2008: The Interior Department declares the polar bear a threatened species because of the loss of Arctic sea ice.
2003: Actor Robert Stack, best known for the TV shows "The Untouchables" and "Unsolved Mysteries," as well as movies such as "The High and the Mighty," "Written on the Wind" and "Airplane!," dies of a heart attack at the age of 84 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
1998: Singer and actor Frank Sinatra, known for such hits as "Strangers in the Night," "My Way," "That's Life" and "Summer Wind," and an Oscar-winner for 1953's "From Here to Eternity," dies at the age of 82 in West Hollywood, Calif., after suffering a heart attack. The official cause of death would later be listed as complications from dementia, heart and kidney disease, and bladder cancer.
1998: The final episode of the sitcom "Seinfeld" airs after nine seasons. A critical and commercial favorite, the show led the Nielsen ratings in its sixth and ninth seasons and finished among the top two every year from 1994 to 1998.
1997: Magician and author Harry Blackstone Jr., known for his best-selling magic kits and his television appearances, dies of pancreatic cancer at the age of 62 in Loma Linda, Calif.
1993: Actress and singer Miranda Cosgrove, best known for starring in the Nickelodeon TV series "iCarly," is born in Los Angeles, Calif. Cosgrove is also known for her role in the Jack Black comedy "School of Rock" and for co-starring in the Nickelodeon series "Drake & Josh."
1989: The sitcom "Family Ties" airs its 180th and final episode after seven seasons. The show won multiple awards during its run, including three consecutive Emmy Awards for Michael J. Fox as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. It was the second-most watched series in the nation during its fourth and fifth seasons.
1989: The television crime drama "Moonlighting," starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd, airs its series finale after five seasons. The show was a ratings success, won seven Emmys out of 41 nominations during its run, and helped turn Willis into a star.
1988: A drunken driver traveling the wrong way on Interstate 71 near Carrollton, Ky., hits a converted school bus carrying a church youth group. The crash and ensuing fire killed 27 people on the bus, making it the second deadliest bus disaster in United States history.
1987: Actress and dancer Rita Hayworth, best known for her roles in movies such as "Cover Girl," "Gilda" and "Only Angels Have Wings," dies of Alzheimer's disease at the age of 68 in New York City.
1984: Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of the social networking website Facebook, is born in White Plains, N.Y.
1983: Actress Amber Tamblyn, best known for her TV roles in "General Hospital" and "Joan of Arcadia," and movies such as "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," "The Grudge 2" and "The Ring," is born in Santa Monica, Calif.
1982: Actor Hugh Beaumont, best known for playing Ward Cleaver on the television series "Leave It to Beaver," dies of a heart attack at the age of 73 in Munich, West Germany.
1982: The fantasy adventure movie "Conan the Barbarian," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Earl Jones, premieres in the United States. The movie would prove a commercial success, earning more than $100 million worldwide, and launched Schwarzenegger into worldwide stardom.
1979: Singer-songwriter and record producer Dan Auerbach, best known as the guitarist and vocalist for the rock band The Black Keys, is born in Akron, Ohio. In addition to winning several Grammy Awards as a member of The Black Keys, Auerbach received the 2013 Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical for co-producing his band's 2011 album "El Camino," and for producing records by Dr. John and Hacienda.
1973: Skylab, the United States' first space station, is launched.
1971: Filmmaker and actress Sofia Coppola, best known for directing movies such as "The Virgin Suicides," "Lost in Translation" and "Marie Antoinette," is born in New York City. Coppola, who made her acting debut as a baby in her father's "The Godfather" and also starred in "The Godfather Part III," received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for "Lost in Translation," which also earned her a Best Director nomination, making her only the third woman, and first American woman, to receive such a nomination.
1969: Actress Cate Blanchett, best known for movies such as "Elizabeth," "The Aviator" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and the "Lord of the Ring" trilogy, is born in Melbourne, Australia. Blanchett won Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress for portraying Katharine Hepburn in "The Aviator" and for Best Actress for Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" and was also nominated for Oscars her roles in "Elizabeth," "Notes on a Scandal," "I'm Not There" and "Elizabeth: The Golden Age."
