What Happened in May 1959

Historical Events

Sport defeatBoxing Title Fight

May 1 Floyd Patterson KOs Brian London in 11 for heavyweight boxing title

Boxer and Undisputed Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson
Boxer and Undisputed Heavyweight Champion
Floyd Patterson
  • May 1 West Germany introduces 5 day work week
  • May 1 White Sox Early Wynn beats Red Sox 1-0 on his own HR
  • May 2 85th Kentucky Derby: Bill Shoemaker aboard Tomy Lee wins in 2:02.2
  • May 3 Betsy Rawls wins LPGA Land of the Sky Golf Tournament
  • May 3 Tiger's Charlie Maxwell hits 4 consecutive HRs in a doubleheader

Music awardsMusic Awards

May 4 First Grammy Awards: Perry Como & Ella Fitzgerald win

Jazz Musician Ella Fitzgerald
Jazz Musician
Ella Fitzgerald
  • May 4 Pulitzer Prize awarded to Archibald Macleish (JB)
  • May 6 Iceland gunboats shoot at British fishing vessels

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 7 "Roy Campanella Night" Largest baseball crowd (93,103 in LA Coliseum) sees Dodgers' Sandy Koufax beat Yankees 6-2 in exhibition

MLB Catcher Roy Campanella
MLB Catcher
Roy Campanella
  • May 8 3-deck Nile excursion steamer springs a leak panicking passengers who capsized ship. 200 drown just yards from shore

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 9 Dorothy Rigney, husband John, & Hank Greenberg resign from White Sox

Baseball Player Hank Greenberg
Baseball Player
Hank Greenberg
  • May 10 Joyce Ziske wins LPGA Howard Johnson Golf Invitational
  • May 10 Soviet forces arrive in Afghanistan
  • May 10 Giants Jim Hearn allows 2 runs against Pirates, game is suspended, Hearn is released & charged with loss 2 months after his retirement
  • May 11 "Kookie, Kookie Lend Me Your Comb" by Byrnes & Connie Stevens hits #4
  • May 11 Rodgers & Barer's musical "Once upon a mattress" premieres in NYC

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 11 Yankee catcher Yogi Berra's errorless streak of 148 games ends

MLB Catcher and Manager Yogi Berra
MLB Catcher and Manager
Yogi Berra

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 12 "Nervous Set" opens at Henry Miller's Theater NYC for 23 performances

Author Henry Miller
Henry Miller
  • May 13 Kraft Music Hall with Milton Berle last airs on NBC-TV
  • May 15 100th anniversary of 1st college baseball game, between Amherst & Williams Teams reenact the original contest
  • May 15 12th Cannes Film Festival: "Black Orpheus" directed by Marcel Camus wins the Palme d'Or
  • May 16 84th Preakness: William Harmatz aboard Royal Orbit wins in 1:57
  • May 16 WTOM TV channel 4 in Cheboygan, MI (NBC) begins broadcasting

Sports record brokenGolf Record

May 17 Sam Snead sets PGA record for 36 holes at 122

Golfer Sam Snead
Sam Snead
  • May 18 "Castin' My Spell" by Johnny Otis Show hits #52
  • May 18 "Judy" by David Seville hits #86
  • May 18 "Russian Band Stand" by Spencer & Spencer hits #91
  • May 19 Jan de Quay becomes premier of Netherlands
  • May 19 The USS Triton, the first submarine with two nuclear reactors, is completed
  • May 20 Ford wins battle with Chrysler to call its new car "Falcon"
  • May 20 Japanese-Americans regain their citizenship
  • May 20 Shah of Persia visits Netherlands
  • May 20 Yanks sink to last place, 1st time since May 25, 1940
  • May 21 "Gypsy" opens at Broadway Theater NYC for 702 performances
  • May 21 Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Children's Petting Farm opens
  • May 22 Benjamin O Davis Jr becomes 1st black major general in US Air Force
  • May 23 "Party with Comden & Green" closes at John Golden NYC after 44 performances
  • May 24 1st house with built-in bomb shelter exhibited (Pleasant Hills, Pa)
  • May 24 Empire Day renamed Commonwealth Day in Great Britain

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 25 Khrushchev visits Angola

Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev
Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Nikita Khrushchev
  • May 25 US Supreme Courtt rules Louisiana prohibiting black-white boxing unconstitutional
  • May 26 Harvey Haddix pitches 12 perfect innings, loses in 13th
  • May 28 Congressional Committee of Astronautics meets Project 7 astronauts
  • May 28 Johnson & Bart's musical "Lock up your daughters" premieres in London
  • May 28 Monkeys Able & Baker zoom 300 mi (500 km) into space on Jupiter missile, became 1st animals retrieved from a space mission

