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1964–Brian Wilson has what is termed a “nervous breakdown,” while on a flight from Los Angeles, California, to Houston, Texas. He decides to stop touring with The Beach Boys.



BC 43–Roman philosopher, Marcus Tullius Cicero, is assassinated in Formia, Roman Republic, at age 63. His last words are said to have been, "There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly."

574–Emperor Justin II retires due to recurring seizures of insanity. He abdicates the throne in favor of his general, Tiberius, proclaiming him Caesar.

983–Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor, dies suddenly in Rome, Holy Roman Empire, at age 28.

1302–Italian ruler, Azzone Visconti, is born in Ferrara, Italy. He is considered the founder of the state of Milan, which later became a duchy.

1383–Wenceslaus I, Duke of Luxembourg, dies of leprosy in Luxembourg, Grand Duchy of Luxembour, at age 46.

1703–The greatest windstorm ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain, makes landfall. Winds gust up to 120 mph, and 9,000 people are killed.

1724–Religious unrest is followed by the execution of nine Protestant citizens and the mayor of Thorn (Torun) by Polish authorities.

1732–The Royal Opera House opens at Covent Garden in London, England.

1776–Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, arranges to enter the American military as a major general.

1787–Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the United States Constitution.

1808–James Madison is elected the 4th President of the United States.

1826–Edmund G. Ross, 13th Governor of New Mexico Territory, is born Edmund Gibson Ross in Ashland, Ohio.

1836–Martin Van Buren is elected the 8th President of the United States.

1862–The Battle of Prairie Grove, in Arkansas, takes place during the American Civil War.

1863–Businessman, Richard Warren Sears, is born in Stewartville, Minnesota. He was the founder of Sears, Roebuck and Company with his partner, Alvah Curtis Roebuck. The first Sears catalog was published in 1893, and offered only watches. By 1897, items such as men’s and women’s clothing, plows, silverware, bicycles, and athletic equipment had been added. The 500-page catalog was sent to 300,000 homes. Sears catered to the rural customer because, having been raised on a farm, he knew what they needed. He also had experience working with the railroad and he knew how to ship merchandise to remote areas. Sears is one of America's oldest operating retailers.

1869–American outlaw, Jesse James, commits his first confirmed bank robbery in Gallatin, Missouri.

1873–Author, Willa Cather, is born Wilella Sibert Cather in Gore, Virginia. She achieved recognition for her novels of frontier life on the Great Plains, including O Pioneers!, The Song of the Lark, and My Ántonia.

1899–Super-centenarian, Grace (Adelaide) Jones, is born in Bermondsey, London, England. She would live to the age of 113 years (and 342 days).

1912–A bust of Pharaonic Queen Nefertiti, wife of the Pharaoh Akhenaten, is discovered in the Tel el-Amarna area of Minya in southern Egypt.

1912–Jazz singer, Louis Prima, is born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Prima rode the musical trends of his time, starting with his seven-piece New Orleans style jazz band in the late 1920s, then leading a swing combo in the 1930s, a big band in the 1940s, a Vegas lounge act in the 1950s, and a pop-rock band in the 1960s. His biggest hit was Old Black Magic. He was married to singer, Keely Smith.

1915–Actor, Eli (Herschel) Wallach, is born in Brooklyn, New York. He appeared in the films Baby Doll, The Magnificent Seven, The Misfits, How the West Was Won, The Moon-Spinners, Kisses for My President, Lord Jim, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, How to Steal a Million, The People Next Door, Cinderella Liberty, The Deep, Winter Kills, The Hunters, Nuts, The Two Jakes, The Godfather Part III, Article 99, Mistress, Night and the City, and Mystic River. He was married to actress, Anne Jackson.

1917–The United States declares war on Austria-Hungary.

1921–James Joyce gives a reading of his works at Sylvia Beach's book store, Shakespeare & Co., on the Left Bank in Paris, France.

1923–Actor, Ted Knight, is born Tadeusz Wladyslaw Konopka in Terryville, Litchfield County, Connecticut. He is best known for the role of Ted Baxter on the sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He was seen in dozens of TV shows in the 1960s and 1970s. He appeared in the films Twelve Hours to Kill, Psycho, Cry for Happy, The Great Imposter, Two Rode Together, The Interns, The Candidate, Young Dillinger, Cold Turkey, and Caddyshack.

1924–President and Prime Minister of Portugal, Mario Soares, is born Mário Alberto Nobre Lopes Soares in Lisbon, Portugal.

1930–W1XAV in Boston, Massachusetts, telecasts video from the CBS radio orchestra program The Fox Trappers. The telecast also includes the first television commercial in America, an advertisement for I.J. Fox Furriers, who sponsored the radio show.

