Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Jack Black’s mom was a NASA engineer who helped bring the Apollo 13 astronauts home

Jack Black
Jack Black
Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images (Getty Images)

Jack Black is one of the few celebrities that when you see that they’re trending, your heart doesn’t immediately sink into your gut. Usually, when you see Jack Black’s name pop up on Twitter, it’s because fans are gushing about his warm, exuberant performance in 2001's School Of Rock, or they discovered his delightful ‌YouTube channel. Well, Black has gone viral again, and it’s, thankfully, for pretty wholesome reasons.

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In a Reddit post over the weekend, one user in the Today I Learned subreddit shared a little information about Judith Love Cohen, an accomplished NASA engineer who helped develop the technology that brought the Apollo 13 astronauts home. She also happened to be Jack Black’s mother.

[Today I learned] Judith Love Cohen, who helped create the Abort-Guidance System which rescued the Apollo 13 astronauts, went to work on the day she was in labor. She took a printout of a problem she was working on to the hospital. She called her boss and said she finished the problem and gave birth to Jack Black.

While most say not to believe everything you read online, this story got the seal of approval from Snopes. The fact-checkers say that Neil Siegel, Black’s half-brother and a professor of engineering at the University of Southern California, included the anecdote about Black’s birth in a 2016 obituary he wrote.

“She actually went to her office on the day that Jack was born,” Siegel wrote. “When it was time to go to the hospital, she took with her a computer printout of the problem she was working on. Later that day, she called her boss and told him that she had solved the problem. And...oh, yes, the baby was born, too.”

That baby was Jack Black, apparently the only celebrity that can trend without eliciting a sigh.

The world without Cohen would be a very different place. For instance, those astronauts may never have made it home, Ron Howard may never have made Apollo 13, and Comedy Central’s early-2000s programming, which consisted of airing Saving Silverman three times a day, may never have happened.

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