Published On: Feb 17 2013 04:45:58 AM CSTUpdated On: Feb 18 2015 01:00:00 AM CST
2013: Tennis player Serena Williams becomes the Women's Tennis Association's world No. 1 for the sixth time in her career. By regaining the ranking at the age of 31, she became the oldest No. 1 player in WTA history. She retained the No. 1 ranking throughout 2013 and 2014 and into 2015, raising the record to age 33.
2006: American Shani Davis wins the men's 1,000-meter speedskating gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, becoming the first black athlete to win an individual gold medal in Winter Olympic history. Davis also won a silver medal in the 1,500-meter event three days later.
2001: Hall of Fame baseball player Eddie Mathews, regarded as one of the greatest third basemen ever to play the game, dies of complications of pneumonia at the age of 69 in La Jolla, California. Matthews spent the majority of his career with the Milwaukee Braves, hitting 512 home runs and collecting 1,453 RBIs. The 12-time All-Star also won two World Series championships, in 1957 with the Braves and in 1968 with the Detroit Tigers.
2001: Seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt dies of basilar skull fracture in a last-lap crash during the Daytona 500. He was 49.
1998: Chicago Cubs baseball broadcaster Harry Caray dies of cardiac arrest with resulting brain damage at the age of 83 in Rancho Mirage, California. Four days earlier he had collapsed at a restaurant, hit his head on a table and never regained consciousness. Caray, who got his start with a long tenure calling games for the St. Louis Cardinals before moving onto broadcasting games for the Oakland Athletics and the Chicago White Sox, became known for singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch of games during his time with the White Sox. That tradition carried on when he moved to the Cubs following the 1981 season.
1979: Snow falls in the Sahara Desert in southern Algeria for the only time in recorded history.
1978: The first Ironman Triathlon competition takes place on the island of Oahu, won by Gordon Haller, a U.S. Navy communications specialist. The race, which includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2-mile run, originally ended at Aloha Tower (pictured) in Honolulu.
1977: The space shuttle Enterprise test vehicle is carried on its maiden "flight" on top of a Boeing 747 to measure structural loads, ground handling and braking characteristics.
1974: Fitness trainer and TV personality Jillian Michaels, best known for the television fitness shows "The Biggest Loser" and "Losing It With Jillian" and the talk show "The Doctors," is born in Los Angeles, California.
1970: The Chicago Seven (Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner) are found not guilty of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
1968: Actress Molly Ringwald, best known for her roles in movies such as "Sixteen Candles," "Pretty in Pink," "The Breakfast Club" and "The Pick-Up Artist," is born in Roseville, California.
1967: Physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, often called the "father of the atomic bomb" for his role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that developed the first nuclear weapons, dies at the age of 62 in Princeton, New Jersey, three days after falling into a coma. Oppenheimer had been diagnosed with throat cancer in 1965 and underwent unsuccessful radiation treatment and chemotherapy late in 1966.
1965: Rapper and record producer Dr. Dre, best known for his work with the gangsta rap group N.W.A. and for his solo work, is born Andre Romelle Young in Compton, California. He is credited as a key figure in the popularization of West Coast G-funk and has produced albums for other rappers such as Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Xzibit, 50 Cent and The Game.
1964: Actor Matt Dillon, best known for movies such as "The Outsiders," "Drugstore Cowboy," "Singles," "There's Something About Mary," "Wild Things" and "Crash," is born in New Rochelle, New York.
1957: Game show presenter Vanna White, best known as the hostess of "Wheel of Fortune," is born in Conway, South Carolina.
1955: The Operation Teapot nuclear test shot "Wasp" is successfully detonated at the Nevada Test Site with a yield of 1.2 kilotons. Wasp is the first of 14 shots of the Teapot series, which was designed to establish military tactics for ground forces on a nuclear battlefield and to improve the weapons used to deliver a nuclear bomb core.
1954: Actor John Travolta, best known for the TV sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter" and his roles in movies such as "Saturday Night Fever," "Grease," "Pulp Fiction" and "Get Shorty," is born in Englewood, New Jersey.
1954: The first Church of Scientology is established in Los Angeles.
1952: Singer Juice Newton, best known for the songs "It's a Heartache," "Angel of the Morning," "Queen of Hearts" and "Break It to Me Gently," is born Judy Kay Newton in Lakehurst, New Jersey.
1950: Actress Cybill Shepherd, best known for the TV show "Moonlighting" and her movie roles in "The Last Picture Show" and "Taxi Driver," is born in Memphis, Tennessee. Shepherd has also starred in her own sitcom, "Cybill," from 1995 to 1998 and has had recurring roles on "The L Word" and "Psych."
