What Happened in January 1979

Historical Events

  • Jan 1 45th Orange Bowl: #4 Oklahoma beats #6 Nebraska, 31-24
  • Jan 1 45th Sugar Bowl: #2 Alabama beats #1 Penn State, 14-7
  • Jan 1 65th Rose Bowl: #3 Southern California beats #5 Michigan, 17-10
  • Jan 1 International Year of the Child begins
  • Jan 1 John Y. Brown attends his first game as owner of the Boston Celtics NBA franchise after trading the Buffalo Braves to previous Celtics owner, Irving H. Levin
  • Jan 1 Jura, 26th canton of Switzerland, established
  • Jan 1 US & China (Peoples Republic) begin diplomatic relations
  • Jan 2 Australian Open Women's Tennis: unseeded Australian Christine O'Neil wins her first and only Grand Slam event; beats American Betsy Nagelsen 6-3, 7-6

Murder of Interest

Jan 2 Sid Vicious' trial for murder of girlfriend Nancy Spungen begins

Australian Men's Tennis Open

Jan 3 Australian Open Men's Tennis: Guillermo Vilas of Argentina wins 3rd Grand Slam title; beats Australian John Marks 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

  • Jan 6 The Village People's Y.M.C.A becomes their only UK #1 single. At its peak it sold over 150,000 copies a day.
  • Jan 7 AFC Championship, Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Steelers beat Houston Oilers, 34-5
  • Jan 7 NFC Championship, LA Memorial Coliseum Dallas Cowboys beat Los Angeles Rams, 28-0
  • Jan 7 Vietnamese forces capture Phnom Penh from Khmer Rouge
  • Jan 8 512 die as oil tanker Bantry Bay blows up
  • Jan 8 Argentina & Chile sign Beagle Canal accord
  • Jan 8 Today Show gets a new theme song
  • Jan 8 Vietnamese troops overtook Khmer Rouge & occupy Phnom Penh

Sports History

Jan 9 Bobby Orr's #4 jersey is retired by the Boston Bruins

  • Jan 9 Bollingen Prize for poetry awarded to W. S. Merwin
  • Jan 9 High-school player Daryl Moreau makes 126th consecutive free throws

Film & TV History

Jan 9 K-Mart pulls Steve Martin's "Let's Get Small" for being in "bad taste"

  • Jan 9 Supreme Court strikes down (6-3) PA law requiring doctors performing an abortion to try to preserve lives of potentially viable fetuses

Historic Event

Jan 10 The Sun paper headline is 'Crisis? What Crisis?' as UK Prime Minister James Callaghan denies that the country is in chaos during the 'Winter of Discontent' strike wave

  • Jan 11 "Grand Tour" opens at Palace Theater NYC for 61 performances
  • Jan 12 LA's Hillside Strangler, Kenneth Bianchi, arrested in Bellingham
  • Jan 12 Record blizzard strikes the US midwest killing over 100
  • Jan 13 Charlie Daniels hosts Volunteer Jam
  • Jan 13 YMCA files libel suit against Village People's YMCA song

Sports History

Jan 14 John McEnroe wins his first of 3 season-ending ATP Masters Grand Prix tennis titles 6–7, 6–3, 7–5 against fellow American Arthur Ashe at Madison Square Garden, NYC

Sports History

Jan 14 Puerto Rican boxer Wilfred Benitez beats WBC welterweight champion Carlos Palomino of Mexico in a 15-round split decision in San Juan, Puerto Rico; becomes two-division champion at the age of 20

Historic Event

Jan 14 US President Jimmy Carter proposes Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday be a federal holiday

  • Jan 16 Bakhtiar government established by the Shah in Iran, will preside until unrest in the country subsides

Film & TV History

Jan 16 BBC landmark nature series "Life on Earth" presented by David Attenborough first shown on BBC One

Historic Event

Jan 16 Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi flees Iran for Egypt during the Iranian Revolution

  • Jan 17 USSR performs underground nuclear test
  • Jan 18 Peter Jenkins finishes "A Walk Across America" at Florence, Oregon
  • Jan 19 John N Mitchell (former US Attorney General) released on parole from federal prison

Historic Event

Jan 19 US President Jimmy Carter announces he is awarding Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously to anthropologist Margaret Mead

Historic Event

Jan 20 1 million Iranians march in Tehran in a show of support for the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini, fundamentalist Muslim leader

  • Jan 21 Neptune becomes outermost planet (Pluto moves closer)
  • Jan 21 Price of gold increases to record $875 troy oz
  • Jan 21 Super Bowl XIII, Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, FL: Pittsburgh Steelers beat Dallas Cowboys, 35-31; MVP: Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh, QB
  • Jan 22 10,000s UK public sector workers go on strike

Hall of Fame

Jan 23 NY/SF Giants / New York Mets center fielder Willie Mays elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

  • Jan 24 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • Jan 25 1st documented case of a robot killing a human in US
  • Jan 25 22.2-km Oshimizu railroad tunnel holed through, central Honshu, Japan

Historic Event

Jan 25 Pope John Paul II's 1st overseas trip as supreme pontiff

  • Jan 26 "The Dukes of Hazzard" premieres on US TV network CBS
  • Jan 26 Music Center Vredenburg opens in Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Jan 27 Islanders ends 23 undefeated games at home streak (15-0-8)

Historic Event

Jan 28 Arthur Kopit's "Wings" premieres in NYC

  • Jan 28 Charlie Smalls' musical "The Wiz", an updated take on "The Wizard of Oz", starring Stephanie Mills, Stu Gilliam, and Dee Dee Bridgewater, closes at Majestic Theater in NYC, after 1,672 performances, 7 Tony and 6 Drama Desk Awards
  • Jan 28 Pope John Paul II addresses the Third General Conference of Latin American Episcopate in Puebla, Mexico
  • Jan 29 Brenda Spencer kills 2, inspires Boomtown Rats "I Don't Like Mondays"

Historic Event

Jan 29 Chinese vice-premier Deng Xiaoping visits Washington, D.C.

  • Jan 29 Emerson, Lake & Palmer disband after 10 years together
  • Jan 29 NFL Pro Bowl, LA Memorial Coliseum: NFC beats AFC, 13-7; MVP: Ahmad Rashād, Minnesota Vikings, WR
  • Jan 29 US President Jimmy Carter commutes Patty Hearst's 7 year jail sentence to 2 years
  • Jan 30 Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) agrees to new constitution
  • Jan 30 Varig 707-323C freighter, flown by the same commander as Flight 820, disappears over the Pacific Ocean 30 minutes after taking off from Tokyo.

Famous Birthdays

  • Jan 1 Brody Dalle [Bree Robinson], Australian punk rock singer (The Distillers), born in Melbourne, Australia
  • Jan 1 Koichi Domoto, Japanese J-Pop singer-songwriter (KinKi Kids - "Glass no Shōnen / Glass Boy"), born in Ashiya, Hyōgo, Japan
  • Jan 2 Suranne Jones, British actress
  • Jan 3 Francesco Bellissimo, Italian mangaka
  • Jan 4 Jeph Howard, American rock bass player (The Used), born in Orem, Utah
  • Jan 4 Tristan Gommendy, French racing driver, born in Le Chesnay, Yvelines
  • Jan 5 Ronnie O'Brien, Irish footballer, born in Bray, County Wicklow
  • Jan 7 Bipasha Basu, Indian model, born in New Delhi, India
  • Jan 7 Mariangel Ruiz, Venezuelan actress & model, born in San Juan de los Morros, Venezuela
  • Jan 7 Ryan Tedder, American singer, born in Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Jan 8 Adrian Mutu, Romanian footballer, born in Călinești, Romania
  • Jan 8 Sarah Polley, Canadian actress (Sweet Hereafter), born in Toronto, Ontario
  • Jan 8 Seol Ki-hyeon, South Korean footballer, born in Jeongseon County, South Korea
  • Jan 8 Sequoyah, chimpanzee (son of Washoe)
  • Jan 8 Stipe Pletikosa, Croatian footballer, born in Split, Croatia
  • Jan 9 Amber Ruffin, American talk show host and writer (The Amber Ruffin Show), born in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Jan 9 Tomiko Van, Japanese pop-rock singer (Do As Infinity), born in Yamato, Japan
  • Jan 10 Chris "Daddy Mac" Smith, American rapper (Kris Kross - "Jump"), born in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Jan 11 Darren Lynn Bousman, American film director, born in Overland Park, Kansas
  • Jan 11 Henry Shefflin, Irish hurler, born in Waterford, Ireland
  • Jan 11 Siti Nurhaliza, Malaysian singer, born in Kampung Awah, Malaysia
  • Jan 12 Grzegorz Rasiak, Polish footballer, born in Szczecin, Poland
  • Jan 12 Jenny Schmidgall, American ice hockey forward (USA, Olympics 1998), born in Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • Jan 13 Jill Wagner, American Actor
  • Jan 14 Angela Lindvall, American supermodel, born in Midwest City, Oklahoma
  • Jan 14 John Reuben, American hip hop artist, born in Columbus, Ohio
  • Jan 14 Karen Elson, British supermodel, born in Oldham, United Kingdom

Drew BreesDrew Brees (43 years old)

Jan 15 American football quarterback (Super Bowl MVP 2009, New Orleans Saints; 13 x Pro Bowl; 7 × NFL passing yards leader), born in Austin, Texas

  • Jan 15 Ken Chu, Taiwanese singer-actor & taichi champ, born in Taiwan
  • Jan 15 Martin Petrov, Bulgarian footballer, born in Vratsa, Bulgaria
  • Jan 15 Young Dro [D'Juan Hart], American rapper (Shoulder Lean), born in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Jan 16 Aaliyah [Haughton], American singer and actress, born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2001)
  • Jan 16 Brenden Morrow, Canadian ice hockey player, born in Carlyle, Canada
  • Jan 16 Jason Ward, Canadian ice hockey player, born in Chapleau, Canada
  • Jan 16 Jimmy Walker, American golfer (PGA C'ship 2016), born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Jan 16 Rashawn Ross, American trumpeter (Dave Mathews Band), born in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Jan 18 Brian Gionta, American ice hockey player, born in Rochester, New York
  • Jan 18 Jay Chou, Taiwanese singer & producer, born in New Taipei City, Taiwan
  • Jan 18 Kenyatta Jones, American football player, born in Gainesville, Florida
  • Jan 18 Leo Varadkar, Irish politician (Prime Minister, 2017-), born in Dublin, Ireland
  • Jan 18 Paulo Ferreira, Portuguese footballer, born in Cascais, Portugal
  • Jan 19 Josu Sarriegi, Spanish football player, born in Lazkao, Spain
  • Jan 19 Spider Loc [Curtis Williams], American rapper (G-Unit), and actor, born in Compton, California
  • Jan 19 Svetlana Khorkina, Russian gymnast, born in Belgorod, Russia
  • Jan 19 Wiley, English Rapper (Grime), born in Bow, London
  • Jan 20 Asaka Kubo, Japanese singer (A+Jyuc), born in Japan
  • Jan 20 Rob Bourdon, American musician (Linkin Park), born in Calabasas, California
  • Jan 20 Will Young, British singer-songwriter & actor, born in Wokingham, United Kingdom
  • Jan 21 Brian O'Driscoll, Irish rugby union footballer
  • Jan 21 Byung-Hyun Kim, Korean baseball player
  • Jan 23 Juan Rincón, Venezuelan baseball player, born in Maracaibo, Venezuela
  • Jan 23 Larry Hughes, American basketball player, born in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Jan 23 Sampsa Astala, Finnish musician (Lordi), born in Vantaa, Finland
  • Jan 24 Tatyana M. Ali, American actress (Sesame St, Fresh Prince of Bel Air), born in New York City, New York
  • Jan 25 Christine Lakin, American actress (Step by Step), born in Dallas, Texas
  • Jan 25 Gabe Jennings, American distance runner, born in California
  • Jan 25 Pi Hongyan, Chinese-born French badminton player, born in Chonqing, China
  • Jan 26 Sara Rue, American actress, born in New York
  • Jan 27 Daniel Vettori, New Zealand cricketer
  • Jan 27 Liesbet Van Breedam, Belgian beach volleyball player
  • Jan 27 Rodrigo Ribeiro, Brazilian racing driver, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Jan 27 Rosamund Pike, British actress (Gone Girl), born in London, England
  • Jan 28 Ali Boulala, Swedish skateboarder
  • Jan 29 Andrew Keegan, American actor (Step by Step, Party of Five), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Jan 29 April Scott, American actress & model, born in Campbell, Missouri
  • Jan 29 Christina Koch, American NASA astronaut (Soyuz MS-12), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Jan 29 Sui Feifei, Chinese basketball player, born in Qingdao, China
  • Jan 30 Karen Smith, Australian hockey player (Olympics 1996)
  • Jan 31 Daniel Tammet, British writer & autistic savant, born in Barking, London

