1789: In a letter to his friend, French scientist Jean-Baptiste Leroy, Benjamin Franklin writes the line, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
1805: In Vienna, Austria, Bavarian butcher Johann George Lehner introduces a new sausage recipe combining pork and beef he calls the "frankfurter" and serves it on a bun. They became such a recognizable staple of Viennese cuisine that people from abroad began to identify them as wienerwurst ("Vienna-sausage") or simply wieners.
1850: Author Robert Louis Stevenson, best known for the novels "Treasure Island," "Kidnapped" and "Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," is born in Edinburgh, Scotland.
1856: Louis Brandeis, who would go on to become a U.S. Supreme Court justice from 1916 to 1939, is born in Louisville, Ky. Brandeis, who was the first Jewish person to serve on the Supreme Court and was known for his dedication to progressive social causes, became one of the most famous and influential figures ever to serve on the high court.
1872: Inventor and author Leon Leonwood Bean, an outdoor enthusiast who would found the company L.L.Bean in 1912, is born in Greenwood, Maine.
1903: French painter Camille Pissarro, whose Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist works influenced painters such as Georges Seurat, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Gauguin, dies at the age of 73 in Paris, France.
1927: The first underwater tunnel designed for automobiles, the Holland Tunnel, opens to traffic, connecting the island of Manhattan in New York City with Jersey City, N.J., under the Hudson River. The tunnel is named for Clifford Milburn Holland, the chief engineer on the project, who died before it was completed.
1934: Filmmaker and actor Garry Marshall, known for creating/producing the TV sitcoms "The Odd Couple," "Happy Days," "Laverne and Shirley," and "Mork & Mindy," and for directing such movies as "Pretty Woman," "Runaway Bride" and "Beaches," is born in The Bronx, N.Y.
1940: The Disney animated movie "Fantasia" premieres at the Broadway Theatre in New York City as part of a 13-city limited-run roadshow attraction. The movie, which consists of eight animated segments set to pieces of classical music, received mixed critical reaction and struggled at the box office.
1941: During World War II, the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal is torpedoed by the German submarine U-81. It would sink the following day.
1947: Actor Joe Mantegna, best known for movies such as "Three Amigos," "The Godfather Part III," "Forget Paris" and "Up Close & Personal," and for the TV series "Criminal Minds" (pictured) and "Joan of Arcadia," is born in Chicago, Ill. He has also earned Emmy nominations for his roles in three TV miniseries: "The Last Don," "The Rat Pack" and "The Starter Wife."
1953: Actress Frances Conroy, best known for her roles on the TV series "Six Feet Under" and "American Horror Story," is born in Monroe, Ga.
1954: Actor Chris Noth, known for his TV roles on "Law & Order," "Sex and the City" and "The Good Wife," is born in Madison, Wis.
1955: Actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg, who received an Oscar nomination for her role in "The Color Purple" and won for Best Supporting Actress for "Ghost," is born under the birth name Caryn Elaine Johnson in New York City. Goldberg, who is also known for her roles in "Sister Act," "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation," has also been the moderator and a co-host of "The View" since 2007.
1956: The United States Supreme Court upholds a federal district court decision finding Alabama laws requiring segregated buses unconstitutional. A resulting Montgomery, Ala., ordinance allowing black bus passengers to sit virtually anywhere they wanted would go into effect on Dec. 20, 1956, ending the Montgomery Bus Boycott that began a year earlier when Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to surrender her bus seat to a white person.
1967: Comedian and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who is best known as the host and creator of the late-night talk show "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," as well as the co-host of Comedy Central's "The Man Show" and "Win Ben Stein's Money," is born in Brooklyn, N.Y.
1967: Actor Steve Zahn, best known for roles in "Reality Bites," "You've Got Mail," "Sahara," "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and HBO's "Treme," is born in Marshall, Minn.
1968: The Beatles' feature-length animated movie "Yellow Submarine" premieres in the United States.
1969: Actor Gerard Butler, best known for his roles in "The Phantom of the Opera," "300," "The Ugly Truth" and "The Bounty Hunter," is born in Paisley, Scotland.
1969: Anti-war protesters in Washington, D.C., stage a symbolic March Against Death, with 45,000 participants each carrying a placard bearing the name of a soldier who had died in Vietnam. The march, which started at Arlington National Cemetery and continued past the White House, would go on for two days and two nights. Pictured is a poster designed by march organizers featuring the drawing "The War Monster" by Pablo Picasso.
1974: Karen Silkwood, a technician and union activist at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron plutonium plant near Crescent, Okla., dies in a car accident under mysterious circumstances. Although the police report would indicate she fell asleep at the wheel, drove off the road and hit a culvert, some journalists theorized that her car was actually rammed from behind by another vehicle, with the intent to cause an accident that would result in her death. Her life would be portrayed in the 1983 Oscar-winning film "Silkwood," with Meryl Streep playing Silkwood.
