2012: Earl Scruggs, the bluegrass banjo player whose playing style influenced generations of musicians, dies of natural causes at the age of 88 in Nashville, Tenn. Scruggs, along with his guitarist partner Lester Flatt, helped shape the sound of 20th-century country music. Flatt & Scruggs, as they were known, were best known for two signature songs: "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and "The Ballad of Jed Clampett." Scruggs also helped shape the "high, lonesome sound" of Bill Monroe, often referred to as the father of bluegrass, after joining Monroe's band, the Blue Grass Boys, in 1945.
2010: China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group signs a $1.8 billion deal to buy Ford Motor Company's Volvo car unit.
2005: An 8.6-magnitude earthquake off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia, leaves 1,345 people dead and destroys hundreds of buildings, with most of the destruction centered on the island of Nias. The event caused panic in the region, which had previously been devastated by the massive tsunami triggered by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, but this earthquake generated a relatively small tsunami that caused limited damage. It was the third most powerful earthquake since 1965 in Indonesia.
2004: British actor Peter Ustinov, best known for movies such as "Quo Vadis," "Spartacus," "Billy Budd," "Topkapi" and "Death on the Nile," dies of heart failure at the age of 82 in Genolier, Vaud, Switzerland. Ustinov, seen here in 1986, was also a renowned filmmaker, theater and opera director, stage designer, author, screenwriter, comedian, humorist, newspaper and magazine columnist, radio broadcaster, and television presenter, winning Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, BAFTA Awards and a Grammy during his career.
1995: Singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett and actress Julia Roberts announce they are separating after 21 months of marriage.
1990: President George H. W. Bush posthumously awards the Congressional Gold Medal to track star Jesse Owens, famous for his four track and field gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the honor is one of the two highest civilian awards in the United States. It is awarded to persons "who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient's field long after the achievement."
1987: Maria von Trapp, the Austrian-American singer who was the stepmother and matriarch of the Trapp Family Singers, dies of heart failure at age 82 in Morrisville, Vt. Her story served as the inspiration for the Broadway musical "The Sound of Music" and the 1965 film adaptation, in which she was portrayed by Julie Andrews. Pictured is a photo of Maria von Trapp from her naturalization application from January 1944.
1986: Pop singer-songwriter Lady Gaga, best known for hits such as "Just Dance," "Poker Face," "Bad Romance" and "Born This Way," is born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in New York City.
1985: Russian artist Marc Chagall, one of the most successful artists of the 20th century and the last surviving master of European modernism, dies at the age of 97 in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France. Chagall is best known as a painter, but created works in virtually every artistic medium, including book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramic, tapestries and fine art prints.
1981: Actress Julia Stiles, best known for movies such as "10 Things I Hate About You," "Save the Last Dance" and "The Bourne Identity," is born in New York City.
1979: Operators of Three Mile Island's Unit 2 nuclear reactor outside of Harrisburg, Pa., fail to recognize that a relief valve in the primary coolant system has stuck open following an unexpected shutdown. As a result, enough coolant drains out of the system to allow the core to overheat and partially melt down, resulting in the release of small amounts of radioactive gases and iodine into the environment. It was the worst accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant history.
1979: Emmett Kelly, the circus performer who created the memorable clown figure "Weary Willie" dies of a heart attack at age 80 in Sarasota, Fla. Kelly based the tragic character of Weary Willie off the hobos of the Depression era. From 1942 to 1956 he was a major attraction with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. He also served as the mascot for the Brooklyn Dodgers during the 1956 season and landed a number of Broadway and film roles, including the role of "Willie" in Cecil B. DeMille's "The Greatest Show on Earth."
1973: Led Zeppelin's fifth studio album, "Houses Of The Holy," is released. It was the first Led Zeppelin album composed of entirely original material, and the first not self-titled, and represented a musical turning point for the band. The album was promoted heavily before the start of Led Zeppelin's 1973 North American Tour, ensuring that it had reached the top of the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart by the beginning of the tour.
1971: The last original episode of "The Ed Sullivan Show" airs after 23 seasons. The show's final guests were Melanie, Joanna Simon, Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass, and Sandler and Young. The show actually remained on the air for more than two months more, with repeats scheduled through June 6, 1971, representing a run less than two weeks short of 23 years since its June 20, 1948, debut.
1970: Actor Vince Vaughn, best known for movies such as "Swingers," "Old School," "Dodgeball" and "Wedding Crashers," is born in Minneapolis, Minn.
1970: A 7.2-magnitude earthquake strikes western Turkey, killing 1,086 and injured another 1,260. The town of Gediz, home to repeated natural disasters like earthquakes and floods, was relocated following a government resolution soon after the 1970 destruction to a new place about four miles away under the name Yeni Gediz, which translates to New Gediz.
1969: Film director Brett Ratner, best known for the "Rush Hour" film series and other movies like "Red Dragon," "X-Men: The Last Stand" and "Tower Heist," is born in Miami Beach, Fla.
1969: Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States, dies of congestive heart failure at the age of 78 at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. Before becoming president in 1953, Eisenhower had been a five-star general in the United States Army during World War II and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. As president, he launched the Interstate Highway System, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which led to the Internet, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
1966: Salt of the rap group Salt-N-Pepa (at right with Sandra "Pepa" Denton), whose best known songs include "Push It," "Let's Talk About Sex," "Shoop" and "Whatta Man," is born Cheryl James in Brooklyn, N.Y.
