What Happened in February 1979

Historical Events

Historic Event

Feb 1 Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran after 15 years in exile

  • Feb 1 English international forward Trevor Francis becomes Britain’s first £1 million soccer player when he transfers from Birmingham City to Nottingham Forest
  • Feb 1 Patricia Hearst is released from prison for bank robbery
  • Feb 1 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • Feb 3 "YMCA" by Village People peaks at #2 on pop singles chart

Sports History

Feb 3 Minnesota Twins trade Rod Carew to California for 4 players

  • Feb 3 US female Figure Skating championship won by Linda Fratianne
  • Feb 3 US male Figure Skating championship won by Charles Tickner
  • Feb 4 "Co-Ed Fever," TV Comedy, debut & cancelled that outing on CBS
  • Feb 4 29th NBA All-Star Game, Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Mi: West beats East, 134-129; MVP: David Thompson, Denver Nuggets, SG
  • Feb 4 End of last 3+day D/N game for 15 yrs (WSC, SCG)
  • Feb 5 Costliest single periodical ad, $3.2 million, Gulf + Western in Time
  • Feb 5 Sears Radio Theater premieres on CBS
  • Feb 6 Supreme court of Lahore affirms death sentence against Premier Bhutto
  • Feb 7 "Supertrain", TV Anthology, Superbomb of 1979, debuts on NBC
  • Feb 7 Colonel Benjedid Chadli succeeds president Boumedienne in Algeria
  • Feb 7 Faoud Bacchus scores 250 for WI v India at Kanpur
  • Feb 8 Denis Sassou-Nguesso becomes the President of the Republic of the Congo for the first time
  • Feb 8 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • Feb 9 ABC airs "Heroes of Rock N Roll" special, featuring archival performances of 62 artists
  • Feb 9 Beginning of James Clavell's novel "Whirlwind"
  • Feb 9 New York City premiere of Paul Schrader's allegedly fact based film "Hardcore"
  • Feb 9 Nigeria amends constitution
  • Feb 9 UK Football club Nottingham Forest makes £1m transfer deal
  • Feb 9 Walter Hill's drama film "The Warriors" is released in the United States, sparking gang violence at many theaters and a halt to the film's marketing campaign

#1 in the Charts

Feb 10 "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" by Rod Stewart peaks at #1

Sports History

Feb 10 Allan Border is named 12th man for Australia, only Test Cricket he misses

Theater Premiere

Feb 11 Marvin Hamlisch, Carole Bayer Sager, and Neil Simon's musical "They're Playing Our Song", starring Robert Klein and Lucie Arnaz opens at Imperial Theatre, NYC; runs for 1082 performances

  • Feb 12 Bakhtiar resigns as prime minister of Iran after losing support of the military
  • Feb 12 Kosmos 1076, 1st Soviet oceanographic satellite, launched
  • Feb 13 Formation of Guardian Angels crime fighters in New York City
  • Feb 13 Washington State's Hood Canal Bridge breaks up in windstorm
  • Feb 14 "Whoopee!" opens at ANTA Theater NYC for 204 performances
  • Feb 14 In Kabul, Muslims kidnap the American ambassador to Afghanistan, Adolph Dubs who is later killed during a gunfight between his kidnappers and police

Grammy Awards

Feb 15 21st Grammy Awards: Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are"; A Taste of Honey win

  • Feb 15 Paul Shirley (21) of Australia, sucked a lifesaver for 4 hrs 40 mins
  • Feb 15 Temple City Kazoo Orchestra appears on "he Mike Douglas Show"
  • Feb 15 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

Music Single

Feb 16 George Harrison releases single "Blow Away"

  • Feb 16 Los Angeles premiere of Paul Schrader's allegedly fact based film "Hardcore"
  • Feb 16 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk

World Record

Feb 17 American speed skater Eric Heiden equals world record 1000m (1:14.99)

