1981 in History

Events in History

Events 1 - 100 of 454

  • 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 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 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 British police arrest Peter Sutcliffe, the "Yorkshire Ripper"
  • Jan 4 "Red Right 88", trailing 14–12 Clevelands Browns attempt an end zone pass play (Red Right 88) and a game-winning field goal in the final minute, but pass intercepted by Raiders safety Mike Davis and Oakland wins
  • 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 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 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 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
  • Jan 14 US Federal Communications Commission frees stations to air as many commercials an hour as they wish

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Polish Politician and Labor Activist Lech Wałęsa
Polish Politician and Labor Activist
Lech Wałęsa
264th Pope John Paul II
264th Pope
John Paul II
  • Jan 16 John Lennon releases "Woman" in UK
  • Jan 16 Protestant gunmen shoot & wound Bernadette Devlin McAliskey & husband
  • 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
  • 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
  • Jan 20 The US diplomats and citizens held hostage at the US embassy in Tehran begin their journey home
  • 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 23 1st Richard Nixon museum opens (San Clemente California)
  • Jan 23 Jochem Bird elected mayor of West Berlin
  • 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 26 Sandeep Patil scores memorable 174 v Australia at Adelaide Oval

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 31 Gaetan Boucher skates world record 1000m (1:13.39)
  • Feb 1 Dutch Antilles census is 231,932
  • Feb 1 French government accord sends 60 Mirage fighter jets to Iraq
  • Feb 1 Trevor Chappell bowls underarm to Brian McKechnie, WSC Final MCG
  • Feb 3 Gro Harlem Brundtland is elected as the first female Prime Minister of Norway
  • 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
  • Feb 6 Suleiman Nyambui runs world record 5k indoor (13:20.4)
  • Feb 8 US female Figure Skating championship won by Elaine Zayak
  • Feb 8 US male Figure Skating championship won by Scott Hamilton
  • Feb 10 8 killed & 198 injured by fire at Las Vegas Hilton
  • 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 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 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
  • 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 Japan launches Hinotori satellite to study solar flares (580/640 k)
  • Feb 21 NASA launches Comstar D-4
  • 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.
  • Feb 25 Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo elected premier of Spain
  • Feb 25 Rita Jenrette (wife of Abscam congressman) appears on Donahue
  • Feb 25 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • Feb 26 3 Anglican missionaries detained in Iran since Aug 1980 are released
  • 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 28 People's Republic of China throws out the Netherlands ambassador due to Dutch sales of submarines to Taiwan
  • 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 Washington, D.C.
  • 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
  • Mar 7 1st homicide at Disneyland, 18 year old is stabbed to death
  • Mar 8 Dennis Lillee ct by Qld 12th man Dennis Lillie in Shield game
  • Mar 11 Chile constitution takes effect, Augusto Pinochet 2nd term begins
  • Mar 12 Soyuz T-4 carries 2 cosmonauts to Salyut 6 space station

Birthdays in History

  • Jan 14 Abdelmalek Cherrad, Algerian football
  • Jan 23 Greg Smith, American UFC fighter
  • Feb 9 John Walker Lindh, American Taliban fighter
  • Feb 26 Johnathan Wendel, American professional video gamer
  • Mar 13 Stephen Maguire, Scottish snooker player
  • Mar 27 Carey Davis, National Football League fullback
  • Apr 1 Aimee Chan, Miss Hong Kong 2006
  • Apr 5 Michael A. Monsoor, United States Navy SEAL killed in Iraq and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, born in Long Beach, California
  • Apr 9 Eric Harris, Columbine High School shooter (d. 1999)
  • Apr 12 Jaspreet Singh, businessman
  • Apr 15 Seth Wulsin, American artist
  • Apr 23 Gabriella MAO Windsor, daughter of English prince Michael
  • Apr 23 Chris Sharma, American rock climber/boulderer
  • Apr 25 Anja Pärson, Swedish skier
  • Apr 25 Dwone Hicks, National Football League runningback

