Today In History: November 28, Boston's Cocoanut Grove Nightclub Fire Kills 492

Today in History

Today is Tuesday, Nov. 28, the 332nd day of 2023. There are 33 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Nov. 28, 1942, fire engulfed the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston, killing 492 people in the deadliest nightclub blaze ever. (The cause of the rapidly spreading fire, which began in the basement, is in dispute; one theory is that a busboy accidentally ignited an artificial palm tree while using a lighted match to fix a light bulb.)

On this date:

In 1520, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean after passing through the South American strait that now bears his name.

In 1919, American-born Lady Astor was elected the first female member of the British Parliament.

In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin began conferring in Tehran during World War II.

In 1961, Ernie Davis of Syracuse University became the first Black college football player to be named winner of the Heisman Trophy.

In 1964, the United States launched the space probe Mariner 4 on a course toward Mars, which it flew past in July 1965, sending back pictures of the red planet.

In 1979, an Air New Zealand DC-10 bound for the South Pole crashed into a mountain in Antarctica, killing all 257 people aboard.

In 1990, Margaret Thatcher resigned as British prime minister during an audience with Queen Elizabeth II, who then conferred the premiership on John Major.

In 1994, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was killed in a Wisconsin prison by a fellow inmate.

In 2001, Enron Corp., once the world’s largest energy trader, collapsed after would-be rescuer Dynegy Inc. backed out of an $8.4 billion takeover deal. (Enron filed for bankruptcy protection four days later.)

In 2016, the first commercial flight from the United States to Havana in more than 50 years arrived in Cuba as the island began week-long memorial services for Fidel Castro.

In 2018, Democrats overwhelmingly nominated Nancy Pelosi to become House speaker.

In 2020, Pennsylvania’s highest court threw out a lower court’s order preventing the state from certifying dozens of contests on its Nov. 3 election ballot; it was the latest lawsuit filed by Republicans attempting to undo President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state.

In 2021, Lee Elder, who broke down racial barriers as the first Black golfer to play in the Masters, died in Escondido, California at age 87.

In 2022, Payton Gendron, a white gunman who massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket, pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges in an agreement that gave him life in prison without parole.

Today’s Birthdays: Recording executive Berry Gordy Jr. is 94. Former Democratic Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado is 87. Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is 86. Singer-songwriter Bruce Channel is 83. Singer Randy Newman is 80. CBS News correspondent Susan Spencer is 77. Movie director Joe Dante is 76. Former “Late Show” orchestra leader Paul Shaffer is 74. Actor Ed Harris is 73. Former NASA astronaut Barbara Morgan is 72. Actor S. Epatha (eh-PAY’-thah) Merkerson is 71. Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is 70. Country singer Kristine Arnold (Sweethearts of the Rodeo) is 67. Actor Judd Nelson is 64. Movie director Alfonso Cuaron (kwahr-OHN’) is 62. Rock musician Matt Cameron is 61. Actor Jane Sibbett is 61. Comedian and talk show host Jon Stewart is 61. Actor Garcelle Beauvais (gar-SEHL’ boh-VAY’) is 57. Actor/comedian Stephnie Weir is 56. R&B singer Dawn Robinson is 55. Actor Gina Tognoni is 50. Hip-hop musician (Black Eyed Peas) is 49. Actor Malcolm Goodwin is 48. Actor Ryan Kwanten is 47. Actor Aimee Garcia is 45. Rapper Chamillionaire is 44. Actor Daniel Henney is 44. Rock musician Rostam Batmanglij (baht-man-GLEESH’) is 40. Rock singer-keyboardist Tyler Glenn (Neon Trees) is 40. Actor Mary Elizabeth Winstead is 39. R&B singer Trey Songz is 39. NHL goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (marhk-ahn-dray FLOOR’-ee) is 39. Actor Scarlett Pomers is 35. Actor-rapper Bryshere Gray is 30.