Published On: Feb 19 2013 07:12:59 PM ESTUpdated On: Feb 20 2015 02:00:00 AM EST
2005: Journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson, who became a countercultural figure known for his own brand of reporting he termed "Gonzo" journalism, dies from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head at the age of 67 in Woody Creek, Colorado. Thompson is best known for his work for Rolling Stone magazine and the books "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream" and "Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs." He was also well known for his eccentric behavior, lifelong use of alcohol and illegal drugs and his love of firearms.
2005: Actress Sandra Dee, known for her wholesome ingenue roles in such 1960s films as "The Reluctant Debutante," "Gidget," "Imitation of Life" and "A Summer Place," dies of complications from kidney disease at the age of 62 in Thousand Oaks, California. Dee, whose birth name was Alexandra Zuck, was also known for her high-profile marriage to singer-actor Bobby Darin, which ended in divorce in 1967.
2003: During a concert by the hard rock band Great White at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, a pyrotechnics display sets the club ablaze, killing 100 and injuring more than 200 others. The fire, the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in American history, was caused by pyrotechnics set off by the band's tour manager, Daniel Biechele, which ignited flammable sound insulation foam in the walls and ceilings surrounding the stage. In 2006, Biechele pled guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with 11 years suspended. The nightclub's owners, Michael and Jeffrey Derderian, would plead no contest to charges, with Michael Derderian receiving the same sentence as Biechele and Jeffrey Derderian receiving a 10-year suspended sentence and 500 hours of community service.
1999: Film critic Gene Siskel, who, along with colleague Roger Ebert, hosted the movie review show "Siskel & Ebert At the Movies," dies from surgery complications at the age of 53 in Evanston, Illinois. Siskel, who started at the Chicago Tribune in 1969, had undergone surgery in May 1998 for a cancerous brain tumor and taken a leave of absence from the show two weeks before his death.
1998: At the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, 15-year-old American figure skater Tara Lipinski (center) becomes the youngest individual gold medalist in the history of the Winter Olympics.
1993: Italian automobile manufacturer Ferruccio Lamborghini, the founder of the high-end sports car company bearing his name, dies at the age of 76 in Perugia, Italy, 15 days after suffering a heart attack.
1992: Actor Dick York, best remembered for his role as the first Darrin Stephens on the sitcom "Bewitched," dies from complications of emphysema at the age of 63 in East Grand Rapids, Michigan. A debilitating back injury he suffered in 1959 eventually forced York to give up his "Bewitched" role and he spent the rest of his life fighting not only back pain but also an addiction to prescription pain killers.
1988: Singer Rihanna, best known for such hit songs as "Pon de Replay," "SOS," "Umbrella," "Don't Stop the Music," "Take a Bow," "Disturbia," "Only Girl (In the World)" and "We Found Love," is born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in Saint Michael, Barbados.
1985: Voice actor Clarence "Ducky" Nash, best known for providing the original voice of Donald Duck for the Walt Disney Studios, dies of leukemia at the age of 80 in Glendale, California. Nash also provided the voices for an early version of Daisy Duck as well as Donald's nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie.
1978: Actress Lauren Ambrose, best known for playing Claire Fisher on the HBO drama "Six Feet Under," is born in New Haven, Connecticut.
1972: Walter Winchell, the famous newspaper and radio gossip commentator, dies of prostate cancer at the age of 74 in Los Angeles, California. Winchell's column was syndicated in more than 2,000 newspapers worldwide, and he was read by 50 million people a day from the 1920s until the early 1960s. His Sunday-night radio broadcast was heard by another 20 million people from 1930 to the late 1950s.
1971: The United States Emergency Broadcast System is accidentally activated in an erroneous national alert after the wrong tape is played during a test of the system, ordering television stations to cease regular programming and broadcast the alert of a national emergency. Numerous investigations were launched, and several changes were made to the EBS as a result.
1970: John Lennon's "Instant Karma!" is released in the U.S. The song would reach No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
1967: Actress Lili Taylor, best known for roles in movies such as "Mystic Pizza," "Say Anything," "Short Cuts," "I Shot Andy Warhol" and "High Fidelity," and the HBO drama "Six Feet Under," is born in Glencoe, Illinois.
