< Back 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Next >

1975–Film composer, Bernard Herrmann, dies in North Hollywood, California, at age 64. His films include Citizen Kane, Jane Eyre, Portrait of Jennie, The Day the Earth Stood Still, 5 Fingers, The Trouble with Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, The Wrong Man, A Hatful of Rain, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Blue Denim, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Psycho, Tender Is the Night, Cape Fear, The Birds, Marnie, Joy in the Morning, Fahrenheit 451, The Night Digger, Sisters, Obsession, and Taxi Driver.

BC 3–Roman Emperor, Galba, is born Servius Sulpicius Galba near Terracina, Italy. He was the first Emperor of the “Year of the Four Emperors,” and the last Emperor born in the first century BC.

502–Chinese Emperor, Xiao Yan, names Xiao Tong his heir designate.

640–Pope John IV is elected.

759–Tang dynasty poet, Du Fu, departs for Chengdu, where he is hosted by fellow poet, Pei Di.

1144–The capital of the crusader County of Edessa falls to Imad ad-Din Zengi, the atabeg of Mosul and Aleppo.

1166–King John of England, is born John Lackland at Beaumont Palace, Oxford, England.

1294–Pope Boniface VIII is elected, replacing St. Celestine V, who had resigned.

1500–A joint Venetian-Spanish fleet captures the Castle of St. George on the island of Cephalonia.

1597–Honoré II, Prince of Monaco, is born in Monaco. He was the first to be called Prince, but started his reign as Lord of Monaco.

1660–Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange, dies of smallpox at Whitehall Palace, London, England, at age 29. Her only child later reigned as King William III of England and Ireland.

1761–Selim III, Caliph of Islam and Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, is born.

1777–Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, is discovered by James Cook.

1800–The Plot of the rue Saint-Nicaise fails to kill Napoleon Bonaparte.

1809–Frontiersman, Kit Carson, is born Christopher Houston Carson in Richmond, Kentucky. He was a mountain man, fur trapper, scout, Indian agent, and American Army officer. Carson was married three times and had ten children. The Carson home was in Taos, New Mexico. To this day he is honored there by many places of interest to tourists.

1814–The Treaty of Ghent is signed, ending the War of 1812.

1818–Franz Gruber of Oberndorf, Germany, composes the music for Silent Night to words written by Josef Mohr. The traditional song is sung for the first time during Midnight Mass.

1826–The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, begins, wrapping up the following morning. It was caused by a drunken Christmas Day party in the North Barracks of the academy. Two days prior to the incident, a large quantity of whiskey had been smuggled into the academy to make eggnog for the party, giving the riot its name.

1851–The Library of Congress burns in Washington, D.C, destroying a large amount of the collection, including many of Thomas Jefferson's collection of 6,487 books.

1863–Author and poet, William Makepeace Thackeray, dies from a stroke in London, England, at age 52. An estimated 7,000 people attended his funeral at Kensington Gardens. His works include The Luck of Barry Lyndon, Vanity Fair, The Paris Sketchbook, The Virginians, and The Adventures of Philip.

1865–The Ku Klux Klan is formed.

1871–Aida, an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi, opens in Cairo, Egypt.

1903–Sculptor, filmmaker, and writer, Joseph Cornell, is born in Nyack, New York. When he lost his job in 1931, he began visiting art galleries and discovered the collages of artists such as Max Ernst. Cornell began experimenting with his own art and became acquainted with many Surrealist artists, including Marcel Duchamp. Cornell began to fill shadow boxes with found objects, as well as his own mementos, including fan letters to movie stars or ballet dancers he'd never met. One of his boxes includes four cylindrical weights, an egg in a wine glass, a cast of a child's head, a clay pipe, and a map of the Moon.

1905–Reclusive billionaire, Howard Hughes, is born Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. in Humble, Texas. He was an American business tycoon, entrepreneur, investor, aviator, aerospace engineer, inventor, filmmaker, and philanthropist. During his lifetime, he was known as the wealthiest self-made man in the world. He is remembered for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle in later life, caused in part by a worsening obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and chronic pain. He was married to actresses, Terry Moore and Jean Peters.

