2013: Country music singer-songwriter Claude King, best known for his 1962 hit song "Wolverton Mountain," dies at age 90 in Shreveport, La.
2011: Charlie Sheen is fired from the sitcom "Two and a Half Men" by Warner Bros. Television following repeated misbehavior and weeks of the actor's angry media campaign against his studio bosses.
2010: Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director for her Iraq War thriller "The Hurt Locker," which also wins five more Oscars, including Best Picture.
2009: The Kepler space observatory, designed to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars, is launched.
2006: Photographer and film director Gordon Parks, best known for his photographic essays for Life magazine and as the director of the 1971 film "Shaft," dies of cancer at the age of 93 in New York City. He was also known for his activism and campaigning for civil rights, as well as for his writing, including his autobiographical novel "The Learning Tree."
1999: Film director Stanley Kubrick, best known for movies such as "Dr. Strangelove," "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "The Shining," dies of a heart attack at the age of 70 in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, England. He's seen here in 1975 on the set of his movie "Barry Lyndon."
1996: Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers becomes the second NBA player to reach 10,000 career assists, joining John Stockton of the Utah Jazz.
1994: In Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that parodies of an original work are generally covered by the doctrine of fair use and do not require the copyright holder's permission. The case revolved around a parody of Roy Orbison's song "Oh, Pretty Woman" done by the rap group 2 Live Crew.
1991: Baseball Hall of Famer James Thomas "Cool Papa" Bell, a Negro league baseball star often considered to have been one of the fastest men ever to play the game, dies at the age of 87 in St. Louis, Mo.
1988: Actor Divine, a drag queen often associated with independent filmmaker John Waters, dies of an enlarged heart at the age of 42 in Los Angeles, Calif. Divine, whose real name was Harris Glenn Milstead, is pictured here in Water's infamous 1972 film "Pink Flamingos."
1987: The album "Licensed to Ill" by the Beastie Boys becomes the first rap album to top the Billboad 200 album chart. It would stay at No. 1 for seven weeks.
1986: Divers from the USS Preserver locate the debris of the space shuttle Challenger's crew cabin on the ocean floor. The Challenger had exploded 73 seconds into launch on Jan. 28, 1986, killing all seven crew members on board.
1986: The sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes" airs its final episode after eight seasons. The series, which starred Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges as two black boys from Harlem adopted by a rich white businessman named Phillip Drummond (Conrad Bain) and his daughter Kimberly (Dana Plato) for whom their late mother previously worked. The show was a ratings success for several seasons, but was canceled after several seasons of sagging ratings.
1985: The song "We are the World" is released as a single, instantly becoming a worldwide commercial success and topping music charts throughout the world. The song, written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson, was recorded for charity to help raise funds for Ethiopian famine relief. The supergroup USA for Africa brought together for the recording featured the likes of Jackson, Richie, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Hall & Oates, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Paul Simon, Tina Turner and Bruce Springsteen.
1980: The Loretta Lynn biopic "Coal Miner's Daughter," starring Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones, Beverly D'Angelo and Levon Helm, premieres in theaters. Spacek's portrayal of Lynn would earn her an Academy Award for Best Actress and the movie earned six more Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematography.
1980: Actress Laura Prepon, best known for her TV roles on "That '70s Show" and "Orange is the New Black," is born in Watchung, N.J.
1974: Actress Jenna Fischer, best known for the sitcom "The Office" and movies such as "Blades of Glory" and "Hall Pass," is born in Fort Wayne, Ind.
1971: Actor Peter Sarsgaard, best known for roles in movies such as "Boys Don't Cry," "Garden State," "Shattered Glass," "Kinsey" and "Green Lantern," is born at Scott Air Force Base near Belleville, Ill.
1970: Actress Rachel Weisz, best known for movies such as "The Mummy," "About a Boy" and "The Constant Gardener," the last of which won her an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors' Guild award, is born in London, England.
1967: Alice B. Toklas, the companion to writer Gertrude Stein for nearly 40 years, dies at the age of 89 in Paris, France. Toklas and Stein met in Paris in 1907 and hosted parties that attracted expatriate American writers, such as Ernest Hemingway, Paul Bowles, Thornton Wilder and Sherwood Anderson, and avant-garde painters, including Picasso, Matisse and Braque. Stein's bestselling memoir, published in 1933, was titled "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas." The couple remained together until Stein's death in 1946.
1965: A group of 600 civil rights marchers are forcefully broken up by state and local police with billy clubs and tear gas in Selma, Ala. Seventeen marchers are hospitalized, and the day was nicknamed "Bloody Sunday." Televised images of the attack roused support for the U.S. civil rights movement.