1932–Actress, Ellen Burstyn, is born Edna Rae Gillooly in Detroit, Michigan. She appeared in the films Goodbye Charlie, For Those Who Think Young, Alex in Wonderland, Tropic of Cancer, The Last Picture Show, The King of Marvin Gardens, The Exorcist, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Same Time Next Year, Resurrection, Twice in a Lifetime, Pack of Lies, Dying Young, How to Make an American Quilt, The Spitfire Grill, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Five People You Meet in Heaven, and Mrs. Harris.

1934–Aviator, Wiley Post, discovers the jet stream.

1939–Actor, Blackie Dammett, is born John Michael Kiedis in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He appeared in the films National Lampoon’s Class Reunion, The Lost Empire, Doctor Detroit, Meatballs Part II, The Boys Next Door, 52 Pick-up, and Lethal Weapon. His son is Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of Red Hot Chili Peppers.

1940–Actor, Mike Minor, is born Michael Fedderson in San Francisco, California. He is best known for the role of Steve Elliott on the TV series Petticoat Junction. His father was television producer, Don Fedderson. He was married to actress, Linda Kaye Henning.

1941–Pearl Harbor Day is remembered as “a date which will live in infamy.” The United States is attacked by Japan in World War II. Thousands of lives are lost, a major portion of America’s Pacific fleet is in pieces and America is catapulted into war in the Pacific.

1944–Singer-songwriter, Harry (Forster) Chapin, is born in Brooklyn, New York. He is best known for his folk rock songs Taxi and Cat's in the Cradle.

1945–The microwave oven is patented.

1946–A fire at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, kills 119 people.

1947–Actor, James Keach, is born in Savannah, Georgia. He appeared in the films Cannonball, FM, The Long Riders, National Lampoon’s Vacation, The Razor’s Edge, Moving Violations, Wildcats, and Walk the Line. His brother is actor, Stacy Keach. He was married to actress, Jane Seymour.

1947–Film and TV producer, Tony Thomas, is born Charles Anthony Thomas in Los Angeles, California. He got his start in production work at Screen Gems, where he was an associate producer on the TV movie Brian's Song. His other work includes the TV shows Soap, Blossom, Empty Nest, Benson, The Golden Girls, and It's a Living. His father was actor, Danny Thomas, and his sister is actress, Marlo Thomas.

1949–The government of the Republic of China moves from Nanking to Taipei, Taiwan.

1949–Singer-songwriter, Tom Waits, is born Thomas Alan Waits in Pomona, California. Waits has a distinctive voice, and with this trademark growl, his incorporation of pre-rock music styles (blues, jazz, and vaudeville, and experimental tendencies verging on industrial music) he built up quite a distinctive musical persona. He has a cult following and has influenced subsequent songwriters despite having little radio or music video support. He has appeared in the films Paradise Alley, The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, The Cotton Club, Ironweed, The Two Jakes, The Fisher King, Shorts Cuts, and Mystery Men.

1962–Prince Rainier III of Monaco revises the principality's constitution, devolving some of his power to advisory and legislative councils.

1963–Instant replay makes its debut during an American Army-Navy football game.

1964–Brian Wilson has what is termed a “nervous breakdown,” while on a flight from Los Angeles, California, to Houston, Texas. He decides to stop touring with The Beach Boys.

1965–Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I simultaneously revoke mutual excommunications that had been in place since 1054.

1966–Actor, C. Thomas Howell, is born Christopher Thomas Howell in Van Nuys, California. He appeared in the films E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Outsiders, Grandview, U.S.A., Tank, Red Dawn, Secret Admirer, The Hitcher, Soul Man, That Night, Gettysburg, Hidalgo, and The Killer Within. He was married to actress, Rae Dawn Chong.

1967–Otis Redding records Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay.

1967–The Beatles’ Apple Boutique opens to the public in London, England. Jennie Boyd, Pattie Harrison’s sister, works as one of the shop employees.

1969–John Lennon and Yoko Ono participate in a televised discussion about theology and the nature of evil, for the BBC1 religious series The Question Why.

1970–Cartoonist, Rube Goldberg, dies in New York, New York, at age 87. He joined The San Francisco Chronicle in 1904, where he became a sports cartoonist. The following year, he took a job with The San Francisco Bulletin, where he remained until he moved to New York City in 1907, finding employment as a cartoonist with The New York Evening Mail. Goldberg received many honors in his lifetime, including a Pulitzer Prize for his political cartooning in 1948.

1971–Pakistan President, Yahya Khan, announces the formation of a coalition government with Nurul Amin as Prime Minister and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as Deputy Prime Minister.

