Today is Palm Sunday, April 13, the 103rd day of 2014. There are 262 days left in the year.
On April 13, 1964, Sidney Poitier became the first black performer in a leading role to win an Academy Award for his performance in “Lilies of the Field.” (Patricia Neal was named best actress for “Hud”; best picture went to “Tom Jones.”)
On this date:
In 1613, Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan, was captured by English Capt. Samuel Argall in the Virginia Colony and held in exchange for English prisoners and stolen weapons. (During a yearlong captivity, Pocahontas converted to Christianity and ultimately opted to stay with the English. )
In 1742, Handel’s “Messiah” had its first public performance in Dublin, Ireland.
In 1743, the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, was born in Shadwell in the Virginia Colony.
In 1861, at the start of the Civil War, Fort Sumter in South Carolina fell to Confederate forces.
In 1912, the Royal Flying Corps, a predecessor of Britain’s Royal Air Force, was created.
In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., on the 200th anniversary of the third American president’s birth. Radio Berlin announced the discovery of thousands of graves of massacred Polish officers in Russia’s Katyn Forest; the Nazis blamed the killings on the Soviets, who in turn blamed the Nazis. (Post-Soviet Russia has acknowledged the massacre was carried out by Josef Stalin’s secret police.)
In 1958, Van Cliburn of the United States won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition for piano in Moscow; Russian Valery Klimov won the violin competition.
In 1970, Apollo 13, four-fifths of the way to the moon, was crippled when a tank containing liquid oxygen burst. (The astronauts managed to return safely.)
In 1974, NASA launched Westar 1, America’s first commercial communications satellite, for Western Union.
In 1986, Pope John Paul II visited the Great Synagogue of Rome in the first recorded papal visit of its kind to a Jewish house of worship.
Today’s birthdays: Movie director Stanley Donen is 90. Former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., is 81. Actor Lyle Waggoner is 79. Actor Edward Fox is 77. Actor Paul Sorvino is 75. Rhythm-and-blues singer Lester Chambers is 74. Movie-TV composer Bill Conti is 72. Rock musician Jack Casady is 70. Actor Tony Dow is 69. Singer Al Green is 68. Actor Ron Perlman is 64. Actor William Sadler is 64. Singer Peabo Bryson is 63. Bandleader/rock musician Max Weinberg is 63. Bluegrass singer-musician Sam Bush is 62. Rock musician Jimmy Destri is 60. Singer-musician Louis Johnson (The Brothers Johnson) is 59. Comedian Gary Kroeger is 57. Actress Saundra Santiago is 57. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Pa., is 54. Rock musician Joey Mazzola (Sponge) is 53. Chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov is 51. Actress Page Hannah is 50. Actress-comedian Caroline Rhea is 50.
Thought for today: “Go on failing. Go on. Only next time, try to fail better.” — Samuel Beckett, Irish playwright and author (born this date in 1906, died in 1989).