What Happened in February 1961

Historical Events

  • Feb 1 1st full-scale test of US Minuteman ICBM is successful
  • Feb 1 Australian cricket tail-enders Ken Mackay (62no) and Lindsay Kline (15no) hang on for 100 minutes to earn a famous draw on the final day vs West Indies in 4th Test in Adelaide

Historic Event

Feb 1 British minister Enoch Powell makes medical insurance more expensive

  • Feb 2 Dutch Prince Bernhard opens new RAI building in Amsterdam
  • Feb 3 6th largest snowfall in NYC history (17.4" (44.2cm))

Historic Event

Feb 4 "Angolan War of Independence" begins

  • Feb 4 Sputnik 7 launches into Earth orbit; probable Venus probe failure
  • Feb 6 "Jail, No Bail" Jail-in movement starts in Rock Hill, South Carolina
  • Feb 6 KOAP TV channel 10 in Portland, OR (PBS) begins broadcasting

Film & TV History

Feb 7 Jane Fonda made her acting debut in the NBC drama "A String of Beads"

  • Feb 9 Joseph Ileo appointed Premier of Congo
  • Feb 9 The Beatles first gig at Liverpool's Cavern Club; they would play there nearly 300 times over the next two years
  • Feb 10 AFL's LA Chargers move to San Diego
  • Feb 10 Niagara Falls hydroelectric project begins producing power

Music Premiere

Feb 10 Walter Piston's 7th Symphony, commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra premieres under direction of Eugene Ormandy; wins 1961 Pulitzer Prize

  • Feb 11 Robert Weaver sworn in as Administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency, the 1st African American to be appointed to a US cabinet-level position

Sports History

Feb 12 Boston Celtic Bill Russell grabs 40 rebounds to beat Philadelphia Warriors, 136-125

  • Feb 12 Pakistani cricketer Mushtaq Mohammad scores his 1st test cricket century for Pakistan at 17 years of age
  • Feb 12 USSR launches Venera 1 toward Venus

Music Recording

Feb 13 Frank Sinatra launches Reprise label under Warner Bros Records

  • Feb 13 Soviet Union fires a rocket from Sputnik V to Venus
  • Feb 14 Element 103, Lawrencium, 1st produced in Berkeley Calif
  • Feb 15 Australia beat West Indies 2-1 in one of best Test Cricket series ever
  • Feb 15 Plane crash kills entire US figure skating team outside Brussels airport in Belgium enroute to World Championships in Prague from NYC; 73 crew and passengers (including 34 American skaters, coaches, officials, and other team members), and a farmer on the ground are lost
  • Feb 16 1st all-solid-propellant rocket put in orbit, Wallops Island, Virginia
  • Feb 16 China uses its 1st nuclear reactor
  • Feb 16 NASA Explorer 9 mission launches satellite for the 1st time from Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia; this was also the 1st all-solid-propellant rocket put into orbit
  • Feb 18 Henk van der Grift becomes world champion skater
  • Feb 19 Albania disavows Chinese "Revisionism"
  • Feb 19 Henk van der Grift (Neth) becomes world champ all-round skater
  • Feb 21 Friedrich Durrenmatt's "Die Physiker" premieres in Zurich
  • Feb 21 Gabon adopts constitution
  • Feb 21 Mercury-Atlas 2 reentry Test reaches 172 km
  • Feb 24 NASA Explorer S-45 mission; ionosphere beacon satellite fails to reach Earth orbit
  • Feb 25 Niagara ends St Bonaventura's 99-game home basketball win streak
  • Feb 25 Paul Bikle in glider climbs from 1208 m at release to record 14,10
  • Feb 26 3rd Daytona 500: Marvin Panch wins in a 1960 Pontiac owned by Smokey Yunick when race leader Fireball Roberts' car suffered a blown engine with 13 laps remaining
  • Feb 27 The first congress of the Spanish Trade Union Organisation is inaugurated

