Today is Friday the 13th — a day of horror films and knocking on wood. You'd think that being born on Friday the 13th would damn you to a life of intensely terrible luck and pure misfortune. It turns out that's not necessarily the case — just look at these 13 successful people!
But before I start, here's a fun fact: Phobia of today's date is called friggatriskaidekaphobia. Yeah.
1. Fidel Castro: August 13, 1926
Fidel Castro may have mixed reviews among the Cuban people, but a man who called himself "prime minister" from 1959 to 1976 and then "president" (to make it sound more democratic, you know) until 2006 and got away with it must be pretty damn lucky. In 2009, Forbes called Castro one of the wealthiest heads of state in the world — a claim he furiously denied. In the article, Forbes cited unnamed former Cuban officials who "insist Castro, who travels exclusively in a fleet of black Mercedes, has skimmed profits" from several state-owned companies. Sounds like a pretty sweet life to me, even if it wasn't so sweet for others.
2. Christopher Plummer: December 13, 1929
Anyone who can sing well enough to be cast as Captain Georg Ludwig von Trapp in The Sound of Music has got a thing or two going for them. Plumbers long history of movie magic has earned him accolades far beyond what most people could hope to aspire to, including an Academy Award, two Tony Awards, two Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a SAG Award and a BAFTA Award. His Academy win at the age of 82 for Beginners also made him the oldest person to ever win an Academy Award. So, after decades in theater and film, he's still just as awesome as he was while using showbiz to escape the firm grasp of the Nazi Army so he could freely fall in love with a singing nun.
3. Max Weinberg: April 13, 1951
Max Weinberg, while he also drummed for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, is best known for drumming alongside Conan O'Brien — both on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. He chose not to follow O'Brien to his TBS gig, but I like to think it's because his beats are too solid for basic cable.
4. Michael Spinks: July 13, 1957
When your amateur career culminates in a gold medal at the Olympics, you know you’ve got a pretty good thing going.
Michael Spinks won gold in 1976, and then moved on to the world of professional boxing, going undefeated in his first 31 professional fights. After 10 successful title defenses, he decided light-heavyweight boxing just wasn’t good enough anymore and moved on to heavyweight, becoming the first light-heavyweight champion to win the heavyweight title.
5. Steve Buscemi: December 13, 1957
The man might straight up look like a bugged out squirrel, but he’s let a pretty good life. In addition to some pretty impressive movie roles, the actor, writer and director has been lighting up the silver screen on Boardwalk Empire since 2010. His portrayal of Enoch “Nucky” Thompson has won him two SAG Awards, a Golden Globe and two Emmy nominations.
6. Julia Louis-Dreyfus: January 13, 1961
This funny woman is the only female to win three Emmys for three different comedy series, and with a total of 16 nominations is also the most nominated actress in Emmy history. She’s currently starring in HBO’s Veep, which is still going strong. And she can dance!
7. Doc Rivers: October 13, 1961
Glenn Anton "Doc" Rivers is the current head coach and senior vice president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Clippers. While he was a point guard in the NBA he was known for his slick defense skills. Since he's started coaching, he's coached the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics, who he coached to two Eastern Conference titles and an NBA championship.
8. Mark Lemke: August 13, 1965
Although Mark Lemke was a solid Major League second baseman for 11 seasons, he was hardly a great baseball player. What warrants his inclusion on this list is the incredible fact that Lemke was never hit by a pitch in any of his 3,664 plate appearances in the Major Leagues — an all-time record.
9. Darius Rucker: May 13, 1966
Darius Rucker does what he wants. He was the lead singer of the popular rock group Hootie and the Blowfish before he released his own R&B album in 2002, which was never a huge success. Then in 2008 he put out a country album that returned him to the charts. His first single, "Don't Think I Don't Think About it," made him the first African American singer to hit No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs charts since Charley Pride in 1983.
10. Bernie Williams: December 13, 1968
For 16 seasons, Bernie Williams was a mainstay in the outfield for the New York Yankees, with whom he won four World Series. Williams holds the record for most postseason runs batted in (80), and is second in postseason home runs (22), doubles (29), total hits (128), total bases (223), and runs scored (83).
11. Nate Silver: January 13, 1978
Nate Silver is a brilliant American statistician and writer who has lent his skills to both politics and baseball. What could be more American? He currently analyzes in-game baseball activity as editor-in-chief of ESPN's FiveThirtyEight blog, and does elections analysis for ABC News. While maintaining his FiveThirtyEight blog for the New York Times, he correctly predicted the winner of the 2012 presidential election in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The same year, his predictions for the U.S. Senate races were correct in 31 or 33 states.
12. (& 13) Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen: June 13, 1986
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen made almost daily appearances on the television sets of every child of the late 80s and early 90s. Collectively the Olsen twins, the pair are still acting (sort of) and dabble in the fashion world. They made their debut in Full House, and then turned six and blew up the big screen. With an estimated net worth of $100 million, they are now two of the wealthiest women in the world thanks to an entertainment dynasty they started before they could read chapter books.