Published On: Dec 12 2012 11:12:02 PM ESTUpdated On: Dec 14 2014 02:00:00 AM EST
2013: Irish actor Peter O'Toole, perhaps best known for playing T. E. Lawrence in "Lawrence of Arabia," dies in his sleep at age 81 in London, England. O'Toole holds the record for most Academy Award nominations without a win, earning nods for "Lawrence of Arabia," "Becket," "The Lion in Winter," "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," "The Ruling Class," "The Stunt Man," "My Favorite Year" and "Venus." He acknowledged in 2012 that his acting career had ended, bidding a "profoundly grateful farewell" to the industry.
2012: Twenty-year-old gunman Adam Lanza fatally shoots 20 children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and then commits suicide by shooting himself in the head. Before the shootings at the school, Lanza had shot and killed his mother at their home. The incident was the second deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in American history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.
2008: President George W. Bush is almost struck by two shoes thrown at him by Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi during a news conference in Baghdad, Iraq. In March 2009, al-Zaidi would be sentenced to three years in prison for assaulting a foreign head of state during an official visit. The sentence was later reduced to one year and al-Zaidi was released on Sept. 15, 2009, for good behavior after serving nine months of the sentence.
2007: The sci-fi action-thriller "I am Legend," starring Will Smith and based on the Richard Matheson novel of the same name, premieres in theaters. The movie opened to the largest ever box office for a non-Christmas film released in the U.S. in December, becoming the seventh-highest grossing film of the year and earning a worldwide total of $585 million.
2004: The Millau Viaduct, the tallest bridge in the world, opens near Millau, France. The top of one of the bridge's mast rises 1,125 feet above its base.
1998: Actor Norman Fell, most famous for his role as landlord Mr. Roper on the sitcom "Three's Company" and its spin-off, "The Ropers," dies of cancer at the age of 74 in Los Angeles.
1988: Singer and actress Vanessa Hudgens, who rose to prominence playing Gabriella Montez in the "High School Musical" series, is born in Salinas, California.
1985: Roger Maris, whose 61 home runs during the 1961 season for the New York Yankees broke Babe Ruth's single-season record and would stand for 37 years, dies of Hodgkin's lymphoma at the age of 51 in Houston, Texas. Maris played the bulk of his 12-season major-league career with the Yankees but also played for the Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals. He appeared in seven World Series, five as a member of the Yankees and two with the Cardinals.
1984: Howard Cosell retires from "Monday Night Football" after 15 seasons. He had been a broadcaster for the series since its inception in 1970.
1984: Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams runs for 98 yards against the San Francisco 49ers in the final game of the 1984 season to give him the single-season NFL rushing record of 2,105 yards. His total beat O.J. Simpson’s 1973 NFL season record of 2,003 yards and still stands today.
1981: Israel's Knesset passes The Golan Heights Law, extending Israeli law to the area of the Golan Heights, the area captured and occupied by Israel from Syria in the Six-Day War. The move, which was considered annexation by its critics, would be condemned internationally and determined null and void by United Nations Security Council Resolution 497.
1979: The album "London Calling" by the Clash is released in the United Kingdom. The band's third studio album, it would be released in the United States in January 1980. It would reach the top 10 in the United Kingdom and sell more than five million copies worldwide, spurred on by its lead single, the top-20 "London Calling."
1979: The comedy "The Jerk," starring Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, M. Emmet Walsh and Jackie Mason, premieres in theaters. The movie would prove to be a box office hit, earning more than $73 million.
1977: "Saturday Night Fever" premieres in New York City. The dance movie, which stars John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney and Donna Pescow, made Travolta into a star and featured one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time. Travolta won a National Board of Review Award for Best Actor for his performance and also earned Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.
1972: Eugene Cernan is the last person to walk on the moon, after he and Harrison Schmitt complete the third and final extra-vehicular activity of the Apollo 17 mission. To date this is the last manned mission to the moon.
1969: The Jackson 5 make their first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Led by a 10-year-old Michael Jackson, they sang Sly and the Family Stone's "Stand," Smokey Robinson's "Who's Loving You" and their own hit single "I Want You Back."
