Today's History Trivia for January 27
1967 Apollo 1 Disaster An electrical fire erupts during a simulation on the launch pad, killing astronauts Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Edward H. White. They were the first U.S. astronauts to die in a spacecraft.
1945 World War II - Auschwitz Soviet soldiers arrive at the Nazi death camp in Poland to begin freeing the 5,200 survivors, including Anne Frank's father Otto. More than 1,500,000 people had been killed in the camp.
1973 Vietnam War - Last American casualty Col. William B. Nolde is killed by an artillery shell 11 hours before the truce was to take effect.
1973 Vietnam War - Cease-fire The U.S., North and South Vietnam, and the National Liberation Front sign peace accords, ending the longest war in U.S. history.
1973 End of the military draft is announced by the U.S. government.
1943 World War II First U.S. Air Force raid on Germany is carried out by the 8th Air Force over Wilhelmshaven.
1913 Olympics U.S. athlete Jim Thorpe loses his gold medals for the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon. It was discovered that he had been paid $25 a week to play baseball (1909-10), disqualifying him from the strictly amateur Olympics. His medals were restored in 1982.
1822 Greece The country declares its independence following its war with Turkey.
Today's Birthdays for January 27
1756 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart d. 1791 Austrian composer. He created over 600 compositions including The Marriage of Figaro (1786) and The Magic Flute (1791). Very little of his work was published during his lifetime.
1978 Robert Ray d. 2000 American AIDS victim. He was one of three HIV infected hemophiliac brothers who won a federal court order allowing them in school after they were barred in 1986. Their family home was burned down a week after the court decision.
1951 Seth Justman American keyboardist, with J. Geils Band. Music: Must Have Got Lost (1974), Freeze-Frame (1981), and Centerfold (1981, #1).
1948 Mikhail Baryshnikov Russian ballet dancer.
1944 Nick Mason English drummer, with Pink Floyd. Music: Dark Side of the Moon (1972, #1), Wish You Were Here (1975, #1), and The Wall (1979, #1).
1924 Sabu d. 1963 (Sabu Dastagir), Indian-born American actor. Film: Elephant Boy (1937) and Jungle Book (1942).
1921 Donna Reed d. 1986 (Donna Mullenger), American Oscar-winning actress. Film: It's A Wonderful Life (1947, Mrs. Bailey) and From Here to Eternity (1953, Oscar, Alma the prostitute). TV: The Donna Reed Show.
1919 Ross Bagdasarian, Sr d. 1972 American novelty musician. As David Seville, he was the manager of Alvin and the Chipmunks. He co-wrote Come On-a My House, Rosemary Clooney's all-time biggest hit. He bought 220 acres of Thompson seedless grapes near Fresno and named it the Chipmunk Ranch.
1918 Skitch Henderson d. 2005 (Lyle Russell Cedric Henderson), American orchestra leader. TV: The Tonight Show (Johnny Carson's first musical director on the show).
1905 Howard McNear d. 1969 American actor. Radio: Gunsmoke (Doc Adams). TV: The Andy Griffith Show (Floyd the barber).
1900 Hyman George Rickover d. 1986 American navy admiral, "Father of the Nuclear Navy." He directed the development of nuclear powered submarines.
1885 Jerome David Kern d. 1945 American composer. Music: Show Boat (1927, which included Ol' Man River) and Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (1933).
1850 Samuel Gompers d. 1924 English-born American labor leader, first president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL).
Deaths for January 27
1993 André the Giant b. 1946 (André René Roussimoff), French 7-foot-4, 520-pound wrestler, billed as "The Eighth Wonder of the World." He portrayed Fessick the gentle giant in the 1989 movie The Princess Bride. He was the first inductee into the WWF Hall of Fame (1993).
1967 Edward Higgins White II b. 1930 American astronaut. First American to walk in space (1965). He died with two other astronauts when Apollo 1 caught fire on the launch pad during a simulation, making him and the crew the first American astronauts to die in a spacecraft.
1955 Robert F. McGowan b. 1882 American film director. Directed the Our Gang comedies (1922-33). He quit directing Our Gang after no longer wanted to deal with hassles of stage mothers and child stars.
2014 Pete Seeger b. 1919 American folk singer. Music: If I Had a Hammer (1949, co-writer) and Turn! Turn! Turn!
2010 J.D. Salinger b. 1919 (Jerome David Salinger), American author. Writings: The Catcher in the Rye (1951). Mark Chapman was carrying a copy of this book when he killed John Lennon.
2009 John Updike b. 1932 American Pulitzer-winning author. Writings: The Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom series which included Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest, each of which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
2007 Tige Andrews b. 1920 (Tiger Andrews), American actor. TV: The Mod Squad (Capt. Adam Greer).
2004 Jack Paar b. 1918 American host. TV: The Tonight Show.
1994 Claude Akins b. 1926 American actor. TV: Lobo (The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo) (1979-81, title role).
1987 Norman McLaren b. 1914 Scottish-born Canadian film animator. Film: Neighbors (1952, Oscar), in which he animated actual actors by filming them one frame at time while slightly changing their positions. See Video
1972 Mahalia Jackson b. 1911 American gospel singer, considered one of the greatest of all time. She sang at Pres. Kennedy's inauguration (1961) and at Martin Luther King's funeral (1968).
1967 Virgil "Gus" Grissom b. 1926 American astronaut. One of the seven original Mercury astronauts and the first astronaut to go into space twice. He died with two other astronauts when Apollo 1 caught fire on the launch pad during a simulation.
1967 Roger B. Chaffee b. 1935 American astronaut. He died with two other astronauts when Apollo 1 caught fire on the launch pad during a simulation.
1922 Nellie Bly b. 1864 (Elizabeth Cochran), journalist. She is known for her writing on divorce, women, and child labor conditions. She once had herself committed to Blackwell's Island asylum for a story on the treatment of the insane. She also completed a 72-day around-the-world trip for the New York World (1889-90).
1893 James Gillespie Blaine b. 1830 American statesman, author, known as the Plumed Knight.
847 Sergius II b. ???? Italian religious leader, 102nd Pope (844-847).
672 Saint Vitalian b. ???? religious leader, 76th Pope (657-672).