1794: Cornelius Vanderbilt, the industrialist and philanthropist who built his wealth in shipping and railroads, is born in Staten Island, N.Y. One of the richest Americans in history, he provided the initial gift to found Vanderbilt University, which is named in his honor.
1837: American Old West folk hero Wild Bill Hickok is born James Butler Hickok in Troy Grove, Ill. He became known for his gunfighting and scouting skills and served as a lawman in the frontier territories of Kansas and Nebraska.
1894: Author Dashiell Hammett, best known for his hard-boiled detective novels and short stories, including "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Thin Man," is born in Saint Mary's County, Md.
1896: A F4-strength tornado hits St. Louis, Mo., and East Saint Louis, Ill., killing at least 255 people and causing $10 million in damage ($3.8 billion when adjusted for inflation). The storm was part of a major tornado outbreak across the Central United States that continued across the Eastern states on the following day.
1911: Hubert H. Humphrey, the 38th vice president of the United States from 1965 to 1969 under President Lyndon B. Johnson, is born in Wallace, S.D. Humphrey, who twice served as a U.S. senator from Minnesota, was also the nominee of the Democratic Party in the 1968 presidential election but lost to the Republican nominee, Richard Nixon.
1911: Actor Vincent Price, well known for his distinctive voice and his roles in horror movies such as "The Fly," "House of Usher," "The Masque of the Red Death," "Theatre of Blood" and "The Abominable Dr. Phibes," is born in St. Louis, Mo.
1912: Author John Cheever, best known for his short stories, including "The Enormous Radio," "The Five-Forty-Eight" and "The Swimmer," is born in Quincy, Mass. A compilation of his short stories, "The Stories of John Cheever," won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
1915: Writer Herman Wouk, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose novels include "The Caine Mutiny," "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance," is born in New York City.
1919: A naval Curtiss aircraft NC-4 commanded by Albert Cushing Read completes the first transatlantic flight. The flight was part of U.S. Navy expedition of three "flying boats," with only the NC-4 completing the full 19-day journey from New York State to Lisbon, Portugal. The journey included time for stops for repairs and rest in Massachusetts, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and twice in the Azores Islands. The feat was overshadowed just two weeks later when two Royal Air Force pilots completed the first nonstop transatlantic flight in just under 16 hours.
1922: Actor Christopher Lee, best known for his roles in the James Bond film "The Man with the Golden Gun," the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy, and the British cult classic "The Wicker Man," is born in London, England.
1923: Henry Kissinger, the 56th United States secretary of state under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford from 1973 to 1977, is born Heinz Alfred Kissinger in Fürth, Bavaria, Germany. He also served as the U.S. national security advisor from 1969 to 1975 and won the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for helping to establish a ceasefire and U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam.
1923: Sumner Redstone, the billionaire media magnate, is born in Boston, Mass. He is chairman of the National Amusements theater chain, which makes him a majority owner of CBS Corporation, Viacom, MTV Networks, BET, and the film studio Paramount Pictures.
1927: The Ford Motor Company stops manufacturing the Ford Model T and begins to retool plants to make the Ford Model A. The Model T, generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, sold 15 million vehicles over 20 years.
1930: The 1,046-foot-tall Chrysler Building, the tallest manmade structure at the time, opens to the public in New York City. The building would remain the tallest building in the world for 11 months until the May 1, 1931, opening of the Empire State Building.
1933: The Walt Disney Company releases the cartoon "Three Little Pigs," with its hit song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" The animated short won the 1934 Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons.
1935: Actress Lee Meriwether, the 1955 Miss America winner best known for her TV roles in "Barnaby Jones" and "All My Children," is born in Los Angeles, Calif. She's also known for her portrayal of Catwoman in the 1966 "Batman" movie.
1936: Actor Louis Gossett Jr., best known for his award-winning roles in the 1982 film "An Officer and a Gentleman" and the 1977 television miniseries "Roots," is born in Brooklyn, N.Y. In an acting career that has spanned more than five decades, he has also appeared in movies such as "Jaws 3-D," "Enemy Mine" and "Iron Eagle."
