2011: Forty-six tornadoes break out on what would turn out to be the first day of a record-breaking four-day outbreak of tornadoes across the Southern United States as well as parts of the Midwest and Northeast. By the time the outbreak was over, more than 300 confirmed tornadoes will have killed 325 people, making it the deadliest tornado outbreak in the U.S. since 1936.
2009: Actress, comedienne and singer Bea Arthur (far right), best known for her TV work on the sitcoms "All in the Family," "Maude" and "The Golden Girls," dies of cancer at the age of 86 in Los Angeles, Calif. Arthur, who was born Bernice Frankel in New York City, was a successful stage actress both before and after her television success, winning the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance as Vera Charles in the original cast of "Mame" in 1966. She's seen here in 2004 with her "Golden Girls" co-stars Betty White and Rue McClanahan.
2007: Singer-songwriter Bobby "Boris" Pickett, famous for co-writing and performing the 1962 hit novelty song "Monster Mash," dies of complications from leukemia at the age of 69 in Los Angeles, Calif. He's seen here in 2005.
2002: Rapper, dancer and singer-songwriter Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, best known as one-third of the R&B/hip-hop group TLC, dies at the age of 30 in a car crash in La Ceiba, Honduras. Lopes, who won four Grammys for her work with TLC, was thrown from the vehicle she was driving when it rolled off the road.
1995: Actress and dancer Ginger Rogers, best known as Fred Astaire's romantic interest and dancing partner in a series of Hollywood musicals in the 1930s, including "Top Hat," "Swing Time" and "Shall We Dance," dies of a heart attack at the age of 83 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Rogers won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in 1940's "Kitty Foyle" and also appeared in movies such as "Stage Door," "Roxie Hart" and "Monkey Business."
1994: After a 14 year hiatus, the rock band The Eagles reunite for a show in Burbank, Calif., closing the show with "Desperado." The show, and a second performance the following night, was recorded for a live album and concert film titled "Hell Freezes Over," a reference to Don Henley's retort in the 1980s when asked about a potential band reunion. The Eagles soon launched a tour of the same name, which would last from 1994–96 and became one of the most successful tours in music history.
1992: The sitcoms "Growing Pains" and "Who's the Boss" air their final episodes on the same night after seven and eight seasons, respectively. "Growing Pains" had been on the air since Sept. 24, 1985, and "Who's the Boss" premiered a year earlier on Sept. 20, 1984.
1990: The Hubble Space Telescope is launched from the space shuttle Discovery. Scientists later discovered that the telescope's main mirror had been ground incorrectly, compromising the telescope's capabilities. It would be restored to its intended quality by a servicing mission by the space shuttle Endeavour in 1993.
1979: Woody Allen's romantic comedy "Manhattan," starring Allen, Diane Keaton and Mariel Hemingway, premieres in theaters. The movie, in which Allen plays a twice-divorced 42-year-old comedy writer who dates a 17-year-old girl before eventually falling in love with his best friend's mistress, is often considered Allen's best film and was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress for Hemingway and Best Original Screenplay for Allen.
1976: Carol Reed, the English film director best known for the movies "Oliver!," "Odd Man Out," "The Fallen Idol" and "The Third Man," dies of a heart attack at age 69 in Chelsea, London, England. Reed won an Academy Award for Best Director for "Oliver!" and was also nominated for "The Fallen Idol" and "The Third Man."
1976: NBA forward/center Tim Duncan (left), who has played for the San Antonio Spurs since 1997, is born in Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands. Duncan is a four-time NBA champion, two-time NBA MVP, three-time NBA Finals MVP, and NBA Rookie of the Year.
1972: English actor George Sanders, best known as Addison DeWitt in "All About Eve," Jack Favell in "Rebecca," and the voice of the villainous tiger Shere Khan in the 1967 Disney animated film "The Jungle Book," commits suicide at the age of 65 near Barcelona, Spain. Sanders, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for "All About Eve," also appeared in movies such as "The Picture of Dorian Gray," "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" (pictured) and "Ivanhoe" during his 40-year career and was an accomplished singer and pianist.
1970: Actor Jason Lee, best known for the sitcom "My Name is Earl" and for movie roles in "Chasing Amy," "Almost Famous" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks," is born in Orange County, Calif.
1969: Actress Renée Zellweger, best known for movie roles such as "Jerry Maguire," "Bridget Jones's Diary," "Chicago" and "Cold Mountain," is born in Katy, Texas. Zellweger won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2004 for "Cold Mountain."