1963: Alfred Hitchcock's thriller "The Birds" premieres in New York City. The movie, starring Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy and Suzanne Pleshette, depicts a California town that is suddenly, and for unexplained reasons, the subject of a series of widespread and violent bird attacks over the course of a few days.
1960: The first permanent star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, director Stanley Kramer's, is completed on the easternmost end of the new Walk near the intersection of Hollywood and Gower. Today, more than 2,400 stars are embedded in the sidewalks along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street.
1958: Composer W. C. Handy, widely known as the "Father of the Blues," dies of bronchial pneumonia at the age of 84 in New York City. Some his most well known song compositions include "St. Louis Blues," "Beale Street Blues," "Memphis Blues" and "Ole Miss Rag."
1955: Country music singer-songwriter and actress Reba McEntire, known for her 40 No. 1 singles, including "Somebody Should Leave," "Is There Life Out There" and "Somebody," is born in Kiowa, Okla. McEntire has also starred in the TV series "Reba" and "Malibu Country" and appeared in the movies "Tremors," "The Little Rascals" and "One Night at McCool's."
1953: Jim Thorpe, a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, dies of heart failure at the age of 65 in Lomita, Calif. Thorpe, who also played professional baseball and basketball, won his gold medals in the pentathlon and the decathlon at the 1912 games. Of Native American and European American ancestry, Thorpe grew up in the Sac and Fox nation in Oklahoma.
1948: Actress Dianne Wiest, best known for her roles in movies like "Footloose," "Hannah and Her Sisters," "Bullets Over Broadway," "The Lost Boys," "Parenthood," "Edward Scissorhands" and "The Birdcage," is born in Kansas City, Mo. She also was a regular on the TV series "Law & Order" and "In Treatment." Wiest has won two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award in her career.
1943: Russian composer, pianist, and conductor Sergei Rachmaninoff, widely considered one of the finest pianists of his day, dies of melanoma at the age of 69 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
1942: Hall of Fame basketball coach Jerry Sloan, only the fifth coach in NBA history to reach 1,000 victories and the only coach in NBA history to reach that milestone with one club, is born in McLeansboro, Ill. Sloan was the head coach for the Utah Jazz from 1988 through 2011 and also coached the Chicago Bulls from 1979 to 1982. Sloan had a career regular-season record of 1,221–803, placing him third all-time in NBA wins at the time he retired, and led the Jazz to the NBA finals in 1997 and 1998. After one season as a player for the Baltimore Bullets, who made him a first-round draft selection in 1965, he spent another 10 years playing for the Bulls before successive knee injuries cut his playing career short.
1941: Writer Virginia Woolf, one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the 20th century, commits suicide by drowning herself at the age of 59. Woolf, who had fallen into a depression after completing the manuscript of her last novel, the posthumously published "Between the Acts," put on her overcoat, filled its pockets with stones, and walked into the River Ouse near her home. Her body was not found until April 18, 1941. Some of Woolf's most famous works include the novels "Mrs. Dalloway," "To the Lighthouse" and "Orlando," and the book-length essay "A Room of One's Own."
1930: With the passage of the Turkish Postal Service Law of 1930, the cities of Constantinople and Angora officially change their names to Istanbul and Ankara.
1914: Politician Edmund Muskie, who served as secretary of state under President Jimmy Carter from 1980 to 1981 and was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 1968, is born in Rumford, Maine. Muskie, who also was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 1972, served as governor of Maine from 1955 to 1959 and as a U.S. senator from 1959 to 1980. He died of congestive heart failure on March 26, 1986, at the age of 81 in Washington, D.C.
1910: Henri Fabre becomes the first person to fly a seaplane, the Fabre Hydravion, after taking off from a water runway near Martigues, France. He flew the plane for 1,500 feet on his first attempt before going on to complete three more consecutive flights that day.
1905: Marlin Perkins, the zoologist best known as a host of the television show "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" from 1963 to 1985, is born in Carthage, Mo. He died of cancer at age 81 on June 14, 1986.
1862: In the Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass, Union forces stop the Confederate invasion of New Mexico Territory. The Confederate forces were forced to retreat back to Santa Fe due to the destruction of their supplies and eventually had to abandon hopes of controlling the territory.
1834: The U.S. Senate votes to censure President Andrew Jackson for the removal of federal deposits from the Bank of the United States and distributing the funds to several dozen private banks throughout the country. Jackson was opposed to the institution on the grounds that it conferred economic privileges on financial elites, violating republican principles of social equality, but opponents saw the move as an abuse of executive power. Jackson would eventually get his way though, with the bank becoming a private corporation in 1836 under Pennsylvania commonwealth law and eventually liquidating in 1841.
1793: Henry Schoolcraft, the explorer and ethnologist noted for his 1832 discovery of the source of the Mississippi River in a lake in northern Minnesota that he named Lake Itasca, is born in Guilderland, N.Y. Schoolcraft, whose early interest in rocks and minerals led to employment as a map maker and government agent on the Northwest Frontier, is also known for his early studies of Native American cultures.
1584: Tsar Ivan IV Vasilyevich, aka Ivan the Terrible, dies from a stroke at the age of 53 in Moscow, Russia. His long reign, beginning at the age of 16 in 1547, saw the conquest of the Kazan, Astrakhan and Siberia, transforming Russia into a multiethnic state spanning almost one billion acres.
845 B.C.: Paris is sacked by Viking raiders, probably under Ragnar Lodbrok, who collects a huge ransom in exchange for leaving.
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