Published On: May 16 2013 03:12:43 PM CDTUpdated On: May 17 2015 01:00:00 AM CDT
2012: Donna Summer, known for her 1970s disco anthems like "Last Dance" and "I Feel Love," dies of lung cancer at the age of 63 in Naples, Florida. She was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.
2011: Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, who played most of his 22-year career for the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins, dies of esophageal cancer at the age of 74 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Killebrew was one of the American League's most feared power hitters of the 1960s, hitting 40 home runs in a season eight times. A 13-time All-Star and six-time AL home run champion, he was second only to Babe Ruth in AL home runs and was the AL career leader in home runs by a right-handed batter when he retired in 1975 with 573 career homers.
2005: Actor and comedian Frank Gorshin, best known for playing The Riddler on the 1960s TV show "Batman," dies of lung cancer at the age of 72 in Burbank, California.
2004: Actor Tony Randall, best known for his role as Felix Unger in the sitcom "The Odd Couple," dies of pneumonia at the age of 84 in New York City.
2004: Massachusetts becomes the first state in America to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The state normally has a three-day waiting period before issuing marriage licenses, but many couples obtained waivers of the waiting period in order to be wed the same day.
1998: New York Yankees pitcher David Wells becomes the 13th player in modern major-league baseball history to throw a perfect game, beating the Minnesota Twins 4-0 at Yankee Stadium. Wells' perfect game also comprised the core of a streak of 38 consecutive retired batters between May 12-23, 1998, an American League record he held until 2007.
1992: Lawrence Welk, the musician, accordionist, bandleader and television impresario who hosted "The Lawrence Welk Show" from 1955 to 1982, dies of pneumonia at the age of 89 in Santa Monica, California.
1990: The General Assembly of the World Health Organization eliminates homosexuality from the list of psychiatric diseases.
1982: NBA point guard Tony Parker, who has played for the San Antonio Spurs since 2001, helping them to championships in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014, is born in Bruges, Belgium.
1982: The movie musical "Annie," starring Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney and Carol Burnett, premieres in New York City. The movie was adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn is based on "Little Orphan Annie," the 1924 comic strip by Harold Gray. The film was nominated for Best Production Design and Best Original Score at the 55th Academy Awards.
1974: Thirty-three civilians are killed and more than 300 injured when the Ulster Volunteer Force explodes car bombs in Dublin and Monaghan, Ireland. The attack resulted in the highest number of casualties in any one day during the conflict over Northern Ireland independence known as The Troubles.
1973: Rock singer-songwriter and musician Josh Homme, best known as the frontman for the hard rock band Queens of the Stone Age, is born in Joshua Tree, California. Homme has also been a member of the bands Eagles of Death Metal, Kyuss and Them Crooked Vultures, the last with Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones.
1973: The Senate Watergate Committee, a special committee convened by the U.S. Senate, begins televised hearings to investigate the Watergate scandal. The three major networks of the time took turns covering the hearings live, with each network providing coverage every third day. An estimated 85 percent of Americans with television sets tuned into at least one portion of the hearings, which wrapped up on Aug. 7.
1970: Singer-songwriter Jordan Knight, best known as a member of the boy band New Kids on the Block, is born in Worcester, Massachusetts.
1970: Hank Aaron becomes the ninth player to get 3,000 hits. In doing so, he also became the first player to reach 3,000 career hits and 500 career home runs.
1966: Bob Dylan, who had recently "gone electric" and added rock 'n' roll instruments to his folk music, is heckled by audience members, including one who shouts "Judas!," at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England. Dylan responds with "I don't believe you, you're a liar" before launching into "Like a Rolling Stone," telling his band to play his newest hit "f---ing loud." The incident can be seen in the Martin Scorsese documentary "No Direction Home" and the full concert was eventually released in 1998 as "Live 1966: The 'Royal Albert Hall' Concert" in Dylan's Bootleg Series.
1965: Singer-songwriter and record producer Trent Reznor, best known as the frontman for the band Nine Inch Nails, is born in Mercer, Pennsylvania. Reznor has also become known for composing film scores, including his work on David Fincher's "The Social Network," which won Reznor and musician Atticus Ross an Oscar in 2011. The duo also scored Fincher's adaptation of the film "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and 2014's "Gone Girl."
1962: Comedian, actor and television host Craig Ferguson, who first found fame on "The Drew Carey Show" before hosting the late-night talk show "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" from 2005 to 2014, is born in Glasgow, Scotland.
