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 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), and David Letterman. 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).
1925 Paul Newman d. 2008 American Oscar-winning actor, philanthropist. Film: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), The Hustler (1961), and The Sting (1973).
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.
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.
1880 Douglas MacArthur d. 1964 American 5-star general, "I shall return."
1831 Mary Mapes Dodge d. 1905 American author. Writings: Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates (1865).
Deaths for January 26
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).
1979 Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller b. 1909 41st U.S. Vice-President (1974-77) and governor of New York (1959-73).
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).
1893 Abner Doubleday b. 1819 American 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 fired the first shot at the Confederacy from Fort Sumter at the start of the Civil War. He also patented the cable car railway that runs in San Francisco.
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.
1886 David Rice Atchison b. 1807 American politician, on March 4, 1849 he became president of the U.S. until president-elect Zachary Taylor took the oath of office the following day.
1878 Kirkpatrick Macmillian b. 1812 Scottish blacksmith. He is credited with inventing the rear-wheel-driven bicycle (1839), although many historians believe Thomas McCall was the inventor.
1823 Edward Jenner b. 1749 English physician. He invented the vaccination (1796), after observing that people wouldn't catch smallpox if they were already infected with cowpox, which he then used as a vaccination.