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Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Jan. 5, the fifth day of 2022. There are 360 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Actor Robert Duvall is 91. Juan Carlos, former King of Spain, is 84. Singer-musician Athol Guy (The Seekers) is 82. Former talk show host Charlie Rose is 80. Actor-director Diane Keaton is 76. Actor Ted Lange is 74. R&B musician George “Funky” Brown (Kool and the Gang) is 73. Rock musician Chris Stein (Blondie) is 72. Former CIA Director George Tenet is 69. Actor Pamela Sue Martin is 69. Actor Clancy Brown is 63. Singer Iris Dement is 61. Actor Suzy Amis is 60. Actor Ricky Paull Goldin is 57. Actor Vinnie Jones is 57. Rock musician Kate Schellenbach (Luscious Jackson) is 56. Actor Joe Flanigan is 55. Talk show host/dancer-choreographer Carrie Ann Inaba is 54. Rock musician Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age) is 54. Actor Heather Paige Kent is 53. Actor Bradley Cooper is 47. Actor January Jones is 44.


In 1896, an Austrian newspaper, Wiener Presse, reported the discovery by German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen of a type of radiation that came to be known as X-rays.

In 1914, auto industrialist Henry Ford announced he was going to pay workers $5 for an 8-hour day, as opposed to $2.34 for a 9-hour day. (Employees still worked six days a week; the 5-day work week was instituted in 1926.)

In 1925, Democrat Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming took office as America’s first female governor, succeeding her late husband, William, following a special election.

In 1933, construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge. (Work was completed four years later.)

In 1943, educator and scientist George Washington Carver, who was born into slavery, died in Tuskegee, Alabama, at about age 80.

In 1949, in his State of the Union address, President Harry S. Truman labeled his administration the Fair Deal.


In 1953, Samuel Beckett’s two-act tragicomedy “Waiting for Godot,” considered a classic of the Theater of the Absurd, premiered in Paris.

In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed assistance to countries to help them resist Communist aggression in what became known as the Eisenhower Doctrine.

In 1972, President Richard Nixon announced that he had ordered development of the space shuttle.

In 1994, Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, former speaker of the House of Representatives, died in Boston at age 81.

In 1998, Sonny Bono, the 1960s pop star-turned-politician, was killed when he struck a tree while skiing at the Heavenly Ski Resort on the Nevada-California state line; he was 62.

In 2004, foreigners arriving at US airports were photographed and had their fingerprints scanned in the start of a government effort to keep terrorists out of the country.

In 2011, John Boehner was elected speaker as Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives on the first day of the new Congress.

In 2012, speaking at the Pentagon, President Barack Obama launched a reshaping and shrinking of the military, vowing to preserve US pre-eminence even as the Army and Marine Corps shed troops and the administration considered reducing its arsenal of nuclear weapons. A US Navy destroyer rescued an Iranian fishing boat that had been commandeered by suspected pirates. Jessica Joy Rees, a Southern California girl who had become a nationally recognized face of child cancer with a blog that chronicled her fight against brain tumors, died at age 12.


In 2017, President-elect Donald Trump, in a series of tweets, urged Republicans and Democrats to “get together” to design a replacement for President Barack Obama’s health care law. Friends and family members gathered at the next-door homes of Debbie Reynolds and daughter Carrie Fisher in the Hollywood Hills for an intimate memorial to mourn the late actors.

In 2021, voters in Georgia turned out for Senate runoff elections that would result in victories for Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock and give Democrats control of the Senate; they would hold 50 seats and the tie-breaking vote of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. A prosecutor in Kenosha, Wisconsin, declined to file charges against a white police officer who shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, in the back in August 2020, leaving Blake paralyzed; the prosecutor said he couldn’t disprove Officer Rusten Sheskey’s contention that he acted in self-defense because he feared Blake would stab him. Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, former UN Ambassador Andrew Young, and other civil rights leaders were vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, hoping to send a message to Black Americans in particular that the shots were safe. DeVonta Smith of Alabama became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy in 29 seasons.