Published On: Apr 15 2013 12:43:44 PM CDTUpdated On: Apr 17 2014 01:00:00 AM CDT
2013: An explosion at the West Fertilizer Company storage and distribution facility in West, Texas, while emergency services personnel were responding to a fire at the facility, leaves at least 15 people dead, with more than 160 injured and more than 150 buildings damaged or destroyed.
2003: Robert Atkins, the physician and cardiologist who created the Atkins diet, dies nine days after slipping on icy pavement in New York City and suffering head trauma. He was 72.
2001: Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hits his 500th career home run, becoming the 17th major leaguer to reach the mark.
1998: Photographer and musician Linda McCartney, who married Beatle Paul McCartney in 1969 and later joined his band Wings, dies of breast cancer at the age of 56 in Tucson, Arizona.
1993: A federal jury in Los Angeles convicts Officer Laurence Powell and Sgt. Stacey Koon of violating the civil rights of beaten motorist Rodney King (pictured). Two other officers, Timothy Wind and Theodore Briseno, were acquitted. Powell and Koon would be sentenced to 32 months in prison.
1990: American civil rights activist Ralph Abernathy, a close associate of Martin Luther King Jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, dies from two blood clots that traveled to his heart and lungs at the age of 64 in Atlanta, Ga. Abernathy was with King in Memphis, Tenn., when he was assassinated in 1968. Following King's assassination, Abernathy took up the leadership of the SCLC Poor People's Campaign and led the March on Washington, D.C., that had been planned for May 1968.
1985: Actress Rooney Mara, best known for movies such as "The Social Network," "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "Side Effects," is born in Bedford, New York.
1975: After five years of fighting, the Cambodian Civil War ends as Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge captures the capital Phnom Penh and Cambodian government forces surrender. Here, Saukham Khoy (second from right), president of the Khmer Republic, arrives on board the USS Okinawa after being evacuated from Phnom Penh.
1974: Pop singer Victoria Beckham, better known as "Posh Spice" from pop group Spice Girls, is born Victoria Caroline Adams in Harlow, Essex, England.
1972: Elton John's "Rocket Man" is released as a single. The song became a hit, climbing to No. 2 in the United Kingdom and No. 6 in the United States.
1972: Actress Jennifer Garner, best known for the TV series "Alias," and movies such as "Daredevil," "13 Going on 30," "Juno" and "Valentine's Day," is born in Houston, Texas.
1970: The ill-fated Apollo 13 spacecraft returns to Earth safely. The mission's lunar landing was aborted two days after its April 11 launch when an oxygen tank exploded, crippling the service module. Astronauts (from left to right) Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert fought hardships caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of water and the need to jury-rig the carbon dioxide removal system to return successfully.
1970: Paul McCartney's first solo album, "McCartney," is released in the United Kingdom. Three days later it would be released in the United States.
1970: Rapper, producer and actor Redman, well known for his collaborations with Method Man, including their starring roles in films and sitcoms, is born Reginald Noble in Newark, N.J. Some of his best known songs include the hits "Time 4 Sum Aksion," "Blow Your Mind," "How High" and "Whateva Man."
1969: Sirhan Sirhan is convicted of assassinating U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy on June 5, 1968, in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. He would be sentenced six days later to death in the gas chamber, but his sentence was commuted three years later to life in prison, owing to the California Supreme Court's decision in People v. Anderson, which ruled capital punishment a violation of the California Constitution.
1964: The Ford Mustang is introduced to the North American market. The 1965 Mustang was the automaker's most successful launch since the Model A.
1964: Landing in Columbus, Ohio, Jerrie Mock becomes the first woman to circumnavigate the world by air. The trip took 29 days, 21 stopovers and almost 22,860 miles.
1961: A group of CIA financed and trained Cuban exiles lands at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro's government. The invading force was defeated by the Cuban armed forces, under the command of Castro himself, within three days.
1960: Rockabilly singer-songwriter and musician Eddie Cochran, the rock 'n' roll pioneer whose hit songs included "Summertime Blues," "C'mon Everybody" and "Somethin' Else," dies at age 21 of severe head injuries in Bath, Somerset, England, the day after being in a road accident in which he was thrown from a taxi. Cochran was riding in the backseat of the car along with his fiancée, songwriter Sharon Sheeley, and fellow singer Gene Vincent, when their speeding taxi blew a tire while traveling on a highway through Chippenham, Wiltshire, England. The taxi lost control and crashed into a lamp post. Sheeley, Vincent and the taxi driver, George Martin, survived the accident, although Vincent suffered lasting injuries to his leg.