  • Feb 17 China invades Vietnam, marking the start of the Sino-Vietnamese War
  • Feb 18 -52°F (-47°C), Old Forge, New York (state record)
  • Feb 18 21st Daytona 500: Richard Petty wins after race leaders Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison collide with each other on final lap; first 500 mile race broadcast from start to finish
  • Feb 18 Mini-series "Roots: Next Generations" premieres on ABC TV
  • Feb 18 NASA launches space vehicle S-202
  • Feb 18 President Zia ur-Rahman's National Party wins elections in Bangladesh
  • Feb 18 Snow falls in Sahara Desert
  • Feb 20 11 'loyalists' known as the "Shankill Butchers" are sentenced to life in prison for 19 murders; the gang was named for its late-night kidnapping, torture and murder (by throat slashing) of random Catholic civilians in Belfast
  • Feb 20 29th Berlin International Film Festival: "David" wins the Golden Bear
  • Feb 21 2 Iowa girls HS basketball teams play 4 scoreless quarters game was won 4-2 in 4th overtime period
  • Feb 21 Japan launches Hakucho X-ray satellite & Corsa-B (550/580 km)

Sports History

Feb 22 Billy Martin named manager of Oakland A's

  • Feb 22 Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Primate & Cat Building is dedicated (Cleveland, Ohio)
  • Feb 22 St Lucia gains independence from Britain
  • Feb 23 "Sarava" opens at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC for 140 performances
  • Feb 23 Frank Peterson Jr named 1st black general in Marine Corps
  • Feb 23 George Harrison releases "George Harrison" album, featuring the single "Blow Away"
  • Feb 24 Highest price ever paid for a pig, $42,500, Stamford, Texas
  • Feb 24 War between North & South Yemen begins
  • Feb 25 Soyuz 32 carries 2 cosmonauts to Salyut 6 space station is launched
  • Feb 26 CBS' premiere of NYC sitcom "Flatbush", which received many derision phone calls about it from Brooklynites to CBS
  • Feb 26 Last total eclipse of Sun in 20th century for continental US
  • Feb 28 Ernest Thompson's "On Golden Pond" premieres in NYC

