1737: Thomas Paine, an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary, is born in Thetford, Norfolk, England. He emigrated to the American colonies in 1774 and helped inspire the American patriots to declare independence from Britain with his influential pamphlet "Common Sense" and pamphlet series "The American Crisis."
1820: King George III of the United Kingdom, whose reign was marked by a series of military conflicts involving his kingdoms, including the American Revolutionary War, dies at the age of 81 in Windsor Castle in England. In his later years, he started suffering from mental illness and increasing dementia. In 1810, his eldest son, George, Prince of Wales, took over rule of Great Britain as prince regent and by the end of 1811 George III was permanently insane. From then on, he lived in seclusion at Windsor Castle until his death.
1843: William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States, serving from March 4, 1897, until his assassination in September 1901, is born in Niles, Ohio.
1845: "The Raven" is published in the New York Evening Mirror, the first publication of the poem bearing the name of the author, Edgar Allan Poe.
1860: Russian writer Anton Chekhov, considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history, is born in Taganrog, Russian Empire. He's also known for his plays "The Seagull," "Uncle Vanya," "Three Sisters" and "The Cherry Orchard."
1861: Kansas is admitted as the 34th U.S. state.
1880: Comedian and actor W. C. Fields, known for his comic persona as a misanthropic and hard-drinking egotist, is born William Claude Dukenfield in Darby, Pa. He died of an alcohol-related stomach hemorrhage at age 66 on Christmas Day in 1946.
1886: German car engineer Karl Benz patents the first successful gasoline-driven automobile.
1907: Charles Curtis of Kansas becomes the first Native American U.S. senator. Curtis, who was enrolled in the Kaw tribe and spent his childhood living with his mother and her family on the Kaw reservation near Council Grove, Kan., would later be chosen as Senate majority leader by his Republican colleagues and would be elected the 31st vice president of the United States in 1929 under President Herbert Hoover.
1913: Actor Victor Mature, best known for movies such as "My Darling Clementine," "The Robe" and "Samson and Delilah," is born in Louisville, Ky. He died of leukemia at age 86 on Aug. 4, 1999.
1918: Actor John Forsythe, best known for his TV roles in the 1950s sitcom "Bachelor Father" and the 1980s soap opera "Dynasty," is born Jacob Lincoln Freund in Penns Grove, N.J. He's also known for voicing the unseen millionaire, Charles Townsend, on the TV crime drama "Charlie's Angels" from 1976 to 1981. He died of pneumonia at age 92 on April 1, 2010.
1936: Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner are announced as the first inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
1944: Actress Katharine Ross, best known for her movie roles in "The Graduate," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here" and "The Stepford Wives," is born in Hollywood, Calif.
1945: Actor Tom Selleck, best known for his starring role as the private investigator Thomas Magnum in the 1980s television series "Magnum, P.I.," is born in Detroit, Mich. He's also appeared in the TV drama "Blue Bloods," a series of made-for-TV movies based on Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone novels, and movies such as "Three Men and a Baby," "Quigley Down Under" and "Mr. Baseball."
1954: Talk show host and actress Oprah Winfrey, best known for her self-titled show "The Oprah Winfrey Show" from 1986 to 2011 and her Oscar-nominated film debut in 1985's "The Color Purple," is born in Kosciusko, Miss. Winfrey is also the chairwoman and CEO of Harpo Productions, which includes her own television network, the Oprah Winfrey Network, and the magazine "O, The Oprah Magazine."
1956: Journalist H. L. Mencken, regarded as one of the most influential American writers of the first half of the 20th century, dies of in his sleep at the age of 75 in Baltimore, Md. Mencken got his start with the Baltimore Morning Herald at the age of 19 and moved on to The Baltimore Sun six years later, where he stayed until 1948, when he retired following a stroke. As a nationally syndicated columnist and book author, he famously spoke out against Christian Science, social stigma, fakery, Christian radicalism, religious belief and antievolutionism. He is known for writing "The American Language," a multi-volume study of how the English language is spoken in the United States, and for his satirical reporting on the Scopes trial, which he dubbed the "Monkey Trial."
