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Famous Foster Kids


Babe Ruth

Babe RuthOn June 13, 1902, George Herman Ruth took his seven year-old son George Jr. to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys and signed over custody to the Jesuit Missionaries. George, Jr. was a mischievous young boy and quickly discovered that the baseball field provided a positive outlet for his youthful energy. Young George Ruth, Jr. displayed his potential at a very young age, playing all positions on the field and demonstrating superb hitting talent. By his late teens Ruth was a major league prospect. On February 27, 1914, at the age of nineteen, Ruth signed with Jack Dunn of the Baltimore Orioles. Jack Dunn was well known for picking up young talent. When George Ruth, Jr. appeared with Dunn at the ballpark the players quipped, "Here's Jack's newest Babe." The nick name stuck and thus began the fabled career of Babe Ruth, ball player and foster child.

Charles Dickens

Charles DickensBritish novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. He was born in Portsmouth. When his father, a clerk, was thrown into debtors prison, Charles was withdrawn from school and forced to work in a factory. As a young man he worked as a reporter. His fiction career began with short pieces reprinted as Sketches by "Boz." The comic novel The Pickwick Papers made him the most popular English author of his time. After a trip to America, his novels began to express a heightened uneasiness about the evils of Victorian industrial society, which intensified in the semiautobiographical David Copperfield. A Tale of Two Cities appeared in the period when he achieved great popularity for his public readings. Dickens's works are characterized by attacks on social evils and inadequate institutions, an encyclopedic knowledge of London, pathos, a vein of the macabre, a pervasive spirit of benevolence and geniality, inexhaustible powers of character creation, an acute ear for characteristic speech, and a highly individual and inventive prose style.

Dan O'Brien

Dan O'BrienO'Brien was adopted at age two and raised in a large family with a wide racial mix. His athleticism was clear, in high school winning four state track titles his senior year and making all-state in football and basketball. He scored well in the decathlon in 1988 but was dogged by injury problems. In 1992, he avenged a no-height performance in the pole vault at the Olympic Trials - which kept him off the decathlon team - to set the world record later in the year. It was one of several challenges he overcame. He spent 1997 in Arizona and returned to Moscow, Idaho, for serious training before clinching the Olympic gold in 1996 with a personal record in the javelin. Unable to compete in 2000 Olympic Trials after straining the plantar fascia in his left arch while training, he still hopes to reach 9000 points in the decathlon.

Edward Albee

Edward AlbeeEdward Albee is one of the most interesting and influential American dramatists. His work is a continuous theatrical experiment exploring and expanding the boundaries of drama. His plays range from existentialist drama to metaphysical dream plays. This experimental drive has earned Albee both commercial successes and praises from critics as well as bitter reviews and failures at the box office. To the general public Albee is probably best known by his play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, but theatre fans around the globe are familiar with his work which has garnered him three Pulitzer prizes and two Tony Awards. Born in Washington D.C. on March 12, 1928 Albee is still active, writing and directing his plays, teaching at the School of Theatre of the University of Houston and giving lectures on his work at colleges around the USA.

Faith Hill

Faith HillBorn in Jackson, Mississippi on September 21, 1967 and raised in the small town of Star, Mississippi Faith Hill is one of the most well known country singers of the nineties. At age three she began singing at family gatherings and formed her first band when she was seventeen performing at local rodeos. She moved to Nashville in 1989 and had limited success until she befriended songwriter Gary Burr, who produced her demo tape, and suitably impressed Warner Brothers Records. Her sparkling debut single 'Wild One' topped the country charts and she followed it with a version of Janis Joplin 's 'Piece Of My Heart.' Much of Hill's popularity has been fuelled by having one of the best touring bands in the business. 'It Matters To Me' was a further US country chart topper in 1996. In 1997 she recorded with her husband Tim McGraw, resulting in the number 1 hit and CMA Award-winning 'It's Your Love'.

George Washington Carver

George CarverU.S. agricultural chemist and agronomist. Born a slave near Diamond Grove, Mo., Carver lived until age 10 or 12 on his former owner's plantation, then left and worked at a variety of menial jobs. He did not obtain a high-school education until his late twenties; he then obtained bachelor's and master's degrees from Iowa State Agricultural College. In 1896 he joined B. T. Washington at the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee Univ.) in Alabama, where he became director of agricultural research. He was soon promoting the planting of peanuts and soybeans, legumes that he knew would help restore the fertility of depleted soil. To make such crops profitable, he worked intensively with the sweet potato and the peanut (then not even recognized as a crop), ultimately developing 118 derivative products from sweet potatoes and 300 from peanuts. His efforts helped liberate the South from its untenable cotton dependency; by 1940 the peanut was the South's second largest cash crop. During World War II he devised 500 dyes to replace those no longer available from Europe. Despite international acclaim and extraordinary job offers, he remained at Tuskegee throughout his life, donating his life's savings in 1940 to establish the Carver Research Foundation at Tuskegee.

