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1874–Magician, Harry Houdini, is born Erich Weiss in Budapest, Hungary. He was illusionist, stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts. Houdini's big break came in 1899, when he met manager Martin Beck in rural Woodstock, Illinois. Impressed by Houdini's handcuffs act, Beck advised him to concentrate on escape acts and booked him on the Orpheum vaudeville circuit. Within months, he was performing at the top vaudeville houses in the country. He toured England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Russia. In 1913, Houdini introduced his most famous act, the Chinese Water Torture Cell, in which he was suspended upside-down in a locked glass-and-steel cabinet full to overflowing with water. The act required that Houdini hold his breath for more than three minutes. Houdini performed this escape for the rest of his career.



809–Arab caliph, Harun al-Rashid, dies in Tus, Khorasan, Abbasid Caliphate (present-day Razavi Khorasan Province, Iran), at age 46. He ruled from 786 to 809, during the peak of the Islamic Golden Age. His time was marked by scientific, cultural, and religious prosperity. Islamic art and music also flourished significantly during his reign. He established the legendary library Bayt al-Hikma ("House of Wisdom") in Baghdad, Iraq, and during his rule Baghdad began to flourish as a center of knowledge, culture, and trade.

1401–Turco-Mongol Emperor Timur sacks Damascus.

1455–Pope Nicholas V dies in Rome, Papal States, at age 57.

1471–Sir Thomas Malory, the English knight who assembled all the Arthurian matter into Le Morte d’Arthur, dies at age 55.

1545–The German Parliament opens in Worms.

1603–Queen Elizabeth I, England’s “Virgin Queen,” dies at Richmond Palace in Surrey, England, at age 69, ending a reign of 45 years. The childless Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. King James VI of Scotland, ascends to the throne, uniting England, Scotland, and Ireland under a single British monarch.

1603–Tokugawa Ieyasu is granted the title of Shogun from Emperor Go-Yozei, and establishes the Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo, Japan.

1664–Roger Williams is granted a charter to colonize Rhode Island.

1707–The Acts of Union 1707 is signed, officially uniting the Kingdoms of England and Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain.

1720–Count Frederick of Hesse-Kassel is elected King of Sweden by the Riksdag of the Estates, after his consort Ulrika Eleonora abdicates the throne.

1721–Johann Sebastian Bach dedicates six concertos to Christian Ludwig, margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt. These are now commonly called the Brandenburg Concertos.

1801–Aleksandr P. Romanov becomes Emperor of Russia.

1829–The Parliament of the United Kingdom passes the Roman Catholic Relief Act, allowing Catholics to serve in Parliament.

1832–Mormon leader, Joseph Smith, Jr., is beaten, tarred, and feathered in Hiram, Ohio.

1834–Artist and textile designer, William Morris, is born in Walthamstow, England. Associated with the English Arts and Crafts Movement, Morris established a design firm that would profoundly influence the decoration of homes and churches well into the 20th century. As a medievalist author and illustrator, he contributed to the establishment of the modern fantasy genre, and had a direct influence on author J.R R. Tolkien. He was also a major influence in the revival of traditional textile arts.

1837–Canada gives African-Canadian men the right to vote.

1854–Slavery is abolished in Venezuela.

1868–The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company is established.

1869–French playwright, Émile Fabre, is born in Metz, France. He was administrator of the Comédie-Française (1915-36). His first play was written at the age of 13.

1874–Magician and escape artist, Harry Houdini, is born Erich Weiss in Budapest, Hungary. He was an illusionist and stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts. Houdini's big break came in 1899, when he met manager Martin Beck in rural Woodstock, Illinois. Impressed by Houdini's handcuffs act, Beck advised him to concentrate on escape acts and booked him on the Orpheum vaudeville circuit. Within months, he was performing at the top vaudeville houses in the country. He toured England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Russia. In 1913, Houdini introduced his most famous act, the Chinese Water Torture Cell, in which he was suspended upside-down in a locked glass-and-steel cabinet full to overflowing with water. The act required that Houdini hold his breath for more than three minutes. Houdini performed this escape for the rest of his career.

