Published On: May 15 2013 02:19:06 AM CDTUpdated On: May 16 2015 01:00:00 AM CDT
2013: Richard "Dick" Trickle, who parlayed a legendary reputation as a short-track driver into a full-time career on stock car racing's biggest stages in the 1990s, dies at age 71 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boger City, North Carolina. He had earlier called 911 to report he planned to commit suicide at the cemetery, where his granddaughter was buried, but there was no answer when authorities tried to call the number back. Though Trickle never managed a victory in NASCAR's premier Sprint Cup series, he did have 15 top-five finishes and won two Nationwide Series races before his retirement in 2002. He's seen here (left) being being interviewed as the grand marshall for the 2012 Slinger Nationals race.
2011: The space shuttle Endeavour launches on STS-134, its 25th and final mission into space. The flight, which delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier to the international space station, was the penultimate mission of NASA's shuttle program.
2010: Rock and heavy metal singer-songwriter Ronnie James Dio, best known for his work with Black Sabbath and his own band Dio, dies of stomach cancer at the age of 67 in Los Angeles, California. Dio was also known for his powerful singing voice and for popularizing the "metal horns" hand gesture in heavy metal.
2002: The remains of kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl are unearthed in Pakistan. Pearl, who had gone to Karachi, Pakistan, as part of an investigation into the alleged links between "Shoe Bomber" Richard Reid and Al-Qaeda, was kidnapped on Jan. 23, 2002, and beheaded by his captors nine days later. In March 2007, at a closed military hearing in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said that he had personally beheaded Pearl.
2002: "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones," the second of George Lucas' prequels to the original "Star Wars" trilogy, premieres in theaters. The film, starring Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen, received mixed reviews but was a box office success, earning nearly $650 million worldwide.
2000: Britney Spears releases her second album, "Oops!..I Did It Again." The album debuted on top of the U.S. Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 1.3 million copies, breaking the previous SoundScan record for the highest debut-week album sales by a solo artist.
1991: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom addresses a joint session of the United States Congress, becoming the first British monarch to address the U.S. Congress.
1990: Singer, dancer and actor Sammy Davis Jr., known for his performances on Broadway and in Las Vegas and for being a member of Frank Sinatra's "Rat Pack," dies of throat cancer at the age of 64 in Beverly Hills, California.
1990: Jim Henson, the puppeteer and director best known as the creator of The Muppets, dies of organ failure resulting from a severe streptococcal infection at the age of 53 in New York City. As a puppeteer, Henson performed in various television programs, such as "Sesame Street" and "The Muppet Show," films such as "The Muppet Movie" and "The Great Muppet Caper," and created advanced puppets for projects like "Fraggle Rock," "The Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth."
1988: A report by United States Surgeon General C. Everett Koop states that the addictive properties of nicotine are similar to those of heroin and cocaine.
1986: The action film "Top Gun," starring Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards and Tom Skerritt, and directed by Tony Scott, premieres in theaters. The movie would prove to be an instant success, earning $177 million in the United States and more than $353 million worldwide to become the highest grossing film of 1986.
1986: Actress Megan Fox, best known for the first two "Transformers" live action movies and other movies such as "Jennifer's Body" and "Jonah Hex," is born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
1985: Actress Margaret Hamilton, best known for playing the malevolent Miss Almira Gulch and the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 musical "The Wizard of Oz," dies in her sleep following a heart attack at the age of 82 in Salisbury, Connecticut. In later years, Hamilton made frequent cameo appearances on television sitcoms and commercials. She also gained recognition for her work as an advocate of causes designed to benefit children and animals, and, as a former schoolteacher, retained a lifelong commitment to public education.
1984: Performance artist and actor Andy Kaufman, known for his elaborate hoaxes and pranks, dies from kidney failure brought on by lung cancer at the age of 35 in West Hollywood, California. He found mainstream success thanks to his role of Latka on the sitcom "Taxi."
1984: Prince's song "When Doves Cry" is released. The lead single from his 1984 album "Purple Rain," the song became a worldwide hit and his first American No. 1 single, topping the charts for five weeks.
1980: The movie "Fame," which follows a group of students through their studies at the New York High School of Performing Arts, premieres in theaters. The film would go on to win Academy Awards for its score and the title song and was nominated for four more. The film spawned a television series and spin-off, a stage musical, a reality competition series, and a 2009 film remake.
