On This Day January 3
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1892 – English writer and poet J. R. R. Tolkien (“The Hobbit,” “Lord of the Rings”) (d. 1973)
1926 – Record producer-arranger George Martin, known as the “Fifth Beatle” (d. 2016)
1930 – Actor-director Robert Loggia (“Scarface,” “Big,” “Jagged Edge,” “Independence Day,” “Lost Highway,” “The Sopranos”) (d. 2015)
1932 – Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor Dabney Coleman, (“9 to 5,” “Tootsie,” “WarGames,” “Buffalo Bill,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Rules Don’t Apply”)
1950 – Actress Victoria Principal, best known for her role as Pam Ewing in the hit series “Dallas”
1956 – Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actor-producer-director Mel Gibson (“Mad Max,” “Braveheart,” the “Lethal Weapon” movie series, “The Patriot,” “The Passion of the Christ,” “The Beaver,” “Hacksaw Ridge”)
1981 – Star NFL quarterback Eli Manning of the New York Giants
1938 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his former law partner, Basil O’Connor, establish the March of Dimes (originally known as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis) to battle polio, the disease FDR contracted at the age of 39 that prevented him from ever walking on his own again.
1961 – The U.S. severs diplomatic relations with Cuba two years after Fidel Castro seized control of the island nation 90 miles off the coast of Florida.
1967 – Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, dies of cancer in a Dallas hospital. The Texas Court of Appeals had recently overturned Ruby’s death sentence for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald and was scheduled to grant him a new trial.
1969 – Apollo 8 astronauts William Anders, Frank Borman and Jim Lovell grace the cover of TIME magazine as “Men of the Year” for becoming the first humans to orbit the moon. During their mission, the trio also captured the iconic “Earthrise” image of planet Earth hovering above the lunar surface. They were hailed for bringing a hopeful conclusion to 1968 — a year filled with social strife that included the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.
1990 – Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega surrenders to U.S. military troops to face charges of drug trafficking.
1993 – The Buffalo Bills stage the greatest comeback in NFL history. Backup quarterback Frank Reich leads the Bills to an improbable 41-38 overtime victory over the Houston Oilers in an AFC wild card playoff game that would forever be known to football fans as “The Comeback.” In Houston, however, it was referred to as “The Choke.”
1970 – The Beatles record their last song as a group — George Harrison’s “I, Me, Mine” — which appears on the “Let It Be” album.
1970 – “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” by B.J. Thomas, begins a four-week domination of the singles chart. The song is featured in the film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman.
1976 – S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y NIGHT! Scotland’s Bay City Rollers hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Saturday Night.”
1981 – Less than four weeks after his assassination outside his Manhattan apartment building, John Lennon has the first No. 1 single of 1981 with “(Just Like) Starting Over.”
1987 – Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin becomes the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1987 – The Bangles claim the top spot on the singles chart with “Walk Like an Egyptian.”
1998 – Elton John’s tribute to the late Princess Diana, “Candle in the Wind 1997,” enters its 13th week as a No. 1 single.
2004 – OutKast rules the Billboard Hot 100 with “Hey Ya!” The track ultimately holds the top spot for nine weeks and goes on to win a Best Urban/Alternative Performance Grammy Award.