Saturday 25 April 2020

In this week: 26th April – 2nd May

I have to apologise for the somewhat maudlin tone of this week’s post, but the week in history seems to have brought up the anniversaries of quite a few deaths (especially as the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II is impending).

26th April
Gypsy Rose Lee
50 years ago: in 1970, Gypsy Rose Lee, the legendary American striptease artist and actress died of lung cancer, aged 59.

40 years ago: Dame Cicely Courtneidge, Australian born British actress and comedian died, aged 87.
Duane Eddy, American guitarist, singer-songwriter, 82.
Koo Stark, American actress, photographer and former girlfriend of Prince Andrew, 64.
Caro Emerald, Dutch jazz/pop singer, 39.

27th April
200 years ago: in 1820, Herbert Spencer, British sociologist, philosopher and political theorist was born. An early advocate of the theory of evolution, he coined the term “survival of the fittest.”

15 years ago: in 2005, the world’s largest passenger airliner, the Airbus A380, made its first flight. It entered commercial service with Singapore Airlines in October 2007.

Michael Fish, former BBC TV weatherman, 76.
Sheena Easton, Scottish-American singer, 61.

28th April
75 years ago: in 1945, Benito Mussolini, Prime Minister/fascist dictator of Italy (1922–43) died. He was executed by partisans, along with his mistress, Clara Petacci, at the small Italian village of Giulino di Mezzegra.

Mike Brearley, former England cricket captain, 78.
Vernon Kay, UK TV/radio presenter, 46.

29th April
75 years ago: in 1945, Dachau concentration camp in Germany was liberated by U.S. forces.

40 years ago: in 1980, Alfred Hitchcock, British born American film director and producer (The Thirty Nine Steps, Rear Window, Vertigo, Dial M for Murder, North by Northwest, Psycho, and many more) died in California at the age of 80.

David Icke, English sports presenter and conspiracy theorist, 68.
Kate Mulgrew, American actress – Captain Janeway in Star Trek – Voyager, 65.

30th April
75 years ago: in 1945, Adolf Hitler, Austrian-born German Nazi Party leader, Chancellor (1933–45) and dictator (1934–45) commited suicide, (along with his wife Eva Braun.) He was ultimately succeeded as President of Germany by Karl Dönitz.
Queen Juliana

40 years ago: in 1980, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands abdicated. She was succeeded by her daughter, Beatrix, who in turn abdicated the crown in 2013.

Merrill Osmond, US singer and bass guitar player of The Osmonds, 67.
Kirsten Dunst, US actress, 38.

1st May
75 years ago: in 1945, Joseph Goebbels, German politician and Nazi Minister of Propaganda (1933–45) died. He was deeply anti-Semitic and responsible for presenting a positive image of the Nazi regime to the German people. He served as Chancellor of Germany for 1 day following Hitler’s death, then he and his wife killed their children and committed suicide.
Gary Powers

60 years ago: in 1960, The Soviet Union shot down an American U‐2 spy plane near the Russian city of Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg) and captured pilot Gary Powers, sparking a diplomatic crisis. In the following August, Powers was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but was released in 1962 following an exchange for a Soviet spy. Powers died in a helicopter crash in 1977, aged 47.

Una Stubbs, English actress, 83.
Joanna Lumley, English actress and TV presenter, 74.

2nd May
75 years ago: In 1945, Martin Bormann, prominent German Nazi official, Hitler’s private secretary died. For many years after WWII he was rumoured to have survived and fled to South America, where there were several unconfirmed sightings. But his remains were found in Berlin in 1972 and positively identified by DNA testing in 1998.

25 years ago: in 1995, British actor Sir Michael Hordern died of kidney disease aged 83. Known predominantly for Shakespearian roles, he was knighted for services to drama in 1983.

Engelbert Humperdinck, English singer, 84,
Alan Titchmarsh, English gardener, author and TV presenter, 71.
Jimmy White, English snooker player, 58.

