2008: Fidel Castro resigns the Cuban presidency. His brother Raul was later named as his successor.
2003: Country singer Johnny Paycheck, best known for recording the David Allan Coe song "Take This Job and Shove It," dies from emphysema at the age of 64 in Nashville, Tenn. Paycheck, whose birth name was Donald Eugene Lytle, suffered from drug and alcohol addiction during his career and served 22 months in jail in 1989-90 for a 1985 shooting incident in which he grazed a man's head with a shot from a .22-caliber pistol. Among the other hits he recorded are "I'm the Only Hell (Mama Ever Raised)," "She's All I Got" and "Mr. Lovemaker."
2001: Film director Stanley Kramer, best known for directing movies such as "The Defiant Ones," "Inherit the Wind," "Judgment at Nuremberg" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," dies at the age of 87 in Los Angeles, Calif., after contracting pneumonia. Kramer also produced such movies "High Noon," "The Wild One" and "The Caine Mutiny." He was nominated for Academy Awards nine times as either producer or director, but never won. However, the movies he worked on won 16 Oscars out of 80 total nominations.
1998: Banjo player and country and gospel singer-songwriter Grandpa Jones dies at age 84 in Nashville, Tenn. His more famous songs include "T For Texas," "Are You From Dixie," "Night Train To Memphis" and "Mountain Dew." Jones, whose real name was Louis Marshall Jones, is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and began performing on the Grand Ole Opry in 1946. He also was a charter cast member of the TV show "Hee Haw."
1996: Charlie O. Finley, an American businessman best remembered for owning Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics, dies of heart disease at the age of 77 in Chicago, Ill. Finley purchased the team while it was located in Kansas City and moved it to Oakland, Calif., in 1968. During the early 1970s, the A's became a powerhouse, winning three straight World Series from 1972 to 1974 and five straight division titles from 1971 to 1975. Finley's also remembered for pushing for the designated hitter, interleague play and night starts in the postseason and All-Star Game.
1993: Actress and singer Victoria Justice, best known for the Nickelodeon sitcoms "Zoey 101" and "Victorious," is born in Hollywood, Fla.
1986: The Soviet Union launches the core module of its Mir space station. Weeks later, a crew of two cosmonauts would be sent to man the 56-foot long by 14-foot wide station, which would eventually be expanded with six more modules. The core module provided living quarters for the cosmonauts along with a working compartment for monitoring and commanding the core systems. Mir, which is Russian for peace, would be continually manned for 12 and a half of the 15 years it remained in space. The space station was deorbited on March 23, 2001, and burned up upon re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
1985: Cherry Coke in bottles and cans is introduced by the Coca-Cola Company.
1985: Artificial heart recipient William J. Schroeder becomes the first such patient to leave hospital. After having the transplant on Nov. 25, 1984, at Humana Heart Institute International in Louisville, Ky., he would end up living for 620 days with the artificial heart before dying from a series of strokes.
1982: Following a performance at the San Antonio Convention Center Arena, a drunken Ozzy Osbourne is arrested for public intoxication after urinating on a monument across the street from the Alamo.
1981: George Harrison is ordered to pay ABKCO Music $587,000 for "subconscious plagiarism" of The Chiffons' song "He's So Fine" in his own song "My Sweet Lord."
1980: Australian rock singer Bon Scott, best known as the original lead singer for AC/DC, dies from choking on his own vomit at the age of 33 in London, England. Scott had passed out after a night of drinking and had been left to sleep in a car owned by an acquaintance. The following morning he was found lifeless in the vehicle. The official cause of death was later listed as "acute alcohol poisoning" and "death by misadventure." While AC/DC considered breaking up after Scott's death, they instead recruited new singer Brian Johnson and released the album "Back in Black" as a tribute to Scott five months after his death.
1976: On the 34th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066, which led to the relocation of Japanese-Americans to internment camps during World War II, President Gerald R. Ford's issues Proclamation 4417 formally rescinding the earlier order.
1972: Sammy Davis Jr. makes his notorious guest appearance on the sitcom "All in the Family," giving the show's main character, white bigot Archie Bunker, a big kiss on the cheek. The ensuing unrestrained laughter from the audience was the longest in television history and the scene had to be cut short in the final print to allow Archie to say the last line on screen.
1967: Actor Benicio del Toro, known for his movie roles in "The Usual Suspects," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Traffic," "Snatch," "21 Grams" and "Sin City," is born in San German, Puerto Rico. Del Toro won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for "Traffic" and also earned another nomination for "21 Grams."