1878–The British frigate HMS Eurydice sinks, killing more than 300 people.

1882–German scientist, Robert Koch, announces the discovery of the bacterium responsible for tuberculosis.

1882–Outlaw, William Brocius, known as Curly Bill Brocius, dies from a gun wound after being shot by Wyatt Earp in Iron Springs, Arizona Territory, at age 47. He was a gunman and rustler in the Cochise County area of the Arizona Territory during the early 1880s. He belonged to The Cowboys gang that had run-ins with the Earps.

1882–Poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, dies suddenly in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at age 75. He becomes the first American to be honored with a bust in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey, London, England.

1887–Actor, Fatty Arbuckle, is born Roscoe Conkling Arbucklein in Smith Center, Kansas. He was a comedian, director, and screenwriter. At Keystone Studios he worked with Mabel Normand and Harold Lloyd. He mentored Charlie Chaplin, and discovered Buster Keaton and Bob Hope. Arbuckle was one of the most popular silent stars of the 1910s, and became one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. Between November 1921 and April 1922, Arbuckle suffered through three widely publicized trials for the rape and manslaughter of actress, Virginia Rappe: Arbuckle was accused by Rappe's acquaintance of raping and accidentally killing her. After the first two trials, which resulted in hung juries, Arbuckle was acquitted in the third trial and received a formal written statement of apology from the jury. Following the trials, his films were banned and he was publicly ostracized.

1897–Psychoanalysist, Wilhelm Reich, is born in Dobzau, Austria-Hungary (present-day Ukraine). He was a member of the second generation of psychoanalysts after Sigmund Freud, and one of the most radical figures in the history of psychiatry. He was the author of several influential books, most notably Character Analysis (1933) and The Mass Psychology of Fascism (1933). His writing influenced generations of intellectuals and he coined the phrase "the sexual revolution." He moved to New York in 1939, in part to escape the Nazis.

1898–Robert Allison, of Port Carbon, Pennsylvania, becomes the first person to buy an American-built automobile. He buys a Winton that is advertised in Scientific American.

1900–Construction begins on the monumental project of the New York subway system.

1902–Politician, Thomas Edmund Dewey, is born in Owosso, Michigan. He was a U.S. Republican presidential candidate in 1944 and 1948, and the 47th Governor of New York (1943-1954).

1905–Sci-fi and fantasy writer, Jules Verne, dies from complications of diabetes in Amiens, France, at age 77. His works include Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Around the World in Eighty Days.

1906–The Census of the British Empire shows that England rules one-fifth of the world.

1907–The first issue of the Georgian Bolshevik newspaper, Dro, is published.

1909–Bank robber, Clyde (Chestnut) Barrow, of the Bonnie & Clyde Gang, is born in Ellis County, Texas. Clyde was first arrested in late 1926, after running when police confronted him over a rental car he had failed to return on time. His second arrest, with brother Marvin "Buck" Barrow, came soon after, this time for possession of stolen turkeys. He was employed from 1927 through 1929, but he also cracked safes, robbed stores, and stole cars during that time. After sequential arrests in 1928 and 1929, he was sent to Eastham Prison Farm in April 1930. While in prison, Barrow beat to death another inmate who had repeatedly assaulted him sexually. Paroled in February 1932, Barrow emerged from Eastham a hardened and bitter criminal. Bonnie Parker met Clyde on January 5, 1930, at Clarence Clay's (a friend of Clyde’s). They were immediately attracted to each other and most historians believe Parker joined Barrow in their crime spree because she was in love.

1910–Actor, Richard Conte, is born Nicholas Peter Conte in Jersey City, New Jersey. He appeared in the films Call Northside 777, Thieves’ Highway, The Blue Gardenia, The Big Combo, I’ll Cry Tomorrow, They Came to Cordura, Ocean’s 11, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Assault in a Queen, Tony Rome, and The Godfather.

