What Happened in May 1981

Historical Events


Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 1 Tennis player Billie Jean King acknowledges a lesbian relationship with Marilyn Barnett - becoming first prominent sportswoman to come out

Tennis Legend Billie Jean King
Tennis Legend
Billie Jean King
  • May 1 Harrison Williams (Sen-D-NJ) convicted on FBI Abscam charges
  • May 1 Radio Shack releases Model III TRSDOS 1.3
  • May 2 107th Kentucky Derby: Jorge Velasquez on Pleasant Colony wins in 2:02
  • May 2 Radio Shack re-releases Model III TRSDOS 1.3 with 2 fixes
  • May 3 "Can-Can" closes at Minskoff Theater NYC after 5 performances
  • May 3 "Moony, Shapiro Songbook" opens & closes at Morosco Theater NYC
  • May 3 Sally Little wins LPGA CPC Women's Golf International
  • May 4 Rockline premieres on KLOS FM in Los Angeles
  • May 4 Silvana Cruciata runs 15k female world record (49:44.0)
  • May 4 Yankee Ron Davis strikes out 8 consecutive Angels, ran record of 13 strikeouts of last 14 faced, also saved Gene Nelsons 1st win, 4-2
  • May 5 16th & final Mayor's Trophy Game, Mets beat Yanks 4-1, hold 8-7-1 edge
  • May 5 After 66 days on hunger strike, 26 year old MP Bobby Sands dies in the Maze Prision; 9 further hunger strikers die in the next 3 months
  • May 6 "Inacent Black" opens at Biltmore Theater NYC for 14 performances
  • May 6 Mariners manager Maury Wills is fired & replaced by Rene Lachemann
  • May 6 US expels Libyan diplomats
  • May 8 Ron Davis pitches 10th consecutive strike out, 1 short of record
  • May 9 Kazimiroff Blvd in Bronx named for a Bronx historian
  • May 10 Amy Alcott wins LPGA Lady Michelob Golf Tournament

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 10 Francois Mitterrand defeats Valery Giscard d'Estang for Presidency of France

21st President of France Francois Mitterrand
21st President of France
Francois Mitterrand
  • May 10 Montreal Expo Charlie Lee no-hits SF Giants, 4-0

Music releaseMusic Premiere

May 11 Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Cats" (based on T. S. Eliot) premieres in London

Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber
Composer
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Poet, Author and Nobel Laureate T. S. Eliot
Poet, Author and Nobel Laureate
T. S. Eliot
  • May 12 "Lena Horne: Lady, Music" opens at Nederlander NYC for 333 performances
  • May 12 NY Islanders tie own record with two shorthanded playoff goals in a pd vs Minn
  • May 13 Dinamo Tbilisi wins 21st European Cup Winner's Cup against Carl Zeiss Jena of East Germany 2-1 in Düsseldorf

MurderAssassination Attempt

May 13 Pope John Paul II is shot and critically wounded by Turkish gunman Mehemet Ali Agca in St Peter's Square, Vatican City

264th Pope John Paul II
264th Pope
John Paul II
  • May 14 35th NBA Championship: Bost Celtics beat Houston Rockets, 4 games to 2
  • May 14 NASA launches space vehicle S-192
  • May 15 "Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island" airs

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 15 George Harrison releases "All Those Years Ago" in UK

Singer-Songwriter George Harrison
Singer-Songwriter
George Harrison
  • May 15 Len Barker of Cleveland pitches perfect game vs Toronto
  • May 15 SCTV Network 90, sequel to Second City Television, debuts on NBC
  • May 15 Soyuz 40 carries 2 cosmonauts (1 Romanian) to Salyut 6

Music release#1 in the Charts

May 16 "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes hits #1 for next 9 weeks

Actress Bette Davis
Actress
Bette Davis
  • May 16 106th Preakness: Jorge Velasquez aboard Pleasant Colony wins in 1:54.6
  • May 16 Houston Astro Craig Reynolds hits 3 triples beating Cubs 6-1
  • May 17 "Inacent Black" closes at Biltmore Theater NYC after 14 performances
  • May 17 Islanders score 5 power play goals against Flyers in a playoff
  • May 17 Kathy Whitworth wins LPGA Coca-Cola Golf Classic
  • May 19 Pirate Jim Bibby gives up a leadoff single to Brave Terry Harper, then retires next 27 batters
  • May 19 5 British Army soldiers are killed when their armoured vehicle is ripped apart by a Provisional Irish Republican Army roadside bomb near Bessbrook, County Armagh
  • May 21 Francois Mitterrand becomes president of France
  • May 21 Kim Seelbrede, (Ohio), crowned 30th Miss USA
  • May 21 Stanley Cup: NY Islanders beat Minnesota North Stars, 4 games to 1

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 21 Reggae musician Bob Marley receives a Jamaican state funeral

Reggae Musician Bob Marley
Reggae Musician
Bob Marley
  • May 22 Soyuz 40 returns to Earth
  • May 23 Barcelona fascists take 200 people hostage
  • May 23 NASA launches Intelsat V satellite, no. 501
  • May 24 Bobby Unser wins, loses, & wins a controversial Indy 500
  • May 24 Hostage situation ends at Central Bank in Barcelona Spain
  • May 24 Kathy Hite wins LPGA Corning Golf Classic
  • May 25 Bobby Unser becomes 1st Indy 500 winner to be disqualified

Sports record brokenBaseball Record

May 25 Carl Yastrzemski is 4th to get 3,000 hits (Cobb, Musial & Aaron)

MLB Outfielder Carl Yastrzemski
MLB Outfielder
Carl Yastrzemski
  • May 25 Daniel Goodwin scales outside of Chicago's Sears Tower in 7 hours
  • May 25 Rangers' Bill Stein sets AL record with 7 consecutive pinch hits
  • May 26 Marine jet crashes on flight deck of USS Nimitz, killing 14
  • May 26 The Italian Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani and his coalition cabinet resign following a scandal over membership of the pseudo-masonic lodge P2 (Propaganda Due).
  • May 27 John Hinckley attempts suicide by overdosing on Tylenol
  • May 27 Lenny Randle tries to blow a slow roller foul but umpire says no
  • May 27 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • May 27 34th Cannes Film Festival: "Man of Iron" directed by Andrzej Wajda wins the Palme d'Or
  • May 27 25th European Cup: Liverpool beats Real Madrid 1-0 at Paris
  • May 29 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • May 30 "Nightline" extends from 4 nights to 5 nights a week (Friday)
  • May 30 Bangladesh Pres Ziaur Rahman is shot by group of rebel officers
  • May 30 LA Dodgers are quickest to get 1,000,000 attendence (22 games)
  • May 31 Cathy Reynolds wins LPGA Golden Lights Golf Championship

Famous Birthdays

  • May 1 Aliaksandr Hleb, Belarusian footballer
  • May 1 Derek Asamoah, Ghanaian Footballer
  • May 1 Wes Welker, American football player
  • May 2 Matt Murray, English footballer
  • May 2 Chris Kirkland, English footballer
  • May 3 Farrah Franklin, American singer (former member of Destiny's Child)
  • May 4 Eric Djemba-Djemba, Cameroon footballer
  • May 5 Danielle Christine Fishel, actress (Topanga-Boy Meets World), born in Mesa, Arizona
  • May 5 Marcelle Bittar, Brazilian supermodel
  • May 5 Chris Duncan, baseball player

Person of interestPerson of Interest

May 5 Craig David, English singer (7 Days, Insomnia), born in Southampton, Hampshire

Singer-songwriter Craig David
Singer-songwriter
Craig David
  • May 6 Matthew Leone, bassist of Madina Lake
  • May 6 Nathan Leone, lead singer of Madina Lake
  • May 6 Edyta Sliwinska, Polish professional dancer
  • May 6 Mark O'Connell, American drummer (Taking Back Sunday)
  • May 8 Andrea Barzagli, Italian footballer
  • May 8 Björn Dixgård, Swedish guitarist
  • May 8 Yasuko Tajima, Japanese swimmer
  • May 8 John Maine, American baseball player
  • May 8 Stephen Amell, Canadian actor (Arrow), born in Toronto, Ontario
  • May 9 Bill Murphy, American baseball player
  • May 10 Humberto Suazo, Chilean footballer
  • May 11 Austin O'Brien, actor (Apollo 13, My Girl 2, Lawnmower Man)
  • May 11 Lauren Jackson, Australian basketball player
  • May 11 Daniel Ortmeier, American baseball player
  • May 12 Kentaro Sato, Japanese composer
  • May 12 Lorena Bernal, Spanish model and actress, Miss Spain 1999
  • May 13 Sunny Leone, Canadian model
  • May 13 Jimmy Yang, American wrestler
  • May 13 Rebecka Liljeberg, Swedish actress
  • May 14 Sarbel, Greek-born singer

