On This Day

On This Day in Film & TV for January 4

Events in Film & TV

  • 1896 AFL charters Actors' National Protective Union, NYC

Murder of InterestTopsy the Elephant is Electrocuted

1903 Topsy the elephant is electrocuted by her owners at Luna Park, Coney Island and filmed by Edison Manufacturing movie company [1]

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Topsy the elephant is electrocuted to death at Luna Park in New York
Topsy the elephant is electrocuted to death at Luna Park in New York
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  • 1920 Amsterdam actors decide to strike for retirement benefits
  • 1934 1st Dutch talkie movie, Jan Teunissen's "Willem of Orange" premieres

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1935 Bob Hope 1st heard on network radio as part of "The Intimate Revue"

Entertainer and TV Personality Bob Hope
Entertainer and TV Personality
Bob Hope
  • 1953 KTSM TV channel 9 in El Paso, TX (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • 1954 Soap Opera "The Brighter Day" premieres
  • 1957 "Blondie" situation comedy premieres on NBC TV (later on CBS)
  • 1966 WFLD TV channel 32 in Chicago, IL (IND) begins broadcasting
  • 1968 Leo Fender sells Fender Guitars for $13 million to CBS
  • 1982 Bryant Gumbel became co-host of NBC's "Today Show"
  • 1982 ABC Direction Network (57 affiliates) & ABC Rock Network (40 affiliates) become the 5th & 6th ABC radio network
  • 1984 "Night Court" starring Harry Anderson premieres on NBC TV
  • 1992 8th= largest wrestling crowd NJPW Starcade (60,000-Tokyo Dome)
  • 1993 7th largest wrestling crowd (63,500-Tokyo Dome)
  • 1994 10th largest wrestling crowd (58,000-Tokyo Dome)

Birthdays in Film & TV

  • 1870 Percy Pitt, English composer (BBC), born in London (d. 1932)
  • 1877 Gibson Gowland, British film actor (Greed, Blind Husbands, The Phantom of the Opera), born in Spennymoor, Durham, England (d. 1951)
  • 1903 Joris Diels, Flemish actor and director (It's a Cruel World, Haagsche Comedy), born in Antwerpen, Belgium (d. 1992)
  • 1905 Sterling Holloway, American actor (The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, The Aristocats, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree), born in Cedartown, Georgia (d. 1992)
  • 1916 Lionel Newman, American film music composer (Peyton Place), born in New Haven, Connecticut (d. 1989)
  • 1920 Rosalie Crutchley, British actress (Armchair Theatre: Black Limelight, Four Weddings and a Funeral), born in London, England (d. 1997)
  • 1927 Barbara Rush, American actress (Marsha-Peyton Place, It Came From Outer Space, Flamingo Road), born in Denver, Colorado
  • 1930 Iain Cuthbertson, Scottish actor (Guilty, Scandal, Rep, Danger UXB), born in Glasgow, Lanarkshire (d. 2009)
  • 1930 Sorrell Booke, American actor (Boss Hogg in Dukes of Hazard), born in Buffalo, New York (d. 1994)
  • 1932 Richard Stahl, American actor (Howard-It's a Living), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 2006)
  • 1937 Dyan Cannon [Samile Diane Friesen], American actress, director and producer (Heaven Can Wait), born in Tacoma, Washington
  • 1940 Anthony "Skooter" Teague, American screen and stage actor (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; No, No, Nanette), born in Jacksboro, Texas (d. 1989)
  • 1941 John Bennett Perry, singer/actor (Falcon Crest), born in Williamstown, Massachusetts
  • 1947 Rick Stein, English chef and television presenter
  • 1956 Ann Magnuson, actress (Anything But Love, Hunger), born in Charleston, West Virginia
  • 1958 Matt Frewer, actor (Max Headroom, Doctor Doctor), born in Washington, D.C.
  • 1958 Julian Sands, English actor (A Room with a View, Arachnophobia), born in Otley, Yorkshire, England
  • 1958 Andy Borowitz, American comedian and satirist
  • 1958 Gary Jones, Welsh-born actor
  • 1959 Vanity [Denise Matthews] Canadian-American pop and R&B singer, Prince protégé , and actress (52 Pick Up), born in Niagara Falls, Ontario (d. 2016)
  • 1960 April Winchell, American actress
  • 1961 Lee Curreri, American actor (Bruno Martelli-Fame), born in NYC, New York
  • 1962 Patrick Cassidy, American actor and composer (Fever Pitch, Off the Wall), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1962 Laila Eloui, Egyptian actress
  • 1963 Dave Foley, actor and comedian (Kids In The Hall, Dave Nelson on NewsRadio)
  • 1965 Julia Ormond, English actress (Sabrina, Legends of the Fall), born in London, England
  • 1965 Yvan Attal, French actor and director, born in Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 1965 Rick Hearst, American actor (General Hospital), born in Howard Beach, New York
  • 1967 Marina Orsini, Canadian actress, born in Ville-Émard, Montreal
  • 1969 Lindsay Kennedy, American actor (Jeb-Little House on the Prairie), born in Atlanta, Georgia
  • 1970 Chris Kanyon, American pro wrestler (WCW/WWF World Tag Team C'ship), born in Sunnyside, New York City (d. 2010)
  • 1971 Jeremy Licht, American actor (Mark-Valerie/Hogan Family), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1972 James Longley, American documentary filmmaker, born in Eugene, Oregon
  • 1973 Harmony Korine, American film director and artist, born in Bolinas, California
  • 1977 Irán Castillo, Mexican actress, born in Veracruz, Mexico
  • 1980 Greg Cipes, American actor, born in Coral Springs, Florida
  • 1980 Erin Cahill, American actress, born in Stafford, Virginia
  • 1982 Kang Hye-jeong, South Korean actress, born in Incheon, South Korea
  • 1991 Olivia Tennet, New Zealand actress, born in Auckland, New Zealand
  • 1999 Gage Munroe, Canadian actor (I Declare War), born in Toronto, Ontario
  • 2000 Rhiannon Leigh Wryn, American actress, born in Los Angeles, California