Famous Birthdays

  • Feb 1 Daniel M. Tani, American astronaut, born in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania
  • Feb 1 Jim Pace, American auto racer (24 Hours of Daytona 1996), born in Monticello, Mississippi (d. 2020)
  • Feb 1 Volker Fried, German field hockey player (Olympic gold 1992; silver 1984, 88; 290 caps), born in Osnabrück, Niedersachsen, Germany
  • Feb 2 Joey Benjamin, cricket pace bowler (in St Kitts England in 1994)
  • Feb 2 Lauren Lane, American actress (C. C. Babcock-The Nanny), born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Feb 2 Max Vadukul, Indian-British photographer (The New Yorker; Rolling Stone; Vogue), born in Nairobi, Kenya
  • Feb 3 Jay Adams, American skateboarder
  • Feb 3 Keith Gordon, American actor (Dressed to Kill, Legend of Billie Jean), born in NYC, New York
  • Feb 3 Linda Eder, American pop and musical theater singer, born in Tucson, Arizona
  • Feb 4 Denis Savard, Canadian NHL centre (Chicago Blackhawks) named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players' in history, born in Pointe Gatineau, Canada
  • Feb 4 Stewart O'Nan, American author (Snow Angels, The Names of the Dead), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Feb 5 Savvas Kofidis, Greek footballer & manager, born in Almaty, Kazakhstan
  • Feb 5 Tim Meadows, American actor & comedian, born in Highland Park, Michigan
  • Feb 6 Bill Lester, American racing driver, born in Washington, D.C.
  • Feb 6 Yuri Ivanovich Onufriyenko, Russian cosmonaut (Mir, Soyuz TM-23), born in Ryasne, Ukraine
  • Feb 8 Bruce Timm, American artist and TV Producer (DC Animated Universe), born in Oklahoma
  • Feb 8 Sammy Llanas, American rock singer-songwritrer (Bodeans, 1983-2011 - "Closer To Free"), born in Wisconsin
  • Feb 8 Vince Neil, American rock singer (Mötley Crüe - "Girls, Girls, Girls"), born in Hollywood, California
  • Feb 9 John Kruk, American baseball utility (MLB All-Star 1991–1993; Philadelphia Phillies), born in Charleston, West Virginia
  • Feb 9 Jussi Lampi, Finnish musician and actor, born in Lappajärvi, Finland
  • Feb 10 Alexander Payne, American film director (Sideways), born in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Feb 10 David Ward, British cricketer (prolific Surrey batsman), born in Croydon, United Kingdom
  • Feb 10 Eva Pfaff, German tennis player (Australian Open doubles 1982 runner-up), born in Königstein im Taunus, Germany
  • Feb 10 George Stephanopoulos, American journalist, political commentator, and political advisor (Clinton), born in Fall River, Massachusetts
  • Feb 11 Becky LeBeau, American vocalist (Mischief), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Feb 11 Carey Lowell, American actress (Me & Him, Guardian, Dangerously Close), born in New York City, New York
  • Feb 11 Mary Docter, American 3000m speed skater (Olympics 1980, 84, 88, 92), born in Madison, Wisconsin
  • Feb 12 Jim Harris, Canadian author, environmentalist, and politician, born in Toronto, Ontario
  • Feb 13 Henry Rollins [Garfield], American musician (Big Ugly Mouth; Talking From the Box), monologuist, and actor, born in Washington, D.C.
  • Feb 13 Les Warner, British musician and producer (The Cult - "Fire Woman"), born in Fulham, United Kingdom
  • Feb 14 Latifa, Tunisian singer, born in Manouba, Tunisia
  • Feb 14 Phillip Hamilton, American author, born in Albany, New York
  • Feb 16 Andy Taylor, British rock guitarist (Duran Duran - "Hungry Like the Wolf"; The Power Station), born in Tynemouth, England
  • Feb 16 Brett Brown, American basketball head coach (Philadelphia 76ers 2013-19; Australian men's national team), born in South Portland, Maine
  • Feb 17 Guy McIntyre, American football guard (Super Bowl 1984, 88, 89 SF 49ers; 5 × Pro Bowl; All-Pro 1992; Philadelphia Eagles), born in Thomasville, Georgia
  • Feb 18 Alycia Moulton, American tennis player, born in Sacramento, California
  • Feb 18 Armin Laschet, German politician (CDU), born in Aachen, West Germany
  • Feb 19 Andy Wallace, English race car driver
  • Feb 19 Justin Fashanu, English soccer forward (first openly gay pro footballer; first black footballer to command £1 million transfer fee), born in London, England (d. 1998)
  • Feb 20 Claudia Cummins, Clintwood Va, 4th of 5 siblings born on 2/20
  • Feb 20 Imogen Stubbs, actress (Summer Story), born in Rothbury, England
  • Feb 20 Steve Lundquist, US swimmer (Olympics 2 gold-1984)
  • Feb 21 Abhijit Banerjee, American economist, 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics, born in Mumbai, India
  • Feb 21 Bertha Faye, American wrestler (d. 2001)
  • Feb 21 Christopher Atkins, American actor (Peter-Dallas, Blue Lagoon), born in Rye, New York
  • Feb 21 Martha Hackett, American actress (Star Trek:Voyager), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Feb 21 Yobes Ondieki, Kenyan 10K runner (world record)
  • Feb 22 Akira Takasaki, Japanese guitarist, born in Osaka, Japan
  • Feb 22 Debbie Linden, Scottish actress (Kenny Everett Show), born in Glasgow, Scotland
  • Feb 22 Lowell Liebermann, American classical pianist and composer (Gargoyles), born in New York City
  • Feb 22 Mike Morris, American NFL center (Minnesota Vikings), born in Centerville, Iowa
  • Feb 24 Persijn "Dakota" Joling, Dutch rock guitarist, singer, and mandolin player (The Pilgrims - "Angels Falling"), born in Netherlands
  • Feb 25 Davey Allison, American auto racer (Daytona 500 1992), born in Hollywood, Florida (d. 1993)
  • Feb 25 Todd Blackledge, American football player
  • Feb 27 Grant Shaud, American actor (Miles Silverburg in Murphy Brown), born in Evanston, Illinois

