On This Day

What Happened in January 1959

Historical Events


Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 1 Cuban Dictator Fulgencio Batista flees Cuba for the Dominican Republic

Cuban President and Dictator Fulgencio Batista
Cuban President and Dictator
Fulgencio Batista
  • Jan 1 Chad becomes autonomous republic in French Community
  • Jan 1 Rohan Kanhai completes 256 v India at Calcutta
  • Jan 1 45th Rose Bowl: #2 Iowa beats #16 California, 38-12
  • Jan 1 25th Sugar Bowl: #1 LSU beats #12 Clemson, 7-0
  • Jan 1 25th Orange Bowl: #5 Oklahoma beats #9 Syracuse, 21-6
  • Jan 2 USSR launches Mechta (Luna 1) for 1st lunar fly-by, 1st solar orbit
  • Jan 3 Alaska admitted as 49th US state
  • Jan 4 Luna 1 (Mechta) becomes 1st craft to leave Earth's gravity
  • Jan 5 "Bozo the Clown" live children's show premieres on TV

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 5 Buddy Holly releases his last record "It Doesn't Matter"; he was killed in a plane crash 29 days later

Singer-songwriter Buddy Holly
Singer-songwriter
Buddy Holly

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 7 US recognizes Fidel Castro's Cuban government

Cuban Revolutionary and President Fidel Castro
Cuban Revolutionary and President
Fidel Castro

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 7 American gangster Meyer Lansky flees Cuba for the Bahamas due to the Cuban Revolution and rise of Fidel Castro

Mobster Meyer Lansky
Mobster
Meyer Lansky

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 8 Charles de Gaulle inaugurated as president of France's 5th Republic

French President Charles de Gaulle
French President
Charles de Gaulle

Appears on tv showTelevision Premiere

Jan 9 "Rawhide" with Clint Eastwood premieres on CBS TV

Actor and Director Clint Eastwood
Actor and Director
Clint Eastwood
  • Jan 9 Dam across Tera River in Northwestern Spain collapses after heavy winter rains, killing 135

  • Jan 9 Pat O'Connor beats Dick Hutton in St Louis, to become NWA champ
  • Jan 11 Bollingen Prize for poetry awarded to Theodore Roethke
  • Jan 11 Hanif Mohammad completes 499 runs for Karachi, then 1st class cricket world record
  • Jan 11 9th NFL Pro Bowl, LA Memorial Coliseum: Eastern Conference beats Western Conference, 28-21; MVPs: Frank Gifford, NY Giants, HB; Doug Atkins, Chicago Bears, DE
  • Jan 12 KOED TV channel 11 in Tulsa, OK (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Jan 12 Rediscovery of the Caves of Nerja in Spain

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 12 American record company Motown is founded by Berry Gordy Jr. as Tamla Records

Record Company Owner Berry Gordy
Record Company Owner
Berry Gordy
  • Jan 13 French President Charles de Gaulle grants amnesty to 130 Algerians sentenced to death
  • Jan 13 King Boudouin promises Belgian Congo independence
  • Jan 17 "Say, Darling" closes at ANTA Theater NYC after 332 performances

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 20 Dmitri Shostakovich's Moscow-Tsjerjomoesjki premieres in Moscow

  • Jan 22 USAF concludes that less than 1% of UFOs are unknown objects

Sport awardNBA All-Star Game

Jan 23 9th NBA All-Star Game, Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Mi: West beats East, 124-108; MVPs: Elgin Baylor, Minneapolis Lakers, F; Bob Pettit, St. Louis Hawks, C; first co-winners of MVP award

NBA Forward Elgin Baylor
NBA Forward
Elgin Baylor
NBA Forward Bob Pettit
NBA Forward
Bob Pettit
  • Jan 24 "Party with Comden & Green" closes at John Golden NYC after 38 performances
  • Jan 24 Dmitri Shostakovich's comedy "Cheryomushk" premieres in Moscow
  • Jan 24 WHCT TV channel 18 in Hartford, CT (IND) begins broadcasting
  • Jan 25 1st transcontinental commercial jet flight (American) (LA to NY for $301)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 25 Pope John XXIII proclaims 2nd Vatican council

