May 25

In 1927, author Robert Ludlum was born in New York City in 1927. He wrote 27 thriller novels and has sold between 290-500 million copies (estimate) in 33 languages and 40 nations. Many of his novels have been turned into movies and mini-series. His most famous novels include The Osterman Weekend (1972), The Holcroft Covenant (1978), and the Bourne series that included The Bourne Identity (1980), The Bourne Supremacy (1986), and The Bourne Ultimatum (1990). Ludlum died at his home in Naples, Florida in 2001 from burns from an unknown cause.  He was 73 years old.

Actress and singer, Leslie Uggams was born in New York City in 1943. Uggams made her singing debut on the Lawrence Welk Show and appeared as a regular on Sing Along with Mitch. She played Georgina in Hallelujah, Baby! for which she won a Tony Award in 1967. Uggams appeared in her own television show, The Leslie Uggams Show, which only lasted for one season in 1969. She had a major role in the miniseries, Roots (1977) and received an Emmy Nomination. Another Emmy nomination came for her performance in the mini-series Backstairs at the White House (1979).

Being a teacher, I could not leave Karen Valentine out of Today in History. She played an idealistic teacher in the television series Room 222. Valentine was born in Sebastopal, California in 1947 and represented California in the Miss Teenage America Pageant, where she won the Talent Award. Her break came in 1969 as a new teacher on the series Room 222 with Lloyd Haynes and Michael Constantine. She received two Emmy nominations for that role. Valentine later starred in Muggable Mary, Street Cop, as Gidget in the film Gidget Grows Up, and on her own television show named Karen. She later appeared often in programs such as Hollywood Squares, Murder, She Wrote, and The Love Boat.

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis was inaugurated in 1968. It is 630 feet high and is the tallest man-made monument in the United States and the world’s tallest arch. It was built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States. The arch is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River. Construction began in 1963 and was completed in 1965 at a cost of $13 million ($97 million in today’s dollars). It was opened to the public in 1967. There is a tram that takes people to the observation area in the top of the arch. Take a tour of the arch.

The first Star Wars film was released in 1977. After “prequels” were made, it was renamed Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The film starred Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, and Alec Guinness. George Lucas began writing the script for Star Wars after completing American Graffiti. The film earned $460 million in the U.S. and $314 million overseas. The film received 10 Academy Award nominations and won in six categories, including Best Picture. Because of the film’s success, two sequels followed; The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).

Larry Moskal began his career as a Social Studies teacher in 1971. He graduated from the University of Buffalo with degrees in history and education. Larry taught Social Studies for the Ken-Ton School system, a suburban school system north of Buffalo, New York until 2005, and then taught and was the Dean of Students at San Miguel High School in Tucson. At Ken-Ton, he pioneered several online courses for high school students. In the 1980s, he spent three years teaching in Colombia, South America and spent four years at Lewiston-Porter High School. He currently is the PowerSchool Administrator for San Miguel accomplishing his work over the Internet.