Published On: Jul 24 2012 12:23:07 AM CDTUpdated On: Jul 24 2016 01:00:00 AM CDT
2013: A high-speed train derails in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, while rounding a curve with an 50 mph speed limit at 120 mph, killing 79 passengers and injuring 140 more. Four days later, the train's driver, Francisco José Garzón Amo, was charged with 79 counts of homicide by professional recklessness and additional counts of causing injury by professional recklessness.
2013: Virginia E. Johnson, the psychologist best known as the junior member of the Masters and Johnson sexuality research team, dies at age 88 in St. Louis, Missouri. Along with William H. Masters, whom she eventually married in 1971, she pioneered research into the nature of human sexual response and the diagnosis and treatment of sexual dysfunctions and disorders from 1957 until the 1990s.
2012: Actor Sherman Hemsley, best known for playing George Jefferson on the sitcoms "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons," dies at the age of 74 in El Paso, Texas, from a cancerous mass on his lung.
2005: Lance Armstrong wins his seventh consecutive Tour de France and retires afterward. He later un-retired in 2008 and would compete in two more Tour de France competitions, finishing third in 2009 and 23rd place in 2010. However, in 2012 the United States Anti-Doping Agency would disqualify him from those races and ban him from cycling for life for doping offenses.
2002: The U.S. House expels Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio, who had been convicted of bribery, racketeering and tax evasion. He would go on to serve a seven-year sentence in prison.
2001: Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the last tsar of Bulgaria when he was a child, is sworn in as prime minister of Bulgaria, becoming the first monarch in history to regain political power through democratic election to a different office.
1998: Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan," starring Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Edward Burns and Tom Sizemore, premieres in theaters. The film would end up being nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and win five, including Best Director for Spielberg.
1998: Russell Eugene Weston Jr. bursts into the United States Capitol and opens fire, killing two police officers. He was later ruled to be incompetent to stand trial due to paranoid schizophrenia and remains in a mental institution.
1983: In what became known as "The Pine Tar Incident," Kansas City Royal George Brett hits a game-winning two-run home run in Yankees Stadium, but the home run is nullified and the Yankees given the win after umpires rule Brett had too much pine tar on his bat. An angry Brett charged out of the dugout and was immediately ejected. The Royals protested the game and it was later replayed from the point of Brett's home run, ending in a victory for Kansas City.
1982: Actress Elisabeth Moss, best known for the TV series "The West Wing" and "Mad Men," is born in Los Angeles, California.
1982: Actress Anna Paquin, best known for her movie roles in "The Piano" and the "X-Men" trilogy, and in the HBO series "True Blood," is born in Winnipeg, Canada. Paquin won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at age 11 for 1993's "The Piano," making her the second youngest to ever win the award after Tatum O'Neal.
1981: Actress Summer Glau, best known for the TV series "Firefly" and "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," is born in San Antonio, Texas.
1980: Actor Peter Sellers, best known for movies such as "Being There," "Dr. Strangelove" and "The Pink Panther," dies of a massive heart attack at age 54 in London, England.
1980: The self-named "Quietly Confident Quartet" of Australia wins the men's 4 x 100 meter medley relay at the Moscow Olympics, the only time the United States has not won the event at Olympic level since its inception in 1960. The United States boycotted the Moscow Olympics in protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
1979: Actress Rose Byrne, best known for the TV show "Damages" and movies such as "Insidious," "Bridesmaids" and "Neighbors," is born in Balmain, Sydney, Australia.
1979: A Miami jury convicts Ted Bundy of first-degree murder in the slayings of two Florida State University sorority sisters. The trial judge imposed death sentences for the murder convictions.
1974: The United States Supreme Court, in United States v. Nixon, unanimously rules that President Richard Nixon did not have the authority to withhold subpoenaed White House tapes and they order him to surrender the tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor.
1969: Actress and singer Jennifer Lopez is born in The Bronx, New York.
1969: Apollo 11, the spaceflight that landed the first humans on the moon, splashes down safely in the Pacific Ocean.
1968: Actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth, best known for Broadway roles, including "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" and "Wicked," and for TV shows like "The West Wing," "Pushing Daisies," "Glee" and "GCB," is born in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
1964: Former major-leaguer Barry Bonds, who played 22 years for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants, is born in Riverside, California. Allegations of steroid use has overshadowed his records, which include the single-season and career home run records.
1963: NBA player Karl Malone is born in Summerfield, Louisiana. He would go on to play 18 seasons with the Utah Jazz and one with the Los Angeles Lakers before retiring in 2004. Malone was a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, a 14-time NBA All-Star, and an 11-time member of the All-NBA first team. He scored the second most career points in NBA history and was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame twice, for his individual career and as a member of the gold medal-winning 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team. He's seen here in 2011 visiting troops in Afghanistan.