1906–The first radio broadcast is made in Brant Rock, Maine: it consists of a song, a poem, and a violin piece, all by Reginald Aubrey Fussenden.

1911–The Lackawanna Cut-Off railway line opens in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

1913–The Italian Hall disaster in Calumet, Michigan, results in the deaths of 73 Christmas party participants (including 59 children) when someone falsely yells "fire."

1914–During World War I, the "Christmas truce" begins.

1914–Geologist, John Muir, dies of pneumonia in Los Angeles, California, at age 76. He was a Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada of California, have been read by millions. His activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park, and other wilderness areas. The Sierra Club, which he founded, is a prominent American conservation organization. Places names in his honor include Muir Woods National Monument, Muir Beach, John Muir College, Mount Muir, Camp Muir, Muir Glacier, and John Muir Way in Scotland.

1924–Albania becomes a republic.

1924–Singer, (Irving) Lee Dorsey, is born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He had hits with the songs Ya Ya, Do-Re-Mi, and Working in a Coal Mine.

1922–Actress, Ava (Lavinia) Gardner, is born in Smithfield, North Carolina. She was under contract at MGM from 1941 to 1958. She appeared in the films Du Barry Was a Lady, Swing Fever, Maisie Goes to Reno, The Killers, The Hucksters, The Bribe, East Side, West Side, Show Boat, Lone Star, The Band Wagon, Mogambo, The Barefoot Contessa, The Sun Also Rises, On the Beach, Seven Days in May, The Night of the Iguana, and Earthquake. She was married to actor, Mickey Rooney; bandleader, Artie Shaw; and singer-actor, Frank Sinatra.

1924–Actor, Norman Rossington, is born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England. He is best known for the role of Norm in A Hard Day’s Night. He also appeared in the films Saint Joan, A Night to Remember, The League of Gentlemen, The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, No Love for Johnnie, Double Trouble, The Longest Day, Lawrence of Arabia, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, The Wrong Box, Young Winston, The Prisoner of Zenda, and The Krays.

1929–An assassination attempt is made on Argentine President Hipólito Yrigoyen.

1930–Choreographer, Robert Joffrey, is born Abdullah Jaffa Bey Khanin Seattle, Washington. Joffrey began to study dance in Seattle and in 1948, moved to New York City to study ballet. Joffrey taught at the New York High School for the Performing Arts, and formed his own school, The American Ballet Center, in 1953. One year later, he formed his own company, The Robert Joffrey Ballet Concert, which later became known as the Joffrey Ballet.

1939–Pope Pius XII makes a Christmas Eve appeal for peace.

1941–During World War II, Kuching is conquered by Japanese forces and Benghazi is conquered by British forces.

1942–French monarchist, Fernand Bonnier de La Chapelle, assassinates Vichy French Admiral François Darlan in Algiers, Algeria.

1943–U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower is named Supreme Allied Commander for the Invasion of Normandy.

1944–Businessman and politician, Mike Curb, is born in Savannah, Georgia. He was a musician, record company executive, NASCAR car owner, and the 42nd Lieutenant Governor of California. Curb organized his own musical group, The Mike Curb Congregation, in the 1960s.

1944–Jazz musician, Woody Shaw, is born Woody Herman Shaw, Jr. in Laurinburg, North Carolina. He was a virtuoso trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer, and band leader, described by NPR Music as "the last great trumpet innovator."

1945–Five of nine children become missing after their home in Fayetteville, West Virginia, is burned down.

1945–Lemmy, lead singer and bassist of Motorhead, is born Ian Fraser Kilmister in Burslem, Staffordshire, England. He worked as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix and The Nice before founding Motorhead. The band's success peaked in 1980 and 1981, with several U.K. chart hits, including the single Ace of Spades. Lenny’s music and persona was a distinctive part of the heavy metal genre.

1951–Libya becomes independent from Italy and Idris I is proclaimed King of Libya.

1953–In New Zealand's North Island, at Tangiwai, a railway bridge is damaged by a lahar and collapses beneath a passenger train, killing 151 people.

1955–NORAD tracks Santa Claus for the first time in what will become an annual American Christmas Eve tradition.

