Today in History: Jan. 19, Lucille Ball gives birth, on TV and in real life


In 1853, Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Il Trovatore” premiered in Rome.

In 1915, Germany carried out its first air raid on Britain during World War I as a pair of Zeppelins dropped bombs onto Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn in England.

In 1942, during World War II, Japanese forces captured the British protectorate of North Borneo. A German submarine sank the Canadian liner RMS Lady Hawkins off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, killing 251 people; 71 survived.

In 1944, the federal government relinquished control of the nation’s railroads to their owners following settlement of a wage dispute.

In 1953, CBS-TV aired the widely watched episode of “I Love Lucy” in which Lucy Ricardo, played by Lucille Ball, gave birth to Little Ricky. (By coincidence, Ball gave birth the same day to her son, Desi Arnaz Jr.)

In 1966, Indira Gandhi was chosen to be prime minister of India by the National Congress party.

In 1987, Guy Hunt became Alabama’s first Republican governor since 1874 as he was sworn into office, succeeding George C. Wallace.

In 2005, the American Cancer Society reported that cancer had passed heart disease as the top killer of Americans age 85 and younger.

In 2009, Russia and Ukraine signed a deal restoring natural gas shipments to Ukraine and paving the way for an end to the nearly two-week cutoff of most Russian gas to a freezing Europe.

In 2012, Rupert Murdoch’s media empire apologized and agreed to cash payouts to 37 people who’d been harassed and phone-hacked by its tabloid press.

In 2013, death claimed baseball Hall-of-Famers Stan Musial at age 92 and Earl Weaver at age 82.

In 2018, Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman joined dozens of other women and girls in confronting her former doctor, Larry Nassar, at his sentencing hearing for multiple sexual assaults; she warned him that the testimony of the “powerful army” of survivors would haunt him in prison.

In 2023, the Supreme Court said an eight-month investigation failed to reveal who leaked a draft of the court’s opinion overturning abortion rights.


Actor Tippi Hedren is 94.

Former PBS newsman Robert MacNeil is 93.

Movie director Richard Lester is 92.

Actor-singer Michael Crawford is 82.

Actor Shelley Fabares is 80.

Country singer Dolly Parton is 78.

Former ABC newswoman Ann Compton is 77.

TV chef Paula Deen is 77.

Rock singer Martha Davis is 73.

Singer Dewey Bunnell (America) is 72.

Actor Desi Arnaz Jr. is 71.

Actor Katey Sagal is 70.

Comedian Paul Rodriguez is 69.

Conductor Sir Simon Rattle is 69.

Rock musician Jeff Pilson (Foreigner) is 66.

Actor Paul McCrane is 63.

Actor William Ragsdale is 63.

Basketball coach and commentator Jeff Van Gundy is 62.

International Tennis Hall of Famer Stefan Edberg is 58.

Rock singer Whitfield Crane (Ugly Kid Joe) is 56.

Singer Trey Lorenz is 55.

Actor Shawn Wayans is 53.

Rock singer-musician John Wozniak (Marcy Playground) is 53.

Actor Drea de Matteo is 52.

Comedian-impressionist Frank Caliendo is 50.

Actor Drew Powell is 48.

Actor Marsha Thomason is 48.

Actor Bitsie Tulloch is 43.

Actor Jodie Sweetin is 42.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is 42.

Movie director Damien Chazelle is 39.

Actor Shaunette Renee Wilson is 34.

Actor Briana Henry is 32.

Actor Logan Lerman is 32.

Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson is 32.

Rapper Taylor Bennett is 28.

Actor Lidya Jewett is 17.