Sunday 19 April 2020

In this week: 19 - 25th April


An interesting week in history with the Oklahoma City bombing, the birth of Lenin and the launching of the Hubble telescope among other stories. Also we celebrate the 96th birthday of British comedy legend Leslie Phillips. 

Read on for further details….

19th April
75 years ago: In 1945, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel opened on Broadway.

25 years ago: In 1995, the Oklahoma City bombing took place. A truck bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, USA, killing 168 people and injuring 500. (Timothy McVeigh was arrested on 21st April, convicted of the bombing, and executed in June 2001. Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier were convicted as conspirators and received prison sentences.)

Harold “Dickie” Bird – legendary cricket umpire 87,
Sue Barker – former tennis player & TV presenter, 64.

20th April
10 years ago: In 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, killing 11 workers. Crude oil began spewing from the well, and continued until it was eventually sealed in September, after several failed attempts. Around 210 million U.S. gallons were spilled in total, causing an environmental disaster. In July 2015, BP was fined $18.7 billion – the largest settlement in U.S. corporate history. It also paid $43.8 billion in criminal and civil penalties, cleanup costs, and compensation.

Leslie Phillips – actor, remembered for the Carry On… films, 96
Georgie Glen – Scottish actress, known for Call the Midwife among others, 64

21st April
125 years ago: In 1895, The Lambda Company of New York City, USA demonstrated its eidoloscope (previously known as a panopticon) – an early motion picture projector, and the first to use widescreen. It opened to the paying public on Broadway on 20th May. Its films were considered poor quality and the company soon failed because of copyright disputes.


Iggy Pop – US singer-songwriter 73
Andie MacDowell – US actress 62.

22nd April
150 years ago: In 1870 Russian communist politician and revolutionary Vladimir Lenin was born. Architect and first head of state of the Soviet Union, founder of the Russian Communist Party, leader of the Bolshevik Revolution, founder of Comintern (Communist International).

Jack Nicholson – US actor, 83
Peter Frampton – English singer-songwriter 70

23rd April
125 years ago: In 1895, New Zealand crime writer and theatre director Ngaio Marsh was born . She was best known for her series of 32 novels featuring Inspector Alleyn and as was one of the “Queens of Crime” alongside Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham and Dorothy L Sayers.

Lee Majors – US actor and “6 Million Dollar Man”, 81
Narada Michael Walden – African-American singer-songwriter 68.

24th April
125 years ago: In 1895, the first person to sail single-handedly around the world, Joshua Slocum, set sail from Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The journey took him more than 3 years, and he returned in June 1898.
30 years ago: In 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched.

Tommy Docherty – former Scottish football manager, 92.
Barbra Streisand – US singer, 78.

25th April
25 years ago: In 1995, Ginger Rogers, American dancer and actress died from natural causes at the age of 83. Born Virginia Katherine McMath, she was noted for her on-screen partnership with Fred Astaire.

Al Pacino – US actor and director, 80
Len Goodman – English dancer, former Strictly Come Dancing head judge, 56

Saturday 11 April 2020

In this week: 12th - 18th April

Here are a few anniversary news stories that took place this week, from years gone by:

12th April
75 years ago: In 1945, 32nd US President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of an cerebral haemorrhage aged 63. He was succeeded by Vice-President Harry S. Truman who pledged to continue Roosevelt’s WWII policies for war and peace.

40 years ago: In 1980 there was a military coup in Liberia. President William R. Tolbert Jr. was shot dead and the government was ousted. Thirteen other senior government officials were publicly executed on 22nd April.

Vince Gill (US singer and current member of the Eagles), 63
Fran Halsall, (retired British Swimmer), 30

13th April
50 years ago: In 1970, an oxygen tank exploded on board Apollo 13 as it neared the Moon, crippling the spacecraft and putting the lives of the crew at risk. The mission was abandoned and the crew returned safely to Earth on 17th April.

