On This Day March 31
1967 – Jimi Hendrix suffers minor burns to his hands when he sets his guitar on fire during a performance at Finsbury Park in London. Nevertheless, he goes on to torch guitars several times during his short career.
1995 – Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, known as the “Mexican Madonna,” is shot and killed by Yolanda Saldívar, the president of her fan club. Selena was the first female Tejano artist to win a Grammy, in the Best Mexican-American album category, for her 1993 album “Selena Live!” At the time of her murder, at age 23, Selena was on the brink of international fame, recording her first English language album.
1889 – The iconic Eiffel Tower, built for the Paris International Exhibition, is formally dedicated. Engineer Gustave Eiffel, who designed the massive structure, presides at the ceremony with French Prime Minister Pierre Tirard, other dignitaries and 200 construction workers.
1981 – Robert De Niro wins the Best Actor Oscar for his role in “Raging Bull,” in which he portrays former World Middleweight Champion Jake LaMotta. De Niro gained more than 60 pounds to portray LaMotta’s retirement years. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the movie also features performances by Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty.
1999 – The sci-fi thriller “The Matrix,” starring Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne, opens in movie theaters and goes on to become a cult classic followed, in 2003, by sequels “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions.”
1943 – Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actor and frequent “Saturday Night Live” host Christopher Walken (“Annie Hall,” “The Deer Hunter,” “Sarah, Plain and Tall,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Catch Me If You Can”)
1971 – Actor Ewan McGregor (“Trainspotting,” “Star Wars” prequel trilogy, “Moulin Rouge!” “Big Fish,” “Robots,” “The Island,” “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “T2 Trainspotting”,”Christopher Robin”,”Birds of Prey”)
Own a Piece of This Day
Eiffel's Tower: The Thrilling Story Behind Paris's Beloved Monument and the Extraordinary World's Fair That Introduced It