On This Day April 7
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1897 – Popular 1930s-50s radio host-gossip columnist Walter Winchell (d. 1972)
1915 – Legendary jazz and blues singer-songwriter Billie Holliday, born Eleanora Fagan (d. 1959)
1920 – Indian musician-composer Ravi Shankar, who popularized the sitar and Indian classical music in Western culture (d. 2012)
1928 – Golden Globe-winning actor James Garner (“The Rockford Files,” “Maverick,” “The Notebook”) (d. 2014)
1939 – British TV talk show host David Frost, most remembered for his revealing interview series with U.S. President Richard Nixon (d. 2013)
1939 – Oscar-winning director-producer-screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola (“The Godfather” series, “Apocalypse Now,” “Cotton Club,” “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”)
1954 – Actor, martial artist, stuntman and choreographer Jackie Chan (“Rumble in the Bronx,” “Rush Hour” series, “Shanghai Knights”,”Kung-Fu Panda” franchise)
1964 – Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe (“L.A. Confidential,” “The Insider,” “Gladiator,” “A Beautiful Mind,” “Cinderella Man,” “American Gangster,” “Les Misérables”, “Man of Steel”)
1776 – U.S. Navy Captain John Barry (a.k.a. “Father of the American Navy”), commander of the warship Lexington, achieves the first American naval capture of a British vessel when he seizes the British warship HMS Edward off the coast of Virginia. The capture of the Edward and its cargo turns Barry into a national hero and boosts the morale of the Continental forces.
1948 – The United Nations establishes the World Health Organization (WHO) to promote “the highest possible level of health” around the globe. A major cornerstone of WHO is the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. World Health Day is observed internationally every April 7.
1954 – President Dwight Eisenhower coins one of the most famous Cold War phrases when he suggests the fall of French Indochina to the communists could create a “domino effect” in Southeast Asia. The so-called “domino theory” guided U.S. strategy toward Vietnam for the next decade.
1961 – President John F. Kennedy lobbies Congress to fund the preservation of historic monuments in Egypt’s Nile Valley threatened by construction of the Aswan High Dam.
1969 – The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down laws prohibiting private possession of obscene material (Stanley v. Georgia).
1970 – At the 42nd annual Academy Awards, screen legend John Wayne ropes his first and only Oscar: Best Actor for his role in the Western “True Grit.”
1978 – President Jimmy Carter cancels planned production of the neutron bomb.
1994 – Violence in Rwanda fuels the launch of what becomes the worst episode of genocide since World War II: the massacre of an estimated 500,000 to 1 million innocent civilian Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
1962 – Mick Jagger and Keith Richards meet Brian Jones at the Ealing Jazz Club in London and begin laying the groundwork for formation of The Rolling Stones.
1973 – Comedian Vicki Lawrence finds success as a vocalist, claiming the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” which holds at No. 1 for two weeks.
1984 – This day marks a second British Invasion, as an unprecedented 40 singles by British artists hold sway on the Billboard Hot 100. Two are in the Top-10: “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins (No. 3) and “Here Comes the Rain Again” by The Eurythmics ( No. 4).
1984 – Kenny Loggins holds the top position on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Footloose,” from the movie of the same name, starring Kevin Bacon.
1985 – Wham! becomes the first Western pop group to play in China when they perform at the Worker’s Gymnasium in Beijing. Footage from their trip appears in the video for their song “Freedom.”
1990 – “Love Will Lead You Back,” by Taylor Dayne, lands on top of the singles chart for a week.
2001 – “Butterfly,” by Crazy Town, returns to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for a second week.
2007 – Akon begins two weeks on top of the singles chart with “Don’t Matter.”