Historical Events in 1981

Events 1 - 200 of 773

  • Jan 1 Greece is 10th country to join European Economic Community
  • Jan 1 International Year for the Disabled begins
  • Jan 1 Palau (Trust Territory of Pacific Is) becomes self-governing
  • Jan 1 Roger Smith becomes CEO of General Motors
  • Jan 1 67th Rose Bowl: #5 Michigan beats #16 Washington, 23-6
  • Jan 1 47th Sugar Bowl: #1 Georgia beats #7 Notre Dame, 17-10
  • Jan 1 47th Orange Bowl: #4 Oklahoma beats #2 Florida State, 18-17
  • Jan 2 Mary Terstegge Meagher swims female record 200 m butterfly (2:05.65)
  • Jan 2 Sylvester Clarke knocks out spectator with brick, WI v Pakistan
  • Jan 3 Cleveland Cavaliers retire jersey # 34, Austin Carr
  • Jan 3 Greg Chappell scores 204 v India at the SCG
  • Jan 3 Mary Terstegge Meagher swims female record 100 m butterfly (58.91)
  • Jan 4 "Frankenstein" opens & closes on Broadway
  • Jan 4 "Peter Pan" closes at Lunt-Fontanne Theater NYC after 578 performances
  • Jan 4 British police arrest Peter Sutcliffe, the "Yorkshire Ripper"
  • Jan 4 "Red Right 88", trailing 14–12 with little time remaining the Browns chose to attempt an end zone pass play (Red Right 88) before trying for a game-winning field goal in the final minute, but the pass is intercepted by Raiders safety Mike Davis and Oakland wins
  • Jan 4 69th Men's Australian Open: Brian Teacher beats Kim Warwick (7-5, 7-6, 6-3)

Sport awardTennis Open

Jan 4 69th Women's Australian Open: Hana Mandlikova beats Wendy Turnbull (6-0, 7-5)

Tennis Player and Four-Time Major Champion Hana Mandlikova
Tennis Player and Four-Time Major Champion
Hana Mandlikova
  • Jan 5 "Nightline" with Ted Koppel extended from 20 mins to 30 mins
  • Jan 5 British police arrest Peter Sutcliffe, a truck driver later convicted of "Yorkshire Ripper" murders of 13 women
  • Jan 6 50th hat trick in Islander history-John Tonelli scored 5 goals
  • Jan 8 "Pirates of Penzance" opens at Uris Theater NYC for 772 performances
  • Jan 8 India all out 63 in one-day international v Australia
  • Jan 8 Reds become last team to sign a free agent (Larry Biitner)
  • Jan 9 Francisco Balsamao elected President of Portugal
  • Jan 10 El Salvador guerrilla group FMLN opens "general offensive"
  • Jan 10 John Severin sets 100-mi unicycle speed record, 9 h 21 m
  • Jan 11 "Tintypes" closes at John Golden Theater NYC after 93 performances
  • Jan 11 Palau adopts constitution
  • Jan 11 British team led by Ranulph Fiennes completes longest & fastest crossing of Antarctica, reaching Scott base after 75 days (2,500 miles)
  • Jan 11 AFC Championship Game: Oakland Raiders beat San Diego Chargers 34-27
  • Jan 11 NFC Championship Game: Philadelphia Eagles beat Dallas Cowboys 20-7
  • Jan 12 Soap opera "Dynasty" produced by Aaron Spelling and starring John Forsythe, Linda Evans and Joan Collins premieres on ABC-TV
  • Jan 12 -35°F (-37°C), Chester, Massachusetts (state record)
  • Jan 13 Barbara Sonntag, Colo, crochets record 147 stitches/min for 1/2 hour
  • Jan 13 Bollingen Prize for poetry awarded to May Swenson & Howard Nemerov

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 13 Islander's Mike Bossy's 15th career hat trick-4 goals

Ice Hockey Great Mike Bossy
Ice Hockey Great
Mike Bossy
  • Jan 14 US Federal Communications Commission frees stations to air as many commercials an hour as they wish
  • Jan 15 "Hill Street Blues" premieres on NBC-TV
  • Jan 15 Bob Gibson elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 15 Pope John Paul II receives Lech Walesa and Solidarity delegation at the Vatican

