Today in History
Today is Friday, April 21, the 111th day of 2023. There are 254 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 21, 1975, with Communist forces closing in, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu resigned after nearly 10 years in office and fled the country.
On this date:
In 1649, the Maryland Toleration Act, providing for freedom of worship for all Christians, was passed by the Maryland assembly.
In 1836, an army of Texans led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, assuring Texas independence.
In 1910, author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, died in Redding, Connecticut, at age 74.
In 1926, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II was born in Mayfair, London; she was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and the Queen Mother.
In 1930, fire broke out inside the overcrowded Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, killing 332 inmates.
In 1976, clinical trials of the swine flu vaccine began in Washington, D.C.
In 1980, Rosie Ruiz was the first woman to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon; however, she was later exposed as a fraud. (Canadian Jacqueline Gareau was named the actual winner of the women’s race.)
In 1998, astronomers announced in Washington that they had discovered possible signs of a new family of planets orbiting a star 220 light-years away, the clearest evidence to date of worlds forming beyond our solar system.
In 2015, an Egyptian criminal court sentenced ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years in prison over the killing of protesters in 2012. (Morsi collapsed and died during trial on espionage charges in June 2019.)
In 2016, Prince, one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times, was found dead at his home in suburban Minneapolis; he was 57.
In 2020, researchers reported that a malaria drug that had been widely touted by President Donald Trump for treating the coronavirus showed no benefit in large study of its use in U.S. veterans hospitals.
Ten years ago: On the first Sunday since the deadly Boston Marathon bombing, churches paused to mourn the dead and console the survivors while in West, Texas, residents prayed for comfort four days after a fertilizer plant explosion killed 15 people. In Britain, the London Marathon sent out a powerful message of solidarity with Boston and its victims as runners crossed the line in front of Buckingham Palace with black ribbons on their chests (Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia won the men’s race). Joe Scarborough, a 50-year-old self-employed electrical contractor, rolled the first 900 series in Professional Bowlers Association history — three straight perfect games.
Five years ago: North Korea announced that it would suspend nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches ahead of its summits with South Korea and the United States. Barbara Bush was remembered as the “first lady of the Greatest Generation” during a funeral in Houston attended by four former U.S. presidents and hundreds of others. Actor Verne Troyer, best known for his role as “Mini-Me” in the “Austin Powers” movies, died in Los Angeles at the age of 49; a coroner later ruled that the death was suicide by alcohol intoxication.
One year ago: Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed victory in the battle for the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, even as he ordered his troops not to take the risk of storming the giant steel plant where the last Ukrainian defenders were holed up. CNN shut down its CNN+ streaming service less than a month after its launch, a spectacular flameout for a venture that had attracted stars like Chris Wallace and Alison Roman and was seen as a way to attract a new generation of news consumers. Actor Robert Morse, who won a Tony Award for playing a brash corporate climber in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and a second one a generation later as the brilliant, troubled Truman Capote in “Tru,” has died at age 90.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor-comedian-writer Elaine May is 91. Anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean is 84. Singer-musician Iggy Pop is 76. Actor Patti LuPone is 74. Actor Tony Danza is 72. Actor James Morrison is 69. Actor Andie MacDowell is 65. Rock singer Robert Smith (The Cure) is 64. Rock musician Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) is 64. Actor-director John Cameron Mitchell is 60. Rapper Michael Franti (Spearhead) is 57. Actor Leslie Silva is 55. Actor Toby Stephens is 54. Rock singer-musician Glen Hansard (The Frames) is 53. Actor Rob Riggle is 53. Comedian Nicole Sullivan is 53. Football player-turned-actor Brian White is 50. Olympic gold medal pairs figure skater Jamie Sale (sah-LAY’) is 46. Rock musician Dave Brenner (Theory of a Deadman) is 45. Actor James McAvoy is 44. Former NFL quarterback Tony Romo is 43. Actor Terrence J is 41. Actor Gugu Mbatha-Raw is 40. Actor Christoph Sanders is 35. Actor Frank Dillane is 32. Rock singer Sydney Sierota (Echosmith) is 26.