The hint is in the publication date of this very article: it’s their birthday today!
The irrepressible Stan Lee would have been 98 years old today, and was still busy creating new characters and stories and working on new projects with his company, Pow! Entertainment, right to the end when he passed from this plane of existence on November 12, 2018.
Born in New York City on December 28, 1922, Stan Lee went on to work for the company that would eventually become Marvel Comics. With artist Jack Kirby, Lee launched the superhero team the Fantastic Four in 1961, and was soon responsible for creating popular characters like Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Hulk and Thor.
Nichelle Nichols was born on this day in 1932, which makes her a beautiful, radiant and powerful 88 years young today. Widely regarded as the First Lady of Science Fiction, she was Lt. Uhura in Star Trek, the original television series that first aired in 1966. She carried the first role on television for a person of color that wasn’t some kind of slave or house servant, and made history again when she shared the first interracial kiss on television with actor William Shatner. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. personally praised her work on the show and asked her to remain when she considered leaving the series, and it’s lucky for all of us that she didn’t! Reprising her character in six Star Trek movies and a host of other roles in television shows and movies comprise her unparalleled career. Her warm convivial personality and good nature have made her a fan favorite.
Born in this day in 1934, Dame Maggie Smith is 86 years old today. It is hard to imagine anyone else in the role of Professor Minerva McGonegall in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, and Ms. Smith brought the character to life in all eight of the Harry Potter movies, starting in 2001 with Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone and finishing with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II. She currently plays the role of the Dowager Countess Lady Violet Crawley on Downton Abbey, and is such an important central character that the producer of the show decided to end the show when he found out Smith wouldn’t be returning for a 7th season. Gareth Naeme revealed to The Sun, “We easily could have gone for a 7th season, but if I’d have said ‘We haven’t got Maggie’ it would have been a shadow of itself.”
“We all feel very blessed.”, he said. “Nobody regrets ending when we did. We have a final season that’s as strong as the first because we quit while we were ahead. We had the ambition that we had a complete show.”
Each year time steals some of our light from us, but each year new light comes to us. We rejoice in the lives of these remarkable people, and honor their legacy.