On This Day

What Happened in September 1961

Historical Events

  • Sep 1 1st conference of neutral countries held in Belgrade
  • Sep 1 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • Sep 1 The Eritrean War of Independence officially begins with the shooting of the Ethiopian police by Hamid Idris Awate

Radio Premiere

Sep 4 Carol Burnett-Richard Hayes Show premieres on CBS radio

  • Sep 4 US authorizes Agency for International Development

Historic Event

Sep 5 JFK begins underground nuclear testing

  • Sep 5 US President JFK signs law against hijacking (death penalty)
  • Sep 5 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • Sep 6 USSR performs nuclear test at Kapustin Yar USSR
  • Sep 9 Maria Beale Fletcher (NC), 19, crowned 34th Miss America 1962

Sports History

Sep 10 Mickey Mantle becomes 7th to hit HR # 400

  • Sep 10 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR
  • Sep 10 Italian Grand Prix, a crash causes the death of German driver Wolfgang von Trips and 13 spectators hit by his Ferrari

US Men's Tennis Open

Sep 10 US National Championship Men's Tennis, Forest Hills, NY: In an all-Australian final Roy Emerson beats Rod Laver 7-5, 6-3, 6-2; Emerson's second Grand Slam title

US Open Women's Tennis

Sep 10 75th US National Championship Women's Tennis, Forest Hills, NY: Defending champion Darlene Hard beats England's Ann Jones 6-3, 6-4

  • Sep 10 American Ferrari driver Phil Hill wins Italian Grand Prix at Monza to clinch F1 World Drivers Championship; first American F1 world champion
  • Sep 11 Hurricane Carla strikes near Port O'Connor, Texas with winds of 175 mph
  • Sep 11 Founding of the World Wildlife Fund in Morges, Switzerland
  • Sep 12 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR
  • Sep 13 Battles between UN & Katanga troops in Congo
  • Sep 13 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • Sep 13 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR
  • Sep 13 Unmanned Mercury-Atlas 4 launched into Earth orbit
  • Sep 14 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR
  • Sep 15 61st US Golf Amateur Championship won by Jack Nicklaus aged 21
  • Sep 16 CDU loses West German election
  • Sep 16 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR
  • Sep 16 WLKY TV channel 32 in Louisville, Kentucky (ABC) begins broadcasting
  • Sep 17 "Car 54, Where are You?" premieres on US TV
  • Sep 17 Minnesota Vikings' 1st NFL game (beat Chicago Bears 37-13)

Historic Event

Sep 17 Samuel Beckett's "Happy Days," premieres in NYC

  • Sep 17 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

Sports History

Sep 17 Fran Tarkenton plays his first NFL Game against the Chicago Bears, coming off the bench to lead the Vikings to a 37-13 victory, also becoming the only QB to throw four touchdown passes in his first career game

  • Sep 18 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR
  • Sep 19 Betty and Barney Hill claim that they saw a mysterious craft in the sky and that it tried to abduct them.
  • Sep 20 After 84 1/3 innings Bill Fischer gives up a base on balls

Historic Event

Sep 20 African-American student James Meredith is refused enrolment to the segregated University of Mississippi

  • Sep 20 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR

Baseball Record

Sep 20 Roger Maris hits home run # 59 & barely misses # 60 in game 154 of the season. Yanks clinch pennant #26

  • Sep 21 Antonio Abertondo swims English Channel both ways (44 miles)
  • Sep 21 Maiden flight of the CH-47 Chinook transportation helicopter.
  • Sep 22 Antonio Albertondo (Argentina) completes 1st "double" crossing swim of English Channel in 43 hrs 10 min at 42.
  • Sep 22 Jim Gentile's ties record of 5 grand slams in a year
  • Sep 22 "Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima" by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki premieres at Warsaw Autumn Festival, Andrzej Markowski conducting Krakow Philharmonic
  • Sep 23 1st movie to become a TV series, "How to Marry a Millionaire" premieres
  • Sep 25 KTPS TV channel 62 in Tacoma, WA (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Sep 26 "From the Second City" opens at Royale Theater NYC for 87 performances
  • Sep 26 Roger Maris hits HR #60 off Jack Fisher, tying Babe Ruth's record

