Birthdays: Roman Emperor Nero, Roman Emperor Lucius Verus who was known for little else but his really swell haircut, Gustav Eiffel, J. Paul Getty, Jeff Chandler, Alan Freed, Ernie Pintoff, Tim Conway is 85, Helen Slater, Neil DeGrasse-Tyson, Don Johnson is 69, Julie Taymor is 66
1815- Giacomo Rossini received the commission to write a new opera based on Beaumarchais’ play the Marriage of Figaro- The Barber of Seville.
1893-Czech composer Anton Dvorak premiered a symphony he wrote while living in the Minnesota. The New World Symphony.
1939- The gala premiere of Gone with The Windat the Loews Grand Theater in Atlanta Georgia. Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh flew out from Hollywood and the Governor of Georgia declared it a state holiday. Clark Gable called Margaret Mitchell “ The most fascinating woman I ever met.” Hattie McDaniel, the first black woman to win an Oscar for her portrayal, was not invited to the premiere.
1941- Lena Horne recorded her signature tune “Stormy Weather.”
1943- In Harlem jazz great Fats Waller died of alcoholism and heart failure. He was 39.
1954-“Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter” starring Fess Parker was featured on the Walt Disney TV show for the first time. The show created a mania for little kids, all wanting coonskin caps. “ Born on a mountaintop in Tenn- Ah- See..”
1966- Walt Disney died at age 65. He was alone in the room at Saint Joseph's when he died. His brother Roy had been in earlier rubbing his legs. On his desk, scribbled on a piece of paper the name- Kurt Russell. A heavy cigarette smoker- his favorites were Malboro and French Gitanes- he suffered from lung cancer and respiratory failure. Contrary to the legend that he's cryogenically frozen in a room in the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, he was cremated and interred at Forest Lawn.
1974- Mel Brooks film Young Frankensteinopened.
1978- Superman the Movie opened in theaters. Richard Donner directed, and it made a star of Christopher Reeve.
1985- Sylvester Stallone married model Birgit Neilsson.