Person of interestPerson of Interest

May 15 Zara Phillips, English daughter of Princess Anne, born in London

Daughter of Princess Anne Zara Phillips
Daughter of Princess Anne
Zara Phillips
  • May 15 Patrice Evra, French-Senegalese footballer
  • May 15 Justin Morneau, Canadian baseball player
  • May 15 Jamie-Lynn Sigler, American actress
  • May 16 Jessica Ponzo, Miss New Jersey Teen USA (1996)
  • May 16 Jim Sturgess, English actor
  • May 17 Beñat Albizuri, Spanish cyclist
  • May 17 Giannis Taralidis, Greek footballer
  • May 17 R. J. Helton, American Idol finalist
  • May 17 Shiri Maimon, Israeli singer
  • May 17 Leon Osman, English footballer
  • May 18 Mahamadou Diarra, Malian footballer
  • May 19 Georges St. Pierre, Mixed Martial Arts Fighter
  • May 19 Luciano Figueroa, Argentine footballer
  • May 19 Klaas-Erik Zwering, Dutch swimmer
  • May 19 Nate Cole, American singer
  • May 20 Iker Casillas, Spanish footballer
  • May 20 Calico Cooper, American actress and dancer
  • May 20 Lindsay Taylor, American basketball player
  • May 20 Mark Winterbottom, Australian racing driver
  • May 21 Beth Botsford, 100m/200m backstroke (Olympics-gold-96)
  • May 21 Maximilian [Max] Mutzke, German singer
  • May 21 Josh Hamilton, Major League Baseball player
  • May 22 Bryan Danielson, American professional wrestler
  • May 22 Jürgen Melzer, Austrian tennis player
  • May 23 Gwenno Saunders, Former Welsh dancer, now singer with The Pipettes
  • May 24 Shelby Lyons, pairs skater (& Wells-1995 Midwest champ), born in Oswego, New York
  • May 24 Marketa Janska, Czech model and Playboy Playmate
  • May 26 Eda-Ines Etti, Estonian singer
  • May 26 Irini Merkouri, Greek singer
  • May 27 Johan Elmander, Swedish footballer
  • May 27 Miloy, Angolan footballer
  • May 27 Fivos Constantinou, Cypriot distance runner
  • May 27 Özgür Çevik, Turkish singer and actor
  • May 28 Daniel Cabrera, Dominican baseball player
  • May 28 Adam Green, American singer and songwriter
  • May 29 Andrei Arshavin, Russian footballer
  • May 30 Andrey Arshavin, Russian Footballer
  • May 30 Gianmaria Bruni, Italian racing driver
  • May 30 Devendra Banhart, American singer and songwriter
  • May 30 Blake Bashoff, American actor
  • May 30 Ahmad Elrich, Australian footballer
  • May 31 Jake Peavy, American baseball player

Famous Weddings


HeartWedding of Interest

May 8 Author John Grisham (26) weds Renee Jones

Writer John Grisham
Writer
John Grisham
  • May 16 Pretenders' Martin Chambers weds Tracy Atkinson

Famous Deaths

  • May 1 Clarence A Bacote, historian/political scientist, dies at 75
  • May 5 Bobby Sands, IRA activist/terrorist dies in the 66th day of his hunger strike aged 26
  • May 7 Mieczyslaw Kolinski, composer, dies at 79
  • May 8 Margaret Lindsay, actress (G Men, Lady Killer, Jezebel), dies at 70
  • May 8 Maurice Fernandes, cricket captain (WI in 1st Test win, 1930 v Eng), dies
  • May 9 C E "Nip" Pellew, cricketer (10 Tests 484 runs at 37), dies
  • May 9 Nelson Algren, US writer (Man with the Golden Arm), dies at 72
  • May 9 Ralph Allen, English footballer (b. 1906)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

May 11 Bob Marley, reggae singer, dies of brain & lung cancer at 36

Reggae Musician Bob Marley
Reggae Musician
Bob Marley
  • May 11 Hoyt J Fuller, editor (1st World magazine), dies at 57
  • May 12 Benjamin Sheares, President of Singapore (1971-81), dies at 73
  • May 13 Carl Weinrich, composer, dies at 76
  • May 16 Ernie Freeman, American pianist and arranger (b. 1922)
  • May 17 Hugo Freidhofer, composer, dies at 80
  • May 17 Jeannette Ridlon Piccard, 1st US woman free balloon pilot, dies
  • May 18 Arthur O'Connell, actor (Mr Peepers, 2nd Hundred Years), dies at 73
  • May 18 William Saroyan, US stagewriter (Time of your life), dies at 72
  • May 21 Yuki Shimoda, actor (Farewell to Manzanar), dies
  • May 21 Patsy O'Hara, Irish hunger striker (b. 1957)
  • May 21 Raymond Mccreesh, Irish hunger striker (b. 1957)
  • May 23 George Jessel, US comic/toastmaster (Diary of Young Comic), dies at 83
  • May 23 Rayner Heppenstall, English novelist (d. 1911)
  • May 23 David Lewis, Canadian labour lawyer and politician (b. 1909)
  • May 24 George Jessel, actor (Diary of a Young Comic), dies at 83
  • May 24 Jack Warner, [Waters], actor (Captive Heart), dies at 84
  • May 25 Rosa Ponselle, US singer (Metropolitan Opera), dies at 84
  • May 25 Roy Brown, American boxer/rocker, dies of a heart attack at 55
  • May 25 Fredric Warburg, British publisher and author (b. 1898)
  • May 28 Mary Lou Williams, African American musician, dies at 71 in Durham NC
  • May 28 Stefan Wyszynski, Polish Cardinal, dies
  • May 30 Ziaur Rahmen, President of Bangladesh, is assassinated
  • May 30 Don Ashby, Canadian ice hockey player (b. 1955)