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 19 Georges St. Pierre, Mixed Martial Arts Fighter
  • Jun 8 Sara Watkins, American fiddle player
  • Jun 9 Anoushka Shankar, Famous sitarist and daughter of Ravi Shankar
  • Jun 10 Prince Hashim bin Al Hussein, of Jordan
  • Jun 13 David Madden, 4th-ranked Jeopardy! champion of all-time
  • Jun 18 Teresa Cormack, New Zealand murder victim (d. 1987)
  • Jun 18 Ella (Jiahua) Chen, member of the Taiwanese girl-group S.H.E
  • Jun 22 Monty Oum, American Animator (RWBY), born in Providence, Rhode Island (d. 2015)
  • Jun 30 Karolina Sadalska, Polish kayaker
  • Jul 1 Tadhg Kennelly, Irish-born Australian Rules footballer
  • Jul 2 Alex Koroknay-Palicz, American youth rights activist
  • Jul 20 Thorsten Engelmann, German rower
  • Aug 5 Rachel Scott, American murder victim (d. 1999)
  • Aug 5 Erik Guay, Canadian alpine skier
  • Aug 5 Cory Williams, American internet celebrity
  • Aug 6 Travis McCoy, American alternative hip-hop artist
  • Aug 23 Ozzy Lusth, American Survivor contestant
  • Aug 25 Clare Oliver, Australian cancer activist (d. 2007)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Aug 29 Brian Chesky, American internet entrepreneur (CEO of Airbnb), born in Niskayuna, New York

Co-founder of Airbnb Brian Chesky
Co-founder of Airbnb
Brian Chesky
  • Sep 11 Dylan Klebold, Columbine High School Massacre co-perpetrator (d. 1999)
  • Sep 20 Joanie Dodds, America's Next Top Model contestant
  • Sep 21 Nicole Richie, American socialite
  • Sep 27 Sophie Crumb, American comics artist
  • Sep 29 Siarhei Rutenka, Belarusian handball player
  • Oct 4 Scott Hammond, American photographer
  • Oct 8 Princess Juliana Edenia Antonia, of Netherlands
  • Oct 24 Tila Tequila, American model
  • Oct 27 Kristi Richards, Canadian freestyle skier
  • Oct 29 Amanda Beard, 100m/200m breaststroke (Oly-2 silv-96), born in Newport Beach, California
  • Oct 29 Jonathan Brown, Australian rules footballer
  • Oct 31 Irina Denezhkina, Russian writer
  • Oct 31 Selina (Jiaxuan) Ren, member of Taiwanese girl-group S.H.E
  • Nov 6 Cassie Bernall, American murder victim (d. 1999)
  • Nov 10 Jason L. Dunham, American Medal of Honor recipient (d. 2004)
  • Nov 11 Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg
  • Nov 13 Rivkah, American comic book writer and artist

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Nov 25 Barbara and Jenna Bush, twin daughters of U.S. President George W. Bush, born in Dallas, Texas

Twin daughter of US President George W. Bush Barbara Pierce Bush
Twin daughter of US President George W. Bush
Barbara Pierce Bush
  • Nov 25 Mauricio Rua, Brazilian Mixed Martial Artist
  • Nov 26 Jamie Fiske, liver transplant recipient
  • Nov 26 Natalie Gauci, Australian Idol 2007 winner
  • Dec 11 Paul Medhurst, Australian rules footballer
  • Dec 12 Jeret Peterson, American aerial skier
  • Dec 15 Creighton Lovelace, American Baptist minister
  • Dec 16 Took Leng How, Malaysian criminal (d. 2006)
  • Dec 24 Dima Bilan, Karachay-Russian pop artist
  • Dec 28 Elizabeth Jordan Carr, 1st American test tube baby, born in Norfolk, Virginia

Weddings in History

  • Apr 25 Maureen Reagan (40) marries 3rd husband, Dennis Revell (28)

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

HeartWedding of Interest

Jun 14 Novelist Danielle Steel (33) weds John Traina

Novelist Danielle Steel
Novelist
Danielle Steel
  • Jul 27 British television: On Coronation Street, Ken Barlow marries Deirdre Langton, proving to be a national event with massive viewer numbers

HeartWedding of Interest

Jul 29 His Royal Highness Charles, Prince of Wales weds Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul's Cathedral, London

Princess of Wales Diana Spencer
Princess of Wales
Diana Spencer
His Royal Highness Prince Charles
His Royal Highness
Prince Charles

HeartWedding of Interest

Oct 22 Best-selling author Michael Crichton (39) weds broadcast journalist Suzanne Childs