Weddings in Film & TV

LoveWedding of Interest

1997 Czech Republic's first president Vaclav Havel (60) weds Czech actress Dagmar Havlova (43) in Prague, Czech Republic

Politician and Author Václav Havel
Politician and Author
Václav Havel
  • 1997 "Smothers Brothers" actor-singer Dick Smothers (58) weds Denby Franklin (47) in Las Vegas

Deaths in Film & TV

  • 1931 Arthemus "Art" Acord, American silent film actor and rodeo champion (Arizona Kid, Hard Fists), commits suicide by poison at 40
  • 1953 Arthur Hoyt, American actor and director (Gold Dust Gertie, Goldie Get Along), dies at 79
  • 1961 Barry Fitzgerald, Irish actor (Academy Award, Going My Way), dies at 72
  • 1964 Ralph Dumke, American actor (Movieland Quiz), dies at 64
  • 1976 Jan B Cammans, Flemish actor (Brothers Karamazov), dies at 84
  • 1985 Brian Gwynne Horrocks, English Army Lt-General, author (A Full Life; Corps Commander), and film consultant (A Bridge Too Far), dies at 89
  • 1991 Berry Kroeger, actor (Demon Seed), dies of kidney failure at 78
  • 1991 Harry Krimer, French actor (Napoleon, Les vagabonds magnifiques, La course du flambeau), committed suicide at 94
  • 1991 Richard Maibaum, American screenwriter (Goldfinger), dies at 81
  • 1992 William Walker, stuntman/actor (Our Man Flint), dies at 74
  • 1993 Joe Keenan, actor (Conviction of Kitty Dodd), dies of cancer at 69
  • 1994 R. D. Burman, Indian film score composer (1942: A Love Story), dies at 54
  • 1995 Dorothy Granger, American actress (Hog Wild, Dentist), dies at about 80
  • 1995 Leonard Hirsch, British violinist and conductor (BBC Empire Orchestra), dies at 92
  • 1998 Mae Questel, American actress (b. 1908)
  • 1999 Iron Eyes Cody [Espera Oscar de Corti], Italian-American actor (Keep America Beautiful, Black Gold, Ernest Goes to Camp), dies at 91
  • 2003 Conrad Hall, Tahitian-American cinematographer, dies at 76
  • 2004 Brian Gibson (director), English film director (b. 1944)
  • 2007 Steve Krantz, American film and TV producer (Fritz the Cat) (b. 1923)
  • 2007 Helen Hill, American independent filmmaker (b. 1970)
  • 2010 Donal Donnelly, Irish actor (The Godfather: Part III, Dead), dies of cancer at 78
  • 2012 Harry Fowler, British actor (Great: Isambard Kingdom Brunel), dies at 85
  • 2013 Tony Lip [Frank Anthony Vallelonga], American author and actor (Sopranos, Donnie Brasco, Good Fellas), dies at 82
  • 2015 Stuart Scott, American sports journalist (ESPN), dies of cancer at 49
  • 2016 Michel Galabru, French actor (Judge & the Assassin), dies at 93
  • 2021 Tanya Roberts, American actress (Charlie's Angels, A View to a Kill), dies at 65 [1]