Born on this Day in History: March 30, 1945 - Eric Clapton was born in Surrey, England. Clapton was raised by his grandparents and started playing guitar in his early teens. In 1966 he formed the band Cream. They were internationally popular for improvisational solos. They disbanded in the late 1960s and Clapton became a major singer-songwriter.
On this Day in History: March 30, 1981 - While President Reagan undergoes surgery for a life-threatening gunshot wound, Secretary of State Alexander Haig announces to the press: "As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending return of the Vice President."
Born on this Day in History: March 29, 1961 - Comedian and writer Amy Sedaris was born in Endicott, New York. Raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, she began her comedy career at Chicago's famed "Second City," where she met fellow comics Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello. Her career includes a number of film and television roles, most notably as Jerry Blank in the "Comedy Central" favorite, "Strangers with Candy."
On this Day in History: March 29, 1951 - Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are both convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage.
Born on this Day in History: March 28, 1955 - Born in McAlester, Oklahoma, Reba McEntire got her break singing the national anthem at the 1974 rodeo finals. She recorded with Mercury and MCA records, topped the country charts numerous times, and was crowned the CMA's best female vocalist for four consecutive years. McEntire has acted in films, starred in her own sitcom and runs several businesses with her husband and manager.
On this Day in History: March 28, 1996 - 78 people apparently perish in a fire at the Pasar Anyar shopping center in Bogor, West Java. The estimate is lowered to 10 after it is discovered that most of the dead are store mannequins.
Born on this Day in History: March 27, 1924 - Sarah Vaughan was a jazz vocalist who sang in her church choir and then won an amateur contest at the famed Apollo Theatre in 1942. By the mid-1940s, she was appearing on television variety show, soon known by the nickname "Sassy." She had a three-octave range and is regarded as one of the greatest of all jazz singers. She was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame the same year she died, 1990.
On this Day in History: March 27, 1964 - One of the largest quakes in US history strikes southeast of Anchorage, Alaska, hitting 8.6 on the Richter scale. 118 people are killed, and a tidal wave destroys four square blocks of Anchorage. The control tower at the airport, 60 feet high, snapped. Damage in the state is estimated at $500 million.
Born on this Day in History: March 26, 1931 - After roles on the likes of "Dragnet" and "The Twilight Zone," Leonard Nimoy earned the attention of producer and writer Gene Roddenberry and was cast on "Star Trek" as Mr. Spock. "Star Trek" premiered in 1966 and turned Nimoy into a legitimate star. Nimoy has always stayed active as an actor, but his role as Spock from the show and the Star Trek movies appearing over the years dominates his reputation.
On this Day in History: March 26, 1830 - Joseph Smith publishes The Book of Mormon, after translating it from golden plates turned over by the angel Moroni. Smith maintained that the text contained in the tablets were written in "Reformed Egyptian" which he read by means of two magic stones from the Old Testament, the Urim and Thummim.
Born on this Day in History: March 23, 1976 - Keri Russell was born in Fountain Valley, California. Her first big break came when she was selected to join "The Mickey Mouse Club" in 1991. Around the same time, she made her film debut in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. She tried her hand at nighttime drama with "Malibu Shores" in 1996. Two years later, she took one of her most memorable roles on the TV show "Felicity."
On this Day in History: March 23, 1997 - Five dead bodies are found arranged in a cross formation at the burned Quebec home of Didier Queze. They were members of the Solar Temple cult who in 1994 to 1996 had totaled 69 suicides in Europe and North America.
Born on this Day in History: March 22, 1976 - Reese Witherspoon began to pursue her acting career immediately upon graduating from Stanford University. Her early critical success included roles in film such as Best Laid Plans, Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions, and American Psycho, but it was her portrayal of Elle Woods in the box office hit Legally Blonde in 2001 when her career reached a turning point and she began winning numerous awards for her work.
On this Day in History: March 22, 1947 - U.S. President Harry Truman signs Executive Order 9835, beginning the Great Loyalty Crusade. 2,000,000 government employees were required to take oaths and submit to loyalty investigations; of those a mere 139 were terminated in the span of three years.
Born on this Day in History: March 21, 1958 - Actor Gary Oldman was born in London, England. From the moment his star fist shined as Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy (1986), Oldman has brought a raw, powerful edge to his roles, which have run the gamut from Dracula to Beethoven to Lee Harvey Oswald.
On this Day in History: March 21, 1963 - The federal prison at Alcatraz is closed.
Born on this Day in History: March 20, 1922 - Carl Reiner was born in New York, New York. He served with an entertainment unit during World War II and in 1949 entered television. He worked on what would become "Your Show of Shows," where he acted and wrote comedy with Mel Brooks. In 1961, he developed the sitcom "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and occasionally appeared as the character Alan Brady. He also directed films and wrote novels.
On this Day in History: March 20, 1995 - Members of the Aum cult release Sarin nerve gas in the Tokyo subway. Eleven people die and 5,500 are injured. The cult's doctrine of "Poa" make mass murder the way to save their own souls. They had intended eventually to produce 70 tons of the gas.
Born on this Day in History: March 19, 1955 - Born Walter Bruce Willison in West Germany, Bruce Willis's career was launched when he played wisecracking David Addison on TV's "Moonlighting" opposite Cybill Shepherd. In the summer of 1988, Die Hard, an action-packed flick that cast Willis as the muscle-pumping hero, hit movie screens with a bang, and his status as a bona fide movie star was minted.
On this Day in History: March 19, 1982 - The guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, dies during the Diary of a Madman tour after the plane he is flying in buzzes the band's tour bus and clips the wing of the plane, crashing into a nearby farmhouse.
Born on this Day in History: March 16, 1954 - Nancy Wilson was born in San Francisco, California. Her mother, Lou Wilson, was a concert pianist and choir singer, and her father, John Wilson, a former Marine, was also a musician and singer who had once led the U.S. Marine Corps band. Nancy Wilson's older sister, Ann, would later become her band mate in Heart.
On this Day in History: March 16, 1994 - Figure skater Tonya Harding arrested for obstruction of prosecution during the fallout from the Nancy Kerrigan figure skate clubbing.
Born on this Day in History: March 15, 1975 - Actress Eva Longoria was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. A beauty pageant contestant in her youth, she got her first break in show business with a regular role on "The Young and the Restless" from 2001 to 2003. Her breakthrough role came in 2004 as Gabrielle Solis on the hit television series "Desperate Housewives."
On this Day in History: March 15, 44 - Julius Caesar, already warned to be wary on this the Ides of March by the astrologer Spurinna, assassinated with pointy knives by a group of Senators at the Pompey theater.
Born on this Day in History: March 14, 1923 - Diane Nemerov learned photography from her husband Allan Arbus. Together, they found success with fashion work, but soon Diane branched out on her own. She is remembered for her raw, unusual images of people.
On this Day in History: March 14, 1968 - Nerve gas leaks from the U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground, near Skull Valley Utah. The gas killed 1600 sheep on the Goshute indian reservation and made hundreds more sick. Dugway is a test center for chemical and biological agents.