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1988–Singer, Roy Orbison, dies of cardiac arrest while on a visit to his mother in hendersonville, Tennessee, at age 52. His biggest hit was Oh, Pretty Woman. His other hits include Ooby Dooby, Only the Lonely, Running Scared, Crying, Dream Baby, In Dreams, Blue Bayou, Mean Woman Blues, Pretty Paper, It’s Over, and You Got It.



343–Saint Nicholas dies in Myra, Roman Empire (present-day Turkey), at age 73. Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him. He thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch “Sinterklaas,” itself from a series of elisions and corruptions of the transliteration of "Saint Nikolaos." The historical Saint Nicholas is commemorated and revered among Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, and Orthodox Christians. In addition, some Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Reformed churches have been named in his honor. Saint Nicholas is the Patron Saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, and students in various cities and countries around Europe.

735–Prince Toneri of Japan dies in Japan, at age 59. Although he was plagued, he survived and lived longest among the sons of Emperor Temmu.

1185–Afonso I of Portugal dies in Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal, at age 76.

1352–Pope Clement VI dies in Avignon, Papal States, at age 41.

1060–Béla I is crowned King of Hungary.

1240–Kiev, under Daniel of Galicia and Voivode Dmytro, falls to the Mongols, under Batu Khan.

1285–Ferdinand IV of Castile is born in Seville, Spain. In 1309, he captured Gibraltar from the Moors (who had held it since 711) ,with the help of Alonso Pérez de Guzmán of Aragón.

1421–Henry VI of England is born at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England. The only child of Henry V, he succeeded to the English throne upon his father's death at the age of nine months, and succeeded to the French throne on the death of his grandfather, Charles VI, shortly thereafter.

1534–The city of Quito, Ecuador, is founded by Spanish settlers led by Sebastián de Belalcázar.

1648–Colonel Thomas Pride, of the New Model Army, purges the Long Parliament of MPs sympathetic to King Charles I of England, in order for the King's trial to go ahead.

1704–During the Mughal-Sikh Wars, an outnumbered Sikh Khalsa defeats a Mughal army.

1745–Charles Edward Stuart's army begins retreat during the second Jacobite Rising.

1768–The first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica is published.

1790–The U.S. Congress moves from New York, New York, to Philadelphia Pennsylvania.

1792–William II of the Netherlands is born at Noordeinde Palace, the Hague, Dutch Republic.

1803–Maria Josepha Amalia of Saxony is born Maria Josepha Amalia Beatrix Xaveria Vincentia Aloysia Franziska de Paula Franziska de Chantal Anna Apollonia Johanna Nepomucena Walburga Theresia Ambrosia in Dresden, Saxony, Germany.

1805–Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, French magician and father of modern magic, is born in Blois, France. His autobiography is The Memoirs of Robert-Houdin. American magician and escape artist, Harry Houdini (born Ehrich Weiss), was so impressed by Robert-Houdin that, after reading his autobiography in 1890, he adopted the stage name of "Houdini" in honor of him.

1865–The 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is ratified, abolishing slavery.

1875–Mystic and author, Evelyn Underhill, is born in Wolverhampton, England. She was one of the most widely read writers on such matters in the first half of the 20th century. No other book of its type (until Aldous Huxley's The Perennial Philosophy in 1946) matched the success of her best-known work, Mysticism, published in 1911.

1876–Businessman, Fred Duesenberg, is born Friedrich Simon Düsenberg in Lippe, Germany. He was a pioneer automobile designer and manufacturer who co-founded the Duesenberg Automobile & Motors Company.

1877–The first edition of The Washington Post is published.

1877–Thomas Alva Edison makes the first sound recording by reciting and recording the nursery rhyme "Mary had a Little Lamb." Edison recorded sound on a cylinder, which was then rotated against a needle. The needle moved up and down in the grooves of the cylinder, producing vibrations that were amplified by a conical horn.

1879–Inventor, Erastus Brigham Bigelow, dies in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1838, he invented a power loom for weaving knotted counterpanes, and later a power loom to weave coach lace. Later, he invented a power-loom for weaving "Brussels" (i.e. pictorial tapestry) and velvet tapestry carpets, his most important invention, which attracted much attention at the 1851 World's Fair in London, England.

1882–Novelist, Anthony Trollope, dies in London, England, at age 67. He was one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. Trollope worked for years in the English postal system as he pursued his writing in his free time. Trollope, as a postal official, conceived the idea of the sidewalk post office “kiosk” or letterbox.

1883–Writer, poet, and sage, Kahlil Gibran, is born in Lebanon. His fictionalized account of the life of Buddha was one of the most popular books of the 1960s.

