2009: Pop singer Michael Jackson dies at the age of 50 in Los Angeles, California, of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication after suffering from cardiac arrest. The seventh child of the Jackson family, he debuted on the professional music scene along with his brothers as a member of The Jackson 5 in 1964, and began his solo career in 1971. With a career that lasted more than four decades featuring contributions to music, dance and fashion, he is recognized by Guinness World Records as the most successful entertainer of all time.
2009: Actress Farrah Fawcett, a sex symbol and pop culture icon best known for starring in the first season of "Charlie's Angels," dies of anal cancer at the age of 62 in Santa Monica, California.
2004: Michael Moore's documentary film "Fahrenheit 9/11" opens in theaters. The movie, which had won the Palme d'Or after its debut a month earlier at the Cannes Film Festival, takes a critical look at the presidency of George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and its coverage in the news media. The film became the highest grossing documentary of all time, grossing more than $222 million total worldwide.
1998: In Clinton v. City of New York, the United States Supreme Court rules that the line-item veto as granted in the Line Item Veto Act of 1996 is unconstitutional.
1997: The Soufrière Hills volcano in Montserrat erupts, resulting in the death of 19 people. The dead were the first victims of the volcano since it roared to life in a rain of ash, rock and smoke on July 18, 1995, ending nearly four centuries of virtual dormancy.
1997: French marine explorer, conservationist and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau, who popularized underwater exploration and pioneered marine conservation, dies of a heart attack at the age of 87 in Paris, France. Cousteau, who co-developed the Aqua-Lung, also filmed more than 120 television documentaries, wrote more than 50 books, and created an environmental protection foundation with 300,000 members.
1996: A truck bomb explodes at the Khobar Towers in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 U.S. Air Force personnel and injuring another 372 people. At the time the building was being used as housing for foreign military personnel. An official statement by the United States named members of Hezbollah Al-Hejaz as responsible. On June 21, 2001, an indictment was issued in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria, Virginia, charging 13 Saudis and one Lebanese man with murder, conspiracy and other charges related to the bombing.
1995: Warren E. Burger, the 15th chief justice of the United States from 1969 to 1986, dies of congestive heart failure at age 87 in Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court of the United States delivered a variety of transformative decisions on abortion, capital punishment, religious establishment, and school desegregation during his tenure.
1992: NFL defensive tackle Jerome Brown dies at the age of 27 following a car crash in Brooksville, Florida, in which he lost control of his Chevrolet Corvette at high speed and crashed into a utility pole. Also killed in the accident was Brown's nephew, Gus. Brown played his entire five year professional career with the Philadelphia Eagles, making the NFL Pro Bowl in 1990 and 1991, and played college football at the University of Miami.
1991: Croatia and Slovenia become the first republics to declare their independence from Yugoslavia. The secession movement in Slovenia was met by some standoffs and limited skirmishes before the federal government and Slovenia agreed to a three-month moratorium allowing the Yugoslav People's Army to completely withdraw from Slovenia. However, in Croatia, the move led to a bloody war between Croat and Serb forces, who opposed the secession and wanted Croatia to remain a part of Yugoslavia.
1988: Hillel Slovak, a guitarist and founding member of the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, dies of a heroin overdose at age 26 in Hollywood, California. Slovak recorded two albums with the band, 1985's "Freaky Styley" and 1987's "The Uplift Mofo Party Plan," and is considered to have been a major influence on the Red Hot Chili Peppers' early sound. The band has recorded several songs as tributes to Slovak, including "Knock Me Down" and "My Lovely Man." He was replaced in the band by John Frusciante, who has said he considers Slovak's style of playing a major influence.
1984: The soundtrack to Prince's movie "Purple Rain" is released five weeks ahead of the film. The two main songs from the album, "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy," would top the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles charts while the title track would reach No. 2. The album also won Prince an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score.
1982: The science-fiction thriller movie "Blade Runner," starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer and Sean Young, and directed by Ridley Scott, opens in theaters. The movie performed poorly, making $33 million at the box office compared to its $28 million budget, but became a cult favorite over time.
1981: Microsoft is restructured to become an incorporated business in its home state of Washington. As part of the restructuring, Bill Gates became president of the company and chairman of the board, and Paul Allen became executive vice president.
1979: Actress Busy Philipps, best known for the TV series "Freaks and Geeks," "Dawson's Creek" and "Cougar Town," is born Elizabeth Jean Philipps in Oak Park, Illinois.
1978: At the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade, the rainbow flag representing gay pride is flown for the first time.
1976: Singer-songwriter Johnny Mercer dies of brain cancer at the age of 66 in Bel Air, California. Mercer, who won four Academy Awards in 19 nominations, is best-known for songs like "Hooray for Hollywood," "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby," "Jeepers, Creepers!," "Fools Rush In," "That Old Black Magic," "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Moon River" and "Summer Wind."
1975: Actress Linda Cardellini, best known for the TV series "Freaks and Geeks," "ER" and "Mad Men," and for playing Velma Dinkley in the live-action "Scooby-Doo" movies, is born in Redwood City, California.
1967: The TV special "Our World" becomes the first live global satellite television program. The show featured artists from 19 countries around the world performing in separate segments and was watched by a then-record 400 million people. It's perhaps best known for the segment featuring The Beatles, who sang their specially composed song "All You Need Is Love" to close the program.
1963: Hall of Fame hockey center Doug Gilmour, who won a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989, is born in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Besides the Flames, Gilmour played for the St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens during his 20-season NHL career.
1963: Singer-songwriter and musician George Michael, who rose to fame in the 1980s as one-half of the pop duo Wham! before becoming a solo star, is born Georgios Kyriacos Panagiòtou in London, England. His 1987 debut solo album, "Faith," has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Some of his best-known songs include "I Want Your Sex," "Faith," "Father Figure" and "Freedom! '90."
1961: Comedian and actor Ricky Gervais, best known for the British television series "The Office" and "Extras," is born in Reading, Berkshire, England. Gervais is also known for starring in the Hollywood films "Ghost Town" and "The Invention of Lying," and for hosting the Golden Globes between 2010 and 2012.
1959: At a minute past midnight, spree killer Charles Starkweather is executed by electric chair at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln. 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. 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.
1956: Chef, author and TV personality Anthony Bourdain is born in New York City. Bourdain become well-known for his 2000 book "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly" and has gone on to host the travel/culinary television shows "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations," "The Layover" and "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown."
1954: Sonia Sotomayor, who in 2009 became the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, is born in New York City.
1950: The Korean War begins with North Korea crossing the 38th parallel at dawn to invade South Korea. Outgunned, South Korea would see Seoul fall for the first time during the war two days later. American forces would arrive in South Korea to help the regime in early July.
1948: A day after the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies' railway, road and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under Allied control, the Western Allies begin the Berlin airlift to carry supplies to the people in West Berlin. The airlift proved a success and the blockade was lifted in May 1949, but the early Cold War events directly led to the creation of two separate German states.
1947: "The Diary of a Young Girl," better known as "The Diary of Anne Frank," is published for the first time.
1947: Actor Jimmie Walker, known for portraying J.J. Evans on the 1970s sitcom "Good Times," is born in The Bronx, New York.
1945: Singer-songwriter Carly Simon, best known for a string of hit songs that includes "Anticipation," "You're So Vain," "Nobody Does It Better" and "Coming Around Again," is born in New York City.
1942: Willis Reed, the Hall of Fame basketball player who two NBA championships in his 10-year career with the New York Knicks, is born in Hico, Louisiana. A seven-time NBA All-Star and the 1965 Rookie of the Year, Reed was named the NBA Finals MVP both times the Knicks won in 1970 and 1973 and was also named NBA MVP in 1970. He is also known for his inspirational surprise start in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals, when he hobbled out onto the court despite a torn muscle in his thigh and scored the Knicks' first two baskets on his first two shot attempts for his only points of the game.
1940: Per the terms of an armistice signed three days earlier, France officially surrenders to Germany during World War II with a cease-fire going into effect at 1:35 a.m. Adolf Hitler is seen here viewing the Eiffel Tower in Paris on June 23, 1940. France would remain under Axis occupation until the liberation of the country after the Allied landings in June 1944.
1933: American civil rights activist and writer James Meredith is born in Kosciusko, Mississippi. In 1962, he became the first black student admitted to the segregated University of Mississippi, an event that was a flashpoint in the American civil rights movement.
1925: Actress June Lockhart, best known for playing a mother in the TV series "Lassie" and "Lost in Space," is born in New York City. Lockhart also portrayed Dr. Janet Craig on the sitcom "Petticoat Junction," won a Tony Award for her work on Broadway and had supporting parts in films including "Meet Me in St. Louis," "Sergeant York" and "The Yearling."
1924: Filmmaker Sidney Lumet, the Oscar-nominated director of movies such as "12 Angry Men," "Dog Day Afternoon," "Network" and "The Verdict," is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He's seen here posing with his honorary Oscar at the 77th annual Academy Awards in 2005. He died of lymphoma at the age of 86 on April 9, 2011.
1910: Igor Stravinsky's ballet "The Firebird" premieres in Paris, bringing the young, virtually unknown composer to prominence.
1910: The United States Congress passes the Mann Act, which prohibits interstate transport of females for "immoral purposes." While it was intended to target prostitution and human trafficking, the ambiguous language would be used to selectively prosecute people for years to come. It was later amended by Congress in 1978 and again in 1986 to apply only to transport for the purpose of prostitution or illegal sexual acts.
1903: Author George Orwell, best known for the dystopian novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four" and the allegorical novella "Animal Farm," is born in Motihari, Bengal Presidency, British India. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 46 on Jan. 21, 1950.
1876: The Battle of the Little Bighorn begins near the Little Bighorn River in eastern Montana Territory. The two-day battle resulted in the overwhelming defeat of the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army at the hands of the combined forces of Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. The total U.S. casualty count, including scouts, was 268 dead, including Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, and 55 injured.
1867: Barbed wire is patented by Lucien B. Smith of Kent, Ohio. He received patent No. 66,182 for his simple idea of creating an artificial "thorn hedge" consisting of wire with short metal spikes twisted on by hand at regular intervals. Smith's invention featured spools with nail like points radiating from them that were threaded on the fence wire and could revolve loosely. It's unclear if this variety of barbed wire was ever actually manufactured, as simpler twisted wire forms soon followed.
1788: Virginia becomes the 10th state to ratify the United States Constitution.