This day in history
Today’s Birthdays: Former senator Birch Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, is 91. Actress Piper Laurie is 87. Celebrity chef Graham Kerr (‘‘The Galloping Gourmet”) is 85. Actor Seymour Cassel is 84. Author Joseph Wambaugh is 82. Elaine Noble, a Boston lawmaker who was the first openly gay candidate elected to a state legislature, is 75. Singer Steve Perry is 70. Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch is 66. Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Bossy is 62. Actress Linda Blair is 60. Actress Diane Lane is 54. Actress Katie Finneran is 48. Actor Christopher Kennedy Masterson is 39.
In 1498, during his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus arrived at the present-day Caribbean island of St. Vincent.
In 1744, Abigail Adams, the second first lady, was born in Weymouth.
In 1901, Britain’s Queen Victoria died at age 81 after a reign of 63 years; she was succeeded by her eldest son, Edward VII.
In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces began landing at Anzio, Italy.
In 1953, the Arthur Miller drama ‘‘The Crucible,’’ set during the Salem witch trials, opened on Broadway.
In 1968, the fast-paced sketch comedy program ‘‘Rowan Martin’s Laugh-In’’ premiered as a weekly series on NBC-TV.
In 1973, the US Supreme Court, in its Roe v. Wade decision, legalized abortions using a trimester approach. Former president Johnson died at his Texas ranch at age 64.
In 1987, Pennsylvania treasurer R. Budd Dwyer, convicted of defrauding the state, proclaimed his innocence at a news conference before pulling out a gun, placing the barrel in his mouth, and shooting himself to death in front of horrified onlookers.
In 1995, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy died at the Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port, at 104.
In 1997, the Senate confirmed Madeleine Albright as the nation’s first female secretary of state.
In 1998, Theodore Kaczynski pleaded guilty in Sacramento to being the Unabomber responsible for three deaths and 29 injuries in return for a sentence of life in prison without parole.
In 2008, actor Heath Ledger, 28, was found dead of an accidental prescription overdose in a New York City apartment. Jose Padilla, once accused of plotting with Al-Qaeda to blow up a radioactive ‘‘dirty bomb,’’ was sentenced by a federal judge to 17 years on other terrorism conspiracy charges.
In 2009, President Obama signed an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp within a year. (The facility remained in operation as lawmakers blocked efforts to transfer terror suspects to the United States.)
Last year, President Trump signed a bill reopening the government after a 69-hour shutdown.