Today's History Trivia for March 28
1979 Three Mile Island The nuclear reactor number 2 has a partial meltdown. This resulted in the release of radioactive gases and radioactive iodine into the environment. Studies of the cancer rate in the area have shown there was a small statistically non-significant increase in the cancer rate.
1993 One of the largest supernovas of the century is discovered by an amateur astronomer in Spain. The exploding red giant star is located 12,000,000 light-years from Earth.
1984 First birth from a frozen embryo Melbourne, Australia.
1956 Josef Stalin is denounced by Pravda, the Communist party newspaper, for excesses committed in his later years.
1920 Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. The Hollywood legends are married. They divorced in 1936.
1895 First U.S. municipal subway The city of Boston begins construction of the Tremont Street Subway. It opened to traffic in 1897.
1881 The Barnum and Bailey Circus is formed.
1845 Mexico breaks off diplomatic relations with the U.S. over the disputed territory of Texas.
1802 Second discovery of an asteroid Pallas, by German astronomer Wilhelm Olbers.
1797 First washing machine patent is issued, to Nathaniel Briggs of New Hampshire.
Today's Birthdays for March 28
1907 Sister Lucy dos Santos d. 2005 (Lúcia de Jesus Rosa Santos), Roman Catholic Carmelite nun. She claims that at the age of ten she and her two cousins saw and was spoken to by the Virgin Mary near Fátima, Portugal (1917).
1955 Reba McEntire American country singer. Country Music Association's Female Vocalist of the Year four years in a row.
1945 Guy Colwell cartoonist known for his realism, creator of Inner City Romance (1972).
1925 Dorothy DeBorba d. 2010 American actress, one of the Little Rascals (Chubby's little sister). She appeared in 24 Our Gang films. She was known for her ability to cry on cue.
1924 Freddie Bartholomew d. 1992 (Frederick Cecil Bartholomew), English-born American child actor. One of the most famous child actors of his time, he commanded a salary even higher than that of Shirley Temple. Film: David Copperfield (1935, Copperfield as a young boy) and Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936).
1914 Edmund S. Muskie d. 1996 American politician, Governor of Maine (1955-59), U.S. Senator (1959-80), and Secretary of State (1980-81).
1910 Jimmie Dodd d. 1964 (James Wesley Dodd), American actor. Leader of the Mouseketeers on the Mickey Mouse Club (1955-59) and composer of the opening theme song, The Mickey Mouse March.
1907 Irving "Swifty" Lazar d. 1993 American talent agent. Clients: Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, Faye Dunaway, Michael Caine, Vladimir Nabokov, Truman Capote, Pres. Nixon, Tennessee Williams, and Neil Simon. He was known for his yearly star-studded parties on Oscar Awards night.
1905 Marlin Perkins d. 1986 American zoo director, TV personality, host of Wild Kingdom for 23 years.
1899 August Anheuser Busch Jr d. 1989 American beer-company executive. He built the world's largest brewery (1957).
1811 John Nepomucene Neumann d. 1860 Bohemian-born American Roman Catholic Bishop (Philadelphia, 1852). He was the first American male saint (1977).
1793 Henry Rowe Schoolcraft d. 1864 American explorer, discovered the source of the Mississippi (1832).
Deaths for March 28
2012 Earl Scruggs b. 1924 American bluegrass musician, with Lester Flatt. He was the first banjoist to master the three-finger picking style. Music: Foggy Mountain Breakdown (1948), and the themes for The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction.
2010 June Havoc b. 1912 (Ellen June Hovick), Canadian-born American actress. Film: My Sister Eileen (1942).
2006 Caspar Weinberger b. 1917 American politician, secretary of health, education, and welfare (1973-75), secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan. He was indicted in the Iran-contra affair but pardoned by President George H. Bush.
2004 Peter Ustinov b. 1921 British Oscar-Emmy-Grammy winning actor. Film: Spartacus (1960, Oscar) and Topkapi (1964, Oscar).
1994 Eugène Ionesco b. 1909 Romanian-born French playwright. Known for his contributions to the theater of the absurd, he is considered among the most important dramatists of the 20th century. Writings: The Bald Soprano (1950) and The Lesson (1950).
1987 Maria von Trapp b. 1905 Austrian-born singer, matriarch of the singing von Trapp family whose life story inspired the movie The Sound of Music.
1979 Emmett Kelly b. 1898 American circus clown, known as Weary Willie. He became the mascot for the Brooklyn Dodgers after leaving Ringling Bros.
1976 Richard Arlen b. 1899 (Sylvanus Richard Mattimore), American actor. Film: Star of the first Oscar-winning film (Wings, 1927).
1958 W.C. Handy b. 1873 (William Christopher Handy), American composer, musician, Father of the Blues. He composed Memphis Blues (1912) which was the first blues song published in the U.S.
1953 Jim Thorpe b. 1888 (Bright Path), American athlete, considered the greatest athlete of the first half of the 20th century. He played professional football and baseball, and excelled in boxing, wrestling, gymnastics, swimming, hockey, basketball, and track.
1941 Virginia Woolf b. 1882 English author, women's rights activist. Writings: Jacob's Room (1922).
1929 Katharine Lee Bates b. 1859 American poet. She wrote the words to the national hymn America the Beautiful (1911).
1868 Seventh Earl of Cardigan b. 1797 (James Thomas Brudenell), English soldier. He led the charge of the Light Brigade (1854) and for whom cardigan sweaters are named.
1828 Dr. William Thornton b. 1759 British-born American architect, physician. He designed the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. (1793).
1285 Martin IV b. ???? French-born religious leader, 189th Pope (1280-85).