Famous Birthdays

  • Feb 1 Jason Isbell, American singer (Drive-By Truckers), born in Green Hill, Alabama
  • Feb 1 Juan Silveira dos Santos, Brazilian soccer defender (79 caps; Flamengo, Bayer Leverkusen, Roma, Internacional), born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Feb 1 Valentin Elizalde, Mexican singer, born in Navojoa, Mexico (d. 2006)
  • Feb 2 Christine Bleakley, Northern Irish broadcaster and presenter (BBC, ITV, UKTV), born in Newtownards, Northern Ireland
  • Feb 2 Fani Halkia, Greek hurdler
  • Feb 2 Irini Terzoglou, Greek shot putter
  • Feb 2 Petra Cada, Canadian table tennis player (Olympics 1996), born in Prague, Czechoslovakia
  • Feb 2 Shamita Shetty, Indian actress
  • Feb 4 Andrei Arlovski, Russian mixed martial artist
  • Feb 4 Giorgio Pantano, Italian racing car driver
  • Feb 5 Paulo Gonçalves, Portuguese rally racing motorcycle rider (FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship 2013), born in Gemeses, Portugal (d. 2020)
  • Feb 6 Dan Bălan, Moldovan singer (O-Zone), born in Chișinău, Moldova
  • Feb 7 Cerina Vincent, American actress (Stuck In The Middle), and author (Hot Chick books), born in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Feb 7 Daniel Bierofka, German football player and coach, born in Munich, West Germany
  • Feb 7 Jon Leicester, American baseball player
  • Feb 7 Nicola Campedelli, Italian football coach, born in Cesena, Italy
  • Feb 7 Tawakkol Karman, Yemeni journalist, Nobel Peace Prize winner (2011), and human rights activist, born in Taiz Governorate, North Yemen (now Yemen Arab Republic)
  • Feb 8 Aaron Cook, American baseball player, born in Fort Campbell, Kentucky
  • Feb 8 Deng Chao, Chinese actor (The Mermaid, The Dead End), born in Nanchang, China
  • Feb 8 Josh Keaton [Weiner], American actor and singer (No Authority), born in Hacienda Heights, California
  • Feb 9 "Casper" David Gray, English snooker player (2003 Scottish Open Winner), born in Lower Morden, Greater London
  • Feb 9 Akinora Iwamura, Japanese professional baseball infielder (NPB,1998-2006. 2011-14; MLB 2007-10), born in Uwajima, Ehime, Japan
  • Feb 9 Zhang Ziyi, Chinese actress (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), born in Beijing, China
  • Feb 10 Daryl Palumbo, American musician, born in Bellmore, New York
  • Feb 10 Ross Powers, American snowboarder, born in Bennington, Vermont
  • Feb 11 Brandy [Norwood], American stage and screen actress and singer (Les Miserables; Moisha), born in McComb, Mississippi
  • Feb 12 Antonio Chatman, NFL wide receiver and punt returner, born in Jackson, Alabama
  • Feb 12 Jesse Spencer, Australian actor, born in Melbourne, Australia
  • Feb 12 Matt Mauck, NFL player, born in Jasper, Indiana
  • Feb 13 Anders Behring Breivik, Norwegian terrorist, born in Oslo, Norway
  • Feb 13 Mena Suvari, American actress, born in Newport, Rhode Island
  • Feb 13 Rafael Márquez, Mexican footballer, born in Zamora, Mexico
  • Feb 14 Pablo Pallante, Uruguayan footballer, born in Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Feb 15 Adam Granduciel [Granofsky], American guitarist, singer, songwriter and record producer (The War on Drugs - "Thinking Of A Place"; "Holding On": The Violators, 2003-11), born in Dover, Massachusetts
  • Feb 15 Alenka Kejžar, Slovenian swimmer, born in Kranj, Slovenia
  • Feb 15 Gordon Shedden, Scottish auto racing driver, born in Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Feb 15 Josh Low, English footballer, born in Bristol, United Kingdom
  • Feb 15 Kaj-Erik Eriksen, Canadian actor (Quarantine), born in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Feb 16 Eric Mun, Korean rapper (Shinhwa)
  • Feb 16 Valentino Rossi, Italian motorcycle road racer (MotoGP World C'ship 2001, 02, 03, 04, 05, 08, 09; 250cc World C'ship 1999; 125cc World C'ship 1997), born in Urbino, Italy
  • Feb 17 Bear McCreary, American composer for film, television (Outlander; The Walking Dead: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and video games, born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Feb 17 Josh Willingham, American MLB baseball outfielder, 2004-14 (Florida MArlins, and 4 other teams), born in Florence, Alabama
  • Feb 18 Julia Greville, Australian swimmer (Olympics 1996), born in Perth, Australia
  • Feb 19 Clinton Morrison, Irish footballer
  • Feb 19 Mariana Ochoa, Mexican singer and actress, born in Mexico City, Mexico
  • Feb 19 Mariska [Anna Maria Rahikainen], Finnish rapper, born in Helsinki, Finland
  • Feb 19 Steve Cherundolo, American soccer player
  • Feb 21 Carly "Carlito" Colón, Puerto Rican professional wrestler, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Jennifer Love Hewitt

Feb 21 Jennifer Love Hewitt, American actress (Sarah Reeves-Party of Five), born in Waco, Texas

  • Feb 21 Jordan Peele, American actor, comedian and director (Fargo, Get Out), born in NYC, New York
  • Feb 21 Pascal Chimbonda, French footballer, born in Les Abymes, Guadeloupe
  • Feb 22 Brett Emerton, Australian footballer, born in Bankstown, Australia
  • Feb 22 David Lopez, American actor (and God Created Women, Ghostwriter), born in Queens, New York
  • Feb 22 Lee Na-young, South Korean actress, born in Seoul, South Korea
  • Feb 22 Tom Higgenson, American singer-songwriter (Plain White T's - "Hey There Delilah"), born in Villa Park, Illinois
  • Feb 23 D-Roc [D'Angelo Holmes], American rapper (Ying Yang Twins), born in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Feb 24 Jesse Billauer, American quadriplegic surfer
  • Feb 25 David Hoflin, Swedish-born Australian Actor
  • Feb 25 Jennifer Ferrin, American actress
  • Feb 25 Joanna Pascale, American jazz singer (When Lights Are Low), and educator (Temple University), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Feb 26 Corinne Bailey Rae, English singer, born in Leeds, United Kingdom
  • Feb 26 Mariano Bainotti, Argentine racing driver, born in San Basilio, Argentina
  • Feb 26 Pedro Mendes, Portuguese footballer, born in Guimarães, Portugal
  • Feb 26 Shalim Ortiz, Puerto Rican singer and actor, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Feb 28 Ivo Karlović, Croatian tennis player, born in Zagreb, Croatia
  • Feb 28 Michael Bisping, English mixed martial artist, born in Nicosia, Cyprus
  • Feb 28 Primož Peterka, Slovenian ski jumper, born in Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Feb 28 Sébastien Bourdais, French auto racer, (Champ Car World Series 2004-07, Le Mans 24 Hours 2016), born in Le Mans, France
  • Feb 28 Virginia Ledgerwood, American rhythmic gymnast (Olympics 1996), born in Chester, Virginia