1967: Actor Andrew Shue, best known for his six-year run as Billy Campbell on the primetime soap opera "Melrose Place," is born in Wilmington, Delaware.
1967: Singer-songwriter Kurt Cobain, best known as the frontman of the grunge band Nirvana, is born in Aberdeen, Washington. Nirvana found breakthrough success with the song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from its second album, 1991's "Nevermind," and defined the grunge era before Cobain committed suicide at the age of 27 in April 1994.
1966: Supermodel Cindy Crawford, who has adorned hundreds of magazine covers throughout her career and at one point in the 1990s was the highest paid model in the world, is born in DeKalb, Illinois.
1966: Adm. Chester Nimitz, the United States' last surviving Fleet Admiral, dies at the age of 80 in Yerba Buena Island, California. He held the dual command of commander in chief for the United States Pacific Fleet for U.S. naval forces and for the Pacific Ocean Areas for U.S. and Allied air, land, and sea forces during World War II. He also served as Chief of Naval Operations from 1945 until 1947. On Sept. 2, 1945, Nimitz signed for the United States when Japan formally surrendered on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
1965: Ranger 8 crashes into the moon after a successful mission of photographing possible landing sites for the Apollo program astronauts. Pictured is an image of the moon taken by the probe, showing the craters Ritter and Sabine.
1963: Hall of Fame basketball player Charles Barkley, an 11-time All-Star who won the NBA MVP award in 1993, is born in Leeds, Alabama. Barkley totaled 23,757 points, 12,546 rebounds and 4,215 assists over a 16-season career with the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets. In 1993, he led the Suns to the NBA Finals, where they lost to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in six games. He also won two Olympic gold medals in 1992 and 1996 as a member of the United States' Dream Team.
1963: The western "How the West Was Won" premieres in the United States. The movie featured an all-star ensemble cast that included Carroll Baker, James Stewart, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Debbie Reynolds, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Richard Widmark, Walter Brennan, Lee J. Cobb and Harry Morgan. Set between 1839 and 1889, it follows four generations of a family as they move westward from New York state to the Pacific Ocean. It would go on to earn eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, winning for Best Film Editing, Best Sound and Best Original Screenplay.
1962: While aboard the Mercury spacecraft Friendship 7, John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth, circling the globe three times during a flight lasting four hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds.
1954: Patty Hearst, the newspaper heiress who famously took part in a bank robbery after being kidnapped by the leftist group Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974, is born in San Francisco. While initially a SLA captive, she later announced she was joining the group of her own free will. She was convicted of bank robbery in March 1976 and sentenced to seven years in prison, although her sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter and she was released in February 1979. In 2001, she received a full pardon from President Bill Clinton.
1952: Emmett Ashford becomes the first black umpire in organized baseball by being authorized to be a substitute umpire in the Southwestern International League. He would go on to an umpiring career that would also see him become the first black umpire in Major League Baseball on April 9, 1966.
1949: Ivana Trump, the fashion model and socialite best known as the ex-wife of Donald Trump, is born Ivana Marie Zelnícková in Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia.
1946: Singer and actress Sandy Duncan, best known for her performances in the Broadway revival of "Peter Pan" and in the sitcom "The Hogan Family," is born in Henderson, Texas.
1943: The Parícutin volcano begins to form from a fissure in a cornfield in Parícutin, Mexico. The volcano grew quickly, reaching five stories tall in just a week, and could be seen from a distance in a month. After a year it stood roughly 1,102 feet tall and would eventually top out at 1,391 feet after about nine years of activity.
1942: Hall of Fame ice hockey player Phil Esposito, who played 18 seasons in the NHL for the Chicago Black Hawks, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, is born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. Esposito scored 717 goals along with 873 assists for a total of 1,590 career points, ranking him at retirement as the second leading all-time NHL goal and point scorer, and third in assists. The 10-time NHL All-Star also won two Stanley Cup championships with the Boston Bruins and won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's scoring leader five times and the Hart Memorial Trophy as league MVP twice.