264th Pope John Paul II
264th Pope
John Paul II

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 16 Boxer Leon Spinks is mugged, his assailants even took his gold teeth

Heavyweight Boxing Champion Leon Spinks
Heavyweight Boxing Champion
Leon Spinks
  • Jan 16 John Lennon releases "Woman" in UK
  • Jan 16 Protestant gunmen shoot & wound Bernadette Devlin McAliskey & husband

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 16 Ivan Lendl intentionally loses a match in Volvo Masters in order to avoid having to play Bjorn Borg

Tennis Player and Eight-Time Major Champion Ivan Lendl
Tennis Player and Eight-Time Major Champion
Ivan Lendl
Tennis Player Björn Borg
Tennis Player
Björn Borg
  • Jan 17 Philippino president Marcos ends state of siege
  • Jan 18 Iran accepts US offer of $7.9 billion in frozen assets
  • Jan 18 Wendy O Williams arrested in Milwaukee for on-stage obscenity
  • Jan 18 Phil Smith and Phil Mayfield become the first two people to BASE jump from objects in all four categories (buildings, cliffs, bridges, antennae) after parachuting off a Houston skyscraper

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 19 Muhammad Ali talks a despondent 21 year old out of committing suicide

Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali
Heavyweight Boxing Champion
Muhammad Ali
  • Jan 19 US & Iran sign agreement to release 52 American hostages
  • Jan 20 52 Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days freed
  • Jan 20 Adm Stansfield Turner, USN (Ret), ends term as 12th director of CIA
  • Jan 20 Frank C Carlucci, ends term as deputy director of CIA
  • Jan 20 Islander Glenn Resch's 25th & last shut-out opponent-Flames 5-0

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 20 Ronald Reagan inaugurated as 40th US President

US President & Actor Ronald Reagan
US President & Actor
Ronald Reagan
  • Jan 20 The US diplomats and citizens held hostage at the US embassy in Tehran begin their journey home
  • Jan 21 "Shakespeare's Cabaret" opens at Bijou Theater New York City for 54 performances
  • Jan 21 Bernhard Goetz is assaulted for 1st time on a New York City subway train
  • Jan 21 Norman Stronge and his son James (both former Ulster Unionist Members of Parliament) are assassinated by the Irish Republican Army at their home Tynan Abbey, which is then burnt down
  • Jan 22 40th Islander shut-out opponent-3-0 vs Red Wings-Billy Smith 15th
  • Jan 22 O A "Bum" Phillips becomes head coach of New Orleans Saints
  • Jan 23 1st Richard Nixon museum opens (San Clemente California)
  • Jan 23 Jochem Bird elected mayor of West Berlin
  • Jan 23 Mike Bossy becomes 1st in NHL to score 50 goals in 50 games
  • Jan 23 Red Sox trade Fred Lynn to Angels for Frank Tanana & Joe Rudi
  • Jan 24 Islanders scored 5 power play goals against Nordiques
  • Jan 24 Kim Hughes scores 213 v India at Adelaide
  • Jan 25 52 Americans held hostage by Iran for 444 days arrived back in US

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 25 Mao's widow Jiang Qing sentenced to death

Chinese Communist & Wife of Mao Zedong Jiang Qing
Chinese Communist & Wife of Mao Zedong
Jiang Qing
  • Jan 25 Super Bowl XV: Oakland Raiders beat Philadelphia Eagles, 27-10 in New Orleans Super Bowl MVP: Jim Plunkett, Oakland, QB
  • Jan 26 Sandeep Patil scores memorable 174 v Australia at Adelaide Oval
  • Jan 28 "5 O'Clock Girl" opens at Helen Hayes Theater NYC for 12 performances

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 28 William J Casey becomes 13th director of CIA (until 1987)

CIA Director William Casey
CIA Director
William Casey
  • Jan 28 Olympic Glory tanker at Galveston Bay, Texas, spills 1 million gallons of oil in a ship collision
  • Jan 29 AL approves sale of White Sox to Jerry Reinsdorf & Eddie Einhorn for $20 million, & 80% of Mariners to George Argyros for $104 million