Famous Weddings

Famous Divorces

Max Von Sydow

Feb 26 Actor Max Von Sydow (49) divorces actress Christina Olin after 28 years of marriage

Famous Deaths

  • Feb 1 Mort Marshall [Mortimer Haig Lichtenstein], American actor (Kiss Me Deadly, Dumplings), dies of coronary arrest at 60
  • Feb 2 Jim Burke, Australian cricket batsman (24 Tests; record for most innings in a complete career without scoring a duck [44]) and broadcaster (ABC), dies of self inflicted gunshot wounds at 48

Sid Vicious

Feb 2 Sid Vicious [John Simon Ritchie], English musician and bassist (Sex Pistols), dies of a heroin overdose at 21

  • Feb 3 Jody Gilbert, American actress (Willard, Shaggy, Blonde Dynamite), dies at 62
  • Feb 5 Eddie Paynter, English cricketer (20 Tests for England, avg 59.23), dies at 77
  • Feb 6 Alain Teister, Dutch sculptor/writer, dies at 47
  • Feb 6 Arthur van Schendel, Dutch art historian, dies at 68
  • Feb 7 Herbert "Peanuts" Holland, American swing jazz trumpeter, dies at 68
  • Feb 7 Josef Mengele, concentration camp doctor, drowns
  • Feb 7 Warren Giles, American Baseball HOF executive (President National League 1951-69; GM Cincinnati Reds 1937–51), dies at 82
  • Feb 8 Jim Smith, English cricket all-rounder (5 Tests), dies at 72
  • Feb 8 Nikolay Semyonovich Tikhonov, Russian poet and writer (against Pasternak), dies at 82
  • Feb 9 Allen Tate, American poet (Mr Pope & Other Poems), dies at 79
  • Feb 9 C I J Smith, cricket all-rounder (5 Tests for England 1935-37), dies

Dennis Gabor

Feb 9 Dennis Gabor, Hungarian-British engineer and physicist (invented holography, Nobel Prize 1971), dies at 79

  • Feb 12 Jean Renoir, French film director (Madame Bovary, Nana, Grand Illusion) and actor (Rules of the Game), dies at 84
  • Feb 14 Adolph Dubs, US ambassador to Afghanistan, murdered
  • Feb 16 Louise Allbritton, American actress (The Egg and I, Stage Door, Got a Secret), dies of cancer at 58
  • Feb 16 Mehdi Rahimi, Iranian general and military governor of Tehran under the Shah of Iran, executed by a firing squad during the Islamic Revolution at around 57
  • Feb 16 Nematullah Nassiri, Iran general/head of Savak, executed
  • Feb 17 Bill Gargan, American actor (The Bells of St. Mary's; You Only Live Once), dies from a heart attack at 73
  • Feb 21 Ray Whitley, American country and western singer-songwriter ("Back in the Saddle Again") and actor (Tim Holt films), dies at 77
  • Feb 23 W.A.C. Bennett, Canadian politician, dies at 78
  • Feb 28 Jane Hylton [Audrey Gwendolene Clark], British actress (Adv of Sir Lancelot, Daybreak), dies of a heart attack at 52
  • Feb 28 Mr Ed, talking horse, dies
  • Feb 28 Paul Alverdes, German writer (Pfeiferstube), dies at 81