Today's History Trivia for April 27
1865 Worst Maritime Disaster in U.S. history The boilers explode on the steamboat Sultana, near Memphis, killing 1,547 people. The Sultana was designed for a max capacity of 376 passengers, but was carrying 2,155 when three of her four boilers exploded. She burned to the water line and sank. The Sultana was carrying almost 2,000 former Union Civil War prisoners. The U.S. government was paying $5 per enlisted man and $10 per officer for their transport. The ship's captain had offered a bribe in order to secure the government contract.
1994 Civil Rights South Africa holds its first democratic general election in which black citizens could vote.
1992 First woman Speaker of House for the British House of Commons is elected, Betty Boothroyd.
1986 A video pirate overrides an HBO movie broadcast with a message announcing he wasn't going to pay for his cable service.
1971 First black admiral in the U.S. Navy Capt. Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. is selected.
1913 A girl is found murdered in an Atlanta pencil factory. Leo M. Frank was convicted based on the testimony of Jim Conley. In 1915 he was lynched by an anti-Semitic mob after his death sentence was reduced to life in prison. In 1986 his conviction was overturned after evidence surfaced implicating Conley.
1887 First U.S. Appendectomy George Thomas Morton removes the appendix of a 26-year-old patient.
1838 Great fire of Charleston The South Carolina fire destroyed about 1/4th of the center of the city.
1810 Beethoven Für Elise is composed.
Today's Birthdays for April 27
1822 Ulysses Simpson Grant d. 1885 (Hiram Ulysses Grant), 18th U.S. President (1869-77). He was commanding general (1864-69) for the Union Army during the Civil War. When entering West Point, he name was mistakenly written down as "Ulysses S. Grant", which he began using as his name.
1959 Sheena Easton (Sheena Shirley Orr), Grammy-winning singer. Music: Morning Train (1981, #1) and For Your Eyes Only (1981).
1951 Ace Frehley American rock musician, the Spaceman of Kiss, Rock And Roll All Nite (1975).
1939 Judy Carne d. 2015 (Joyce Botterill), English actress. TV: Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (the "Sock it to me" girl). She was briefly married to Burt Reynolds (1963-65).
1938 Earl Anthony d. 2001 American Hall of Fame bowler. PBA champion (1973, 74, 75) and first PBA $1,000,000 winner (1982). He had 25 career 300 games.
1932 Casey Kasem d. 2014 (Kamal Amin Kasem), American music historian, radio host, voiceover actor. Radio: The countdown program American Top 40. TV: Scooby-Do, Where Are You! (voice of Shaggy). Famous sign off: "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."
1932 Anouk Aimee (Francoise Sorya Dreyfus), French actress. Film: A Man and a Woman (1966, Oscar nomination).
1927 Coretta Scott King d. 2006 civil rights activist, wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.
1922 Jack Klugman d. 2012 American Emmy-winning actor. TV: The Odd Couple (1970-75, Oscar Madison) and Quincy M.E. (1976-83). Film: 12 Angry Men (1957).
1896 Wallace Hume Carothers d. 1937 American chemist. He invented nylon (1934) while working for the du Pont Company. He also developed neoprene, the first successful synthetic rubber (1931).
1840 Edward Whymper d. 1911 British explorer, first person to climb the Matterhorn (1865). Four of his seven-member team died during the descent.
1820 Herbert Spencer d. 1903 English sociologist, philosopher. As an early evolutionist, he developed his theories independently of Darwin. He coined the term "survival of the fittest" (1852), seven years before Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859).
1791 Samuel F.B. Morse d. 1872 (Samuel Finley Breese Morse), American inventor of the telegraph and Morse code.
Deaths for April 27
2004 Dr. Roy Walford b. 1924 American physician. He pioneered the calorie-restricted diet for increasing lifespan. He discovered that when mice were fed a nutrient-rich calorie-restricted diet, they doubled their lifespan. He believed that if this were applied to humans they could live to be 120 years old. He also lived in Biosphere 2 (1991-93), where he served as the crew's physician. He died of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) at age 79. Ironically, mice studies show that calorie-restricted diets may speed up the progression of ALS, and this may have hastened his death. Writings: Beyond the 120-year Diet.
2015 Suzanne Crough b. 1963 American actress. TV: The Partridge Family (1970-74, Tracy).
1999 Al Hirt b. 1922 (Alois Maxwell Hirt), American Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter. Music: Java (1964, Grammy) and performed the theme song to The Green Hornet (1966).
1992 Olivier Messiaen b. 1908 French composer.
1965 Edward R. Murrow b. 1908 American Emmy-winning journalist. He won four Peabody awards, the Medal of Freedom (1964), and was knighted an honorary commander of the Order of the British Empire (1965).
1965 Alan Bunce b. 1900 American actor. TV: Ethel and Albert (1953-56, Albert - and also on radio 1944-50).
1882 Ralph Waldo Emerson b. 1803 American poet, philosopher.
1813 Zebulon Montgomery Pike b. 1779 American general, for whom Pikes Peak is named. He was killed while leading the attack on York (now Toronto), Canada.
1605 Leo XI b. 1535 Italian religious leader, 232nd Pope (Apr. 1605). His papacy lasted only a month.
1521 Ferdinand Magellan b. circa 1480 explorer, first to undertake a circumnavigation of the globe, died of wounds received in battle with natives of the Philippine Islands before the voyage was completed.