2010: In volume, BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill overtakes Ixtoc I, which leaked 130 million gallons off Mexico's coast from 1979 to 1980, to become the worst oceanic oil spill in U.S. recorded history. Before it was capped on July 15, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill discharged 210 million gallons of oil, making it the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.
2009: Actor Karl Malden, best known for the 1970s crime drama "The Streets of San Francisco" (pictured, at left, with Michael Douglas) as well as movies like "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "On the Waterfront," dies at age 97 in Los Angeles, California. Malden, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for "A Streetcar Named Desire," also appeared in movies such as "One-Eyed Jacks," "Baby Doll," "How the West Was Won" and "Patton."
2007: Smoking in England is banned in all public indoor spaces.
2005: Singer-songwriter and record producer Luther Vandross, who sold more than 25 million albums and won eight Grammy Awards in his career, dies of a heart attack at the age of 54 in Edison, New Jersey. Among Vandross' Grammy wins were four Best Male R&B Vocal Performance awards and Song of the Year for the 2003 song "Dance with My Father." Some of his other best known songs include "Never Too Much," "Stop to Love," "There's Nothing Better Than Love," "Power of Love/Love Power," "The Best Things in Life Are Free" and "Endless Love."
2004: Actor Marlon Brando, best known for his Oscar-winning roles in "The Godfather" and "On the Waterfront," dies at age 80 in Los Angeles, California, of respiratory failure from pulmonary fibrosis with congestive heart failure. Brando also received six more Academy Award nominations, including nods for "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Julius Caesar" and "Last Tango in Paris," and is known for his roles in other movies like "Apocalypse Now," "The Wild One," "Guys and Dolls," "Mutiny on the Bounty," "Superman" and "The Freshman."
2000: Actor Walter Matthau, best known for movies such as "Charade," "The Odd Couple," "The Bad News Bears," "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" and "Grumpy Old Men" (pictured), dies of a heart attack at age 79 in Santa Monica, California. Matthau won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for 1966's "The Fortune Cookie" and also received Best Actor nominations for his roles in "Kotch" and "The Sunshine Boys."
1999: Forrest Mars Sr., the American businessman who created M&M's and the Mars bar, dies at the age of 95 in Miami, Florida. He was the son of candy company Mars, Inc. founder Frank C. Mars and a driving force in the company. He had amassed a fortune of $4 billion at the time of his death, ranking him 30th in Forbes magazine's list of richest Americans.
1998: The science-fiction action blockbuster "Armageddon," starring Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton and Liv Tyler, and directed by Michael Bay, opens in theaters. The movie would go on to earn more than $553 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of the year.
1997: Actor Robert Mitchum, best known for movies such as "The Night of the Hunter," "Cape Fear," "Thunder Road" and "The Sundowners," dies of lung cancer at age 79 in Santa Barbara, California. Mitchum also became known in his later years for providing the voice of the famous American Beef Council commercials that touted "Beef . . . it's what's for dinner." He's seen here in the 1991 remake of "Cape Fear."
1997: China resumes sovereignty over the city-state of Hong Kong, ending 156 years of British colonial rule.
1996: Actress and model Margaux Hemingway, the older sister of actress Mariel Hemingway and the granddaughter of writer Ernest Hemingway, is found dead in her apartment in Santa Monica, California, at age 42. Hemingway's death, which came one day before the anniversary of her grandfather's suicide, was eventually ruled suicide by an overdose of phenobarbital. She started out as a model in the 1970s and made her film debut in the 1976 movie "Lipstick" alongside her sister.
1995: Radio disc jockey Wolfman Jack, who found fame in the 1960s and '70s and appeared as himself in George Lucas' "American Graffiti," dies of a heart attack at age 57 in Belvidere, North Carolina. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native's birth name was Robert Weston Smith.
1991: Actor Michael Landon, best known for this TV roles on "Bonanza," "Little House on the Prairie" and "Highway to Heaven," dies of pancreatic cancer at age 54 in Malibu, California.