1937: The Golden Gate Bridge opens to pedestrian traffic, creating a link between San Francisco and Marin County, Calif.
1939: Singer-songwriter Don Williams, whose 17 No. 1 country music hits include "Tulsa Time," "Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good" and "I Believe In You," is born in Floydada, Texas.
1941: During World War II, the German battleship Bismarck is sunk in the North Atlantic in retaliation for its sinking of the Royal Navy battlecruiser HMS Hood three days earlier. Out of a crew of more than 2,200 men, only 114 survived.
1949: Robert Ripley, the cartoonist, publisher and entrepreneur who founded Ripley's Believe It or Not!, dies of a heart attack at the age of 58 in New York City.
1954: Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Jackie Slater, who played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, is born in Jackson, Miss. The seven-time Pro Bowl selection played in 259 games from 1976 to 1995, a then-record for offensive lineman, and was the first NFL player to play 20 seasons for one team.
1957: The song "That'll Be the Day" by Buddy Holly and the Crickets is released. The single became a No. 1 hit on the 1957 "Best Sellers in Stores" chart in Billboard magazine and also went to No. 2 on Billboard's R&B singles chart.
1957: Rock singer-songwriter and musician Siouxsie Sioux, best known as lead singer of the group Siouxsie and the Banshees and its splinter group The Creatures, is born Susan Janet Ballion in London, England. The Banshees produced a string of hit singles including "Hong Kong Garden," "Happy House," "Peek-a-Boo" and "Kiss Them for Me."
1958: The F-4 Phantom II makes its first flight. The jet fighter-bomber was used extensively during the Vietnam War by both the U.S. Navy and Air Force and has the distinction of being the last U.S. fighter flown to attain ace status in the 20th century.
1958: Singer-songwriter and rock musician Neil Finn, best known as the lead singer and founder of the band Crowded House, is born in Te Awamutu, New Zealand. Crowded House is best known for the top 10 hits "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Something So Strong," both of which were written by Finn. He earlier found fame in the late 1970s in the band Split Enz, for whom he wrote the hits "One Step Ahead," "History Never Repeats," "I Got You" and "Message to My Girl," among others.
1962: Bob Dylan releases the album "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan." Dylan's second album, it included the songs "Blowin' in the Wind," "Girl from the North Country," "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" and climbed to No. 22 on the Billboard 200 album chart. It is also famous for its cover art depicting Dylan with then-girlfriend Suze Rotolo walking in New York City's West Village.
1964: Comedian and actor Adam Carolla, best known for the radio/television call-in show "Loveline" and the Comedy Central show "The Man Show," is born in Los Angeles, Calif. Carolla also hosts the podcast talk show "The Adam Carolla Show," which set the record as the "most downloaded podcast" as judged by Guinness World Records.
1965: Actor Todd Bridges, best known for his childhood role as Willis Jackson on the 1980s sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes," is born in San Francisco, Calif. He's seen here with his wife, Dori Bridges, in 2003.
1967: The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy is christened by former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and her daughter Caroline two days short of what would have been President Kennedy's 50th birthday.
1968: Major League Baseball's National League awards Montreal, Quebec, the first franchise based outside of the United States. The team, which would be named the Montreal Expos, would begin play in the 1969 season. On the same day, the National League announced it would also be expanding to San Diego, where the team would be named the Padres.
1968: Baseball slugger Frank Thomas, one of baseball's biggest stars in the 1990s, is born in Columbus, Ga. Thomas played 19 seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays, hitting 521 home runs with a .301 career batting average. The 1993 and 1994 American League MVP and 1997 AL batting champion earned the nickname "The Big Hurt" thanks to his menacing home run power.
1970: Actor Joseph Fiennes, best known for movies such as "Shakespeare in Love," "Elizabeth" and "Enemy at the Gates," and the TV shows "FlashForward" and "American Horror Story," is born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.
1971: Actor Paul Bettany, best known for his roles in movies like "A Knight's Tale," "A Beautiful Mind," "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World," "Wimbledon" and "The Da Vinci Code," is born in London, England.
