On This Day January 17
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1922 – Actress-comedian Betty White, whose eight decades in show business included memorable roles in TV’s “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Golden Girls,” “Hot in Cleveland” and “Saturday Night Live”) (d. 2021)
1931 – Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony-winning actor James Earl Jones, whose many performances include providing the voice of Darth Vader in the “Star Wars” movie series and Mufasa in Disney’s “The Lion King”
1962 – Golden Globe-winning actor-comedian Jim Carrey (“Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” “Dumb and Dumber,” “The Mask,” “Batman Forever,” “Liar Liar,” “The Truman Show,” “Man on the Moon,” “Bruce Almighty,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”)
1950 – Eleven Boston bandits stage what comes to be called the “crime of the century,” the “perfect crime” and the “fabulous Brink’s robbery.” The group steals more than $2 million ($29 million today) from the Brink’s Armored Car depot in Boston. Six years later, the suspects are finally arrested — just days before the statute of limitations for the heist was to expire.
1953 – General Motors (GM) unveils a prototype Chevrolet Corvette sports car (code-named EX-122) at the Motorama auto show in New York City. Named for a fast type of naval warship, Corvette would eventually become an iconic American muscle car that is still in production today.
1994 – A powerful earthquake rocks Los Angeles, leaving 57 people dead and causing billions of dollars in damage. The Northridge Quake, as it’s known, remains one of the most destructive in U.S. history.
1969 – Led Zeppelin’s self-titled debut album, featuring a stylized photo of the exploding Hindenburg airship on the cover, is released to a lackluster reception. The album, which includes the tracks “Good Times Bad Times” and “Dazed and Confused,” eventually climbs to No. 10 and helps shape the evolution of hard rock and heavy metal.
1976 – Barry Manilow’s “I Write the Songs” reaches the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and goes on to win a Grammy for Song of the Year. Ironically, Manilow did not write this song. It was penned by Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys.
1990 – The Four Seasons, The Platters, The Four Tops, Hank Ballard, Bobby Darin, Simon & Garfunkel, The Kinks, and The Who are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the fifth annual awards presentation in New York.