What Happened in April 1961

Historical Events

  • Apr 3 Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia is sold to J Schleifer Properties
  • Apr 3 Jacques Offenbach and Yip Harburg's musical "The Happiest Girl in the World", starring Cyril Ritchard and Justine Rule, opens at Martin Beck Theatre, NYC; runs for 97 performances
  • Apr 5 Dutch governor Platteel installs New Guinea Council
  • Apr 8 "Show Girl" closes at Eugene O'Neill Theater NYC after 100 performances
  • Apr 8 British liner "Dara" explodes in Persian Gulf, kills 236

US Masters Golf

Apr 10 25th US Masters Tournament, Augusta National GC: South African Gary Player beats defending champion Arnold Palmer and amateur Charles Coe by 1 stroke to become first international champion; Monday finish because of rain

Historic Event

Apr 10 Dutch foreign minister Luns talks to JFK about New Guinea

  • Apr 10 Washington Senators play first game in franchise history with President John F. Kennedy in attendance; lose a 4-3 decision to the Chicago White Sox
  • Apr 11 15th NBA Championship: Bos Celtics beat St Louis Hawks, 4 games to 1
  • Apr 11 Austrian 4th & last government of Raab resigns

Music History

Apr 11 Bob Dylan makes his 1st appearance at Folk City, Greenwich Village, New York City

Grammy Awards

Apr 12 3rd Grammy Awards: Theme From a Summer Place, Ray Charles wins 4

Sports History

Apr 12 Douglas MacArthur declines offer to become baseball commissioner

Historic Event

Apr 12 Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first person to orbit Earth (Vostok 1)

  • Apr 13 "Carnival!" opens at Imperial Theater NYC for 719 performances
  • Apr 13 UN General Assembly condemns South-Africa's apartheid
  • Apr 14 1st live television broadcast from Soviet Union
  • Apr 14 Cuban-American invasion army departs Nicaragua
  • Apr 14 US element 103 (Lawrencium) discovered
  • Apr 15 France wins it’s 2nd outright Five Nations Rugby Championship with an 15-3 victory over Ireland at Lansdowne Road, Dublin
  • Apr 15 Meredith Willson's musical "The Music Man", starring Robert Preston and Barbara Cook, closes at Majestic Theater, NYC. after 1375 performances, 5 Tony Awards, and a Grammy
  • Apr 16 15th Tony Awards: Becket & Bye Bye Birdie win
  • Apr 16 Stanley Cup Final, Olympia Stadium, Detroit, MI: Chicago Blackhawks beat Detroit Red Wings, 4-1 for a 4-2 series victory

Historic Event

Apr 17 1,400 Cuban exiles land in Bay of Pigs in a doomed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro

Academy Awards

Apr 17 33rd Academy Awards: "Apartment" wins best film, Burt Lancaster & Elizabeth Taylor win best actor, actress

  • Apr 17 65th Boston Marathon won by Eino Oksanen of Finland in 2:23:39; his 2nd event title

Film & TV History

Apr 17 Jimmy Stewart accepts an honorary Oscar on behalf of his friend Gary Cooper, who is too ill to attend

  • Apr 18 CONCP is founded in Casablanca as a united front of African movements opposing Portuguese colonial rule
  • Apr 20 American Harold Graham makes 1st rocket belt flight
  • Apr 21 Dirk Stikker chosen as secretary general of NATO
  • Apr 21 French army revolts in Algeria
  • Apr 21 USAF Maj Robert M White takes X-15 to 32,000 m
  • Apr 22 Uprising of French parachutist of General Salan and Challe in Algeria
  • Apr 23 Algiers putsch by French generals
  • Apr 23 Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick's musical comedy "Tenderloin" closes at 46th St Theater, NYC, after 216 performances

Music History

Apr 23 Singer Judy Garland appears in concert at Carnegie Hall, NYC; event is recorded for a double live album, wins Grammy Award for Album of the Year (the first such win by a female artist)

The Sinking of the Vasa

Apr 24 17th century Swedish warship Vasa, which sunk on her maiden voyage in 1628, is salvaged

