|Birth Day:||March 25, 1928|
|Birth Place:||Cleveland, United States|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
He loved to build model rockets as a boy and demonstrated an early interest in rocketry.
Born in 1928 in Cleveland, Ohio, James Lovell was the only child of his mother Blanche (Masek), who was of Czech descent, and his father, James, Sr., an Ontario, Canada-born coal furnace salesman, who died in a car accident in 1933. For about two years, Lovell and his mother lived with a relative in Terre Haute, Indiana. After relocating with his mother to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he graduated from Juneau High School. A member of the Boy Scouts during his childhood, Lovell eventually achieved Eagle Scout, the organization's highest level.
While Lovell was attending pre-flight training in the summer of 1948, the navy was beginning to make cutbacks in the program, and cadets were under a great deal of pressure to transfer out. There were concerns that some or most of the students who graduated as Naval Aviators would not have pilot billets to fill. This threat persisted until the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. Lovell applied and was accepted to the United States Naval Academy in the fall of 1948. During his first year, he wrote a treatise on the liquid-propellant rocket engine. He attended Annapolis for the full four years, graduating as an ensign in the spring of 1952 with a B.S. degree. He then went to flight training at NAS Pensacola from October 1952 to February 1954.
In 1952, following his graduation from the Naval Academy, Lovell married his high school sweetheart, Marilyn Lillie Gerlach (born July 11, 1930), the daughter of Lillie (née Nordrum) and Carl Gerlach. The two had attended Juneau High School in Milwaukee. While she was a college student, Gerlach transferred from Wisconsin State Teachers College to George Washington University in Washington D.C. so she could be near him while he was training in Annapolis.
Lovell was designated a Naval Aviator on February 1, 1954. Upon completion of pilot training, he was assigned to VC-3 at Moffett Field near San Francisco, California. From 1954 to 1956 he flew F2H-3 Banshee night fighters. This included a WestPac deployment aboard the carrier USS Shangri-La, when the ship emerged from refit as only the second USN carrier with the new angled deck. Upon his return to shore duty, he was reassigned to provide pilot transition training for the F3H Demon. In January 1958, Lovell entered a six-month test pilot training course at what was then the Naval Air Test Center (now the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Two of his classmates were Pete Conrad and Wally Schirra; Lovell graduated first in his class.
In 1961 Lovell completed Aviation Safety School at the University of Southern California (USC).
At NAS Patuxent River, Lovell was assigned to Electronics Test (later Weapons Test), with his assigned call sign being "Shaky", a nickname given him by Conrad. He became F4H program manager, during which time John Young served under him. In 1961 he received orders for VF-101 "Detachment Alpha" as a flight instructor and safety engineering officer.
In 1962 NASA needed a second group of astronauts for the Gemini and Apollo programs. Lovell applied a second time and was accepted into NASA Astronaut Group 2, "The New Nine", as was Conrad.
Lovell was selected as backup pilot for Gemini 4. This put him in position for his first space flight three missions later, as pilot of Gemini 7 with Command Pilot Frank Borman in December 1965. The flight's objective was to evaluate the effects on the crew and spacecraft from fourteen days in orbit. This fourteen-day flight set an endurance record making 206 orbits. It was also the target vehicle for the first space rendezvous with Gemini 6A.
Lovell was later scheduled to be the backup command pilot of Gemini 10. But after the deaths of the Gemini 9 prime crew Elliot See and Charles Bassett, he replaced Thomas P. Stafford as backup commander of Gemini 9A. This again positioned Lovell for his second flight and first command, of Gemini 12 in November 1966 with Pilot Buzz Aldrin. This flight had three extravehicular activities, made 59 orbits, and achieved the fifth space rendezvous and fourth space docking with an Agena target vehicle. This mission was successful because it proved that humans can work effectively outside the spacecraft, paved the way for the Apollo missions, and helped reach the goal of getting man on the Moon by the end of the decade.
Lovell received his second Harmon International Trophy in 1967 when he and Aldrin were selected for their Gemini 12 flight.
