November 20, 1965 — “Mike D” of the Beastie Boys born

Michael Diamond was born in New York City, a member of a Jewish family. In the late Seventies, he was a founding member of the band then called The Young Aborigines, in which he was the drummer. In 1981, Adam Yauch (better known as MCA) joined the band, followed in 1983 by Adam Horovitz (better known as Ad-Rock). By this time, Diamond, now performing under the stage name Mike D, was the sole remaining original member of the band, which had renamed itself The Beastie Boys after Yauch joined.

As a member of the Beastie Boys, Diamond has enjoyed creative and commercial success. Their breakthrough hit was 1987’s “You Gotta Fight For Your Right (To Party)”, with subsequent hits “So What’cha Want”, “Sabotage” and “Intergalactic”. The band broke up in 2012 after the death of MCA, a.k.a. Adam Yauch.

1939 — Harvey Keitel born

One of those rare actors to not use a screen name, Harvey Keitel was a US Marine and later a court reporter before he became an actor. He first began to get attention for his roles in some of Martin Scorcese’s early films, such as Mean Streets and Taxi Driver. His career took a downturn after he was replaced by Martin Sheen on the set of Apocalypse Now after only a week of filming, although Keitel remained a prolific supporting actor for years.

It was not until 1992, when he played the role of Mr White in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, that his career really took off again. Throughout the Nineties, Keitel was one of the most well-known and respected actors in Hollywood, having starred or guests in some of the highest profile films of the decade.

Referenced in:

The Chanukah Song (Part II) — Adam Sandler

1964 — Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys born

Adam Yauch was born and bred in Brooklyn. His Catholic father and Jewish mother raised him without religion – although he later found Buddhism without their help. He is best known as a founding member of the Beastie Boys, and along with Mike D, one of only two members to have stayed with the band for its entire career.

Yauch was a political activist, especially concerned with the issue of Tibetan freedom, but also a film-maker and a music producer. He died in 2014 from a cancer affecting his parotid gland and lymph nodes. He was 47 years old.

Referenced in:
The Chanukah Song (Part II) — Adam Sandler

1971 — Winona Ryder is born

Born Winona Laura Horowitz, the actress now known as Winona Ryder is best known for her appearances in such films as “Heathers”, “Alien Ressurrection”, “Reality Bites” and “Girl, Interrupted”, among many others.

She is also well known for dating Johnny Deep in the early Nineties (he had a tattoo reading “Winona Forever” on his arm; after they broke up, it was modified to read “Wino Forever”), and for getting arrested for shoplifting in 2001.

Referenced in:
The Chanukah Song (Part II) — Adam Sandler

1996 — “Happy Gilmore” premieres

Hollywood success continued to elude Adam Sandler with “Happy Gilmore”. The film was commercially successful, but not the breakthrough he had hoped for (that would come two years later with “The Wedding Singer”). Critics were divided over the film, and although it did great business in the USA, it was a flop in international markets.

The tells the story of “Happy” Gilmore, a former ice hockey player who finds a new career in professional golf. Its humour is in Sandler’s signature man-child style, and its plot is as predictable as that of any other Hollywood sports movie.

Referenced in:
The Chanukah Song (Part II) — Adam Sandler

1964 – Courtney Love born

Born Courtney Michelle Harrison in San Francisco, Love is one of the most divisive musical figures of the 1990s. Both in her own right as the lead singer and songwriter of Hole, and also as the wife (and later widow) of Kurt Cobain, Love’s outspoken nature and brash behaviour has made her controversial.

In reality, of course, her attitudes, words and actions are no worse than any of her male contemporaries. They’ve all said and done stupid things. But they’re men.

Also, she never went to school in Olympia.

Referenced in:
The Chanukah Song (Part II) — Adam Sandler

1968 – Yasmine Bleeth born

One of THE pin-up girls of the Nineties, Yasmine Amanda Bleeth is a native New Yorker, born on June 14, 1968 (the day before fellow pin up girl Courteney Cox). Bleeth is best known for the roles of Caroline Holden in “Baywatch” and Caitlin Cross in “Nash Bridges”. It was the former that made her a star – although that probably had more to do with how good she looked in a swimsuit than her acting talent (although she is a skilled actress, that’s not the element of her person “Baywatch” really spotlighted).