1884–The Washington Monument is completed in Washington, D.C.

1886–(Alfred) Joyce Kilmer, American soldier, author, and poet, is born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He is best known for a short poem titled "Trees," which was published in the collection Trees and Other Poems in 1914. Kilmer was also a journalist, literary critic, lecturer, and editor.

1887–Actress, Lynn Fontanne, is born Lillie Louise Fontanne in Woodford, London, England. She is considered to be one of the great leading stage actresses of the 20th century. She teamed with her husband, Alfred Lunt, for many performances on the the American stage. Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre was named in their honor.

1889–Politician, Jefferson Davis, dies of bronchitis complicated by malaria in New Orleans, Louisiana, at age 81. He was President of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War.

1890–Dion Fortune, occultist, psychologist, and author, is born Violet Mary Firth in Llandudno, Wales. Schooled in Western Esotericism, she was influential in the modern revival of the magical arts. She was also a prolific writer of the supernatural and the occult in both novels and non-fiction works. As a psychologist, she approached magic and hermetic concepts from the perspectives of Jung and Freud. Her books include The Cosmic Doctrine and Psychic Self-Defense.

1896–Writer and lyricist, Ira Gershwin, is born in New York, New York. Along with his younger brother George, he wrote many of the songs that have remained standard American classics. George Gershwin was already a successful songwriter when Ira began to try his hand at lyrics. In 1924, the brothers renewed their collaboration and produced the song The Man I Love. That same year, they produced their first hit musical show, Lady, Be Good!, starring Adele and Fred Astaire. Other hit shows on which the two collaborated include TipToes, Oh, Kay, Funny Face, and Strike Up The Band! These shows included the hits Someone to Watch Over Me, 'S Wonderful, and I Got Rhythm. In 1935, the brothers, along with novelist, DuBose Heyward, wrote Porgy and Bess. The last song they wrote together was Love Walked In.

1897–London, England, becomes the world's first city to host licensed taxicabs.

1900–Actress, Agnes (Robertson) Moorehead, is born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her career of six decades includes work in radio, stage, film, and television. She is best known for the role of Endora on the TV series Bewitched. She apppeared in the films Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Big Street, Jane Erye, Mrs. Parkington, Dark Passage, Johnny Belinda, The Stratton Story, Show Boat, Meet Me in Las Vegas, The Opposite Sex, Raintree County, The Tempest, Pollyanna, and How the West Was Won. She was married to actor, Robert Gist.

1904–Theodore Roosevelt articulates his "Corollary" to the Monroe Doctrine, stating that the U.S. would intervene in the Western Hemisphere should Latin American governments prove incapable or unstable.

1907–A coal mine explosion at Monongah, West Virginia, kills 362 workers.

1908–American criminal, Baby Face Nelson, is born Lester Joseph Gillis in Chicago, Illinois. Known under the name George Nelson, then Baby Face Nelson, he was a bank robber and murderer in the 1930s. He beamce “Public Enemy No. 1.” His nickname was given to him due to his youthful appearance and small stature.

1916–During World War I, the Central Powers capture Bucharest.

1916–Songwriter and record producer, Hugo Peretti, is born in New York, New York. He produced hits for Perry Como, Sam Cooke, and The Isley Brothers.

1917–Finland declares independence from Russia.

1917–A munitions explosion near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, kills more than 1,900 people.

1917–USS Jacob Jones is the first American destroyer to be sunk by enemy action, when it is torpedoed by German submarine SM U-53.

1917–Businessman, Irv Robbins, is born Irvine Robbins in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. In 1945, he co-founded Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlor chain with his partner and brother-in-law, Burt Baskin. Baskin-Robbins had 43 stores by the end of 1949, more than 100 by 1960, and about 500 when the ice cream empire was sold to United Fruit Company for an estimated $12 million in 1967.

1920–Jazz pianist, Dave Brubeck, is born David Warren Brubeck in Concord, California. He was considered to be one of the foremost exponents of cool jazz. Brubeck's style ranged from refined to bombastic. His music is known for employing unusual time signatures, and superimposing contrasting rhythms, meters, and tonalities. His biggest hit, with The Dave Brubeck Quartet, was Take Five. His sons, Daris, Dan, Chris, Matthew, and Michael Brubeck are also musicians.

1921–British and Irish representatives sign a treaty in London, England, providing for creation of an Irish Free State.

1922–One year to the day after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the Irish Free State comes into existence.