  • Nov 16 Luke marries Laura on TV soap "General Hospital" (16 million watch)

HeartWedding of Interest

Dec 23 Astronaut Chris Hadfield (22) weds high-school girlfriend Helene Walter

Astronaut Chris Hadfield
Astronaut
Chris Hadfield
  • Dec 24 Guardian Angels Curtis Sliwa & Lisa Evers marry

Deaths in History

Deaths 1 - 100 of 130

  • Jan 3 Princess Alice of Albany (b. 1883)
  • Jan 5 Harold C Urey, US chemist (Deuterium, Nobel 1934), dies at 87
  • Jan 5 Paul Félix, Flemish architect (Song of the Sun), dies at 67
  • Jan 5 Lanza del Vasto, Italian philosopher (b. 1901)
  • Jan 6 A[rchibald] J[oseph] Cronin, physician/author (Citadel), dies at 84
  • Jan 6 A. J. Cronin, Scottish writer (b. 1896)
  • Jan 7 Alvar Lidell, UK radio broadcaster (b. 1908)
  • Jan 7 Eric Robinson, Australian politician (b. 1926)
  • Jan 8 Matthew Beard, entertainer, dies
  • Jan 10 Fawn M. Brodie, American historian (b. 1915)
  • Jan 13 Emiel van Hemeldonck, Belgian writer (Mary, My Child), dies at 83
  • Jan 14 John O'Grady, Australian writer (Nino Culotta) (b. 1907)
  • Jan 15 Emanuel Celler, (Rep-D-NY, 1923-73), dies at 92
  • Jan 21 Norman Stronge, former Ulster Unionist Member of Parliament, assassinated by IRA alondside son James
  • Jan 21 James Stronge former Ulster Unionist Member of Parliament, assassinated by IRA, alondside his father Norman
  • Jan 22 Fannie Thomas, US, dies at 113
  • Jan 22 Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi, Pakistani historian and educationist (b. 1903)
  • Jan 27 Leo Collard, Belgian minister of Education (1946/54-58), dies at 78
  • Feb 1 Donald W Douglas, US aviation pionieer/builder, dies at 88
  • Feb 2 Donald W Douglas, US aircraft pioneer/builder, dies at 88
  • Feb 2 Jan Donner, Dutch chairman of High Council, dies at 89
  • Feb 5 Kuda Bux, Indian mystic (I'd Like to See), dies at 75
  • Feb 5 Ella Grasso, Governor of Connecticut (b. 1919)
  • Feb 6 Frederika of Hanover, Queen Consort of Greece (b. 1917)
  • Feb 7 Frederika of Hanover, Queen of Greece (b. 1917)
  • Feb 18 John Knudsen Northrop, American aircraft manufacturer (b. 1895)
  • Feb 26 FC Terborgh, [Reijnier Flaes], lawyer/writer (Turkish War), dies at 79
  • Feb 26 Munabi, assistant to Uganda president Obote, murdered
  • Feb 26 Robert Aickman, English writer and conservationist (b. 1914)
  • Feb 27 Jacob H. Gilbert, American politician (b. 1920)
  • Mar 6 Klaus Grabowski, child molester, shot by parent
  • Mar 7 John Gnagy, artist (Learn to Draw), dies at 73
  • Mar 22 James "Jumbo" Elliott, American track coach (b. 1915)
  • Mar 26 Cyril Dean Darlington, English biologist and geneticist who discovered the mechanics of chromosomal crossover and its role in inheritance and evolution, dies at 77
  • Mar 27 Mao Dun, Chinese writer (b. 1895)
  • Mar 29 Eric Williams, Prime Minister (Trinidad & Tobago), dies at 79
  • Mar 30 Dewitt Wallace, US founder (Reader's Digest), dies at 91
  • Mar 31 Enid Bagnold, British playwright (b. 1889)
  • Apr 1 D[ennis] F[eltham] Jones, sci-fi author (Colossus), dies at 65
  • Apr 3 Juan Trippe, Airline entrepreneur and pioneer, Pan Am founder (b. 1899)
  • Apr 5 Cornelis Verolme, Dutch ship builder, dies at 80
  • Apr 8 Omar Bradley, last US 5-star general, (Normandy) dies in NY at 88
  • Apr 11 Marie Ney, dies at 85
  • Apr 13 Prince Asaka Yasuhiko of Japan (b. 1887)
  • Apr 15 French Duynstee, Dutch states rights leader, dies at 67
  • Apr 22 Brailsford Reese Brazeal, dean (Morehouse College), dies at 76
