On This Day

What Happened in July 1959

Historical Events

  • Jul 1 Heinrich Lubke elected President of West Germany
  • Jul 1 Israeli Knesset agrees to weapon sales to West Germany
  • Jul 1 WVTV TV channel 18 in Milwaukee, WI (IND) begins broadcasting
  • Jul 1 World Refugee Year begins
  • Jul 1 The Party of the African Federation (PFA) holds its constitutive conference.

Wimbledon Men's Tennis

Jul 3 Wimbledon Men's Tennis: American-based Peruvian Alex Olmedo wins his only Wimbledon title beating Rod Laver of Australia 6-4, 6-3, 6-4

British Golf Open

Jul 3 British Open Men's Golf, Muirfield: 23 year old South African Gary Player wins the first of his 9 major titles, 2 strokes clear of runners-up Fred Bullock and Flory Van Donck

  • Jul 3 1st exhibition of Karen, the bongo antelope, at Cleveland Zoo opens (Cleveland, Ohio)

Wimbledon Women's Tennis

Jul 4 Wimbledon Women's Tennis: Maria Bueno of Brazil wins her first of 3 Wimbledon singles titles beating Darlene Hard 6-4, 6-3

  • Jul 4 America's new 49-star flag honoring Alaska statehood unfurled
  • Jul 4 Cayman Islands separated from Jamaica, made a crown colony
  • Jul 4 Island Records founded in Jamaica

Historic Event

Jul 5 Ben-Gurion's Israeli government resigns

  • Jul 5 Indonesia restores constitution
  • Jul 5 Jack Gelber's "Connection" premieres in NYC

LPGA Championship

Jul 6 LPGA Championship Women's Golf, Sheraton Hotel CC: Betsy Rawls wins her second title in the event by 1 stroke from Patty Berg

  • Jul 6 Saar becomes part of German Federal Republic
  • Jul 6 WENH TV channel 11 in Durham, NH (PBS) begins broadcasting

Sports History

Jul 7 26th MLB All Star Game, Forbes Field, Pittsburgh: Willy Mays triples to score Hank Aaron as NL wins 5-4

  • Jul 12 NBC uses cameras to show catchers signals during Yankee-Red Sox game
  • Jul 14 USS Long Beach, first nuclear powered cruiser launched at Quincy, Massachusetts
  • Jul 15 The US steel strike of 1959 begins, leading to significant importation of foreign steel for the first time in United States history.
  • Jul 17 2,000 ft long by 1,300 foot wide section of ridge falls into Madis
  • Jul 17 Tibet abolishes serfdom
  • Jul 17 River Canyon extending man-made Lake Hebgen by 5 miles. (Montana)

Scientific Discovery

Jul 17 Paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey discovers partial skull of a new species of early human ancestor, Zinjanthropus boisei or 'Zinj' (now called Paranthropus boisei) lived in Africa almost 2 million years ago

Film Premiere

Jul 17 "North by Northwest" directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint premieres in Los Angeles

  • Jul 18 William 'Bill' Wright becomes the 1st African American to win a major golf tournament (U.S. Amateur Public Links Championships)

Film Premiere

Jul 18 "The Nun's Story" based on the novel by Kathryn Hulme, starring Audrey Hepburn premieres in Los Angeles

  • Jul 18 46th Tour de France won by Federico Bahamontes of Spain
  • Jul 21 1st nuclear powered merchant ship, NS Savannah, named, Camden NJ
  • Jul 21 Red Sox are last team to use a black player (Pumpsie Green)

The Worst Movie Ever

Jul 22 Ed Wood's cult classic "Plan 9 From Outer Space", called one of the worse films ever, premieres

Music History

Jul 22 Benjamin Britten's "Missa Brevis" in D premieres

  • Jul 22 Natural gas found at Slochteren, Groningen, Netherlands

Historic Event

Jul 23 US Vice President Richard Nixon begins visit to the USSR

  • Jul 24 500,000th Dutch TV set registered
  • Jul 25 SR-N1 hovercraft crosses the English Channel from Calais to Dover in just over 2 hours.
  • Jul 26 Chicago White Sox Larry Doby plays final MLB game; retires in 1962 after playing for the Chunichi Dragons in Japan
  • Jul 27 Abbas Ali Baig scores 112 for India v England on debut
  • Jul 27 William Shea announces plans to have a baseball team in NYC in 1961
  • Jul 28 United Kingdom starts using postal codes
  • Jul 28 Hawaii's 1st US election sends 1st Asian-Americans to Congress
  • Jul 29 First United States Congress elections in Hawaii as a state of the Union