1950: Filmmaker John Hughes, best known for directing such movies as "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club," "Weird Science," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," is born in Lansing, Michigan. Hughes is also known for writing and producing movies such as "Home Alone," "Pretty in Pink," "Some Kind of Wonderful," "The Great Outdoors" and "Christmas Vacation." He died of a heart attack at age 59 on Aug. 6, 2009.
1943: Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels delivers his Sportpalast speech, calling for a total war as the tide of World War II had turned against Nazi Germany and its Axis allies. The speech was the first public admission by the Nazi leadership that Germany faced serious dangers and is considered Goebbels' most famous speech.
1933: Singer and performance artist Yoko Ono, best known for her marriage to John Lennon and her work in avant-garde art, music and filmmaking, is born in Tokyo, Japan.
1932: Film director Milos Forman, best known for the movies "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Amadeus," both of which earned him Oscars for Best Director, is born Jan Tomás Forman in Cáslav, Czechoslovakia. Forman also earned a Best Director Oscar nomination for "The People vs. Larry Flynt" and has also directed such movies as "Hair," "Valmont" and "Man on the Moon."
1931: Writer Toni Morrison, whose best known novels are "The Bluest Eye," "Sula," "Song of Solomon" and "Beloved," is born in Lorain, Ohio. Morrison won the Nobel Prize in 1993 and the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for "Beloved." She also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
1930: Elm Farm Ollie becomes the first cow to fly in a fixed-wing aircraft and also the first cow to be milked in an aircraft. The cow flew 72 miles from Bismarck, Missouri, to St. Louis as part of the International Air Exposition in St. Louis.
1930: While studying photographs taken in January, astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto. This image compares the two photos Tombaugh used to confirm the movement of Pluto from Jan. 23 to 29.
1925: Actor George Kennedy, who has appeared in more than 200 films and TV shows but is best known for the movies "Cool Hand Luke," "Airport" and "The Naked Gun," is born in New York City. Kennedy, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1968 for "Cool Hand Luke," also starred in movies such as "Charade," "The Flight of the Phoenix," "In Harm's Way," "The Dirty Dozen," "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot," "The Eiger Sanction" and "Earthquake," and the TV series "The Blue Knight" and "Dallas."
1922: Author and publisher Helen Gurley Brown, who wrote the bestseller "Sex and the Single Girl" in 1962 and was the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine from 1965 to 1997, is born in Green Forest, Arkansas. She died at age 90 on Aug. 13, 2012.
1919: Actor Jack Palance, best known for his roles in movies such as "Sudden Fear," "Shane," "The Professionals" and "City Slickers," is born Volodymyr Jack Palahniuk in Hazle Township, Pennsylvania. During his 50 years working in film and television, Palance was nominated for three Academy Awards, all as Best Actor in a Supporting Role, winning in 1991 for his role in "City Slickers." He died of natural causes at age 87 on Nov. 10, 2006.
1902: Charles Lewis Tiffany, the jeweler who founded Tiffany & Co. in New York City in 1837, dies at the age of 90 in Yonkers, New York.
1898: Race car driver and entrepreneur Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team and subsequently of the Ferrari sports car manufacturer, is born in Modena, Italy.
1892: Wendell Willkie, a corporate lawyer and the Republican Party nominee for president in 1940, is born in Elwood, Indiana. After losing the race to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, he became an informal ambassador-at-large for Roosevelt, traveling to Great Britain and the Middle East in late 1941, and to the Soviet Union and China in 1942. He wrote a bestselling book, "One World," about his travels.
1885: Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is published in the U.S. for the first time. It had previously been published in Europe and Canada on Dec. 10, 1884.
1861: In Montgomery, Alabama, Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as the provisional president of the Confederate States of America. He would be formally elected without opposition in November 1861.
1564: Italian artist and sculptor Michelangelo, often considered to be one of the greatest artists of all time, dies at the age of 88 in Rome, Italy. Some of his best known works include the sculptures "Pietà" and "David" and frescos of the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling and The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
1546: German religious reformer Martin Luther, whose efforts to reform the theology and practice of the Roman Catholic Church launched the Protestant Reformation and whose teachings are the basis for Lutheranism, dies shortly after suffering an apoplectic stroke at the age of 62 in Eisleben, Germany, then part of the Holy Roman Empire.
1516: Queen Mary I of England, whose brutal persecution of Protestants caused her opponents to give her the sobriquet "Bloody Mary," is born at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, London.
Benjamin Franklin dies, Daffy Duck makes his debut, the Bay of Pigs invasion begins, the ill-fated Apollo 13 returns to Earth, and two Los Angeles police officers are convicted in the Rodney King beating, all on this day.