2011: Warren Christopher, who served as the 63rd secretary of state during President Bill Clinton's first term, dies from complications of kidney and bladder cancer at the age of 85 in Los Angeles, Calif. He also served as deputy attorney general in President Lyndon Johnson's administration, and as deputy secretary of state in President Jimmy Carter's administration. He was also sent to supervise the contested Florida recount for Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 U.S. presidential election.
2010: Actor Fess Parker, best known for his portrayals of Davy Crockett in the Walt Disney 1955–1956 TV miniseries and as TV's Daniel Boone from 1964 to 1970, dies of natural causes at the age of 85 in Santa Ynez, Calif.
2009: British actress Natasha Richardson dies of an epidural hematoma at the age of 45 two days after suffering a head injury when she fell during a skiing lesson in Quebec, Canada. Richardson, the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and the sister of actress Joely Richardson, had been married to actor Liam Neeson since 1994. She was best known for her roles in movies like "Nell," "The Parent Trap" and "Maid in Manhattan."
2008: British film director Anthony Minghella, who won an Academy Award for Best Director for "The English Patient," dies from a brain hemorrhage in a London hospital following an operation the previous week to remove cancer of the tonsils and neck. He was 54. Minghella, who also directed the movies "Cold Mountain" (seen here, at right, on set with actor Jude Law) and "The Talented Mr. Ripley," also earned Oscar nominations for the screenplays for both "The English Patient" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley," and as a producer on the Best Picture nominee "The Reader" in 2009.
2005: After numerous court appeals, doctors in Florida remove Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. The brain-damaged woman would die 13 days later. Schiavo's husband, Michael, had petitioned the Sixth Circuit Court of Florida in 1998 to remove her feeding tube, with her parents opposed, arguing that she was conscious. The court ruled that Terri Schiavo would not wish to continue life-prolonging measures, and her feeding tube was removed for the first time on April 24, 2001, only to be reinserted several days later. Another judge eventually upheld the order to remove the feeding tube in February 2005, setting off more appeals and federal government intervention, including President George W. Bush signing legislation designed to keep her alive, before the final ruling in the case.
2001: Musician John Phillips (top), a member and leader of the singing group The Mamas & the Papas, dies of heart failure at the age of 65 in Los Angeles, Calif. Phillips was also the father of Chynna Phillips, a member of the band Wilson Phillips, and actresses Mackenzie Phillips and Bijou Phillips.
1996: A fire at the Ozone Disco Club in Quezon City, Philippines, kills 162. Many of those who died in the fire were high school and college students attending graduation or celebrations marking the end of the school year. It was later estimated that there were around 350 people and 40 club employees inside the night club when the fire broke out, whereas the club had been approved for occupancy of only 35 persons. Many of the bodies were discovered along the corridor leading to the only exit and the building didn't have a proper fire exit installed.
1995: With a two-word press release stating simply "I'm back," Michael Jordan announces he is ending his 17-month NBA retirement and attempt to become a major-league baseball player. The next day, Jordan donned jersey No. 45 (his number with the Chicago White Sox minor-league affiliate Birmingham Barons), as his familiar No. 23 had been retired in his honor following his first retirement, and scored 19 points as the Chicago Bulls lost in overtime to the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis.
1994: Bosnia's Bosniaks and Croats sign the Washington Agreement, ending the war between the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and establishing the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1992: Leona Helmsley, the hotel operator and real estate investor known for her flamboyant personality and tyrannical behavior, is sentenced to four years in prison for tax evasion. Helmsley, whose behavior earned her the nickname "Queen of Mean," served a total of 21 months and was released in January 1994.
1990: In the largest art theft in U.S. history, 13 works of arts, collectively worth around $500 million, are stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Mass. Among the works stolen and never recovered were three Rembrandt paintings, including "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee" (pictured), the artist's only known seascape, paintings by Johannes Vermeer and Édouard Manet, and five drawings by Edgar Degas. The investigation remains an open, active case and leads are investigated by the museum and the FBI.
1989: Actress Lily Collins, the daughter of musician Phil Collins, is born in Guildford, Surrey, England. Lily Collins is known for her roles in the movies "Mirror Mirror," "Abduction" and "The Blind Side."
1982: R&B and soul singer-songwriter Teddy Pendergrass is severely injured in a car accident in Philadelphia resulting in him being paralyzed from the waist down. After his injury, he founded the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, a foundation that helps those with spinal cord injuries. Pendergrass is best known for songs such as "Close the Door," "Love TKO" and "Turn Off the Lights."
