2013: The final component of One World Trade Center's spire in installed, making the building once dubbed the "Freedom Tower" the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The 104-storybuilding reaches a symbolic height of 1,776 feet at its spire, making it the fourth-tallest building in the world. It stands on the northwest corner of the 16-acre World Trade Center site, on the site of the original 6 World Trade Center, which was demolished after being damaged in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that brought down the original Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
2003: The New York Times announces that one of its reporters, Jayson Blair, had "committed frequent acts of journalistic fraud." In an unprecedented 7,239-word story, the newspaper called the 27-year-old reporter’s misdeeds "a low point in the 152-year history of the newspaper." Blair had resigned from the newspaper on May 1, 2003, in the wake of the discovery of plagiarism and fabrication in his stories.
2002: A 39-day stand-off in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem comes to an end with a negotiated deal allowing the armed Palestinian gunmen who had seized the church and taken hostages to surrender to Israeli forces. Thirty-six of the militants were sent to the Gaza Strip and the 13 most wanted were eventually transferred to British Army custody and extradited to Italy and Spain, after those countries agreed in principle to accept them.
2002: Former FBI agent Robert Hanssen is sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for selling United States secrets to Moscow for $1.4 million in cash and diamonds over a 22-year period. He had pleaded guilty to 15 counts of espionage in July 2001.
1999: American poet and composer Shel Silverstein is found dead at the age of 68 by two housekeepers in his Key West, Fla., home. Silverstein had suffered a heart attack and died sometime on either May 8 or 9. He is best known for books such as "Where the Sidewalk Ends" and "The Giving Tree" and for writing songs such as "A Boy Named Sue," "One's on the Way" and "The Cover of the Rolling Stone."
1999: The Paul Cézanne painting "Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier," also known as "Still Life With Curtain, Pitcher and Bowl of Fruit," sells at auction for $60.5 million. It is considered the most expensive still life ever sold at an auction.
1994: Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as South Africa's first black president.
1994: John Wayne Gacy, who had been convicted in March 1980 of the murders of 33 men and boys, is executed via lethal injection. Gacy buried 26 of his victims in the crawl space of his Chicago home. Three further victims were buried elsewhere on his property, while the bodies of his last four known victims were discarded in the Des Plaines River. Gacy had become known as the "Killer Clown" due to his charitable services at fundraising events, parades and children's parties where he would dress as "Pogo the Clown," a character he devised himself.
1994: The rock band Weezer releases their self-titled debut studio album, commonly referred to as "The Blue Album" due to its cover. The album, which featured the hit singles "Undone - The Sweater Song," "Buddy Holly" and "Say It Ain't So," helped launch Weezer into mainstream success. It peaked at No. 16 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart and has sold more than three million copies in the United States.
1983: The sitcom "Laverne & Shirley" comes to an end after 178 episodes and eight seasons. The show, which originally starred Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams as single roommates who worked as bottlecappers in a fictitious Milwaukee brewery, was a spinoff of the sitcom "Happy Days." It finished in the top three in ratings its first four seasons, including being the most-watched TV show in its third and fourth seasons. In the sixth season the show's setting shifted from Milwaukee to Los Angeles and Williams left the show two episodes into the eighth season. Despite the departure of one of its stars, the show retained the name "Laverne & Shirley" and stayed steady in the ratings during its final season.
1978: Actor and comedian Kenan Thompson, best known for his work on the Nickelodeon sketch comedy series "All That" in his teenage years and as a cast member of "Saturday Night Live," is born in Atlanta, Ga. Thompson also starred on the sitcom "Kenan & Kel" and in the films "Good Burger" and "Fat Albert."
1977: Actress Joan Crawford dies at age 73 in New York City from a heart attack, while also reportedly ill with pancreatic cancer. Crawford, who was born Lucille Fay LeSueur, started out as a dancer and chorus girl in stage productions and went on to become an Academy Award-winning film and television actress. She was one of Hollywood's biggest stars in the 1930s and won an Oscar for Best Actress for 1945's "Mildred Pierce." She earned two more Oscar nominations, for 1947's "Possessed" and 1952's "Sudden Fear," in a career that spanned nearly five decades. Some of her other memorable movies include "The Unknown," "Grand Hotel," "The Women," "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?," "The Damned Don't Cry," "Flamingo Road" and "Humoresque."
1975: Sony introduces the Betamax videocassette recorder in Japan. With the introduction of the VHS videotape format in 1976, the two formats were pitted against each other in a fierce format war, with VHS eventually coming out on top in most markets.
