Today is Wednesday, April 12, the 102nd day of 2017. There are 263 days left in the year.
Birthdays: Children’s author Beverly Cleary is 101. Actress Jane Withers is 91. Opera singer Montserrat Caballe is 84. Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock is 77. Steppenwolf singer John Kay is 73. Actor Ed O’Neill is 71. Former talk show host David Letterman is 70. Author Scott Turow is 68. Singer David Cassidy is 67. Actor-playwright Tom Noonan is 66. Actor Andy Garcia is 61. Country singer Vince Gill is 60. Indigo Girls singer Amy Ray is 53. Actress Shannen Doherty is 46. Coldplay’s bass guitarist Guy Berryman is 39. Actress Claire Danes is 38.
Actress Saoirse Ronan is 23.
In 1861, the Civil War began as Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Ga., at age 63; he was succeeded by Vice President Harry S. Truman.
In 1955, the Salk vaccine against polio was declared safe and effective.
In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space, orbiting the Earth once before making a safe landing.
In 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested and jailed in Birmingham, Ala., charged with contempt of court and parading without a permit. (During his time behind bars, King wrote his ‘‘Letter from Birmingham Jail.”)
In 1981, former world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, 66, died in Las Vegas.
In 1990, in its first meeting, East Germany’s first democratically elected Parliament acknowledged responsibility for the Nazi Holocaust, and asked the forgiveness of Jews and others who had suffered.