1975: Japanese mountain-climber Junko Tabei becomes the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
1973: Actress Tori Spelling, best known for the television drama "Beverly Hills, 90210," is born in Los Angeles, California.
1970: Tennis Hall of Famer Gabriela Sabatini, one of the leading players on the women's circuit in the late-1980s and early-1990s, is born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Sabatini won the women's singles title at the U.S. Open in 1990, the women's doubles title at Wimbledon in 1988, two WTA Tour Championships in 1988 and 1994, and a silver medal at the 1988 Olympic Games. She won 27 titles in her career, compiled a record of 632–189 and peaked at a No. 3 ranking in early 1989.
1969: Actor David Boreanaz, best known for the TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel" and "Bones," is born in Buffalo, New York.
1969: Actress Tracey Gold, best known for playing Carol Seaver on the 1980s sitcom "Growing Pains," is born Tracey Claire Fisher in New York City.
1966: Bob Dylan releases "Blonde on Blonde," one of the first double album in rock music. The album, which features songs such as "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35," "I Want You," "Just Like a Woman" and "Visions of Johanna," would peak at No. 9 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and reach No. 3 in the United Kingdom.
1966: The Beach Boys album "Pet Sounds" is released. The album, which included songs like "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "God Only Knows," has since been recognized as one of the most influential records in the history of popular music and one of the best albums of the 1960s. It would reach No. 10 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.
1966: Singer-songwriter, dancer and actress Janet Jackson, one of the best-selling artists in the history of contemporary music, is born in Gary, Indiana. Jackson, the youngest child of the Jackson family, began her career performing on the the TV variety show "The Jacksons" and went on to act on the TV series "Good Times," "Diff'rent Strokes" and "Fame" in the '70s and '80s. She released her first album in the early 1980s and is known for hit songs such as "Nasty," "When I Think Of You," "Miss You Much," "Rhythm Nation," "Escapade," "Love Will Never Do (Without You)," "That's the Way Love Goes," "Together Again" and "All for You." She's also continued to occasionally act, appearing in movies such as "Poetic Justice," "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" and "Why Did I Get Married?"
1965: SpaghettiOs are introduced by Franco-American food company.
1965: Rock musician and songwriter Krist Novoselic, best known for being the bassist and co-founder of the grunge band Nirvana, is born in Compton, California. Novoselic has also played in the bands Sweet 75, Eyes Adrift and Flipper and has become a political activist, including the creation of the political action committee JAMPAC (Joint Artists and Musicians Political Action Committee).
1963: After 22 Earth orbits, L. Gordon Cooper returns to Earth by splashing down in the Mercury-Atlas 9 capsule, ending Project Mercury. Having spent more than 30 hours in space, Cooper became the first American to spend more than a day in space.
1960: Theodore Maiman operates the first optical laser (a ruby laser), at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California.
1959: Actress Mare Winningham, best known for movies such as "St. Elmo's Fire," "Turner & Hooch" and "Georgia," is born Mary Megan Winningham in Phoenix, Arizona. Winningham earned an Oscar nomination for "Georgia" and has won two Emmy Awards out of eight nominations.
1957: Eliot Ness, the American federal agent famous for his efforts to enforce Prohibition in Chicago as the leader of a team of law enforcement agents nicknamed The Untouchables, dies of a heart attack at the age of 54 in Coudersport, Pennsylvania.
1956: H. B. Reese, the candymaker who created Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, dies of a heart attack in West Palm Beach, Florida, eight days before his 77th birthday.
1955: Baseball pitcher Jack Morris, who pitched for four World Series champions during his 18-year major-league career, is born in St. Paul, Minnesota. Morris won titles with the Detroit Tigers in 1984, with the Minnesota Twins in 1991, and with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993. A five-time MLB All-Star, he also pitched a no-hitter in 1984, won 254 games in his career, struck out 2,478 batters and was named the World Series MVP in 1991. Morris is seen here in October 2012 throwing out the ceremonial first pitch during an ALCS game between the Tigers and the New York Yankees.