Baseball Record

Sep 27 Sandy Koufax sets NL strikeout season record at 269

  • Sep 27 Sierre Leone becomes 100th member of UN
  • Sep 28 "Doctor Kildare" debuts on NBC-TV

Television Debut

Sep 28 "Hazel" starring Shirley Booth debuts on NBC-TV

  • Sep 28 "Purlie Victorious", a farce by Ossie Davis, opens on Broadway
  • Sep 28 Syria withdraws from United Arab Republic
  • Sep 28 USN Comdr Forrest S Petersen takes X-15 to 30,720 m
  • Sep 28 Walt Disney's movie "Grey Friars Bobby" premieres
  • Sep 28 American medical drama series "Dr. Kildare", starring Richard Chamberlain and Raymond Massey, premieres on NBC-TV
  • Sep 29 "Detectives" TV Crime Drama; moves to NBC-TV

Music Recording

Sep 29 Bob Dylan's 1st recording session-backup harmonica for Caroline Hester

  • Sep 29 Mamum Kuzbari becomes premier of Syria
  • Sep 30 Bill for Boston Tea Party is paid by Mayor Snyder of Oregon who wrote a check for $196, the total cost of all tea lost

Famous Birthdays

  • Sep 1 Scott "Bam Bam" Bigelow, WWF wrestler (Wrestlemania XI), born in Secaucus, New Jersey (d. 2007)
  • Sep 2 Anthony Wong [Chau-sang], Hong Kong actor (The Untold Story), born in Hong Kong
  • Sep 2 Jeff Russell, American MLB pitcher (Texas Rangers), born in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Sep 2 Carlos Valderrama, Colombian footballer, born in Santa Marta, Colombia
  • Sep 4 Kevin Kennedy, English actor, born in Wythenshawe, United Kingdom
  • Sep 4 Rizwan-uz-Zaman, Pakistani cricketer, born in Karachi, Pakistan
  • Sep 5 Marc-André Hamelin, Canadian concert pianist, born in Montreal, Quebec
  • Sep 6 Pal Waaktaar, Norwegian rock guitarist and vocalist (A-ha), born in Oslo, Norway
  • Sep 6 Scott Travis, American drummer (Judas Priest), born in Norfolk, Virginia
  • Sep 6 Simon Reeve, Australian TV presenter and host (Million Dollar Minute), born in Perth, Australia
  • Sep 7 LeRoi Moore, American saxophonist and songwriter (Dave Matthews Band - "Stay (Wasting Time)"), born in Durham, North Carolina (d. 2008)
  • Sep 7 Jean-Yves Thibaudet, French concert pianist, born in Lyon, France
  • Sep 8 Franny Michel, American actress (Patricia-Apple's Way), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Sep 8 Paul Zanetti, Australian political cartoonist, born in Wollongong, Australia
  • Sep 9 Jim Corsi, Newtonville MA, pitcher (Oakland A's)
  • Sep 11 Virginia Madsen, American actress (Dune; Hot Spot; Class), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Sep 11 Elizabeth Daily, American actress (Pee-Wee's Big Adventure; The Powerpuff Girls - "Buttercup"), and pop singer ("Say It, Say It"), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Sep 11 Philip Ardagh, English children's books author (Eddie Dickens series), born in Kent, England
  • Sep 12 Mylène Farmer, Canadian-French singer (Cendres de Lune) and actress, born in Montreal, Quebec
  • Sep 12 Christiane Jolissaint, Swiss tennis star, born in Vevey, Switzerland
  • Sep 12 Kadim Al Sahir, Iraqi singer-songwriter (Ana Wa Laila - Me and Laila), born in Mosul, Iraq
  • Sep 13 Dave Mustaine, American heavy metal guitarist and singer (Metallica, 1981-83; Megadeth), born in La Mesa, California
  • Sep 13 KK Null [Kazuyuki Kishino], Japanese musician, born in Tokyo, Japan
  • Sep 13 Peter Roskam, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois), born in Hinsdale, Illinois
  • Sep 14 Antonia De Sancha, English actress and lover of British MP David Mellor, born in London, England