1958: Actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward are married. They remained married for 50 years until Newman's death in 2008.
1958: Spree killer Charles Starkweather is captured by police following a high-speed chase in Wyoming. Starkweather murdered 11 people in Nebraska and Wyoming during a two-month road trip with his 14-year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate. The victims included Fugate's mother, stepfather and 2-year-old sister. Starkweather would plead not guilty, claiming insanity, but was sentenced to death and executed on June 25, 1959. Fugate, who has always maintained Starkweather had held her hostage, was sentenced to life in prison for her role in the murder spree, but was paroled in June 1976 after serving more than 17 years in prison.
1959: The Walt Disney animated movie "Sleeping Beauty" premieres in theaters. The 16th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, it would be the last fairy tale produced by Walt Disney due to its initial box office disappointment, having made $7.7 million at the box office as compared to its $6 million production cost. The studio did not return to the genre until well after Disney's death with the release of 1989's "The Little Mermaid."
1960: Diver Greg Louganis, who won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games on both the springboard and platform, is born in El Cajon, Calif. Louganis' achievement during the 1988 Summer Olympics is all the more memorable as it came after he suffered a concussion after hitting his head on the springboard during the preliminary rounds.
1963: The Pro Football Hall of Fame inducts 17 charter members in Sammy Baugh, Bert Bell, Joseph Carr, Dutch Clark, Harold "Red" Grange, George Halas, Mel Hein, Pete Henry, Carl Hubbard, Don Hutson, Earl "Curly" Lambeau, Tim Mara, George Preston Marshall, John "Blood" McNally, Bronko Nagurski, Ernie Nevers and Jim Thorpe.
1963: Robert Frost, one of the most popular and critically respected American poets of his generation, dies of complications from prostate surgery at the age of 88 in Boston, Mass. Frost won four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry during his life.
1964: Actor Alan Ladd, known for movies such as "Shane," "This Gun for Hire," "The Glass Key," "The Blue Dahlia" and "The Great Gatsby" (1949), dies of an accidental overdose of alcohol and three other drugs at the age of 50 in Palm Springs, Calif.
1964: The movie "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb," starring Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn and Slim Pickens, and directed by Stanley Kubrick, premieres in theaters. The black comedy, which satirizes the nuclear scare, earned four Academy Award nominations: Best Actor for Sellers (who played three different parts), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture.
1968: Actor and filmmaker Edward Burns, who rose to fame by writing, directing and starring in the movies "The Brothers McMullen" and "She's the One," is born in Queens, N.Y. Burns is also known for roles in movies such as "Saving Private Ryan," "Confidence," "15 Minutes," "27 Dresses" and "Alex Cross."
1970: Actress Heather Graham, best known for movies such as "Swingers," "Boogie Nights," "Bowfinger," "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" and "The Hangover," is born in Milwaukee, Wis.
1970: Politician Paul Ryan, a U.S. congressman from Wisconsin and the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate, is born in Janesville, Wis.
1975: Actress Sara Gilbert, best known for her roles in the TV sitcoms "Roseanne" and "The Big Bang Theory," is born Sara Rebecca Abeles in Santa Monica, Calif.
1977: Actor and comedian Freddie Prinze, the star of 1970s sitcom "Chico and the Man," dies at the age of 22 in Los Angeles the day after shooting himself in the head in front of his business manager. The death was initially ruled a suicide, but a jury in a civil case brought years later found that his death was accidental. Prinze had a history of playing Russian roulette to frighten his friends for his amusement, but he had also left a note in his apartment reading: "I can't take any more. It's all my fault. There is no one to blame but me." Prinze was also the father of fellow actor Freddie Prinze Jr.
1979: During a shooting spree from her San Diego, Calif., home, Brenda Spencer, 16, kills two people and wounds nine others at the Grover Cleveland Elementary School across the street. After firing 30 rounds, Spencer barricaded herself inside her home for almost seven hours before surrendering to police. She showed no remorse for her crime, explaining her actions by saying, "I don't like Mondays; this livens up the day." Spencer was tried as an adult and pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. She was sentenced to prison for 25 years to life imprisonment and is next eligible for parole in 2019.
