Published On: Apr 08 2013 04:27:16 PM EDTUpdated On: Apr 11 2014 02:00:00 AM EDT
2013: Comedian and actor Jonathan Winters, best known for roles on television shows including "The Steve Allen Show," "Mork and Mindy" and "Hee Haw" and in movies including "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," dies of natural causes at age 87 in Montecito, California. Winters was especially known for his improv work that inspired many a contemporary stand-up comic including Robin Williams, Jim Carrey and others.
2007: American author Kurt Vonnegut, best known for novels such as "Cat's Cradle," "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Breakfast of Champions," dies at the age of 84 in New York City after falling down a flight of stairs in his home and suffering massive head trauma.
2006: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announces that Iran has successfully enriched uranium to a stage suitable for the nuclear fuel cycle.
2002: U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., D-Ohio, is convicted of taking bribes and kickbacks from businessmen and his own staff. He was sentenced to prison and released on Sept. 2, 2009, after serving a seven-year sentence. In July 2002, the U.S. House expelled him over the convictions.
2001: China agrees to release 24 crewmembers of a U.S. surveillance plane. The EP-3E Navy crew had been held since April 1 on Hainan Island in the South China Sea, where the plane had made an emergency landing after an in-flight collision with a Chinese fighter jet. The Chinese pilot's body was never recovered and he was presumed dead. Here, Air Force Senior Airman Curtis Towne salutes as the crew arrives at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii on April 12, 2001.
1990: Elton John plays at the funeral for Ryan White, an 18-year-old who became a national celebrity and spokesman for AIDS research and public education after being infected with HIV from a blood transfusion. Michael Jackson also attended the funeral and later dedicated the song "Gone Too Soon" to White.
1988: At the 60th Academy Awards, Cher wins Best Actress for her performance in the romantic comedy "Moonstruck." Her co-star, Olympia Dukakis, also won for Best Supporting Actress, giving the movie three Oscars with its win for Best Original Screenplay. But the big winner of the night was "The Last Emperor," which won all nine Oscars it was nominated for, including Best Picture and Best Director for Bernardo Bertolucci.
1987: Singer-songwriter and actress Joss Stone, best known for songs such as "Fell in Love with a Boy," "Super Duper Love" and "Tell Me 'bout It," is born Jocelyn Eve Stoker in Dover, Kent, England. She made her film acting debut in 2006 with the fantasy adventure film "Eragon," and made her television debut portraying Anne of Cleves in the Showtime series "The Tudors" in 2009.
1986: Halley's Comet makes its closest approach to Earth on this trip, coming within 39 million miles of the planet.
1984: Space shuttle Challenger astronauts George Nelson and James Van Hoften complete the first in-space satellite repair, retrieving and fixing the ailing Solar Maximum astronomy satellite.
1983: R.E.M.'s first album, "Murmur," is released. The record would reach No. 36 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, with the the lead single, "Radio Free Europe," reaching No. 78 on the singles chart that year.
1981: U.S. President Ronald Reagan returns to the White House from the hospital after recovering from an assassination attempt on March 30. He became the first serving U.S. president to survive being shot in an assassination attempt.
1979: Idi Amin is deposed as president of Uganda as rebels and exiles backed by Tanzanian forces seize control of the country's capital of Kampala. Amin, who originally seized power in a January 1971 military coup, fled to exile first in Libya and then Saudi Arabia, where he lived until his death on Aug. 16, 2003.
1976: The Apple I is created. The first computer produced by Apple, it would be sold as a fully assembled circuit board containing more than 60 chips. However, to make a working computer, users still had to add a case, power supply transformers, power switch, ASCII keyboard and composite video display. Pictured here is a fully assembled Apple I computer, with a homemade wooden computer case.
1974: Actress and model Tricia Helfer, best known for playing the humanoid Cylon Number Six in the re-imagined "Battlestar Galactica" television series, is born in Donalda, Alberta, Canada.
1973: Actress Jennifer Esposito, known for movies such as "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer," "Summer of Sam" and "Crash," and for TV shows such as "Spin City," "Samantha Who?" and "Blue Bloods," is born in Brooklyn, N.Y.
1970: American author John O'Hara, who became a best-selling novelist by the age of 30 with "Appointment in Samarra" and "BUtterfield 8," dies from cardiovascular disease at the age of 65 in Princeton, N.J. O'Hara was also known for his short stories and the novels "Pal Joey" and "Ten North Frederick."
1970: Apollo 13 is launched. The lunar landing mission was aborted two days later when an oxygen tank exploded, crippling the service module. Fighting hardships caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of water and the need to jury-rig the carbon dioxide removal system, astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise were able to return Apollo 13 safely to Earth on April 17.
1970: The Beatles' song "Let It Be" hits No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, where it would stay for two weeks.
1968: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968, prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing.
1965: Forty-seven tornadoes hit six Midwestern states, killing 271 people and injuring 1,500 more, in what becomes known as the Palm Sunday outbreak of 1965. It was the second-biggest outbreak on record at the time. Here a "double tornado" destroys a trailer park in Dunlap, Ind.
1964: The Beatles set a new record when 14 of the Top 100 songs on the U.S. Hot 100 singles chart are theirs. "Can't Buy Me Love" is No. 1 for a second straight week and "Love Me Do" is their lowest at No. 81.
1961: The trial of Adolf Eichmann, a German Nazi lieutenant colonel and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust, begins in Jerusalem. After World War II, Eichmann had fled to Argentina, where he lived under a false identity until being captured by Mossad operatives in 1960. He would be found guilty on 15 counts, including crimes against humanity and war crimes, and executed by hanging in 1962.
1961: Bob Dylan plays his first professional gig, at Gerde's Folk City in Greenwich Village, New York City, opening for John Lee Hooker. He's seen here in 1963.
1951: President Harry Truman relieves General of the Army Douglas MacArthur of overall command in Korea for making public statements that contradicted the administration's policies. Truman and MacArthur are seen here in 1950.
1945: American forces liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, Germany, during World War II. The camp was one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps on German soil. Between April 1938 and April 1945, some 238,380 people of various nationalities were incarcerated in Buchenwald, with one estimate placing the number of deaths at 56,000.
1932: Actor, singer and dancer Joel Grey, best known for his Oscar-winning role in the movie musical "Cabaret," is born Joel David Katz in Cleveland, Ohio. He's seen here with his daughter, actress Jennifer Grey, in April 2012.
1928: Ethel Kennedy, the wife of Robert F. Kennedy, a U.S. senator and attorney general before his assassination in 1968, is born Ethel Skakel in Chicago, Ill.
1890: Joseph Merrick, an English man with severe deformities who was exhibited as a human curiosity named the "Elephant Man," dies of asphyxia, caused by the weight of his head as he lay down, at the age of 27 in London, England. Merrick became well known in London society after he went to live at London Hospital in 1886. His life would become the subject of the play "The Elephant Man" in 1979 and a movie adaptation of the same name in 1980.
1814: Napoleon Bonaparte abdicates as emperor of France and is banished to the island of Elba.