Published On: May 20 2014 02:13:40 PM CDTUpdated On: May 26 2015 01:00:00 AM CDT
2010: Canadian-American radio and television host Art Linkletter dies at age 97 in Los Angeles, California. Linkletter was most famous interviewing kids in the segment "Kids Say the Darndest Things" for his radio show "House Party" and television series "Art Linkletter's House Party." The segment later became a comedy series hosted by Bill Cosby between 1998 and 2000. Linkletter also hosted the radio and television game show "People are Funny" from 1943 to 1960 and served as a guest host of "The Tonight Show" in 1962 between Jack Paar's departure and Johnny Carson's arrival as its new host. He also served as the television broadcast host when Disneyland opened in 1955.
2009: California's Supreme Court upholds the Proposition 8 gay marriage ban but says the 18,000 same-sex weddings that had taken place before the prohibition passed were still valid. The amendment to the state's constitution was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court in 2010, but was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, which dismissed the appeal on June 26, 2013.
2009: President Barack Obama nominates federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court, replacing retired Justice David Souter. Her nomination was confirmed by the Senate in August 2009 by a vote of 68-31, making her the third female justice in the court's history.
2008: Filmmaker and actor Sydney Pollack dies of stomach cancer at age 73 in Pacific Palisades, California. Pollack was best known for directing movies such as "Jeremiah Johnson," "The Way We Were," "Three Days of the Condor," "Absence of Malice," "Out of Africa," "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?," "Tootsie" and "The Firm." He won Academy Awards for directing and producing the Best Picture-winning "Out of Africa" and was also nominated for Best Director Oscars for "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" and "Tootsie." The latter movie was also one of many movies he acted in, along with "Eyes Wide Shut," "The Interpreter" and "Michael Clayton."
2008: Severe flooding begins in eastern and southern China. Four rounds of torrential rains with landslides and flooding lasted for 20 days ultimately caused 148 deaths and forced the evacuation of 1.3 million people.
2005: Actor Eddie Albert, best known for the sitcom "Green Acres" and his Oscar-nominated roles in "Roman Holiday" and "The Heartbreak Kid," dies from pneumonia at age 99 in Pacific Palisades, California.
2004: U.S. Army veteran Terry Nichols is found guilty of 161 state murder charges for helping Timothy McVeigh carry out the Oklahoma City bombing. The next month he was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole after the jury deadlocked over the death penalty. Seven years earlier he had been convicted and sentenced to life in prison on federal charges of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and eight counts of involuntary manslaughter for killing federal law enforcement personnel in the April 19, 1995, attack that left a total of 168 people dead.
2002: Two barges collide with a support pier of the Interstate 40 bridge over the Arkansas River near Webbers Falls, Oklahoma, after Joe Dedmon, captain of the tugboat Robert Y. Love, blacked out and lost control of them. Fourteen people died and 11 others were injured when several automobiles and tractor trailers fell from the bridge.
1988: The Edmonton Oilers win their fourth NHL Stanley Cup in five seasons, sweeping the series 4-0 against the Boston Bruins. The clinching game, a 6-3 victory by the Oilers on home ice, came two days after the fourth game in the series was canceled due to a power failure at the Boston Garden with the score tied 3-3. Wayne Gretzky was named MVP of the playoffs, scoring 12 goals and adding a playoff record 31 assists, in what would be last Stanley Cup title.
1983: A strong 7.8 magnitude earthquake in the Sea of Japan triggers a tsunami, killing at least 104 people and injuring thousands more along the west coast of Japan and the east coast of South Korea.
1981: An EA-6B Prowler crashes on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, killing 14 crewmen and injuring 45 others.
1977: George Willig climbs the South Tower of New York City's World Trade Center. The feat, which came more than two years after tightrope walker Philippe Petit walked between the tops of the two towers, took him three and a half hours and he was arrested immediately after.
1975: Singer-songwriter Lauryn Hill, best known for her solo album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" and her work with the group Fugees, namely their hit rendition of "Killing Me Softly," is born in East Orange, New Jersey.
1972: U.S. President Richard Nixon and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev sign the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which regulated the anti-ballistic missile systems used in defending areas against missile-delivered nuclear weapons. Under the terms of the treaty, each party was limited to two ABM complexes, each of which were to be limited to 100 anti-ballistic missiles. In June 2002, the United States withdrew from the treaty, leading to its termination.
1971: Animator, filmmaker and actor Matt Stone, best known for being the co-creator of "South Park" along with his creative partner and best friend Trey Parker, as well as co-writing the 2011 multi-Tony Award winning musical "The Book of Mormon," is born in Houston, Texas.