  • Jan 26 Italy government of Fanfani resigns
  • Jan 26 KOKH TV channel 25 in Oklahoma City, OK (IND/PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Jan 26 Australian Championships Women's Tennis: Mary Carter Reitano wins her 2nd home singles title; beats Renee Schuurman of South Africa 6-2, 6-3
  • Jan 26 Australian Championships Men's Tennis: American based Peruvian Alex Olmedo wins his first Grand Slam event; beats Neale Fraser of Australia 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
  • Jan 28 Soviet Union wins 62-37 for 1st international basketball loss by US
  • Jan 29 Walt Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" released
  • Jan 29 'The Great Smog' hits London, many die of chest and lung-related illnesses
  • Jan 30 Australia 1-200 1st day 4th Test v England, Adelaide Oval
  • Jan 30 Paul Hindemith's symphony "Pittsburgh" premieres
  • Jan 30 MS Hans Hedtoft sinks, 95 die
  • Jan 31 Joe Cronin signs 7 year pact to become head of AL

Famous Birthdays

  • Jan 1 Abdul Ahad Mohmand, Afghanistan, cosmonaut (Soyuz TM-6)
  • Jan 1 Azali Assoumani, Comorian president (2016 - present), born in Mitsoudjé, Comoros
  • Jan 1 Andy Andrews, American tennis player (Australian Open doubles 1982 runner-up), born in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Jan 1 Panagiotis Giannakis, Greek basketball guard and coach (EuroLeague champion 1996, Panathinaikos; FIBA European Selection 1980, 87, 90; Greek League Best Coach 2004, 06), born in Athens, Greece
  • Jan 2 Kirti Azad, Indian cricket all-rounder (7 Tests; 25 ODIs) and politician, born in Darbhanga, India
  • Jan 3 Rusty Golden, rocker (Boys Band)
  • Jan 4 Denise Matthews "Vanity", singer (Prince protege) and actress (52 Pick Up), born in Niagara Falls, Ontario (d. 2016)
  • Jan 4 Yoshitomo Nara, Japanese pop artist

Person of interestKapil Dev

Jan 6 Kapil Dev, Indian cricketer (India's finest all-rounder 1978-94, Cup-1982), born in Chandigarh, Punjab