Sports History

Jul 30 In his MLB debut, SF Giants future Baseball Hall of Fame first baseman Willie McCovey goes 4-for-4 in a 7-2 win over Philadelphia Phillies at Seal Stadium

Music History

Jul 31 Cliff Richard and the Shadows have their 1st British No. 1 single with "Living' Doll" (biggest British single of 1959)


Famous Birthdays

  • Jul 1 Anne Smith, American tennis player (10 Grand Slam doubles titles), born in Dallas, Texas
  • Jul 1 Chung Hae-Won, South Korean soccer striker (58 caps; Daewoo Royals), born in Seoul, South Korea (d. 2020)
  • Jul 2 Eduardo Bengoechea, Argentina, tennis star
  • Jul 2 Hoogie Drexler, jockey
  • Jul 2 Wendy B Lawrence, astronaut (STS 67, 86, sk:91), born in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Jul 3 Andreas Wisniewski, German actor (The Living Daylights), born in Berlin
  • Jul 3 Stephen Pearcy, American heavy metal vocalist (RATT - "Round & Round"), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Jul 3 Stoyan Deltchev, Bulgarian gymnast (Olympic gold horizontal bar 1980), born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
  • Jul 4 Bill McCorvey, American country singer (Pirates of Mississippi - "Feed Jake"), born in Montgomery, Alabama
  • Jul 4 Victoria Abril [Rojas], Spanish actress (Libertarias), born in Madrid, Spain
  • Jul 5 Marc Cohn, American folk rock singer (Walking in Memphis), born in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Jul 5 Tim Shaw, South African cricketer (South African ODI slow lefty 1991), born in Empangeni, South Africa
  • Jul 5 Veronica Guerin, Irish crime journalist, born in Dublin (d. 1996)
  • Jul 5 Gary Callander, Scottish rugby union hooker (6 caps; South of Scotland RFC), born in Kelso, Scotland (d. 2021)
  • Jul 6 John Keeble, English rock drummer (Spandau Ballet-True), born in London, England
  • Jul 6 Tahir Naqqash, Pakistani cricketer (Pakistani pace-bowler in 15 Tests 1982-85), born in Lahore, Punjab
  • Jul 7 Jessica Hahn, American model (playboy) and actress, accused evangelist Jim Bakker of rape, born in Massapequa, New York
  • Jul 7 Billy Campbell [William Oliver], American actor (Once and Again, Dracula), born in Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Jul 7 Ben Linder, American engineer, born in California (d. 1987)
  • Jul 8 Pauline Quirke, British actress (Birds Of A Feather - "Sharon"), born in Hackney, London, England
  • Jul 8 Robert Knepper, American actor
  • Jul 9 Jim Kerr, Scottish rock singer-songwriter (Simple Minds - "Don't You (Forget About Me)"; "Alive And Kicking"), born in Glasgow, Scotland
  • Jul 9 Kevin Nash, American pro wrestler (WWF Triple Crown 1994; 21 x WWF, WCW, TNA awards; WWE Hall of Fame), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • Jul 9 Clive Stafford Smith, British human-rights lawyer, born in Cambridge
  • Jul 9 D. H. Peligro [Darren Henley], American punk rock drummer (Dead Kennedys, Red Hot Chili Peppers,1988), born in St. louis, Missouri
  • Jul 9 Ronnie Bowman, American bluegrass guitarist, bass player and singer-songwriter (Lonesome River Band.), born in Mount Airy, North Carolina

Richie Sambora

Jul 11 Richie Sambora, American guitarist (Bon Jovi), boyfriend of Cher, and Heather Locklear, born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey

  • Jul 11 Suzanne Vega, American folk-rock singer-songwriter ("Luka"; "Tom's Diner"), born in Santa Monica, California
  • Jul 12 Rolonda Watts, talk show hostess (Rolanda)
  • Jul 13 Danitra Vance, comedienne (SNL, Little Man Tate, Limit Up)
  • Jul 14 Susana Martinez, American politician (Governor of New Mexico) 1st female Hispanic US governor, born in El Paso, Texas
  • Jul 15 Vincent Lindon, French actor
  • Jul 15 Shep Pettibone, American record producer, born in Ocean Grove, New Jersey
  • Jul 16 Gerd Wessig, East German high jumper (1st male to set high jump world record at Olympics (2.36m [7' 9"] Moscow), born in Lübz, Germany
  • Jul 16 Gary Anderson, NFL placekicker (Philadelphia Eagles), born in Parys, Orange Free State, South Africa
  • Jul 16 Doug Herzog, American television executive (Viacom Music and Entertainment Group), born in Paterson, New Jersey
  • Jul 17 Janet Lynn Kavandi, American scientist and NASA astronaut (sk:STS 91), born in Carthage, Missouri
  • Jul 19 Terri Treas, American actress (Hannah-7 Brides for 7 Brothers), born in Kansas City, Kansas
  • Jul 20 Radney Foster, American country singer and songwriter (Foster & Lloyd - "Crazy Over You"), born in Del Rio, Texas
  • Jul 20 James Irvin, British new wave rock singer (Furniture - "Brilliant Mind"), born in London, England
  • Jul 21 Stuart Young-Black, Canadian equestrian (Olympics 1996), born in Cheshire, England
  • Jul 23 Nancy Savoca, American filmmaker (True Love), born in Bronx, New York
  • Jul 24 Edward Liddie, Union Ga, Judo fighter (Olympic bronze 1984)

Kevin Spacey

Jul 26 Kevin Spacey, American actor (American Beauty, House of Cards), born in South Orange, New Jersey

  • Jul 26 Rick Bragg, American journalist and writer, born in Piedmont, Alabama
  • Jul 27 David East, English cricketer, born in London
  • Jul 29 John Sykes, English rock guitarist and singer (Thin Lizzy, 1983-2009; Blue Murder), born in Reading, Berkshire,England
  • Jul 29 Sanjay Dutt, Indian actor (Vaastav), born in Bombay, India
  • Jul 29 Ruud Janssen, Dutch writer and artist
  • Jul 30 Petra Felke, German javelin thrower (world record 1988), born in Saalfeld, East Germany
  • Jul 30 Abdullah of Pahang, sixth Sultan of Pahang, King of Malaysia (2019-), born in Pekan, Malaya
  • Jul 31 Mike Bielecki, pitcher (Atlanta Braves), born in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Jul 31 Peter Senior, Australian golfer, (British Open 1993 4th, Presidents Cup 1994, 96), born in Singapore, Malaysia
  • Jul 31 Stanley Jordan, American jazz guitarist (Magic Touch), born in Chicago, Illinois

Famous Weddings

  • Jul 2 Belgian Albert, Prince of Liège marries Dona Paola, Princess Ruffo di Calabria in Brussels

Louise Fletcher

Jul 18 Actress Louise Fletcher (25) weds producer Jerry Bick (36)


Famous Divorces

Ernie Banks

Jul 2 MLB baseball player Ernie Banks (28) divorces Mollye Louise after 6 years of marriage

Famous Deaths

  • Jul 6 George Grosz, German cartoonist and painter (Ecce Homo), dies at 65
  • Jul 8 Dale Buisand & Chester Ovnand killed in Viet Cong attack, becoming the second and third Americans killed in the Vietnam War
  • Jul 11 Charlie Parker, English cricketer (3,776 1st-class wickets, 2nd best ever; legend Gloucs SLA, but 2-32 in only Test), dies at 76
  • Jul 14 Grock [Adrien Wettach], Swiss clown and circus director, dies at 79
  • Jul 15 Ernest Bloch, Swiss-American composer (Schelomo; Israel; Avodath Hakodesh), and educator (UC Berkeley, 1941-52), dies of cancer at 78
  • Jul 15 Peter A Egge, Norwegian writer (The Dream), dies
  • Jul 15 Vance Palmer, Australian author, dies at 73

Billie Holiday

Jul 17 Billie Holiday [Eleanora Fagan], American jazz singer ("I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"; "Strange Fruit"), and songwriter ("God Bless The Child"; "Lady Sings the Blues"), dies of cirrhosis of the liver at 44

  • Jul 17 Henri Pourrat, French writer (Le chasseur de la nuit), dies at 72
  • Jul 17 Eugene Meyer, American businessman and newspaper publisher (b. 1875)
  • Jul 20 Harry Fox [Arthur Carringford], American vaudeville dancer, comedian and actor (Talent Scout), dies at 77
  • Jul 20 William D. Leahy, American admiral and chief of staff during WWII, dies at 84
  • Jul 25 Isaac Halevi Herzog, chief rabbi of Israel (1936-59), dies at 71
  • Jul 26 Manuel Altolaguirre, Spanish poet and publisher (Amor), dies at 54