Dan Marino

Sep 15 Dan Marino, American College/Pro Football HOF quarterback (Uni of Pittsburgh; 9 x Pro Bowl; NFL MVP, NFL Offensive Player of the Year 1984; 3 x First Team All Pro; Miami Dolphins), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Sep 16 Alessandro Cecchi Paone, Italian entertainer (Lo psicologo di famiglia), born in Rome, Lazio, Italy
  • Sep 16 Mark Parent, American baseball catcher (Detroit Tigers), born in Ashland, Oregon
  • Sep 16 Bilinda Butcher, British singer (My Bloody Valentine), born in London
  • Sep 17 Pamela Ann Melroy, Major USAF/astronaut (sk:STS 92), born in Palo Alto, California
  • Sep 17 Ty Tabor, American progressive metal guitarist and singer (King's X), born in Pearl, Mississippi
  • Sep 17 Steve Clifford, American basketball head coach (Orlando Magic 2018-19; Charlotte Hornets 2013-18), born in Island Falls, Maine

James Gandolfini

Sep 18 James Gandolfini, American actor (The Sopranos), born in Westwood, New Jersey (d. 2013)

  • Sep 18 Martin "Frosty" Beedle, British session and touring drummer (Cutting Crew -"(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight"), born in North Ferriby, East Yorkshire, England
  • Sep 20 Erwin Koeman, Dutch soccer player (PSV, FC Groningen), born in Zaandam, Netherlands
  • Sep 20 Lisa Bloom, American lawyer and television personality, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Sep 21 Michel R Vassallucci, French/Neth publisher (Arena)
  • Sep 21 Nancy Travis, American actress (Kim-Almost Perfect, Chaplin, 8 Men Out), born in NYC, New York
  • Sep 22 Catherine Oxenberg, American actress (Dynasty, Overexposed), born in NYC, New York
  • Sep 22 Dot Richardson, American softball infielder (Olympic gold 1996), born in Orlando, Florida
  • Sep 22 Vince Coleman, American MLB outfielder (6 x NL stolen base leader), born in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Sep 22 Bonnie Hunt, American actress, born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Sep 23 Elizabeth Peña, American actress (La Bamb; Jacob's Ladder), born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, (d. 2014)
  • Sep 23 William C. McCool, American US Navy Lt Cmdr, and astronaut (Space Shuttle Columbia disaster), born in San Diego, California (d. 2003)
  • Sep 23 Kenneth "Chi" McBride, American actor, born in Chicago Illinois
  • Sep 24 Allen Bestwick, American Nascar broadcaster, born in Newport, Rhode Island
  • Sep 24 John Logan, American screenwriter and playwright (Gladiator), born in San Diego, California
  • Sep 25 Heather Locklear, American actress (T J Hooker, Dynasty), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Sep 25 Tim Zoehrer, Australian cricketer (Aussie keeper, & occasional WA leggie), born in Armadale, Australia
  • Sep 26 Will Self, English author, born in Westminster, London
  • Sep 27 Irvine Welsh, Scottish writer
  • Sep 27 Andy Lau, Hong Kong actor and singer (Internal Affairs), born in Hong Kong
  • Sep 28 Anne White, American tennis player (famously wares spandex Wimbledon 1985), born in Charleston, West Virginia
  • Sep 28 Ed Vosberg, pitcher (Texas Rangers), born in Tucson, Arizona
  • Sep 28 Michael-James Wixted, actor (Smith Family), born in Santa Monica, California
  • Sep 28 Yordanka Donkova, Bulgaria, 100m hurdler (world record)
  • Sep 28 Quentin Kawananakoa, pretender to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaii
  • Sep 29 Julia Gillard, Australian politician, 1st Australian female Prime Minister (2010-2013), born in Barry, Wales
  • Sep 30 Chandrakant Pandit, Indian cricket wicket-keeper (late 80's)
  • Sep 30 Crystal Bernard, actress (Amy-It's a Living, Helen-Wings), born in Garland, Texas
  • Sep 30 Eric Stoltz, actor (Anaconda, Pulp Fiction, Mask)
  • Sep 30 Eric van de Poele, Belgian racing driver
  • Sep 30 Sally Yeh, Hong Kong Canto-pop singer and actress, born in Taipei, Taiwan,
  • Sep 30 Jorge Ricardo, Brazilian jockey (Brazilian Champion jockey 1982-2006; highest tally winning rider in thoroughbred racing), born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Famous Weddings