  • Apr 24 JFK accepts "sole responsibility" following Bay of Pigs
  • Apr 25 "Young Abe Lincoln" opens at Eugene O'Neill Theater NYC for 27 performances

Historic Event

Apr 25 Belgium government of Gaston Eyskens falls over the Unitary Law

  • Apr 25 France performs nuclear test at Reggane Proving Grounds Algeria
  • Apr 25 Mercury/Atlas rocket lifted off with an electronic mannequin
  • Apr 25 Premier Moise Tsjombe of Katanga arrested in Congo
  • Apr 25 Robert Noyce patents integrated circuit
  • Apr 25 Unmanned Mercury test explodes on launch pad
  • Apr 26 French paratroopers' revolt suppressed in Algeria

Baseball Record

Apr 26 Roger Maris hits 1st of 61 homers in 1961

  • Apr 27 NASA launches Explorer 11 into Earth orbit to study gamma rays
  • Apr 27 NFL officially recognizes Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio
  • Apr 27 Sierra Leone declares independence from UK
  • Apr 28 Lt Col Gueorgui Mossolov takes E-66A to 34,714 m altitude

Sports History

Apr 28 Milwaukee Braves' future HOF pitcher Warren Spahn throws his second career no hitter at 41; beats SF Giants, 1-0 at County Stadium

  • Apr 29 ABC's "Wide World of Sports" debuts
  • Apr 30 "Tossin' and Turnin'" single released by Bobby Lewis (Billboard Song of the Year, 1961)
  • Apr 30 1st shuttle flights between Washington, D.C., Boston & NYC begin (Eastern)
  • Apr 30 LPGA Titleholders Championship Women's Golf, Augusta CC: Mickey Wright wins her 5th major title by 1 stroke from Patty Berg & Louise Suggs
  • Apr 30 Premier Fidel Castro of Cuba receives Lenin-Peace Prize

Baseball Record

Apr 30 SF outfielder Willie Mays becomes just the 9th player in MLB history to hit 4 homers in one game in the Giants 14-4 win against the Braves in Milwaukee


Famous Birthdays

  • Apr 1 Jennifer Runyon, American actress (Cindy-A Very Brady Christmas), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Apr 1 Jim Jeffcoat, American NFL defensive end (Super Bowl 1992, 93 Dallas Cowboys) and coach (Dallas Cowboys DL 1998-2004), born in Long Branch, New Jersey
  • Apr 1 Mark White, British rock guitarist, singer-songwriter and record producer (ABC - "All of My Heart", born in Sheffield, England
  • Apr 1 Sergio Scariolo, Italian basketball coach (NBA: assistant Toronto Raptors; head coach Spain; World Cup gold 2019), born in Brescia, Italy
  • Apr 1 Susan Boyle, Scottish pop singer (Britain's Got Talent, 2009 -"I Dreamed A Dream"), born in Dechmont, West Lothian, Scotland
  • Apr 2 Christopher Meloni, American actor (Law & Order; Runaway Bride), born in Washington, D.C.
  • Apr 2 Keren Jane Woodward, English rock vocalist (Bananarama - "Venus"), born in Bristol, England

Eddie MurphyEddie Murphy (61 years old)

Apr 3 American actor (SNL, 48 Hours, Beverly Hills Cop, Raw), born in Brooklyn, New York

