Published On: Dec 12 2012 01:32:25 AM ESTUpdated On: Dec 12 2014 02:00:00 AM EST
2009: Houston becomes the first major U.S. city to elect an openly gay mayor, with voters handing a solid victory to City Controller Annise Parker. She was re-elected in 2011 and 2013.
2008: Actor Van Johnson, a major star at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios during and after World War II, dies at age 92 in Nyack, New York. Some of his best-known roles came in the movies "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," "A Guy Named Joe" and "The Caine Mutiny."
2007: Musician Ike Turner, most popularly known for his 1960s and 1970s work with his then-wife Tina Turner in the Ike & Tina Turner revue, dies of a cocaine overdose at the age of 76 in San Marcos, California. The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office found that high blood pressure and emphysema also contributed to his death. Tina Turner's domestic abuse allegations against him in her 1986 autobiography, and the 1993 film adaptation of the book, coupled with his cocaine addiction, damaged Ike Turner's career in the 1980s and 1990s.
2006: American actor Peter Boyle, best known for his roles in the sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond" and in the movie spoof "Young Frankenstein," dies of multiple myeloma and heart disease at the age of 71 in New York City.
2006: The Baiji Yangtze freshwater dolphin is presumed functionally extinct when a scientific expedition ends an intense six-week search of China's heavily polluted Yangtze River without any results. The Baiji is the first large mammal brought to extinction due to human destruction of its habitat. From around 400 Baiji known in the early 1980s, numbers declined to 13 sightings in 1997, and none seen since September 2004.
2003: Keiko, the male orca made famous by the "Free Willy" movies, dies at the age of 27 in a Norwegian fjord. Pneumonia was later determined as his probable cause of death.
2001: In Beverly Hills, California, actress Winona Ryder is arrested at Saks Fifth Avenue on a charge of shoplifting items of clothing and hair accessories valued at $4,760. She was also charged with possessing pharmaceutical drugs without a prescription. She would eventually be convicted of grand theft, shoplifting and vandalism and be sentenced to three years of probation, 480 hours of community service and $10,000 worth of fines and restitution. Pictured here is surveillance video shown at her trial.
2000: In the case Bush v. Gore, the U.S. Supreme Court finds that the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court in the 2000 U.S. presidential election between Republican candidate George W. Bush and Democratic candidate Al Gore was unconstitutional. Vice President Gore would concede the election to Bush the next day.
1999: American author Joseph Heller, best known for his satirical novel "Catch-22," dies of a heart attack at the age of 76 in East Hampton, New York. He's seen here in 1986.
1985: Arrow Air Flight 1285 crashes after takeoff in Gander, Newfoundland, killing 256, including 236 members of the United States Army's 101st Airborne Division headed home to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, from peacekeeping duty in the Sinai Desert. An investigation by the Canadian Aviation Safety Board pointed to icing on the jet's wings as the most likely cause of the crash. Pictured here is wreckage from the crash being stored in a Gander Airport hangar during the investigation.
1985: American actress Anne Baxter, best remembered for her performances in films such as "The Magnificent Ambersons," "All About Eve," "The Razor's Edge" and "The Ten Commandments," dies at the age of 62 in New York City, eight days after suffering a brain aneurysm. Baxter won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for "The Razor's Edge" and was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for "All About Eve."
1975: Actress Mayim Bialik, best known for playing the character Blossom Russo on the TV sitcom "Blossom," is born in San Diego, California. Bialik, who also earned a doctorate in neuroscience after "Blossom" ended, now has a regular role on the sitcom "The Big Bang Theory."
1974: The drama "The Godfather: Part II," starring Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton and Robert De Niro, premieres in New York City. The sequel to 1972's "The Godfather," it was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and would become the first sequel to win Best Picture. It also won five other Oscars: Best Director for Francis Ford Coppola, Best Supporting Actor for De Niro, Best Adapted Screenplay for Coppola and Mario Puzo, and Best Original Dramatic Score.
1974: Guitarist Mick Taylor, who had replaced Brian Jones in the Rolling Stones at the age of 20, quits the band. During his five years with the Rolling Stones, Taylor played on some of their classic albums, including "Let It Bleed," "Sticky Fingers" and "Exile on Main St."
1972: The action-adventure movie "The Poseidon Adventure," featuring an all-star cast including Gene Hackman, Carol Lynley, Ernest Borgnine, Stella Stevens, Shelley Winters and Red Buttons, premieres in New York City. The film would earn eight Academy Award nominations, winning Best Song for "The Morning After" and a Special Achievement Award for its visual effects.
1970: The Doors make their last public performance with Jim Morrison, at The Warehouse in New Orleans. During the second stop of a tour to promote their album "L.A. Woman," Morrison had a breakdown on stage, slamming his microphone into the stage floor until the platform underneath was destroyed. He then sat down and refused to perform for the remainder of the show. After the concert, the rest of the band decided to end their live act, feeling that Morrison was ready to retire from performing. Morrison would die less than a year later on July 3, 1971.
1970: Steven Stills' single "Love the One You're With" is released. The first release from his solo debut "Stephen Stills," it would peak at No. 14 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
1970: Actress Jennifer Connelly, best known for her roles in movies such as "Labyrinth," "Requiem for a Dream" and "A Beautiful Mind," is born in Round Top, New York.
1968: Arthur Ashe becomes the first black player to be ranked No. 1 in tennis.