1911–Animator, Joseph Barbera, is born Joseph Roland Barbera in New York, New York. He was the co-founder of Hanna-Barbera, which became the most successful television animation studio of the era, producing the programs The Flintstones, The Huckleberry Hound Show, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, The Smurfs, and Yogi Bear.

1915–Professional wrestler, Gorgeous George, is born George Raymond Wagner in Butte, Nebraska. During the First Golden Age of Professional Wrestling in the 1940s and 1950s, he gained mainstream popularity and became a household name. Gorgeous George was the industry's first cowardly villain, and he would cheat at every opportunity during a match, which infuriated the crowd. His credo was "Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat!"

1919–Beat poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, is born in Yonkers, New York. In World War II he was the commanding officer of a submarine chaser at the D-Day invasion. He moved to San Francisco, California, in 1951, and along with Peter Martin, founded the City Lights Pocket Book Shop, in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, which was instrumental in making the works of the Beat Generation writers available. The store became a center for the Beat movement, and published Allen Ginsberg's poem “Howl,” for which Ferlinghetti was sued for indecency. His book, A Coney Island of the Mind, is the largest-selling book by a living American poet.

1920–Actor and dancer, Gene Nelson, is born Leander Eugene Berg in Astoria, Oregon. As a dancer who’s talent rivaled that of Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor, he appeared in the films Gentlemen’s Agreement, Apartment for Peggy, Tea for Two, The West Point Story, Lullaby of Broadway, She's Working Her Way Through College, Three Sailors and a Girl, Atomic Man, Oklahoma!, The Cool Ones, and S.O.B.

1922–Arranger and producer, Dave Appell, is born. He arranged music for such big bands as Benny Carter and Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines, was the music director for The Ernie Kovacks Show and produced the records The Twist, Let's Twist Again, Bristol Stomp, South Street, and In the Midnight Hour.

1923–Greece becomes a Republic.

1923–A 7.3 earthquake in China kills 5,000 people.

1923–Actor, Murray Hamilton, is born in Washington, North Carolina. He appeared in the films The Girl He Left Behind, The Spirit of St. Louis, Jeanne Eagels, Darby’s Rangers, No Time for Sergeants, Houseboat, Anatomy of a Murder, The FBI Story, Tall Story, The Hustler, Seconds, The Graduate, No Way to Treat a Lady, The Boston Strangler, The Way We Were, Jaws, The Amityville Horror, and Brubaker.

1924–Actor, Norman (Noah) Fell, is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is best known for the role of Mr. Roper on the sitcom Three's Company and its spin-off, The Ropers. He appeared in the films Pork Chop Hill, Inherit the Wind, The Rat Race, Ocean’s 11, PT 109, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Graduate, Bullitt, Catch-22, Airport 1975, The End, Paternity, and For the Boys.

1927–Foreign warships bombard Nanjing, China, in defense of the foreign citizens within the city.

1930–The first religious services are telecast in the U.S.

1930–Actor, Steve McQueen, is born Terence Steven McQueen in Beech Grove, Indiana. Called "The King of Cool," his "anti-hero" persona made him a top box-office draw of the 1960s and 1970s. He starred in the hit TV Western series Wanted: Dead or Alive. He appeared in the films The Blob, Never So Few, The Magnificent Seven, Hell Is for Heroes, The War Lover, The Great Escape, Soldier in the Rain, Love with the Proper Stranger, Baby the Rain Must Fall, The Cincinnati Kid, Nevada Smith, The Sand Pebbles, The Thomas Crown Affair, Bullitt, The Reivers, Le Mans, Junior Bonner, The Getaway, Papillon, The Towering Inferno, An Enemy of the People, Tom Horn, and The Hunter. He was married to actresses, Neile Adams and Ali MacGraw, and model, Barbara Minty.

1933–The Enabling Act is passed by the Nazi Party under Adolf Hitler.

1934–The U.S. Congress passes the Tydings-McDuffie Act, allowing the Philippines to become a self-governing commonwealth.

1935–The first of all broadcast talent shows, Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour, moves from a New York show to national prominence with a new slot on the NBC radio network.

