On This Day April 4
Click each item below to learn more!
1928 – Poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Annie Johnson (d. 2014)
1944 – Actor Craig T. Nelson (“Poltergeist,” “Coach,” “The Incredibles,” “Parenthood”)
1960 – Actor Hugo Weaving (“The Matrix,” “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “V For Vendetta,” “The Hobbit” film series, “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Hacksaw Ridge”)
1965 – Golden Globe-winning actor Robert Downey, Jr. (“Less Than Zero,” “Chaplin,” “Ally McBeal,” the “Iron Man” and “Avengers/MCU” and “Sherlock Holmes” movies, “The Judge”)
1966 – Actress Nancy McKeon (“The Facts of Life,” “The Division”)
1979 – Actor Heath Ledger (“10 Things I Hate About You,” “The Patriot,” “A Knight’s Tale,” “Monster’s Ball,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “The Dark Knight”) (d. 2008)
1949 – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is established by the U.S. and 11 other Western nations.
1960 – William Wyler’s Technicolor epic ,”Ben-Hur,” sets an Academy Awards record when it sweeps 11 of the 12 categories for which it was nominated, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Charlton Heston).
1968 – A sniper shoots and kills civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 39, on the balcony of a Memphis, Tennessee motel. As word of the assassination spreads, riots erupt in cities across the U.S., and National Guard troops are deployed in Memphis and Washington, D.C. In 1991, the murder scene—the Lorraine Motel—is dedicated as part of the National Civil Rights Museum.
1969 – CBS cancels the most popular show on TV at the time, “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” because the brothers failed to submit their script to network executives to review before broadcast.
1973 – A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held in New York’s Lower Manhattan to dedicate the original World Trade Center. At 110 stories each, 1 WTC, or the North Tower, and 2 WTC, the South Tower, would provide nearly 10 million square feet of office space. Reaching more than a quarter of a mile into the sky, the Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in New York City, and for a brief period, the tallest buildings in the world.
1975 – At a time when most Americans are using typewriters, childhood friends and self-proclaimed computer geeks Bill Gates and Paul Allen establish Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Four years later, they relocate the business to Washington State and grow it into a major multinational technology corporation.
2007 – Radio shock jock Don Imus makes offensive remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team on the air, creating a firestorm of criticism across the country. Imus apologizes and loses his job, but ultimately is able to salvage his career.
2013 – Acclaimed movie critic Roger Ebert, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV’s Sneak Previews program for 31 years, dies at the age of 70 after battling cancer.
1964 – The Beatles simultaneously claim the top five positions on the Billboard Hot 100, with “Can’t Buy Me Love” at No. 1 where it remains for five weeks. Never before, and not since, has a single act achieved that kind of musical monopoly.
1970 – “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” by Simon & Garfunkel, begins its sixth and final week as a Billboard No. 1. The track goes on to capture five Grammys, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
1981 – “Rapture,” by Blondie featuring Debbie Harry, is in its second and final week as a No. 1 single.
1987 – “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship is No. 1 on the singles chart and stays there for two weeks. The song appears in the movie “Mannequin,” starring Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall.
1995 – Madonna is mid-way through a seven-week domination of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Take a Bow,” from her “Bedtime Stories” album.
1998 – K-Ci & JoJo rule the Billboard Hot 100 with “All My Life.”
2009 – Flo Rida featuring Ke$ha wraps up a six-week domination of the singles chart with “Right Round,” a track that samples the chorus of the 1984 Dead or Alive song “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).”