Today's History Trivia for January 26
1984 Michael Jackson The King of Pop's hair catches on fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial.
1870 Virginia is readmitted to the Union.
1861 Civil War Louisiana becomes the 6th state to secede from the Union.
1838 First U.S. prohibition law Tennessee passes a law making it a misdemeanor to sell alcohol in taverns and stores.
1837 Michigan becomes the 26th state. Michigan is Chippewa for "great water."
1830 Daniel Webster proclaims "Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable," in his reply to Hayne.
1784 Benjamin Franklin writes a letter to his daughter expressing his disapproval of the eagle as our nation's symbol. He preferred the turkey.
Today's Birthdays for January 26
1963 Andrew Ridgeley British singer, with Wham!. Music: Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (1984 #1).
1961 Wayne Gretzky Canadian hockey player, "The Great One." He is the all-time leader in scoring (2,328) and assists (1,563) and has one the MVP award a record nine times.
1958 Ellen DeGeneres American comic actress, voted Showtime's "Funniest Person In America" (1982). TV: HBO's One Night Stand, The Tonight Show (she was the first female comedian invited to sit on the couch with Johnny Carson), Ellen (1994-98), The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003‑). Film: Finding Nemo (2003, voice of Dory).
1955 Eddie Van Halen Dutch-born American guitarist. He is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Music: Runnin' With the Devil (1976) and Jump (1984, #1).
1946 Gene Siskel d. 1999 American movie critic. He and Roger Ebert hosted a series of popular review shows on television (1975-99).
1935 Bob Uecker American baseball player, actor. "Mr. Baseball". TV: Mr. Belvedere (George).
1929 Jules Feiffer cartoonist, author, creator of Munro and The Explainers.
1928 Roger Vadim d. 2000 (Roger Vadim Plemiannikov), French director. Film: And God Created Woman (1956, which featured his young bride, Brigitte Bardot, in the nude) and Barbarella (1968).
1905 Maria von Trapp d. 1987 Austrian-born singer, matriarch of the singing von Trapp family whose life story inspired the movie The Sound of Music.
1892 Bessie Coleman d. 1926 American daredevil aviator. She was the world's first black female aviator to obtain a pilot's license (1921). Her father was of mostly Cherokee descent, making her also the first female of native American descent to earn a pilot's license. U.S. pilot schools were unwilling to take a black female student, so she learned French and went to Paris to earn her license. She died in a plane crash while preparing for a show. While flying as a passenger with a student pilot, the plane suffered a mechanical failure and spun out of control. Not seat belted in, she fell out of the plane and plummeted to her death. The pilot died in the crash.
1887 François Faber d. 1915 Luxembourgian cyclist, Tour de France winner (1909, winning 5 consecutive stages). He was the first non-Frenchman to win the Tour de France. During WWI after receiving a telegram announcing the birth of his daughter, he jumped for joy in his trench and was killed by a German bullet.
1831 Mary Mapes Dodge d. 1905 American author. Writings: Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates (1865).
Deaths for January 26
1979 Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller b. 1908 41st U.S. Vice-President (1974-77), governor of New York (1959-73), and 1st Under Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (1953-54). He was a grandson of John D. Rockefeller Sr., founder of Standard Oil.
1893 Abner Doubleday b. 1819 American Union soldier. He is credited with inventing baseball, although he never claimed so and modern research indicates similar games were played before he was born. He aimed the cannon that fired the first shot at the Confederacy after it fired on Fort Sumter at the start of the American Civil War. He also patented the cable car railway that runs in San Francisco.
1823 Edward Jenner b. 1749 English physician. He invented the vaccination (1796). After observing that milkmaids were generally immune to smallpox, Jenner postulated that the pus in the blisters that milkmaids received from cowpox (a disease similar to smallpox, but much less virulent) protect someone from smallpox. He then went on to test and prove his theory. Although others had previously observed that those who contracted cowpox were immune to smallpox, it was Jenner who proved that the pus from someone with cowpox would provide immunity. It was estimated at the time that 60% of the population acquired smallpox and 20% of the population died of it. It is said that his work has saved more lives than the work of any other human.
2017 Mike Conners b. 1925 (Krekor Ohanian), American actor. TV: Mannix (Joe Mannix). He also played Kirk Ohanian in the TV movie The Killer Who Wouldn't Die (1976).
2017 Barbara Hale b. 1922 American Emmy-winning actress. TV: Perry Mason (Della Street).
2016 Abe Vigoda b. 1921 American actor. TV: Barney Miller (1975-77, Detective Fish). Film: The Godfather (1972, Salvatore Tessio).
2012 Robert Hegyes b. 1951 American actor. TV: Welcome Back Kotter (1975-79, Juan Epstein).
2012 Dimitra Arliss b. 1932 American actress. TV: Rich Man, Poor Man-Book II (1976, Maria Falconetti). Film: The Sting (1973, Hit woman Loretta).
2000 Donald J. Budge b. 1915 American tennis Hall of Famer, first to win the tennis Grand Slam (1938). He was the World No. 1 ranked player for five years.
1992 José Ferrer b. 1912 (José Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintrón), Puerto Rican Oscar-Tony-winning actor. He was the first Hispanic actor to win an Oscar. Film: Whirlpool (1949) and Cyrano de Bergerac (1950, Oscar).
1983 Bear Bryant b. 1913 (Paul William Bryant), American football coach, the Crimson Tide (1958-82), the winningest coach in college football history (325 wins).
1973 Edward G. Robinson b. 1893 (Emmanuel Goldenberg), American actor. Film: Little Caesar (1931, the gangster boss).
1932 William Wrigley Jr b. 1861 American businessman. He founded the Wrigley Co. (1891), which first sold soap and baking powder and then of course chewing gum (1892).
1891 Nikolaus August Otto b. 1832 German co-inventor of the internal combustion engine (1867) and built a four-stroke Otto cycle (1876) which is used in most automobiles.
1878 Kirkpatrick Macmillan b. 1812 Scottish blacksmith. He is credited with inventing the rear-wheel-driven bicycle (1839), although many historians believe Thomas McCall was the inventor.