1977: The comic strip "Li'l Abner" by Al Capp (pictured) appears in newspapers for the last time. Capp retired with an apology to his fans for the recently declining quality of the strip, which he said had been the best he could manage due to advancing illness. A lifelong chain smoker, Capp would die from emphysema two years later at age 70.
1979: Metta World Peace, who was known as Ron Artest when he was at the center of a November 2004 brawl among players and fans during a game in Auburn Hills, Mich., between the Indiana Pacers and the home team Detroit Pistons, is born in Queens, N.Y. Artest, who went into the stands after a fan, would be suspended for the remainder of the season, missing 86 games, the longest suspension for an on-court incident in NBA history. He has since played for the Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers.
1982: Ray Mancini defeats South Korean boxer Duk Koo Kim in a boxing match held in Las Vegas. The fight, which was punishing for both boxers, was stopped 19 seconds into the 14th round with Mancini declared the winner by TKO. Minutes after the fight, Kim, 23, collapsed into a coma and was taken out of the arena on a stretcher. At the hospital, he was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma and underwent emergency brain surgery, but would end up dying four days later. His death would lead to significant changes in the sport designed to protect the health of boxers, including reducing title fights from 15 to 12 rounds, increasing the number of ring ropes from five to six, and introducing new medical procedures to fighters' pre-fight checkups.
1982: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C., following a march to its site by thousands of Vietnam War veterans.
1983: Comedian Junior Samples, best known for his 14-year run as a cast member of the TV show "Hee Haw," dies of a heart attack at the age of 57 in Knoxville, Tenn. He's seen here doing one his most famous bits on the show, a used car salesman who invited callers to call an older 5-digit phone number, BR-549.
1985: The volcano Nevado del Ruiz erupts and melts a glacier, causing a lahar (volcanic mudslide) that buries Armero, Colombia, killing approximately 23,000 people.
1987: The action sci-fi movie "The Running Man," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, María Conchita Alonso and Richard Dawson, premieres in theaters. The movie, based off a novel by Stephen King, is about a television game show in a dystopian America in the year 2019 where convicted criminal "runners" must escape death at the hands of professional killers. The movie proved to be a box office success, grossing more than $38 million domestically.
1988: Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian law student in Portland, Ore., dies after being beaten by three members of the Neo-Nazi group East Side White Pride the previous night. Two of the assailants would be convicted of manslaughter and assault, while a third would be convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Seraw's father and son would later successfully file a civil lawsuit against the killers and an affiliated organization, holding them liable for the murder.
1991: The Disney animated movie "Beauty and the Beast" premieres at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. The movie, based off the fairy tale story, would become the first ever animated film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
1995: Greg Maddux of the Atlanta Braves becomes the first major league pitcher to win four consecutive Cy Young Awards. During those four seasons (1992-1995), Maddux had a 75–29 record with a 1.98 Earned run average (ERA), while allowing less than one runner per inning. Randy Johnson would later tie Maddux's mark by winning four consecutive Cy Young Awards from 1999 to 2002.
1995: The James Bond movie "Goldeneye," featuring Pierce Brosnan in his first time out as the famous spy, premieres at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The film would be a box office smash, earning more than $26 million in its opening weekend on the way to a worldwide gross of $350 million, making it the most successful Bond movie since 1979's "Moonraker," when adjusted for inflation.
1998: U.S. President Bill Clinton agrees to pay Paula Jones $850,000, without an apology or admission of guilt, to throw out her sexual harassment lawsuit. A state employee when Clinton was governor of Arkansas, Jones had claimed that Clinton had exposed himself and asked her for oral sex in a hotel room. The Paula Jones case precipitated Clinton's impeachment, with charges of perjury and obstruction of justice being later brought against Clinton based on statements regarding the nature of his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky he made during the depositions for the Jones lawsuit.
2001: In the first such act since World War II, U.S. President George W. Bush signs an executive order allowing military tribunals against foreigners suspected of connections to terrorist acts or planned acts on the United States.
2003: Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who had refused to remove a granite Ten Commandments monument from the state courthouse, is thrown off the bench by a judicial ethics panel.
2004: Rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard, a founding member of the rap group Wu-Tang Clan whose real name was Russell Tyrone Jones, dies of a drug overdose at the age of 35 in New York City.
2005: Professional wrestler Eddie Guerrero, whose wrestling persona was that of "Latino Heat," a crafty, resourceful wrestler who would do anything to win a match, is found unconscious in his Minneapolis, Minn., hotel room and is pronounced dead by paramedics soon after. An autopsy later revealed that Guerrero, 38, died as a result of acute cardiac failure due to underlying atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Widely regarded as one of the most respected and gifted technical wrestlers in history, Guerrero struggled with various substance abuse problems outside of wrestling, including alcoholism and an addiction to painkillers, during his life.
2009: NASA announces that water ice had been discovered on the moon in a permanently shadowed crater near a lunar polar region. The discovery came following analysis of data from the planned impact on the moon of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) four days earlier and the resulting debris plume.