1991: The Warsaw Pact is officially dissolved at a meeting in Prague. The pact was a mutual defense treaty between eight communist states of Central and Eastern Europe in existence during the Cold War. Pictured is a badge showing the logo of the Warsaw Pact.
1987: President Ronald Reagan nominates federal judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court of the United States. Less than four months later, the U.S. Senate rejected Bork's nomination by a vote of 42-58. Bork had faced strong opposition by groups concerned with his stated desire to roll back civil rights and his opposition to the right of the Federal government to impose standards of voting fairness upon the states. The vacant seat on the court eventually went to Judge Anthony Kennedy, who was unanimously approved by the Senate.
1987: Radio station WFAN in New York City is launched as the world's first all-sports radio station.
1984: The PG-13 rating is introduced by the MPAA. The rating, which indicates that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13, was first given to the movie "Red Dawn," released in August 1984.
1983: American architect and philosopher Buckminster Fuller dies of a heart attack at the age of 87 in Los Angeles, California. Fuller became famous for inventing and popularizing terms such as "Spaceship Earth," ephemeralization and synergetic. He also developed numerous inventions, mainly architectural designs, including the geodesic dome.
1980: "O Canada" officially becomes the national anthem of Canada.
1979: Sony introduces the Walkman portable audio cassette player in Japan. The Walkman would go on sale in the United States in June 1980. The device revolutionized music listening habits by allowing people to easily carry music with them and listen to music through lightweight headphones.
1977: Actress and model Liv Tyler, best known for movies such as "Empire Records," "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "Armageddon," "The Strangers" and "The Incredible Hulk," is born Liv Rundgren in New York City. The daughter of Aerosmith's lead singer, Steven Tyler, and model and singer Bebe Buell, one of her earliest roles came when she appeared in Aerosmith's music video for "Crazy" in 1993.
1971: North Carolina becomes the 38th state to ratify the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, reducing the voting age from 21 to 18, thereby putting the amendment into effect. The ratification process took three months and eight days from the time the amendment was submitted to the states, making this amendment the quickest to be ratified.
1971: Rapper and songwriter Missy Elliott, the five-time Grammy Award-winner known for songs such as "Hot Boyz," "Get Ur Freak On," "Work It," "Gossip Folks" and "Lose Control," is born in Portsmouth, Virginia. With record sales of more than 30 million in the United States, she is the only female rapper to have six albums certified platinum by the RIAA, including one double platinum for her 2002 album "Under Construction."
1968: The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is signed in Washington, D.C., London and Moscow by 62 countries. The treaty is aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. On May 11, 1995, the treaty was extended indefinitely.
1968: "Music from Big Pink," the debut album by The Band, is released. The album got its name because its music was composed partly in "Big Pink," a house shared by three of the band members in West Saugerties, New York. Among the songs on the album is "The Weight," one of The Band's signature and most famous songs.
1967: The Beatles' album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" goes to No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, where it would stay for 15 straight weeks.
1967: Actress and model Pamela Anderson, best known for her roles on the television series "Home Improvement," "Baywatch" and "V.I.P.," is born in Ladysmith, British Columbia, Canada.
1963: ZIP codes are introduced for United States mail. Simultaneously with the introduction of the ZIP code, two-letter state abbreviations were also introduced.
1961: Track and field star Carl Lewis, who won 10 Olympic medals including nine gold, and 10 World Championships medals, including eight gold, is born in Birmingham, Alabama. He competed in four Summer Olympics games from 1984 through 1996. He's seen here in 1993.
1961: Diana, Princess of Wales, is born Diana Spencer in Sandringham, Norfolk, England. She became famous with her engagement to Charles, Prince of Wales, and their July 29, 1981, wedding at St. Paul's Cathedral was seen by a global television audience of more than 750 million. She also received recognition for her charity work and for her support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Even after she and Charles divorced in 1996, she remained a popular celebrity up until her death in a car crash in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997.