1980: Actor and comedian Jimmy Durante, whose distinctive clipped gravelly speech, jazz-influenced songs, and large nose made him one of America's most popular personalities of the 1920s through the 1970s, dies of pneumonia at the age of 86 in Santa Monica, Calif. A vaudeville star and radio personality by the mid-1920s, Durante scored a major hit record in 1934 with his own novelty composition "Inka Dinka Doo," which became his theme song for the rest of his life. He went on to star on Broadway and later appeared in movies such as "The Wet Parade," "Broadway to Hollywood," "The Man Who Came to Dinner," "Ziegfeld Follies" and "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."
1982: Actor and singer Adam Lambert, who rose to fame after finishing as runner-up on the eighth season of "American Idol," is born in Indianapolis, Ind. His debut studio album, 2009's "For Your Entertainment," debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart and featured the singles "For Your Entertainment," "Whataya Want from Me" and "If I Had You." His second studio album, 2012's "Trespassing," made its debut in the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 album chart.
1991: The Battle of Khafji, the first major ground engagement of the Gulf War, as well as its deadliest, begins in and around the Saudi Arabian city of Khafji. By Feb. 1, the city had been recaptured at the cost of 43 Coalition servicemen dead and 52 wounded. Iraqi Army fatalities numbered between 60 and 300, while an estimated 400 were captured as prisoners of war.
1992: Blues musician and singer-songwriter Willie Dixon, one of the most prolific songwriters of his time and a key influence in shaping the sound of the Chicago blues, dies of heart failure at the age of 76 in Burbank, Calif. Some of his most famous compositions include "Little Red Rooster," "Hoochie Coochie Man," "Back Door Man," "I Just Want to Make Love to You" and "Wang Dang Doodle." Dixon worked with artists such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley and influenced artists such as Bob Dylan, Cream, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. He was posthumously inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 in the "early influences" category.
1995: The San Francisco 49ers become the first team in NFL history to win five Super Bowl titles when they defeat the San Diego Chargers 49-26 in Super Bowl XXIX. The Dallas Cowboys would match the record with the team's fifth Super Bowl title the following year and the Pittsburgh Steelers would do the same in Super Bowl XL in 2006. The Steelers would set the new mark in Super Bowl XLIII in 2009, winning their sixth Super Bowl.
1998: A bomb explodes at a Birmingham, Alabama, abortion clinic, killing police officer and part-time clinic security guard Robert Sanderson, and critically injuring nurse Emily Lyons. Serial bomber Eric Robert Rudolph (pictured) is suspected as the culprit. Rudolph would be arrested in 2003 and is currently serving a life sentence for the bombing and three other bombings, including the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, Georgia, during the 1996 Summer Olympics.
2002: In his State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush describes "regimes that sponsor terror" as an Axis of Evil, in which he includes Iraq, Iran and North Korea.
2002: Former NFL player Dick "Night Train" Lane, best known as a defensive back for the Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Cardinals and Detroit Lions, dies of a heart attack at the age of 74 in Austin, Texas. As an undrafted rookie with the Rams in 1952, Lane set the record for most interceptions in an NFL season with 14, a record that has stood for more than 60 years. He was named the best cornerback of the first 50 years of professional football in 1969 and was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974.
2007: Thoroughbred racehorse Barbaro, who decisively won the 2006 Kentucky Derby, but shattered his leg two weeks later in the 2006 Preakness Stakes, is euthanized. The broken leg ruined any chance of a Triple Crown in 2006 and ended his racing career. He underwent seven surgeries before his veterinarians and owners concluded that he could not be saved.
2008: Margaret Truman, a singer, writer and the daughter of President Harry S. Truman, dies at the age of 83 in Chicago, Illinois. Truman was the successful author of a series of murder mysteries and a number of works on U.S. first ladies and presidential families, including a biography of her father.