On This Day September 15
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1254 – Venetian merchant and explorer Marco Polo (d. 1324)
1890 – Mystery author and playwright Agatha Christie (d. 1976)
1907 – Actress Fay Wray, most remembered for playing the lead in the original “King Kong” movie (d. 2004)
1922 – Jackie Cooper, the first child actor to be nominated for an Oscar (“Our Gang,” “Little rascals,” “The Champ’) (d. 2011)
1946 – Oscar-winning screenwriter-director Oliver Stone (“Platoon,” “Scarface,” “Born on the Fourth of July,” “JFK,” “Natural Born Killers”)
1946 – Oscar-winning actor Tommy Lee Jones (“Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Men in Black,” “The Fugitive,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Lincoln,” “Jason Bourne”)
1977 – Actor Tom Hardy (“Black Hawk Down,” “Star Trek: Nemesis,” “Inception,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Dunkirk,” “Venom”)
1916 – The tank makes its debut as a battlefield weapon, attacking German troops as part of a British assault near Bois d’Elville, or Delville Wood, on the Western Front, during the Battle of the Somme in World War I.
1942 – Three Japanese torpedoes slam into the American aircraft carrier USS Wasp off Guadalcanal in the South Pacific during World War II. The attack claims the lives of nearly 200 of the ship’s 2,000 crewmen. The wreckage of the Wasp was discovered at the bottom of the Coral Sea in January 2019.
1954 – The iconic scene of Marilyn Monroe laughing as her skirt is blown up by the blast of air from a Manhattan subway vent is shot during the filming of “The Seven Year Itch,” directed by Billy Wilder.
1959 – Nikita Khrushchev becomes the first Soviet leader to visit the United States. During the next two weeks, Khrushchev’s visit dominates the headlines and provides some dramatic and humorous moments in the history of the Cold War.
1963 – Four young black girls are killed in a bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, that investigators determine to be a racially motivated terrorist attack. The bombing, which shocks the nation, is Birmingham’s third in 11 days following a federal order to integrate the Alabama schools.
1978 – Muhammad Ali defeats Leon Spinks to win the world heavyweight boxing title for the third time in his career, becoming the first fighter ever to do so.
1981 – The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Sandra Day O’Connor as the first female Supreme Court justice.
1982 – Gannett publishes the first edition of a new national daily newspaper called USA Today.
2008 – The venerable Wall Street brokerage firm Lehman Brothers seeks Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, becoming the largest victim of the subprime mortgage crisis that would devastate financial markets and contribute to the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression.
1956 – Elvis Presley is king of the pop chart with “Don’t Be Cruel,” which becomes his biggest-selling single and, in 2002, is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The B-side of the disc contains “Hound Dog,” which climbs to No. 2 a few weeks later.
1962 – “Sherry,” by The Four Seasons, is the No. 1 single and remains on top of the pop chart for five weeks.
1965 – Ford Motor Company is the first automaker to introduce factory-installed 8-track tape players in a car — the 1966 Mustang and Thunderbird — a year before 8-track equipment is available for home use.
1973 – Originally a Top-10 country hit for Tanya Tucker, Helen Reddy takes “Delta Dawn” to No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart.
1983 – Huey Lewis and the News release “Sports,” which goes on to top the Billboard album chart the following summer and spawns four Top-10 hits, including “The Heart of Rock & Roll” and “I Want a New Drug.”
1984 – Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do with It” begins its third and final week as a No. 1 single. The track goes on to capture Song of the Year and Record of the Year Grammys.
1990 – “Release Me,” by Wilson Phillips, claims the top spot on the singles chart and holds there for two weeks.
2001 – “I’m Real,” by Jennifer Lopez featuring Ja Rule, is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.