1942: Lt. Edward "Butch" O'Hare becomes America's first World War II flying ace. Flying a Grumman F4F Wildcat fighter plane, O'Hare shot down three Japanese bombers and damaged another two to help repel an attack on the aircraft carrier USS Lexington in the Pacific Ocean about 450 miles from Papua New Guinea. As a reward for his efforts, he was promoted to lieutenant commander and became the first naval aviator to receive the Medal of Honor.
1936: German actor Max Schreck, most often remembered today for his lead role as the vampire Count Orlok in the 1922 film "Nosferatu," dies of a heart attack at age 56 in Munich, Germany.
1929: Actress Amanda Blake, best known for her 19-year stint as the saloon proprietress Miss Kitty Russell on the TV western "Gunsmoke," is born Beverly Louise Neill in Buffalo, New York. She died from complications of AIDS at age 60 on Aug. 16, 1989.
1927: In Oslo, Norway, Norwegian skater Sonja Henie wins the first of an unprecedented 10 consecutive World Figure Skating Championships at the age of 14.
1927: Actor Sidney Poitier, who became the first black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, for his role in 1963's "Lilies of the Field" (pictured), is born in Miami, Florida. Poitier is also known for his roles in movies such as "The Defiant Ones," "A Raisin in the Sun," To Sir, with Love," "In the Heat of the Night" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and also directed a number of popular movies, including "A Piece of the Action," "Uptown Saturday Night," "Let's Do It Again" and "Stir Crazy."
1926: Author Richard Matheson, best known as the author of "The Shrinking Man," "Hell House," "What Dreams May Come," "Bid Time Return," "A Stir of Echoes" and "I Am Legend," is born in Allendale, New Jersey. Many of Matheson's novels have been adapted into movies. He also turned his 1971 short story "Duel" into a screenplay that was directed by a young Steven Spielberg for the television movie of the same name. He died at age 87 on June 23, 2013.
1925: Film director Robert Altman, best known for movies such as "MASH," "McCabe and Mrs. Miller," "Nashville," "The Player," "Short Cuts" and "Gosford Park," is born in Kansas City, Missouri. Altman is seen here backstage with his honorary Oscar statuette for his career achievments during the 78th Annual Academy Awards on March 5, 2006, about eight months before dying from leukemia at the age of 81.
1924: Gloria Vanderbilt, the socialite and clothing designer most noted as an early developer of designer blue jeans, is born in New York City. A member of the prominent Vanderbilt family of New York, she is also the mother of CNN's Anderson Cooper. She's seen here in a 1958 photo.
1920: American polar explorer Robert Edwin Peary, who made the first successful expedition to the North Pole in 1909, dies at the age of 63 in Washington, D.C.
1902: Photographer Ansel Adams, best known for his black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West, is born in San Francisco, California. He died of a heart attack at the age of 82 on April 22, 1984.
1895: Abolitionist Frederick Douglass dies of a heart attack or stroke at the age of 77 in Washington, D.C. Douglass was born a slave in Talbot County, Maryland, but escaped in 1838 and became a leader of the abolitionist movement, noted for his for his dazzling oratory skills and incisive antislavery writing.
1872: The Metropolitan Museum of Art opens in New York City. The museum, now located along Central Park, is the largest art museum in the United States.
1862: William Wallace Lincoln, the 11-year-old son of President Abraham Lincoln and first lady Mary Todd Lincoln, dies at the White House, apparently of typhoid fever. He's seen here in a photo from 1855.
1816: Gioachino Rossini's opera "The Barber of Seville" premieres at the Teatro Argentina in Rome, Italy, under the name "Almaviva, or the Futile Precaution."
1792: The Postal Service Act, establishing the United States Post Office Department, is signed by President George Washington.
1547: King Edward VI of England is crowned at Westminster Abbey at the age of 9 years old. His time on the throne would be short lived, as he only lived to age 15 and never actually governed because of his age. During Edward's reign, the realm was actually governed by a Regency Council.