• U.S.

Milestones, Jan. 31, 1977

2 minute read

Born. To James Taylor, 29, and Carly Simon, 32, of pop fame: their second child and first son; in Manhattan. Name: Benjamin Simon. The birth was tape-recorded and preserved on Polaroid film.

Died. Gary M. Gilmore, 36, convicted murderer who was the first American to be executed in nearly a decade; shot by a firing squad; at the State Prison, Point of the Mountain, Utah (see THE LAW).

Died. Yuri Soloviev, 36, one of the world’s leading ballet dancers; of a gunshot wound (apparently by his own hand); outside Leningrad. Soloviev’s exuberant grace and brilliant interpretation of classic roles won him fans not only in the U.S.S.R. but in the West, where he toured with Leningrad’s Kirov Ballet. Although he lacked the passionate dynamism of Rudolf Nureyev or Mikhail Baryshnikov’s transparent, effortless style, some critics believed that he was fully the equal of those famed Soviet emigres as a premier danseur.

Died. Dzemal Bijedic, 60, Premier of Yugoslavia; in a plane crash; near Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. The son of Moslem shopkeepers, Bijedic joined the Communist Youth Movement and in World War II fought the Nazis as a member of Tito’s Partisans. He became a politician in his native Bosnia-Herzegovina, and was appointed Prime Minister by President Tito in 1971.

Died. Rear Admiral Daniel V. Gallery (ret.), 75, valorous World War II carrier commander; after a long illness; in Bethesda, Md. While commanding the escort carrier U.S.S. Guadalcanal in 1944, Gallery captured and took in tow a German submarine off the coast of French West Africa; it was the first enemy warship to be so nabbed by the U.S. Navy on the high seas since 1815.

Died. Carl Zuckmayer, 80, German playwright and satirist who wrote the screenplay for The Blue Angel, the 1929 film that made Marlene Dietrich a star; in Visp, Switzerland. Son of a Rhenish cork manufacturer, Zuckmayer won a pocketful of medals in World War I, then turned to writing. His immensely popular comedy about Prussian militarism, The Captain of Koepenick (1931), in which a shoemaker is able to take command of a town simply because he dons an army captain’s uniform, earned Nazi wrath. After fleeing Hitler in 1933, Zuckmayer eventually settled on a farm in Vermont and wrote The Devil’s General a black-bile drama attacking the Nazi high command. When Germany collapsed, he returned to Europe to compile his affectionate, good-humored memoirs, A Part of Myself.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com