2011: Country singer Ferlin Husky, who scored two dozen top 20 hits in the Billboard country charts between 1953 and 1975, dies of congestive heart failure at age 85 in Westmoreland, Tenn. Husky is best known for the No. 1 hits "Gone" and "Wings of a Dove."
2010: Singer-songwriter and guitarist Alex Chilton, best known as the lead singer of the Box Tops and Big Star, dies of a heart attack at age 59 in New Orleans, La. As lead singer for the Box Tops, Chilton enjoyed at the age of 16 a No. 1 international hit in the single "The Letter." He was unable to match the success with Big Star or in his indie solo music career, but he gained fans among indie and alternative music musicians and is frequently named as an influence for rock bands and artists.
2007: Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars scores his 502nd and 503rd career goals making him the all-time U.S. leader in goal-scoring. The following season Modano would also break the NHL all-time record for most points scored by a U.S. born player. He retired following the 2010-11 season with 561 goals and 813 assists for a career points total of 1,374.
2005: Baseball players Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa testify before U.S. Congress that they hadn't used steroids. Fellow slugger Mark McGwire declined to answer questions under oath, instead reading a tearful opening statement. Five years later, McGwire would admit to having using steroids on and off for a decade during his playing career.
2000: The movie "Erin Brockovich," starring Julia Roberts as the title character, premieres in theaters. The biographical film tells the story of Brockovich, a legal clerk and environmental activist who fought against the energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, it would earn five Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor (Albert Finney), and Best Original Screenplay. Roberts won Best Actress, the only Academy Award the film received, with Soderbergh losing to himself for his directorial work on the film "Traffic." The film was also a massive box office hit and Roberts also earned a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors' Guild Award and a BAFTA for her performance.
1993: Actress Helen Hayes, nicknamed the "First Lady of the American Theater" and one of 12 people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award (known as an EGOT), dies of congestive heart failure at age 92 in Nyack, N.Y. Hayed was the second to complete the EGOT, winning a Grammy in 1977 for Best Spoken Word Recording for "Great American Documents." She joined composer Richard Rodgers as EGOT-winners and was thus the first woman to win all four. Hayes won two Oscars, Best Actress for 1931's "The Sin of Madelon Claudet" and Best Supporting Actress for 1970's "Airport." She won two Tonys, for her performances in the plays "Happy Birthday" in 1947 and in "Time Remembered" in 1958, and an Emmy in 1953 for Best Actress for the anthology series "Schlitz Playhouse of Stars." She was also nominated for another eight Emmys and one other Tony in her career.
1992: In a national referendum, white South Africans vote overwhelmingly in favor of ending the segregation policy of apartheid. President Frederik Willem de Klerk had begun negotiations to end apartheid in 1990, culminating in multi-racial democratic elections in 1994, won by the African National Congress under Nelson Mandela. Pictured is an apartheid-era sign designating a public space as "for use by white persons."
1990: French model and actress Capucine, best known for her comedic roles in 1963's "The Pink Panther" and 1965's "What's New Pussycat?," commits suicide at age 62 by jumping from her eighth-floor apartment in Lausanne, Switzerland. She had reportedly been suffering from illness and depression in the years leading up to her death. Born Germaine Hélène Irène Lefebvre, she also starred in movies such as "Song Without End," "North to Alaska" and "Walk on the Wild Side."
1972: Soccer player Mia Hamm, who won two World Cups and two Olympic gold medals representing the United States, is born in Selma, Ala. Hamm also won a silver medal as part of Team USA at the 2000 Summer Olympics and placed third at the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup. She was a founding member of the Washington Freedom in the Women's United Soccer Association, was named the women's FIFA World Player of the Year the first two times that award was given (in 2001 and 2002), and is an inductee of both the National Soccer Hall of Fame and the World Football Hall of Fame, becoming the first woman inducted into the latter.
1969: Golda Meir becomes the first female prime minister of Israel and the world's third woman to hold such an office. She would serve as prime minister until after the end of the Yom Kippur War in 1974 and died from lymphoma in 1978.
1967: Singer-songwriter and rock musician Billy Corgan, best known as the frontman for the rock band Smashing Pumpkins, is born in Elk Grove Village, Ill.
1967: "Purple Haze" is released in the United Kingdom as the second single of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The song would be released three months later in the United States, peaking at No. 3 in the U.K. and No. 65 in the U.S.
1965: Athlete and pioneering college coach Amos Alonzo Stagg dies at age 102 in Stockton, Calif. Stagg played baseball and football at Yale University and went on to coach football, basketball and baseball at the University of Chicago. He compiled a career college football record of 314–199–35 and his football teams of 1905 and 1913 have been recognized as national champions. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach in the charter class of 1951. Stagg also developed basketball as a five-player sport and was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in its first group of inductees in 1959.
