Today's History Trivia for February 28
1991 Diff'rent Strokes Robber Dana Plato, who played Kimberly Drummond on the TV show Diff'rent Strokes, robs a video store with a pellet gun stealing $164. She returned to the scene of the crime 15 minutes later and was promptly identified and arrested. She was given five years probation, which she violated in 1992 by forging a prescription for Diazepam.
1849 California Gold Rush The first prospectors for the Gold Rush of '49 arrive in San Francisco. Gold was discovered by James Marshall on Sutter's Mill the previous year. Over 300,000 people, known as "forty-niners," would go to California to seek their fortune.
1844 U.S. President Saved by Drinking U.S. President Tyler is almost killed when the newly-built war steamer USS Princeton fires one of its guns. The gun exploded killing Secretary of State Abel P. Upshur, Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Gilmer, and four others. Tyler was supposed to be present, but stopped on the way for drinks.
1993 David Koresh Four federal agents and two cult members are killed in a shoot out with the Waco, Texas Branch Davidian leader, who claims to be Jesus Christ.
1983 M*A*S*H* final episode is watched by a record 125 million viewers.
1978 Basketball player Clifford Ray assists in an operation at Marine World in California by using his long arms to retrieve a large screw swallowed by a dolphin.
1967 First black marine to receive the Medal of Honor for the Vietnam War PFC James Anderson, Jr. is killed when he jumps on an enemy grenade to save his comrades. For this he was awarded the honor the following year.
1940 First televised collegiate basketball game W2XBS of New York City broadcast a game between Pittsburgh and Fordham.
1861 Territory of Colorado is established by Congress.
1827 First U.S. passenger railroad The Baltimore & Ohio is incorporated. It began operation in 1830.
1787 Pittsburgh Academy is founded, became University of Pittsburgh (1908).
Today's Birthdays for February 28
1948 Bernadette Peters (Bernadette Lazzara), American Tony-winning actress. Stage: Song and Dance (1985, Tony). Film: The Jerk (1979).
1947 Stephanie Beacham British actress. TV: The Colbys (Sable Colby).
1942 Frank Bonner American actor. TV: WKRP in Cincinnati (Herb Tarlek).
1942 Brian Jones d. 1969 British singer, guitarist, founder of The Rolling Stones.
1940 Mario Andretti Italian-born American auto racer, Indianapolis 500 winner. He is only person named "Driver of the Year" in three decades (1967, 1978, 1984); Only driver to win the Daytona 500, Indy 500, and Formula One world title; Oldest person to win an Indy race (1993, age 53).
1939 Tommy Tune American Tony-winning choreographer, singer, dancer. He Directed and choreographed Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1978).
1931 Gavin MacLeod American actor. TV: The Mary Tyler Moore Show (Murray) and The Love Boat (Capt. Stubing).
1924 Bettye Ackerman d. 2006 American actress. TV: Ben Casey (1961-66, Dr. Maggie Graham).
1923 Charles Durning d. 2012 American Tony-winning actor. TV: Evening Shade (Dr. Elldrige). He was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart for his service during WWII.
1915 Zero Mostel d. 1977 American actor, singer. Stage: Fiddler on the Roof (1964, as Tevye singing If I Were a Rich Man).
1915 Sir Peter Brian Medawar d. 1987 British Nobel-winning medical scientist. He was co-winner of a 1960 Nobel Prize for his work on skin grafting.
1907 Milton Caniff d. 1988 American cartoonist, creator of Terry and the Pirates (1934) and Steve Canyon (1947).
1901 Linus Carl Pauling d. 1994 American Nobel-winning chemist and vitamin C advocate. He also won a Nobel Peace Prize.
1860 Victor Louis Berger d. 1929 Transylvanian-born American politician. He was the first socialist elected to the U.S. Congress (1910, House of Representatives for Wisconsin) and was one of the founders of the Socialist Party (1900).
1824 Charles Blondin d. 1897 (Jean Francois Gravelet), French acrobat, aerialist. He was the first to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope (1859). A crowd of over 100,000 people watched. He also crossed it other times blindfolded, pushing a wheelbarrow, carrying a man on his back, and on stilts.
1820 Sir John Tenniel d. 1914 English illustrator. He illustrated Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
Deaths for February 28
2011 Jane Russell b. 1921 American actress, full-figured gal. Bob Hope once joked, "Culture is the ability to describe Jane Russell without moving your hands." Film: Gentleman Prefer Blondes (1953) and Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1955).
2009 Paul Harvey b. 1918 (Paul Harvey Aurandt), American radio commentator. "Hello Americans, I'm Paul Harvey… And now for the rest of the story."
1993 Ruby Keeler b. 1909 (Ethel Hilda Keeler), American dancer, actress, frequently co-starred with Dick Powell. Film: 42nd Street (1933).
1989 Richard Willard Armour b. 1906 American author, poet. Writings: It All Started With Eve (1956). Poem: "Middle Age is a time of life, that a man first notices in his wife."
1985 Charita Bauer b. 1922 American Emmy-winning actress. TV and radio: The Guiding Light (Bert Bauer, which she played for 35 years).
1978 Philip Ahn b. 1905 (Pil Lip Ahn), American actor. He was the first Asian-American film actor to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. TV: Kung Fu (Master Kan).
1977 Eddie Anderson b. 1905 American actor. TV: The Jack Benny Program (Benny's valet Rochester).