1972–Imelda Marcos survives an assassination attempt in which a bolo knife is used against her.

1972–Apollo 17, the last Apollo moon mission, is launched. The crew takes the photograph known as “The Blue Marble” as they leave the Earth.

1975–Author and playwright, Thornton Wilder, dies in Hamden, Connecticut, at age 78. Wilder taught school for a living until the success of his play, Our Town, made it possible for his writing to become his livelihood. He won the Pulitzer Prize for both fiction and drama: for his novel, The Bridge Over San Luis Ray, and the play The Skin of Our Teeth.

1982–In Texas, Charles Brooks, Jr., becomes the first person to be executed by lethal injection in the United States.

1983–An Iberia Airlines Boeing 727 collides with an Aviaco DC-9 in dense fog while the two airliners are taxiing down the runway at Madrid-Barajas Airport; 93 people are killed.

1985–English poet, Robert Graves, dies in Deya, Majorca, Spain. During his long life he produced more than 140 works. He earned his living from writing, particularly popular historical novels such as I, Claudius, King Jesus, The Golden Fleece and Count Belisarius. He also was a prominent translator of Classical Latin and Ancient Greek texts; his versions of The Twelve Caesars and The Golden Ass remain popular, for their clarity and entertaining style.

1987–Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771 crashes near Paso Robles, California, killing all 43 people on board: a disgruntled passenger shoots his ex-boss traveling on the flight, then shoots both pilots and himself.

1988–In Armenia, a 6.9 earthquake kills more than 25,000 people, injures 30,000, others, and leaves 500,000 homeless.

1988–Yasser Arafat recognizes the right of Israel to exist.

1993–Passenger Colin Ferguson murders six people and injures 19 others on the Long Island Railroad in Nassau County, New York.

1995–The Galileo spacecraft arrives at Jupiter, a little more than six years after it was launched by Space Shuttle Atlantis during Mission STS-34.

1997–Bob Dylan receives the Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Achievement Award from President Clinton.

1999–The Recording Industry Association of America sues the peer-to-peer file-sharing online service Napster, alleging copyright infringement.

2003–The Conservative Party of Canada is officially registered, following the merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

2005–Rigoberto Alpizar, a passenger on American Airlines Flight 924 who allegedly claimed to have a bomb, is shot and killed by a team of U.S. Federal Air Marshals at Miami International Airport.

2005–Ante Gotovina, a Croatian army general accused of war crimes, is captured in the Playa de las Américas, Tenerife, by Spanish police.

2006–A tornado strikes Kensal Green, North West London, England, seriously damaging about 150 properties.

2009–The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15) is held.

2011–Actor, Harry Morgan, dies in his sleep in Los Angeles, California, at age 96. He is best known for his co-starring roles on the TV shows December Bride, Pete & Gladys, Dragnet, and M*A*S*H. He appeared in the films Orchestra Wives, The Ox-Bow Incident, State Fair, The Big Clock, Holiday Affair, Bend of the River, High Noon, Torch Song, The Glenn Miller Story, Not as a Stranger, Pete Kelly’s Blues, Inherit the Wind, How the West Was Won, Patton, and The Shootist.

2014–Child actor, Ken Weatherwax, dies of a heart attack in West Hills, California, at age 59. He is best known for the role of Pugsley on the TV series The Addams Family.

2015–U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson, says the Obama administration will announce a new terror alert system that will better inform the public about threats to the United States. This will be the third terror alert system put in place since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

2015–The JAXA probe, Akatsuki, successfully enters orbit around Venus five years after the first attempt was made.

2015–A powerful 7.2 earthquake shakes Tajikistan. It wis felt as far away as India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

2015–U.K. rainfall hits record highs as an incredible 13.44 inches of rain falls in 24 hours at Honister Pass in the Lake District in North West England. At least 2 people die from the flooding and Cumbria Police say about 5,000 properties are flooded and around 3,000 residents remain without power.

2016–U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is named Time magazine’s Person of the Year.

2016–At least 96 people are killed following a 6.4 earthquake in Indonesia's Aceh region. Hundreds of people are injured and several buildings collapse.

2016–Musician, Greg Lake, dies of cancer at age 69. He was a guitarist, singer, songwriter, and producer, who gained prominence as a founding member of the progressive rock bands King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.


PHOTOS TOP TO BOTTOM: Emperor Justin II; James Madison; the Jesse James Bank Museum; Eli Wallach; Ellen Burstyn; Harry Chapin; Tony Thomas; Brian Wilson; The Beatles' Apple Boutique; Imelda Marcos; Robert Graves; the Galileo spacecraft arriving at Jupiter; and Harry Morgan.

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