1924–Actor, Wally Cox, is born Wallace Maynard Cox in Detroit, Michigan. He is best known for his starring role in the TV series, Mr. Peepers, from 1952 to 1955. He appeared in the films State Fair, Spencer’s Mountain, Fate is the Hunter, The Yellow Rolls Royce, The Bedford Incident, The Boatniks, and The Barefoot Executive.

1928–The government of Colombia sends military forces to suppress a month-long strike by United Fruit Company workers, resulting in an unknown number of deaths.

1928–Bobby Van, actor, singer, and dancer, is born Robert Jack Stein in the Bronx, New York. He is best known for his career on Broadway in the 1950s and 1970s. His stage appearances include On Your Toes, Oklahoma!, and No, No, Nanette. He appeared in the films Skirts Ahoy!, The Affairs of Dobie Gillis, Kiss Me Kate, and Lost Horizon. He was married to actress, Elaine Joyce.

1933–The legal ban of James Joyce's Ulysses in America is lifted by Judge John M. Wooley, who found in the novel no "dirt for dirt's sake."

1941–The United Kingdom and Canada declare war on Finland in support of the Soviet Union, during the Continuation War. Camp X opens in Canada to begin training Allied Secret Agents for the war.

1942–Robb Royer, of Bread, is born Robert Wilson Royer in Los Angeles, California.

1943–Mike Smith, lead singer of The Dave Clark Five, is born Michael George Smith in Edmonton, North London, England. The group had hits with Glad All Over, Bits and Pieces, Can’t You See That’s She Mine, Come Home, Try Too Hard, Do You Love Me, Because, Reelin’ and Rockin', and Catch Us If You Can.

1947–The Everglades National Park is dedicated in Florida.

1948–Actress, (Margaret) JoBeth Williams, is born in Houston, Texas. She appeared in the films Kramer vs. Kramer, Stir Crazy, Poltergeist, The Big Chill, Adam, The Day After, Teachers, American Dreamer, Desert Bloom, Baby M, Wyatt Earp, and 14 Hours.

1949–Folk-blues balladeer, Lead Belly, dies of Huntington's disease in New York, New York, at age 61. Although Lead Belly usually played the 12-string guitar, he could also play the piano, mandolin, harmonica, violin, and "windjammer" (diatonic accordion). In some of his recordings, he sings while clapping his hands or stomping his foot.

1951–Journalist, Harold Ross, dies of heart failure during a lung operation in Boston, Massachusetts, at age 59. He founded The New Yorker magazine and served as Editor-in-Chief of the publication from its inception until his death. The talent he attracted to the magazine included James Thurber, E.B. White, John McNulty, Joseph Mitchell, Katharine S. White, S.J. Perelman, Alexander Woollcott, St. Clair McKelway, John O'Hara, Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, Vladimir Nabokov, and J.D. Salinger.

1952–Computer programmer, Craig (Alexander) Newmark, founder of the Internet website, Craigslist, is born in Morristown, New Jersey.

1953–Vladimir Nabokov completes his controversial novel Lolita.

1953–Actor, Tom Hulce, is born Thomas Edward Hulce in Detroit, Michigan. He appeared in the films September 30, 1955, National Lampoon’s Animal House, Amadeus, Echo Park, Slam Dance, Dominick and Eugene, Parenthood, Murder in Mississippi, The Inner Circle, Fearless, and The Heidi Chronicles.

1955–Comedian, Steven (Alexander) Wright, is born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is known for his distinctly lethargic voice and slow, deadpan delivery of ironic, philosophical and sometimes nonsensical jokes, non sequiturs, anti-humor, and one-liners. He appeared in the films Desperately Seeking Susan, Stars and Bars, Reservoir Dogs, So I Married an Axe Murderer, Natural Born Killers, and The Muse.

1956–A violent water polo match between Hungary and the USSR takes place during the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, against the backdrop of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

1956–Randy Rhoads, of Quiet Riot, is born Randall William Rhoads in Santa Monica, California. A devoted student of classical guitar, Rhoads combined his classical music influences with his own heavy metal style.

1957–A launchpad explosion of Vanguard TV3 thwarts the first United States attempt to launch a satellite into Earth orbit.

1959–Entrepreneur, Satoru Iwata, is born in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. He was a programmer and CEO of Nintendo. He worked on The Legend of Zelda, Mario, and Animal Crossing series of games.

1962–Actress, Janine Turner, is born Janine Loraine Gauntt in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is best known for the role of Maggie O'Connell on the TV series Northern Exposure. She appeared in the films Young Doctors in Love, Steel Magnolias, Cliffhanger, and Dr. T & the Women.