1964: Actor Rob Lowe, the star of movies such as "The Outsiders," "About Last Night…" and "St. Elmo's Fire," and the TV shows "The West Wing," "Brothers & Sisters" and "Parks and Recreation," is born in Charlottesville, Va.
1959: During the Tibetan uprising against China, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th and current Dalai Lama, flees Tibet for India after two artillery shells landed near his palace. He would eventually settle in Dharamshala, India, where he established a Tibetan government in exile.
1958: The United States launches the Vanguard 1 satellite. Although it was the fourth artificial Earth orbital satellite launched, it was the first to be solar powered. Communication with it was lost in 1964, but it remains the oldest manmade satellite still in orbit. Pictured is a model of the satellite at the National Space Science Data Center.
1955: Actor Gary Sinise, best known for movies such as "Forrest Gump," "Apollo 13" and "Of Mice and Men," and for the TV series "CSI: New York," is born in Blue Island, Ill. He also starred in the TV miniseries "The Stand" and won awards for his portrayals of Harry S. Truman and George C. Wallace in the TV movies "Truman" and "George Wallace."
1951: Actor Kurt Russell, best known for movies such as "Silkwood," "Escape from New York," "The Thing," "Big Trouble in Little China," "Stargate" and "Miracle," is born in Springfield, Mass.
1949: Actor Patrick Duffy, best known for playing Bobby Ewing on the TV series "Dallas," is born in Townsend, Mont. Duffy is also known for his other TV roles on the sitcom "Step by Step" and on the soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful."
1947: The B-45 Tornado strategic bomber, the United States Air Force's first operational jet bomber, makes its maiden flight.
1944: Singer-songwriter John Sebastian, best known as the lead singer of The Lovin' Spoonful, is born in New York City. Sebastian wrote or co-wrote The Lovin' Spoonful's biggest hits, including "Do You Believe in Magic," "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice," "Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?" and "Summer in the City."
1941: In Washington, D.C., the National Gallery of Art is officially opened by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
1938: Dancer and choreographer Rudolf Nureyev, one of the most celebrated dancers of the 20th century, is born on a Trans-Siberian train near Irkutsk, Siberia, Soviet Union. He died of AIDS at age 54 on Jan. 6, 1993.
1919: Singer and musician Nat King Cole, known for his soft, baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres, is born in Montgomery, Ala. Some of Cole's best known songs include "Unforgettable," "Straighten Up and Fly Right," "The Christmas Song," "Nature Boy," "Mona Lisa," "Too Young" and "Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer." He died of lung cancer at the age of 49 on Feb. 15, 1965.
1914: Former professional football player Sammy Baugh, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the 17-member charter class of 1963, is born in Temple, Texas. Baugh, who set 13 NFL records playing quarterback, defensive back and punter for Washington from 1937 to 1952, is credited for making the forward pass an integral part of the offensive play in the NFL. He died of numerous health issues, including Alzheimer's disease, at the age of 94 on Dec. 17, 2008.
1905: Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt are married.
1902: Bobby Jones, the most successful amateur golfer ever to compete on a national and international level, is born in Atlanta, Ga. During his peak as a golfer from 1923 to 1930, Jones dominated top-level amateur competition, and competed very successfully against the world's best professional golfers. In 1930, he won the U.S. Amateur Championship to become the only golfer to ever win the (pre-Masters) Grand Slam, or all four major championships in the same calendar year. He died at age 69 on Dec. 18, 1971.
1897: After Bob Fitzsimmons, a 167-pound middleweight, knocks out the much larger Jim Corbett to win the world heavyweight championship in Carson City, Nev., he coins the phrase "The bigger they are, the harder they fall."
1834: Gottlieb Daimler, an engineer and pioneer automobile manufacturer, is born in Schorndorf, Württemberg, in what is now Germany. He invented the high-speed internal combustion engine and built what was perhaps the first motorcycle. In 1890, he founded Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft with his lifelong business partner Wilhelm Maybach. The company produced the Mercedes and later merged into Daimler-Benz & Co. in 1926.
1776: During the opening phase of the American Revolutionary War, British forces evacuate Boston, ending the 11-month Siege of Boston. The British retreated to Halifax, Nova Scotia, after George Washington and Henry Knox placed artillery in positions overlooking the city.
1737: The Charitable Irish Society of Boston celebrates the first recorded celebration of St. Patrick's Day in America. The society's purpose in gathering was not religious, but rather simply to honor its homeland.
461 A.D.: Saint Patrick, a Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland, dies. He is the most commonly-recognised patron saint of Ireland, with Saint Patrick's Day being celebrated on his death day as an official Christian feast day since the early 17th century. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and also serves as a celebration of Ireland's heritage and culture in general.