Today's History Trivia for August 12
Cleopatra Commits Suicide
According to legend, the Egyptian Queen commits suicide by placing an asp to her breast. Other historians claim that she used poison instead, or was even murdered by Augustus.
1970 U.S. Postal Service becomes independent of the government. Also, the Postal Rate Commission is established to make recommendations for postal rates, fees, and services.
1966 The Beatles The Fab Four begin their last U.S. tour.
1964 First black secret service agent to guard the life of the president, Abraham Bolden, is sentenced to prison for soliciting a $50,000 bribe from a counterfeiter.
1960 The Beatles Drummer Tommy Moore quits the group (then known as the Silver Beetles) because their bookings interfered with his job as forklift driver. Drums were taken over by Pete Best who was later replaced by Ringo Starr.
1960 First Communications Satellite NASA launches the 26½-inch sphere-shaped Echo I.
1953 First woman to sail solo across the Atlantic Ann Davidson arrives in Miami, Florida aboard her 23-foot sailboat. She had started from Plymouth, England in May of 1952.
1918 First regular U.S. airmail service The Post Office establishes a route between New York City and Washington, D.C.
1912 First feature-length film shown in the U.S. Queen Elizabeth, made in France and starring Sarah Bernhardt, is released in Chicago.
1901 Indianapolis Motor Speedway The famous race track opens.
1898 Spanish-American War The war ends when Spain signs the U.S. peace protocol. The U.S. acquired the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Spain gave up all claims to Cuba.
1898 Hawaii The island territory is annexed by the U.S.
1896 Klondike Gold Discovery The second great gold rush in U.S. history is started.
1883 Last quagga The last of this species of zebra (distinguished by striping that is confined to the head) dies in Amsterdam Zoo.
1852 Sewing Machine Isaac M. Singer receives a patent for his continuous-stitch sewing machine.
1676 King Philip's War The first and bloodiest war between the New England settlers and the Indians ends when Wampanoag Indian leader King Philip is shot and killed by a member of his own tribe.
Today's Birthdays for August 12
1971 Pete Sampras American tennis player, Wimbledon champ (1993), and two-time U.S. Open winner (1990, 93). His 1990 victory made him the youngest ever U.S. Open men's champ.
1949 Mark Knopfler British guitarist, songwriter, with Dire Straits. Music: Sultans of Swing (1978) and Money For Nothing (1985, #1).
1939 George Hamilton American actor. Film: Love at First Bite (1979, Dracula).
1936 John Poindexter American naval officer, former national security advisor.
1929 Buck Owens d. 2006 (Alvis Edgar Owens, Jr.), American country-western singer. He helped create the "Bakersfield Sound" and was a regular on Hee Haw (Co-host). He had 15 #1 hits in a row.
1927 Porter Wagoner d. 2007 American Hall of Fame country singer. Known as "Mr. Grand Ole Opry." He and Dolly Parton were a duo during the 1960s and 70's. Music: Misery Loves Company (1962, #1).
1926 John Derek d. 1998 (Derek Delevan Harris), American actor. Film: Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981, in which he directed his wife Bo) and Bolero (1984, written and directed, also starring Bo Derek).
1925 Ross McWhirter d. 1975 British writer, political activist, co-founder, with his twin brother Norris, of Guinness Book of Records (1954). He was assassinated by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) after offering a £50,000 reward for information leading to a conviction for several bombings in England that were publicly claimed by the IRA.
1925 Norris McWhirter d. 2004 British writer, political activist, co-founder, with his twin brother Norris, of Guinness Book of Records (1954). He was the timekeeper when runner Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile.
1917 Marjorie Reynolds d. 1997 (Marjorie Goodspeed), American actress. Film: Holiday Inn (1942) and Ministry of Fear (1944). TV: The Life of Riley (Peg Riley).