1963–The Beatles first Christmas record, “The Beatles Christmas Record,” is released to members of their U.K. fan club.

1966–The Beatles record Christmas and New Year’s greetings for “pirate” radio stations Radio Caroline and Radio London. The Beatles continued to publicly support these “pirate” stations, which were broadcast from ships anchored off the British coastline.

1967–Adrian Kantrowitz performs the first human heart transplant in the United States.

1968–Apple Records releases James Taylor's self-titled debut, produced by Peter & Gordon’s, Peter Asher. Rolling Stone critic-in-chief, Jon Landau, declares, "This album is the coolest breath of fresh air I've inhaled in a good long while. It knocks me out!"

1969–The Rolling Stones perform a free concert at Altamont Speedway in California, supported by Jefferson Airplane. While the Stones perform Under My Thumb in pitch darkness, a Hell's Angel kills a concertgoer by stabbing him in the back. The Hell’s Angels were acting as the event’s “security.”

1971–Pakistan severs diplomatic relations with India, initiating the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

1971–Ryan (Wayne) White, hemophiliac AIDS sufferer, is born in Kokomo, Indiana. The U.S. Congress passed a major piece of AIDS legislation, the Ryan White Care Act, shortly after White's death in 1990.

1973–The U.S. House of Representatives votes 387-35 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President of the United States.

1975–Fleeing from the police, a Provisional IRA unit takes a couple hostage in Balcombe Street, London, England, beginning a six-day siege.

1977–South Africa grants independence to Bophuthatswana, although it is not recognized by any other country.

1978–In a referendum, Spain ratifies the Spanish Constitution of 1978.

1980–John Lennon is at the Hit Factory in New York City, mixing the Yoko Ono song Walking on Thin Ice.

1980–Charles Deutsch, French aerodynamics engineer and automobile maker, dies at age 69. He was co-founder of the brand DB. Deutsch served as President of the Société des ingénieurs de l'automobile from 1971 until 1975, followed by holding the presidency of FISITA, the International Federation of Automotive Engineering Societies. He was also the director of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and of the Grand Prix of Monaco.

1982–The Irish National Liberation Army bombs a pub frequented by British soldiers in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland, killing 11 soldiers and six civilians.

1985–Puppeteer, Burr Tillstrom, dies in Palm Springs, California, at age 68. He was the creator of Kukla, Fran and Ollie. From 1947 through 1957, Tillstrom was involved with the Kukla, Fran and Ollie TV show, which starred his puppets and Fran Allison. It is widely regarded as being the first children’s show to appeal to both children and adults, and counted Orson Welles, John Steinbeck, Tallulah Bankhead, Adlai Stevenson, and James Thurber among its many adult fans.

1988–The Australian Capital Territory is granted self-government.

1988–Singer, Roy Orbison, dies of cardiac arrest while on a visit to his mother in Hendersonville, Tennessee, at age 52. His biggest hit was Oh, Pretty Woman. His other hits include Ooby Dooby, Only the Lonely, Running Scared, Crying, Dream Baby, In Dreams, Blue Bayou, Mean Woman Blues, Pretty Paper, It’s Over, and You Got It.

1989–Marc Lépine, an anti-feminist gunman, murders 14 young women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Canada.

1989–Actress, Frances Bavier, dies of a heart attack in Siler City, North Carolina, at age 86. She is best known for the role of Aunt Bee on the TV series The Andy Griffith Show. She appeared in the films The Day the Earth Stood Still, Bend of the River, The Stooge, Man in the Attic, The Bad Seed, and It Started with a Kiss.

1989–Actor, John Payne, dies of congestive heart failure in Malibu, California, at age 77. He appeared in the films Tin Pan Alley, Week-End in Havana, To the Shores of Tripoli, Footlight Serenade, Springtime in the Rockies, The Dolly Sisters, The Razor’s Edge, Miracle on 34th Street, Kansas City Confidential, and Hold Back the Night.

1989–Marc Lépine, an anti-feminist gunman, murders 14 young women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Canada.

1990–Politician, Tunku Abdul Rahman, dies in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at age 87. He was the first Prime Minister of Malaysia. Commonly known simply as "Tunku" or "The Tunku" (a Malay royal title), he is widely regarded, even by his critics, as Malaysia's founding father, the architect of Malayan independence and the formation of Malaysia.

1991–In Croatia, forces of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) bombard Dubrovnik after laying siege to the city for seven months.

1991–Mary Elizabeth Smith, John Lennon’s “Aunt Mimi,” dies in Poole, Dorset, England, at age 85. Her last words are, “Hello, John.” Mimi was portrayed on film in Birth of The Beatles (1979), John and Yoko: A Love Story (1985), In His Life: The John Lennon Story (2000), and Nowhere Boy (2010).