20 years ago: In 2000, he American rock band Metallica filed suit against Napster, Inc., a filesharing company that distributed MP3 music files over the internet. The band claimed that Napster was guilty of copyright infringement and racketeering. Napster lost the case and shut down its network in July 2001.

Edward Fox (English actor), 83.
Jonjo O’Neill (Irish horse racing trainer), 68.

14th April
20 years ago: In 2000, British gangster Kenneth Noye (“The M25 killer”) was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of killing motorist Stephen Cameron in a road-rage incident near Swanley, Kent in May 1996.
He was released on parole in 2019

Bob Massie (Australian cricketer), 73
Robert Carlyle (Scottish actor), 59.

15th April
75 years ago: In 1945, the Bergen–Belsen concentration camp in Germany was liberated by British and Canadian troops.

Greta Garbo
30 years ago: In 1990, Swedish film actress Greta Garbo died of pneumonia and renal failure at age 84 (in her later life she was undergoing 6 hours of dialysis, 3 times a week for her kidney failure). She was known for her portrayals of strong-willed heroines (Mata Hari, Anna Karenina, Camille, Ninotchka).

Jeffrey Archer (English author), 80.
Samantha Fox (English model, singer and actress), 54.

16th April
150 years ago: In 1870, London’s Vaudeville Theatre opened in the West End. It has since been rebuilt twice, but elements of the original structure still remain.

75 years ago: In 1945, U.S. forces liberated Colditz Castle in Germany (officially known as Oflag IV-C), a high-security prisoner-of-war camp for officers.

25 years ago: In 1995, British radio, film and television actor and variety comedian Arthur English died. He was best known for his roles in the TV comedy series Are You Being Served? In Sickness and in Health, and Till Death Us Do Part.

Pope Benedict XVI, 93.
Joan Bakewell (English Journalist and author), 87.

17th April
60 years ago: In 1960, American rock and roll musician Eddie Cochrane (aged 21) died after being involved in a car crash. He is remembered for his hit songs C’mon Everybody, Summertime Blues and Three Steps to Heaven.

Nick Hornby (English novelist), 63
Sean Bean (English actor), 61

18th April
65 Years ago: In 1955, The first “Walk/Don’t Walk” street crossing signals were installed at intersections in New York City, USA.

65 years ago: Also in 1955, German-born American theoretical physicist Albert Einstein died. He is considered to be the most influential physicist of the 20th century and known for developing the special and general theories of relativity. He won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his services to physics and his work on the photoelectric effect.

40 years ago: In 1980, Southern Rhodesia became the independent nation of Zimbabwe.

Hayley Mills (English actress), 74.
David Tennant (Scottish actor), 49.

Saturday 4 April 2020

In this week: 5th - 11th April

5th April
65 years ago – in 1955, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced his retirement because of his failing health. He was succeeded by Anthony Eden 2 days later.
Jane Asher (actress), 74
John Hartson (Welsh footballer), 45

6th April
700 years ago – in 1320, Scotland confirmed its independence by signing the Declaration of Arbroath which was sent to Pope John XXII.
Post-It note
40 years ago – in 1980, Post-It Notes went on sale throughout the USA, produced by 3M. They were sold on a limited introductory basis in 1979, and were marketed (unsuccessfully) as sticky bookmarks in four U.S. cities in 1977. They were released in Canada and Europe in 1981.
Rory Bremner (Scottish actor), 59
Lachlan Coote (Rugby League player), 30

7th April
250 years ago – in 1770, British Romantic poet William Wordsworth was born (he was Poet Laureate 1843–50).
100 years ago – in 1920, Friend of the Beatles, Ravi Shankar was born. Renowned Indian sitar player and composer of Indian classical music who helped popularize the sitar in Western music. Died in 2012
Dennis Amiss (England cricketer), 77.
John Oates (US singer-songwriter), 72

8th April
Vivienne West wood (UK fashion designer), 79
Julian Lennon (UK singer-songwriter, son of John), 57.

