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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

January 5, 1998

Are you ready for the first Tuesday Timeline of 2016?

We'll get to that in a second, but before I do that, I'll let you know that after today I'll be going back to 2-3 entries a week.  When I was doing the Advent Calendar and 2015 In Review postings, I didn't mind doing an entry a day, but now that the holidays are over and I'm back in my job full time, my free time is limited.  As I mentioned during my September 2015 hiatus, I'm not abandoning the blog...just devoting more time to other interests is all.

Now that this is out of the way, I can continue with the events of January 5 as well as celebrity birthdays for today.

1066 - When Edward the Confessor dies without any children, the following succession crisis leads to the Norman Conquest of England

1527 - Felix Manz - a leader of the Anabaptist congregation in Zurich, Switzerland - is executed by drowning

1781 - Richmond, Virginia is burned to the ground by British naval forces lead by Benedict Arnold during the American Revolutionary War

1846 - The United States House of Representatives votes to stop sharing the Oregon Territory with the United Kingdom

1896 - An Austrian newspaper reports on the discovery of the radiation used for X-ray technology by Wilhelm Rontgen

1904 - Astrologist Jeane Dixon (d. 1997) is born in Medford, Wisconsin

1911 - Kappa Alpha Psi is founded at Indiana University - the second oldest and largest black fraternity ever founded

1914 - The Ford Motor Company establishes the eight-hour workday as well as a living wage of $5 a day

1917 - Actress Jane Wyman (d. 2007) is born in St. Joseph, Missouri

1919 - The German Workers Party is founded - the party would later change its name to the Nazi Party

1925 - Nellie Tayloe Ross becomes the first female governor of the United States, representing Wyoming

1931 - Dancer/choreographer Alvin Ailey (d. 1989) is born in Rogers, Texas

1933 - The Golden Gate Bridge begins construction over San Francisco Bay

1940 - Screenwriter/actor Michael O'Donoghue (d. 1994) is born in Sauquoit, New York

1944 - The Daily Mail becomes the first transoceanic newspaper

1949 - Harry S. Truman unveils his "Fair Deal" program

1957 - Dwight D. Eisenhower announces the establishment of what will come to be known as the Eisenhower Doctrine

1972 - President Richard Nixon orders the creation and development of the Space Shuttle Program

1985 - Canadian child actor Michael Cuccione (d. 2001) is born in Burnaby, British Columbia

1991 - The South Ossetian War of 1991/1992 begins

1993 - Almost 85,000 gallons of crude oil spill into the ocean off the coast of the Shetland Islands when oil tanker MV Braer runs aground

2004 - Baseball player Tug McGraw passes away at the age of 59

2005 - Eris, the largest known dwarf planet in the Solar System is discovered

And for celebrities turning one year older, we have the following names; Walter Mondale, Robert Duvall, Florence King, Charlie Rose, Roger Spottiswoode, Diane Keaton, Mercury Morris, Ted Lange, Chris Stein, Pamela Sue Martin, Clancy Brown, Suzy Amis Cameron, Grant Young, Ricky Paull Goldin, Kate Schellenbach, Steve Tuttle, Joe Flanigan, Carrie Ann Inaba, Marilyn Manson, Rick Campanelli, Jayne Middlemiss, Sarah-Jane Honeywell, Kylie Bax, Bradley Cooper, January Jones, Brooklyn Sudano, Amanda Hearst, Kristin Cavallari, Michael Gilday, and De'Anthony Thomas.

Okay, now it's time to hop inside our time machine to see what year we're going back to.

How about January 5, 1998?

Now, this is a date that I totally remember.  After all, it was only eighteen years ago.  I remember this date is being right around the time we had a devastating ice storm that paralyzed several parts of Ontario, Quebec, and Upstate New York.  My area lost power for almost a whole week.  Not exactly a fun time.

But for one celebrity, January 5, 1998 wasn't a fun time for him either.  In fact, it ended up being the final day of his life.