  • Apr 5 Jim LeRoy, Airshow Pilot
  • Apr 5 Lisa Zane, American actress, born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Apr 6 Gene Eugene [Andrusco], Canadian-American actor, singer-songwriter (Adam Again; Lost Dogs), and record producer, born in Fort Frances, Ontario (d. 2000)
  • Apr 6 Rory Bremner, impressionist
  • Apr 7 Karen Tanaka, Japanese classical composer (Frozen Horizon), born in Tokyo, Japan
  • Apr 7 Pascal Olmeta, French footballer
  • Apr 8 Richard Hatch, American reality television personality (Survivor), born in Newport, Rhode Island
  • Apr 9 Kirk McCaskill, Canadian MLB pitcher (Chicago White Sox), born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada
  • Apr 9 Mark Kelly, Irish keyboardist (Marillion - "Real to Reel"), born in Dublin, Ireland
  • Apr 10 Jeb Stuart Adams, American actor (Flowers in the Attic), born in Hollywood, California
  • Apr 10 Joe Cole, American roadie (Black Flag, Rollins Band), born in California (d. 1991)
  • Apr 10 Olivia Brown, American actress (Det Trudy Joplin-Miami Vice), born in Frankfurt, Germany
  • Apr 11 Doug Hopkins, American guitarist and songwriter (Gin Blossoms - "Til I Hear It From You"), born in Seattle, Washington (d. 1993)
  • Apr 11 Lucky Vanous, American model (GQ, Diet Coke), born in Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Apr 11 Nigel Pulsford, British rock guitarist (Bush - Sixteen Stone), born in Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales
  • Apr 11 Vincent Gallo, American actor, director, writer (Buffalo '66, The Brown Bunny), born in Buffalo, New York
  • Apr 12 D. D. Verni, American heavy metal bassist, and songwriter (Overkill - "Hello From the Gutter"), born in New Providence, New Jersey
  • Apr 12 Julius Kariuki, Kenyan 3K steeplechaser (Olympic gold 1988), born in Nyahururu, Kenya
  • Apr 12 Magda Szubanski, Australian actress (Kath & Kim), born in Liverpool, Merseyside, England
  • Apr 13 (Clarence) "Butch" Taylor, American rock and jazz keyboardist and composer (Dave Matthews Band, 1998-2008), born in Shawsville, Virginia
  • Apr 13 Tammy Stephens, American singer (Girls Next Door - "Don't Be Cruel"), born in Arlington, Texas

Robert CarlyleRobert Carlyle (61 years old)

Apr 14 British actor (Trainspotting, The Full Monty), born in Glasgow, Scotland

  • Apr 15 Lynne Austin, American model (First Hooters girl), Playboy playmate (Jul, 1986), born in Plant City, Florida
  • Apr 15 Tiina Lillak, Finnish javelin thrower (Olympic silver 1984), born in Helsinki, Finland
  • Apr 16 Doris Dragović, Croatian singer, born in Split, Croatia
  • Apr 17 Boomer Esiason, American NFL quarterback (NY Jets, Cincinnati Bengals), born in East Islip, New York
  • Apr 17 Frank J. Christensen, American labor leader, born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Apr 17 Norman Cowans, Jamaican cricketer (England fast bowler in 19 Tests 1982-85), born in St. Mary, Jamaica
  • Apr 18 Jane Leeves, English actress (Murphy Brown, Daphne Moon-Fraiser), born in London, England
  • Apr 18 Kelly Hansen, American heavy metal rocker (Hurricane - I'm oOn To You), born in Hawthorne, California
  • Apr 18 Pamella Bordes, British parliament escort, former Miss India and photographer, born in New Delhi, India
  • Apr 18 Steve Lombardi, American professional wrestler (The Brooklyn Brawler), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Apr 19 Richard Phelps, British pentathlete (Olympic bronze 1988), born in Gloucester, England

Don MattinglyDon Mattingly (61 years old)

Apr 20 American baseball 1st baseman (6 x MLB All-Star; AL MVP 1985; 9 x Gold Glove; 3 x Silver Slugger; AL batting champion 1984; NY Yankees) and manager (LA Dodgers, Miami Marlins), born in Evansville, Indiana

