Today in Entertainment History

On March 28, 1958, W.C. Handy, the composer known as “the father of the blues,” died of natural causes in New York at the age of 84. He’s perhaps best known for his “Memphis Blues” and “St. Louis Blues.”

Also in 1958, Eddie Cochran recorded “Summertime Blues.”

In 1964, Madame Tussaud’s (too-SOHZ’) in London announced that The Beatles would become the first pop stars to be cast in wax.

In 1974, bluesman Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup (KROOD’-uhp) died of a stroke at the age of 69. Crudup wrote the Elvis Presley hit “That’s All Right (Mama).”

In 1976, Genesis opened its first North American tour in Buffalo, New York, with drummer Phil Collins as lead vocalist. Genesis had auditioned more than 400 singers to replace Peter Gabriel.

In 1990, comedian Richard Pryor was discharged from an Australian hospital after being treated for a mild heart attack.

Also in 1990, singer Eddy Arnold underwent heart bypass surgery in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1995, actor Julia Roberts and musician Lyle Lovett announced they were separating after 21 months of marriage.

In 1996, musician Phil Collins announced he was leaving Genesis.

In 1998, “The Capeman,” Paul Simon’s $11 million musical starring Marc Anthony, closed on Broadway after 69 regular performances.

Today’s Birthdays: Harmonica player Charlie McCoy (“Hee Haw”) is 80. Actor Dianne Wiest (weest) is 75. Country singer Reba McEntire is 66. Actor Alexandra Billings (“Transparent”) is 59. Rapper Salt of Salt-N-Pepa is 55. Actor Tracey Needham (“The Division,” “JAG”) is 54. Country singer Rodney Atkins is 52. Director Brett Ratner (“Rush Hour”) is 52. Actor Vince Vaughn is 51. Rapper Mr. Cheeks of Lost Boyz is 50. Actor Ken L. (“The Parkers”) is 48. Singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson is 48. Guitarist Dave Keuning (KOO’-ning) of The Killers is 45. Actor Annie Wersching (“24″) is 44. Actor Julia Stiles is 40. Singer Lady Gaga is 35. Musician Clayton Knight of Odesza is 33.

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