Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 29 Birthdays

A person who is born on February 29 may be called a "leapling" or a "leap year baby". In non-leap years, they typically celebrate their birthday on either February 28 or March 1.

For legal purposes, their legal birthdays depend on how different laws count time intervals. In England and Wales, the legal birthday of a leapling is March 1 in common years. In Taiwan, the legal birthday of a leapling is February 28 in common years. So in England and Wales, a person born on February 29, 1996 will have legally reached 18 years old on March 1, 2014; in Taiwan he or she legally becomes 18 on February 28, 2014.

"If a period fixed by weeks, months, and years does not commence from the beginning of a week, month, or year, it ends with the ending of the day which proceeds the day of the last week, month, or year which corresponds to that on which it began to commence. But if there is no corresponding day in the last month, the period ends with the ending of the last day of the last month."

There are many instances in children's literature where a person's claim to be only a quarter of their actual age turns out to be based on counting their leap-year birthdays. A similar device is used in the plot of Gilbert and Sullivan's 1879 comic opera The Pirates of Penzance: As a child, Frederic was apprenticed to a band of pirates until the age of 21. Now, having passed his 21st year, he leaves the pirate band and falls in love. However, it turns out that the pirate indenture says that his apprenticeship does not end until his 21st birthday, and since he was born on February 29, that day will not arrive until he is in his eighties. As such, he must leave his fiancée and return to the pirates. It may be worked out from the opera's dialogue that Frederic's birthday is February 29, 1852 thus making the opera set in 1873. (This assumes that Frederic is aware that 1900 will not be a leap year. If not, the dates would be later by four years.)

The only notable person known to have both been born and died on February 29 was Sir James Wilson (1812–1880), Premier of Tasmania.

Other notable persons born on February 29:

