The Boston Massacre riles up American colonists, Che strikes a famous pose, Elvis is discharged, a plane crash kills Patsy Cline, and John Belushi overdoses, all on this day.
1616: Nicolaus Copernicus's book, "De revolutionibus orbium coelestium" ("On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres"), is banned by the Roman Catholic Church, with a decree calling the theory that the Earth revolves around the sun "false and altogether opposed to Holy Scripture." Further, no person was to be permitted to hold or teach the theory. When Galileo subsequently violated the decree, he was put on trial and held under house arrest for the final eight years of his life.
1770: In an incident that would become known as the Boston Massacre, nine British soldiers stationed in the city fire into an abusive mob, without orders, instantly killing three people and wounding six others. Two more people would later die of wounds suffered in the incident. At a subsequent trial, the soldiers were defended by John Adams, the future U.S. president, with six of the soldiers acquitted, while the other two were convicted of manslaughter and given reduced sentences. The event would contribute to the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War five years later. This famous depiction of the event was engraved by Paul Revere and published later in 1770.
1908: Actor Rex Harrison, best known for the role of Professor Henry Higgins in movie adaptation of "My Fair Lady," is born in Huyton, Lancashire, England. Harrison, who won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his performance, also won a Tony for playing the role on stage. He also appeared in other films, including "Anna and the King of Siam," "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir," "Cleopatra" and "Doctor Dolittle." In July 1989, Harrison was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
1929: David Dunbar Buick, the Scottish-born Detroit inventor best known for founding the Buick Motor Company, dies of colon cancer at the age of 74.
1933: One day after his inauguration, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares a "bank holiday," closing all U.S. banks and freezing all financial transactions on March 6-9. The "holiday" not only helped stem the frantic run on banks during the Great Depression, but gave Roosevelt time to push the Emergency Banking Act through the legislative chain. Passed by Congress on March 9, the act handed the president a far-reaching grip over bank dealings and foreign transactions.
1936: Actor Dean Stockwell, best known for the TV shows "Quantum Leap" and "Battlestar Galactica," is born in Los Angeles, Calif. Stockwell, whose career has spanned more than 60 years, got his start as a child actor in movies such as "Anchors Aweigh" and "The Green Years" and also had a lead role in the 1957 Broadway and 1959 screen adaptations of Meyer Levin's novel "Compulsion," based on the true-life story of Leopold and Loeb. He also appeared in movies such as "Paris, Texas," "Dune," "To Live and Die in L.A.," "Blue Velvet" and "Married to the Mob," the last of which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
1938: Football player and actor Fred Williamson is born in Gary, Ind. He played mainly in the American Football League during the 1960s and went on to appear in films such as "M*A*S*H," "Black Caesar" and "From Dusk Till Dawn."
1943: The Gloster Meteor, the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet aircraft, flies for the first time in the United Kingdom. The jet would see limited action in World War II, while Meteors of the Royal Australian Air Force provided a significant contribution to the Korean War and several other operators such as Argentina, Egypt and Israel also flew Meteors in regional conflicts.
1946: Winston Churchill uses the phrase "Iron Curtain" in the context of Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe in a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo.
1953: Joseph Stalin, the de facto leader of the Soviet Union since the mid-1920s, dies at the age of 74 at his home outside of Moscow, four days after suffering a stroke.
1955: Magician and comedian Penn Jillette, half of the comedy magic duo Penn & Teller, is born in Greenfield, Mass.
1956: Singer-songwriter Teena Marie, whose success in R&B and soul earned her the nickname "Ivory Queen of Soul," is born Mary Christine Brockert in Santa Monica, Calif. Marie, who died at the age of 54 on Dec. 26, 2010, was best known for such funk-infused 1980s hits as "I Need Your Lovin'" and "Lovergirl."
1958: Singer Andy Gibb, the younger brother of Bee Gees Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb, is born in Manchester, England. In a one-year period between July 30, 1977, and July 29, 1978, he became the first male solo artist to have three consecutive No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with "I Just Want to Be Your Everything," "(Love Is) Thicker Than Water" and "Shadow Dancing." He died five days after his birthday, on March 10, 1988, as a result of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle caused by a viral infection that was exacerbated by years of cocaine abuse.