1962–A chart topper: Telstar by The Tornadoes.

1963–“The Beatles’ Christmas Show,” a idea of Brian Epstein’s that combines music, comedy, and pantomime, opens at the Astoria Cinema in Finsbury Park, London, England. The Beatles, and other groups, play music and also dress in costumes for comedy sketches and routines with stage sets, all of which prove to be tremendously popular with the audiences. From December 24, 1963 through January 11, 1964, The Beatles put on 30 shows. Appearing with The Beatles are The Barron Knights & Duke D’Mond, Tommy Quickly, The Fourmost, Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, Cilla Black, and Rolf Harris.

1964–Viet Cong operatives bomb the Brinks Hotel in Saigon, South Vietnam, to demonstrate they can strike an American installation in the heavily guarded capital.

1964–The Beatles perform on the first night of their “Another Beatles Christmas Show,” at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, England. The format is much like that of the preceding year’s revue. The Beatles appear in two comedy sketches and perform 11 songs. The show runs for 20 nights, December 24, 1964 through January 16, 1965. There are no performances on December 25th and 27th, or January 3rd and 10th. Support acts are Freddie & the Dreamers, Elkie Brooks, The Yardbirds, Sounds Incorporated, among others.

1966–A Canadair CL-44 chartered by the United States military crashes into a small village in South Vietnam, killing 129 people.

1968–Astronauts James A. Lovell, William Anders, and Frank Borman, reach the Moon. They orbit the Moon 10 times before coming back to Earth.

1969–The oil company, Phillips Petroleum, makes the first oil discovery in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.

1969–Nigerian troops capture Umuahia, the Biafran capital.

1969–Charles Manson is allowed to defend himself at the Tate-LaBianca murder trial.

1973–The District of Columbia Home Rule Act is passed, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to elect their own local government.

1974–Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Australia.

1975–Film composer, Bernard Herrmann, dies in North Hollywood, California, at age 64. His films include Citizen Kane, Jane Eyre, Portrait of Jennie, The Day the Earth Stood Still, 5 Fingers, The Trouble with Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, The Wrong Man, A Hatful of Rain, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Blue Denim, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Psycho, Tender Is the Night, Cape Fear, The Birds, Marnie, Joy in the Morning, Fahrenheit 451, The Night Digger, Sisters, Obsession, and Taxi Driver.

1977–Politician, Juan Francisco Velasco Alvarado, first President of Peru, dies in Peru, at a 67.

1980–Witnesses report the first of several sightings of unexplained lights near RAF Woodbridge, in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England: an incident called "Britain's Roswell."

1984–Actor, Peter Lawford, dies of cardiac arrest in Los Angeles, California, at age 61. He appeared in the films Mrs. Miniver, Girl Crazy, Mrs. Parkington, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Zeigfeld Follies, Good News, Easter Parade, Little Women, Royal Wedding, Never So Few, Ocean’s 11, Exodus, Sergeants 3, Advise & Consent, Dead Ringer, Harlow, Billie, A Man Called Adam, Salt and Pepper, and They Only Kill Their Masters.

1886–Film director, Michael Curtiz, is born Kertész Kaminer Manó in Budapest, Austria-Hungary (present-day Hungary). His films include Goodbye Again, Captain Blood, Angels with Dirty Faces, Dodge City, Santa Fe Trail, The Sea Hawk, Casablanca, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Mildred Pierce, Romance on the High Seas, I’ll See You in My Dreams, The Jazz Singer, White Christmas, We’re No Angels, King Creole, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Comancheros.

1992–Author and illustrator, Peyo, dies of a heart attack in Brussels, Belgium, at age 64. He created The Smurfs.

1994–Air France Flight 8969 is hijacked on the ground at Houari Boumediene Airport, Algiers, Algeria. Over the course of three days three passengers are killed, as are all four terrorists.

1997–The Sid El-Antri massacre in Algeria kills between 50 and 100 people.

1997–Actor and director, James Komack, dies of heart failure in Los Angeles, California, at age 73. He was the guiding force behind several television hits, and In The Courtship of Eddie's Father, he had the role of Norman Tinker. He also appeared in Get Smart, Chico and the Man, and Welcome Back, Kotter. Komack is credited with discovering and launching the careers of John Travolta and Freddie Prinze.