It was during a skiing vacation at the Heavenly Ski Resort just outside of South Lake Tahoe, Califonia on the Nevada side of the border.  Although this person wasn't an experienced skier by any means, he did know enough to be able to go down many of the ski trails there.  But on one such run, he somehow collided with a tree which caused fatal injuries. 

And that accident took the life of singer turned politician Sonny Bono.  He was just 62 years old at the time of his death.

The world was shocked by his sudden death, and certainly many people were saddened by his passing.  His ex-wife Cher delivered a powerful and moving eulogy on the day of his funeral.  And I believe that for a brief period after Bono's death, ski resorts were pressured to update their safety concerns, as Bono's death was the second celebrity death to occur on a ski slope within a week - Michael Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy died in Aspen on December 31, 1997.

But you know...given that he was a congressman for California's 44th District at the time of his death, that had to have been a major milestone for him, especially given how he started out.

Born Salvatore Phillip Bono on February 16, 1935, Sonny (a nickname given to him by his mother) was a high school dropout who decided that he would find fame and fortune by recording music.  He began his career at Specialty Records where he wrote the song "Things You Do To Me" - a single eventually recorded by Sam Cooke.  From here, he was introduced to Phil Spector where he became a promotions man and gofer.

He was introduced to Cher during the time that Bono started working for Spector, and the two fell in love and got married towards the end of 1964.

TRIVIA:  This would be Sonny's second of four marriages.  His first marriage to Donna Rankin ended in 1962, his third marriage to Susie Coehlo only lasted a year, and his fourth wife was Mary Whitaker, whom he married in 1986.

At that time Cher was wanting to record music and perform, but believe it or not she suffered from extreme stage fright when she first began her career.  So, Sonny offered to sing along with her to ease her fear.  They began their singing career under the name "Caesar & Cleo", but after failing to make any sort of impact on the charts, they both agreed that it was best to be themselves.  And shortly after they started performing as "Sonny & Cher", they had a hit with the classic 1965 single "I Got You Babe".

(Which appropriately enough was the #1 song on the charts the day my parents got married!)

And when it comes down to Sonny and Cher, they didn't just stop with the music.  I'm sure anyone who was around during the 1970s knows that the two started up their own variety show on CBS that lasted from 1971-1974.  But by 1974, the writing was on the wall and their decade long marriage was starting to show major cracks.  Try as they might, the couple couldn't make their marriage last and the two were divorced by 1975.  But while you might think that they would go on their separate ways, think again.  In 1976, the Sonny and Cher Show was revived, and managed to run episodes well into 1977.  I wouldn't say that the couple really managed to squash their animosities toward each other entirely, but they still managed to show great working chemistry despite their divorce.

By the time the couple reunited with each other one final time on Late Night With David Letterman in November 1987, it did seem like water under the bridge.

But it was right around that time that Bono decided to embark on a career outside of acting and singing.  And interestingly enough, it all began when he tried to open up a restaurant in Palm Springs, California.  The frustration he faced when it came down to the local government bureaucracy slowing the process down got him fired up enough to try to run for mayor of the community in 1988.  Imagine everyone's surprise when he won the vote!  Bono served as mayor of the community from 1988-1992.  And while he lost the election to be brought into the U.S. Senate in 1992, he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1994, beginning his term on January 3, 1995.

Who knew that a little more than three years later, he would be killed in a skiing accident?

But, of course...Sonny's legacy continues on through his four children; Christy, Chaz (born Chastity), Chesare, and Chianna.  A Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars was dedicated to him in 1996.  And his wife Mary took Bono's place in his congressional term, remaining in the position (and being elected seven times) until 2012.

Oh, and one final interesting fact before I close this Tuesday Timeline off...he is the only member of the United States Congress to have a #1 hit on the Billboard Charts...and that is a record that I don't see being broken for a very long time.

Unless of course Cher somehow becomes a congresswoman.

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