Music awardsMusic Awards

Jan 30 8th American Music Awards: Barbra Streisand & Kenny Rogers win

Singer-songwriter & Actress Barbra Streisand
Singer-songwriter & Actress
Barbra Streisand
Country Singer Kenny Rogers
Country Singer
Kenny Rogers
  • Jan 31 "The Tide Is High" by Blondie hits #1

Film tv awardsFilm and TV Awards

Jan 31 38th Golden Globes: Ordinary People, Robert De Niro, & Mary Tyler Moore win

  • Jan 31 Gaetan Boucher skates world record 1000m (1:13.39)

Music releaseMusic Premiere

Feb 1 Duke Ellington's musical "Sophisticated Ladies," premieres in NYC

Jazz Musician and Composer Duke Ellington
Jazz Musician and Composer
Duke Ellington
  • Feb 1 Dutch Antilles census is 231,932
  • Feb 1 French government accord sends 60 Mirage fighter jets to Iraq
  • Feb 1 NFL Pro Bowl: NFC beats AFC 21-7
  • Feb 1 Sandra Palmer wins LPGA Whirlpool Golf Championship of Deer Creek
  • Feb 1 Trevor Chappell bowls underarm to Brian McKechnie, WSC Final MCG
  • Feb 1 31st NBA All-Star Game: East beats West 123-120 at Richfield, Ohio
  • Feb 3 Australia beats NZ 3-1 to win cricket's World Series Cup
  • Feb 3 Gro Harlem Brundtland elected premier of Norway
  • Feb 5 "Piaf" opens at Plymouth Theater NYC for 165 performances
  • Feb 5 Largest Jell-O made (9,246 gallons of watermelon-flavor) in Brisbane
  • Feb 5 Milt jury in NC convicts Robert Garwood of collaborating with enemy

Hall of fameHall of Fame

Feb 5 Joni Mitchell inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame

  • Feb 6 "Brady Brides" debuts on NBC TV

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 6 Beatles Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr & George Harrison record a tribute to John Lennon

Musician & member of the Beatles Paul McCartney
Musician & member of the Beatles
Paul McCartney
Beatles Drummer Ringo Starr
Beatles Drummer
Ringo Starr
Singer-Songwriter George Harrison
George Harrison
  • Feb 6 Suleiman Nyambui runs world record 5k indoor (13:20.4)

Film release premierFilm Release

Feb 6 Crime film "Fort Apache: The Bronx" starring Paul Newman released amid protests in the US

Actor & Entrepreneur Paul Newman
Actor & Entrepreneur
Paul Newman
  • Feb 8 "5 O'Clock Girl" closes at Helen Hayes Theater NYC after 12 performances
  • Feb 8 "Brigadoon" closes at Majestic Theater NYC after 133 performances
  • Feb 8 Sally Little wins LPGA Elizabeth Arden Golf Classic
  • Feb 8 US female Figure Skating championship won by Elaine Zayak
  • Feb 8 US male Figure Skating championship won by Scott Hamilton
  • Feb 10 33rd NHL All-Star Game: Campbell beat Wales 4-1 at LA
  • Feb 10 8 killed & 198 injured by fire at Las Vegas Hilton
  • Feb 10 Dennis Lillee becomes Australian Cricket's top wicket-taker with 249
  • Feb 11 Australia all out 83 v India at MCG chasing 143 to win
  • Feb 11 Polish premier Jozef Pinkowski replaced by Wojciech Jaruzelski
  • Feb 12 Admiral Bobby R Inman, USN, becomes deputy director of CIA
  • Feb 12 Arbitrator Goetz declares Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk a free agent
  • Feb 12 Cape Verde amends its constitution
  • Feb 12 Pete Squires sets record for 1575 steps of Empire State Bldg, 10m
  • Feb 13 Longest sentence published by NY Times-1286 words
  • Feb 13 A series of sewer explosions destroys more than two miles of streets in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Feb 13 31st Berlin International Film Festival: "Hurry, Hurry!" wins the Golden Bear
  • Feb 14 Stardust Disaster: A fire in a Dublin nightclub kills 48 people
  • Feb 15 Joanne Carner wins LPGA S&H Golf Classic
  • Feb 15 Rocket-powered ice sled attains 399 kph, Lake George, NY
  • Feb 15 23rd Daytona 500: Richard Petty wins (169.651 MPH)
  • Feb 17 Chrysler Corp reports largest corporate losses in US history