* 1468 – Pope Paul III (d. 1549)
* 1568 – Juan Bautista Comes, Spanish composer (d. 1643)
* 1692 – John Byrom, English poet (d. 1763)
* 1724 – Eva Marie Veigel, ballet dancer and wife of actor David Garrick (d. 1822)
* 1736 – Ann Lee, American founder of Shakers (d. 1784)
* 1792 – Gioachino Rossini, Italian composer (d. 1868)
* 1812 – Sir James Wilson, Premier of Tasmania (d. 1880)
* 1836 – Dickey Pearce, American baseball player and manager (d. 1908)
* 1840 – John Philip Holland, Irish inventor (d. 1914)
* 1852 – Frank Gavan Duffy, Australian judge (d. 1936)
* 1852 – George Maximilianovich, 6th Duke of Leuchtenberg, Russian nobleman (d. 1912)
* 1860 – Herman Hollerith, American statistician (d. 1929)
* 1892 – Ed Appleton, American baseball player (d. 1932)
* 1896 – Morarji Desai, Prime Minister of India (d. 1995)
* 1896 – Roy Parker, baseball player (d. 1954)
* 1896 – William A. Wellman, American film director (d. 1975)
* 1904 – Jimmy Dorsey, American bandleader (d. 1957)
* 1904 – Pepper Martin, baseball player (d. 1965)
* 1904 – Rukmini Devi Arundale, Indian dancer and founder of Kalakshetra (d. 1986)
* 1904 – Wolfe+585, Senior (alleged date), German-born American typesetter who has the longest personal name ever used (death year unknown)
* 1908 – Balthus, French-Polish painter (d. 2001)
* 1908 – Dee Brown, American writer (d. 2002)
* 1908 – Alf Gover, English cricketer (d. 2001)
* 1916 – Dinah Shore, American singer and actress (d. 1994)
* 1920 – Arthur Franz, American actor (d. 2006)
* 1920 – James Mitchell, American actor (d. 2010)
* 1920 – Michèle Morgan, French actress
* 1920 – Howard Nemerov, American poet (d. 1991)
* 1920 – Ivan Ivanovich Petrov, Russian operatic bass (d. 2003)
* 1920 – Rolland W. Redlin, American politician (d. 2011)
* 1924 – Al Rosen, American baseball player
* 1924 – David Beattie, New Zealand Governor-General (d. 2001)
* 1924 – Carlos Humberto Romero, President of El Salvador
* 1928 – Joss Ackland, English actor
* 1928 – Vance Haynes, American archaeologist
* 1928 – Terry Lewis, Australian police commissioner
* 1928 – Tempest Storm, American burlesque performer
* 1932 – Paul Giel, American baseball player (d. 2002)
* 1932 – Gene Golub, American mathematician (d. 2007)
* 1932 – Masten Gregory, American F1 Driver (d. 1985)
* 1932 – Reri Grist, African-American coloratura soprano
* 1932 – Jaguar, Brazilian cartoonist
* 1936 – Jack Lousma, American astronaut
* 1936 – Henri Richard, Canadian ice hockey player
* 1936 – Alex Rocco, American actor
* 1940 – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople
* 1940 – William H. Turner, Jr. American horse trainer
* 1944 – Ene Ergma, Estonian politician
* 1944 – Dennis Farina, American actor
* 1944 – Phyllis Frelich, American actress
* 1944 – Steve Mingori, American baseball player (d. 2008)
* 1944 – Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri, Italian illustrator
* 1948 – Jirō Akagawa, Japanese novelist
* 1948 – Ken Foree, American actor
* 1952 – Al Autry, American baseball player
* 1952 – Sharon Dahlonega Raiford Bush, American television personality
* 1952 – Tim Powers, American writer
* 1952 – Raisa Smetanina, Russian cross-country skier
* 1952 – Bart Stupak, American congressman
* 1956 – Jonathan Coleman, Anglo-Australian entertainer
* 1956 – Jerry Fry, American baseball player
* 1956 – Bob Speller, Canadian politician
* 1956 – J. Randy Taraborrelli, American celebrity journalist
* 1956 – Aileen Wuornos, American serial killer (d. 2002)
* 1960 – Khaled, Algerian raï musician
* 1960 – Bill Long, American baseball player
* 1960 – Richard Ramirez, American serial killer
* 1960 – Tony Robbins, American motivational speaker
* 1964 – Lyndon Byers, Canadian hockey player and Boston radio personality
* 1964 – Mervyn Warren, American film & TV composer and musician
* 1968 – Suanne Braun, South African actress
* 1968 – Chucky Brown, American basketball player
* 1968 – Pete Fenson, American curler
* 1968 – Naoko Iijima, Japanese actress
* 1968 – Gonzalo Lira, Chilean-American novelist
* 1968 – Bryce Paup, American football player
* 1968 – Wendi Peters, British actress
* 1968 – Eugene Volokh, American law professor
* 1968 – Frank Woodley, Australian comedian
* 1972 – Antonio Sabàto, Jr., Italian-born actor
* 1972 – Dave Williams, American singer (Drowning Pool) (d. 2002)
* 1972 – Saul Williams, American rapper, poet, and actor
* 1972 – Mike Pollitt, English footballer
* 1972 – Pedro Zamora, Cuban-born American Real World housemate and AIDS activist (d. 1994)
* 1972 – Iván García, Cuban athlete
* 1976 – Katalin Kovács, Hungarian sprint canoer
* 1976 – Ja Rule, American rapper and actor
* 1976 – Terrence Long, American baseball player
* 1976 – Zoë Baker, New Zealand swimmer
* 1980 – Simon Gagné, Canadian ice hockey player
* 1980 – Taylor Twellman, American soccer player
* 1980 – Clinton Toopi, New Zealand rugby league footballer
* 1980 – Chris Conley, American musician
* 1980 – Ruben Plaza, Spanish cyclist
* 1980 – Michail Mouroutsos, Greek Olympic taekwondo gold medalist
* 1984 – Darren Ambrose, English footballer
* 1984 – Cullen Jones, American swimmer
* 1984 – Nuria Martinez, Spanish basketball player WNBA
* 1984 – Adam Sinclair, Indian field hockey player
* 1984 – Dennis Walger, German rugby player
* 1984 – Cam Ward, Canadian ice hockey player
* 1988 – Scott Golbourne, English footballer
* 1988 – Benedikt Höwedes, German footballer
* 1988 – Bobby Sanguinetti, American ice hockey player
* 1992 – Perry Kitchen, American soccer player
* 1992 – Sean Abbott, Australian cricketer

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