1992–The Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, India, is demolished, leading to widespread riots causing the death of over 1,500 people.

1993–Actor, Don Ameche, dies of prostate cancer in Scottsdale, Arizona, at age 85. He appeared in the films Dante’s Inferno, In Old Chicago, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, The Three Musketeers, The Story of Alexander Graham Bell, Moon Over Miami, Heaven Can Wait, The Boatniks, Trading Places, Cocoon, Harry and the Hendersons, Coming to America, and Things Change.

1994–Screenwriter, Alun Owen, dies in London, England, at age 69. He wrote the screenplay for The Beatles first film A Hard Day’s Night.

1997–A Russian Antonov An-124 cargo plane crashes into an apartment complex near Irkutsk, Siberia, killing 67 people.

1999–Paul McCartney fans line up overnight to get a chance to see their hero play Liverpool’s Cavern for the first time in more than 35 years. McCartney is giving away tickets to the December 14th performance via a lottery.

2000–Actor, Werner Klemperer, dies of cancer in New York, New York, at age 80. He is best known for the role of Colonel Klink on the TV series Hogan’s Heroes. He appeared in the films Death of a Scoundrel, The Wrong Man, The High Cost of Loving, The Goddess, Houseboat, Judgment at Nuremberg, Youngblood Hawke, and Ship of Fools.

2005–Several villagers are shot dead during protests in Dongzhou, China.

2005–An Iranian Air Force C-130 military transport aircraft crashes into a 10-floor apartment building in a residential area of Tehran, killing all 84 people on board and 44 others on the ground.

2005–Singer, Danny Williams, dies of lung cancer in England, at age 63. He earned the nickname, "Britain's Johnny Mathis," for his smooth and stylish way with a ballad. He is best known for singing his U.K. #1 version of Moon River, and his U.S. “Top 10” hit White on White.

2006–NASA reveals photographs taken by the Mars Global Surveyor suggesting the presence of water on Mars.

2008–Heiress and socialite, Sunny von Bülow, dies in Manhattan, New York, at age 76. Her husband, Claus von Bülow, was convicted of attempting to murder her by an insulin overdose, but the conviction was overturned on appeal. Sunny von Bülow lived almost 28 years in a permanent vegetative state until her death in a New York nursing home.

2011–Singer, Dobie Gray, dies from complications of cancer surgery in Nashville, Tennessee, at age 71. He had big hits with The In Crowd and Drift Away.

2013–Ed Cassidy, drummer for Spirit, dies of cancer in San Jose, California, at age 89. He was one of the founders of the group in 1967. Cassidy played with various line-ups of Spirit on 20 albums over almost 30 years.

2015–Flooding and landslides on the West Coast Main Line result in the suspension of all services between northern England and Scotland via the West Coast.

2015–Elementary and middle schools in Beijing, China, suspend outdoor activities due to heavy smog.

2015–Venezuelan elections are held and for the first time in 17 years the United Socialist Party of Venezuela loses its majority in parliament.

2016–Bernard Cazeneuve is announced as the new Prime Minister of France, replacing Manuel Valls, who is contesting the 2017 French Presidential Election.

2016–After a meeting with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, Masayoshi Son, of SoftBank Group, pledges to invest $50 billion in the United States and to create 50,000 jobs.

2016–A meteorite lands near Sayanogorsk, the Republic of Khakassia, Russia.

2016–Heavy flooding kills 14 people in Thailand and badly affects the islands of Samui and Pha Ngan in the Gulf of Thailand.

2016–Actor, Peter Vaughan, dies in Mannings Heath, West Sussex, England, at age 93. He appeared in the films The 39 Steps, Village of the Damned, I Thank a Fool, The Naked Runner, A Twist of Sand, Eyewitness, Straw Dogs, The Mackintosh Man, 11 Harrowhouse, Time Bandits, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, The Remains of the Day, Death at a Funeral, and Game of Thrones.


PHOTOS TOP TO BOTTOM: Saint Nicholas; Henry VI of England; Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin; The Washington Post logo; Lynn Fontanne; Ira Gershwin; Agnes Moorehead; Baby Face Nelson; a Baskin-Robbins ice cream cone; Bobby Van; the Everglades National Park in Florida; Craig Newmark; Satoru Iwata; James Taylor LP by James Taylor; Charles Deutsch with one of his cars; Frances Bavier; Mimi Smith; Werner Klemperer; and Dobie Gray.

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