1935–Bass player, Carol Kaye, is born in Everett, Washington. She is best known as one of the most prolific and widely heard bass guitarists, playing on an estimated 10,000 recording sessions in a 55-year career. She was a member of the “Wrecking Crew,” a group of studio musicians who played on a large number of hit records recorded in Los Angeles, California, in the 1960s. She worked under most of the leading producers and musical directors of that era, including Terry Melcher, Brian Wilson, Michel Legrand, Phil Spector, Elmer Bernstein, Lalo Schifrin, David Rose, Dave Grusin, Ernie Freeman, John Williams, Alfred Newman, David Axelrod, and Lionel Newman. Kaye retired from studio work during the 1970s, due to arthritis. She later became active again as a session musician, live jazz performer, and teacher of bass and guitar, giving seminars and interviews.

1937–Soul singer, Billy Stewart, is born in Washington, D.C. he had a highly distinctive scat-singing style and enjoyed popularity in the 1960s. He had hits with Sitting in the Park, Summertime, and Secret Love.

1940–Fashion designer, Bob Mackie, is born Robert Gordon Mackie in Monterey Parks, California. He is best known for his costume designs for such entertainers as Carol Burnett, Cher, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, and Tina Turner. He is sometimes referred to as the “Sultan of Sequins” and the “Rajah of Rhinestones.” He has won nine Emmy Awards for his designs, and has been nominated for three Academy Awards.

1941–Bandleader, Glenn Miller, begins work on his first motion picture for 20th Century Fox, Sun Valley Serenade.

1942–German troops murder 335 Italian civilians in Rome, Italy.

1944–Seventy-six Allied officers, being as held prisoners, escape Stalag Luft III in Germany. Their story will later be made into the movie The Great Escape.

1944–Singer, Patti Labelle, is born Patricia Louise Holte in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. LaBelle spent 16 years as lead singer of Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, who changed their name to Labelle in the early 1970s. Their biggest hit was the iconic disco song Lady Marmalade. Her solo career began shortly after the group disbanded in 1977, and she had a bit hit with New Attitude.

1946–The British Cabinet Mission (consisting of Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps, and A. V. Alexander) arrives in India to discuss the transfer of power from the British Raj to Indian leadership.

1947–Alan (Michael) Sugar, English multimillionaire and computer manufacturer, is born in Hackney, East London, England. He developed one of the first “word processors” called the Amstrad. The Amstrad was available in the U.S. exclusively through Sears.

1949–The 21st Annual Academy Awards announces its winners. Best Picture: Hamlet; Best Actor: Laurence Olivier for Hamlet; Best Actress: Jane Wyman for Johnny Belinda; Best Director: John Huston for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre; Best Foreign Film: Monsieur Vincent (France). The ceremonies are held at The Academy Theater, Hollywood, California. The host is Robert Montgomery.

1949–Rocker, Nick Lowe, is born Nicholas Drain Lowe in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England. His biggest hit was Cruel to Be Kind. He produced albums for Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, John Hiatt, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Johnny Cash.

1950–Actress, Ingrid Bergman, marries Italian filmmaker, Roberto Rossellini.

1951–Fashion designer, Tommy Hilfiger, is born Thomas Jacob Hilfiger in Elmira, New York. At 18, Hilfiger customized blue jeans and sold them to department stores in his hometown. He later moved to New York City, ultimately founding the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation in 1984.

1951–Dougie Thompson, of Supertramp, is born Douglas Campbell Thomson in Glascow, Scotland.

1953–The U.S. conducts a nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1953–Comedian, Louie (Perry) Anderson, is born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He appeared in the films Cloak & Dagger, Quicksilver, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Ratboy, Coming to America, Cook-Off!, and Pop Star Puppy.

1954–Actor, Robert (Reed) Carradine, is born in Hollywood, California. He appeared in the films Mean Streets, Go Ask Alice, Aloha, Bobby and Rose, Orca, Joyride, Coming Home, The Long Riders, Heartaches, The Revenge of the Nerds, and Body Bags. He is a part of the Carradine acting empire, which includes his father John Carradine, and his brothers David and Keith Carradine.

