On This Day

What Happened in March 1997

Historical Events

  • Mar 1 "Mandy Patinkin in Concert" opens at Lyceum Theater, NYC; runs for 16 performances
  • Mar 1 5th annual ESPY Awards shown on TV
  • Mar 1 Canadian Elvis Stojko hits the first quad-triple combination jump in the history of figure-skating competition to win the Championship Series final in Hamilton, Ontario

Sports History

Mar 1 Puerto Rican boxer Héctor Camacho stops Sugar Ray Leonard in 5th round in Atlantic City, NJ to retain IBC middleweight title; only time Leonard's is KO'ed and sends him into permanent retirement

  • Mar 2 Saudi Arab billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal acquires 5% of Apple
  • Mar 2 Soyuz TM-24 returns to Earth (Russia)
  • Mar 2 Australians Greg Blewett (214) and Steve Waugh (160) bat for the entire 3rd day of the 1st cricket Test against South Africa in Johannesburg; set up Australian innings and 196 run victory
  • Mar 2 Michael Andretti wins at Homestead in a Swift chassis, marking the first Champ Car victory in an American-built chassis since 1983; first-ever Champ Car start for the Swift
  • Mar 3 Howard Stern Radio Show premieres in Fayetteville, North Carolina on WRCQ 103.5 FM
  • Mar 3 The tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, Sky Tower in downtown Auckland, New Zealand, opens after two-and-a-half years of construction.
  • Mar 4 Brazil Senate allows women to wear slacks
  • Mar 4 Comet Hale-Bopp directly above the Sun (1.04 AU)

Historic Event

Mar 4 US President Clinton bans federally funded human cloning research

  • Mar 4 Zeya Start-1 launched (Russia)

Hall of Fame

Mar 5 Tommy Lasorda, Nellie Fox and Willie Wells inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame

Historic Event

Mar 6 Picasso's painting Tête de Femme is stolen from a London gallery, and is recovered a week later.

  • Mar 7 Athens, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Rome & Stockholm are finalists for 2004 Olympics site
  • Mar 7 5 sue Japanese PM Ryutaro Hashimoto, because his smoking has violated the country's constitution guaranteeing a wholesome life
  • Mar 8 11th Soul Train Music Awards: Curtis Mayfield, and Babyface win
  • Mar 9 44th ACC Men's Basketball Tournament: #5 North Carolina beats NC State, 64-54
  • Mar 9 38th SEC Men's Basketball Tournament: Kentucky beats Georgia, 95-68

Television Premiere

Mar 10 "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" created by Joss Whedon and starring Sarah Michelle Geller premieres on WB Television Network

Historic Event

Mar 10 The PalmPilot, as developed by Jeffrey Hawkins, is released

  • Mar 11 San Francisco Giant J T Snow suffers a fractured eye socket when hit by a pitch
  • Mar 13 India's Missionaries of Charity chooses Sister Nirmala to succeed Mother Teresa as its leader
  • Mar 13 Phoenix lights seen at night over Phoenix, Arizona by hundreds of people, and by millions on television. Now a hotly debated controversy.
  • Mar 14 68 year old Gordie Howe signs AHL contract with Syracuse Crunch
  • Mar 14 Iranian military plane crashes, killing 80
  • Mar 14 Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson wins 67th James E Sullivan Award
  • Mar 14 President Clinton trips & injures his knee requiring surgery
  • Mar 14 The Chinese city of Chongqing (formerly Chunking) is upgraded to a centrally administered municipality
  • Mar 15 Pitts Penguins' Joe Mullen, is 1st American to score 500 NHL goals
  • Mar 15 France beats Scotland, 47-20 at Parc des Princes, Paris to claim an 11th outright Five Nations Rugby Championship and 5th Triple Crown; fly-half Christophe Lamaison lands 6 penalties and 3 conversions
  • Mar 16 NJ Devils' Dave Andreychuk is 26th NHL to score 500 goals
  • Mar 16 Sandline affair: On Bougainville Island, soldiers of commander Jerry Singirok arrest Tim Spicer and his mercenaries of the Sandline International.
  • Mar 17 CNN begin Spanish broadcasts
  • Mar 18 Russian AN-24 plane crashes in Turkey, 50 die
  • Mar 19 Ice Pairs won by Mandy Woetzel & Ingo Steuer (GER)
  • Mar 19 Major League Baseball announces 5 year/$50M deal with Pepsi
  • Mar 19 US Supreme Court hears Internet indecency arguments

Theater Premiere

Mar 20 Cheryl L. West and Shelden Epp's musical "Play On!", an adaptation of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" set in 1940s Harlem, featuring music of Duke Ellington, opens at Brooks Atkinson Theatre, NYC; runs for 61 performances