1911 Cantinflas d. 1993 (Mario Moreno), Mexican clown, superstar of Spanish-speaking films, called the "Charlie Chaplin of Mexico." Charlie Chaplin described him as "the world's greatest comedian." Film: Around the World in 80 Days (1956, as Passepartout).
1910 Jane Wyatt d. 2006 American Emmy-winning actress. TV: Father Knows Best (1954-60, the mother) and Star Trek (1967, Spock's mother).
1907 Joe Besser d. 1988 American comedian, member of the 3-Stooges. He replaced Shemp after his death in 1955.
1894 Dick Calkins d. 1962 (Richard W. Calkins), American cartoonist. Original artist for Buck Rogers (1929-47), the first science fiction comic strip.
1889 Zerna Addis Sharp d. 1981 American author. She created the Dick and Jane primary readers. "Run Spot run. See Spot run."
1881 Cecil Blount De Mille d. 1959 American Oscar-winning film director, called the founder of Hollywood. Film: The Ten Commandments (1923 and 1956), The King of Kings (1927), Cleopatra (1934), and Samson and Delilah (1949).
1859 Katharine Lee Bates d. 1929 American poet. She wrote the words to the national hymn America the Beautiful (1911).
1762 George IV d. 1830 King of Great Britain and Ireland (1820-30). He built Buckingham Palace (1820s).
1712 Jonas Hanway d. 1786 English traveller. He is credited with popularizing the umbrella in London after bringing one back from Portugal.
1503 Christian III d. 1559 King of Denmark and Norway (1534-59). He established the state Lutheran Church in Denmark (1536).
Deaths for August 12
2009 Les Paul b. 1915 (Lester William Polsfuss), American guitarist. Music: Tiger Rag and Vaya con Dios (#1). He invented the solid-body electric guitar (1941), first 8-track recorder, sound-on-sound recording, solid-body neck-worn harmonica holder, which allows hands-free playing of the harmonica.
2014 Lauren Bacall b. 1924 (Betty Joan Perske), American Tony-winning actress. Film: To Have and Have Not (1944), Key Largo (1948), and Applause (1970, Tony).
2007 Merv Griffin b. 1925 (Mervyn Edward Griffin, Jr.), American TV executive, creator of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. Music: I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts (1950, #1). His tombstone reads, "I Will Not Be Right Back After This Message."
2000 Loretta Young b. 1913 (Gretchen Young), American Oscar-Emmy-winning actress. She claimed she was raped by Clark Gable whose child she bore. Film: The Farmer's Daughter (1947, Oscar). TV: The Loretta Young Show.
1992 John Cage b. 1912 American avant-garde composer, noted for his use of unusual items for music. He created what is considered the first electronic music by varying the frequencies of tone generators.
1982 Henry Fonda b. 1905 American Oscar-winning actor. Film: My Darling Clementine (1946), Mr. Roberts (1955), and On Golden Pond (1981, Oscar).
1964 Ian Fleming b. 1908 British author, creator of James Bond 007. He also wrote Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang.
1861 Eliphalet Remington b. 1793 American gun manufacturer. Founder of Remington gunworks.
1848 George Stephenson b. 1781 English engineer, developer of the railroad steam locomotive.
1813 Samuel Osgood b. 1747 American politician, member of the Continental Congress (1781-84), first commissioner of the U.S. treasury (1785-89), and U.S. postmaster general (1789-91).
1689 Innocent XI b. 1611 Italian religious leader, 240th Pope (1676-89).
1484 Sixtus IV b. 1414 Italian religious leader, 212th Pope (1471-84).
875 Louis II b. circa 825 Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (855-875).
30 B.C. Cleopatra b. 69 B.C. (Cleopatra VII Philopator), Egyptian Queen, the last Hellenistic leader of Egypt. Her parents were brother and sister, as were their parents, as were their parents. She ruled with her two brother-husbands, both of whom she killed. Legend states she committed suicide by placing an asp to her breast. See death.