1964: Actress and comedian Wanda Sykes, best known for her regular role the sitcom "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and for her appearances on HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," is born in Portsmouth, Va. Sykes is also known for roles in movies such as "Monster-in-Law," "My Super Ex-Girlfriend," "Evan Almighty" and "License to Wed," and for voicing characters in animated movies like "Over the Hedge," "Barnyard," "Rio" and "Ice Age: Continental Drift."
1964: Author Bret Easton Ellis, best known for the novels "American Psycho" and "Less Than Zero," is born in Los Angeles, Calif.
1962: Pop singer-songwriter Taylor Dayne, best known for the hit songs "Tell It to My Heart," "Love Will Lead You Back," "Prove Your Heart" and "With Every Beat of My Heart," is born Leslie Wunderman in Baldwin, N.Y.
1960: Ivan Lendl, a former world No. 1 professional tennis player who has been described as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, is born in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia. He was one of the game's most dominant players in the 1980s and captured eight Grand Slam singles titles in his career. He competed in 19 Grand Slam singles finals, a record surpassed by Roger Federer in 2009.
1960: Former major-league outfielder Joe Carter, a five-time All Star who won two World Series titles with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993, is born in Oklahoma City, Okla. Carter, who also played for the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles and San Francisco Giants during his 16-year career, is most famous for hitting a walk-off home run to win the 1993 World Series for the Blue Jays (pictured).
1956: Actor Bryan Cranston, best known for his TV roles on "Breaking Bad" and "Malcolm in the Middle," is born in Canoga Park, Calif. He won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series three consecutive times for "Breaking Bad" in 2008-2010 and was also nominated in 2012 and 2013 to go along with his three previous Emmy nominations for "Malcolm in the Middle." He is also known for supporting roles in the films "Saving Private Ryan," "Little Miss Sunshine," "Drive" and "Argo."
1952: Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann, a four-time Super Bowl champion in his nine-season career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, is born in Alcoa, Tenn. Swann, who played collegiately at the University of Southern California and is also an inductee of the College Football Hall of Fame, was also a three-time Pro Bowl selection and won MVP honors in Super Bowl X in 1976. He also was a football and sports broadcaster for ABC Sports from 1976–2006, but left for an unsuccessful run for Pennsylvania governor.
1950: Pro Football Hall of Fame full back Franco Harris, who played all but one year of his 13-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, is born in Fort Dix, N.J. A nine-time Pro Bowl selection and the 1972 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, he won four Super Bowl titles with the Steelers, including winning MVP honors in Super Bowl IX in 1975.
1944: Country singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt is born in Fort Worth, Texas. He was notorious for his drug addictions and alcoholism before dying on Jan. 1, 1997, at the age of 52 in Smyrna, Tenn., from health problems stemming from his years of substance abuse. Although he struggled to find commercial success while alive, the 2000s saw a resurgence of interest in his music. Today, many of his songs, including "Pancho and Lefty," "If I Needed You," "To Live is to Fly" and "No Place to Fall," are considered standards of their genre.
1942: Michael Eisner, who was the chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company from 1984 until 2005, is born in Mount Kisco, N.Y.
1942: Televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker is born Tamara Faye LaValley in International Falls, Minn. She was married from 1961 to 1992 to televangelist, and later convicted felon, Jim Bakker and co-hosted the popular evangelical Christian television program "The PTL Club" with him. She died of cancer at age 65 on July 20, 2007.
1939: Glamour magazine begins publishing as Glamour of Hollywood.
1936: In violation of the Treaty of Versailles, German troops march into the Rhineland and other regions along the Rhine River, marking the first time since the end of World War I that German troops had been in the region. This was the first of the aggressive military actions of Nazi Germany that led to the outbreak of World War II.
1934: TV broadcaster Willard Scott, best known for his work on "The Today Show," is born in Alexandria, Va. Scott is also the creator and original portrayer of both Ronald McDonald and Bozo The Clown.
1933: The game Monopoly is created and trademarked by Charles Darrow in Atlantic City, N.J. Darrow was inspired by an earlier real estate game called The Landlord's Game that shared similarities with today's version of Monopoly, including renting properties, paying utilities and avoiding "jail," and created his own version, based on his favorite resort, Atlantic City. In 1935, Parker Brothers bought Darrow's game, helped him take out a patent on it and purchased his remaining inventory. The company then began mass marketing the game.
1897: Dr. John Harvey Kellogg serves the world's first cornflakes to his patients at a mental hospital in Battle Creek, Mich. Rather than the sweeter breakfast cereal sold today, these cornflakes were an unsweetened addition to the diets of Kellogg's patients, who suffered from a variety of ailments, which he believed could be cured by a strict vegetarian diet and vigorous exercise. In 1906, his brother, Will Keith Kellogg, added sugar to the recipe and began marketing the flakes as a breakfast food.
1876: Alexander Graham Bell is granted a patent for what he calls an "Improvement in Telegraphy," which established the principle of the telephone.