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 19 George Harrison is ordered to pay ABKCO Music $587,000 for "subconscious plagiarism" "My Sweet Lord" with "He's So Fine"

Singer-Songwriter George Harrison
George Harrison
  • Feb 20 Flight readiness firing of Columbia's main engines; 20 seconds
  • Feb 20 James Sanford equals 50m indoor world record (5.61 sec)
  • Feb 21 "Yorkshire Ripper" Peter Sutcliffe, murderer of 13 women, captured
  • Feb 21 Charles Rocket clearly says "fuck" on "Saturday Night Live"
  • Feb 21 Japan launches Hinotori satellite to study solar flares (580/640 k)
  • Feb 21 NASA launches Comstar D-4
  • Feb 22 Amy Alcott wins LPGA Bent Tree Ladies Golf Classic
  • Feb 23 People mag features drug ordeal of Mackenzie & Papa John Phillips
  • Feb 23 Spanish coup under lt-col Antonio Tejero Molina fails

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 24 Britain's Prince Charles announces engagement to Lady Diana Spencer

Princess of Wales Diana Spencer
Princess of Wales
Diana Spencer
His Royal Highness Prince Charles
His Royal Highness
Prince Charles
  • Feb 24 Jean Harris is convicted of murdering Scarsdale diet doctor Tarnower
  • Feb 24 An earthquake registering 6.7 on the Richter scale hits Athens, killing 16 people and destroying buildings in several towns west of the city.

Music awardsMusic Awards

Feb 25 23rd Grammy Awards: Sailing, Christopher Cross, Billy Joel wins

Pianist, songwriter, and composer Billy Joel
Pianist, songwriter, and composer
Billy Joel
  • Feb 25 Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo elected premier of Spain
  • Feb 25 NHL most penalized game; Bruins vs Northstars, 84 penalties (392 mins)
  • Feb 25 NY Islanders give up their most goals (11) vs Calgary Flames
  • Feb 25 Rita Jenrette (wife of Abscam congressman) appears on Donahue
  • Feb 25 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • Feb 25 Exec Board of Baseball Players' Association votes unanimously to strike on May 29 if the issue of free-agent compensation remains unresolved
  • Feb 26 3 Anglican missionaries detained in Iran since Aug 1980 are released
  • Feb 26 84 penalties (406 mins) assessed for a brawl between NHL Minn & Bost
  • Feb 26 French Train Grande Vitesse averages 380 kph on trial run
  • Feb 27 Greatest passenger load on a commercial airliner-610 on Boeing 747
  • Feb 27 Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder record "Ebony & Ivory"
  • Feb 28 Calvin Murphy (Hou), sets NBA record with 78 consecutive free throws
  • Feb 28 China PR throws out Neth ambassador due to submarine sale to Taiwan
  • Mar 1 Duke Ellington's musical "Sophisticated Ladies" opens at Lunt-Fontanne, NYC for 767 performances
  • Mar 1 Sally Little wins LPGA Olympia Gold Golf Classic
  • Mar 1 Republican prisoners in the Maze began a second hunger strike; among the prisoners is Bobby Sands
  • Mar 2 Aircraft hijacked by 3 Pakistani terrorists
  • Mar 2 Howard Stern begins broadcasting on WWDC in Wash DC
  • Mar 3 Isle's Mike Bossy 9th & final hat trick of season-4 goals
  • Mar 3 NY Islanders & Edmonton Oilers play to an 8-8 tie
  • Mar 5 Michael Stewart's musical "Bring Back Birdie" opens at Martin Beck Theater, NYC for 4 performances
  • Mar 5 Ice Dance Championship at Hartford won by Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean (GRB)
  • Mar 5 Ice Pairs Champ at Hartford won by Irina Vorobieva & I Lisovski (URS)
  • Mar 5 Men's Figure Skating Champions in Hartford won by Scott Hamilton (USA)
  • Mar 5 US government grants Atlanta $1 million to search for black boy murderer
  • Mar 6 France performs nuclear test at Muruora Island
  • Mar 6 Soyuz 39 returns to Earth

