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Famous people born on February 29 include*:
1468 – Pope Paul III (d. 1549)
Some people have a leap day birthday. ©iStockphoto.com/iofoto
1792 – Gioacchino Rossini, Italian composer(William Tell, The Barber of Seville) (d. 1868)
1896 – Morarji Desai, former Indian prime minister (d. 1995)
1916 – Dinah Shore, American singer (d. 1994)
1924 – Al Rosen, American baseball player
1924 – Carlos Humberto Romero, former president of El Salvador
1960 – Richard Ramirez, American serial killer
1960 – Anthony (Tony) Robbins, American motivational speaker
1964 – Lyndon Byers, Canadian hockey player
1972 – Antonio Sabàto Jr, Italian-born actor
1976 – Ja Rule, American rapper and actor
1980 – Chris Conley, American musician and songwriter/composer
Events that took place on February 29 in history include*:
1692 – First accusations began during the Salem witch trials. The trials occurred in Massachusetts in the United States, where more than 150 people were arrested and at least 25 people died by hanging, torture or during their prison stay.
1848 – Neufchatel declares the independence of Switzerland.
1940 – Hattie McDaniel was the first African American actress to win an Oscar. She won the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind. The movie won eight Oscars.
1944 – The invasion of the Admiralty Islands began as United States General Douglas MacArthur led his forces in "Operation Brewer". Troops surged onto Los Negros, following a month of Allied advances in the Pacific. This event was one of the highlights of World War II.
1952 – The first “Walk/Don't Walk” signs were installed in New York City.
1964 – Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser received her 36th world record. She was timed at 58.9 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle in Sydney, Australia. She was the first female swimmer to win gold medals in three consecutive Olympic Games (1956, 1960 and 1964).
1972 – The Carpenters received a gold record for the hit single Hurting Each Other. The Carpenters were a vocal and instrumental duo of siblings, Karen and Richard, who produced a softer style of music in an era when loud rock was in demand. They were one of the best-selling music artists in the 1970s. 1904 - On this day in Washington, DC, a seven-man commission was
created to hasten the construction of the Panama Canal. Work began
May 4th. It's always hard to get something going by committee; so we
guess that's why it took seven men two months to get the work going.
1920 - Dateline -- Budapest, Hungary: Miklos Horthy de Nagybanya
became the Regent of Hungary just six months after leading a
counterrevolution. He probably gained control because everyone else
was distracted while trying to pronounce his name.
1932 - Bing Crosby and the Mills Brothers teamed up to record "Shine"
for Brunswick Records.
1936 - Fanny Brice brought her little girl character "Baby Snooks" to
radio on "The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air" on CBS Radio. Miss Brice
presented the character and later sang "My Man" on the program. She
was 44 at the time, and was known as America's "Funny Girl" long
before Barbra Streisand brought her even greater fame and notoriety
nearly 30 years later.
1940 - Hattie McDaniel was the first black person to win an Oscar. She
won the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Mammy in "Gone
with the Wind". GWTW also won Best Picture, Best Actress for Vivien
Leigh's performance and Best Director for Victor Fleming, Best
Screenplay for Sidney Howard's writing plus awards for Color
Cinematography, Interior Decoration and Film Editing. Other Oscar
winners on this night were Best Actor, Robert Dunat in "Goodbye, Mr.
Chips", and Best Supporting Actor, Thomas Mitchell in "Stagecoach".
1944 - The invasion of the Admiralty Islands began on this date as U.S.
General Douglas MacArthur led his forces in "Operation Brewer".
Troops surged onto Los Negros, following a month of Allied advances in
1944 - The first woman appointed secretary of a national political party
was named to the Democratic National Committee. Dorothy McElroy
Vredenburgh of Alabama began her new appointment this day. 1944 -
The Office of Defense Transportation, for the second year, restricted
attendance at the Kentucky Derby to residents of the Louisville area to
prevent a railroad traffic burden during wartime. We imagine that horses
were allowed in from elsewhere, though...
1952 - New York City pedestrians were told when to walk and when
not to as four signs were installed at 44th Street and Broadway in Times
Square. Each sign flashed "Walk" for 22 seconds, then "Don't Walk" for
ten seconds before the "Don't Walk" turned red for 58 seconds more.
We're told that eight out of ten people obeyed the signs ... not bad for
New Yorkers who will walk right through one door of a car and out the
other to get across the street quickly.
1960 - A report from the White House stated that America's kids were
getting too fat! I'll have a cheeseburger, fries and a shake.
1964 - Dawn Fraser got her 36th world record this day. The Australian
swimmer was timed at 58.9 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle in
1964 - The United States was in the grip of Beatlemania! "I Want to
Hold Your Hand", by the lads from Liverpool, was in its 5th week at #1
on the pop charts. It stayed there until March 21, when it was replaced
by "She Loves You", which was replaced by "Can't Buy Me Love",
which was finally replaced by "Hello Dolly", by Louis Armstrong, on May
9, 1964. 14 straight weeks of #1 stuff by the Beatles! Yeah, yeah, yeah...
1964 - Hang on to your racquets on this one, sports fans: A shuttlecock
drive record was set by Frank Rugani this day. Mr. Rugani slammed the
birdie 79-feet, 8-1/2 inches in a test at San Jose, CA. A giant leap for
badminton. A little leap for all mankind.
1972 - The U.S. Justice Department had recently settled an antitrust
lawsuit in favor of International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation.
On this date, newspaper columnist, Jack Anderson revealed a memo
written by ITT's Washington lobbyist, Dita Beard, that connected ITT's
funding of part of the Republican National Convention with the resulting
1972 - Swimmer Mark Spitz was named the 1971 James E. Sullivan
Memorial Trophy winner as the top amateur athlete in America.
1972 - Karen and Richard Carpenter of Downey, CA, received a gold
record for the hit single "Hurting Each Other". When they tore the golden
platter from its protective frame and plunked it on the player, they heard,
"Hurt So Bad", by Little Anthony and the Imperials. They were so upset
by this that they ran out to the back yard and used the record as a
Frisbee for the rest of the day. (Some of the preceding is based upon
1988 - "Day by Day", a situation comedy, premiered on this date on
NBC-TV. It was one of the "yuppie sitcoms" that were all over the TV
dial in the late '80s. This particular one was about a suburban
overachieving couple who dropped out and opened up a day-care center
in their home to spend more quality time with their children. The quality
time lasted just under five months.
The Great Pretender - The Platters
Band of Gold - Don Cherry
The Poor People of Paris - Les Baxter and his Orchestra
I Hear You Knocking - Gale Storm
I Want to Hold Your Hand - The Beatles
Dawn (Go Away) - The Four Seasons
You Don't Own Me - Leslie Gore
See the Funny Little Clown - Bobby Goldsboro
Without You - Nilsson
Never Been to Spain - Three Dog Night
American Pie - Don McLean
It's Four in the Morning - Faron Young
Jump - Van Halen
Girls Just Want to Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
Thriller - Michael Jackson
Stay Young - Don Williams
Special thanks to 440 International Inc.