1967: New York Yankee Mickey Mantle hits career home run No. 500 off Stu Miller of the Baltimore Orioles. He would go on to hit a total of 536, good for third on the all-time home run list at the time of his March 1969 retirement.
1962: Rock musician C. C. DeVille, best known as the lead guitarist for the glam metal band Poison, is born Bruce Anthony Johannesson in Brooklyn, N.Y.
1961: The Freedom Riders bus is fire-bombed near Anniston, Ala., and the civil rights protesters are beaten by an angry mob. A second bus was also attacked in Anniston when it arrived the following day and again by a mob of Ku Klux Klan members in Birmingham, Ala.
1961: Actor Tim Roth, best known for roles in movies such as "Reservoir Dogs," "The Incredible Hulk" and "Rob Roy," and for the TV series "Lie to Me," is born in London, England.
1956: The Platters release their self-titled debut album.
1955: Eight communist bloc countries, including the Soviet Union, sign a mutual defense treaty called the Warsaw Pact.
1952: Singer-songwriter, record producer and actor David Byrne, best known as a founding member and the frontman for the band Talking Heads, is born in Dumbarton, Scotland.
1951: Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, best known for directing movies such as "Back to the Future," "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," "Forrest Gump" and "Cast Away," is born in Chicago, Ill. Zemeckis, who won an Oscar for directing "Forrest Gump," is also known for his pioneering performance capture techniques seen in the computer animated films "The Polar Express," "Beowulf" and "A Christmas Carol."
1948: Israel is declared to be an independent state and a provisional government is established. Immediately after the declaration, Israel was attacked by the neighboring Arab states, triggering the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
1944: Filmmaker George Lucas, best known as the creator of the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" film franchises, is born in Modesto, Calif. Lucas directed the first "Star Wars" movie in 1977 and served as a writer and producer for "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi." He also directed all three prequel films released between 1999 and 2005. He also directed the 1973 movie "American Graffiti" and acted as a writer and executive producer on the "Indiana Jones" series. In addition, the effects company he established to make the original "Star Wars" film, Industrial Light and Magic, grew into one the most successful companies in the film industry.
1943: Rock musician and singer-songwriter Jack Bruce, best known as a founding member of the British psychedelic rock trio Cream along with Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton, is born in Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire, Scotland.
1940: The Battle of the Netherlands ends with the Netherlands surrendering to Germany. The battle ended soon after the devastating bombing of Rotterdam (pictured) by the German Luftwaffe and the subsequent threat by the Germans to bomb other large Dutch cities if Dutch forces refused to surrender. The Netherlands remained under German occupation until 1945, when the last Dutch territory was liberated.
1936: Singer-songwriter and actor Bobby Darin, best known for the songs "Splish Splash," "Dream Lover", "Mack the Knife" and "Beyond the Sea," is born Walden Robert Cassotto in The Bronx, N.Y. He died on Dec. 20, 1973, at age 37 after undergoing surgery to repair two artificial heart valves he had received in January 1971.
1925: Virginia Woolf's novel "Mrs Dalloway" is published.
1919: Henry J. Heinz, the German-American businessman who founded the H. J. Heinz Company in 1869, dies of pneumonia at the age of 74 in Pittsburgh, Pa.
1804: The Lewis and Clark Expedition departs from Camp Dubois, near present day Wood River, Ill., and begins its historic journey by traveling up the Missouri River. The expedition actually started without Meriwether Lewis (left), with William Clark (right) and the rest of the group meeting up with him in St. Charles, Mo., a short time later.
1796: English physician Edward Jenner administers the first smallpox vaccination.
1643: Four-year-old Louis XIV becomes the king of France upon the death of his father, Louis XIII. His reign as king, of 72 years and 110 days, is the longest in French and European history.
1607: Jamestown, Va., the first permanent English settlement in the Americas, is settled as James Fort.