Cricketer Kapil Dev
Cricketer
Kapil Dev
  • Jan 6 Kathy Sledge, American vocalist (Sister Sledge-We are Family), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Jan 7 Kathy Valentine, American musician (Go-Go's-We Got the Beat), born in Austin, Texas
  • Jan 8 Mike Harwood, Australian golfer (British Open 1991 runner-up), born in Sydney, New South Wales
  • Jan 8 Paul Hester, Australian drummer, born in Melbourne, Australia (d. 2005)
  • Jan 9 Otis Nixon, American baseball outfielder (Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers), born in Evergreen, North Carolina
  • Jan 9 Mark Martin, American stock car racing driver, born in Batesville, Arkansas
  • Jan 9 Rigoberta Menchú, K'iche' political activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate (1992), born in Chimel, Guatemala
  • Jan 9 Cristi Minculescu, Romanian musician, born in Pitești, Romania
  • Jan 10 Chandra Cheesborough, American 4x100 runner (Olympic gold 1984), born in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Jan 10 Curt Kirkwood, American musician (Meat Puppets), born in Amarillo, Texas
  • Jan 10 Fran Walsh, New Zealand screenwriter, born in Wellington, New Zealand
  • Jan 11 Brett Bodine, auto racer
  • Jan 12 Per Helmstad Gessle, Swedish singer (Roxette-Must Have Been Love), born in Halmstad, Sweden
  • Jan 12 Blixa Bargeld, German singer & musician (Einstürzende Neubauten, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds), born in West Berlin
  • Jan 12 Lasana M. Sekou, Caribbean poet & author (The Salt Reaper), born in Aruba
  • Jan 13 James Lomenzo, American musician (Megadeth)
  • Jan 14 Chas Smash, English singer-songwriter & multi-instrumentalist (Madness-Our House), born in Fitzrovia, London
  • Jan 14 Geoff Tate, German-born American singer & musician (Queensryche-Breaking the Silence), born in Stuttgart, Germany
  • Jan 14 Paul Terry, English cricketer (in Germany Two Tests England v WI 1984), born in Osnabrück, Germany
  • Jan 15 Pete Trewavas, British bassist, (Marillion-Clutching at Straws), born in Middlesbrough, United Kingdom
  • Jan 15 Pavle Kozjek, Slovenian climber, born in Setnica, Slovenia (d. 2008)
  • Jan 16 Juanita Bynum, American televangelist, born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Jan 16 Sade [Helen Folasade Adu], Nigerian-born British singer-songwriter, composer, arranger and record producer (Soldier of Love, Smooth Operator), born in Ibadan, Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria
  • Jan 17 Susanna Hoffs, American actress & musician (Bangles-Walk Like an Egyptian), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Jan 17 Momoe Yamaguchi, Japanese singer & actress, born in Ebisu, Tokyo, Japan
  • Jan 18 Bob Rosenberg, American musician (Will To Power), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Jan 20 Lea Antonoplis, American tennis player, born in West Covina, California
  • Jan 20 Joel Rifkin, American serial killer believed to have killed up to 17 victims between 1989 and 1993 in NYC and Long Island, born in New York
  • Jan 20 Bernard Tyson, American healthcare advocate & 1st African American CEO of Kaiser Permanente, born in San Francisco Bay Area, California
  • Jan 21 Alex McLeish, Scottish footballer and manager
  • Jan 22 Linda Blair, American actress (Exorcist, Chained Heat, Savage St), born in St Louis, Missouri
  • Jan 23 Earl Falconer, British reggae bassist (UB40-Red Red Wine), born in Meriden, England
  • Jan 23 Tyrone Power Jr., American actor (Shag), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Jan 24 Vic Reeves [James Roderick Moir], English comedian, born in Leeds, United Kingdom
  • Jan 26 Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkish film director (Winter Sleep), born in Istanbul, Turkey
  • Jan 27 Chris Collinsworth, NFL wide receiver/TV sportscaster
  • Jan 27 Patti Cohoon, actress (Molly-Here Come the Brides), born in Whittier, California
  • Jan 27 Göran Hägglund, Swedish politician
  • Jan 27 Keith Olbermann, American news presenter
  • Jan 28 Dave Sharp, rock guitarist (Alarm-In the Summertime)
  • Jan 28 Frank Darabont, American filmmaker
  • Jan 28 Burkhard Dallwitz, German-born composer
  • Jan 28 Randi Rhodes, Nova M Radio personality
  • Jan 30 Jody Watley, American dancer (Solid Gold)/singer (Looking For a New Love), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Jan 31 Kelly Lynch, American actress (Drugstore Cowboy), born in Golden Walley, Minnesota
  • Jan 31 Anthony LaPaglia, Australian actor (Criminal Justice, Without a Trace), born in Adelaide, Australia
  • Jan 31 Kelly Moore, American stock car driver, born in Scarborough, Maine
  • Jan 31 Michael Allen, American golfer (Senior PGA Championship 2009), born in San Mateo, California

Famous Weddings


LoveWedding of Interest

Jan 26 President of Cuba Raúl Castro (27) weds revolutionary Vilma Espín (28) in Santiago de Cuba

President of Cuba Raúl Castro
President of Cuba
Raúl Castro

Famous Deaths

  • Jan 6 Jose Enrique Pedreira, composer, dies at 54
  • Jan 9 Paul Malengreau, composer, dies at 71
  • Jan 10 Colin Gregory, English tennis player (Australian C'ship 1929, chairman All-England Club, Wimbledon), dies at 55
  • Jan 11 Mohammed Zakaria Ghonein, discoverer of 6,000 yr old pyramid, dies
  • Jan 14 G. D. H. Cole, English political theorist and socialist, dies at 69
  • Jan 17 Abdul Aziz, cricket, dies at 17 struck by ball in fc match for Karachi
  • Jan 21 Carl Switzer, American actor (Our Gang, Beginner's Luck, General Spanky), shot by an acquaintance at 31
  • Jan 21 Lamar Stringfield, American composer, dies at 61

Person of interestCecil B. DeMille

Jan 21 Cecil B. DeMille, American filmmaker (The Ten Commandments, Samson and Delilah), dies of heart failure at 77

Filmmaker and Director Cecil B. DeMille
Filmmaker and Director
Cecil B. DeMille
  • Jan 22 A J Else Mauhs, German/Dutch actress (Hamlet, Nora), dies at 73
  • Jan 22 Mike Hawthorn, English auto racer (F1 world champion 1958), dies in road accident at 29
  • Jan 22 Elizabeth Moore, American tennis player (US Nat C'ship 1896, 1901, 03, 05), dies from congestive heart failure at 82
  • Jan 28 Joseph Sprinzak, Speaker of Israel Knesset (1949-59), dies at 73
  • Jan 28 Viktor Josef Keldorfer, Austrian composer, dies at 85