1966: Actress Justine Bateman, best known for playing Mallory Keaton on the 1980s sitcom "Family Ties," is born in Rye, N.Y.
1963: Singer-songwriter Seal, the Grammy winner best known for songs such as "Crazy" and "Kiss From a Rose," is born Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel in London, England.
1963: Betty Friedan's nonfiction book "The Feminine Mystique," which studied the widespread unhappiness of women in the 1950s and early 1960s, is published. It is widely credited with sparking the beginning of second-wave feminism in the United States.
1957: Singer Falco, best known for the 1985 international hit "Rock Me Amadeus," is born Johann Hölzel in Vienna, Austria. "Rock Me Amadeus" reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts, making Falco the only artist whose principal language was German to score a No. 1 hit in the United States. He died at the age of 40 on Feb. 6, 1998, after his car crashed with a bus on the road linking the towns of Villa Montellano and Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic.
1957: French cyclist Maurice Garin, the winner of the first Tour de France bicycle race in 1903, dies at age 85 in Lens or Haute-Savoie, France. Garin, who's seen here right of center with his arms crossed, also won the second Tour de France, but was stripped of his title, along with eight others, for cheating.
1955: Actor Jeff Daniels, best known for movies such as "The Purple Rose of Cairo," "Terms of Endearment," "Speed" and "Dumb and Dumber," and the HBO drama "The Newsroom," is born in Athens, Ga.
1945: During World War II, the Battle of Iwo Jima begins with about 30,000 United States Marines landing on the island of Iwo Jima. The invasion had the goal of capturing the entire island, including its three airfields, to provide a staging area for attacks on the Japanese main islands. The island was declared secured by American forces 25 days after the battle began.
1942: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, allowing the United States military to relocate Japanese-Americans to Japanese internment camps.
1940: Singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson, the founder and frontman of the popular Motown group The Miracles, who is also known for his solo work, is born William Robinson Jr. in Detroit, Mich. Robinson is best known for hits such as "You've Really Got a Hold on Me," "I Second That Emotion," "Tears of a Clown" and "The Tracks of My Tears." He's also known for writing hit singles for other singers, including "My Guy," "The Way You Do the Things You Do," "My Girl," "Don't Mess With Bill" and "Ain't that Peculiar."
1930: Film director John Frankenheimer, best known for movies such as "Birdman of Alcatraz," "The Manchurian Candidate," "Seven Days in May," "Black Sunday" and "Ronin," is born in Queens, N.Y. He died on July 6, 2002, from a stroke due to complications following spinal surgery at the age of 72.
1924: Actor Lee Marvin, best known for his roles in movies such as "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "Donovan's Reef," "The Killers," "Cat Ballou," "The Professionals" and "The Dirty Dozen," is born in New York City. Marvin won an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1966 for his dual roles in "Cat Ballou." He died of a heart attack at age 63 on Aug. 29, 1987.
1913: Pedro Lascuráin becomes the president of Mexico for less than an hour, making him the world's briefest-serving president ever. Lascuráin was foreign minister for Mexico under President Francisco I. Madero, who was overthrown by Gen. Victoriano Huerta. The coup had also ousted Mexico's vice president and attorney general, making Lascuráin next in line for the presidency under the 1857 Constitution of Mexico. To give his coup some appearance of legality, Huerta had Lascuráin assume the presidency, appoint him as his interior minister -- making Huerta next in line to the presidency -- and then resign.
1878: Thomas Edison patents the phonograph.
1859: Daniel E. Sickles, a New York congressman, is acquitted of killing Philip Barton Key II, his wife's lover and the son of Francis Scott Key, on grounds of temporary insanity. This is the first time the defense had been successfully used in the United States.
1847: The first group of rescuers reaches the Donner Party, who were starving and feeble, with some having turned to cannibalism to survive. Weather conditions were so bad that three rescue groups were required to lead the rest of the survivors to California, the last group arriving in March. Forty-eight members out of an original group of 87 ultimately survived to live in California.
1674: England and the Netherlands sign the Treaty of Westminster, ending the Third Anglo-Dutch War. A provision of the agreement transfers the Dutch colony of New Netherlands, and its capital city of New Amsterdam, to England, which eventually renamed both New York.
1600: The Peruvian stratovolcano Huaynaputina explodes in the most violent eruption in the recorded history of South America.
1473: Mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who formulated a comprehensive heliocentric model that placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center of the universe, is born in Torun, Royal Prussia, Kingdom of Poland.