Today's History Trivia for May 21
1992 Gorillas in the Crossfire Mrithi, the Rwandan mountain gorilla who starred in the movie Gorillas in the Mist (1988) is shot and killed by armed troops in the battle between the Rwandan government and the Rwandese Patriotic Party.
1985 Patti Jorgenson Frustaci delivers seven babies three of which survived. She had been taking fertility drugs.
1980 First woman to graduate from a U.S. service academy Jean Marie Butler graduates from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
1972 Michelangelo's Pieta (statue of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus in her lap) is attacked by a man with a hammer screaming "I am Jesus Christ!" He smashed her face and broke off her left arm. Many of the broken pieces were taken by onlookers, including Mary's nose which was never recovered.
1950 Plucked alive The sudden drop in pressure caused by a tornado passing over a chicken coop in Linslade, England plucks the feathers off the chickens. The chickens survived.
1945 World War II German Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler is captured by the British. He committed suicide two days later.
1944 Top Secret Pearl Harbor Disaster An explosion aboard the USS LST-353 quickly sets off a chain reaction of explosions spreading fire to the surrounding ships. In all, six LSTs sank and 163 men were killed. It is believed that incident was caused by a mortar round explosion during an unloading operation. This disaster is not well known since it was classified top secret until 1960.
1927 First solo transatlantic flight Charles A. Lindbergh, in The Spirit of St. Louis, arrives in Paris. He had departed from New York the previous day.
1881 American Red Cross Society is founded, with Clara Barton as president.
1738 Charles Wesley experiences his evangelical conversion. He and his brother John founded the Methodist Church.
Today's Birthdays for May 21
1960 Jeffrey Dahmer d. 1994 American serial killer. He had killed 17 young men and cannibalized their bodies (1978-91). He was beaten to death in prison.
1957 Judge Reinhold (Edward Ernest Reinhold, Jr), American actor. Film: Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Beverly Hills Cop (1984), and Ruthless People (1986).
1952 Mr. T (Lawrence Tero), American actor. TV: The A-Team (B.A. Baracus). "I pity the fool."
1948 Leo Sayer (Gerard Hugh Sayer), British singer. Music: The Show Must Go On (1973, #1), You Make Me Feel Like Dancing (1976, #1), and When I Need You (1976, #1).
1941 Ronald Isley American Grammy-winning singer, with the Isley Brothers. Music: Twist and Shout (1962), This Old Heart of Mine (1966), and It's Your Thing (1970, Grammy).
1923 Rick Jason d. 2000 American actor. TV: Combat! (1962-67, Lt. Gil Hanley).
1917 Raymond Burr d. 1993 (William Stacey Burr), Canadian-born American Emmy-winning actor. Film: Godzilla (1954, the American reporter). TV: Ironside (title role) and Perry Mason (title role).
1915 Hyatt Robert von Dehn d. 1973 American hotel magnate, co-founder of the Hyatt hotel chain. He built the first airport hotel (Los Angeles International Airport, 1953).
1898 Armand Hammer d. 1990 American businessman, president of Occidental Petroleum Corporation. Some speculate that he was named after the "arm and hammer" symbol of the Soviet Labor Party of American. Known for his close ties to the Soviet Union, he bragged that he was the only man who was friends with both Lenin and Pres. Reagan.
1878 Glenn Curtiss d. 1930 American aviation pioneer. He won the Scientific American prize for the first airplane flight of one kilometer (1908), opened the first U.S. flying school (1909), and invented the flying boat (1912).
1873 Hans Berger d. 1941 German psychiatrist. Coined the term electroencephalograph (also known as an EEG) for the device used to record brain waves. He was the first to record human brain waves and discovered the Alpha wave.
1860 Willem Einthoven d. 1927 Dutch physiologist. His work on the string galvanometer led to the invention of the electrocardiograph, for which he received the 1924 Nobel prize.
1527 Philip II d. 1598 King of Spain, Naples, and Sicily (1556-98), and King of Portugal (1580-98). His armada was destroyed after attacking England (1588), giving rule of the seas to England.
1471 Albrecht Dürer d. 1528 German Renaissance artist. His series of Apocalypse woodcuts became the first book published by an artist from their own work (1498).
Deaths for May 21
2005 Howard Morris b. 1919 American comedian. TV: Sid Caesar's sidekick and the rock-throwing Ernest T. Bass of The Andy Griffith Show.
2002 Joe Cobb b. 1916 American actor, appeared in 86 Our Gang films as Fat Joe.
2000 Sir John Gielgud b. 1904 British Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy-winning actor, noted for his Shakespearian roles. Film: Julius Caesar (1953), Becket (1964), and Richard III (1955).
2000 Dame Barbara Cartland b. 1901 British romance novelist. Her more than 600 books - sometimes written at a rate of one every two weeks - have sold over 600 million copies.
1995 Les Aspin b. 1938 American politician, U.S. Congressman (1971-93, Wisconsin), U.S. Secretary of Defense (1993-94). He established the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on homosexuality in the military.
1993 John Frost b. 1912 British World War II hero. He was portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins in the 1977 movie A Bridge to Far.
1973 Vaughn Monroe b. 1911 (Wilton Monroe), American singer, bandleader. Music: Racing With the Moon and (Ghost) Riders in the Sky (1949, #1).
1920 Eleanor Hodgman Porter b. 1868 American author. Writings: Pollyanna (1913, with the name of the title character becoming synonymous with persistent optimism).
1786 Karl Wilhelm Scheele b. 1742 Swedish chemist. He discovered oxygen, chlorine (1774), molybdenum (1778), tungsten (1781), glycerin, and was the first to observe the effect of light on silver chloride (the basis for modern photography).
1690 John Eliot b. 1604 American Apostle to the Indians, first Protestant minister to dedicate himself to converting American Indians, wrote the first book printed in an Indian language (1653), and translated the Bible into the Indian Language (1661-63). He also co-edited of the Bay Psalm Book (1640), the first book printed in America in English.
1542 Hernando de Soto b. circa 1496 Spanish explorer and conquistador. Led the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States, and the first documented European to have crossed the Mississippi River.
1471 Henry VI b. 1421 King of England (1422-61, 1470-71).