Official Blog of Author MICHAEL THOMAS BARRY.
A blog which discusses varied topics that are related to the authors many books. Michael is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and a reviewer for The New York Journal of Books.
Questions or comments can be sent to email@example.com
Friday, May 4, 2012
Haymarket Square Riot (1886) & Actress Audrey Hepburn is Born (1929)
On this date in 1886, a bomb is thrown at a squad of
policemen attempting to break up a labor rally at Haymarket Square in Chicago,
The police responded with wild gunfire, killing several people in the
crowd and injuring dozens more. The demonstration, which drew some 1,500 Chicago workers,
was organized by German-born labor radicals in protest of the killing of a
striker by the Chicago police the day before. Midway into the rally, which had
thinned out because of rain, a force of nearly 200 policemen arrived to
disperse the workers. As the police advanced toward the 300 remaining
protesters, an individual who was never positively identified threw a bomb at
them. After the explosion and subsequent police gunfire, more than a dozen
people lay dead or dying, and close to 100 were injured.
The Haymarket Square Riot set off a national wave of
xenophobia, as hundreds of foreign-born radicals and labor leaders were rounded
up in Chicago and elsewhere. A grand jury eventually indicted 31 suspected
labor radicals in connection with the bombing, and eight men were convicted in
a sensational and controversial trial. Judge Joseph E. Gary imposed the death
sentence on seven of the men, and the eighth was sentenced to 15 years in
prison. On November 11, 1887, Samuel Fielden, Adolph Fischer, August Spies, and
Albert Parson were executed. Of the three others sentenced to death, one
committed suicide on the eve of his execution and the other two had their death
sentences commuted to life imprisonment by Illinois Governor Richard J.
Oglesby. Governor Oglesby was reacting to widespread public questioning of
their guilt, which later led his successor, Governor John P. Altgeld, to pardon
fully the three activists still living in 1893.
On this day in 1929, Edda van Heemstra
Hepburn-Ruston--who will one day be better known to legions of film fans as
Audrey Hepburn is born near Brussels, Belgium.
The daughter of an English banker and a Dutch baroness,
Hepburn was attending school in London when World War II erupted in Europe.
During the war, the Nazis occupied Holland, where the young Audrey and her
mother were staying, and the family suffered many hardships. Hepburn continued
to pursue her ballet studies, and at war’s end, she returned to London, where
she modeled and began acting in small parts on stage and screen. In 1951,
Hepburn was “discovered” by the French writer Colette while in Monaco shooting a
film. Colette insisted Hepburn be cast in the title role of the Broadway
version of her novel Gigi, and the young actress made her Broadway debut
that same year.
Hepburn’s success in Gigi led directly to her
being cast as the lead in the 1953 film Roman Holiday. For her portrayal
of a headstrong young princess who falls in love with a journalist (played by
Gregory Peck) while on the loose in Rome, Hepburn won the Academy Award for
Best Actress. She won a Tony Award for Best Actress the same year, for her
starring turn in Ondine. Over the next decade, Hepburn proved herself
more than a match for Hollywood’s top leading men in such hits as Sabrina (1954,
with William Holden and Humphrey Bogart), Funny Face (1957, with Fred
Astaire) and Love in the Afternoon (1957, with Gary Cooper).
As the inimitable Holly Golightly in Breakfast at
Tiffany’s (1961), Hepburn earned her fourth Oscar nod for Best Actress (she
was also nominated for Sabrina and 1959’s A Nun’s Story). She
sparked a controversy when she was picked to star as Eliza Doolittle in the
film version of the musical My Fair Lady (1964), beating out Julie
Andrews, who had originated the role on Broadway. Three years later, Hepburn
scored a fifth Academy Award nomination for Wait UntilDark, a
film that was produced by her then-husband, Mel Ferrer (they married in 1954).
She left full-time acting shortly thereafter (though she would continue to
appear sporadically in movies, notably as Maid Marian opposite Sean Connery’s
Robin Hood in 1976’s Robin and Marian) and spent most of her time at her
home in Switzerland. Hepburn and Ferrer, who had two sons, divorced in 1968,
and Hepburn married Andrea Dotti, an Italian psychiatrist, the following year;
they had one son together. After divorcing Dotti, Hepburn began a relationship
with Robert Wolders, a Dutch actor, in 1980.
In her semi-retirement from acting, Hepburn devoted most
of her energy to charitable causes, most notably UNICEF, the United Nation’s
children’s fund, for which she was named a special ambassador in 1988.
Hepburn’s field trips for UNICEF took her around the globe, from Guatemala,
Honduras, Venezuela and El Salvador, to Turkey, Thailand, Bangladesh and Sudan.
She was also an eloquent public voice for the organization, helping to raise
money and awareness for its work by speaking before the U.S. Congress, among
other venues. In 1992, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Hepburn made her final film appearance in Steven
Spielberg’s film Always (1989), in which she played an angel. In 1992,
shortly after returning from a UNICEF trip to Somalia, Hepburn was diagnosed
with colon cancer. After undergoing surgery that November, she died on January
20, 1993, at her home near Lausanne, Switzerland, at the age of 63.