1756: Aaron Burr, the third vice president of the United States under President Thomas Jefferson from 1801 to 1805, is born in Newark, N.J. Burr would also become known for the 1804 duel in which he mortally wounded former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton.
1778: The United States gains official recognition from France as the two nations sign the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance in Paris. The treaty established a commercial alliance between these two nations.
1788: Massachusetts becomes the sixth state to ratify the United States Constitution.
1862: The U.S. Navy gives the Union its first victory of the Civil War, capturing Fort Henry, Tenn., in the Battle of Fort Henry.
1895: Legendary baseball player Babe Ruth, who helped the New York Yankees to four World Series titles during his career and was among the five first inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936, is born in Baltimore, Md. Ruth entered the major leagues as a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox but was converted to a right fielder after being purchased by the New York Yankees in 1919. He went on to become one of the league's most prolific hitters, setting career records for home runs (714, since broken), slugging percentage (.690) and RBIs (2,213, since broken). He also held the single-season home run record of 60 until it was broken by Roger Maris in 1961.
1911: Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States from 1981–89, is born in Tampico, Ill. Before becoming president, Reagan was a radio, television and film actor and the governor of California. He died at age 93 on June 5, 2004, from pneumonia, complicated by Alzheimer's disease.
1913: Archaeologist and anthropologist Mary Leakey, who made several of the most important fossil finds subsequently interpreted and publicized by her husband, the noted anthropologist Louis Leakey, is born Mary Douglas Nicol in London, England. She died at age 83 on Dec. 9, 1996.
1914: Voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft, best known for voicing the Kellogg's Frosted Flakes mascot Tony the Tiger for more than five decades, and for his uncredited singing of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" from the classic Christmas TV special "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!," is born in Norfolk, Neb. He died of prostate cancer at age 91 on May 22, 2005.
1917: Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor is born Sári Gábor in Budapest, Hungary. Gabor was crowned Miss Hungary in 1936 before appearing in movies such as "We're Not Married!" and "Moulin Rouge," but is perhaps better known for having nine husbands, including hotel magnate Conrad Hilton and actor George Sanders.
1931: Actress Mamie Van Doren, who starred in some of the first movies to feature rock 'n' roll music and became identified with the music's rebellious style, is born Joan Lucille Olander in Rowena, S.D. Some of Van Doren's more noteworthy movies include "The All American," "Teacher's Pet," "Born Reckless," "High School Confidential" (pictured) and "The Beat Generation," but she is better remembered for her provocative roles in B-movies like "Untamed Youth," "Girls Town," "The Private Lives of Adam and Eve," "Sex Kittens Go to College" and "Vice Raid."
1931: Actor Rip Torn, best known for his work on the television comedy "The Larry Sanders Show," is born Elmore Rudolph Torn in Temple, Texas. Torn earned six Emmy nominations for his the role of television producer Artie on "Larry Sanders," winning in 1996, and was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1983 film "Cross Creek." He also played gruff boss Agent Zed in the first two "Men in Black" movies and appeared in other movies such as "The Cincinnati Kid," "The Man Who Fell to Earth" and "Dodgeball."
1932: Film director François Truffaut, one of the founders of the French New Wave, is born in Paris, France. Some of Truffaut's best known films include "The 400 Blows," "Jules and Jim," "Day for Night" and "The Last Metro." He also appeared as an actor in several films, mostly in his own films, but also notably played scientist Claude Lacombe in Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." He's seen here on the right in a scene from "Day for Night," which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1973, playing a fictional director.
1939: Actor Mike Farrell, best known for his role as Captain B.J. Hunnicutt on the television series "M*A*S*H," is born in St. Paul, Minn. Farrell also has had TV roles on the series "Providence" and "Desperate Housewives."
1940: News anchor and author Tom Brokaw, best known as the anchor and managing editor of "NBC Nightly News" from 1982 to 2004 and the author of "The Greatest Generation," is born in Webster, S.D.
1943: Singer Fabian Forte, who became a teen idol of the late 1950s and early 1960s with 11 of his songs hitting the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, is born in Philadelphia, Pa. Some of Fabian's hit singles included "Tiger," "Hound Dog Man," "Turn Me Loose" and "This Friendly World." At the age of 18, he gave up his singing career to focus on acting, appearing in movies such as "Five Weeks in a Balloon," "High Time," "North to Alaska" and "The Longest Day."
1945: Reggae singer-songwriter and musician Bob Marley, whose best-known hits include "I Shot the Sheriff," "No Woman, No Cry," "Get Up Stand Up," "Redemption Song" and "One Love," is born Nesta Robert Marley in Nine Mile, Saint Ann, Jamaica. He died of cancer at age 36 on May 11, 1981.
1950: Singer Natalie Cole, the daughter of Nat King Cole who found musical success in the mid-1970s with the R&B hits "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)," "Inseparable" and "Our Love," is born in Los Angeles, Calif. Cole revived her career in the early 1990s with her best-selling album, "Unforgettable... with Love," which saw her singing songs her father made famous, including an interactive duet between her and her late father on the song "Unforgettable." The song eventually reached No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 10 on the R&B chart, going gold.
1951: The Broker, a Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train, derails near Woodbridge Township, N.J., killing 85 people and injuring more than 500 more. The wreck is the third worst train disaster in American history and the deadliest since 1918.