Unfortunately for Bleeth, she has suffered repeated bouts of addiction, concluding in a cocaine addiction in 2003 that effectively ended her career in showbiz.

Referenced in:
The Chanukah Song (Part II) — Adam Sandler

1975 — Tiger Woods born

One of the greatest golf players currently competing at a professional level, Eldrick Tont ‘Tiger’ Woods was born to parents who were each of decidedly mixed ancestry – he himself has referred to his racial background as “Cablinasian” (a syllabic abbreviation he coined from CAucasian, BLack, american INdian, and ASIAN). He began playing golf when only two years old, and soon proved himself a prodigy at it.

When only eight years old, he won the 9–10 year old boys’ event (the youngest age group available) at the Junior World Golf Championships of 1984, and he has continued to win tournaments ever since, except for the Keeping One’s Infidelities Secret Tournaments of 2009 and 2010, in which he placed last.

Referenced in:
The Chanukah Song (Part II) — Adam Sandler

1963 – Jennifer Beals born

Forever to be associated with her best known role, that of the dancer Alex Owens in the 1980 film “Flashdance”, Beals never thought of herself as a dancer (she famously turned down “Dancing with the Stars”), but as an actor. And despite often being criticised (particularly in the Eighties) for being cast more for her sex appeal than her acting, she is undeniably a talented actor.

Other than “Flashdance”, career highlights include the film “Vampire’s Kiss”, and roles in the long-running “The L-Word” and the unfortunately cut short (but excellent) “The Chicago Code”. Despite her inclusion in the song by Sandler, Beals is not Jewish – her (now deceased) father was African American, and her mother is Irish American.

Referenced in:
The Chanukah Song (Part II) — Adam Sandler

1947 — O. J. Simpson born

Future pro football player, actor, possible murderer and man with no grasp whatsoever of tact or irony Orenthal James Simpson was born in San Francisco, where he also grew up and went to school. He went to the University of Southern California on a football scholarship in 1967, where he excelled. He turned pro in 1969, and played for the next decade. Before his retirement from pro football, he had already begun acting.

But none of this is the reason he is remembered today. His true claim to fame is either a) getting away with the murder of his wife and another man, or b) proving his innocence for trumped up claims of murder, depending on your point of view.

Referenced in:

The Chanukah Song (Part I) — Adam Sandler
The Chanukah Song (Part II) — Adam Sandler

1966 – Louise Post of Veruca Salt born

Louise Post was born in St Louis, Missouri, in 1966. She later moved to Chicago, where her friend Lili Taylor introduced her to Nina Gordon. This simple introduction would radically change the courses of both women’s lives.

In 1993, Gordon and Post formed the band Veruca Salt, which originally had a sound not unlike that of the Indigo Girls. However, with the addition of Gordon’s brother, Jim Shapiro, on drums, and Steve Lack on bass, the band began gigging, and soon recorded their first (and best known) song, “Seether”, which was a hit for the band. Gordon and Post eventually had a falling out that led to Gordon leaving the band in 1998; while the two have since mended fences, they are not as close as they once were.

Referenced in:
The Chanukah Song (Part II) — Adam Sandler

1967 – Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt born

Nina Gordon was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1967. It was here that her friend Lili Taylor introduced her to Louise Post. This simple introduction would radically change the courses of both women’s lives.

In 1993, Gordon and Post formed the band Veruca Salt, which originally had a sound not unlike that of the Indigo Girls. However, with the addition of Gordon’s brother, Jim Shapiro, on drums, and Steve Lack on bass, the band began gigging, and soon recorded their first (and best known) song, “Seether”, which was a hit for the band. Gordon and Post eventually had a falling out that led to Gordon leaving the band in 1998; while the two have since mended fences, they are not as close as they once were.

Referenced in:

The Chanukah Song (Part II) — Adam Sandler