1999–Indian Airlines Flight 814 is hijacked in Indian airspace between Kathmandu, Nepal, and Delhi, India. The aircraft landed at Kandahar in Afghanistan.

2003–The Spanish police thwart an attempt by ETA to detonate 50 kg of explosives inside Madrid's busy Chamartín Station.

2005–Chad declares a state of war against Sudan, following an attack on Adré, which killed about 100 people.

2008–Lord's Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group, begins a series of attacks on Democratic Republic of the Congo, massacring more than 400 people.

2008–Film director and playwright, Harold Pinter, dies of liver cancer in London, England, at age 78. One of the most influential modern British dramatists, his writing career spanned more than 50 years. His best-known plays include The Birthday Party, The Homecoming, and Betrayal, which he adapted for the screen. His screenplay adaptations of others' works include The Servant, The Go-Between, The French Lieutenant's Woman, The Trial, and Sleuth.

2012–Actor, Charles Durning, dies of natural causes in his home in Manhattan, New York, at age 89. He appeared in the films I Walk the Line, The Pursuit of Happiness, Sisters, The Sting, The Front Page, Dog Day Afternoon, Breakheart Pass, Queen of the Stardust Ballroom, An Enemy of the People, Starting Over, North Dalls Forty, Die Laughing, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Tootsie, Scarface, V.I. Warshawski, I.Q., Spy Hard, One Fine Day, and O Brother, Where Art Thou?

2012–Actor, Jack Klugman, dies of prostate cancer in Los Angeles, California, at age 90. Diagnosed with throat cancer in 1974, Klugman lost his voice in 1989, but learned to talk again. He is best known for the role of Oscar Madison in the sitcom The Odd Couple, and for his starring role in the TV drama Quincy. He appeared in the films 12 Angry Men, Cry Terror!, Days of Wine and Roses, I Could Go on Singing, Act One, The Detective, Goodbye, Columbus, One of My Wives is Missing, Two-Minute Warning, and The Twlight of the Golds.

2015–California Governor, Jerry Brown, pardons actor, Robert Downey Jr., for a nearly 20-year-old felony drug conviction that sent him to jail for nearly a year. Downey is among 91 people granted pardons for criminal convictions after demonstrating they have rehabilitated themselves.

2015–A fire at the Jizan General Hospital in Jizan, Saudi Arabia, kills at least 25 people and injures over 100 others. The blaze began on the first floor of the hospital, which contains the maternity ward and intensive care unit.

2015–One person is killed in an officer-involved shooting at Northlake Mall in Charlotte, North Carolina.

2015–The 53 Americans taken hostage in Tehran, Iran, in 1979, or their families, will receive compensation of $4.4 million each from the United States government as a result of a provision in the 2016 spending deal signed into law by Barack Obama.

2015–William Guest, of Gladys Knight & the Pips, dies of congestive heart failure in Detroit, Michigan, at age 74.

2016–A passenger bus carrying 46 people, mostly school groups from Tonga, crashes in the Gisborne Region of New Zealand, south of the city of Gisborne. Two people are killed and several others are injured.

2016–Novelist, Richard Adams, dies at his home near Whitchurch, Hampshire, England, at age 96. He is best known for his novel Watership Down. He also wrote The Plague Dogs, The Girl in a Swing, and Voyage Through the Antartic.

2016–Rick Parfitt, of Status Quo, dies of septicaemia, after many years of heart trouble, in Marbella, Spain, at age 68. The English rock act scored more than 20 “Top 10” hits in England, but is only known in the U.S. for 1968’s psychedelic classic Pictures of Matchstick Men.

PHOTOS TOP TO BOTTOM: Roman Emperor, Galba; Christmas Island; William Makepeace Thackeray; Howard Hughes; Ava Gardner; The Mike Curb Congregation; Telstar by The Tornadoes; Astronauts James A. Lovell, William Anders, and Frank Borman of Apollo 8; Peter Lawford; James Komack; and Jack Klugman.

< Back 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Next >