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The Name’s the Same

The following is a list from the book Uncle John's Bathroom Reader History's Lists.

The name's the same, but the personalities couldn’t be more different.


1. The first Francis Bacon was a true Renaissance man, and not just because he was born in 1561. An exceptional philosopher, politician, scientist, lawyer, and author, his biggest fans (and he has plenty even though he’s been dead for nearly 400 years) think so highly of him that some of them believe he -not Shakespeare- wrote the plays we think of as the Bard’s.

2. The 20th-century Francis bacon was a modern artist who former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher called “that man who paints those dreadful pictures.” His fans would disagree with Thatcher’s eye for art. Even though they’re known for their “tortured imagery,” Francis #2’s paintings are considered brilliant by art cognoscenti.

(These two might actually be related: #2 was named for #1 by his father, who claimed to be descended from #1’s half-brother.)


1. The first Cassius Marcellus Clay was born in 1810 in Kentucky. His father was a wealthy landowner and slaveholder. Rather than following in his father’s footsteps, Cassius #1 became prominent abolitionist as a Kentucky state representative, an early member of the Republican Party, and unofficial advisor to President Lincoln.

2. The three-time world heavyweight champion, better know by his adopted Muslim name Muhammad Ali (and who styled himself “The Greatest”), was christened Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. in 1942. He and his father, the elder Cassius Marcellus Clay, were both named for the 19th-century abolitionist cited above. Clay, Jr. changed his name when he joined the Nation of Islam in 1964.


1. Our two Harrison Fords have more in common than anyone else on this list: both have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and have been described as “handsome Hollywood leading men.” The only difference is that you probably never heard of the one born in 1884, who starred in silent films with the likes of Gloria Swanson and Clara Bow. His first film appearance was in 1915 and his last in 1932, when silent movies were replaced by talkies.

2. The other Harrison Ford -the one that you’ve undoubtably heard of- was born in 1942 and has played strong, silent types, but all his movies have been talkies. He appeared in scads of TV shows and movies from 1966 on before making it big as Han Solo in the first three installments of Star Wars.


1. Mr. Greene #1, born Henry Graham Greene in 1904 was an English author, playwright, and literary critic. More than a few of his novels have been made into movies, including The Third Man, Our Man in Havana, The End of the Affair, and Gun For Sale, on which the film noir classic This Gun For Hire was based.

2. Our second Graham Greene was born in 1952 on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, Canada. A familiar face in Hollywood films, Greene was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Dances with Wolves, and appeared in scads of movies (including Thunderheart and The Green Mile) and in TV adaptations of Tony Hillerman’s mystery novels A Thief of Time and Coyote Waits.


(Right image credit: pinguino k)

1. The notorious outlaw was born in Missouri in 1847. A celebrity when he was alive, we was elevated to legendary status after his death at the hands of the “dirty rotten coward” Robert Ford, who shot him in the back when he was unarmed, in St. Joseph, Missouri, in April 1882.

2. The 20th-century Jesse, born in 1969, is CEO of West Coast Choppers, a manufacturer of custom-made motorcycles, and an American TV personality. The host of TV’s Motorcycle Mania and the former Discovery Channel series Monster Garage, he became notorious in his own way in 2010 when it was revealed that he had had numerous affairs while married to actress Sandra Bullock.


1. The Howard Johnson whose name was once plastered all over more than 1,000 restaurants (aka HoJos) was born in 1897. He parlayed a small soda shop in Quincy, Massachusetts, into an empire: in 1935, with a partner, he created the first modern restaurant franchise.

2. Howard Johnson #2 (aka HoJo) was born in 1960 and played third base for four major league teams from 1982 to 1995: the Detroit Tigers, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies, and Chicago Cubs. The Mets got him back in 2007, when he was named the team’s hitting coach.


1. The Joseph McCarthy born in 1885 was an American lyricist of the sentimental persuasion whose most famous songs include “You Made Me Love You,” “Alice Blue Gown,” and “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” (based in part on Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu).

2. There was nothing sentimental about Joseph McCarthy #2, the Republican senator from Wisconsin born in 1908. He staked his claim to fame on the post-World War II fear of Communist subversion, claiming there were large numbers of Soviet spies inside the federal government, and also under your bed. Ultimately, his tactics -along with his inability to substantiate his accusations- led to his censure by the Senate.


(Right image credit: Ilya Haykinson)

1. Both Janes were born in England, but only one was married to King Henry VIII. The third of Henry’s six wives, Jane #1, born in 1508, married him ten days after her cousin Ann Boleyn was beheaded for alleged adultery, incest, and treason in May 1536. Jane died the following year, soon after giving birth to Prince Edward- the male heir that King Henry coveted.

2. Actress Jane Seymour (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and TV jewelry pitchwoman) was born Joyce Frankenberg in 1951; she changed her name at age 17. Her lineage isn’t as inbred as the first Jane’s (who was a fifth cousin to her husband). Jane #2’s father’s family was from Poland; her mother’s family was from the Netherlands. Unlike Jane #1, who was married once and only for a year, Jane #2 has been married five times, putting her in a position to challenge King Henry VIII’s mark of six spouses.


The article above was reprinted with permission from Uncle John's Bathroom Reader History's Lists. Since 1988, the Bathroom Reader Institute had published a series of popular books containing irresistible bits of trivia and obscure yet fascinating facts.

If you like Neatorama, you'll love the Bathroom Reader Institute's books - go ahead and check 'em out!

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