1980: At Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia, 48 people are killed by an explosion of a Vostok-2M rocket on its launch pad during a fueling operation. The cause of the explosion was later established to have been a design fault in the rocket's hydrogen peroxide filter system. Pictured is a similar rocket now on display in Moscow at the All Russia Exhibition Centre.
1979: Singer-songwriter Adam Levine, best known as the frontman for the band Maroon 5 and a celebrity judge on the music competition TV show "The Voice," is born in Los Angeles, Calif.
1977: The Clash's first single, "White Riot," is released in the United Kingdom.
1974: Most OPEC nations end a five-month oil embargo against the United States, Europe and Japan. The embargo, which stemmed from Western support of Israel when Egypt and Syria attacked the nation on Oct. 6, 1973, led to government price controls and gas rationing in the U.S., commonly resulting in long lines at gas stations.
1972: Comedian and actor Dane Cook, best known for his standup comedy specials and albums, is born in Cambridge, Mass. Since 1997, Cook has also appeared in movies such as "Employee of the Month," "Good Luck Chuck," "Dan in Real Life" and "Mr. Brooks."
1970: Singer and actress Queen Latifah, best known for her roles in movies such as "Living Out Loud," "Chicago," "Bringing Down the House," "Beauty Shop," "Last Holiday," "Hairspray" and "Just Wright," is born Dana Elaine Owens in Newark, N.J.
1969: Under secret orders from President Richard Nixon, 48 B-52 bombers begin secretly bombing the Sihanouk Trail in Cambodia, used by communist forces to infiltrate South Vietnam. The secret bombing campaign, codenamed Operation Breakfast, was part of a bigger 14-month operation named Operation Menu that saw American bombers fly 3,630 sorties and expend 100,000 tons of ordnance.
1965: Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov, leaving his spacecraft Voskhod 2 for 12 minutes and nine seconds, becomes the first person to walk in space. Leonov was connected to the craft by a 5.35-meter tether during his space walk. He's seen here in an official portrait from 1974.
1964: Speed skater Bonnie Blair, who won five gold medals and one bronze medal as one of the most decorated athletes in Olympic history, is born in Cornwall, N.Y.
1963: Beauty queen, actress and singer Vanessa Williams is born in Tarrytown, N.Y. Williams became famous in 1983 as the first black woman crowned Miss America, but was forced to give up her title when Penthouse magazine bought and published nude photographs of her. She has gone on to a career that includes hit songs like "The Right Stuff," "Dreamin'" and "Save the Best for Last," and acting roles in movies such as "Eraser," "Soul Food" and "Shaft" and the TV shows "Ugly Betty" and "Desperate Housewives."
1962: Mike Rowe, best known as the host of the TV show "Dirty Jobs," is born in Baltimore, Md.
1959: Filmmaker Luc Besson, best known as the director of movies such as "La Femme Nikita," "Léon: The Professional" and "The Fifth Element," is born in Paris, France. Besson also wrote the screenplays for movies like "Taken," "The Transporter" and "Colombiana."
1959: The western "Rio Bravo," starring John Wayne, Dean Martin, Walter Brennan and Ricky Nelson, and directed by Howard Hawks, premieres in theaters.
1959: President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill into law allowing for Hawaiian statehood, which would become official on Aug. 21, 1959.
1950: Actor Brad Dourif, best known for his Oscar-nominated role in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" as well as voicing Chucky in the "Child's Play" series of films, is born in Huntington, W.Va. Other credits to Dourif's name include movies such as "Mississippi Burning," "Ragtime," "Dune" and "The Lord of the Rings," and the TV series "Star Trek: Voyager," "Babylon 5" and "Deadwood."
1945: In the Montreal Canadiens' 50th and final game of the National Hockey League season, a 4-2 road victory over the Boston Bruins, Maurice "Rocket" Richard becomes the first NHL player to score 50 goals in a season. It would be 16 years before another NHLer joined Richard in the 50-goal club and 30 years before anyone hit the mark in as few games.
1944: The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy kills 26 and causes thousands to flee their homes. The volcano, which most famously buried the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum during its eruption in A.D. 79, is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last 100 years. This image of the eruption was captured by Jack Reinhardt, a U.S. Air Force B-24 tailgunner, during World War II.
1942: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs an executive order authorizing the War Relocation Authority, which was put in charge of interning of Japanese-, German- and Italian-Americans during World War II.
