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On this day: March 15

Today’s birthdays

Judd Hirsch, actor, 84

Frank Dobson, politician, 79

Mike Love, singer (Beach Boys), 78

Paul Pogba, footballer (pictured), 26, musician, 44

Eva Longoria, actress, 44

David Cronenberg, film director, 76

Sly Stone, musician, 76

Ry Cooder, musician, 72

John Duttine, actor, 70

Ben Okri, novelist, 60

Eva Amurri, actress, 34

Howard Devoto, musician, 67

Lynda La Plante, author, 76

Michael Watson, former boxer, 54

It happened today…

1824: Work on John Rennie’s London Bridge began.

1909: ‘The world’s most beautiful store’ opened in London’s Oxford Street. It was named after its American owner, Harry Gordon Selfridge.

1917: Tsar Nicholas II of Russia abdicated.

1929: In Chicago, boogie-woogie pioneer Clarence ‘Pinetop’ Smith was killed as he sat at his piano, by a gunman’s bullet not intended for him. He was 24.

1932: The New BBC Dance Orchestra made its radio debut under the direction of Henry Hall.

1933:Hitler proclaimed the Third Reich, which he said would endure for a thousand years.

1937:America’s first central blood bank was set up.

1945:Album charts were first published in America, by Billboard, with the King Cole Trio (pictured) number one.

1956:My Fair Lady opened on Broadway starring Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison. The title was adapted from the Cockney pronunciation of ‘Mayfair’.

1968:Foreign secretaryGeorge Brown quit as he accused prime minister Harold Wilson of running the Cabinet in a dictatorial fashion.

1974: A federal grand jury concluded that president Nixon was involved in a conspiracy to cover up White House involvement in the burglary at the Democratic Party headquarters in 1972.

1984: Only 21 of Britain’s 174 coal mines were working as strikes against the Coal Board’s 5.2 per cent pay offer and its pit-closure programme became official.

1990:Mikhail Gorbachev was elected executive president of the USSR.

Quote of the day

‘Danny Dyer told me he was descended from Edward III, which is interesting. I must do some research when I get back’ — The Prince of Wales (pictured meeting Danny Dyer this week)

Thought for the day

‘At a time when the future looks so uncertain, when feelings about what the future holds are so fearful and fragile, the most useful and urgent activity of all is to teach young people how to imagine a better future and make it happen. Only art can do this’ — Sculptor Sir Antony Gormley