1969: Actress Natascha McElhone, best known for the Showtime series "Californication" and movies such as "Ronin," "The Truman Show" and "Solaris," is born Natascha Abigail Taylor in Surrey, England.
1967: The movie "In Cold Blood," based on Truman Capote's book of the same name, premieres in theaters. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards: Director, Original Score, Cinematography and Adapted Screenplay.
1964: In the Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, the United States Supreme Court rules that the U.S. Congress could use the Constitution's Commerce Clause power to force private businesses to abide by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Heart of Atlanta motel was a large, 216-room motel in Atlanta, Georgia, which refused to rent rooms to black patrons, in direct violation of the terms of the act.
1963: Grammy-winning singer Dinah Washington, who had 34 top 10 hits on the Billboard R&B charts, dies of a drug overdose at the age of 39 in Detroit, Michigan.
1962: NASA's Mariner 2 becomes the first spacecraft to fly by Venus.
1962: Bob Dylan's first single, "Mixed-Up Confusion," is released.
1949: Baseball player Bill Buckner, who hit more than 2,700 hits in his 20-year MLB career but is most remembered for a fielding error for the Boston Red Sox during Game 6 of the 1986 World Series against the New York Mets, is born in Vallejo, California.
1946: The United Nations General Assembly votes to establish its headquarters in New York City.
1946: Actress Patty Duke, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 1962's "The Miracle Worker" and then starred in her own sitcom, "The Patty Duke Show," in the mid-1960s, is born in Elmhurst, Queens, New York. She's seen here in "The Patty Duke Show," in which she played a dual role as identical cousins.
1943: John Harvey Kellogg, an American physician and health-food pioneer whose development of dry breakfast cereals with his brother William K. Kellogg was largely responsible for the creation of the flaked-cereal industry, dies at the age of 91 in Battle Creek, Michigan.
1939: Ernie Davis, who in 1961 became the first black athlete to win the Heisman Trophy as a running back for Syracuse University, is born in New Salem, Pennsylvania. Davis would become the No. 1 overall pick in the 1962 NFL Draft by Washington, although he was later traded to the Cleveland Browns, but would never play in the NFL. He was diagnosed with leukemia in the summer of 1962 and died on May 18, 1963, at the age of 23.
1935: Actress Lee Remick, known for movies such as "Anatomy of a Murder," "Days of Wine and Roses" and "The Omen," is born in Quincy, Massachusetts. Remick, who earned an Oscar nomination for her role in "Days of Wine and Roses," died of kidney and liver cancer at age 55 on July 2, 1991.
1932: Country singer Charlie Rich, best remembered for a pair of 1973 hits, "Behind Closed Doors" and "The Most Beautiful Girl," is born in Colt, Arkansas. Rich died of a pulmonary embolism at age 62 on July 25, 1995.
1922: Don Hewitt, a television news producer and executive best known for creating "60 Minutes," is born in New York City. He died of pancreatic cancer at age 86 on Aug. 19, 2009.
1911: Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen's team, comprising himself, Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel and Oscar Wisting, becomes the first to reach the South Pole.
1903: The Wright brothers make their first attempt to fly with the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. After winning a coin toss, Wilbur Wright made a three-second flight but stalled after takeoff, causing minor damage to the plane. Following repairs, they returned to try again three days later, each making two flights in what were the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flights.
1902: Julia Grant, the first lady of the United States from 1869 to 1877 as the wife of President Ulysses S. Grant, dies at age 76 in Edgerton, Wisconsin.
1896: Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, an aviation pioneer who earned the Medal of Honor as commander of the Doolittle Raid, the first retaliatory air raid on Japan following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, is born in Alameda, California. He died at age 96 on Sept. 27, 1993.
1819: Alabama becomes the 22nd U.S. state.
1799: George Washington, the first U.S. president, dies at the age of 67 at Mount Vernon, Virginia.
1751: The Theresian Military Academy in Austria is founded as the first military academy in the world.
1503: Nostradamus, a French apothecary and reputed seer who published collections of prophecies that have since become famous worldwide, is born in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Provence, France.