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 29 Charles de Gaulle forms French government

French President Charles de Gaulle
French President
Charles de Gaulle
  • May 30 "First Impressions" closes at Alvin Theater NYC after 84 performances
  • May 30 "Nervous Set" closes at Henry Miller's Theater NYC after 23 performances
  • May 30 Iraq terminates milt assistance pact with US due to neutrality
  • May 30 President Luis Somoza Debayle ends emergency crisis in Nicaragua
  • May 30 Pres Stroessner disbands Paraguay's parliament
  • May 30 World's 1st hovercraft (SR-N1) tested at Cowes, England
  • May 30 The Auckland Harbour Bridge is officially opened in Auckland, New Zealand.
  • May 30 Indianapolis 500: Rodger Ward wins in 3:40:47.470 (218.641 km/h)
  • May 30 58th Men's French Championships: Nicola Pietrangeli beats Ian Vermaak (3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1)
  • May 30 58th Women's French Championships: Christine Truman beats Zsuzsi Kormoczy (6-4, 7-5)
  • May 31 Mickey Wright wins LPGA Cavalier Golf Open

Famous Birthdays

  • May 1 Eddie Johnson, NBA guard/forward (Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers)
  • May 1 Paul Smith, rock saxophonist (Haircut 100)
  • May 2 Alan Best, Canadian animation director and producer
  • May 3 Ben Elton, Catford, London, English actor and comedian (Blackadder Back & Forth, Friday Night Live)
  • May 3 David Ball, English rock keyboardist (Soft Cell), born in Blackpool, Lancashire
  • May 3 Uma Bharati, Indian politician
  • May 4 Randy Travis, Marshville NC, country singer (Diggin' Up Bones)
  • May 4 Robert Raymond Tway, PGA golfer (1986 Shearson), born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • May 4 Rohn Stark, NFL punter (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • May 4 Scott Armstrong, American professional wrestling referee
  • May 5 Ian McCullough, rock vocalist (Echo & Bunnymen-Heaven Up Here)
  • May 5 Brian Phelps, American disk jockey and actor
  • May 6 Charles Hendry, Cuckfield Sussex, British Conservative Party politician
  • May 6 Eric D Fingerhut, (Rep-D-Ohio)
  • May 6 Kate Collins, actress (Natalie Hunter-All My Children), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • May 6 Scott Hood, Canadian Tour golfer (1989 Montana Open-2nd), born in Seattle, Washington
  • May 7 Michael E. Knight, actor (All My Children), born in Princeton New Jersey
  • May 7 Robin L Freeman, PGA golfer (1993 Northern Telecom-3rd), born in Saint Charles, Missouri
  • May 7 Tamara E Jernigan, Chattoonaga, PhD/astro (STS 40, 52, 67, 80)
  • May 7 Barbara Yung Mei-ling, Hong Kong actress (d. 1985)
  • May 8 Ronnie Lott, Albuquerque, NM, NFL defensive back (SF 49er)
  • May 9 Andrew Jones, cricketer (highly consistent for NZ at 1st drop)
  • May 9 Asantha De Mel, cricketer (pioneering Sri Lankan Test opening bowler)
  • May 10 Dan Schayes, NBA center/forward (Miami Heat, Orlando Magic)
  • May 11 Martha Quinn, MTV VJ (Tracey-Bradys), born in Albany, New York
  • May 12 Dave Christian, Minn, NHL right wing (Wash Caps, Olympic-gold-1980)
  • May 12 Ving Rhames, American actor
  • May 13 Robert Earnshaw, racehorse trainer
  • May 14 Connie Brighton, playmate (Sept, 1982), born in Wichita Falls, Texas
  • May 14 Mike Quick, NFL wide receiver (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • May 14 Patrick Bruel, Algerian/French actor/rock vocalist (Coup of Sirocco)
  • May 15 Andrew Eldritch, rocker (Sisters of Mercy-Walk Away, Black Planet)
  • May 15 Kaokor Galaxy, Thai boxer
  • May 16 Bob Patterson, pitcher (Chicago Cubs), born in Jacksonville, Florida
  • May 16 Mare Winningham, Phoenix Az, actress (St Elmo's Fire, Turner & Hooch)
  • May 16 Ty Armstrong, Waxahachie TX, Nike golfer (1993 Anheuser-Busch-19th)
  • May 17 Paul Di'anno, rocker (Iron Maiden Chingford, London V Early Vocalist
  • May 17 Jim Nantz, American broadcaster
  • May 18 Graham Dilley, cricketer (England wicket-taker of 80's)
  • May 19 Nicole Brown Simpson, ex-wife of O.J. Simpson (murdered), born in Frankfurt, Germany (d. 1994)
  • May 20 Bronson Pinchot, actor (Perfect Strangers, Beverly Hills Cop), born in NYC, New York
  • May 20 Peter Greene, American producer (After Midnight), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • May 20 Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, American singer (d. 1997)
  • May 21 Nick Cassavetes, American actor and director (The Notebook), born in New York City
  • May 21 Brisn Lenihan, Jnr, Irish politician and minister, born in Dublin (d. 2011)
  • May 22 Ed Fry, actor (Larry-As the World Turns, Adam Cory-Another World)
  • May 22 [Steven] Morrissey, British rock vocalist (The Smiths), born in Davyhulme, Lancashire
  • May 23 Linden Ashby, actor (Mortal Kombat)
  • May 23 Marcella Mesker, Netherlands, tennis star
  • May 24 George Glanos, horse trainer
  • May 25 Cathryn Harrison, actress (Old Woman in Black Moon), born in London, England
  • May 25 Manolis Kefalogiannis, Greek politician
  • May 25 Julian Clary, British television personality
  • May 26 Brian Peaker, rower (Olympics-96), born in London, Ontario
  • May 26 Nancy White-Brophy, Montague PEI, LPGA golfer (1994 McCall's-25th)
  • May 26 Wayne Hussey, rocker (Mission-Lover for Life)
  • May 26 Steve Hanley, English musician (The Fall, Tom Hingley and the Lovers)
  • May 26 Ole Bornedal, Danish film director, actor and producer
  • May 28 Leon "The Bop" Klaasse, rock drummer/singer (The Pilgrims-Red)
  • May 28 John Morgan, British etiquette expert (d. 2000)
  • May 28 Steve Strange [Steven Harrington], Welsh pop singer (Visage) and nightclub host, born in Newbridge, Caerphily (d. 2015)
  • May 29 Mel Gaynor, rock drummer (Simple Minds-Water Front), born in Glasgow, Scotland
  • May 29 Rupert Everett, British actor (Princess Daisy, Another Country)
  • May 29 Tamayo Otsuki, actress (Mrs Yamagami-Davis Rules)
  • May 30 Frank Vanhecke, Belgian politician
  • May 30 Claudia Alexander, Canadian-born American NASA Scientist (led Galileo mission to Jupiter), born in Vancouver, British Columbia (d. 2015)