1954–Actress, Donna Pescow, is born in Brooklyn, New York. She starred in the TV sitcom Angie, and was cast in a wide variety of TV shows including The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Murder, She Wrote, Nash Bridges, NYPD Blue, and The Sopranos. She appeared in the films Saturday Night Fever and Jake Speed.

1955–After 20 years, British Army patrols withdraw from Belfast, Ireland.

1955–Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opens on Broadway.

1957–Astronaut, Scott J. Horowitz, is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is a veteran of four space shuttle missions.

1958–Elvis Presley is inducted into the U.S. Army in Memphis, Tennessee. Over the next two years his serial number, 53310761, will become the most favorite in history.

1960–A U.S. appeals court rules that the novel, Lady Chatterly’s Lover, is not obscene and can be sent through the mail.

1960–Pop singer, Nena, is born Gabriele Susanne Kerner in Hagen, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany. She had a big hit in 1983 with 99 Luftballons.

1962–Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, of The Rolling Stones, first perform together as Little Boy Blue & the Blue Boys.

1962–The Beatles perform at the Heswall Jazz Club, Barnston Women's Institute, Heswall, Wirral, Cheshire. For the first time, Brian Epstein puts The Beatles into suits for their performances. Ever afterwards, John Lennon regards this as the first, and perhaps the ultimate, sellout of their career.

1962–Attorney and TV hostess, Star Jones, is born Starlet Marie Jones in Badin, North Carolina. She best known as one of the original hosts of the ABC weekday morning talk show, The View, from 1997 to 2006.

1962–Welterweight boxer, Benny Kid Paret, falls unconscious at the hands of Emile Griffith, during a televised boxing match at Madison Square Garden. Paret died 10 days later.

1964–The John F. Kennedy half-dollar is issued in America.

1964–The Beatles go on display as wax figures in Madame Tussaud’s Waxwork Museum in London, England. These wax figures would be used three years later on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover.

1965–The U.S. spacecraft, Ranger 9, crash-lands on the Moon. Some of the 5,000 pictures it sends back are broadcast live on TV for the first time.

1966–The U.S. Selective Service announces college deferments will be based on academic performance.

1966–The New York State Assembly passes a bill making it a misdemeanor to sell unauthorized copies of records or tapes. Such records are commonly known as “bootlegs.”

1969–John Lennon and Yoko Ono have lunch with surrealist artist, Salvador Dali, in Paris, France. It’s rumored that Lennon didn’t care much for him.

1970–Actress, Lara Flynn Boyle, is born in Davenport, Iowa. She is best known for the roles of Donna Hayward in Twin Peaks, and Assistant District Attorney Helen Gamble in The Practice. She has appeared in the films The Rookie, Mobsters, Where the Day Takes You, Wayne’s World, The Temp, Red Rock West, Threesome, Baby’s Day Out, The Road to Wellville, and Afterglow.

1972–Great Britain imposes direct rule over Northern Ireland.

1973–Pink Floyd releases their album Dark Side of the Moon.

1974–Nathan Handwerker dies of a heart attack in Port Charlotte, Florida, at age 84. In 1916, he founded Nathan's Famous hot dog emporium at Coney Island, New York.

1974–Architect, Yoshida Isoya, dies in Tokyo, Japan, at age 79. He was known for working in the Sukiya style, which combines elements of traditional Japanese architecture and modernist influences.

1975–Muhammad Ali defeats Chuck Wepner in Round 15 for the Heavyweight Boxing Championship.

1976–In Argentina, the armed forces overthrow the constitutional government of President Isabel Perón and start a seven-year dictatorial period called the National Reorganization Process.

1976–Football player, Peyton (Williams) Manning, is born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He played 18 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). A five-time league MVP, he played for the Indianapolis Colts for 14 seasons between 1998 and 2011, and then with the Denver Broncos for four seasons from 2012 to 2015. He is the son of former NFL quarterback, Archie Manning, and the older brother of New York Giants quarterback, Eli Manning.