1941: Singer-songwriter Wilson Pickett, a major figure in the development of American soul music with such hits as "In the Midnight Hour" and "Mustang Sally," is born in Prattville, Ala. He died of a heart attack at age 64 on Jan. 19, 2006.
1940: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini meet at the Brenner Pass in the Alps and agree to form an alliance against France and the United Kingdom.
1938: Country music singer Charley Pride, who has garnered 39 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, is born in Sledge, Miss. Some of Pride's best known hits include "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'," "Night Games" and "Never Been So Loved (In All My Life)."
1937: A natural gas leak at a school in New London, Texas, causes an explosion that kills nearly 300, mostly children, making it the deadliest school disaster in American history.
1936: F.W. de Klerk, the seventh and last state president of apartheid-era South Africa, is born in Johannesburg, South Africa. De Klerk is best known for engineering the end of apartheid, South Africa's racial segregation policy, and supporting the transformation of South Africa into a multi-racial democracy. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 along with Nelson Mandela for his role in the ending of apartheid.
1932: Author John Updike, best known for his Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom series of novels, including "Rabbit Is Rich" and "Rabbit At Rest," is born in Reading, Pa. Updike, who was also known for his poems, the Henry Bech stories and the novel "The Witches of Eastwick," is one of only three authors to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once. He died of lung cancer at age 76 on Jan. 27, 2009.
1931: The first practical electric shavers, produced by Jacob Schick's Schick Inc., go on sale in New York City. They sold for $25 each and about 3,000 were sold in the first year, with sales increasing until 1.5 million were in users' hands by 1937.
1927: Author and actor George Plimpton, widely known for his sports writing and for helping to found The Paris Review, as well as his performances in movies like "Reds," "Volunteers" and "L.A. Story," is born in New York City. He died of a heart attack at age 76 on Sept. 25, 2003.
1926: Actor Peter Graves, best known for his starring role in the TV series "Mission: Impossible" from 1967 to 1973 and its revival from 1988 to 1990, is born Peter Aurness in Minneapolis, Minn. Graves, whose brother was fellow actor James Arness, was also known for roles in "Stalag 17," "Airplane!" and the 1983 miniseries "The Winds of War" and for hosting the A&E documentary series "Biography." He died from a heart attack at age 83 on March 14, 2010.
1925: The Tri-State Tornado tears a 200-mile path through the Midwestern states of Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, killing at least 695 people. It was the deadliest tornado in U.S. history.
1922: As a result of his efforts leading mass civil disobedience protesting British rule in India, Mohandas Gandhi is sentenced to six years in prison for sedition. He was released in February 1924 for an appendicitis operation, having served only two years of his sentence.
1892: Lord Stanley of Preston, the former governor general of Canada, pledges to donate a silver challenge cup, later named after him, as an award for the best hockey team in Canada. Originally presented to amateur champions, starting with the Montreal Hockey Club in 1893, the Stanley Cup has been awarded to the top professional team since 1910, and, since 1926, only to National Hockey League teams.
1869: Neville Chamberlain, who served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940 and is best known for his appeasement foreign policy toward Nazi Germany before World War II, is born in Birmingham, England. Chamberlain led Britain through the first eight months of World War II before resigning and being succeeded by Winston Churchill. Chamberlain died of cancer six months after leaving the premiership.
1858: Rudolf Diesel, the German mechanical engineer and inventor of the engine that bears his name, is born in Paris, France.
1850: American Express is founded as a joint stock corporation by the merger of the express companies owned by Henry Wells (Wells & Company), William G. Fargo (Livingston, Fargo & Company), and John Warren Butterfield (Wells, Butterfield & Company). The company was originally an express mail business. Its founders also started Wells Fargo & Co. in 1852 when Butterfield and other directors objected to expanding American Express' operations to California.
1845: John Chapman, better known as "Johnny Appleseed," dies in Fort Wayne, Ind., at the age of 70. The environmentalist and pioneer became an American legend while he was still alive, introducing apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
1837: Grover Cleveland, the only U.S. president to serve two non-consecutive terms (1885–1889 and 1893–1897), is born in Caldwell, N.J. Cleveland was both the 22nd and 24th president of the United States and also narrowly won the popular vote in his re-election bid in 1888 but lost the electoral vote.
1766: A day after the British Parliament voted to repeal the Stamp Act, which required that many printed materials in the U.S. colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London and carrying an embossed revenue stamp, King George III gives his royal assent, making the repeal official. The act had caused bitter and violent opposition in the colonies. Seen here is a 1765 proof sheet of one-cent stamps required for newsprint.