Today's History Trivia for May 13
1981 Pope John Paul II Shot Escaped Turkish terrorist Mehmet Ali Ağca shoots Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Square at Vatican City. The Pope was struck four times. Ağca was apprehended and later sentenced to life in prison. But the Pope forgave Ağca and he was pardoned by Italian president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi at the Pope's request and then deported to Turkey in 2000, where he was imprisoned for a previous murder. Ağca made conflicting claims about who hired him for the assassination attempt, including the Russian government because of the Pope's involvement in Polish solidarity, Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, and Ayatollah Khomeini.
1939 Voyage of the Damned The German liner St. Louis departs from Hamburg, Germany for Cuba carrying more than 900 Jews fleeing from the Nazis. All but 28 passengers were turned away by the Cuban, U.S., and Canadian governments and returned to Europe where many died in the Holocaust. These events were the basis of the book and 1976 film Voyage of the Damned.
1917 Our Lady of Fátima - Children See Virgin Mary Three shepherd children claim to have seen the Virgin Mary in Fátima, Portugal. They said she was, "brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal goblet filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun" and to pray "the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war."
1992 While on a walk across America to prove that people are basically good, Fred Turner is robbed and pushed off a bridge. He says he'll try again someday.
1992 Joey Buttafuoco Joey's 17-year-old girlfriend, Amy Fisher (aka The Long Island Lolita), shoots his wife at their home.
1989 Noriega Pres. Bush calls on the people of Panama to overthrow Gen. Manuel Noriega.
1985 Police Burn Down a Philadelphia Neighborhood Eleven people are killed and more than 60 homes are destroyed as a result of the police bombing the heavily-armed home of the radical group "MOVE." The police were attempting to end a two-day siege.
1983 Dick Cavett drops his pants to show his running shorts on The Tonight Show. Johnny Carson replies "You do things like this; no wonder your show is going off PBS."
1982 First major U.S. airline to go bankrupt Braniff International, the nations eighth-largest.
1943 World War II German and Italian troops in North Africa surrender ending their effort to gain an African empire.
1940 Churchill The English statesman declares to the House of Commons, "I have nothing to offer but blood and toil and tears and sweat."
1933 Tennessee Valley Authority is established, for the development of economic growth of the Tennessee Valley region.
1925 Daily reading of the Bible becomes mandatory in Florida public schools. Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church
1918 First U.S. airmail stamps A 24¢ denomination picturing an airplane is issued.
1861 Civil War England declares its neutrality. The South had been hoping for her to join as their ally. Source: The Civil War Day by Day
1846 Mexican War The U.S. declares war on Mexico. After Mexico had refused to sell California the previous January, Pres. Polk ordered Gen. Zachary Taylor to enter Mexico and provoke them into war.
1607 First permanent English settlement in North America, Jamestown, Va., is founded, by Captain John Smith.
Today's Birthdays for May 13
1941 Ritchie Valens d. 1959 (Richard Valenzuela), American singer. Music: Donna (1958, #2) and La Bamba (1959). He died in a plane crash with Buddy Holly - See The Day the Music Died.
1931 Jim Jones d. 1978 American cult leader. When practices at his Guyana commune were about to be exposed (1978) he ordered the killing of California Rep. Leo Ryan, and then ordered his 900 followers to commit suicide in what became known as the Jonestown Massacre.
1950 Stevie Wonder (Steveland Morris), American singer. Music: Superstition (1972, #1), Ebony and Ivory (1982, #1), and I Just Called To Say I Love You (1984, #1 and Oscar winner).
1943 Mary Wells d. 1992 American soul singer. Known as the "Queen of Motown." Music: The One Who Really Loves You (1962) and My Guy (1964, #1).
1927 Herbert Ross d. 2001 American director, choreographer. Film: Goodbye Mr. Chips (1969), Play It Again, Sam (1972), and Steel Magnolias (1989).
1922 Beatrice Arthur d. 2009 (Bernice Frankel), American Tony-Emmy-winning actress, and served as a U.S. Marine during WWII. TV: Maude (Maude Findlay) and The Golden Girls (Dorothy). Broadway: Fiddler on the Roof (Yente the Matchmaker).
1914 Joe Louis d. 1981 (Joseph Louis Barrow), American boxer, "The Brown Bomber," heavyweight champion (1937-49).
1907 Daphne de Maurier d. 1989 English gothic romance author. Writings: Rebecca (1938, later made into a Hitchcock film), The Birds (1952, later made into a Hitchcock film), and Jamaica Inn (1936, later made into a Hitchcock film).
1883 George Papanikolaou d. 1962 Greek-born American physician. Inventor of the Pap Smear test for cervical cancer.
1882 Georges Braque d. 1963 French painter, in 1907 he and Picasso founded the cubist movement and in 1962 he became the first living artist to exhibit in the Louvre.
1842 Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan d. 1900 English composer, of Gilbert and Sullivan fame.
1792 Pius IX d. 1878 Italian religious leader, 255th Pope (1846-78). Proclaimed the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary as dogma (1854), and the infallibility of the Pope (1870).
1767 John VI d. 1826 King of Portugal (1816-26).
1655 Innocent XIII d. 1724 Italian religious leader, 244th Pope (1721-24).
Deaths for May 13
2013 Dr. Joyce Brothers b. 1927 (Joyce Diane Bauer), American psychologist, newspaper columnist, radio and TV host. She was the first woman to win the top prize on the TV show The $64,000 Question (1955).
2009 Frank Aletter b. 1926 American actor. He had appearances in almost every TV series between 1955 and 1971. TV: It's About Time (Mac). Film: Mister Roberts (1955, Gerhart) and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970).
1972 Dan Blocker b. 1928 American actor. TV: Bonanza (Hoss Cartwright).
1961 Gary Cooper b. 1901 (Frank James Cooper), American actor. Film: Sergeant York (1941) and High Noon (1952). He originally moved to California to become a political cartoonist.
1884 Cyrus Hall McCormick b. 1809 American inventor. He invented the modern style reaper (1831), which was largely responsible for the U.S. agricultural revolution. His company became International Harvester in 1902.