  • Apr 20 Konstantin Lavronenko, Russian actor (Vozvrashcheniye), born in Rostov-on-Don, Russia
  • Apr 20 Nicholas Lyndhurst, English actor (Only Fools and Horses, Goodnight Sweetheart), born in Emsworth, England
  • Apr 22 Byron Allen, comedian (Real People, Byron Allen Show), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Apr 22 Jeff Hostetler, NFL quarterback (NY Giants, Raiders, Redskins/1990 Superbowl)
  • Apr 22 Jimmy Key, Huntsville Alabama, pitcher (Blue Jays, NY Yanks, Orioles)
  • Apr 23 George Lopez, Mexican-American actor and comedian, born in Mission Hills, Los Angeles
  • Apr 23 Terry Gordy, American professional wrestler, born in Chattanooga, Tennessee (d. 2001)
  • Apr 24 Igor Raykhelson, Russian-American composer, and classical and jazz pianist, born in Leningrad, USSR
  • Apr 24 Roger Mayweather, American boxer, (WBA & lineal super featherweight titles 1983-84, WBC light welterweight 1987-89; IBO light welterweight; IBO welterweight 1994-95), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan (d. 2020)
  • Apr 25 Dinesh D'Souza, Indian-American author (2016: Obama's America), born in Mumbai, India
  • Apr 25 Truls Mørk, Norwegian concert cellist, born in Bergen, Norway
  • Apr 26 Al Lawrence, Jamaican 4X100m relayer (Olympic silver 1984), born in Jamaica
  • Apr 26 Chris Mars, American drummer (The Replacements, 1979-90), and painter, born in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Apr 26 Joan Chen [Chen Chong], Chinese-American actress (Heaven & Earth, The Last Emperor), born in Shanghai, China
  • Apr 26 Nancy Scranton, American golfer (du Maurier Classic 1991), born in Centralia, Illinois
  • Apr 28 Cathy Gerring, American golfer (Solheim Cup 1990), born in Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Apr 28 Futoshi Matsunaga, Japanese serial killer, born in Kitakyūshū, Japan
  • Apr 29 Fumihiko Tachiki, Japanese seiyū (voice actor), born in Nagasaki, Japan

Isiah ThomasIsiah Thomas (61 years old)

Apr 30 American NBA point guard (Detroit Pistons; 1990 NBA playoff MVP), born in Chicago, Illinois


Famous Weddings

Jim Bakker

Apr 1 American televangelist Jim Bakker (21) marries Christian singer Tammy Faye (19)


Famous Deaths

  • Apr 2 August Defresne, Dutch playwright and director (Anno Christi 969), dies at 67
  • Apr 2 Wallingford Riegger, American cellist, composer (New Dance; Cooper Square), and educator, dies from head injuries in a dog walking accident at 75
  • Apr 4 Simion Stoilow, Romanian mathematician (b. 1873)
  • Apr 6 Jules Bordet, Belgian bacteriologist (syphillis, Nobel 1919), dies at 90
  • Apr 7 Jesús Guridi, Spanish composer, dies at 74
  • Apr 7 Marian Jordan, radio comedienne (Fibber McGee & Molly), dies at 62
  • Apr 7 Yusef Greiss, Egyptian composer, dies at 61
  • Apr 9 Zog I [Ahmed Zogu], King of Albania (1928-39), dies at 65
  • Apr 10 Irene Warfield, American silent screen actress (Satan Sanderson), dies at about 65 [exact birthdate unconfirmed]
  • Apr 11 Francis de Bourguignon, Belgian composer, dies at 70
  • Apr 12 Nils-Eric Fougstedt, Finnish composer (Angoscia, Trittico sinfonico), dies at 50
  • Apr 12 Philippine "Pine" Belder [Mary de Klerk], actress, dies at 93
  • Apr 13 John A. Bennett, American convicted rapist, dies at 26
  • Apr 21 James Melton, American pop (1920-30's) and operatic tenor (Metropolitan Opera, 1942-50), dies at 57
  • Apr 22 Maria Radulphus [Adrian Hermus], Curacao school inspector, dies at 91
  • Apr 24 Lee Moran, American actor (Circus Clown), dies of heart ailment at 72 (b. 1888)
  • Apr 25 Hans F Blunck, writer, dies
  • Apr 27 Roy Del Ruth, American director (About Face, Folies Bergere), dies at 67
  • Apr 29 (Irving Milford) "Miff" Mole, American jazz trombonist, and composer (Red Nichols and His Five Pennies - "Slippin' Around"; Sophie Tucker), dies at 63
  • Apr 29 Cisco Houston, American folk singer (b. 1918)