President Gerald Ford

Gerald FordBorn in Omaha, Neb., he was an infant when his parents divorced, and his mother later married Gerald R. Ford. He attended the Univ. of Michigan and Yale law school, and practiced law in Michigan after World War II. He served in the U.S. House of Representative and after S. Agnew resigned as vice president in 1973, R. Nixon nominated Ford to fill the vacant post. When the Watergate scandal forced Nixon's departure, Ford became the first president who had not been elected to either the vice presidency or the presidency. His administration gradually lowered the high inflation rate it inherited. Ford's relations with the Democratic-controlled Congress were typified by his more than 50 vetoes, of which more than 40 were sustained. In the final days of the Vietnam War in 1975, he ordered an airlift of 237,000 anti-Communist Vietnamese refugees, most of whom came to the U.S. Reaction against Watergate contributed to his defeat by J. Carter in 1976.

Ingrid Bergman

Ingrid BergmanSwedish film and stage actress. After appearing in Intermezzo in Sweden, she came to the U.S. to act in the English-language version. Her radiance and unaffected charm made her a star in films such as Casablanca, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Gaslight, and A. Hitchcock's Spellbound and Notorious. The scandal caused by her love affair with R. Rossellini kept her off the U.S. screen for seven years, and she made films in Europe before being welcomed back to Hollywood in Anastasia. Her later films include Indiscreet, Cactus Flower, Murder on the Orient Express, and Autumn Sonata.

James Michener

James MichenerBorn in 1907 James A. Michener is a world famous author. His first book, Tales of the South Pacific, was published when he was forty. In the course of the next forty-five years Mr. Michener would write such monumental best-sellers as Sayonara,The Bridges of Toko-Ri, Hawaii, The Source, Iberia, The Covenant, Centennial, Chesapeake, Space, Texas, Alaska, Poland, Caribbean in addition to Tales of the Pacific which was the basis for the musical SOUTH PACIFIC written by Rodgers & Hammerstein with Joshua Logan. Decorated with America's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Mr. Michener has served on the Advisory Council to NASA, the Postal Committee, and the operating committee for the U.S. radio network broadcasting to the former U.S.S.R. and its satellites. He holds honorary doctorates in five fields from thirty leading universities, and received an award from the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities for his continuing commitment to the arts in America.

John Lennon

John LennonBritish singer and songwriter. Born in Liverpool, he wanted to be a sailor like his father, but decided to be a musician after hearing E. Presley's recordings. In 1957 he formed the band that became the Beatles, and in the 1960s he enjoyed enormous success performing with the group and writing songs with P. McCartney. In the mid-1960s he began working on side projects in film and music, notably with the Japanese-U.S. avant-garde artist Yoko Ono, whom he married in 1969. Their political activism and social ideals were reflected in much of Lennon's early solo work, incl. the hit "Imagine," and attracted the attention of the U.S. government, which sought to have him deported. After 1975 he withdrew from public life; he and Ono returned with the album Double Fantasy shortly before his murder by a deranged fan.

Langston Hughes

Langston HughesU.S. poet and writer. Born in Joplin, Mo., he published the poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" when he was 19, briefly attended Columbia Univ., and worked on an Africa-bound freighter. His career was dramatically launched when Hughes, working as a busboy, presented his poems to V. Lindsay as he dined. His poetry collections include The Weary Blues and Montage of a Dream Deferred. His later The Panther and the Lash reflects black anger and militancy. Among his other works are short stories (incl. The Ways of White Folks), autobiographies, many works for the stage (incl. lyrics for K. Weill's Street Scene), anthologies, and translations of poetry by F. García Lorca and G. Mistral. His well-known comic character Jesse B. Semple, called Simple, appeared in his newspaper columns.

Louisa May Alcott

Louissa May AlcottU.S. author. Born in Germantown, Pa., she grew up in Transcendentalist circles in Boston and Concord, Mass. She began writing to help support her sisters. An ardent abolitionist, she volunteered as a nurse during the Amer. Civil War, where she contracted the typhoid that damaged her health the rest of her life; her letters, published as Hospital Sketches, first brought her fame. With the huge success of the autobiographical Little Women, she finally escaped debt. An Old-Fashioned Girl, Little Men, and Jo's Boys also drew on her experiences as an educator.

