1888 – Mary Ann Nichols, the first victim of London serial killer “Jack the Ripper,” was found murdered and mutilated in Whitechapel’s Buck’s Row. The East End of London saw four more victims of the murderer during the next few months, but no suspect was ever found.
1935 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Neutrality Act, or Senate Joint Resolution No. 173, which he called an “expression of the desire…to avoid any action which might involve [the U.S.] in war.” The signing came at a time when newly installed fascist governments in Europe were beginning to beat the drums of war.
1939 – Despite threats of British and French intervention, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler signed an order to attack Poland, and German forces moved to the frontier. That evening, Nazi S.S. troops wearing Polish uniforms staged a phony invasion of Germany, damaging several minor installations on the German side of the border. They also left behind a handful of dead German prisoners in Polish uniforms to serve as further evidence of the alleged attack, which Nazi propagandists publicized as an unforgivable act of Polish aggression.
1940 – Actor Lawrence Olivier and actress Vivian Leigh were married. Their often stormy marriage ended in divorce in 1960.
1950 – Gil Hodges of the Brooklyn Dodgers hit four home runs in a single game. He got homers off of Boston Braves pitchers Warren Spahn, Normie Roy, Bob Hall and Johnny Antonelli.
1969 – Rocky Marciano, the only boxer to hold the heavyweight title and go untied and undefeated throughout his career, died in a plane crash in Iowa. The fatal accident occurred one day before his 46th birthday.
1985 – Richard Ramirez, the notorious “Night Stalker,” was captured and nearly killed by a mob in East Los Angeles, California, after being recognized from a photograph shown both on television and in newspapers. Identified as the suspected serial killer, Ramirez was pulled from the enraged mob by police officers.
1997 – The New York Yankees retired the uniform number (#23) of former first baseman Don Mattingly.
1997 – Diana, Britain’s Princess of Wales, was killed in an early-morning car crash in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris, France. The accident also caused the deaths of her companion Dodi Fayed and the driver, Henri Paul.
2013 – Television host Sir David Frost (That Was The Week That Was, The Nixon Interviews, Through The Keyhole) died of a heart attack at the age of 74.