This day in history

Today is Saturday, April 4, the 95th day of 2020. There are 271 days left in the year.

► Birthdays: Recording executive Clive Davis is 88. Author Kitty Kelley is 78. Actor Craig T. Nelson is 76. Actor Walter Charles is 75. Actress Christine Lahti is 70. Country singer Steve Gatlin (the Gatlin Brothers) is 69. Actress Mary-Margaret Humes is 66. Writer-producer David E. Kelley is 64. Actress Constance Shulman is 62. Actor Phil Morris is 61. Actress Lorraine Toussaint is 60. Actor Hugo Weaving is 60. Rock musician Craig Adams (the Cult) is 58. Talk show host/comic Graham Norton is 57. Actor David Cross is 56. Actor Robert Downey Jr. is 55. Actress Nancy McKeon is 54. Actor Barry Pepper is 50. Magician David Blaine is 47. Singer Kelly Price is 47.Actor James Roday is 44. Actress Natasha Lyonne is 41. Actress Amanda Righetti is 37. Actress-singer Jamie Lynn Spears is 29. Pop singer Austin Mahone is 24.


In 1841, President William Henry Harrison succumbed to pneumonia one month after his inaugural, becoming the first US chief executive to die in office.

In 1850, the city of Los Angeles was incorporated.

In 1917, the US Senate voted 82-6 in favor of declaring war against Germany (the House followed suit two days later by a vote of 373-50).

In 1933, the Navy airship USS Akron crashed in severe weather off the New Jersey coast with the loss of 73 lives.

In 1945, during World War II, US forces liberated the Nazi concentration camp Ohrdruf in Germany. Hungary was liberated as Soviet forces cleared out remaining German troops.

► In 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was shot and killed while standing on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee; his slaying was followed by a wave of rioting (Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Chicago were among cities particularly hard hit.) Suspected gunman James Earl Ray later pleaded guilty to assassinating King, then spent the rest of his life claiming he’d been the victim of a setup.


In 1975, more than 130 people, most of them children, were killed when a US Air Force transport plane evacuating Vietnamese orphans crash-landed shortly after takeoff from Saigon. Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger roared into orbit on its maiden voyage. (It was destroyed in the disaster of January 1986.)

In 1988, the Arizona Senate convicted Gov. Evan Mecham of two charges of official misconduct and removed him from office; Mecham was the first US governor to be impeached and removed from office in nearly six decades.

In 1991, Senator John Heinz, R-Pa., and six other people, including two children, were killed when a helicopter collided with Heinz’s plane over a schoolyard in Merion, Pennsylvania.

In 2010, at least 42 people were killed as suicide attackers detonated car bombs near embassies in Baghdad. A magnitude-7.2 earthquake struck Mexicali, Mexico. A US-Russian space team sent Easter greetings down to Earth after their Soyuz spacecraft docked flawlessly at the International Space Station.

In 2015, in North Charleston, South Carolina, Walter Scott, a 50-year-old black motorist, was shot to death while running away from a traffic stop; Officer Michael Thomas Slager, seen in a cellphone video opening fire at Scott, was charged with murder. (The charge, which lingered after a first state trial ended in a mistrial, was dropped as part of a deal under which Slager pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights violation; he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.) More than 300 enslaved migrant fishermen, mostly from Myanmar, were brought to freedom by an Indonesia delegation following a dramatic rescue from a remote island that was the result of an Associated Press investigation.