On This Day January 23
Click each item below to learn more!
1737 – John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress and first to sign the Declaration of Independence (d. 1793)
1919 – Comedian, writer and actor Ernie Kovacs (d. 1962)
1930 – Poet and playwright Derek Walcott, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992 (d. 2017)
1933 – Tony-winning actress-dancer-singer Chita Rivera (“The Rink,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “West Side Story,” “Sweet Charity,” “Chicago”)
1944 – Golden Globe-winning actor Rutger Hauer (“Blade Runner,” “The Hitcher,” “Ladyhawke,” “Sin City,” “The Blood of Heroes,” “Batman Begins,” “Hobo with a Shotgun”) (d. 2019)
1951 – Retired pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who became a hero after safely landing a crippled passenger jet on the Hudson River in 2008, an event dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson”
1957 – Princess Caroline of Monaco
1964 – Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress Mariska Hargitay, best known as Detective Olivia Benson in the NBC crime series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
1849 – Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman physician in U.S. history when she earns a medical degree from the all-male Geneva Medical College in upstate New York, graduating at the top of her class at the age of 28. Blackwell devotes her life to advocating for women in the healthcare professions and, in 1868, opens a women’s medical college in New York City.
1957 – The Wham-O toy company introduces the first aerodynamic plastic disc known as the Frisbee, and forever changes outdoor recreation. The disc was the creation of Walter Frederick Morrison, who originally named it the Pluto Platter.
1968 – North Korea seizes the U.S. intelligence-gathering ship USS Pueblo and interrogates its 83 crew members claiming the vessel violated North Korean territorial waters while spying.
1973 – President Richard Nixon announces that a peace accord had been reached in Paris to end the Vietnam War.
1975 – The ABC sitcom “Barney Miller” debuts. It’s about an NYPD precinct captain played by Hal Linden, and the shenanigans he endures with his detectives.
1976 – Singer, actor, athlete and civil rights activist Paul Robeson dies at the age of 77.
1977 – The miniseries “Roots,” based on the book by Alex Haley, debuts. It runs for eight consecutive nights on ABC Television and becomes the single most-watched program in American history, drawing about 100 million viewers.
1997 – One day after her unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Madeline Albright is sworn in as America’s first female Secretary of State by Vice President Al Gore.
1961 – Bert Kaempfert begins his third and final week on top of the Billboard pop chart with “Wonderland By Night.”
1965 – Petula Clark strolls to the top of the singles chart with “Downtown.” The recording features Led Zeppelin founder Jimmy Page on guitar. Page was a studio session player at the time.
1971 – “Knock Three Times,” by Dawn featuring Tony Orlando, tops the Billboard Hot 100 and remains there for three weeks.
1986 – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts its first members at a ceremony in New York City. Inductees include Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.
1988 – Michael Jackson owns the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100: “The Way You Make Me Feel,” off his “Bad” album.
2000 – Santana’s “Supernatural” reaches the top of Billboard album chart for the second time. The album, which contains the hit single “Smooth,” ultimately remains at No. 1 for 12 non-consecutive weeks and goes on to capture eight Grammy awards.