1965: Teenage sniper Michael Andrew Clark kills three and injures six others shooting from a hilltop along Highway 101 just south of Santa Maria, Calif. He then committed suicide upon the arrival of police.
1964: Actor and comedian Hank Azaria, best known for his voice work on "The Simpsons" and for roles in movies such as "The Birdcage," "Godzilla," "Shattered Glass" and "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," is born in Queens, N.Y.
1960: The U.S. Navy submarine USS Triton completes the first submerged circumnavigation of the globe by reaching the St. Peter and Paul Rocks, located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean near the Equator. The circumnavigation covered 30,752 miles over 60 days and 21 hours generally following the same course for the first circumnavigation of the world led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan between 1519-1522.
1959: The Saint Lawrence Seaway, linking the North American Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, officially opens to shipping. The system of locks, canals and channels permits ocean-going vessels to travel as far inland as the western end of Lake Superior. This photo shows the Frontenac icebreaker becoming the first ship to cross the St. Lambert Lock, the first lock on the seaway.
1953: Molecular biologists James Watson (center) and Francis Crick (right) publish "Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid" describing the double helix structure of DNA. They, along with Maurice Wilkins, would be awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries.
1946: Actress Talia Shire, most known for her roles as Connie Corleone in "The Godfather" trilogy and as Adrian Balboa in the "Rocky" series, is born Talia Rose Coppola in Lake Success, N.Y. She received Oscar nominations for "The Godfather Part II" and "Rocky." Shire is the sister of director and producer Francis Ford Coppola, the aunt of actor Nicolas Cage and director Sofia Coppola, and the mother of actor/musician Jason Schwartzman.
1945: American and Soviet troops meet in Torgau, Germany, along the River Elbe, cutting the armed forces of Nazi Germany in two, a milestone in the approaching end of World War II in Europe. Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his Berlin bunker four days later. Seen here is U.S. Army 2nd Lt. William Robertson and Lt. Alexander Sylvashko of the Soviet Red Army in an arranged photo opportunity to mark the historic meeting.
1944: The United Negro College Fund is incorporated. The philanthropic organization funds scholarships for black students and general scholarship funds for 39 private historically black colleges and universities.
1940: Actor Al Pacino, best known for movies such as "The Godfather," "Dog Day Afternoon," "Scarface," "Serpico," "Glengarry Glen Ross" and "Scent of a Woman," is born in New York City. Pacino has been nominated for eight Oscars in his career, winning in 1993 for "Scent of a Woman."
1932: Meadow "Meadowlark" Lemon III, who played in more than 16,000 games for the Harlem Globetrotters over 22 years and is known as the "Clown Prince" of the touring team, is born in Wilmington, N.C. Lemon, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003, is seen here in 1988 before an exhibition game for the San Diego Stars.
1926: One year and five months after his death, Giacomo Puccini's opera "Turandot" premieres in Milan, Italy. The opera was unfinished at the time of his death and was completed by Franco Alfano. The first performance ended in the middle of Act 3, which was as far as Puccini got before his death. The first performance of the opera as completed by Alfano was the following night.
1917: Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, who sold 40 million copies of her 70-plus albums and won 13 Grammy Awards over her 59-year recording career, is born in Newport News, Va. She died at age 79 on June 15, 1996.
1908: Television news pioneer Edward R. Murrow, who first rose to prominence with a series of radio news broadcasts during World War II, is born Egbert Roscoe Murrow near Greensboro, N.C. Murrow also was famous for a series of TV news reports that helped lead to the censure of U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy. He died of lung cancer on April 27, 1965, two days after his 57th birthday.
1898: The United States declares war on Spain, officially starting the Spanish-American War. Pictured is the transport ship Seneca, used by the United States to move troops to Puerto Rico and Cuba in the war.
1874: Guglielmo Marconi, the electrical engineer and inventor who invented the wireless telegraph known today as radio, is born in Palazzo Marescalchi, Bologna, Italy.
1846: Open conflict between American and Mexican troops begins over the disputed border of Texas. The two days of fighting, known as the Thornton Affair, saw 2,000 Mexican soldiers defeating an American army patrol of 70 men, leaving 16 American soldiers dead and triggering the Mexican-American War.
1792: Highwayman Nicolas J. Pelletier becomes the first person executed by guillotine. He was executed in front of what is now the city hall of Paris, France.
1719: Daniel Defoe publishes "Robinson Crusoe," which tells the story of a castaway who spends years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad before being rescued. The novel, which originally credited its fictional protagonist as its author, was an instant success, going through four editions before the end of the year.
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