  • Mar 20 Liggett admits cigarettes are addictive
  • Mar 20 World Mens Figure Skating Championship in Lausanne won by Elvis Stojko of Canada
  • Mar 21 Ice Dance Championship in Lausanne, Switzerland won by Oksana Grishuk & Evgeny Platov (Rus)

Film Release

Mar 21 Film "Selena" is released based on the life of singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, starring Jennifer Lopez in her breakthrough role, directed by Gregory Nava

Musical Finale

Mar 22 Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black and Christopher Hampton's musical "Sunset Boulevard", based on the film, and starring Glenn Close closes at Minskoff, NYC, after 977 performances and 7 Tony Awards

  • Mar 22 Comet Hale-Bopp Closest Approach to Earth (1.315 AU)
  • Mar 22 Ladies' Figure Skating Championship in Lausanne won by Tara Lipinski (USA)
  • Mar 23 "Mandy Patinkin in Concert" closes at Lyceum Theater NYC
  • Mar 23 17th Golden Raspberry Awards: "Striptease" wins
  • Mar 23 WrestleMania XIII, Rosemont Horizon, IL: Undertaker beats Sycho Sid for WWF Heavyweight title
  • Mar 24 Australian parliament overturns world's 1st & only euthanasia law
  • Mar 25 "Barrymore" opens at Music Box Theater NYC for 240 performances
  • Mar 25 Indians trade Lofton & Embree to Braves for Grissom & Justice
  • Mar 25 "Life After Death" second studio album by The Notorious B.I.G. is released (Billboard Song of the Year 1997)
  • Mar 26 "Annie" opens at Martin Beck Theater New York City, and runs for 239 performances.
  • Mar 26 NHL announces Anaheim Mighty Ducks & Vancouver Canucks to open 1998 season in Japan
  • Mar 26 Thirty-nine bodies found in the Heaven's Gate cult suicides
  • Mar 27 "Young Man From Atlanta" opens at Longacre NYC for 85 performances

Meeting of Interest

Mar 27 Martin Luther King's son meets James Earl Ray, his father's killer

  • Mar 28 "City" soap opera's final episode on ABC-TV
  • Mar 29 1st game at Turner Field Atlanta, Braves beats Yanks 2-0 (exhibition)
  • Mar 29 PBA National Championship Won by Rick Steelsmith
  • Mar 30 16th NCAA Women's Basketball Championship: Tennessee beats Old Dominion, 68-59; Volunteers 5th national title
  • Mar 30 TV network Channel 5 begins broadcasting in the UK

PGA Players Championship

Mar 30 PGA Players Championship, TPC at Sawgrass: Steve Elkington of Australia leads wire-to-wire to win his 2nd PC title, a record 7 strokes ahead of runner-up Scott Hoch.

Golf Major

Mar 30 Nabisco Dinah Shore Women's Golf, Mission Hills CC: 41-year old Betsy King wins her 3rd title in this event, 2 strokes ahead of Kris Tschetter and Amy Fruhwirth; last of her 6 major titles

  • Mar 31 "Daytime to Remember" a series showing old soaps premieres on ABC-TV
  • Mar 31 59th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: Arizona beats Kentucky, 84-79 (OT); Wildcats' first title in first title game

Sports History

Mar 31 West Indies cricketers win 3rd Test at Bridgetown, Barbados by 38 runs after setting India a modest 120 run target; tourists dismissed for 81 in Brian Lara's debut as Windies' captain


Famous Birthdays

  • Mar 2 Becky G [Rebbeca Gomez], American singer and actress (Mayores), born in Inglewood, California

Camila Cabello

Mar 3 (Karla) Camila Cabello, Cuban-American singer-songwriter (Fifth Harmony -"Work from Home"; solo - "Señorita"; "Havana"), born in Cojimar, Cuba

  • Mar 4 Matisse Thybulle, American-Australian NBA player (Philadelphia 76ers), born in Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Mar 7 Josh Dewhurst, British rock guitarist (Blossoms), born in Manchester, England
  • Mar 10 Belinda Bencic, Swiss tennis player (Hopman Cup 2018-19 [with Roger Federer]), born in Flawil, Switzerland

Simone Biles

Mar 14 Simone Biles, American gymnast (Olympic gold floor, team, vault, all-round 2016), born in Columbus, Ohio

Katie Ledecky

Mar 17 Katie Ledecky, American swimmer (6 x Olympic gold 2012, 2016, 2021; World C'ships gold x 15; WR 400m, 800m, 1500m), born in Washington, D.C.