Chinua Achebe

Sep 10 Nigerian novelist, critic and academic Chinua Achebe ("Things Fall Apart") marries Christie Okoli

Ted Williams

Sep 10 Baseball player Ted Williams marries model Lee Howard (divorced 1967)


Famous Deaths

  • Sep 1 Eero Saarinen, Finnish-American architect (Dulles Airport), dies at 51
  • Sep 1 William Z. Foster, American labor organizer and US Communist Party president (1945-57), dies at 80
  • Sep 2 Greet Koeman, Dutch opera soprano, dies at 54
  • Sep 3 Robert E. Gross, American businessman (b. 1897)
  • Sep 5 Ernest Bock, cricketer (Test for South Africa, 1935), dies
  • Sep 7 Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy, Dutch lawyer and Prime Minister of the Netherlands (1940-45), dies at 76
  • Sep 10 Leo Carrillo, American actor (American Empire, Cisco Kid), dies at 80
  • Sep 10 Wolfgang von Trips, German racing driver, dies at 33
  • Sep 12 Carl Hermann, German physicist, dies at 63
  • Sep 16 A P F Chapman, cricketer (26 Tests for England), dies
  • Sep 16 Yme Schuitmaker, Dutch potato farmer/dramatist, dies
  • Sep 16 Percy Chapman, English cricket batsman (26 Tests, captain 1926-31, 1 x 100; Kent CCC), dies after a fall at 61
  • Sep 17 Adnan Menderes, Prime Minister of Turkey (1950-60), dies at 62

Dag Hammarskjöld

Sep 18 Dag Hammarskjöld, Swedish public servant, 2nd Secretary-General of the United Nations (1953-61) and posthumous Nobel Peace Prize winner (1961), dies in a plane crash over Congo at 56

  • Sep 19 Helen Kimble, fictional wife of Dr Richard Kimble (The Fugitive)
  • Sep 19 Pieter Tesch, mine engineer/geology (Pedestal of Netherlands), dies
  • Sep 19 Maurice Delage, French pianist, and composer (Ragamalika; Seven Haikais), dies at 81 [date of passing may be 21 Sept]
  • Sep 21 Earle Dickson, American inventor (Band-Aid), dies at 68
  • Sep 21 Maurice Delage, French composer, dies at 81
  • Sep 22 Marion Davies, American actress (Not So Dumb, 5 & 10) and mistress of William Randolph Hearst, dies of cancer at 64
  • Sep 23 Billy House, American actor (Imitation of Life; Bedlam; The Egg and I), dies at 71
  • Sep 23 Elmer Diktonius, Finnish poet, composer, and musicologist (Janne Kubrik; Stenkol), dies at 65
  • Sep 24 Sumner Welles, American diplomat (Good Neighbor Policy), dies at 68
  • Sep 25 Frank Fay, American vaudeville comedian and actor (God's Gift to Women), dies at 69
  • Sep 26 Eily Malyon, actress (Jane Eyre, I Married a Witch), dies at 81
  • Sep 26 Juanita Hansen, actress (Fast Company), dies of heart ailment at 67
  • Sep 26 Charles Erwin Wilson, American engineer (President and CEO of General Motors) and politician (United States Secretary of Defense 1953-57), dies at 71
  • Sep 27 Hilda Doolittle, American poetess (Bid Me to Live), dies at 75
  • Sep 28 Michael Shepley, British actor (Squibs, Dick & the Duchess), dies at 54
  • Sep 29 Reinhard Herbig, German archaeologist, dies at 63
  • Sep 30 Onésime Gagnon, Canadian politician, 20th Lieutenant Governor of Québec, dies at 72