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Born This Day: Dec. 17

1778: Sir Humphry Davy, British chemist (Penzance, Cornwall, England; died 1829)
1807: John Greenleaf Whittier, poet (Essex County, MA; died 1892)
1830: Jules Goncourt, French writer (Paris, France; died 1870)
1873: Ford Madox Ford, novelist/critic (Surrey, England; died 1939)
1874: W. L. MacKenzie King, Canadian prime minister (Berlin, Ontario, Canada; died 1950)
1894: Arthur Fiedler, conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra (Boston, MA; died 1979)
1903: Erskine Caldwell, novelist (Coweta County, GA; died 1987)
1917: Gene Rayburn, TV personality (Christopher, IL; died 1999)
1923: Jaroslav Pelikan, historian of Christianity (Akron, Ohio; died 2006)
1929: William Safire, journalist (New York, NY)
1930: Bob Guccione, publisher (Brooklyn, NY)
1945: Ernie Hudson, actor (Benton Harbor, MI); Chris Matthews, TV journalist (Philadelphia, PA)
1946: Eugene Levy, comedian/writer (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
1954: Bill Pullman, actor (Hornell, NY)
1974: Giovanni Ribisi, actor (Los Angeles, CA)

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