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People born on April 15
Emma Thompson (1959): British actress who, despite playing mainly straitlaced and genteelly humorless screen characters, began her career as a stand-up comedian. Before launching a movie career, Emma appeared on the British television sketch comedy show "Al Fresco" and her own comedy show "Up For Grabs." In 1989, she landed her first film role in Shakespeare’s Henry V and in 1991 she starred in the Romantic thriller Dead Again. Her biggest achievements came in 1993 when she was awarded the "Best Actress" Oscar for her performance in the film Howards End and in 1996 when she won the Oscar for "Best Screenwriter" for her adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. Additional films for Thompson include In the Name of the Father, Much Ado About Nothing, The Remains of the Day and Primary Colors. She also had a part in 2004's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Evelyn Ashford (1957): American track-and-field athlete who was one of the top female 100 and 200 meter sprinters in the 1980s. Ashford competed in four Olympic Games (1976, 1984, 1988, 1992), winning a total of four gold medals and one silver medal. Her achievements also include sixteen United States national titles and four World Cup titles. Ashford retired in 1993 and was inducted into the Track and Field and Women's Sports Halls of Fame in 1998.

Jeffrey Archer (1940): British politician turned author who began writing political thrillers as a means to overcome bankruptcy. In 1969, at the age of 29, Archer became the youngest member of the House of Commons. He resigned in 1974, following a financial scandal that involved a company in which he had invested, and turned to writing to pay his bills. His fictional account of that incident, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less (1976) was the first of many best-selling novels. Among his best-known works are Kane and Abel, First Among Equals, A Matter of Honor, and The Fourth Estate. Archer returned to politics in 1985, when Margaret Thatcher named him Tory Party Chairman. The following year, however, he resigned from the post in the wake of another scandal.

Elizabeth Montgomery (1933): Late actress who made her television debut in 1951 on her father's playhouse series "Robert Montgomery Presents." Her notable early film roles were in the films The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell in 1955 and Johnny Cool in 1963. She is best remembered, however, for her leading role as Samantha, the witch who would cast spells with the twitch of her nose, on the 1960s television sitcom "Bewitched." Following the conclusion of "Bewitched," her first and only TV series, Montgomery turned to made-for-TV movies, many of which won critical praise like A Case of Rape (1974), The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975) and Black Widow Murders (1993). She also narrated the movie The Panama Deception which won an Academy Award® in 1993. Elizabeth died of cancer in 1995.

Nikolaas Tinbergen (1907): Dutch-born zoologist who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1973. Tinbergen gained prominence in the late 1930s as one of the founders of ethology, the branch of biology that studies animal behavior. In 1949, he became an ethology lecturer at Oxford University, where he wrote The Study of Instinct, which is considered to be the first handbook on ethology ever published. He shared the 1973 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with German zoologist Konrad Lorenz and Austrian zoologist Karl von Frisch for their discoveries in the field of the organization and occurrence of individual and social behavioral patterns in the animal world.


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This Day in History by On-This-Day.com
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