Today's History Trivia for August 31
1997 Princess Diana Killed in Car Crash Diana, the Princess of Wales dies as a result of injuries sustained in a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris, France. Diane's boyfriend Dodi Fayed and the driver Henri Paul were pronounced dead at the scene. Trevor Rees-Jones, the bodyguard, was the only survivor. An 18-month French judicial investigation found that the crash was caused by the driver Paul, who lost control of the car at high speed while drunk and on antidepressants. The investigation concluded that the paparazzi were not near the Mercedes when it crashed. Fayed's father, Mohamed Al-Fayed, has claimed that the couple were executed by MI6 agents
1798 First U.S. Bank Robbery $162,821 ($3.2 million in today's money) is taken from vaults of the Bank of Pennsylvania at Carpenters' Hall during the night. One of the bank robbers died of yellow fever shortly after being arrested. The other returned the money in exchange for a pardon.
1993 Russia ends its occupation of Lithuania For the first time ever, Russian forces pulled out completely from one of the Soviet republics that had split from Moscow in the 1990s. They had been in Lithuania since 1940.
1993 Barney's Favorites Volume 1 The album, featuring 27 songs by the purple dinosaur, is released.
1985 AIDS U.S. Department of Defense announces it will not accept recruits carrying the AIDS virus.
1980 Solidarity The Polish trade union, led by Lech Walesa, is formed.
1919 The American Communist Labor Party is formed, in Chicago. Their motto: "Workers of the world unite!"
1903 First automobile to cross the U.S. under its own power A Packard arrives in New York City, after departing from San Francisco July 10.
1899 First Automobile Trip to the Top of Mount Washington Freelan O. Stanley and his wife drive their steam-powered Stanley automobile to the top of Mount Washington.
1897 Thomas Edison receives patent for his motion picture camera.
1895 First professional football game Latrobe, Pennsylvania YMCA beats the Jeannette Athletic Club 12-0.
Today's Birthdays for August 31
1970 Debbie Gibson American singer.
1957 Gina Schock American drummer, with the Go-Go's. Music: We Got the Beat (1981) and Vacation (1982).
1954 Caroline Cossey (Barry Kenneth Cossey), British transsexual model. He underwent a sex-change to become a woman (1974) and became a successful model under the name "Tula." She's one of the world's most famous transsexuals and the first to pose for Playboy magazine (September 1991). Film: For Your Eyes Only (1981, a girl by the pool). Music videos: Rio by Duran Duran (1983, star/model), Some Like It Hot by Power Station (1986, featured as the model).
1949 Richard Tiffany Gere American actor. Film: American Gigolo (1979), An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), and Pretty Woman (1990, he also composed and performed the featured piano solo). He was the first man ever to appear on the cover of Vogue magazine
1945 Van Morrison (George Ivan Morrison), Irish singer, songwriter, Brown Eyed Girl (1967) and Moondance (1970).
1935 Frank Robinson American baseball Hall of Famer. He was the first to win the Most Valuable Player award in both major leagues (1961 National, 1966 American) and the first black major-league manager (1974, Cleveland Indians).
1928 James Coburn d. 2002 American actor. Film: The Magnificent Seven (1960) and Our Man Flint (1966).
1924 Buddy Hackett d. 2003 (Leonard Hacker), American comedian. He was offered the job of replacing Curly of The Stooges, but turned it down. Film: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) and The Love Bug (1968). Quote: "My mother's menu consisted of two choices - Take it or leave it."
1914 Richard Basehart d. 1984 American actor. TV: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (Admiral Harriman Nelson).
1903 Arthur Godfrey d. 1983 American radio and TV personality. He dominated the air waves in the 1950s.
1870 Maria Montessori d. 1952 Italian educator. She created the world-famous Montessori system of teaching children. She was also the first woman in Italy to obtain a medical degree (1894).
Deaths for August 31
2013 Sir David Frost OBE b. 1939 English author, TV personality. Quote: "Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn't have in your home."
2002 Lionel Hampton b. 1908 American vibes player, bandleader. Music: On the Sunny Side of the Street (1937) and Twelfth Street Rag (1939)
1997 Diana b. 1961 Princess of Wales (Diana Spencer). First wife (1981-1996) of Charles, the Prince of Wales. She died in a car crash in a Paris tunnel along with her boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed. It is estimated that 2.5 billion people watched the funeral on TV.
1973 John Ford b. 1895 (John Martin Feeney), American Oscar-winning film director of over 130 films. Films: The Grapes of Wrath (1940), My Darling Clementine (1946), and The Quiet Man (1952).
1969 Rocky Marciano b. 1923 (Rocco Francis Marchegiano), Italian-American boxer. He was the undefeated (49-0) world heavyweight champion (1952-56). He is the only undefeated heavyweight champion.
1963 Georges Braque b. 1882 French painter, in 1907 he and Picasso founded the cubist movement and in 1962 he became the first living artist to exhibit in the Louvre.
1948 Billy "Froggy" Laughlin b. 1932 (William Robert Laughlin), American actor, one of "The Little Rascals" (gravelly-voiced Froggy). He appeared in 29 Our Gang films (1940-44). He was hit and killed by a bus while delivering newspapers riding a motor scooter.
1888 Mary Ann Nichols b. 1845 English crime victim. She is the first known victim of Jack the Ripper.
1818 Arthur St. Clair b. 1737 15th president of the Continental Congress (1787-88).
1688 John Bunyan b. 1628 English preacher, author of Pilgrim's Progress (1678). This religious work was the most widely read book, except for the Bible, for over 200 years. He was imprisoned from 1660-72 for preaching without a license. Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church
1422 Henry V b. 1387 King of England (1413-22). Although greatly outnumbered (13,000 to 50,000), he defeated the French at Agincourt (1415).
1057 Leofric b. ???? Earl of Mercia, promised his wife, Lady Godiva, he would relieve Coventry of its heavy taxes if she rode through the marketplace naked.