On this Day June 17
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1904 – Tony-winning actor Ralph Bellamy (“His Girl Friday,” “The Winds of War,” “Trading Places”) (d. 1991)
1943 – Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich
1943 – Grammy, Emmy and Tony-winning singer-songwriter-arranger Barry Manilow (“I Write the Songs,” “Mandy,” “Copacabana”)
1951 – Actor-comedian Joe Piscopo, best remembered for his Frank Sinatra impersonations on “Saturday Night Live” in the 1980s
1960 – Actor Thomas Haden Church (“Wings,” “Sideways,” “Spider-Man 3”)
1963 – Actor Greg Kinnear (“As Good As It Gets,” “You’ve Got Mail,” “Stuck on You,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Green Zone”)
1980 – American tennis star Venus Williams
1987 – Grammy-winning rapper and producer Kendrick Lamar, born Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, who has the distinction of being the first artist ever to win a Pulitzer Prize for Music for a genre other than classical or jazz
1885 – The disassembled Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the American people, arrives to great fanfare in New York Harbor aboard the French Navy ship, Isère. It will take a year to reassemble all its parts.
1928 – Aviator Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, as she completes a flight from Newfoundland to Wales in about 21 hours.
1972 – Five men are arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office-apartment-hotel complex in Washington, D.C. The busts eventually lead to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandal.
1991 – The South African Parliament repeals the Population Registration Act, removing what served as the foundation of apartheid. The law, first enacted in 1950, required the racial classification of all South Africans at birth.
1994 – The NBA playoffs are interrupted as TV networks break in with live coverage of perhaps the most famous car chase ever to take place on Los Angeles freeways. It’s football legend O.J. Simpson, inside a white Ford Bronco, being pursued as a double-murder suspect by a convoy of police cars.
1965 – The New York Academy of Music hosts the first-ever American performances of two British bands that would become staples of the classic rock scene: The Moody Blues and The Kinks.
1967 – “Groovin’,” by The Young Rascals, makes a return trip to the top of the Billboard singles chart. It spent two weeks there in mid-May and begins another two-week stay this time around.
1972 – Sammy Davis, Jr. holds at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “The Candy Man,” from the movie “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.” It is the only chart-topper of Davis’ long career as a celebrated entertainer and Rat Pack member.
1972 – The Rolling Stones’ “Exile On Main Street” starts a four-week run on top of the Billboard album chart. The double-album features “Rocks Off’,” “Rip This Joint,” “Happy” and “Tumbling Dice.”
1978 – Andy Gibb is the hottest act on the singles chart with “Shadow Dancing,” which holds the top spot for seven weeks.
1986 – Kate Smith, one of the most successful American singers of the 1920s-40s and best known for her rendition of “God Bless America,” dies at the age of 79.
1995 – Bryan Adams’ “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” is in the middle of a five-week run at No. 1 on the singles chart. The song is from the soundtrack to the movie “Don Juan DeMarco,” starring Johnny Depp.
2006 – “Hips Don’t Lie, by Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean, begins two weeks on top of the pop chart.