1960: Cuban photographer Alberto Korda takes his iconic photograph of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara in Havana, Cuba, at a memorial service for victims killed a day earlier when the French freighter La Coubre exploded while docked in Havana Harbor.
1960: Elvis Presley is honorably discharged from the U.S. Army with the rank of sergeant.
1963: Country singer Patsy Cline, 30 years old and at the peak of her fame, dies in a plane crash near Camden, Tenn., along with her manager Randy Hughes and long-time country musicians Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas. Cline's hit songs included "Walkin' After Midnight," "I Fall to Pieces," "She's Got You" and "Crazy."
1966: Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin, part of the Dallas Cowboys' high-powered offense in the 1990s that won three Super Bowls, is born in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Irvin finished his 12-season career in 1999 with 750 receptions for 11,904 yards and 65 touchdowns.
1970: The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons goes into effect after ratification by 43 nations. The treaty's objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament. Another 146 countries have signed onto the treaty since its ratification.
1974: Actress Eva Mendes, best known for her film roles in "Training Day," "2 Fast 2 Furious," "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," "Hitch," "Ghost Rider," "We Own the Night" and "The Other Guys," is born in Miami, Fla.
1975: Model Niki Taylor, whose first magazine cover was an 1989 issue of Seventeen at the age of 14, is born in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In 1992, she became the first spokesmodel under the age of 18 to sign a major contract with CoverGirl. Some of her other ad campaigns have been for Liz Claiborne, Nokia, Ellen Tracy, L'Oréal, Gap, Lee Jeans and Pantene.
1979: America's Voyager 1 spacecraft has its closest approach to Jupiter, coming with 172,000 miles of the solar system's largest planet.
1982: Comedian and actor John Belushi, best known for his film roles in "The Blues Brothers" and "Animal House," and as a regular on "Saturday Night Live," dies in Hollywood, Calif., after overdosing on a mixture of cocaine and heroin at age 33.
1984: Actor William Powell, whose most famous role was that of Nick Charles in six "Thin Man" films, beginning with "The Thin Man" in 1934, dies of heart failure at the age of 91 in Palm Springs, Calif. He also appeared in movies such as "Manhattan Melodrama," "The Great Ziegfeld," "Reckless" and "Mister Roberts," and earned Academy Award nominations for Best Actor for his performances in "The Thin Man," "My Man Godfrey" and "Life with Father."
1993: Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson is banned from racing for life by the Amateur Athletic Association after testing positive for banned performance-enhancing substances for a second time. Johnson had earlier been banned for two years and stripped of an Olympic gold medal for the 100-meter sprint after testing positive at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.
2002: MTV begins airing "The Osbournes," a reality television show following the daily activities of rock musician Ozzy Osbourne and his family. In its first season, the show was cited as the most-viewed series ever on MTV.
2004: Lifestyle maven Martha Stewart is found guilty of lying about the reason for selling 3,298 shares of ImClone Systems stock, conspiracy, making false statement and obstruction of justice. She would later be sentenced to five months in prison and five months of home confinement.
2006: "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from the movie "Hustle & Flow" wins an Oscar for Best Song, just the second rap song to get the award, after "Lose Yourself" by Eminem from the 2002 movie "8 Mile." The hip hop group Three 6 Mafia, which wrote the song along with Cedric Coleman, become the first rappers to perform at an Academy Awards ceremony.
2009: Michael Jackson holds a brief and bizarre press conference announcing his plans to hold a series of comeback concerts titled "This Is It," suggesting possible retirement after the shows. The initial plan was for 10 concerts at London's O2 Arena, followed by shows in Paris, New York City and Mumbai. The London residency was increased to 50 dates after record breaking ticket sales, but Jackson would die on June 25, 2009, less than three weeks before the first show was due to begin in London.
2012: Songwriter Robert B. Sherman, who specialized in musical films with his brother Richard Morton Sherman, dies at the age of 86 in London, England. Some of the Sherman Brothers' best known songs were incorporated into movies such as "Mary Poppins," "The Jungle Book," "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "Charlotte's Web" and the theme park song of "It's a Small World (After All)." The brothers won an Oscar for Best Original Song for "Chim Chim Cher-ee" from "Mary Poppins" and another Oscar for the film's score, which also earned them a Grammy Award. They were nominated for seven more Oscars during their career along with five Golden Globe nominations and two more Grammy nominations.
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