  • Apr 23 Josep Pla, Catalan journalist and writer (b. 1897)
  • Apr 26 Madge Evans, TV panelist (Masquerade Party), dies at 71
  • Apr 30 Peter Huchel, German poet, dies at 78
  • 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 9 Nelson Algren, US writer (Man with the Golden Arm), dies at 72
  • 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 17 Jeannette Ridlon Piccard, 1st US woman free balloon pilot, dies
  • May 18 William Saroyan, US stagewriter (Time of your life), dies at 72
  • 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 25 Fredric Warburg, British publisher and author (b. 1898)
  • May 28 Stefan Wyszynski, Polish Cardinal, dies
  • May 30 Ziaur Rahmen, President of Bangladesh, is assassinated
  • Jun 1 Carl Vinson, (Rep-D-Ga, 1914-64), dies at 97
  • Jun 1 Naim Chadir, PLO-representative in Brussels, murdered
  • Jun 3 Carleton Coon, anthropology prof (What in the World), dies at 76
  • Jun 9 Allen Ludden, game show host (Password), dies at 63
  • Jun 11 Eppo Doeve, Dutch graphic artist/cartoonist/painter, dies at 73
  • Jun 16 Humphrey Keervelt, director (Suriname Planning Bureau), murdered
  • Jun 16 John S Knight, US newspaper magnate, dies at 86
  • Jun 16 Jule Gregory Charney, American meteorologist (b. 1917)
  • Jun 17 Richard O'Connor, British general (b. 1889)
  • Jun 17 Zerna Sharp, American writer and educator (Dick and Jane) (b. 1889)
  • Jun 17 Yitzhak Zuckerman [Itzhak Zuckerman], Jewish resistance hero in World War II and one of the few survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, dies at 65
  • Jun 28 Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, Iran Islamic Rep Party founder, bombed
  • Jun 29 Mohammed Hussein Beheshti, Iran ayatollah/politician, murdered
  • Jul 1 Carlos de Oliveira, Portuguese writer (b. 1921)
  • Jul 1 Rushton Moreve, American bass player (b. 1948)
  • Jul 7 Mildred Lisette Norman a.k.a. Peace Pilgrim, American pacifist and activist
  • Jul 9 Allen Ludden, TV show host (Password), dies at 61
  • Jul 9 Wilhelm H C Tenhaeff, para-psychologist, dies at 87
  • Jul 10 Ken Rex McElroy, American resident of Skidmore, Missouri known as "the town bully", murdered at 47 in an unsolved killing in front of a crowd of 30-46 in Skidmore's main street
  • Jul 12 Ben Seijes, historian (WW II), dies at 73
  • Jul 18 Wilhelm HC Tenhaeff, Dutch para-psychologist, dies at 87
  • Jul 27 William Wyler, US director (Ben Hur), dies at 79
  • Jul 28 Fr. Stanley Rother, Roman Catholic Priest, Martyr and Missionary to Guatemala (b. 1935)
  • Jul 29 Robert Moses, American urban planner (b. 1888)
  • Jul 31 Gen Omar Torrijos, leader of Panama, dies in plane crash
  • Aug 3 Robert Peci, Italian brother of Red Brigade leader, murdered
  • Aug 18 Anita Loos, US (stage)author (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), dies at 88
  • Aug 26 Roger Nash Baldwin, founder (ACLU), dies at 97
  • Aug 30 Mohammad Ali Rajai, president of Iran, assassinated by a bomb
  • Aug 30 Mohammad Javad Bahonar, prime minister of Iran, assassinated by a bomb
  • Aug 31 Joseph H Hirschhorn, US art collector/founder H Museum, dies at 82
  • Sep 1 Albert Speer, German NSDAP-architect/minister of Army at 76
  • Sep 1 Bùi Thanh Liêm, Vietnamese cosmonaut, dies in a MiG-21 crash at 32
  • Sep 3 Alec Waugh, English writer (b. 1898)
  • Sep 5 Ayatollah Ali Qoddusi, prosecutor-general of Iran, assassinated
  • Sep 6 Christy Brown, Irish author (b. 1932)