On This Day October 17
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1915 – Pulitzer-winning playwright Arthur Miller (“All My Sons,” “A View from the Bridge,” “The Crucible,” “Death of a Salesman”) (d. 2005)
1918 – Actress and dancer Rita Hayworth (“Only Angels Have Wings,” “Strawberry Blonde,” “You’ll Never Get Rich,” “Gilda”) (d. 1987)
1920 – Actor Montgomery Clift (“From Here to Eternity,” “The Young Lions,” “A Place in the Sun,” “I Confess”) (d. 1966)
1930 – Longtime New York columnist and author Jimmy Breslin (d. 2017)
1938 – Motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel, born Robert Craig Knievel (d. 2007)
1948 – Actor George Wendt, best known for his portrayal of Norm Peterson on the TV sitcom “Cheers”
1948 – Actress Margot Kidder, best known for her role as Lois Lane in the film “Superman,” opposite Christopher Reeve (d. 2018)
1958 – Grammy-winning country singer Alan Jackson
1962 – Cartoonist-actor Mike Judge (“Beavis and Butt-head,” “King of the Hill”)
1963 – Comedian-actor and “Saturday Night Live” alum Norm Macdonald (d. 2021)
1968 – Reggae guitarist and singer-songwriter Ziggy Marley
1972 – Grammy and Oscar-winning rapper and record producer Eminem, born Marshall Bruce Mathers III
1931 – A jury finds Chicago mob boss Al Capone guilty of tax evasion. One of the most notorious criminals of the 1920s and 1930s, Capone is later sentenced to 11 years in federal prison, ordered to pay $215,000 in back taxes and fined $50,000.
1966 – The TV game show takes on a new shape with the premiere of “The Hollywood Squares.”
1973 – OPEC announces it will cut oil exports to the U.S. and other nations friendly with Israel, a move that eventually leads to the “Energy Crisis.”
1973 – The romantic drama, “The Way We Were,” starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, has its world premiere in New York before opening nationally three days later. The film captures the Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Original Song for the theme song, “The Way We Were,” sung by Streisand.
1974 – President Gerald Ford goes before Congress to explain his pardon of predecessor Richard Nixon.
1989 – A powerful 6.9 magnitude earthquake rocks the San Francisco Bay Area, killing 63 people, injuring 3,000 others and causing more than $5 billion in damage. Known as the Loma Prieta earthquake, the natural disaster strikes just as Game 1 of the World Series is starting at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park between local teams The Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants.
1964 – “Do Wah Diddy Diddy,” by Manfred Mann, kicks off two weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100. It’s the cover of a song originally recorded in 1963 by the American band The Exciters, but it was the British group Manfred Mann that made it an international smash.
1964 – The Ronettes release their classic ballad, “Walking in the Rain.” The single later earns producer Phil Spector the first and only Grammy of his career for sound effects (thunder and rain).
1967 – “Hair,” touted as “an American tribal love-rock musical,” opens on Broadway.
1970 – “I’ll Be There,” by the Jackson 5, begins a five-week run at No. 1 on the singles chart. It is the group’s fourth consecutive chart-topper.
1981 – Christopher Cross is king of the Billboard Hot 100 with music from the movies – “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do).” The track holds at No. 1 for three weeks and goes on to earn a Best Original Song Oscar.
1991 – Singer and TV host Tennessee Ernie Ford dies of liver failure at the age of 72. Ford was best known for his chart-topping 1955 cover of the Merle Travis song “Sixteen Tons.”
2008 – Levi Stubbs, lead singer of Motown giants the Four Tops, dies at the age of 72. Stubbs had been in ill health since a 1995 cancer diagnosis; a stroke and other health problems led him to stop touring in 2000.