This day in history

Today is Thursday, Oct. 31, the 304th day of 2019. There are 61 days left in the year. This is Halloween.

Birthdays: Actress Lee Grant is 94. Former astronaut Michael Collins is 89. Former CBS anchorman Dan Rather is 88. Folk singer Tom Paxton is 82. Actor Ron Rifkin is 81. Actress Sally Kirkland is 78. Actor Brian Doyle-Murray is 74. Actor Stephen Rea is 73. Olympic gold medal long-distance runner Frank Shorter is 72. TV show host Jane Pauley is 69. Movie director Peter Jackson is 58. U2 drummer Larry Mullen is 58. Actor Rob Schneider is 55. Actor-comedian Mike O’Malley is 54. Rap performer Vanilla Ice (Rob Van Winkle) is 52. Rock musician Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance) is 38. Actor Scott Clifton is 35.


In 1517, Martin Luther sent his 95 Theses denouncing what he saw as the abuses of the Catholic Church, especially the sale of indulgences, to the Archbishop of Mainz, Germany (by some accounts, Luther also posted the Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg), marking the start of the Protestant Reformation.

In 1926, magician Harry Houdini died in Detroit of peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix.

In 1941, work was completed on the Mount Rushmore monument in South Dakota, begun in 1927. The Navy destroyer USS Reuben James was torpedoed by a German U-boat off Iceland with the loss of some 100 lives, even though the United States had not yet entered World War II.

In 1959, a US Marine reservist showed up at the US Embassy in Moscow to declare he was renouncing his American citizenship so he could live in the Soviet Union. His name: Lee Harvey Oswald.

In 1968, President Johnson ordered a halt to all US bombing of North Vietnam, saying he hoped for fruitful peace negotiations.


In 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh security guards.

In 1998, a genetic study was released suggesting President Jefferson did in fact father at least one child by his slave Sally Hemings.

In 1999, EgyptAir Flight 990, bound from New York to Cairo, crashed off Nantucket, killing all 217 people aboard.

Last year, huge crowds of fans cheered as the Red Sox rumbled through downtown Boston aboard duck boats to mark the team’s fourth World Series championship in the past 15 years.