2009: Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is indicted on federal corruption charges for allegedly trying to trade the U.S. senate seat once held by President Barack Obama for financial and political gain. After two trials, Blagojevich would ultimately be found guilty on most of the charges and sentenced to 14 years in federal prison.
2006: More than 60 tornadoes break out across seven states in the central United States, killing 29 people. The hardest hit state is Tennessee, where 24 people are killed by the storms. Four more people are killed in Missouri and one in Illinois.
2005: Pope John Paul II, one of the most influential leaders of the 20th and early 21st centuries, dies of heart failure at the age of 84 at the Vatican City. The pope, who was born Karol Józef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland, had suffered from Parkinson's disease for years and his death was the culmination of a series of medical setbacks going back to early February 2005 with influenza that left him hospitalized.
2003: Soul singer Edwin Starr, most famous for Motown singles of the 1970s, including the No. 1 hit "War," dies of a heart attack at the age of 61 in Bramcote, Nottinghamshire, England.
1998: Rob Pilatus (left), one half of the pop music duo Milli Vanilli, is found dead at the age of 33 from a suspected alcohol and prescription pill overdose in a Frankfurt, Germany hotel room. His death was later ruled accidental. Pilatus, along with Fabrice Morvan (right), achieved international success as Milli Vanilli with their 1989 debut album "Girl You Know It's True," winning a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. However, their success was short lived and their Grammy was revoked after it was revealed in 1990 that neither had sung lead vocals on their record and that they lip-synched when performing in concert.
1995: The costliest strike in professional sports history ends when Major League Baseball owners agree to let players play without a contract. The strike, which had begun on Aug. 12, 1994, led to the cancellation of more than 900 games and the entire 1994 postseason and World Series, making the MLB the first professional sport to lose its entire postseason due to a labor dispute. The 1995 season, which was revised to 144 games instead of the normal 162, began on April 24 under the conditions of the expired contract.
1992: In New York, Mafia boss John Gotti is convicted of five murders, conspiracy to commit murder, racketeering, obstruction of justice, illegal gambling, extortion, tax evasion and loansharking. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole and ultimately died of throat cancer on June 10, 2002, at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Mo.
1984: John Thompson becomes the first black coach to lead his team to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, with his Georgetown Hoyas beating the University of Houston 84-75.
1982: The Falklands War begins with Argentine forces invading and occupying the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, two British overseas territories in the South Atlantic. The British government dispatched a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Air Force, and retake the islands by amphibious assault. The resulting conflict lasted 74 days and ended with the Argentine surrender on June 14, 1982, which returned the islands to British control.
1978: The primetime soap opera drama "Dallas" premieres with the first episode of a planned five-episode miniseries. Originally no more additional episodes were planned, but the show's popularity led to it becoming a regular series, with a total of 357 episodes over 14 seasons through May 3, 1991.
1978: Velcro, the hook-and-loop fastener, first goes on the market. The material was developed by Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral, who was inspired when he noticed how thistle burrs clung to his clothing during a hike in the mountains. The trademarked name Velcro comes from "vel" for velvet and "cro" from the French word crochet, which means hook.
1977: Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" album goes to No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart for the first time. It would end up spending a total of 31 non-consecutive weeks on top of the chart over four separate stints, before falling out of the No. 1 spot for good on Jan. 21, 1978, in favor of the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack.
1977: Actor Michael Fassbender, best known for movies such as "Inglorious Basterds," "X-Men: First Class" and "12 Years a Slave," is born in Heidelberg, Germany.
1974: Tatum O'Neal becomes the youngest Academy Award winner ever, winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the movie "Paper Moon" at the age of 10.
1971: The sci-fi soap opera "Dark Shadows" concludes an almost five-year run. While the show didn't originally include any supernatural elements, it broke new ground when ghosts were introduced about six months into its run. The series became hugely popular when vampire Barnabas Collins, played by Jonathan Frid, appeared a year into its run. "Dark Shadows" also featured werewolves, zombies, monsters, witches, warlocks, time travel and a parallel universe.
1968: Stanley Kubrick's sci-fi movie "2001: A Space Odyssey" premieres in Washington, D.C. After its release it garnered a cult following and slowly became a box office hit. Some years after its initial release, it eventually became the highest grossing picture from 1968 in North America.
1966: English author C. S. Forester, best known for the 12-book Horatio Hornblower series and the novel "The African Queen," dies at the age of 66 in Fullerton, Calif.
1965: Rodney King, who became nationally known after being beaten with excessive force by Los Angeles police officers following a high-speed car chase on March 3, 1991, is born in Sacramento, Calif.
1961: Actor Christopher Meloni, best known for his roles on the TV series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Oz," is born in Washington, D.C.
1957: Elvis Presley appears for the first time outside the United States, performing at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Canada. This concert and a show the following day in Ottawa would be the only concerts Presley ever gave outside the U.S.
1956: The soap operas "As the World Turns" and "The Edge of Night" premiere on television. The two shows become the first daytime dramas to debut in the 30-minute format. Prior to that date, all serials had been 15 minutes in length.
1951: U.S. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes the supreme commander of NATO-Europe.
1949: Actor Ron Palillo, best known for playing Arnold Horshack on the sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter," is born in New Haven, Conn. He died from a heart attack at age 63 on Aug. 14, 2012.
