Today's History Trivia for February 18
1965 Gambia The West African colony gains its independence from Great Britain.
1930 Pluto The dwarf planet is discovered by Clyde William Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona.
1908 First U.S. Postage Stamps in Coils Issued today. They were designed for use in vending machines.
1861 Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians give up their claims to most of Colorado.
1753 Gregorian calendar is adopted by Sweden Today's date became March 1.
1685 Texas French explorer La Salle established the first settlement in Texas.
1678 Pilgrim's Progress English preacher John Bunyan first publishes his famous religious work in England. For over 200 years, except for the Bible, it was the most widely read book in the world. Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church
Today's Birthdays for February 18
1920 Eddie Donald Slovik d. 1945 American Army private. He was the only U.S. soldier executed for desertion during World War II, and the first since the Civil War. Although over 21,000 U.S. soldiers were sentenced for desertion during World War II, Slovik was the only one executed. The TV movie The Execution of Private Slovik (1974), starring Martin Sheen, was based on his execution.
1968 Molly Ringwald American actress, part of the "Brat Pack." Film: Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985), and Pretty in Pink (1986).
1965 Dr Dre (Andre Romelle Young), American rapper, record producer. He helped popularize gangsta hip-hop and West Coast G-funk.
1964 Matt Dillon American actor. Film: My Bodyguard (1980), Rumble Fish (1983), and Drugstore Cowboy (1989).
1963 Mark Bode American cartoonist, creator of Miami Mice and known for his work on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
1957 Vanna White American TV personality. TV: Wheel of Fortune (letter turner).
1954 John Travolta American actor. Film: Saturday Night Fever (1977), Grease (1978), Urban Cowboy (1980), and Pulp Fiction (1994). TV: Welcome Back, Kotter (Vinnie Barbarino).
1953 Robbie Bachman (Robin Peter Kendall Bachman), Canadian drummer, with Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Music: Takin' Care of Business (1974) and You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet (1974, #1).
1952 Juice Newton (Judy Cohen), American singer. Music: Angel in the Morning (1981) and The Sweetest Thing (1981, #1).
1950 Cybill Shepherd American actress, winner of Memphis Miss Teenage. TV: Moonlighting (Maddie Hayes).
1947 Dennis DeYoung American singer, keyboardist, with Styx. Music: Lady (1973), Grand Illusion (1977), and Babe (1979, #1).
1933 Yoko Ono Japanese-born artist, musician, widow of John Lennon.
1931 Toni Morrison (Chloe Anthony Wofford), American Nobel-Pulitzer-winning author. Writings: Song of Solomon (1978), Beloved (1987, Pulitzer), and Jazz (1992). She was the first black woman to win the Nobel Prize in literature (1993).
1931 Johnny Hart d. 2007 (John Lewis Hart), American cartoonist. Creator of B.C. (1958) and The Wizard of Id (1963).
1922 Helen Gurley Brown d. 2012 American author. Editor of Cosmopolitan magazine (1965-97), which published the first nude male centerfold (1972, Burt Reynolds).
1919 Jack Palance d. 2006 (Volodymyr Palahniuk), American Oscar-Emmy-winning actor. Film: Sudden Fear (1952) and City Slickers (1991, Oscar). TV: Ripley's Believe It or Not (host).
1862 Charles Michael Schwab d. 1939 American industrialist. Starting out in the steel industry as a stake driver, he rose to president of Carnegie Steel (1897-1901), president of U.S. Steel (1901-03), and chairman of Bethlehem Steel (1903 et seq.).
1848 Louis Comfort Tiffany d. 1933 American artist, glassmaker.
1838 Ernst Mach d. 1916 Austrian physicist. The unit of measure of speed "Mach" is named for him.
1795 George Peabody d. 1869 American financier, philanthropist, and for whom Peabody, Massachusetts is named. He founded the Peabody Institute in Maryland, the Peabody Museums at Yale and Harvard, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Great Americans (1900).
1745 Alessandro Volta d. 1827 Italian physicist, inventor of the electric battery, and for whom the volt, the standard unit of electromotive force, is named.
1516 Mary Tudor d. 1558 Queen of England and Ireland (1553-58). Her persecution of Protestants for heresy to the Roman Catholic Church earned her the name "Bloody Mary."
Deaths for February 18
1546 Martin Luther b. 1483 German religious reformer. His stand on the Bible led to the formation of the Lutheran Church. He was excommunicated (1521) from the Roman Catholic Church for challenging the church's doctrines.
2006 Richard Bright b. 1937 American actor. Film: The Godfather (1972, Al Neri).
2006 Bill Cowsill b. 1948 (William Joseph Cowsill, Jr.), American singer, member of the singing family The Cowsills (They were the basis for TV's The Partridge Family). Music: The Rain The Park And Other Things (1967, #2) and the title song for the musical Hair (1969, #2).
2001 Dale Earnhardt b. 1951 (Ralph Dale Earnhardt, Sr.), American Hall of Fame racecar driver, known as "The Intimidator" for his aggressive driving style. He died in a last-lap crash during the 2001 Daytona 500.
1967 J. Robert Oppenheimer b. 1904 American physicist. "father of the atom bomb." He predicted the existence of rapidly rotating neutron stars (1938), black holes (1939), and directed the lab that perfected the atom bomb (1943-45).
1966 Robert Rossen b. 1908 American Oscar-winning director. Film: All the King's Men (1949, Best Picture Oscar) and The Hustler (1961).
1933 James "Gentleman Jim" Corbett b. 1866 American boxer. World heavyweight boxing champ (1892, the first to win under the Marquis of Queensberry rules). He is considered to be the first scientific boxer.
1915 Frank James b. 1843 American outlaw, brother of Jesse James. After Jesse was killed, he surrendered to authorities and was tried twice, but not convicted.
1906 John B. Stetson b. 1830 American hat maker. He founded his hat company in 1865.
1874 William Sandys b. 1792 English lawyer and composer of The First Noel. Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church
1695 Sir William Phips b. 1651 English Colonial leader and governor of the Massachusetts Colony (1692-94) during the Salem witchcraft trials.
999 Gregory V b. circa 972 German-born religious leader, 138th Pope (996-999). He was the first German pope.