2011: After the failure of Muammar Gaddafi's forces to take Benghazi during the Libyan civil war, the French Air Force launches Operation Harmattan, beginning foreign military intervention in Libya.
2008: English actor Paul Scofield, best known for his Academy Award-winning performance as Sir Thomas More in the 1966 film "A Man for All Seasons," dies of leukemia at the age of 86 in Sussex, England.
2008: English author and inventor Arthur C. Clarke, famous for his short stories and novels, among them 1968's "2001: A Space Odyssey" and 1972's "Rendezvous with Rama," dies of respiratory complications and heart failure at the age of 90 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
2007: Actor and comedian Calvert DeForest, best known for his appearances on David Letterman's late night talk shows as his character Larry "Bud" Melman, dies at the age of 85 in West Islip, N.Y.
2005: John DeLorean, the automobile engineer and executive best known for developing the Pontiac GTO muscle car, the Pontiac Firebird, Pontiac Grand Prix and the DeLorean DMC-12 sports car, dies from a stroke at the age of 80 in Summit, N.J. DeLorean had also made headlines for his high profile 1982 arrest on charges of drug trafficking. Prosecutors claimed that his alleged trafficking was an attempt to raise funds for his struggling DeLorean Motor Company, which declared bankruptcy that same year. He successfully defended himself against the charges, showing that his alleged involvement was a result of entrapment by federal agents.
2003: Mahmoud Abbas accepts the new position of Palestinian prime minister. Abbas would go on to win election in 2005 to replace Yasser Arafat as president of the Palestinian National Authority.
2003: U.S. President George W. Bush announces that U.S. forces had launched a strike against "targets of military opportunity" in Iraq. The attack, using cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs, was aimed at Iraqi leaders, including Saddam Hussein, thought to be near Baghdad. A full-scale invasion would begin the next day.
1991: NFL owners strip Arizona of the 1993 Super Bowl game due to voters rejecting a ballot initiative recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday in the state. The game, which was scheduled to be played at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., the home of the Phoenix Cardinals, would instead be played in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Arizona would eventually become the first and only state to popularly vote for and approve Martin Luther King Jr. Day, finally opting to create the holiday by ballot in 1992, and on March 23, 1993, the NFL awarded Super Bowl XXX, to be played in 1996, to Tempe.
1987: Televangelist Jim Bakker resigns as head of his PTL ministry organization due to a brewing sex scandal involving secretary Jessica Hahn. Bakker was succeeded in late March by Jerry Falwell.
1985: The first issue of the music magazine Spin is published. The issue, dated May 1985, featured Madonna photographed on the black sand of a lava beach in Hawaii.
1982: Heavy metal guitarist Randy Rhoads (right), best known as a member of Ozzy Osbourne's band, dies at the age of 25 in a plane crash in Leesburg, Fla. The plane was buzzing Osbourne's tour bus when its left wing clipped the bus, sending the plane into a spiraling crash into a nearby garage. Pilot Andrew Aycock and hairdresser/seamstress Rachel Youngblood were also killed in the crash. Rhoads, who performed on Osbourne's first two albums, 1980's "Blizzard of Ozz" and 1981's "Diary of a Madman," was also known for co-founding the band Quiet Riot at the age of 16.
1979: The cable television network C-SPAN goes on the air, just in time to offer the first televised session made available by the U.S. House of Representatives, beginning with a speech by Rep. Al Gore, D-Tenn. The station, whose name stands for Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, initially was received by only 3.5 million homes and the network had just three employees.
1977: With its 168th episode, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" goes off the air after seven seasons. The show was a television breakthrough, featuring Mary Tyler Moore's never-married, independent career woman as the central character, something that hadn't been done before. Also starring Ed Asner, Valerie Harper, Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, Georiga Engel, Betty White and Cloris Leachman, the show is one of the most acclaimed TV series ever produced and won Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series three years in a row between 1975 and its final season.
1975: The rock musical "Tommy," based upon The Who's 1969 rock opera albumof the same name, premieres in New York City. The movie featured a star-studded cast including the band members themselves (most notably, lead singer Roger Daltrey in the title role) and Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Elton John and Jack Nicholson. Ann-Margret received a Golden Globe for her performance and was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress. The Who guitarist Pete Townshend was also nominated for an Oscar for his work in scoring and adapting the film's music.
1966: The final episode of the sitcom "The Donna Reed Show" airs, with singer Lesley Gore guest starring as herself. The show, which debuted on Sept. 24, 1958, ran for 275 episodes over eight seasons and was one of television's top 25 shows in 1963-1964. Reed, who starred in the show as upper middle class housewife Donna Stone, was nominated for four Emmys for the show and won a Golden Globe in 1963.
1966: Texas Western becomes the first college basketball team to win the Final Four with an all-black starting lineup, beating Kentucky and its all-white starting five 72–65 in College Park, Md.
1962: Bob Dylan releases his self-titled debut album on the Columbia Records label. The album featured folk standards plus two original compositions, "Talkin' New York" and "Song to Woody."
1958: The movie musical "South Pacific," starring Rossano Brazzi, Mitzi Gaynor, John Kerr and Ray Walston, premieres in New York City. The movie, an adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical of the same name, was the top film at the box office in 1958 and earned three Academy Award nominations, winning for Best Sound. It is best known for songs such as "Some Enchanted Evening" and "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair."
1957: Elvis Presley buys the Memphis, Tenn., mansion he called Graceland. Graceland would grow from 10,266 square feet when originally bought by Presley to 17,552 square feet today.
1955: Actor Bruce Willis, best known for the "Die Hard" movie franchise and other movies such as "Pulp Fiction," "The Fifth Element," "Armageddon" and "The Sixth Sense," is born in Idar-Oberstein, West Germany.
