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May 17 Notable Births, with Quotes

Published by: Carolyn Brooks Fleming on May 16, 2022.

Explore memorable and revealing quotes from public figures, past and present, who were born on May 17.

Trent Reznor, singer and songwriter (May 17, 1965–present)

“We’re just animals that, left to our own devices, will kill each other. We’re only out for ourselves anyway. This illusion that we’re more than that is nothing but that: an illusion.” —Trent Reznor
Beaumont-Thomas. “Trent Reznor: ‘You’re seeing the fall of America in real time.’” The Guardian, June 21, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jun/21/trent-reznor-nine-inch-nails-youre-seeing-the-fall-of-america.

“I was always good at math, and I was going to be an engineer, because you had to have a real job. Where I come from, there are no artists; artists were teaching at the high school down the street.” —Trent Reznor
Beaumont-Thomas. “Trent Reznor: ‘You’re seeing the fall of America in real time.’” The Guardian, June 21, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jun/21/trent-reznor-nine-inch-nails-youre-seeing-the-fall-of-america.

Craig Ferguson, comedian and television host (May 17, 1962–present)

“I have a scar on my right hand, about two inches long. Depending on how I feel I’ll either tell you I was stabbed or I punched a window or I pulled a baby from a burning building.” —Craig Ferguson
Men’s Journal. “Life Advice from Craig Ferguson.” Men’s Journal, March 2009, https://www.mensjournal.com/entertainment/life-advice-from-craig-ferguson-w441543/.

“I’ve got one tattoo that I don’t regret. It’s my family coat of arms on my right shoulder. I got it in remembrance of my father. My father hated tattoos. It’s the Celtic paradox: Get a tattoo in memory of someone who hated tattoos.” —Craig Ferguson
Men’s Journal. “Life Advice from Craig Ferguson.” Men’s Journal, March 2009, https://www.mensjournal.com/entertainment/life-advice-from-craig-ferguson-w441543/.

Enya, singer and songwriter (May 17, 1961–present)

“Falling madly in love and getting married would be the most horrific thing that could happen.” —Enya
Murphy, Lauren. “Enya breaks her silence on fame, privacy and music.” The Irish Times, November 13, 2015, https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/enya-breaks-her-silence-on-fame-privacy-and-music-1.2428630.

“Being brought up in the northwest of Ireland in a Gaeltacht area with Gaelic my first language; I know I’ve studied classical music, but the roots of traditional music will always be there, because there’s this sense of melancholy that’s within the music. I always think that Irish music is very passionate, it’s been passed on to generations and has a great history – so I feel that is always going to be with me.” —Enya
Murphy, Lauren. “Enya breaks her silence on fame, privacy and music.” The Irish Times, November 13, 2015, https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/enya-breaks-her-silence-on-fame-privacy-and-music-1.2428630.

Sugar Ray Leonard, boxer (May 17, 1956–present)

“Boxing is a poor man’s sport. It’s a sport that demands your outright respect. Most people look at boxing or any contact sport and say, ‘Wow, I couldn’t do that,’ because they don’t possess the thing inside of us that makes us go through pain. It takes something to activate that. That’s what separates fighters from other people.” —Sugar Ray Leonard
McGinn, Daniel. “Life’s Work: An Interview with Sugar Ray Leonard.” Harvard Business Review, February 2020, https://hbr.org/2020/01/lifes-work-an-interview-with-sugar-ray-leonard.

“Other fighters said I was ‘white collar’ because I was doing endorsements and other things outside the ring. That bothered me. I never discussed it, but in a strange way it made me a better fighter. It was about composure, and not letting people get inside my head.” —Sugar Ray Leonard
McGinn, Daniel. “Life’s Work: An Interview with Sugar Ray Leonard.” Harvard Business Review, February 2020, https://hbr.org/2020/01/lifes-work-an-interview-with-sugar-ray-leonard.

Bob Saget, comedian and actor (May 17, 1956–January 9, 2022)

Read our Bob Saget obituary.

“‘Full House’ was a show that was done for ten-year-olds. The critics hated it. They said terrible, terrible things about it. But it should have been reviewed by ten-year-olds. That’s who it was made for. They loved it.” —Bob Saget
Sager, Mike. “What I’ve Learned: Bob Saget.” Esquire, January 10, 2022, https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/a38709946/bob-saget-what-ive-learned-interview/.

“I am basically just a nine-year-old boy that evolved.” —Bob Saget
Spitznagel, Eric. “Q&A: Bob Saget Will Never Not Be Dirty.” Esquire, May 13, 2013, https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/interviews/a22594/bob-saget-interview/.

Dennis Hopper, actor (May 17, 1936–May 29, 2010)

“My grandparents were from Kentucky—I’m related to Daniel Boone. He was my great-great-great uncle.” —Dennis Hopper
Brant, Peter M. and Shafrazi, Tony. “Dennis Hopper Complete Interview.” Interview, July 15, 2010, https://www.interviewmagazine.com/film/dennis-hopper-complete-interview.

“My father was pretty busy. I mean, I learned more about him at his funeral than I did, really, growing up.” —Dennis Hopper
Brant, Peter M. and Shafrazi, Tony. “Dennis Hopper Complete Interview.” Interview, July 15, 2010, https://www.interviewmagazine.com/film/dennis-hopper-complete-interview.

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