1973: Wilt Chamberlain plays his last professional basketball game, scoring 23 points and grabbing 21 rebounds in the Los Angeles Lakers' 102-93 loss to the New York Knicks in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The future Hall of Famer averaged 13.2 points and 18.6 rebounds in his 14th and final season, winning the rebounding crown for the 11th time in his career. He also shot an NBA record 72.7 percent for the season. Chamberlain won two NBA titles in his career, one with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1967 and another with the Lakers in 1972.
1969: During the Vietnam War, the Battle of Dong Ap Bia begins with an assault by American and South Vietnamese forces on Hill 937. The heavily fortified hill, which was of little strategic value, would ultimately become known as Hamburger Hill. In total, the U.S. lost 72 soldiers, committed five infantry battalions and 10 batteries of artillery, flew 272 missions and expended more than 500 tons of ordnance during the 10-day battle only to quietly abandon the hill a couple weeks after capturing it. The controversy over the battle led to outrage back home and contributed to a growing negative public opinion about the war.
1968: Actor Scotty Beckett dies from an overdose of barbiturates at age 38 in Los Angeles. Beckett started his showbiz career at the age of 4 with a part in 1933's "Gallant Lady" and then went on to star in the "Our Gang" short films, playing George "Spanky" McFarland's best friend and partner in mischief. He continued to find success well into his teens and early 20s, but a 1954 arrest on charges of carrying a concealed weapon and passing a bad check cost him his job as the comic sidekick in the popular TV show "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger."
1967: Rapper Young MC, best known for his 1989 hit "Bust a Move," is born Marvin Young in London, England. Since his first success, Young MC has continued a rap career and has had acting roles in films and television, including a cameo as himself in the 2009 George Clooney film "Up in the Air" (pictured).
1963: The Rolling Stones record their first single, a cover of Chuck Berry's "Come On."
1962: Marvel Comics publishes the first issue of "The Incredible Hulk." The superhero was gray in this first issue, but color problems in the printing paved the way for a change to his trademark green color by the next issue.
1960: Singer-songwriter Bono, best known as the lead singer of the rock band U2, is born Paul David Hewson in Dublin, Ireland. Bono is also known for his philanthropy and activism.
1957: Rock musician Sid Vicious, best known as the bass guitarist and vocalist for the punk group Sex Pistols, is born John Simon Ritchie in London, England. Vicious, who joined the Sex Pistols in 1977 and became known for his charisma and wild antics on and off stage, died at the age of 21 on Feb. 2, 1979, from a heroin overdose.
1955: Mark David Chapman, who murdered John Lennon in December 1980, is born in Fort Worth, Texas. After initially putting forward an insanity defense, Chapman would eventually plead guilty to killing Lennon and be sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.
1954: Bill Haley & His Comets release "Rock Around the Clock." A little more than a year later it would become the first rock 'n' roll record to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Pop charts.
1946: Singer-songwriter Donovan, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee best known for hits such as "Sunshine Superman," "Mellow Yellow" and "Hurdy Gurdy Man," is born Donovan Phillips Leitch in Maryhill, Glasgow, Scotland.
1944: Film director Jim Abrahams (left), who directed the movies "Airplane!," "Top Secret" and "Ruthless People" with the brother team of Jerry (center) and David Zucker (right), is born in Shorewood, Wis. Abrahams also served as a writer and producer for all three "Naked Gun" movies and went on to direct the movies "Big Business," "Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael," "Hot Shots!" and "Hot Shots! Part Deux" on his own.
1941: Rudolf Hess parachutes into Scotland to try to negotiate a peace deal between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany. Hess, a prominent German politician who had been appointed deputy head of the Nazi Party in 1933, was immediately arrested and would be held in British custody until the end of World War II, when he was returned to Germany to stand trial in the Nuremberg Trials as a war criminal. He was sentenced to life in prison and committed suicide at the age of 93 while still imprisoned in 1987.
1940: Nazi Germany invades France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg during World War II.
1940: Winston Churchill is appointed prime minister of the United Kingdom.
1930: Pat Summerall, the football player turned legendary NFL play-by-play announcer, is born Lake City, Fla. He was best known as a broadcaster for teaming with former NFL coach John Madden for 22 years. Summerall became the voice of the NFL in the 1970s and 1980s, calling most of the league's signature games, and worked more than 10 Super Bowls. As a player, he was a placekicker and played 10 seasons for the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants from 1952 to 1961, scoring more than 500 points as an NFL player. He died of cardiac arrest at the age of 82 on April 16, 2013.