1953: The Academy Awards ceremony is broadcast on television for the first time. "The Bad and the Beautiful" won five awards that night, but was upstaged by "The Greatest Show on Earth" upsetting "High Noon" for the Oscar for Best Picture.
1952: Film producer Harvey Weinstein, best known as co-founder of Miramax Films, is born in Flushing, N.Y. He and his brother Bob have been co-chairmen of The Weinstein Company, their film production company, since 2005. He won an Academy Award for producing the movie "Shakespeare in Love," and garnered seven Tony Awards for producing a variety of winning plays and musicals on Broadway.
1950: American author Edgar Rice Burroughs, best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter, dies of a heart attack at the age of 74 in Encino, Calif.
1947: Actress Glenn Close, best known her Oscar-nominated roles in "According to Garp," "The Big Chill," "The Natural," "Fatal Attraction," "Dangerous Liaisons" and "Albert Nobbs," is born in Greenwich, Conn. Close, who is tied for the record for most Oscar nominations without a win, is also known for her work in the TV series "The Shield" and "Damages."
1945: With World War II falling apart for Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler issues his "Nero Decree" ordering all industries, military installations, shops, transportation facilities and communications facilities in Germany to be destroyed to prevent their use by Allied forces as they penetrated deep within Germany. The decree was ultimately in vain as Minister of Armaments and War Production Albert Speer was appalled by the order and deliberately failed to carry it out. Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, 42 days after issuing the order.
1944: Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy on June 5, 1968, in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, is born in Jerusalem, Mandatory Palestine. Sirhan was convicted on April 17, 1969, and was sentenced six days later to death in the gas chamber. Three years later, his sentence was commuted to life in prison, owing to the California Supreme Court's decision in People v. Anderson, which ruled capital punishment a violation of the California Constitution.
1944: In what was known as Operation Margarethe, Nazi forces occupy Hungary after Adolf Hitler finds out the German ally had been discussing an armistice with the Allies.
1943: Italian-American gangster Frank Nitti, one of Al Capone's top henchmen who took over Capone's Chicago crime syndicate after Capone was sent to prison in 1932 for income-tax evasion, dies from self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head on an Illinois Central railroad branch line in North Riverside, Ill. Nitti was scheduled to go before a grand jury on extortion charges the next day.
1941: The 99th Pursuit Squadron, also known as the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-black unit of the Army Air Corp, is activated during World War II.
1936: Actress Ursula Andress, best known for playing Honey Ryder in the first James Bond movie, 1962's "Dr. No," is born in Ostermundigen, Switzerland. Andress also starred in the movies "Fun in Acapulco," "4 for Texas," "The 10th Victim," "She," "The Blue Max" and "Casino Royale."
1932: The Sydney Harbour Bridge is opened.
1931: Gambling is once again legalized in Nevada. Unregulated gambling had been common in the early Nevada mining towns but was outlawed in 1909 as part of a nationwide anti-gambling crusade. The state decided to legalize gambling again because of declines in the mining and agricultural sectors during the Great Depression. Pictured is the first gaming license issued in the state.
1928: Actor Patrick McGoohan, best known for the TV shows "Secret Agent" and "The Prisoner," is born in Astoria, Queens, New York City. McGoohan was also known for his work in the movies "Ice Station Zebra," "Silver Streak," "Scanners" and "Braveheart." He died at age 80 on Jan. 13, 2009.
1928: The radio show "Amos and Andy" debuts. The show, which featured its white creators, Freeman Gosden and Charles Carrell (seen here in a promotional postcard for the show), playing two black men from the Deep South who moved to Chicago to seek their fortunes, would become one of the most popular radio programs in American history and the first in the country to be distributed by syndication. Throughout the show's run, first on the radio and later on television, it was a frequent target of criticism for promoting racial stereotypes.
1918: The Standard Time Act establishes time zones and approves daylight saving time in the United States.
1914: Jay Berwanger, who would become the first Heisman Trophy winner in 1935 and the first-ever NFL draft pick in 1936, is born in Dubuque, Iowa. A University of Chicago halfback, he was the first winner of the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy, which was renamed the Heisman Trophy the following year. The Philadelphia Eagles chose him with the first pick in the inaugural NFL draft and then traded him to the Chicago Bears. Berwanger never signed with the Bears and never played in the NFL.
1911: International Women's Day is launched in Copenhagen, Denmark, by Clara Zetkin (left), leader of the Women's Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany.
1895: The Lumière brothers (Auguste Lumière on the left and Louis Lumière on the right) record their first footage using their newly patented cinematograph. This first film shows workers leaving the Lumière factory.
1891: Earl Warren, who was appointed U.S. Supreme Court chief justice by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 and served until 1969, is born in Los Angeles, Calif. He is known for the sweeping decisions of the Warren Court, which ended school segregation and transformed many areas of American law, especially regarding the rights of the accused and ending public-school-sponsored prayer. Warren was also the vice-presidential nominee of the Republican Party in 1948, and chaired the Warren Commission, which was formed to investigate the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Prior to his appointment as chief justice, he served as California governor from 1943 to 1953 and the state's attorney general from 1939 to 1943.
1860: William Jennings Bryan, the U.S. secretary of state under President Woodrow Wilson from 1913 to 1915 and a three-time Democratic presidential nominee, is born in Salem, Ill.
1848: Wyatt Earp, an Old West law officer best known for his part in the 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral, is born in Monmouth, Ill. Earp was a city policeman in Wichita, Kan., and Dodge City, Kan., before becoming a deputy sheriff and deputy U.S. marshal in Tombstone, Ariz.
1687: While searching for the mouth of the Mississippi River, French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle is murdered by his own men in a mutiny near the site of present Navasota, Texas.