1959: Actor Sean Bean, best known for portraying Boromir in "The Lord of the Rings" film trilogy and Eddard Stark in the HBO television series "Game of Thrones," is born in Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. Bean has also appeared in movies such as "GoldenEye," "Troy" and "National Treasure" (pictured).
1957: Author Nick Hornby, best known for the novels "High Fidelity" and "About a Boy" and the soccer memoir "Fever Pitch," is born in Redhill, Surrey, England.
1954: Professional wrestler and actor "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, who often played the villain as a wrestler, is born Roderick George Toombs in in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Piper was billed as coming from Glasgow, Scotland, due to his Scottish heritage and was known for his signature kilt and bagpipe entrance music. He is also known for his appearance in numerous B-grade movies, most notably 1988's "They Live."
1951: Baseball Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle makes his major league debut with the New York Yankees. After slumping, Mantle would be sent down to the Yankees' top farm team, the Kansas City Blues, where he would remain for 40 games before being called back up. Mantle would go on to hit 536 home runs in his 18 seasons with the Yankees, leading New York to seven World Series titles.
1951: Actress Olivia Hussey, famous for her role as Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli's Academy Award-winning 1968 film version of "Romeo and Juliet," is born Olivia Osuna in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Hussey, who won a Golden Globe for her "Romeo and Juliet" performance, has also appeared in movie such as "Black Christmas," "Death on the Nile" and "Virus."
1937: The cartoon character Daffy Duck makes his debut in the animated short "Porky's Duck Hunt."
1934: Music publisher, promoter and producer Don Kirshner, known as "The Man With the Golden Ear" for his success with bands such as The Monkees, Kansas and The Archies, is born in The Bronx, N.Y. Kirshner was also influential in starting off the careers of singers and songwriters, including Bobby Darin, Neil Diamond and Carole King. In April 14, 2012, he was posthumously inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1924: Metro Pictures and Goldwyn Pictures merge with Louis B. Mayer Pictures to form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, more commonly known as MGM.
1923: Journalist Harry Reasoner, a founder of the "60 Minutes" new program, is born in Dakota City, Iowa. He died at age 68 on Aug. 6, 1991, from a blood clot in the brain received from a fall at his home in Westport, Conn.
1918: Actor William Holden, who starred in such blockbusters as "Sunset Boulevard," "The Bridge on the River Kwai," "The Wild Bunch" and "Network," is born William Franklin Beedle Jr. in O'Fallon, Ill. Holden received Oscar nominations for Best Actor for "Sunset Boulevard" and "Network" and won in 1954 for "Stalag 17." He died at age 63 on Nov. 12, 1981, after slipping on a rug while intoxicated in his Santa Monica, Calif., apartment and severely cutting his forehead on a bedside table.
1907: The Ellis Island immigration center processes 11,747 people, its all-time daily high. The daily record came during the center's peak year, with 1,004,756 immigrants processed in 1907.
1905: The Supreme Court of the United States decides Lochner v. New York, holding that the "right to free contract" is implicit in the due process clause of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. The decision struck down a New York law that limited the number of hours a baker could work to 10 hours per day and 60 hours per week.
1897: Author and playwright Thornton Wilder is born in Madison, Wis. He won three Pulitzer Prizes in his career, for the novel "The Bridge of San Luis Rey" and for the plays "Our Town" and "The Skin of Our Teeth."
1852: Baseball Hall of Fame first baseman Cap Anson, one of the greatest players of his era and one of the first superstars of the game, is born Adrian Constantine Anson in Marshalltown, Iowa. Anson spent most of his career with what would become the Chicago Cubs franchise, leading the team to five National League pennants in the 1880s, and was the first player to reach 3,000 career hits.
1837: J. P. Morgan, the leading financier of America's Progressive Era who dominated corporate finance and industrial consolidation during his time, is born in Hartford, Conn. Morgan arranged the merger that created General Electric and also oversaw the formation of the United States Steel Corporation.
1820: Alexander Cartwright, the inventor of baseball, is born in New York City. Cartwright (top, center) is thought to be the first person to draw a diagram of a diamond shaped baseball field, and the rules of the modern game are based on the Knickerbocker Rules developed by Cartwright and a committee from his club, the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club.
1790: Politician, inventor and diplomat Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of America who also gained international renown as a scientist for his famous experiments in electricity and for his many inventions, dies at the age of 84 in Philadelphia, Pa.
1524: New York Harbor is discovered by Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano.