Published On: Jan 31 2013 01:08:38 AM ESTUpdated On: Jan 31 2015 02:00:00 AM EST
2010: The sci-fi action movie "Avatar," written, directed and produced by James Cameron, becomes the first film to gross more than $2 billion worldwide.
2010: Beyoncé sets a Grammy record for females when she wins six Grammys in one night for Song Of The Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Song, and Best Contemporary R&B Album. Adele would tie the mark on Feb. 12, 2012. Michael Jackson holds the overall one-night record, having won eight Grammys in 1984.
2005: The People v. Jackson trial begins in Santa Maria, California, with pop singer Michael Jackson facing 14 counts after a 13-year-old boy he had befriended accused him of sexual abuse. Jackson faced four counts of molesting a minor, four counts of intoxicating a minor in order to molest him, one count of attempted child molestation, and one count of conspiring to hold the boy and his family captive at his 2,700-acre Neverland Ranch, as well as conspiring to commit extortion and child abduction. On June 13, 2005, Jackson was acquitted on all counts.
2001: A panel of three Scottish judges sitting in a special court in the Netherlands convicts Libyan Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and acquits another Libyan citizen, Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah, in the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The terrorist attack killed all 259 people on the plane and 11 more on the ground. Megrahi served more than eight years before being freed on compassionate grounds by the Scottish Government in August 2009 following doctors reporting that he had terminal prostate cancer and was expected to have around three months to live. He died on May 20, 2012, nearly three years after his release, and remains the only person to be convicted for the attack.
2000: Atlanta Braves relief pitcher John Rocker is suspended by Major League Baseball for disparaging foreigners, homosexuals and minorities in an interview published by Sports Illustrated. The suspension was originally for all of spring training and the first 28 games of the 2000 season, but an arbitrator later allowed Rocker to attend most of spring training while reducing the regular season suspension to 14 games.
1996: Comet Hyakutake is discovered by Japanese amateur astronomer Yuji Hyakutake. The comet's passage near the Earth was one of the closest cometary approaches of the previous 200 years.
1992: Sportscaster Howard Cosell retires with the last airing of his daily five-minute radio spot, "Speaking of Sports," which had run for 39 years. Cosell, arguably the best-known and most controversial sports broadcaster in the history of the medium, had been winding down his career after surgery in June 1991 to remove a cancerous tumor from his chest. He would die of a cardiac embolism at the age of 77 on April 23, 1995.
1990: The first McDonald's in the Soviet Union opens in Moscow. At the time the largest McDonald's in the world, it proved extremely popular, with waiting lines of several hours common in its early days.
1987: Singer and musician Marcus Mumford, best known as the lead singer of Mumford & Sons, is born in Yorba Linda, California, to British parents. His family moved back to their native England when Mumford was 6 months old and he grew up in London.
1981: Singer and actor Justin Timberlake, who became famous in the late 1990s as the lead singer of the boy band 'N Sync, is born in Memphis, Tennessee. Timberlake found success as a solo artist after 'N Sync broke up and has starred in movies such as "The Social Network," "Bad Teacher" and "Friends with Benefits."
1977: Actress Kerry Washington, best known for roles in movies such as "The Last King of Scotland," "Ray" and "Django Unchained," and for the TV drama "Scandal," is born in The Bronx, New York.
1974: Polish-born film producer Samuel Goldwyn, best known for being the founding contributor and executive of several motion picture studios in Hollywood, dies at the probable age of 94 in Los Angeles, California. Born Schmuel Gelbfisz, Goldwyn used the name Samuel Goldfish before joining with Edgar Selwyn to form Goldwyn Pictures in 1916. He then legally changed his last name to Goldwyn, a combination of his and his partner's last names. Goldwyn Pictures proved successful, but it is most famous for its "Leo the Lion" trademark, which was sold with the company in 1924 to Metro Pictures Corporation, soon to be renamed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or MGM.
1973: Actress Portia de Rossi, best known for her roles as lawyer Nelle Porter on the TV series "Ally McBeal" and Lindsay Fünke on the sitcom "Arrested Development," is born Amanda Lee Rogers in Horsham, Victoria, Australia.
1971: Astronauts Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa and Edgar Mitchell aboard a Saturn V rocket lift off on the Apollo 14 mission to the Fra Mauro Highlands on the Moon.
1970: Actress Minnie Driver, best known for her Oscar-nominated performance in "Good Will Hunting" and for her roles in other movies such as "Grosse Pointe Blank" and "Sleepers," is born in London, England.
1961: Ham the Chimp becomes the first chimpanzee launched into outer space by the American space program when he rides a Mercury rocket on a 16-minute suborbital flight. Ham had his vital signs and tasks monitored using computers on Earth before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean.
1959: Actress Kelly Lynch, best known for her roles in movies such as "Bright Lights, Big City," "Drugstore Cowboy" and "Road House," is born in Golden Valley, Minnesota.
1958: With the launch of Explorer 1, America puts its first satellite into orbit around the Earth. It would become the first spacecraft to detect the Van Allen radiation belt, returning data until its batteries were exhausted after nearly four months. It remained in orbit until 1970, and has been followed by more than 90 scientific spacecraft in the Explorer series.
