2011: South Sudan gains independence and secedes from Sudan. Here the country's presidential guard await the arrival of foreign dignitaries for the country's official independence celebrations in the capital city of Juba.
2005: Daredevil skateboarder Danny Way rolls down a large ramp and jumps across the Great Wall of China, becoming the first person to clear the wall without motorized aid.
2004: Actress Isabel Sanford, best known for her role as Louise "Weezy" Jefferson on the sitcoms "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons," dies at age 86 in Los Angeles, California. In 1981, she became the first black actress to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. The award was one of seven Emmy nominations she received for her role on "The Jeffersons," which also netted her five Golden Globe nominations.
2003: "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" opens in theaters. The movie grossed more than $653 million worldwide and spawned three sequels.
2002: Rod Steiger, the Academy Award-winning actor known for his performances in such films as "On the Waterfront," "Oklahoma!," "The Pawnbroker," "Doctor Zhivago" and "In the Heat of the Night" (pictured), dies at age 77 in Los Angeles, California, of pneumonia and complications from surgery for a gall bladder tumor.
1999: The movie "American Pie" hits theaters. The low-budget comedy would go on to earn more than $235 million worldwide and spawn three direct sequels and several more direct-to-video sequels.
1997: The Nevada State Athletic Commission bans Mike Tyson from the boxing ring and fines him $3 million for twice biting the ears of opponent Evander Holyfield in a June 28, 1997, bout. A little more than a year later on Oct. 18, 1998, the commission would vote 4–1 to restore Tyson's boxing license.
1995: The Grateful Dead give their last concert with Jerry Garcia at Chicago's Soldier Field. Garcia died the next month of a heart attack.
1985: Joe Namath signs a five-year pact to provide commentary for "Monday Night Football."
1982: The movie "Tron" is released.
1976: Actor Fred Savage, best known for his role as Kevin Arnold on the television series "The Wonder Years" and as the grandson in "The Princess Bride," is born in Chicago, Illinois.
1975: Rock musician and singer-songwriter Jack White, known for his work with the bands The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, is born John Anthony Gillis in Detroit, Michigan.
1974: Earl Warren, who was appointed U.S. Supreme Court chief justice by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 and served until 1969, dies at age 83 in Washington, D.C. He was known for the sweeping decisions of the Warren Court, which ended school segregation and transformed many areas of American law, especially regarding the rights of the accused and ending public-school-sponsored prayer. Warren was also the vice-presidential nominee of the Republican Party in 1948, and chaired the Warren Commission, which was formed to investigate the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Prior to his appointment as chief justice, he served as California governor from 1943 to 1953 and the state's attorney general from 1939 to 1943.
1968: The first MLB All-Star game to be played indoors takes place at the Houston Astrodome. The National League defeats the American League 1-0 with Willie Mays, who led off the first with a single, advanced two bases on wild throws and scored the game's only run on a fielder's choice, earning MVP honors.
1965: The Sonny & Cher song "I Got You Babe" is released. The song, written by Bono, became the duo's biggest single and their signature song. In August 1967 it spend three weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
1964: Actress and rock musician Courtney Love, the guitarist for the rock band Hole and Kurt Cobain's widow, is born Courtney Michelle Harrison in San Francisco, California.
1962: Bob Dylan records "Blowin' in the Wind."
1962: Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans exhibition opens at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles. Some of the iconic pieces from that collection are seen going up here before a 2006 exhibition in Spain.
1958: Lituya Bay in southeastern Alaska is hit by a megatsunami. The wave was recorded at 1,720 feet high, the largest in recorded history. In this photo, the areas of destroyed forest along the shorelines are recognizable as the light areas rimming the bay.
1958: Johnny Cash signs with Columbia Records. His first single for the company was "Don't Take Your Guns to Town."
1957: Actress Kelly McGillis, best known for movies like "Witness," "Top Gun" and "The Accused," is born in Newport Beach, California.
1956: Dick Clark makes his debut as host of "Bandstand" on a Philadelphia TV station. The name of the show is later changed to "American Bandstand" when it went nationwide. Here the microphone he used on that first show is displayed as a part of his music memorabilia collection in New York City in October 2006.
1956: Actor Tom Hanks, an Oscar-winner for his roles in "Philadelphia" and "Forrest Gump," is born in Concord, California. Hanks is also known for movies such as "Splash," "Bachelor Party," "Big," "Sleepless in Seattle," "Apollo 13," "Saving Private Ryan," "Cast Away" and the "Toy Story" films.
1955: Actor Jimmy Smits, best known for his roles in the TV series "L.A. Law," "NYPD Blue" and "The West Wing," is born in Brooklyn, New York.
1952: Pianist and composer John Tesh is born in Garden City, New York. The Emmy-winning musician is also known for his time as co-host of "Entertainment Tonight" from 1986 to 1996.
1951: Actor Chris Cooper, best known for movies such as "The Bourne Identity," "American Beauty," "October Sky," "Seabiscuit" and "Adaptation," is born in Kansas City, Missouri. Cooper won an Academy Award and Golden Globe for his performance in "Adaptation."
1947: The engagement of Britain's Princess Elizabeth, who would later become Queen Elizabeth II, to Lt. Philip Mountbatten is announced. They are seen here in Elizabeth's 1953 coronation photo.
1947: O.J. Simpson is born in San Francisco, California.
1946: Bon Scott, who would go on to be lead singer for AC/DC from 1974 until his death in 1980, is born Ronald Belford Scott in Forfar, Angus, Scotland.
1945: Best-selling suspense thriller novelist Dean Koontz is born in Everett, Pennsylvania. Some of his more well known books include "Demon Seed," "Watchers," "Hideaway," "Intensity" and "Phantoms."
1942: Actor Richard Roundtree, best known for the title role in the movie "Shaft," is born in New Rochelle, New York.
1938: Actor Brian Dennehy, best known for movies such as "First Blood," "Silverado," "Cocoon" and "F/X,", is born in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
1932: King C. Gillette, the American businessman who invented the safety razor and founded The Gillette Company, dies at age 77 in Los Angeles, California.
1932: Donald Rumsfeld, who would go onto become U.S. secretary of defense for both President Gerald Ford and President George W. Bush, is born in Evanston, Illinois.
1922: Johnny Weissmuller, seen here at a 1924 swimming event, swims the 100 meters freestyle in 58.6 seconds, breaking the world swimming record and the "minute barrier."
1918: An inbound local train in Nashville, Tennessee, collides with an outbound express train, killing 101 people and injuring 171 more, making it the deadliest rail accident in United States history.
1900: Queen Victoria of England gives royal assent to an act creating the Commonwealth of Australia, thus uniting separate colonies on the continent under one federal government.
1878: The corncob pipe is patented by Henry Tibbe.
1877: The inaugural Wimbledon Championships opens.
1877: Alexander Graham Bell (pictured), his father-in-law Gardiner Greene Hubbard, Thomas Sanders and Thomas Watson form the Bell Telephone Company.
1872: New England sea captain John F. Blondel patents the first doughnut-hole machine, in which a spring-loaded tube pushed the dough out of the cake's middle.
1868: The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified guaranteeing African-Americans full citizenship and all persons in the United States due process of law.
1850: President Zachary Taylor dies in office from an intestinal ailment at the age of 65, making Vice President Millard Fillmore the 13th president of the United States. Taylor's 16 months in office is the third-shortest tenure of any U.S. president.
1776: George Washington orders the Declaration of Independence to be read out loud to members of the Continental Army in New York City for the first time.
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