1970: The Soviet Tupolev Tu-144 becomes the first commercial transport to exceed Mach 2. It was one of only two supersonic transport aircraft to enter commercial service, the other being the Concorde, although the Tu-144 flew only a total of 102 scheduled commercial flights, including 55 passenger flights, in the late 1970s before the cessation of commercial service. Pictured here is a research version of the aircraft used by NASA as a flying laboratory in the late 1990s.
1970: The last new episode of the sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie" airs after five seasons. The show, which starred Barbara Eden as a 2,000-year-old genie and Larry Hagman as an astronaut who becomes her master, originally premiered on Sept. 18, 1965.
1969: After what amounted to a dress rehearsal for the Apollo 11 moon landing, Apollo 10 returns to Earth following a successful eight-day test of the lunar module. The module came to within 8.4 nautical miles of the lunar surface while orbiting the moon and set a record for the highest speed attained by a manned vehicle at 24,791 miles per hour during its return to Earth. Apollo 10's three-man crew consisted of Thomas P. Stafford, John W. Young and Eugene A. Cernan.
1966: Actress Helena Bonham Carter, known for movies such as "A Room with a View," "Fight Club" and "The King's Speech," is born in London, England. She is also known for playing Bellatrix Lestrange in the "Harry Potter" film series and for her work with her former domestic partner, director Tim Burton, in movies like "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" and "Alice in Wonderland." She has earned Academy Award nominations for her performances in "The Wings of the Dove" and "The King's Speech" and has another seven Golden Globe nominations to her name.
1964: Singer-songwriter, guitarist and actor Lenny Kravitz is born in New York City. As a musician, he is known for hit songs such as "It Ain't Over 'til It's Over," "Are You Gonna Go My Way," "Again" and "Fly Away." He's also appeared in the movies "Precious," "The Hunger Games" and "The Butler."
1962: Comedian, actor and director Robert "Bobcat" Goldthwait is born in Syracuse, New York. Goldthwait is known for his stand-up comedy and roles in movies such as "Police Academy," "One Crazy Summer," "Burglar" and "Scrooged." He is also infamous for lighting a guest chair on fire during a May 1994 appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
1951: Physicist and astronaut Sally Ride, who became the first American woman inspace in June 1983, is born in Los Angeles, California. Ride, who flew twice on the space shuttle Challenger, died at age 61 on July 23, 2012, following a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
1949: Country music singer-songwriter Hank Williams Jr. is born Randall Hank Williams in Shreveport, Louisiana. The son of legendary country music pioneer Hank Williams, he is best known for songs such as "Family Tradition," "A Country Boy Can Survive," "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" and "Born to Boogie."
1949: Actor Philip Michael Thomas (right), who played Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs on the TV series "Miami Vice," is born in Columbus, Ohio.
1949: Actress Pam Grier, best known for movies such as "Coffy," "Foxy Brown" and "Jackie Brown" (pictured), and the TV series "The L Word," is born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
1948: Stevie Nicks, known for her work with Fleetwood Mac and her extensive solo career, is born in Phoenix, Arizona. Some of her best-known songs with Fleetwood Mac include "Dreams," "Rhiannon," "Landslide," "Gold Dust Woman," "The Chain" and "Gypsy," with her solo hits including "Edge of Seventeen," "Stand Back" and "Talk to Me."
1943: Edsel Ford, the son of Henry Ford who had served as president of Ford Motor Company since 1919, dies of stomach cancer at age 49 in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan. Edsel Ford was responsible for purchasing the Lincoln Motor Company in 1922 and for founding and naming the Mercury division. The company's short-lived Edsel car, introduced in 1958 and discontinued two years later, was also named after him.
1940: Rock musician and actor Levon Helm, who found fame as the drummer and frequent lead singer for The Band, is born Mark Lavon Helm in Elaine, Arkansas. Helm sang lead vocals on some of The Band's most well-known songs, such as "The Weight," "Up on Cripple Creek" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." Helm also had a successful career as an actor, appearing in such films as "Coal Miner's Daughter" and "The Right Stuff." He died of throat cancer at age 71 on April 19, 2012.
1938: The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its first session. Originally created to uncover citizens with Nazi ties within the United States, it instead became better known for its role in investigating alleged disloyalty and subversive activities for those suspected of having communist ties.
1933: Singer-songwriter and guitarist Jimmie Rodgers, one of the first country music superstars and pioneers, dies from a pulmonary hemorrhage at age 35 in New York City. Rodgers, whose hits included "Blue Yodel No. 1 (T for Texas)," "Blue Yodel No. 9," "In the Jailhouse Now," "No Hard Times" and "T.B. Blues," was also known as "The Singing Brakeman," "The Blue Yodeler" and "The Father of Country Music." He began performing in his early teens before working on the railroad as a water boy and brakeman, but his railroad career was cut short when he contracted tuberculosis at age 27. When the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum was established in 1961, Rodgers was one of the first three inductees.