1924: J. Edgar Hoover is appointed the director of the Bureau of Investigation, the predecessor to the FBI. He would hold that post through the agency's transition into the FBI in March 1935 and on until his death in 1972.
1916: Sailing in the lifeboat James Caird, Ernest Shackleton and five men of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition arrive at South Georgia after a 16-day journey of 800 nautical miles from the uninhabited Elephant Island. The effort was a rescue mission for the rest of the crew of the ship Endurance, which had become stuck in the ice and sunk before reaching Antarctica. Shackleton was able to organize a relief effort and return the rest of his men home without loss of life. The rescue expedition is seen here departing Elephant Island on April 24, 1916.
1909: Musician Maybelle Carter, best known as a member of The Carter Family musical act and the mother of June Carter Cash, is born Maybelle Addington in Nickelsville, Va. She died at age 69 on Oct. 23, 1978.
1908: Mother's Day is officially observed for the first time in the United States with a ceremony in Grafton, W.Va.
1902: Film producer David O. Selznick, best known for producing the Best Picture Academy Award-winning movies "Gone With the Wind" and "Rebecca," is born in Pittsburgh, Pa. Selznick also produced movies such as "King Kong," "David Copperfield," "A Tale of Two Cities," "The Third Man," "Duel in the Sun" and "Spellbound" during his career. He died of a heart attack at age 63 on June 22, 1965.
1899: Dancer and actor Fred Astaire, known for movies such as "The Gay Divorcee," "Top Hat," "Swing Time," "Holiday Inn" and "Easter Parade," is born Frederick Austerlitz in Omaha, Neb. Astaire, who is particularly associated with Ginger Rogers, with whom he made 10 films, died of pneumonia at age 88 on June 22, 1987.
1893: The Supreme Court of the United States in Nix v. Hedden affirms a lower court ruling that the tomato should be classified under customs regulations as a vegetable rather than a fruit. The Court's unanimous opinion held that the Tariff Act of 1883, which required a tax on imported vegetables but not fruits, used the ordinary meaning of the words "fruit" and "vegetable" instead of the technical botanical meaning. The case has been cited in three Supreme Court decisions as a precedent for court interpretation of common meanings, especially dictionary definitions.
1872: In New York City, the newly formed Equal Rights Party nominates Victoria Woodhull for the U.S. presidency, making her the first woman to be so nominated. She would be arrested on obscenity charges a few days before the election for publishing an account of the alleged adulterous affair between the prominent minister Henry Ward Beecher and Elizabeth Tilton, preventing her from attempting to vote in the election. She did not receive any electoral votes, and there is conflicting evidence about how many popular votes she received.
1869: The First Transcontinental Railroad, linking the eastern and western United States, is completed at Promontory Summit, Utah, with the golden spike.
1865: Confederate President Jefferson Davis is captured by Union troops near Irwinville, Ga. He would be indicted for treason a year later and spend two years in prison before being released on bail of $100,000. The charge was eventually dropped in February 1869.
1865: In Kentucky, Union soldiers ambush and mortally wound Confederate raider William Quantrill, who lingered until his death on June 6.
1863: Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson dies eight days after being accidentally shot by his own troops during the Battle of Chancellorsville. The 39-year-old general's death would prove to be a severe setback for the Confederacy, affecting not only its military prospects, but also the morale of its army and of the general public.
1838: John Wilkes Booth, the Confederate sympathizer and famous stage actor who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865, is born in Bel Air, Md.
1818: Paul Revere, the American patriot most famous for alerting Colonial militia of approaching British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord, dies at the age of 83 in Boston, Mass.
1775: Representatives from 12 of the 13 colonies begin the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. The second Congress managed the colonial war effort, and moved incrementally toward independence, adopting the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
1775: Early in the American Revolutionary War, a small Colonial militia led by Ethan Allen and Col. Benedict Arnold captures Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York.
1774: Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette become king and queen of France.
1773: The Tea Act, designed to save the British East India Company by granting it a monopoly on the North American tea trade, receives royal approval in Britain. Colonists upset over being forced to pay duties on the company's tea organized opposition efforts that culminated in the Boston Tea Party on Dec. 16, 1773.
A notorious pirate is captured and killed, RCA Victor buys Elvis' contract from Sun Records, the nation mourns a president, The Beatles release "The White Album," and "Toy Story" premieres, all on this day.