1959: At the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev have a "Kitchen Debate." Both men argue for their country's industrial accomplishments while also agreeing that the United States and the Soviet Union should be more open with each other.
1957: Country music singer-songwriter and guitarist Pam Tillis, the daughter of country singer Mel Tillis known for hit songs such as "Maybe it was Memphis," "Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)" and "Cleopatra, Queen of Denial," is born in Plant City, Florida.
1952: Film director Gus Van Sant, best known for movies such as "Good Will Hunting" and "Milk," is born in Louisville, Kentucky.
1952: The western "High Noon," starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly, premieres in New York City.
1951: Actress Lynda Carter, best known for being Miss World USA 1972 and as the star of the 1970s television series "The New Original Wonder Woman" and "The New Adventures of Wonder Woman," is born Linda Jean Córdova Carter in Phoenix, Arizona.
1950: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station begins operations with the launch of a Bumper rocket. Bumper rockets carried small payloads up to altitudes of almost 400 kilometers, allowing them to measure attributes including air temperature and cosmic ray impacts.
1949: Comedian and actor Michael Richards (far left), best known for playing Cosmo Kramer on the sitcom "Seinfeld," is born in Culver City, California.
1948: Although he is unnamed in the film, Marvin the Martian makes his first appearance in the Looney Tunes Bugs Bunny cartoon "Haredevil Hare."
1947: Actor Robert Hays, best known for his roles in the movies "Airplane!" and "Homeward Bound," is born in Bethesda, Maryland.
1946: Gallagher, the comedian known for smashing watermelons as part of his act, is born Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr. in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
1946: Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis make their official debut together at Atlantic City's 500 Club.
1942: Actor Chris Sarandon, best known for movies such as "The Princess Bride," "Dog Day Afternoon," "Fright Night," "Child's Play" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas," is born in Beckley, West Virginia.
1939: Basketball Hall of Fame center Walt Bellamy, who spent 14 years in the NBA, is born in New Bern, North Carolina. After winning a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics, Bellamy won NBA Rookie of the Year in 1962 after his first year with the Chicago Packers. He also played for the Baltimore Bullets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Jazz during his career before retiring in 1974 with career totals of 20,941 points and 14,241 rebounds. He died at age 74 on Nov. 2, 2013.
1936: Actress and comedian Ruth Buzzi, best known for her performances on the comedy-variety show "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," is born in Westerly, Rhode Island.
1933: Actor John Aniston, best known for his longtime role as Victor Kiriakis on the daytime soap opera "Days of Our Lives," is born Giannis Anastasakis in Chania, Greece. He is also known as the father of actress Jennifer Aniston.
1915: The passenger ship S.S. Eastland capsizes while tied to a dock in the Chicago River. A total of 844 passengers and crew were killed in the largest loss of life disaster from a single shipwreck on the Great Lakes.
1911: Yale University historian Hiram Bingham III re-discovers Peru's Machu Picchu, which he terms "the Lost City of the Incas." For the hundreds of years between the downfall of the Inca and the rediscovery of Machu Picchu, only the local peasants knew about the place.
1901: William Sidney Porter, better known by his pen name O. Henry ("The Gift of the Magi"), is released from prison after serving three years for embezzlement from a bank.
1900: Zelda Fitzgerald, novelist and the wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, is born Zelda Sayre in Montgomery, Alabama.
1897: Amelia Earhart, who would go on to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and set many other aviation records, is born in Atchison, Kansas.
1866: Tennessee becomes the first state to be readmitted to the Union as part of Reconstruction following the American Civil War.
1862: Martin Van Buren, the eighth president of the United States from 1837 to 1841, dies of bronchial asthma and heart failure in Kinderhook, New York, at age 79. Van Buren also served as vice president and secretary of state, both under President Anderw Jackson.
1847: After 17 months of travel, Brigham Young leads 148 Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley, resulting in the establishment of Salt Lake City. The settlement is shown here in 1850.
1802: Writer Alexandre Dumas, best known for his novels "The Three Musketeers" and "The Count of Monte Cristo," is born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie just outside Paris, France.
1701: French officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founds the trading post at Fort Pontchartrain, which later becomes the city of Detroit, Michigan.
1567: Mary, Queen of Scots, is forced to abdicate her throne and is replaced by her 1-year-old son James VI. She eventually fled to London, seeking the help of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, but was imprisoned for nearly 19 years before being tried and executed. She is pictured here in a 1583 painting with James as a young boy, but in reality saw him for the last time when he was 10 months old.
Did you see the bright ball of light in the sky Wednesday night? It's wasn't a meteorite or meteor, and it wasn't an alien from outer space coming to visit us. The bright light in the sky is actually more "earthly."