1967: Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle John Randle, who played 14 seasons for the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks, is born in Mumford, Texas. The seven-time Pro Bowl selection played collegiately at Trinity Valley Community College and Texas A&M University–Kingsville and was also elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. He retired from the NFL in March 2004 with career numbers of 556 tackles, 137.5 sacks and one interception.
1965: Rookie running back Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears scores six touchdowns in a 61-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, tying a NFL record set twice before, by Ernie Nevers in 1929 and by Dub Jones in 1951.
1964: The Righteous Brothers' single "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" is released. It would become a No. 1 hit single in the United States and the United Kingdom the following year.
1962: Tennis player Tracy Austin, a former world No. 1 professional tennis player who won the women's singles title at the U.S. Open in 1979 and 1981, is born in Palos Verdes, California. Austin is seen here in 2009.
1961: The drama "A Man for All Seasons," starring Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas More, premieres in New York City. The movie would win six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Scofield.
1957: Drummer Sheila E., best known for her work with Prince, George Duke and Ringo Starr, is born Sheila Escovedo in California. She also had several hit singles in the 1980s, including "The Glamorous Life" and "A Love Bizarre."
1943: Singer-songwriter and guitarist Dickey Betts, best known as a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, is born Forrest Richard Betts in West Palm Beach, Florida. Recognized as one of the greatest rock guitar players of all time, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the band in 1995 and earned a Grammy Award with the band for best rock performance for his instrumental song "Jessica" in 1996.
1941: Adolf Hitler declares the imminent destruction of the Jewish race during a meeting with the highest-ranking officials of the Nazi party at the Reich Chancellery. The meeting marked a turning point in the Nazi regime's attitude toward the Jewish people, shifting from propaganda, intimidation and attacks to outright and planned extermination.
1940: Singer Dionne Warwick, who ranks second only to Aretha Franklin as the most-charted female vocalist with 56 singles making the Billboard Hot 100 between 1962 and 1998, is born in East Orange, New Jersey.
1939: American actor Douglas Fairbanks, best known for his swashbuckling roles in silent films such as "The Thief of Bagdad," "Robin Hood" and "The Mark of Zorro," dies at the age of 56 in Santa Monica, California, a day after having a heart attack in his sleep. Fairbanks was also a founding member of United Artists and The Motion Picture Academy, hosting the first Oscars ceremony in 1929. He's seen here in his final movie, 1934's "The Private Life of Don Juan."
1938: Singer Connie Francis, best known for the hit songs "Who's Sorry Now?" and "Stupid Cupid," is born in Newark, New Jersey.
1927: Inventor and businessman Robert Noyce, who invented the microchip and co-founded the Intel Corporation, is born in Burlington, Iowa. Noyce, who was nicknamed the "Mayor of Silicon Valley," died of a heart attack at age 62 on June 3, 1990.
1925: The Milestone Mo-Tel, the first motel in the world, opens in San Luis Obispo, California. The motel, whose name would eventually be changed to Motel Inn, was opened midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco to tap into the growing popularity of the automobile. Visitors could drive right up to their room's door or to a private garage.
1924: Politician and lawyer Ed Koch, who helped lead an economic boom for New York City during his three years as mayor, is born in The Bronx, New York. After his time as mayor from 1978 to 1989, Koch practiced law, hosted a radio show, was a newspaper columnist and made countless appearances on TV series as himself. Koch's ebullient personality made him a particular notable and popular public figure nationwide. He died of congestive heart failure on Feb. 1, 2013, at the age of 88.
1923: TV game show host Bob Barker, best known for hosting "The Price Is Right" from 1972 to 2007 and "Truth or Consequences" from 1956 to 1975, is born in Darrington, Washington.
1917: In Nebraska, Father Edward J. Flanagan founds Boys Town as a farm village for wayward boys. The orphanage would go on to pioneer development of new juvenile care methods and today is a national leader in the care and treatment of children and families for behavioral, emotional and physical problems.
1915: 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," is born in Hoboken, New Jersey. A founding member of the "Rat Pack," he also starred in such movies as "The Man with the Golden Arm," "The Manchurian Candidate," "Guys and Dolls" and "Ocean's 11." He died of a heart attack at age 82 on May 14, 1998.
1901: Guglielmo Marconi receives the first transatlantic radio signal at Signal Hill in St John's, Newfoundland.
1893: Actor Edward G. Robinson, best known for his roles as gangsters in movies such as "Little Caesar" and "Key Largo," is born Emanuel Goldenberg in Bucharest, Romania. He died of bladder cancer at the age of 79 in January 1973.
1889: English poet Robert Browning, one of the foremost Victorian poets best known for his two-volume "Men and Women" and the poem "The Ring and the Book," dies at the age of 77 in Venice, Italy.
1863: Painter Edvard Munch, whose best known work is "The Scream," is born in Ådalsbruk in Løten, Norway.
1862: The USS Cairo sinks on the Yazoo River in Mississippi, becoming the first armored ship to be sunk by an electrically detonated mine.
1821: Writer Gustave Flaubert, best known for his first published novel, 1857's "Madame Bovary," is born in Rouen, France.
1805: Henry Wells, the businessman who co-founded Wells Fargo and American Express, is born in Thetford, Vermont.
1787: Pennsylvania becomes the second state to ratify the United States Constitution, five days after Delaware became the first.
1745: John Jay, who would go on to become the first chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, is born in New York City.