1961: Singer-songwriter Enya, whose hit new age songs include "May it Be," "Orinoco Flow" and "Book of Days," is born Eithne Ní Bhraonáin in Gaoth Dobhair, Donegal, Ireland.
1956: Actor and comedian Bob Saget, best known for his role as Danny Tanner in the sitcom "Full House" and as the original host of "America's Funniest Home Videos," is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1956: Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, who would become the first boxer to earn more than $100 million in purses while winning world titles in five weight divisions, is born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Leonard compiled a 36-3-1 record, with 25 of his victories coming by knockout, before retiring for good in 1997.
1955: Actor and director Bill Paxton, best known for his movie roles in "Aliens," "Apollo 13" and "Titanic," and for starring in the HBO series "Big Love," is born in Fort Worth, Texas.
1954: In an unanimous decision in Brown V. Board of Education, the Supreme Court of the United States declares state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. The decision that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 that allowed state-sponsored segregation and paved the way for integration.
1943: The United States Army contracts with the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School to develop the ENIAC, the first electronic general-purpose computer. The computer, whose name stood for Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer, was designed to calculate artillery firing tables for the U.S. Army's Ballistic Research Laboratory and was formally dedicated on Feb. 15, 1946.
1942: Blues musician and singer-songwriter Taj Mahal, who has won two Grammys in a carreer stretching more than 50 years, is born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks in Harlem, New York.
1939: The Columbia Lions and the Princeton Tigers play in the United States' first televised sporting event, a collegiate baseball game in New York City.
1936: Actor and film director Dennis Hopper, best known for movies such as "Easy Rider," "Apocalypse Now" (pictured), "Blue Velvet," "Hoosiers" and "Speed," is born in Dodge City, Kansas. Hopper was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing the screenplay for "Easy Rider," which he also directed, and for Best Supporting Actor for "Hoosiers." He died from prostate cancer at age 74 on May 29, 2010.
1934: Cass Gilbert, the American aarchitect who designed the United States Supreme Court Building and New York City's Woolworth Building, dies at age 74 in Brockenhurst, England. An early proponent of skyscrapers, he was also known for designing numerous museums and libraries and several state capitol buildings, including ones for Minnesota, Arkansas and West Virginia.
1911: Actress Maureen O'Sullivan, best known for playing Jane in the "Tarzan" series of films starring Johnny Weissmüller, is born in Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland. O'Sullivan also appeared in "The Thin Man," "Anna Karenina," "Pride and Prejudice" and "Maisie Was a Lady" in the 1930s and '40s. She died of complications from heart surgery on June 23, 1998, at age 87.
1903: Baseball Hall of Famer James Thomas "Cool Papa" Bell, a Negro league baseball star often considered to have been one of the fastest men ever to play the game, is born in Starkville, Mississippi. He died of a heart attack at age 87 on March 7, 1991.
1886: John Deere, the blacksmith and manufacturer who founded Deere & Company, one of the largest agricultural and construction equipment manufacturers in the world, dies at the age of 82 in Moline, Illinois.
1875: The first Kentucky Derby takes place with a field of 15 three-year-old horse racing in front of an estimated crowd of 10,000 people. A colt named Aristides, ridden by jockey Oliver Lewis and trained by future Hall of Famer Ansel Williamson, won the inaugural race.
1849: A large fire nearly burns St. Louis, Missouri, to the ground. The blaze was also the first in United States history in which it is known that a firefighter was killed in the line of duty, with Capt. Thomas B. Targee dying while fighting the fire.
1829: John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, dies at the age of 83 in Bedford, New York. Jay also served as the president of the Continental Congress and was an ambassador to Spain and France during the American Revolutionary War. He also served as the second Secretary of Foreign Affairs from 1784 to 1789, helping to fashion early United States foreign policy.
1792: What would become the New York Stock Exchange is formed when 24 stockbrokers outside of 68 Wall Street in New York City sign an agreement under a buttonwood tree. The Buttonwood Agreement, as it came to be known, established that the brokers were to deal exclusively with each other and set commissions at 0.25 percent.
1727: Catherine I of Russia, the first woman to rule Imperial Russia, dies at the age of 43 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Fever and coughing blood from her nose, diagnosed as abscess of the lungs, led to her early death. The second wife of Peter I of Russia and the mother of Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great, she reigned as empress of Russia from 1725 until her death.
Oxygen is discovered, Adolf Hitler presides over the opening of the Olympics, a new superhero is introduced, tragedy strikes the University of Texas, and a new all-music TV network debuts, all on this day.