1978–The British courts grant British record companies the rights to seize bootleg and pirate recordings.

1980–Archbishop Óscar Romero is killed while celebrating Mass in San Salvador.

1981–The late night show, Nightline with Ted Koppel, debuts on ABC-TV. It originated as a nightly news program to deliver information about the hostage crisis in Iran.

1984–Actor, Sam Jaffe, dies of cancer in Beverly Hills, California, at age 93. He is best known for the role of Dr. Zorba on the TV drama Ben Casey. He appeared in the films Lost Horizon, Dunga Din, 13 Rue Madeleine, Gentlemen’s Agreement, The Asphalt Jungle, I Can Get It For You Wholesale, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Ben-Hur, A Guide for the Married Man, The Dunwich Horror, and Battle Beyond the Stars.

1986–The U.S. and Libya clash in the Gulf of Sidra.

1986–The 58th Annual Academy Awards announces its winners. Best Picture: Out of Africa; Best Actor: William Hurt for Kiss of the Spider Woman; Best Actress: Geraldine Page for The Trip to Bountiful; Best Director: Sydney Pollack for Out of Africa; Best Foreign Film: The Official Story (Argentina). The ceremonies are held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles, California. The hosts are Alan Alda, Jane Fonda, and Robin Williams.

1989–At four minutes past midnight, the Exxon Valdez, a 987-foot supertanker loaded with 1,264,155 barrels of North Slope crude oil, runs aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. An oil spill of 11.2 million gallons makes it way into the sea, mucking up nearly 500 miles of shoreline. Thousands of workers will spend three years cleaning it up, with the cost exceeding $2.1 billion. It is estimated that 300,000 birds and 2,650 sea otters were killed, and some common forms of algae were reduced by half. The spill was also damaging to south central Alaska’s fisheries, with the local population suffering economic, social, and psychological consequences that lasted for years. Exxon wound up paying well over a $1 billion in civil settlements and fines.

1990–Actor, Rene Enriquez, dies of pancreatic cancer in Tarzana, California, at age 56. He is best known for the role of Lt. Ray Calletano in the long-running TV series Hill Street Blues (1981-1987). He appeared in the films Girl of the Night, Bananas, Serpico, Harry and Tonto, Under Fire, and The Evil That Men Do.

1990–Comedian, Ray Goulding, of Bob & Ray, dies of kidney failure in Manhasset, Long Island, New York, at age 68.

1990–Computer manufacturer, An Wang, dies of cancer in Lincoln, Massachusetts, at age 70.

1993–Ezer Weizman is elected President of Israel.

1993–Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 is discovered.

1996–American astronaut, Shannon Lucid, safely transfers to the Russian space station Mir from the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis for a planned five-month stay.

1997–The 69th Annual Academy Awards announces its winners. Best Picture: The English Patient; Best Actor: Geoffrey Rush for Shine; Best Actress: Frances McDormand for Fargo; Best Director: Anthony Minghella for The English Patient; Best Foreign Film: Kolya (Czech Republic). The ceremonies are held at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, California. The host is Billy Crystal. The ceremony is dominated by movies produced by independent studios, financed outside of mainstream Hollywood, leading to 1996 being dubbed "The Year of the Independents."

1997–Disc jockey, Carroll James, dies of cancer at age 60. James has the distinction of being the first DJ to play a Beatles record on American radio on December 17, 1963 in Washington, D.C.

1998–A tornado sweeps through Dantan, India, killing 250 people and injuring 3,000 others.

1998–Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden (age 11 and 13) fire upon teachers students at Westside Middle School, in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Four students and one teacher are killed and 10 others are injured.

1999–The Mont Blanc Tunnel fire kills 39 people. The tunnel links Chamonix, Haute-Savoie, France, with Courmayeur, Aosta Valley, Italy, via European route E25.

1999–NATO commences aerial bombardment against Yugoslavia, marking the first time NATO has attacked a sovereign country.

