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Born This Day: Dec. 5

1782 Martin Van Buren, 8th president of the United States (Kinderhook, NY; died 1862)
1830 Christina Rossetti, poet (Britain; died 1894)
1839 George Armstrong Custer, cavalry officer (New Rumley, OH; died 1876)
1867 Józef Klemens Pilsudski, Polish revolutionary, independence fighter, and dictator (Zulow—near present-day Vilnius, Lithuania; died 1935)
1890 Fritz Lang, pioneering film director whose works included M and Metropolis (Vienna, Austria-Hungary; died 1976)
1901 Walt Disney, animator/filmmaker and builder of an entertainment empire (Chicago, IL; died 1966)
Werner Heisenberg, German physicist and Nobel laureate (Würzburg, Germany; died 1976)
1902 Strom Thurmond, SC senator (Edgefield, SC; died 2003)
1906 Otto Preminger, director (Austria; died 1986)
1925 General Anastasio Somoza Debayle, Nicaraguan president (Leon, Nicaragua; died 1980)
1932 Little Richard (Penniman), singer/songwriter (Macon, GA)
1934 Joan Didion, writer (Sacramento, CA)
1935 Calvin Trillin, writer (Kansas City, MO)
1936 Ismail Merchant, Indian-born film producer (Bombay—now Mumbai, India; died 2005)
1946 José Carreras, opera singer (Barcelona, Spain)
1947 Jim Messina, singer/songwriter (Maywood, CA)
1952 Michael Dorn, actor (Luling, TX)
1968 Margaret Cho, comedian (San Francisco, CA)
1985 Frankie Muniz, actor (Ridgewood, NJ)

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