James Worthy

Feb 27 James Worthy, American NBA forward (LA Lakers, 1988 Playoff MVP), born in Gastonia, North Carolina

  • Feb 28 Barry McGuigan, Irish boxer, born in Clones, Ireland
  • Feb 28 Eric Bachelart, Belgian racing driver

Famous Deaths

  • Feb 2 Adolf Vogl, composer, dies at 87
  • Feb 3 Anna May Wong [Wong Liu-tsong], Chinese-American actress, 1st Asian-American movie star (Shanghai Express; Gallery of Mme Lui-Tsang), and 1st Asian-American on US currency (American Women series quarter, 2022), dies of a heart attack at 56
  • Feb 3 Viscount Dunrossil, Gov-Gen of Australia (1959-61), dies at 67
  • Feb 4 Piet[er] L. Kramer, Influential Dutch architect (Amsterdam School), dies at 79
  • Feb 5 Anthony Gustav de Rothschild, British philanthropist, dies at 73
  • Feb 6 Archibald T Davison, American musicologist and composer, dies at 77
  • Feb 8 William Duncan, Scottish actor (Hopalong Rides Again, Thunder Trail), dies at 81
  • Feb 9 Grigory Levenfish, Russian International chess grandmaster, dies at 70
  • Feb 9 Oscar Egg, Swiss track and road bicycle racer (3 x world hour record), dies at 70
  • Feb 11 Eduard R Verkade, Dutch actor and director (Pygmalion), dies at 82
  • Feb 11 Kate Carew [Mary Williams], American caricaturist, dies at 91

Patrice Lumumba

Feb 11 Patrice Lumumba, Congolese revolutionary, 1st prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, assassinated by the Belgian government at 34

  • Feb 14 Wallis Clark, British-American stage and screen actor (Penny Serenade; Great Guy; Postal Inspector; Easy Money), dies at 78
  • Feb 15 Dudley Richards, American figure skater (U.S. Pairs champion, 1961), dies in a plane crash at 29
  • Feb 15 Jack Whiting, American actor and singer (Marge & Gower Champion Show), dies at 59
  • Feb 15 Laurence Owen, American figure skater (U.S. and North American champion), dies in a plane crash at 16
  • Feb 15 Maribel Vinson, American figure skater (9 time US National Champion), and coach dies in a plane crash at 49
  • Feb 15 Maribel Yerxa Owen, American figure skater (U.S. Pairs champion, 1961), dies in a plane crash at 20
  • Feb 16 Dazzy Vance, American Baseball HOF pitcher (7 x NL strike-out leader; World Series 1934 St Louis Cardinals; NL MVP & Triple Crown 1924 Brooklyn Robins), dies at 69
  • Feb 17 Nita Naldi [Anita Donna Dooley], American stage and silent film actress (Blood & Sand; Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde), dies of a heart attack at 66
  • Feb 20 Otto Huiswoud, Suriname-born political activist and editor-in-chief (Negro Worker), dies at 67
  • Feb 20 Percy Grainger, Australian-American concert pianist and composer (Hill Songs; Country Gardens), dies at 78
  • Feb 21 Blaise Cendrars [Frederic Sauser-Hall], Swiss poet, dies at 73
  • Feb 21 Frederick McKinley Jones, American inventor (developments in refrigeration), dies of lung cancer at 67
  • Feb 22 George de Cuevas, Chilean-born ballet impresario and choreographer (Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas), dies at 75 or 76
  • Feb 22 Nick LaRocca, American jazz coronetist and composer (Tiger Rag), dies at 71
  • Feb 23 Wilf Ferguson, West Indian cricket leg spinner (34 wickets for West Indies), dies at 43
  • Feb 26 Karl Albiker, German sculptor (Problem of the Plastic), dies at 83
  • Feb 26 Mohammed V, ibn Yusuf, sultan/King of Morocco, dies at 51
  • Feb 27 Platt Adams, American field athlete (Olympic gold standing high jump 1912), dies at 75
  • Feb 28 Joris Vriamont, Flemish writer and music publisher, dies at 64