On This Day February 6
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1917 – Three days after U.S. President Woodrow Wilson severs diplomatic relations with Germany and warns that war would follow if American interests at sea were again assaulted, a German submarine torpedoes and sinks the passenger steamer California off the Irish coast.
1937 – John Steinbeck’s novella, “Of Mice and Men,” the story of the bond between two migrant workers during the Great Depression, is published. Eight months later, the stage adaptation opens in New York and earns Steinbeck the New York Drama Critics’ Circle’s Best Play Award in 1938.
1952 – Princess Elizabeth becomes Queen of England when her father, King George VI, dies following a long illness. But it takes the 25-year-old Elizabeth more than a day to learn of her new royal status. She was on safari at the time, inside a Kenyan tree hut watching a herd of elephants gather at a watering hole.
1978 – One of the worst Nor’easters in New England history pounds the region for more than 30 hours, with wind gusts exceeding 100 mph and snowfall of four inches an hour. High tides cause damaging coastal flooding, while inland, thousands of cars are stranded in snow drifts. Remembered as “The Blizzard of ’78,” the monster storm leaves about 100 people dead and 4,500 others injured.
1993 – Whitney Houston reigns over the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Will Always Love You,” a song penned by Dolly Parton and used in the soundtrack to the movie “The Bodyguard.” The track holds the top spot for 14 weeks and becomes one of the best-selling singles of all time.
1998 – Austrian pop superstar Falco (a.k.a. Johann Hölzel), the talent behind the 1982 hit “Der Kommisar” and 1986 smash “Rock Me Amadeus,” is killed in a car accident while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. He is just two weeks shy of his 41st birthday.