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This Week in Biographies

National Park Service

» The new memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. on the National Mall was dedicated yesterday. President Barack Obama called King the “black preacher with no official rank or title who somehow gave voice to our deepest dreams.”

The National Park Service has opened its memorial website, right on time.

Theo / WENN

» Actor David Prowse is on tour in England, flogging his autobiography Straight from the Force’s Mouth.  (2x multiplier awarded for the title.)  

Prowse, you may recall, played Darth Vader in the original three Star Wars movies.  He was only the body: his voice was overdubbed with the stentorian tones of James Earl Jones.  (Prowse has said in interviews that he didn’t know his voice was being replaced until he the movie was actually in theaters.)

Prowse is 76 now and he’s only done a bit of acting since Return of the Jedi in 1983, but he’s been a regular on the fan circuit.

Pierre Petit / Wikimedia Commons

» Hungary celebrates the 200th birthday of pianist Franz Liszt on Saturday, October 22nd. Liszt was a Mozart-like prodigy as a child, playing his first concerts at age 9, but he’s beloved for more than playing: he was a crackerjack composer and a teacher who trained up the next great generation of pianists, too. And he invented Liszterine.  (Kidding!)  

His daughter Cosima married composer Richard Wagner in 1870, doubling up the composer DNA in the family line. You can tell Liszt is important: Austria and Hungary are still fighting over where he was born.  

» Landmark birthdays: Veronica Mars actor Kyle Gallner turns 25… Green Lantern star Ryan Reynolds turns 35… rapper Snoop Dogg turns 40… Iron Man director Jon Favreau turns 45… jazz king Wynton Marsalis turns 50… astronaut Mae Jemison turns 55… Nobel-winning novelist Elfriede Jelink turn 65… spy novelist John Le Carre turns 80… rocker Chuck Berry is tops: he turns 85 on Tuesday.

And of course we’ve just launched a glorious new photo feature: Celebs Touching Animals.

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