1928: Jack Kevorkian, the physician, pathologist, author and activist known as "Dr. Death" for publicly championing a terminal patient's right to die via physician-assisted suicide, is born in Pontiac, Michigan. Kevorkian, who claimed to have assisted in at least 130 suicides, was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999 for giving a lethal injection to a terminally ill man whose September 1998 death was shown on "60 Minutes." He served eight years and two-and-a-half months in prison before being paroled in 2007 on the condition that he not offer suicide advice to any other person. He died from a thrombosis at the age of 83 on June 3, 2011.
1927: The last Ford Model T rolls off the assembly line, watched by its inventor, Henry Ford, at his factory in Highland Park, Michigan. The Model T, generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, sold 15 million vehicles over 20 years. The company immediately began retooling his plants to manufacture the Model A.
1926: Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, one of the key figures in the history of jazz, is born in Alton, Illinois. His 1959 album "Kind of Blue" has been certified platinum four times. He died from the combined effects of a stroke, pneumonia and respiratory failure at age 65 on September 28, 1991.
1923: Actor James Arness, best known for portraying Marshal Matt Dillon in the television series Gunsmoke for 20 years, is born James Aurness in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Arness, whose younger brother was fellow actor Peter Graves, also served as an Army rifleman in World War II and also appeared in the movies "Them!," "Gun the Man Down," "Big Jim McLain" and "Hondo." He died of natural causes at the age of 88 on June 3, 2011.
1923: The first 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place through public roads around Le Mans, France, with French drivers André Lagache and René Léonard winning. The 24-hour-long race has been run annually since and is the world's oldest active endurance sports car race.
1920: Singer-songwriter and actress Peggy Lee, who had a string of successful albums and top 10 hits in three consecutive decades and is best known for her hit cover of the song "Fever," is born in Jamestown, North Dakota. Some of her other hit recordings included "Somebody Else Is Taking My Place," "Why Don't You Do Right?" and "Mañana." She also starred and sang in the hit films "The Jazz Singer," "Disney's Lady and the Tramp" and "Pete Kelly's Blues," for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She died from diabetes and a heart attack at age 81 on Jan. 21, 2002.
1917: Several powerful tornadoes rip through Illinois, including the city of Mattoon, killing 101 people and injuring 689.
1913: Actor Peter Cushing, best known for his role as Grand Moff Tarkin in "Star Wars" and in a long series of horror films produced by Hammer Film Productions in the 1950s through 1970s, is born in Kenley, Surrey, England. Cushing played the sinister scientist Baron Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes and the vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing, among many other roles, in the Hammer Films. He died of prostate cancer at age 81 on Aug. 11, 1994.
1908: Engineers working for British entrepreneur William Knox D'Arcy hit a gusher in Masjid-i-Suleiman in present-day Iran, making it the first major oil strike in the Middle East.
1907: Actor, director and producer John Wayne, a top box office draw for decades and an enduring American film legend, is born Marion Robert Morrison in Winterset, Iowa. Wayne was best known for his westerns, including "The Big Trail," "Stagecoach," "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," "The Searchers," "The Alamo," "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "Rio Bravo," "True Grit" and "The Shootist." He also starred in movies like "The Quiet Man," "Sands of Iwo Jima," "The High and the Mighty" and "The Green Berets." He died of stomach cancer at the age of 72 on June 11, 1979.
1897: Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula" is published.
1896: Charles Dow publishes the first edition of the Dow Jones industrial average in the Wall Street Journal.
1896: Nicholas II becomes Tsar of Russia.
1886: Singer and actor Al Jolson is born Asa Yoelson in Seredžius, Kovno Governorate, Russian Empire (present-day Lithuania). Jolson was America's most famous and highest-paid entertainer in the 1930s and is best remembered as the star in the first full-length talking movie, 1927's "The Jazz Singer." He died of a massive heart attack at the age of 64 on Oct. 23, 1950.
1865: Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department, surrenders at Galveston, Texas, becoming the last general of the Confederate Army to surrender.
1857: Dred Scott is emancipated by the Blow family, his original owners.
1805: Napoléon Bonaparte assumes the title of King of Italy and is crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy in the Duomo di Milano, the gothic cathedral in Milan.
1647: Alse Young is hanged in Hartford, Connecticut, becoming the first person executed as a witch in the American colonies.