1947: Country music singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris, a 12-time Grammy winner known for songs such as "If I Could Only Win Your Love," "Two More Bottles of Wine," "To Daddy" and "Heaven Only Knows," is born in Birmingham, Ala.
1945: Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton, who compiled 324 wins and 3,574 strikeouts in a 23-year MLB career, is born in Clio, Ala. Sutton played most of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers and also played for the Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics and California Angels.
1945: Actress Linda Hunt, best known for roles in the movies such as "The Year of Living Dangerously," "Dune," "Silverado" and "Kindergarten Cop" and TV shows like "The Practice" and "NCIS: Los Angeles," is born Lydia Susanna Hunter in Morristown, N.J. Hunt won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1984 for "The Year of Living Dangerously."
1942: Rock musician Leon Russell, best known for his hit songs "Tight Rope" and "Lady Blue," is born Claude Russell Bridges in Lawton, Okla. Russell, who has also played with artists such as George Harrison, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, Elton John, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson and The Rolling Stones as a session musician, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.
1941: Radio personality Dr. Demento, known for his long-running radio show highlighting novelty songs, comedy, and strange or unusual recordings, is born Barret Eugene Hansen in Minneapolis, Minn.
1939: Soul and R&B singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye, best known for songs such as "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)," "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," "What's Going On," "Let's Get it On" and "Sexual Healing," is born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. in Washington, D.C. A day before his 45th birthday, on April 1, 1984, Gaye was shot dead by his father after intervening in an argument between his parents over misplaced business documents.
1920: Actor, director and producer Jack Webb, most famous for his role as Sergeant Joe Friday in the radio and television series "Dragnet," is born in Santa Monica, Calif. He died of a heart attack at age 62 on Dec. 22, 1982.
1917: After the sinking of seven U.S. merchant ships by German submarines and the publication of a telegram from Germany's foreign minister inviting Mexico to join World War I as an ally against the United States, President Woodrow Wilson asks the U.S. Congress for a declaration of war on Germany. Congress would declare war four days later.
1914: Actor Alec Guinness, best known for his roles in movies such as "The Bridge on the River Kwai," "Lawrence of Arabia," "Doctor Zhivago," "A Passage to India" and "Star Wars," is born in London, England. Guinness won an Academy Award for Best Actor for "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and was also nominated for Oscars his acting roles in "The Lavender Hill Mob," "Star Wars" and "Little Dorrit" as well as for the screenplay for 1958's "The Horse's Mouth." He died of liver cancer at age 86 on Aug. 5, 2000.
1908: Actor and dancer Buddy Ebsen, best known for playing Jed Clampett in the sitcom "The Beverly Hillbillies," is born Christian Rudolph Ebsen Jr., in Belleville, Ill. Ebsen also played the title character in the 1970s detective series "Barnaby Jones" and was Fess Parker's sidekick in Walt Disney's "Davy Crockett" miniseries. He also appeared in movies such as "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "Born to Dance" and was cast as the Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz" until he fell ill from an allergy to aluminum dust in the makeup required to play the character. He died of pneumonia at age 95 on July 6, 2003.
1875: Walter Chrysler, the automobile pioneer who founded the Chrysler Corporation, is born in Wamego, Kan.
1872: Samuel F. B. Morse, the American painter better known as the inventor of the telegraph and the co-inventor of Morse code, dies at the age of 80 in New York City.
1865: During the American Civil War, Union troops capture the trenches around Petersburg, Va., forcing Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee to order the evacuation of both Petersburg and the Confederate capital of Richmond, Va.
1840: Novelist and critic Émile Zola, a major figure in the political liberalization of France, is born in Paris, France. Zola is most often associated with the renowned 1898 newspaper headline "J'Accuse," in which he addressed French President Félix Faure and accused the government of anti-Semitism and the unlawful jailing of Alfred Dreyfus, a French Army officer sentenced to penal servitude for life for espionage.
1805: Writer Hans Christian Andersen, best remembered for his fairy tales, including "The Princess and the Pea," "Thumbelina," "The Little Mermaid" and "The Emperor's New Clothes," is born in Odense, Denmark.
1800: Ludwig van Beethoven leads the premiere of his First Symphony in Vienna, Austria.
1792: The Coinage Act is passed, establishing the United States Mint. The act also established the silver dollar as the unit of money in the United States, declared it to be lawful tender, and created a decimal system for U.S. currency.
1513: Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sights Florida, which he believes is an island. He named it La Florida because of the lush landscape and because it was the Easter season, which the Spaniards called Pascua Florida (Festival of Flowers). The following day he and his crew came ashore to seek information and take possession of this new land.
A.D. 742: Charlemagne, the founder of the first empire in western Europe after the fall of Rome, is born near Liège, Frankish Kingdom, in what today is Belgium. Charlemagne (seen here to the right, mounted on a horse and wearing a crown) became king of the Franks, a Germanic tribe in present-day Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and western Germany, in A.D. 771 and worked to unite all Germanic people into one kingdom and to convert his subjects to Christianity. After Pope Leo III crowned him emperor of the Romans in A.D. 800, he encouraged the Carolingian Renaissance, a cultural and intellectual revival in Europe. During his 13-year reign as emperor, Charlemagne expanded his kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of western and central Europe, earning the nickname "Father of Europe."