1956: Elvis Presley appears on "The Steve Allen Show." A tuxedoed Presley was told not to dance and Allen had him sing "Hound Dog" to a real basset hound wearing a top hat and bowtie.
1956: Actor Alan Ruck, best known for his roles as Cameron Frye in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and Stuart Bondek on the sitcom "Spin City," is born in Cleveland, Ohio. He's also appeared in movies such as "Speed," "Twister" and "Kickin' It Old Skool."
1952: Actor and screenwriter Dan Aykroyd, an original cast member of "Saturday Night Live" also known for movies such as "The Blues Brothers" and "Ghostbusters," is born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He also starred in movies like "Trading Places," "Spies Like Us," "Dragnet," "The Great Outdoors" and "Grosse Pointe Blank." He was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for "Driving Miss Daisy."
1951: Singer-songwriter and keyboardist Fred Schneider, best known as the lead singer of the pop band The B-52s, is born in Newark, New Jersey.
1945: After being away from the game for four years while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Hank Greenberg homers in his first game back with the Detroit Tigers. Greenberg was one of the first MLB stars to return to playing after the war.
1945: Singer-songwriter and actress Debbie Harry, best known as the lead singer of the new wave band Blondie, is born in Miami, Florida. Harry has also appeared in movies such as "Videodrome," "Hairspray" and "Cop Land."
1939: Actress Karen Black, best known for movies such as "Easy Rider," "Five Easy Pieces," "The Great Gatsby," "The Day of the Locust" and "Nashville," is born Karen Blanche Ziegler in Park Ridge, Illinois. Black earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for "Five Easy Pieces," a role that also earned her a Golden Globe. She also received a Golden Globe for "The Great Gatsby" and was nominated for "The Day of the Locust."
1934: Actor Jamie Farr, best known for the role of cross-dressing Cpl. Maxwell Q. Klinger in the sitcom "M*A*S*H," is born Jameel Joseph Farah in Toledo, Ohio.
1934: Filmmaker and actor Sydney Pollack, best known for directing movies such as "Jeremiah Johnson," "The Way We Were," "Three Days of the Condor," "Absence of Malice," "Out of Africa," "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?," "Tootsie" and "The Firm," is born in Lafayette, Indiana. Pollack won Academy Awards for directing and producing the Best Picture-winning "Out of Africa" and was also nominated for Best Director Oscars for "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" and "Tootsie." The latter movie was also one of many movies he acted in, along with "Eyes Wide Shut," "The Interpreter" and "Michael Clayton." He died of stomach cancer at age 73 on May 26, 2008.
1916: British-American actress Olivia de Havilland, best known for her roles in movies such as "Gone with the Wind," "The Adventures of Robin Hood," "Dodge City," "Santa Fe Trail" and "They Died with Their Boots On," is born in Tokyo, Japan. De Havilland won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performances in 1946's "To Each His Own" and 1949's "The Heiress," making her and her younger sister, Joan Fontaine (Best Actress winner in 1942 for Alfred Hitchcock's "Suspicion"), the only siblings to have won lead acting Oscars.
1915: Blues musician and singer-songwriter Willie Dixon, one of the most prolific songwriters of his time and a key influence in shaping the sound of the Chicago blues, is born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Some of his most famous compositions include "Little Red Rooster," "Hoochie Coochie Man," "Back Door Man," "I Just Want to Make Love to You" and "Wang Dang Doodle." Dixon worked with artists such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley and influenced artists such as Bob Dylan, Cream, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. He was posthumously inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 in the "early influences" category.
1908: SOS goes into effect as the new Morse code international distress signal, replacing CQD. It would be used for the first time on June 10, 1909, with the Cunard liner RMS Slavonia transmitting the signal after it wrecked off the Azores.
1906: Estée Lauder, the entrepreneur and co-founder of Estée Lauder Companies, is born Josephine Esther Mentzer in Corona, Queens, New York. Lauder founded the cosmetics company with her husband, Joseph Lauder, in 1935. She's seen here, at left, with a customer in 1966.
