Today's History Trivia for March 30
1981 Reagan Assassination Attempt U.S. President Ronald Reagan, James Brady, and two others are shot by John W. Hinckley, Jr. Hinckley was trying to impress actress Jodie Foster, whom he had developed an obsession with after seeing the film Taxi Driver. James Brady, was left paralyzed from a gunshot wound to the head. He would die in 2014 due to causes directly related to the shooting. A secret service agent and a D.C. police officer were also shot, but survived the shooting.
1867 Alaskan Purchase The U.S. buys Alaska from the Russians at the bargain price of 2¢ an acre by U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward. This was called Seward's Folly by critics at the time. Russia was eager to sell the territory, fearing that they would lose it anyway if a war broke out with the United Kingdom.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on Weapons of Mass Destruction: "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."
1993 DOS 6.0 is released by Microsoft Corp.
1991 William Kennedy Smith takes his date to the Kennedy estate. She later charged him with rape, for which he was acquitted.
1987 Record amount paid for a single work of art One of Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers sells for $39.9 million. There are some experts who now believe this to be a fake.
1984 Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous with host Robin Leach debuts.
1972 Vietnam War North Vietnamese forces launch a major attack across the demilitarized zone, the largest assault since 1968.
1965 U.S. Embassy in Saigon is destroyed by a car bomb, killing 22.
1950 Invention of the phototransistor is announced by Dr. Shive of Bell Laboratories.
1907 First flight of a commercially-built airplane built by the French aircraft company Voisin Freres.
1891 First U.S. national forest Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming, is established.
1880 Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City opens.
1858 First pencil with an attached eraser is patented.
1842 First operation under general anesthesia Diethyl ether is used by Dr. Crawford Williamson Long to remove a neck tumor.
Today's Birthdays for March 30
1754 Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier d. 1785 French aviation pioneer. He and Marquis d'Arlandes made the first manned free balloon flight (1783). He died in a balloon crash while attempting to cross the English Channel. He and his copilot, Pierre Romain, became the first known aviation fatalities.
1970 Secretariat d. 1989 American thoroughbred racehorse, Triple Crown winner (1973), and the first horse to finish the Kentucky Derby in under two minutes (1:59.4, 1973).
1968 Céline Dion Canadian Grammy and Oscar-winning singer.
1964 Tracy Chapman American Grammy-winning singer. Music: Fast Car (1988), Talkin' Bout a Revolution (1988), and Baby Can I Hold You? (1988).
1962 M.C. Hammer (Stanley Kirk Burrell), American rap artist.
1958 Maurice LaMarche Canadian voice actor. TV: Pinky and the Brain (voice of Brain) and Toucan Sam (Kellogg's commercial).
1957 Paul Reiser American stand-up comedian, actor. TV: Mad About You.
1945 Eric Clapton British singer, guitarist. Music: I Shot the Sheriff (1974, #1), Slowhand (1977), and Lay Down Sally (1978).
1937 Warren Beatty American actor. Film: Bonnie and Clyde (1967, Clyde). TV: The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (Milton Armitage).
1930 John Astin American actor. TV: The Addams Family (Gomez Addams).
1929 Richard Dysart d. 2015 American actor. TV: L.A. Law (1986-94, Leland McKenzie).
1926 Peter Marshall (Ralph Pierre LaCock), American game show host. TV: Hollywood Squares.
1917 Herbert Anderson d. 1994 American actor. TV: Dennis the Menace (Dennis' father).
1913 Marc Davis d. 2000 American animator. He is the designer of many Disney characters, such as Snow White, Thumper in Bambi, Cinderella, Tinker Bell, and Cruella De Vil.
1913 Frankie Laine d. 2007 (Francesco Paolo LoVecchio), American Oscar-winning singer. Music: Mule Train (#1) and High Noon (1952, Oscar). He also sang the theme to TV's Rawhide.
1902 Ted Heath d. 1969 British band leader, one of the U.K.'s most famous post-war big band leaders. He sold over 20 million records.
1811 Robert Wilhelm Bunsen d. 1899 German chemist. He invented the Bunsen burner and discovered the elements cesium and rubidium.
1750 John Stafford Smith d. 1836 English composer. Music: To Anacreon in Heaven, which is the melody to The Star-Spangled Banner.
1746 Francisco Goya d. 1828 (Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes), Spanish painter.
1135 Moses Maimonides d. 1204 Jewish rabbi, Talmudic scholar, philosopher. His teachings greatly influenced the Christian religion. Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church
Deaths for March 30
American comedian. Jokes: "I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it."
2004 Alistair Cooke b. 1908 (Alfred Alistair), English-born journalist, Emmy-winning host of TV's Masterpiece Theatre. His bones were reportedly stolen by body snatchers working for a tissue recovery firm.
1986 James Cagney b. 1899 American Oscar-winning actor. Film: Mr. Roberts (1955, the captain). He started his career as a female impersonator in a New York revue.
1981 DeWitt Wallace b. 1889 American publisher. He and his wife Lila founded Reader's Digest (1921). It obtained the largest magazine circulation in the world.
1975 Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes b. 1901 American aviator. She was the first woman movie stunt pilot (1929, Hell's Angels). She was portrayed in the film The Right Stuff (1983).
1949 Friedrich Bergius b. 1884 German Nobel-winning chemist. He invented the process of extracting oil from coal and discovered a process for converting wood into sugar.
1911 Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards b. 1842 American chemist, the first woman admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1870). She earned her B.S. degree (1873) and became the first female professional chemist in the U.S. In 1884, she became MIT's first woman faculty member.