Construction delays of the first crewed LM prevented it from being ready in time to fly on Apollo 8, planned as a low Earth orbit test. It was decided to swap the Apollo 8 and Apollo 9 prime and backup crews in the flight schedule so that the crew trained for the low-orbit test could fly it as Apollo 9, when the LM would be ready. A lunar orbital flight, now Apollo 8 replaced the original Apollo 9 medium Earth orbit test. Borman, Lovell and Anders were launched on December 21, 1968, becoming the first men to travel to the Moon.
The Apollo 8 crew won the Robert J. Collier Trophy for 1968. President Nixon awarded the crew the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy in 1969. Lovell accepted it on behalf of the crew. The General Thomas D. White USAF Space Trophy is normally awarded to Air Force personnel, but an exception was made to include Lovell. The Apollo 8 crew were awarded the 1968 trophy. Lovell was awarded his third Harmon International Trophy in 1969 for his role in the Apollo 8 mission. The crew was also awarded the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Haley Astronautics Award for 1970. The Apollo 7, 8, 9, and 10 crews were awarded the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Special Trustees Award for 1969. The Apollo 8 astronauts were named Time Magazine Men of the Year in 1968.
He was on the cover of Time magazine on January 3, 1969 and April 27, 1970. He was also on the cover of Life magazine on April 24, 1970.
Lovell was backup commander of Apollo 11 and was scheduled to command Apollo 14. Instead, he and his crew swapped missions with the crew of Apollo 13, as it was felt the commander of the other crew, Alan Shepard, needed more time to train after having been grounded for a long period by an ear problem. Lovell lifted off aboard Apollo 13 on April 11, 1970, with CM Pilot Jack Swigert and LM Pilot Fred Haise. He and Haise were to land on the Moon.
A small crater on the far side of the Moon was named Lovell in his honor in 1970. Discovery World in Milwaukee was named The James Lovell Museum of Science, Economics and Technology. It is located on James Lovell St., also named for Lovell. The Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center was completed in October 2010, merging the Naval Health Clinic Great Lakes and the North Chicago Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
He was a recipient of the University of Wisconsin's Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 1970. In his acceptance speech he emphasized the use of words over "rock throwing" to help attain political goals. He was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree at Western Michigan University's summer commencement exercises in 1970. He was also awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree at William Paterson College's commencement exercises in 1974.
Lovell retired from the Navy and the space program on March 1, 1973 and went to work at the Bay-Houston Towing Company in Houston, Texas, becoming CEO in 1975. He became president of Fisk Telephone Systems in 1977, and later worked for Centel, retiring as an executive vice president on January 1, 1991. Lovell was a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. He was also recognized by the Boy Scouts of America with their prestigious Silver Buffalo Award.
About a month after the return to Earth of Apollo 13, Lovell and his crewmates, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert, appeared on The Tonight Show with host Johnny Carson. In 1976, Lovell made a cameo appearance in the Nicolas Roeg movie The Man Who Fell to Earth.
In 1982, Lovell was one of ten Gemini astronauts inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame. Lovell, along with the other 12 Gemini astronauts, was inducted into the second U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame class in 1993.
In 1995, actor Tom Hanks portrayed Lovell in the film Apollo 13, based on Lovell's 1994 book Lost Moon. Lovell makes a cameo in this movie, playing the captain of the USS Iwo Jima at the end of the film. In 1998, actor Tim Daly portrayed Lovell in portions of the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon.
In 1999 the Lovell family opened "Lovell's of Lake Forest", a fine dining restaurant in Lake Forest, Illinois. The restaurant displayed many artifacts from Lovell's time with NASA, as well as from the filming of Apollo 13. The restaurant was sold to son and executive chef James ("Jay") in 2006. The restaurant was put on the market for sale in February 2014 and closed in April 2015, with the property auctioned the same month.
In 2018, actor Pablo Schreiber portrayed Lovell in the film First Man.
James married Marilyn Gerlach in 1952 and had four children.
Currently, James Lovell is 94 years, 2 months and 4 days old. James Lovell will celebrate 95th birthday on a Saturday 25th of March 2023. Below we countdown to James Lovell upcoming birthday.
'Letters to Lovell': Adler Planetarium honors 90th birthday of Apollo 13 commander with Lake County ties
NASA astronaut James Lovell will celebrate his 90th birthday on Sunday, March 25.