1955: Actress Debra Winger, known for her Oscar-nominated performances in "An Officer and a Gentleman," "Terms of Endearment" and "Shadowlands," and for other roles in movies such as "Urban Cowboy" and "Legal Eagles," is born Mary Debra Winger in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
1953: Actor Pierce Brosnan, best known for portraying British super spy James Bond in four movies between 1995 and 2002, is born in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland. Brosnan, who played Bond in "GoldenEye," "Tomorrow Never Dies," "The World is Not Enough" and "Die Another Day," is also known for starring in the 1980s TV series "Remington Steele" and has also appeared in movies like "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Mars Attacks!," "The Tailor of Panama" and "The Matador."
1944: Actor Danny Trejo, best known for his roles in movies like "Heat," "Con Air," "Desperado" and "Machete" (pictured), is born in Los Angeles, California.
1943: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising comes to an end with the Nazis officially finishing their operation to liquidate the ghetto in German-occupied Poland. The uprising, the largest single revolt by the Jews during World War II, began on April 19, 1943, with a resistance rising up against Nazi efforts to transport the ghetto's remaining Jewish population to Treblinka extermination camp.
1937: Actress Yvonne Craig, best known for her role as Batgirl from the 1960s TV series "Batman," is born in Taylorville, Illinois.
1929: During a private banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the first Academy Awards are handed out. Statuettes were handed out in 12 categories during the 15-minute ceremony, honoring artists, directors and others in the filmmaking industry for their works during the 1927–1928 period. "Wings," a 1927 silent film about two World War I fighter pilot friends, won for "Outstanding Picture," which would later be renamed Best Picture.
1920: Pope Benedict XV canonizes Joan of Arc as a saint in Rome, Italy.
1919: Pianist and singer Liberace, at one time the highest-paid entertainer in the world, is born W?adziu Valentino Liberace in West Allis, Wisconsin. The musician, who died of pneumonia caused by AIDS on Feb. 4, 1987, was as famous for his flamboyant costumes and stage manner as he was for his music.
1918: The Sedition Act of 1918 is passed by the U.S. Congress, making criticism of the government during wartime an imprisonable offense. It would be repealed less than two years later.
1912: Author, historian, actor, and broadcaster Louis "Studs" Terkel is born in New York City. Terkel won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1985 for "The Good War" and is also known for his oral histories of common Americans and for hosting a long-running radio show in Chicago. He died at age 96 on Oct. 31, 2008.
1909: Actress Margaret Sullavan, best known for her roles in movies such as "Three Comrades," "The Shopworn Angel" and "The Shop Around the Corner" (pictured here with James Stewart) is born in Norfolk, Virginia. Sullavan, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in "Three Comrades," died of an overdose of barbiturates at the age of 50 on Jan. 1, 1960.
1905: Actor Henry Fonda, the Hollywood legend who starred in such movies as "The Grapes of Wrath," "The Ox-Bow Incident," "Mister Roberts," "12 Angry Men" and "On Golden Pond," is born in Grand Island, Nebraska. Fonda, who won a Best Actor Oscar for "On Golden Pond" and was also nominated for "The Grapes of Wrath," was also the patriarch of a family of famous actors, including daughter Jane Fonda, son Peter Fonda and granddaughter Bridget Fonda. He died of heart disease at age 77 on Aug. 12, 1982.
1868: The U.S. Senate acquits President Andrew Johnson of one of the articles of impeachment against him. In the first impeachment in history of a sitting United States president, the U.S. House of Representatives had impeached Johnson on Feb. 28, primarily charging him with violation of the Tenure of Office Act by removing Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton from office and replacing him with Maj. Gen. Lorenzo Thomas. The Senate vote on that charge was 35-19, one vote less than the required two-thirds tally to remove Johnson from office. Two more articles of impeachment would go down by the same margin 10 days later before Johnson's opponents gave up and dismissed the proceedings.
1801: Politician and diplomat William H. Seward, who served as the governor of New York, a U.S. senator, and the U.S. secretary of state for Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, is born in Florida, New York. As Johnson's secretary of state, he engineered the 1867 purchase of Alaska from Russia in move that was ridiculed at the time as "Seward's Folly."
The Boy Scouts of America is founded, the gas chamber is first used in the United States, the first NFL Draft is held, "Good Times" premieres, and women's ice hockey debuts as an Olympic sport, all on this day.