Today's History Trivia for December 9
1979 Smallpox Eradicated The World Health Organization certifies that smallpox has been eradicated. This was the first time a disease was declared eradicated. The last two known cases were in Birmingham, England (1978), when the virus escaped from a research lab.
1872 First African American Governor of a U.S. State P. B. S. Pinchback becomes governor of Louisiana. As Senate president pro tempore, Pinchback succeeded to the position of acting lieutenant governor upon the death of Oscar Dunn (1871). In 1872, the governor was impeached. State law required him to step aside until his impeachment case was tried. Pinchback then served in his place until January 13, 1873 when his term ended. He was born to a black freed slave and her former master in Georgia.
1993 Todd Bridges The actor who played Willis in TV's Diff'rent Strokes is sentenced to year in a live-in drug treatment program and five years probation after having plead guilty to possession of methamphetamine and a loaded gun.
1992 Prince Charles and Lady Diana announce they are separating, but have no plans for a divorce.
1958 John Birch Society is founded.
1907 First Christmas Seals They go on sale in the Wilmington Post Office. The proceeds went to the fight against tuberculosis. Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church
1905 Separation of Church and State France enacts legislation for the separation of Church and State.
1878 Joseph Pulitzer buys his first newspaper The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
1843 First Christmas cards They are created in England by John Calcott Horsley and featured a family feasting with the words "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You." Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church
1840 Scottish explorer Dr. Livingstone sets sail on his first trip to Africa.
1792 First formal human cremation in America, Henry Laurens, South Carolina, as requested in his will.
Today's Birthdays for December 9
1957 Donny Osmond American singer. Music: One Bad Apple (1971, #1) and Go Away Little Girl (1971, #1).
1953 John Malkovich American actor. Film: The Killing Fields (1984), Places in the Heart (1984), and Dangerous Liaisons (1988).
1952 Michael Dorn American actor. TV: Star Trek: The Next Generation (Klingon Worf).
1942 Dick Butkus American football player, actor.
1941 Beau Bridges (Lloyd Vernet Bridges III), American actor. Film: The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989).
1929 John Cassavetes d. 1989 American actor. He wrote and directed Faces (1968) and A Woman Under the Influence (1974).
1928 Dick Van Patten d. 2015 American actor. TV: Eight is Enough (Tom the father). He is the founder of Natural Balance Pet Foods (1989).
1924 Frank Sturgis d. 1993 (Frank Angelo Fiorini), American private investigator. He was one of the five Watergate burglars (1972) whose capture led to the resignation of U.S. President Richard Nixon. He served 14 months in prison for his part.
1922 Redd Foxx d. 1991 (John Elroy Sanford), American actor. TV: Sanford & Son (Fred Sanford). He was the only entertainer to attend Elvis Presley's wedding (1967).
1916 Kirk Douglas (Issur Danielovitch), American actor. He worked as a professional wrestler before making it in films.
1912 Thomas "Tip" O'Neill d. 1994 American politician, Speaker of the House.
1911 Broderick Crawford d. 1986 American Oscar-winning actor. Film: All The King's Men (1949, Oscar). TV: Highway Patrol (Dan Matthews).
1909 Douglas Fairbanks Jr d. 2000 American actor. Quote: "I was only saying to the Queen the other day how I hate name dropping."
1902 Margaret Hamilton d. 1985 American actress, Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz (1939), and as Cora who sold Maxwell House coffee in the TV commercials.
1902 Brace Beemer d. 1965 American radio actor. Radio: The announcer for The Lone Ranger from its first broadcast in 1933. When the voice of the Lone Ranger, Earle Graser died in a car accident, Beemer took over the role until the end of the series in 1954.
1898 Emmett Kelly d. 1979 American circus clown, known as Weary Willie. He became the mascot for the Brooklyn Dodgers after leaving Ringling Bros.
1886 Clarence Frank Birdseye d. 1956 American inventor. He created a way of deep-freezing foods, and co-founded General Foods Corp.
1848 Joel Chandler Harris d. 1908 American author, creator of Uncle Remus.
1608 John Milton d. 1674 English poet. Writings: Paradise Lost (1667) and Paradise Regained (1671).
1561 Sir Edwin Sandys d. 1629 English politician, treasurer of the Virginia Company (1619-24). He financed the Mayflower expedition to the New World (1620). In 1621, he was imprisoned for suspicion of plotting to establish a republican government in America.
Deaths for December 9
1908 Sgt. William Harvey Carney b. 1840 American soldier. He was the first black to receive the Medal of Honor (1900) for bravery in 1863. During the Civil War assault on Fort Wagner in Charleston, South Carolina, Carney, although wounded four times, struggled across the battlefield and retrieved the Union flag. This battle is portrayed in the film Glory (1989).
2014 Mary Ann Mobley b. 1937 American actress, Miss America (1959). TV: Diff'rent Strokes (the second Maggie McKinney).
2009 Gene Barry b. 1919 (Eugene Klass), American actor. Film: The War of the Worlds (1953, Dr. Clayton Forrester). TV: Bat Masterson (Bat Masterson).
2003 Paul Simon b. 1928 American politician, U.S. Senator (1985-97, Democrat Illinois). Known for his bowtie and horn-rimmed glasses.
1995 Wrong-Way Corrigan b. 1907 (Douglas Groce Corrigan), American aviator, made a nonstop transatlantic flight from N.Y. to Ireland without a permit (1938), claiming he had intended to fly to Los Angeles, but had followed the wrong end of his compass.
1992 Vincent Gardenia b. 1920 (Vincent Scognamiglio), Italian Tony-Emmy-winning actor. TV: All in the Family (Frank Lorenzo).
1979 Fulton J. Sheen b. 1895 (Peter John Sheen), American Emmy-winning Catholic evangelist. TV: Life Is Worth Living. He was the first TV preacher of note. He won an Emmy as Most Outstanding TV Personality (1952). Actor Martin Sheen took his stage name from him.
1975 William Augustus Wellman b. 1896 American film director, Wings (1927, winner of the first Best Picture Oscar), Public Enemy (1931), and The Ox-Bow Incident (1943).
1959 Gene Carr b. 1881 American cartoonist. Creator of Lady Bountiful (1902). He was a pioneer of the use of sequential panels in cartoons. Lady Bountiful was one of the first cartoons to have a lady protagonist.
1874 Ezra Cornell b. 1807 American telegraph pioneer, founder of Western Union Telegraph (1855) and Cornell University (1865).
1669 Clement IX b. 1600 Italian religious leader, 238th Pope (1667-69).
1565 Pius IV b. 1499 Italian religious leader, 224th Pope (1559-65). He reopened the Council of Trent (1562).