9th April
15 years ago – in 2005, Charles, Prince of Wales married Camilla Parker Bowles, who gained the title the Duchess of Cornwall.
Valerie Singleton (children’s TV presenter), 83
Michael Learned (US actress, Olivia Walton in the Waltons), 81

10th April
50 years ago – in 1970, British rock musician Paul McCartney announced that he had left the Beatles saying the band would never perform together again.
25 years ago – in 1995, the UK National DNA Database was launched. It was the world’s first national DNA database. It holds DNA samples collected from crime scenes and taken from police suspects.
Gloria Hunniford (UK radio and TV host), 80
Nicky Campbell (Scottish broadcaster), 59.

11th April
50 years ago – in 1970, NASA launched Apollo 13 on its illfated mission to the Moon.
30 years ago – in 1990, British Customs officers announced that they had seized what they believed to be the barrel of a massive “supergun” on a ship bound for Iraq.
Jill Gascoine (English actress), 83
Bob Harris (UK radio DJ), 74.


On this day: 4th April

(75 years ago)
In 1945, the Soviet Red Army expelled the last German forces from Hungary and the country was liberated, paving the way for the Soviet occupation of Hungary. It became a communist country and part of the Eastern Bloc until 1989.

(25 years ago)
In 1995, British radio DJ, comedian and TV entertainer, Kenny Everett died from an AIDS related illness aged 50 (The Kenny Everett Video Show and The Kenny Everett Television Show). He was particularly known for his zany humour, characters and sketches.

Famous birthdays
Dave Hill – Guitarist with 70s/80s glam rock band Slade, 74
Derek Thompson – Northern Irish actor, best known as Charlie Fairhead in BBC’s long running serial drama Casualty, 72
Cherie Lunghi – English Film, TV and Theatre actress, 68
Jonathan Agnew – BBC radio cricket commentator and former county cricketer. Familiarly known as “Aggers”, 60

In future, this blog will be produced on a weekly basis under the title “In this week -…………”

Friday 3 April 2020

On this day: 3rd April

(125 years ago)
In 1895, Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde’s libel trial against the Marquess of Queensbury opened in London.

The Marquess had accused Wilde of homosexuality and subsequently the court found that the Marquess’s claim was justified, and he was acquitted. Wilde was liable for the Marquess’s substantial legal fees, which left him bankrupt.

Upon leaving the court, a summons was issued for Wilde’s arrest, since homosexuality was illegal. He was convicted and served two years in prison from May 1895 to May 1897.

(30 years ago)
In 1990, American jazz singer and pianist, Sarah Vaughan died.

(10 years ago)
In 2010, the first Apple iPad tablet computer was released.

Today’s famous birthdays
Tony Orlando - remembered for the Tony Orlando and Dawn hits Tie a Yellow Ribbon and Knock Three Times, 76
Eddie Murphy - US actor, 59
Ben Foster – former England goalkeeper, 37.
Israel Folau – controversial rugby player, 31

Thursday 2 April 2020

On this day: 2nd April

(75 years ago)
In 1945, the Vienna Offensive (Austria) was launched by the Soviet 2nd and 3rd Ukraine fronts to invade Vienna

It continued until 13th of the month, resulting in a Soviet success. The Austrian capital was captured from the Germans after an 11-day siege, with the Soviet Red Army then pushing further into Austria.

(25 years ago)
In 1995, the New York City Transit Police was dissolved becoming the Transit Bureau of the New York City Police Department (NYPD).

(15 years ago)
On this day in 2005, Pope John Paul II passed away to be succeeded by Pope Benedict XVI on 19th April.

Famous Birthdays
Penelope Keith – English actress, famous for BBC comedies The Good Life and To the Manor Born, 80
Paul Gambaccini – American/English radio DJ, 71
Linford Christie – Jamaican born British sprinter, winner of 100 Gold at Barcelona 1992 Olympics, 60.
Michael Clarke – TV commentator and former Australian cricket captain, 39.