1971: Rapper, dancer and singer-songwriter Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, best known as one-third of the R&B/hip-hop group TLC, is born in Philadelphia, Pa. Lopes, who won four Grammys for her work with TLC, died at the age of 30 in an April 25, 2002, car crash in La Ceiba, Honduras.
1975: Rapper, record producer and actor André 3000, best known for being part of hip-hop duo OutKast alongside fellow rapper Big Boi, is born André Lauren Benjamin in Atlanta, Ga. He also has acted in movies such as "Be Cool," "Revolver," "Semi-Pro" and "Four Brothers."
1975: Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, known for his TV cooking programs, cookbooks and efforts toward healthier school lunches for children, is born in Clavering, Essex, England.
1977: The action comedy film "Smokey and the Bandit," starring Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jackie Gleason and Jerry Reed, premieres in theaters. The film, also known for its 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am and Reed's hit song "East Bound and Down," earned nearly $127 million at the North American box office, making it the fourth highest-grossing movie of 1977, and spawned two sequels.
1977: The Sex Pistols' song "God Save the Queen" is released. The punk rockers' second single, it would sell about 150,000 copies in its first week despite the BBC's refusal to play the song and some record stores declining to carry the single because of its controversial lyrics.
1990: Actor and singer Chris Colfer, best known for his role on the TV show "Glee," is born in Clovis, Calif. He is also a New York Times No. 1 bestselling author and publisher of "Struck by Lightning" and "The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories)."
1994: Comedian Arsenio Hall's late-night talk show "The Arsenio Hall Show" airs its final episode. The show, which ran for 1,248 episodes over more than five years, found an audience with younger viewers and became known for the audience's chant of "Woof! Woof! Woof!" while pumping their fists in a circular motion. The show, which debuted on Jan. 3, 1989, also provided the indelible image of then Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton wailing away on his saxophone during the 1992 campaign.
1995: In Culpeper, Va., Christopher Reeve is paralyzed from the neck down after falling from his horse in a riding competition. The actor, best known for the "Superman" movie franchise, would require a wheelchair and breathing apparatus for the rest of his life. He spent the rest of his life lobbying on behalf of people with spinal-cord injuries and for human embryonic stem cell research, founding the Christopher Reeve Foundation and co-founding the Reeve-Irvine Research Center, before dying on Oct. 10, 2004.
1997: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that Paula Jones can pursue her sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton while he is in office. A federal judge would eventually dismiss the former Arkansas state employee's suit in April 1998, saying that Jones' claims fell "far short" of being worthy of a trial. Jones appealed the dismissal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, but dropped the appeal in November 1998 after reaching a $850,000 settlement with Clinton. The case precipitated Clinton's impeachment, with charges of perjury and obstruction of justice being later brought against Clinton based on statements regarding the nature of his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky he made during the depositions for the Jones lawsuit.
1999: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands, indicts former President of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic and four others for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in connection with the wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo. It would be nearly another two years before Milosevic was arrested. His trial ended without a verdict after he suffered a fatal heart attack in his prison cell in The Hague in March 2006.
2000: Hockey Hall of Famer Maurice "The Rocket" Richard, who won eight Stanley Cup championships with the Montreal Canadiens, dies of lung failure at age 78 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Richard played for the Canadiens from 1942 to 1960 and was the most prolific goal-scorer of his era. He was the first NHL player to score 50 goals in one season and the first to score 500 goals in a career. He finished his career with 544 goals in the regular season, with 82 in the playoffs, and led the league in goals five times. He also amassed 421 assists for a total of 965 points in 978 games and retired as the NHL's all-time leading scorer.
2006: A 6.2-magnitude earthquake centered in the Indian Ocean off the south side of the island of Java devastates the cities of Bantul, Klaten and Yogyakarta, killing at least 5,782 and injuring more than 36,000.
2006: For the first time in their 22-year career, the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers score a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, with the two-disc set "Stadium Arcadium" topping the chart.
2011: Actor Jeff Conaway, known for his roles in "Grease" and "Taxi," dies at age 60 in Encino, Calif., due to complications related to pneumonia and the degenerative brain condition known as encephalopathy, attributable to long-term drug use. Conaway was also featured on "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew."