-nominated director William Wellman, nicknamed “Wild Bill” because of his service as an aviator during World War I, won the gold statue for Best Writing, Original Story, for the original “A Star Is Born” in 1937.


Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

7. Jimmy Dorsey
> Date: 1904-1957
> Occupation: Big band leader/saxophonist

Jimmy Dorsey was a saxophone-playing Big Band leader during the Swing Era of the1930s and 1940s.

Source: Harold Clements / Getty Images

8. Dinah Shore
> Date: 1916-1994
> Occupation: Singer/talk-show host

Dinah Shore was a popular singer during the Big Band era. She gained additional fame as a much-admired host of variety and talk shows on television from the 1950s until the early 1990s. She was famous for blowing a goodnight kiss to viewers.

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

9. Al Rosen
> Date: 1924-2015
> Occupation: Baseball player

Baseball player Al Rosen had an impactful 10-year career with the Cleveland Indians. He drove in more than 100 runs five times and was the most valuable player in 1953. Rosen later became a successful executive with the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, and San Francisco Giants.


Source: wrongsideoftheart.com / Wikimedia Commons

10. Tempest Storm
> Date: 1928
> Occupation: Burlesque performer

Tempest Storm (born Annie Blanche Banks) is a burlesque performer, singer, and actress whose career has spanned more than 60 years.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

11. Henri Richard
> Date: 1936
> Occupation: Hockey player

Hall of Fame hockey player Henri Richard played for the dynastic Montreal Canadiens for 20 years beginning in 1955-56 and won 11 Stanley Cups, including five in a row.


Source: Al Messerschmidt / Getty Images

12. Monte Kiffin
> Date: 1940
> Occupation: Football coach

The well-traveled coach is considered one of the best defensive minds in football. Kiffin was the defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they won the 2003 Super Bowl.

13. Ken Foree
> Date: 1948
> Occupation: Actor

Ken Foree has more than 100 television and acting credits that go back to 1963. He’s known for roles in horror films such as “Dawn of the Dead,” “Halloween,” and “The Lords of Salem.”

Source: Courtesy of Amazon.com

14. Jirō Akagawa
> Date: 1948
> Occupation: Novelist

Jirō Akagawa is a prolific novelist from Japan whose works include the book “Ghost Train.” He has written more than 500 books, many of them mysteries, over a nearly 40-year career.


Source: Courtesy of Amazon.com

15. Hermione Lee
> Date: 1948
> Occupation: Teacher/writer

Hermione Lee is a noted literary scholar who’s written about authors Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, and Philip Roth. In 2008, she was elected president of Wolfson College at Oxford.

Source: Florida Department of Corrections / Wikimedia Commons

16. Aileen Wuornos
> Date: 1956-2003
> Occupation: Serial killer

Aileen Wuornos was convicted in 1992 of killing seven men in Florida and southern Georgia between 1989 and 1990 in what her defense attorneys described as acts of self defense. After she was convicted, she pled guilty to three more murders and said she killed the men for money and not self defense. She was executed by lethal injection. Charlize Theron won an Oscar for playing her in “Monster” in 2003.


Source: Dave Kotinsky / Getty Images

17. Tony Robbins
> Date: 1960
> Occupation: Motivational speaker

Tony Robbins (his birth name is Anthony J. Mahavoric) is a successful author (“Unlimited Power” and “Awaken the Giant Within”) and motivational speaker who appears frequently on television infomercials.

Source: Guruguru / Wikimedia Commons

18. Gonzalo Lira
> Date: 1968
> Occupation: Chilean novelist

Gonzalo Lira is a novelist and filmmaker. His first book, titled “Counterparts,” was published in 1997. Among his screenwriting credits are “Secuestro” (2005), “Soldier of Fortune” (2000), and “The Public Space” (2018).

19. Eugene Volokh
> Date: 1968
> Occupation: Law professor

Eugene Volokh, who emigrated to the United States from the Soviet Union when he was 7 years old, is a noted First Amendment attorney who is the founder of The Volokh Conspiracy, a legal blog.


Source: Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

20. Saul Williams
> Date: 1972
> Occupation: Rapper

Saul Williams is a rapper, poet, and actor, who starred in the 1998 movie “Slam.”

Source: John Parra / Getty Images

21. Ja Rule
> Date: 1976
> Occupation: Rapper

Besides carving out a career as a rapper, Ja Rule is also an actor and reality television star. He became a hip-hop star in the early 2000s while performing under the Murder Inc. label.


Source: Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

22. Peter Scanavino
> Date: 1980
> Occupation: Actor

Actor Peter Scanavino might be best known as Detective Dominick Carisi Jr. on the long-running television crime series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” He’s also appeared on the television series “The Good Wife” and “The Blacklist.”

23. Cam Ward
> Date: 1984
> Occupation: Hockey player

Cam Ward is a recently retired hockey player who played all 13 years for the Carolina Hurricanes. In 2006, he won the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy, which is awarded to the most valuable player during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Source: Joe Scarnici / Getty Images

24. Cullen Jones
> Date: 1984
> Occupation: Swimmer

Cullen Jones swam a leg on the American men’s 4×100-meter freestyle team that set a world record at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.


Source: Mike Coppola / Getty Images

25. Jessie Usher
> Date: 1992
> Occupation: Actor

Jessie Usher has appeared in many television series, including “Survivor’s Remorse,” “Level Up,” and “The Boys.” He also played the stepson of Will Smith’s character in the film “Independence Day: Resurgence.”

Source: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

26. Dennis Farina
> Date: 1944-2013
> Occupation: Actor

With 80 acting credits as a tough guy character defending and defying the law, Dennis Farina was a familiar face to audiences on television for shows like “Law & Order” and movies such as “Saving Private Ryan” and “Get Shorty.”

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