Famous Weddings

HeartWedding of Interest

May 8 Actress Raquel Welch (18) weds high school sweetheart James Welch

Actress Raquel Welch
Raquel Welch

HeartWedding of Interest

May 12 Actress Elizabeth Taylor's (27) marries for the 4th time to entertainer Eddie Fisher (30)

HeartWedding of Interest

May 28 Muppeteer Jim Henson (22) weds Jane Nebel (24) in Salisbury, Maryland

Muppeteer Jim Henson
Jim Henson

Famous Deaths

  • May 1 Oscar Torp, Norwegian premier, dies

Person of interestPerson of Interest

May 5 Carlos Saavedra Lamas, Argentine politician, dies at 80

Nobel Peace Laureate Carlos Saavedra Lamas
Nobel Peace Laureate
Carlos Saavedra Lamas
  • May 8 Renato Caccioppoli, Italian mathematician/pianist, suicide at 55
  • May 14 Sidney Bechet, US jazz clarinetist/saxophonist/bandleader, dies at 62
  • May 15 Berend van den Amstel, [Bernard CED Hattink], Dutch actor, dies at 56
  • May 16 Joe Cook, Stage comedian, dies at 69
  • May 16 Elisha Scott, Northern Irish footballer (b. 1894)
  • May 20 Alfred Schutz, Austrian/US architect/philosopher, dies at 60
  • May 24 John Foster Dulles, US Secretary of State (1953-59), dies at 71
  • May 26 Ed Walsh, baseball pitcher (1.82 ERA), dies at 78
  • May 26 Joe Kelly, TV host (Quiz Kids), dies at 57
  • May 28 Bert Collins, cricketer (19 Tests for Aust 1920-26), dies
  • May 30 Thomas Carl Whitmer, composer, dies at 85