This Week in Movie History: 3/21/16

March 25, 1932: Olympic swimming champ Johnny Weissmuller is Tarzan the Ape Man and Maureen O’Sullivan Jane in the first in MGM’s jungle adventure series.

March 21, 1937: Financial problems, on-set disputes, and car crash injuries to co-star Merle Oberon lead producer Alexander Korda to shut down his planned film translation of I, Claudius with Charles Laughton in the title role.

March 25, 1943: Japanese director Akira Kurosawa‘s first film, Sanshiro Sugata, is released.

March 22, 1944: Hollywood enters the age of TV advertising, as Paramount promotes The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek in a 30-minute program hosted by director Preston Sturges.

March 24, 1949: Laurence Olivier’s production of Hamlet is the first non-Hollywood film to win a Best Picture Academy Award. Also, John Huston (Best Director) and dad Walter (Best Supporting Actor) are the first father/son winners, for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

March 23, 1950: Mercedes McCambridge becomes the first performer to win an Academy Award for a film debut, for her supporting turn in All the King’s Men.

March 22, 1958: Producer Michael Todd (Around the World in 80 Days), 48, is killed in a plane crash in New Mexico.

March 21, 1961: With one studio effort under his belt, actor/director John Cassavetes releases the independent Shadows, a jazz-infused drama set in New York.

March 23, 1964: One-of-a-kind character actor Peter Lorre, 59, who came to prominence with Germany’s M, dies of a heart attack in Los Angeles.

March 27, 1973: Apache Indian Sacheen Littlefeather appears at the Academy Awards ceremony to decline Marlon Brando’s Best Actor Oscar for The Godfather on his behalf.

March 24, 1986: Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple ties The Turning Point’s dubious Academy Award record when it fails to win a single Oscar, despite 11 nominations.

March 25, 1986: Atlanta-based media mogul Ted Turner agrees to buy MGM/UA for a reported $1.5 billion, eventually selling off the production arms but retaining the studios’ film libraries for his cable TV stations.

March 24, 1993: An $8.9 million award is returned against Kim Basinger in the breach of contract suit over her withdrawal from Boxing Helena.

March 21, 1994: After being practically ignored by the Academy throughout his career, Steven Spielberg and Schindler’s List take home seven Oscars.

March 22, 1994: Walter Lantz, veteran animator and creator of Woody Woodpecker, dies at the age of 93.

March 27, 2002: Oscar-winning filmmaker Billy Wilder, whose resumé ranged from Double Indemnity to Some Like It Hot, dies at 95.

March 24, 2008: Actor Richard Widmark, co-star of Kiss of Death and The Alamo, dies at 93.

March 23, 2011: Two-time Oscar-winning actress Elizabeth Taylor passes away at 79.

March 23, 2012: Jennifer Lawrence becomes the screen’s newest action heroine as Katniss Everdeen in the sci-fi hit The Hunger Games.