2000–The S&P 500 index reaches an intraday high of 1,552.87.

2002–The 74th Annual Academy Awards announces its winners. Best Picture: A Beautiful Mind; Best Actor: Denzel Washington for Training Day; Best Actress: Halle Berry for Monster's Ball; Best Director: Ron Howard for A Beautiful Mind; Best Foreign Film: No Man's Land (Bosnia-Herzegovina). The ceremonies are held at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood, California. The host is Whoopi Goldberg.

2003–The Arab League votes 21-1 in favor of a resolution demanding the immediate and unconditional removal of U.S. and British soldiers from Iraq.

2008–Neil Aspinall, lifetime friend and associate of The Beatles, dies of lung cancer in New York, New York, at age 66. His funeral was held at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Twickenham, England. Stella McCartney, Yoko Ono, Barbara Bach (wife of Ringo Starr), George Martin, Pete Best, and Pete Townshend attend the funeral. A school friend of Paul McCartney and George Harrison, he went on to head the Beatles' company Apple Corps. In their early British touring days, The Beatles employed Aspinall as their road manager, which included driving his old Commer van to and from shows, both day and night. After Mal Evans started working for The Beatles, Aspinall was promoted to become their personal assistant. He was a close friend of drummer, Pete Best, and for a time rented a room in the Best’s home. He was present at Pete’s firing from The Beatles, and although he was furious at the turn of events, Aspinall stayed with the band. He did, however, end his affair with Best's mother, Mona Best, a relationship that had led to the birth of baby Vincent "Roag" Best.

2008–Actor, Richard Widmark, dies after a long illness in Roxbury, Connecticut, at age 93. He appeared in the films Night in the City, Panic in the Streets, No Way Out, Don’t Bother to Knock, O. Henry’s Full House, Pickup on South Street, The Cobweb, The Tunnel of Love, The Alamo, Two Rode Together, Judgment at Nuremberg, How the West Was Won, Cheyenne Autumn, A Talent for Loving, The Moonshine War, Coma, The Swarm, and Against All Odds.

2010–Actor, Robert Culp, dies of heart attack in Los Angeles, California, at age 80. He is best known for the role of Kelly Robinson on the TV series I Spy (1965-1968). He also co-starred as FBI Agent Bill Maxwell on The Greatest American Hero. He appeared in the films PT 109, Sunday in New York, The Raiders, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Hannie Caulder, Hickey & Boggs, The Castaway Cowboy, Breaking Point, The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday, Goldengirl, Turk 182!, and The Pelican Brief. He was married to actress, France Nguyen.

2010–Photographer, Jim Marshall, dies in New York, New York, at age 74. As a rock photographer, his photos appeared on the covers of over 500 albums and were also published in Rolling Stone.

2014–A train overruns the buffers at the O'Hare Airport station in Chicago, Illinois, injuring 32 people.

2015–Utah becomes the only state in America to allow firing squads for executions if lethal injection drugs are not available.

2015–Germanwings Flight 9525 crashes in the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.

2016–Comedian-actor, Garry Shandling, dies suddenly in Los Angeles, California, at age 66. He is best known for his work on TV’s It's Garry Shandling's Show and The Larry Sanders Show. He appeared in the films Love Affair, Mixed Nuts, Hurlyburly, Town & Country, Zoolander, and Iron Man 2.


PHOTOS TOP TO BOTTOM: Queen Elizabeth I; Aleksandr P. Romanov; Harry Houdini; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Jules Verne; Clyde Barrow; Gorgeous George; Gene Nelson; Murray Hamilton; Steve McQueen; Carol Kaye; a poster for Sun Valley Serenade; Nick Lowe; Robert Carradine; Elvis Presley is inducted into the U.S. Army; wax figures of The Beatles go on display in Madame Tussaud’s Waxwork Museum in London, England; John Lennon and Yoko Ono have lunch with Salvador Dali; Sam Jaffe; the Exxon Valdez disaster; An Wang; Carroll James; Neil Aspinall; and Robert Culp.

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