1956: English author A. A. Milne, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various children's poems, dies at the age of 74 in Hartfield, East Sussex, England.
1956: Singer Johnny Rotten, best known as the lead vocalist for the punk band The Sex Pistols, is born John Joseph Lydon in London, England.
1951: Singer and musician Harry Wayne Casey, best known as the lead singer of KC and the Sunshine Band, is born in Opa-Locka, Florida.
1950: U.S. President Harry S. Truman announces a program to develop the hydrogen bomb.
1947: Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan, an eight-time All-Star who holds the MLB record for career strikeouts with 5,714, is born in Refugio, Texas. Ryan, who played for the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers over his 27-year career, is the all-time leader in no-hitters with seven, three more than any other pitcher.
1940: The first monthly Social Security check is issued to Ida May Fuller of Ludlow, Vermont. Fuller, a legal secretary who worked three years under the Social Security program before retiring in November 1939, received $22.54 in that first check.
1937: Composer Philip Glass, one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century, is born in Baltimore, Maryland. Glass has written operas, musical theater works, 10 symphonies, 11 concertos, solo works, chamber music, and film scores, three of which have been nominated for Oscars.
1937: Actress Suzanne Pleshette, best known for the TV show "The Bob Newhart Show" and for her work in movies such as "Rome Adventure" and "The Birds," is born in New York City. She died of respiratory failure at age 70 on Jan. 19, 2008.
1931: Hall of Fame baseball player Ernie Banks, who played shortstop and second base for the Chicago Cubs from 1953 through 1971, is born in Dallas, Texas. Banks, who won the National League MVP award in 1958 and 1959, would finish his career with 512 home runs, and his 277 homers as a shortstop were the most ever at the time of his retirement. He died of a heart attack at age 83 on Jan. 23, 2015.
1923: Writer and journalist Norman Mailer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist whose works include "The Executioner's Song," "The Naked and the Dead" and "Armies of the Night," is born in Long Branch, New Jersey. He died of acute renal failure at age 84 on Nov. 10, 2007.
1921: Actress and singer Carol Channing, best known for originating, on Broadway, the musical-comedy roles of bombshell Lorelei Lee in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," and matchmaking widow Dolly Gallagher Levi in "Hello, Dolly!," is born in Seattle, Washington. She also has appeared in movies such as "The First Traveling Saleslady," "Skidoo" and "Thoroughly Modern Millie," the last of which earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
1919: Hall of Fame baseball player Jackie Robinson, who broke the sport's color barrier when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, is born in Cairo, Georgia. Robinson, who won the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947 and the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 and his uniform number, 42, was "universally" retired across all major league teams in 1997. He died of a heart attack at the age of 53 on Oct. 24, 1972.
1914: Boxer Jersey Joe Walcott, who broke the world record for the oldest man to win the world's Heavyweight title when he earned it in 1951 at the age of 37 years, 168 days, is born Arnold Raymond Cream in Merchantville, New Jersey. Walcott, who successfully defended his title once before losing it to an undefeated Rocky Marciano in 1952, would hold the oldest age record until George Foreman won the title at age 45 in 1994. Walcott died at age 80 on Feb. 25, 1994.
1913: Don Hutson, the first star split end in National Football League history, is born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Hutson, who played 11 seasons for the Green Bay Packers from 1935 to 1945 as a wide receiver, kicker and safety, was a charter inductee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He helped Green Bay to three NFL championships in his career and was named NFL MVP twice. Over his career he led the NFL in receptions eight times, in receiving yards seven times, and in scoring five times. He played college football at the University of Alabama and was also inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame. He died at age 84 on June 26, 1997.
1893: The trademark "Coca-Cola," used in the marketplace since 1886, is first registered in the United States Patent Office.
1872: Author Zane Grey, best known for his popular adventure novels presenting an idealized image of the American frontier, is born Pearl Zane Grey in Zanesville, Ohio. Grey, whose best-selling book was 1912's "Riders of the Purple Sage," died of heart failure at age 67 on Oct. 23, 1939.
1865: Congress passes the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which proposes abolishing slavery, thereby submitting it to the states for ratification. The amendment was formally adopted when Georgia became the 27th of the then 36 states to ratify it on Dec. 6, 1865. Pictured is the amendment in the National Archives, bearing the signature of President Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated in April 1865 before the amendment was ratified.
1801: John Marshall is appointed the fourth chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. The longest-serving chief justice in Supreme Court history, Marshall would dominate the court for more than three decades and play a significant role in the development of the American legal system.
1797: Composer Franz Schubert, one of the leading exponents of the early Romantic era in music, is born in Vienna, Austria.
1606: Guy Fawkes is executed for his plotting against the English Parliament and King James I. Fawkes was part of a conspiracy to blow up the Palace of Westminster in London to destroy the House of Lords. He was discovered and arrested on Nov. 5, 1605, while guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder in the cellars under the palace. While the head of the conspiracy, Robert Catesby, was killed as the conspirators fled the city, eight others were tried and convicted for the plot.