Malcolm X

Malcolm XBorn in Omaha, Neb., he was raised in Michigan, where the family house was burned by the Ku Klux Klan; his father was later murdered and his mother was institutionalized. He moved to Boston, drifted into petty crime, and was sent to prison for burglary in 1946. He converted to the Black Muslim faith the same year. On his release in 1952, he changed his last name to X rejecting his "slave name." Soon after meeting the Nation of Islam's leader, E. Muhammad, he became the sect's most effective speaker and organizer. He spoke with bitter eloquence against white exploitation of blacks and derided the civil rights movement and integration, calling instead for black separatism, black pride, and the use of violence for self-protection. Differences with E. Muhammad prompted Malcolm to leave the Nation of Islam in 1964. A pilgrimage to Mecca led him to acknowledge the possibility of world brotherhood and to convert to orthodox Islam. Rival Black Muslims made threats against his life, and he was shot to death at a rally in a Harlem ballroom.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn MonroeBorn in Los Angeles, she endured a loveless childhood and a brief teenage marriage. After working as a photographer's model, she made her screen debut in 1948 and won bit parts in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve. She achieved stardom as a blonde sex symbol in the comedies Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, and The Seven Year Itch. After studying at the Actors Studio, she starred in more ambitious films, including Bus Stop, Some Like It Hot, and The Misfits. Her private life, which included marriages to J. DiMaggio and A. Miller, was widely publicized. She died at 36 of an apparently self-administered barbiturate overdose.

Nancy Reagan

Nancy ReganAs an actress in Hollywood, Nancy Davis met and dated actor Ronald Reagan who was recently divorced from Actress Jane Wyman. They made one motion picture together, Hellcats Of The Navy. After their marriage Reagan was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild, and later turned his career to politics. A democrat at the time, it was Nancy who persuaded him to join the Republican party. She was instrumental in shaping his political philosophy, and as First Lady she often stood directly behind him and whipsered "appropriate responses" to reporter's questions. Her domineering manner caused frequent run-ins with his staff that earned her the title, "Dragon Lady." In an effort to combat the growing drug problem in the U. S. she organized a White House summit meeting of wives from eight countries that dealt in drug trafficking. When asked how kids could stay away from drugs Mrs. Reagan coined the phrase, "Just say no!"

Nelson Mandela

Nelson mandelaThe foster son of a Thembu chief, Mandela was raised in the traditional, tribal culture of his ancestors, but at an early age learned the modern, inescapable reality of what came to be called apartheid. Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world. As president of the African National Congress and head of South Africa's antiapartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial government and majority rule. He is revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality.

Steve Jobs

Steve JobsAdopted in infancy, he grew up in Los Altos, CA. He dropped out of Reed College and went to work for Atari Corp. designing video games. In 1976 he confounded (with S. Wozniak) Apple Computer, Inc. The first Apple computer, created when Jobs was only 21, changed the public's idea of a computer from a huge machine for scientific use to a home appliance that could be used by anyone. Apple's Macintosh computer, which appeared in 1984, introduced a graphical user interface and mouse technology that became the standard for all applications interfaces. In 1980 Apple made an initial public offering, and Jobs became the company's chairman. Management conflicts led him to leave Apple in 1985 to form NeXT Computer Inc., but he returned to Apple in 1996 and became CEO in 1997; the striking new iMac computer (1998) revived the company's flagging fortunes.

Tom Monaghan

Tom MonaghanOn Christmas eve of 1941, at the age of four, Tom lost his young father to peritonitis. His mother was only earning $27.50 per week and placed Tom and his brother Jim in a series of foster homes while she attended nursing school. After graduation she took a job at a traverse City Michigan hospital, and bought a house. Her two sons came to live with her. Tom sold vegetables, fish, and newspapers as a boy to help his mother, but unfortunately Tom and his mother argued constantly, and he was sent to live on a farm just outside of town. During his freshman year in high school, Monaghan decided he wanted to become a priest and entered St. Joseph's seminary in Grand Rapids. But the seminars strict discipline proved too much for the rambunctious Tom. After a stint with the Marine Corps and dropping in and out of the University of Michigan, his brother Jim overheard that a pizza shop was for sale. The two brothers gave the seller a seventy-five dollar down payment, and borrowed the remaining 900 from the post office credit union. Jim later sold his share of the store to Tom, who eventually broke into franchising in 1967. The company's remarkable growth has resulted in Domino's having over 5000 stores in the United States and more than 260 stores in other countries.

Willie Nelson

Willie NelsonA country-music singer and songwriter, he was born in Abbott, Texas. He learned guitar from his grandfather and by 10 was performing at local dances. After working as a disc jockey, in 1961 he moved to Nashville, where he wrote hit songs for dozens of country, rhythm-and-blues, and pop singers, incl. "Hello Walls," "Night Life," and "Crazy." Returning to Texas, he released the hit album Red Headed Stranger; it was followed by Wanted: The Outlaws, which outsold every country album that had preceded it, and Stardust, with songs by H. Carmichael and I. Berlin. He has recorded with at least 75 other singers, including Waylon Jennings. In the 1980s he organized annual Farm Aid festivals to raise money for farmers.