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Mar 6 Walter Cronkite signs off as anchorman of "CBS Evening News"

Broadcast Journalist Walter Cronkite
Broadcast Journalist
Walter Cronkite
  • Mar 6 Worlds Ladies Figure Skating Champ in Hartford won by Denise Biellmann
  • Mar 7 Michael Stewart's musical "Bring Back Birdie" closes at Martin Beck Theater, NYC, after 4 performances
  • Mar 7 1st homicide at Disneyland, 18 year old is stabbed to death
  • Mar 7 28th ACC Men's Basketball Tournament: North Carolina beats Maryland, 61-60
  • Mar 7 22nd SEC Men's Basketball Tournament: Ole Miss beats Georgia, 66-62
  • Mar 8 "Shakespeare's Cabaret" closes at Bijou Theater NYC after 54 performances
  • Mar 8 Dennis Lillee ct by Qld 12th man Dennis Lillie in Shield game
  • Mar 8 Nancy Lopez wins LPGA Arizona Copper Golf Classic
  • Mar 9 Dan Rather becomes primary anchorman of CBS-TV News

Film tv awardsFilm and TV Awards

Mar 9 7th People's Choice Awards: Clint Eastwood, Jane Fonda & Goldie Hawn win (Motion Picture) and Alan Alda & Carol Burnett win (TV)

Actor and Director Clint Eastwood
Actor and Director
Clint Eastwood
Actress Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda
  • Mar 11 Chile constitution takes effect, Augusto Pinochet 2nd term begins
  • Mar 11 Johnny Mize & Rube Foster elected to baseball Hall of Fame
  • Mar 12 Soyuz T-4 carries 2 cosmonauts to Salyut 6 space station
  • Mar 12 Stephen Sondheim's musical "Marry Me a Little," premieres in NYC
  • Mar 12 Walter R T Witschey installs world's largest sundial, Richmond, VA
  • Mar 13 NCAA St Joseph's upsets top seed DePaul
  • Mar 15 "Broadway Follies" opens/closes at Nederlander Theater NYC
  • Mar 15 Patty Hayes wins LPGA Sun City Golf Classic
  • Mar 15 Suriname failed coup under sgt-mjr Wilfred Hawker
  • Mar 17 FC Lisse, Dutch soccer team forms
  • Mar 18 Buffalo Sabres sets NHL record of 9 goals in 1 period (vs Toronto)
  • Mar 19 -21] Emmy 8th Daytime Awards - Susan Lucci loses for 2nd time
  • Mar 19 2 workers killed in space shuttle Columbia accident
  • Mar 19 Buffalo Sabres beat Toronto Maple Leafs 14-4
  • Mar 20 Argentine ex-president Isabel Peron sentenced to 8 years
  • Mar 20 Jean Harris sentenced 15-to-life for slaying of Scarsdale Diet Dr
  • Mar 22 US 1st class postage raised to 18 cents from 15 cents
  • Mar 22 Donna Caponi Young wins LPGA Desert Inn Pro-Am Golf Tournament
  • Mar 22 Soyuz 39 carries 2 cosmonauts (1 Mongolian) to Salyut 6
  • Mar 22 Toshihiko Seko runs world record 25k (1:13:55.8)/30k (1:29:18.8)
  • Mar 23 US Supreme Court upholds law making statutory rape a crime only for men
  • Mar 23 US Supreme Court rules states could require, with some exceptions, parental notification when teen-age girls sought abortions
  • Mar 24 "Nightline with Ted Koppel" premieres on ABC
  • Mar 24 Bombay beat Delhi by innings & 46 to win Ranji Cricket Trophy
  • Mar 24 Colombia drops diplomatic relations with Cuba
  • Mar 26 Police & Albanian demonstrators battle in Kosovo, Yugoslavia
  • Mar 26 Soyuz T-4 lands
  • Mar 27 John Lennon single "Watching the Wheels" released posthumously in UK
  • Mar 28 Christa Rothenburger skates ladies world record 500 m 40.18 sec)