Cannabis consumers around the globe recognize 4:20PM as the perfect time of day to light up. And when not disrupted by life-altering viruses like Covid-19, celebrating 4/20 as marijuana's (un)official holiday, with its accompanying 420 festivals and cannabis cups has never been more accepted.
In wider cultural context, 4/20 has a long, strange history, with seemingly disproportionate days of murder and mayhem. The Columbine High School massacre occurred on April 20, 1999, and in 1914, members of the Colorado National Guard opened fire on striking labor activists in Ludlow, CO. In recent memory, the April 20, 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig killed 11 workers and unleashed ecological devastation into the Gulf of Mexico waters.
Those who have 4/20 birthdays are an eclectic group, but the most infamous of all is Adolf Hitler, born in 1889. Hitler is rightfully reviled worldwide as the initiator of World War II and one the architects of the Holocaust, a “final solution” that murdered millions of people, including Jews, LGBTQ+ and gypsies.
Fortunately, not everyone sharing this birthday is as notorious or dangerous as Adolf Hitler. And of course, many other April 20th babies have made notable contributions to art, culture, music and government. Read on for a bit of history and celebration.
Famous Names with 4/20 Birthdays
- Sandro Botticelli (1445): most famously known for his painting, The Birth of Venus, he was a defining painter of the Early Renaissance.
- St. Rose of Lima (1586): this patron saint for Latin America and the Philippines was known for a life of asceticism and caring for the poor.
- Joan Miró (1893): a leader in the Surrealism style, this Spanish painter created a large body of work, including The Tilled Field.
- John Paul Stevens (1920): Stevens, considered a moderate justice, was the third-longest serving Justice in the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Daniel Chester French (1850): French is an American sculptor most famous for his design of the statue of Abraham Lincoln at Washington D.C.'s Lincoln Memorial.
- Tito Puente (1923): Puente, called the “King of Latin Music,” was a trailblazer in mambo and Latin Jazz compositions.
- George Takei (1937): famously known for his role as Sulu on the Star Trek TV series, Takei is now an author and activist, working closely with LGBTQ and Japanese American communities.
- Jessica Lange (1949): Lange is an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning actress best known for her roles in Tootsie and American Horror Story.
- Wim Hof (1959): nicknamed The Iceman because of his ability to swim and run on ice and in extreme cold, the Dutch extreme athlete also created the Wim Hof breathing method.
- Carmen Electra (1972): probably most famous for her role in the TV show Baywatch, she also performed as a singer with Prince's Paisley Park records and modeled for Playboy.
- Stephen Marley (1972): this musician follows in the footsteps of brother Ziggy Marley, and his father, reggae icon and Rastafarian Bob Marley.
- Killer Mike (1975): American rapper, actor, and activist who enthusiastically supported Bernie Sanders during the 2016 election cycle.
- Miranda Kerr (1983): Kerr is not only the first Victoria's Secret model from Australia, but has her own line of organic skincare products, KORA Organics.
- Tan France (1983): this fashion expert for the revamped Queer Eye also has the distinction of being the first openly gay, out Muslim man on western TV.
So, happy 4/20! Whether you're celebrating your birthday or the freedom to blaze, do so safely. And wash your hands.
Featured image by Shutterstock.