1904: The third modern Olympic games opens in St. Louis, Missouri, making them the first held outside of Europe and the first in the United States. The games, which were overshadowed by the concurrently running Louisiana Purchase Exposition, stretched out over nearly five months. Boxing, dumbbells, freestyle wrestling and the decathlon made their debuts at the event, which wouldn't return to the U.S. until 1932 with Los Angeles hosting.
1903: The first Tour de France bicycle race begins. The race ran until July 19 in six stages over 1,509 miles and was won by Maurice Garin, who's seen here right of center with his arms crossed.
1902: Film director William Wyler is born Wilhelm Weiller in Mülhausen, Alsace, German Empire. Wyler won Academy Awards for Best Director for the movies "Ben-Hur," "The Best Years of Our Lives" and "Mrs. Miniver," all of which also won Best Picture Oscars. He also directed movies such as "Dodsworth," "Jezebel," "Wuthering Heights," "Roman Holiday," "The Big Country," "How to Steal a Million" and "Funny Girl," and earned nine other Oscar nominations for Best Director in his career. He died of a heart attack at age 79 on July 27, 1981.
1899: Actor Charles Laughton, best known for movies like "Mutiny on the Bounty," "The Private Life of Henry VIII" and "Witness for the Prosecution," is born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England. Laughton, who won an Academy Award for "The Private Life of Henry VIII" and earned two other Oscar nominations, also directed and co-wrote the 1955 thriller "The Night of the Hunter." He died of kidney cancer at age 63 on Dec. 15, 1962.
1898: During the Spanish-American War, Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders wage a victorious assault on San Juan Hill in Cuba. The Battle of San Juan Hill was the bloodiest and most famous fight of the war.
1896: Abolitionist and author Harriet Beecher Stowe, best known for her 1852 novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin," which depicted life for African-Americans under slavery, dies at the age of 85 in Hartford, Connecticut.
1892: Author James M. Cain, best known for hardboiled crime novels such as "The Postman Always Rings Twice," "Mildred Pierce" and "Double Indemnity," is born in Annapolis, Maryland. He died at age 85 on Oct. 27, 1977.
1874: The Sholes and Glidden typewriter, the first commercially successful typewriter, goes on sale. The machine originated the term "typewriter" and was the first to feature a QWERTY keyboard layout, which slowly caught on with other manufacturers thanks to the machine's success.
1874: The Philadelphia Zoo opens as the first zoo in the United States. Chartered on March 21, 1959, it's opening was delayed by the Civil War. It featured 1,000 animals and an admission price of 25 cents when it opened.
1870: The United States Department of Justice formally comes into existence.
1867: The British North America Act of 1867 takes effect as the Constitution of Canada, creating the Canadian Confederation and the federal dominion of Canada. The act's anniversary is celebrated annually in Canada as Canada Day.
1863: The Battle of Gettysburg begins in Pennsylvania during the American Civil War. Over the three-day battle, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. George Meade defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, putting a stop to Lee's invasion of the North. The battle, which saw the largest number of casualties during the Civil War, is often described as the war's turning point.
1860: Charles Goodyear, the American inventor who developed a process to vulcanize rubber in 1839, dies at the age of 59 in New York City. In 1898, almost four decades after his death, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company was founded and named after Goodyear by Frank Seiberling.
1858: Charles Darwin's (pictured) and Alfred Russel Wallace's papers on evolution are read in a joint presentation to the Linnean Society. This was the first announcement of the Darwin-Wallace theory of evolution by natural selection, which would appear in print for the first time the following month.
1804: Writer Amantine Lucile Dupin, better known by her pen name George Sand, is born in Paris, France. Some of her best known novels include "Indiana," "Mauprat" and "La Petite Fadette." Besides her writing, she is also known as the famous lover of the composer Frédéric Chopin and for her then scandalous habits of wearing men's clothing and smoking cigars.