1952: Upon the death of her father, King George VI, Princess Elizabeth becomes Queen Elizabeth II, the first queen regnant of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Realms since Queen Victoria. At the exact moment of succession, she was in a treehouse at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya.
1958: Seven members of the Manchester United soccer team and 13 other passengers are killed when their plane crashes on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway at Munich-Riem Airport in Munich, West Germany. Another player and two more people would die later from injuries suffered in the crash, raising the death toll to 23.
1959: Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments files the first patent for an integrated circuit. Integrated circuits are used in virtually all electronic equipment today in the form of microchips and have revolutionized the world of electronics. Also the inventor of the handheld calculator and the thermal printer, Kilby would go on to win the Nobel Prize in physics in 2000.
1959: At Cape Canaveral, Fla., the first successful test firing of a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile is accomplished.
1962: Singer W. Axl Rose, best known as the lead vocalist for the hard rock band Guns N' Roses, is born William Bruce Rose Jr. in Lafayette, Ind.
1965: The Righteous Brothers' song "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" reaches No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The song, which would later be chosen as one of the Songs of the Century by RIAA, stayed on top of the chart for another week and crossed over to the R&B charts, peaking at No. 2.
1966: Singer-songwriter Rick Astley, best known for his 1987 song "Never Gonna Give You Up," which was a No. 1 hit single in 25 countries, is born in Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, England.
1971: Nearing the end of a second moonwalk, Apollo 14 astronaut and avid golfer Alan Shepard attaches a six-iron golf club head to the end of a sample collecting tool and hits two golf balls. Hampered by thick gloves and a stiff suit, Shepard swings the club with one hand, sending the first ball into a nearby crater before hitting the second squarely. In the one-sixth gravity of the Moon, Shepard said the ball traveled for "miles and miles and miles," but later estimated the distance as 200 to 400 yards. The golf club is now on display at the U.S. Golf Association headquarters in Far Hills, N.J.
1978: The Blizzard of 1978, one of the worst Nor'easters in New England history, hits the region with sustained winds of 65 mph and snowfall at the rate of four inches an hour. Boston would receive a record 27.1 inches of snow, while Providence, R.I., also broke a record with 27.6 inches. The storm was blamed for about 100 deaths and 4,500 injuries in the region while also causing more than $520 million in damages.
1991: Singer, comedian and actor Danny Thomas, best known for starring in the television sitcom "Make Room for Daddy," dies of heart failure at the age of 79 in Los Angeles, Calif. Thomas, whose careers spanned five decades, is also known as the founder of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
1993: Former professional tennis player Arthur Ashe dies from AIDS-related pneumonia at the age of 49 in New York City. Ashe had contracted HIV from a blood transfusion he received during heart bypass surgery in the late 1980s. During his professional tennis career from 1969 to 1980, Ashe reached the No. 1 ranking, won three Grand Slam titles and became the first, and only, black man to ever win singles titles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open.
1994: Actor Joseph Cotten, best known for his roles in movies such as "Citizen Kane," "The Magnificent Ambersons," "Journey into Fear," "Shadow of a Doubt," "Duel in the Sun" and "The Third Man," dies of pneumonia, a complication of throat cancer, at the age of 88 in Los Angeles, Calif.
1994: Comic book artist, writer and editor Jack Kirby, who had a hand in creating some of Marvel Comics' most iconic superhero characters, dies of heart failure at age 76 in Thousand Oaks, California. In 1940, he teamed up with writer-editor Joe Simon to create Captain America and then worked with Stan Lee in the 1960s to co-create several other major characters, including the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Hulk, Thor and Iron Man.
1998: Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C., is renamed Ronald Reagan National Airport in honor of the former president. The name change came on Reagan's 87th birthday.
1998: Mary Kay LeTourneau, the 36-year-old former Washington state teacher who was originally sentenced to six months in county jail for having a sexual relationship with her then 13-year-old student, is sentenced to another seven and a half years in prison for violating her probation after being caught with the boy, then 14 and the father of her baby, three days earlier in a parked car in Seattle, Wash. She would be released from prison on Aug. 4, 2004, and married the student, Vili Fualaau, by then 21 and the father of another child by LeTourneau, the following year.
1998: Austrian singer Falco, best known for the 1985 international hit "Rock Me Amadeus," dies at the age of 40 after his car crashes with a bus on the road linking the towns of Villa Montellano and Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. "Rock Me Amadeus" reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts, making Falco, whose real name was Johann Hölzel, the only artist whose principal language was German to score a No. 1 hit in the United States.
1998: Rock musician Carl Wilson, best known as a founding member, lead guitarist and occasional lead vocalist of The Beach Boys, dies of complications from lung and brain cancer at the age of 51 in Los Angeles, Calif. Wilson was the youngest brother of fellow Beach Boys Dennis and Brian Wilson and cousin of Beach Boy Mike Love and was still actively touring and recording with the Beach Boys and on solo projects at the time of his death. He performed lead vocals on a number of notable songs by the Beach Boys, including "Good Vibrations" and "God Only Knows."
2007: Singer-songwriter and actor Frankie Laine, whose career spanned 75 years, dies of heart failure at the age of 93 in San Diego, Calif. Some of Laine's hits included "That's My Desire," "That Lucky Old Sun," "Mule Train," "Cry of the Wild Goose," "Jezebel," "High Noon," "Cool Water," "I Believe" and "Rawhide." He was also well known for singing the theme songs for many movie Western soundtracks, including "3:10 To Yuma," "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" and "Blazing Saddles."