Today in History: Jan. 20, Franklin Roosevelt inaugurated on new, earlier date


In 1801, Secretary of State John Marshall was nominated by President John Adams to be chief justice of the United States.

In 1841, the island of Hong Kong was ceded by China to Great Britain. (It returned to Chinese control in July 1997.)

In 1936, Britain’s King George V died after his physician injected the mortally ill monarch with morphine and cocaine to hasten his death; the king was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne 11 months later to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first chief executive to be inaugurated on Jan. 20 instead of March 4.

In 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States.

In 1964, Capitol Records released the album “Meet the Beatles!”

In 1981, Iran released 52 Americans it had held hostage for 444 days, minutes after the presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan.

In 1986, the United States observed the first federal holiday in honor of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

In 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the nation’s 44th, as well as first African American, president.

In 2011, federal authorities orchestrated one of the biggest Mafia takedowns in FBI history, charging 127 suspected mobsters and associates in the Northeast with murders, extortion and other crimes spanning decades.

In 2017, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, pledging emphatically to empower America’s “forgotten men and women.” Protesters registered their rage against the new president in a chaotic confrontation with police just blocks from the inaugural parade.

In 2020, Chinese government experts confirmed human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus, saying two people caught the virus from family members and that some health workers had tested positive.

In 2022, Meat Loaf, the rock superstar known for his “Bat Out of Hell” album and for such theatrical, dark-hearted anthems as “Paradise By the Dashboard Light” and “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” died at age 74.


Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin is 94.

Olympic gold medal figure skater Carol Heiss is 84.

Singer Eric Stewart is 79.

Movie director David Lynch is 78.

Country-rock musician George Grantham (Poco) is 77.

Israeli activist Natan Sharansky is 76.

Actor Daniel Benzali is 74.

Rock musician Paul Stanley (KISS) is 72.

Rock musician Ian Hill (Judas Priest) is 72.

Comedian Bill Maher (MAR) is 68.

Actor Lorenzo Lamas is 66.

Actor James Denton is 61.

Rock musician Greg K. (The Offspring) is 59.

Country singer John Michael Montgomery is 59.

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, is 59.

Actor Rainn Wilson is 58.

Actor Stacey Dash is 57.

TV personality Melissa Rivers is 56.

Actor Reno Wilson is 55.

Singer Edwin McCain is 54.

Actor Skeet Ulrich is 54.

Rap musician Questlove (The Roots) is 53.

Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley is 52.

Rock musician Rob Bourdon (Linkin Park) is 45.

Singer-songwriter Bonnie McKee is 40.

Country singer Brantley Gilbert is 39.

Rock singer Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) is 38.

Actor Evan Peters is 37.