Famous Weddings

John Carpenter

Jan 1 Film director John Carpenter (30) weds actress Adrienne Barbeau (33)


Famous Deaths

  • Jan 3 Conrad Hilton, US founder (Hilton Hotels), dies at 91
  • Jan 5 Charles Mingus, American jazz bassist (Pithecanthropus Erectus), dies from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at 56
  • Jan 7 Zbigniew Turski, Polish composer, dies at 70
  • Jan 8 Sara Carter, American country musician, songwriter and vocalist (Carter Family), dies at 81
  • Jan 9 Avery Claflin, composer, dies at 80
  • Jan 9 Pier Luigi Nervi, Italian engineer and architect (Nuove Struttura), dies at 87
  • Jan 11 Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, German-French art dealer and publisher, dies at 94
  • Jan 11 Jack Soo [Goro Suzuki], Japanese-American actor (Flower Drum Song, Barney Miller), dies of esophageal cancer at 61
  • Jan 13 Donny Hathaway, American rocker (Ghetto), commits suicide at 33
  • Jan 13 Marjorie Lawrence, Australian soprano (b. 1907)
  • Jan 14 Thomas DeSimone, gangster associate of the Lucchese crime family (b. 1950)
  • Jan 15 Euphemia Giannini Gregory, Italian-American opera singer and educator (Curtis Institute), dies at 83
  • Jan 16 August Heissmeyer, German SS officer, dies at 82
  • Jan 16 Fred Elizalde, Spanish Filipino composer, dies at 71
  • Jan 16 Peter Butterworth, British actor and comedian (Carry On), dies of a heart attack at 63

Ted CassidyTed Cassidy (1932-1979)

Jan 16 American actor (Lurch-Addams Family), dies at 46

  • Jan 18 Cyril Mockridge, British composer for film and television (Miracle On 34th Street; The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance), dies at 82
  • Jan 19 Alphonse "Tuffy" Leemans, American NFL fullback (NY Giants), dies of a heart attack at 66
  • Jan 19 Paul Meurisse, actor (Diabolique, Truth, Suspects, Monocle), dies
  • Jan 20 Gustav Winckler, Danish pop singer ("Skibet skal sejle i nat"- "The Ship Is Leaving Tonight"), dies in a car crash at 53
  • Jan 22 Ali Hassan Salameh [Abu Hassan], killed by car bomb; believed to have helped mastermind massacre of 1972 Munich Olympics athletes
  • Jan 24 Jerry Damon, comedian (That Was The Week That Was), dies at 51
  • Jan 24 Mabel Taliaferro, actress (My Love Come Back), dies at 91
  • Jan 25 Robertson Hare, English actor (All Gas and Gaiters. Our Girl Friday, Banana Ridge), dies at 87

Nelson RockefellerNelson Rockefeller (1908-1979)

Jan 26 American politician (Vice President: 1974-1977; Governor of New York (R), 1959-73), dies of a heart attack at 70

  • Jan 27 Qalander Baba Auliya, Indian Sufi master (Azeemiyya order), dies at about 81
  • Jan 27 Victoria Ocampo, Argentine writer and publisher (Sur magazine), dies at 88
  • Jan 28 Eileen Shanahan, Irish poet (The Three Children (Near Clonmel)), dies at 77
  • Jan 31 Grant Green, American jazz guitarist, dies of a heart attack at 43