  • Mar 29 Arón Piper, German-Spanish actor (Elite) and singer, born in Berlin, Germany
  • Mar 30 Cha Eun-woo, South Korean singer (Astro), actor and model, born in Gunpo, South Korea

Famous Weddings

  • Mar 29 Actor Harry Hamlin weds actress Lisa Rinna

Vanilla Ice

Mar 30 American rapper Vanilla Ice (29) weds Laura Giarritta


Famous Deaths

  • Mar 3 Stanislav Shatalin, Russian economist (500 Days), dies
  • Mar 3 Finn Høffding, Danish composer (Karlsvognen), dies at 97
  • Mar 4 Robert H. Dicke, American physicist (b. 1916)
  • Mar 4 Carey Loftin, American actor (Duel, The French Connection), dies at 83
  • Mar 5 Samm Sinclair Baker, American diet author (b. 1909)
  • Mar 6 Anthony Hopkins, English clinical neurologist and Director of the Research Unit at the Royal College of Physicians, dies at 59
  • Mar 6 Cheddi Jagan, Guyanese politician, 'Father of the Nation' Guyanese Premier (1953, 1957-64) dies at 78
  • Mar 6 Michael Manley, Jamaican PM (PNP, 1972-80, 89-92), dies
  • Mar 6 Ed Furgol, American golfer (US Open 1954), dies at 79
  • Mar 7 Edward Mills Purcell, American physicist (Nobel 1952), dies at 84
  • Mar 7 E. H. Bronner, German-American soap magnate (b. 1908)
  • Mar 7 Geraldine Clinton Little, Irish poet (A Little Bouquet), dies at 73
  • Mar 8 Alexander Salkind, producer (Superman), dies at 75
  • Mar 8 Raymond Edwards, American doo-wop bass (The Silhouettes - "Get A Job"), dies of cancer at 72
  • Mar 9 Terry Nation, writer (Dr Who, Blake 7) at 66
  • Mar 9 The Notorious B.I.G. [Christopher Wallace], American rapper (Life After Death), shot dead in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles at 24
  • Mar 10 (Dolores) LaVern Baker [Evans], American pop and R&B vocalist ("Jim Dandy"; "I Cried A Tear"), dies of cardiovascular disease at 67
  • Mar 11 Lars Ahlin, Swedish writer (My Death is My Own), dies at 81
  • Mar 11 Hugo Weisgall, American composer (4 Impressions), dies at 84
  • Mar 13 Leo O'Brien, Australian cricket batsman (5 Tests; Victoria), dies at 89
  • Mar 14 Fred Zinnemann Austrian-American director (From Here to Eternity, Julia), dies of heart attack at 89
  • Mar 14 John Curtis Jr, American executive (Luby's Cafe), commits suicide at 49
  • Mar 14 Jurek Becker, Polish-born German writer (Jacob the Liar), dies at 59
  • Mar 14 Lucy Kroll, American talent agent, dies at 87
  • Mar 15 Gail Davis, American actress (Annie Oakley), dies at 71
  • Mar 15 Victor Vasarely, Hungarian-French painter and author (Op Art), dies at 90
  • Mar 17 Jermaine Stewart, American R&B singer (We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off) dies of cancer at 37
  • Mar 19 Willem De Kooning, Dutch artist (Abstract), dies of Alzheimer at 92
  • Mar 20 Carlo Fassi, figure skating coach (Fleming, Hamill), dies at 67
  • Mar 20 Grace Hefner, mother of Hugh Hefner (Playboy), dies at 101
  • Mar 20 Tony Zale, American boxer (World Middleweight Champion 1940-47, 48), dies at 83
  • Mar 21 Wilbert Awdry, English Anglican cleric and children's writer (Thomas the Tank Engine), dies at 85
  • Mar 24 Martin Caidin, American aviation writer, dies at 69
  • Mar 24 Harold Melvin, American soul and R&B singer (The Blue Notes - "If You Don't Know Me By Now"), dies at 57
  • Mar 25 Roberto Sanchez Vilella, governor of Puerto Rico in (1965-69), dies
  • Mar 26 Marshall Applewhite, American cult leader (Heaven's Gate), dies leading a mass suicide at 65
  • Mar 29 Eddie Ryder, American actor (General Hospital, Up Yours), dies at 74
  • Mar 29 Ellen Pollock, British actress (Wicked Lady, Fake), dies at 94
  • Mar 30 Jon Stone, American director and co-creator of Sesame Street, dies at 64
  • Mar 31 Edwin Alberian, TV celebrity (Clarabell), dies at 76
  • Mar 31 Laxmishankar Pathak, food retailer, dies at 62
  • Mar 31 Arthur Cunningham, American composer, dies at 68