Immaculate Conception holy day of obligation, solemnity, commemorating the fact that Mary was spared from original sin upon the conception of Christ.
1987 Pres. Reagan and Gorbachev sign an agreement to destroy all 1,752 U.S. and 859 Soviet missiles with the range of 300-3,400 miles.
1986 Iran-Contra Affair Time magazine publishes an interview with Pres. Reagan in which he declares Lt. Col. Oliver North to be a national hero. His opinion would change as the scandal progressed.
1941 World War II U.S. Pres. Roosevelt delivers his "date which will live in infamy" speech in response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the previous day. An hour later, the U.S. declared war on Japan.
1903 Prof. Langley makes his second attempt to fly his Aerodrome, a plane capable of carrying a person. It failed causing him to lose government support.
1886 American Federation of Labor formed.
1854 The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary is proclaimed dogma by Pope Pius IX.
1953 Sam Kinison d. 1992 American Comedian, actor, former tent-revival preacher, "Ahh-ohhh-ahhh!" He was killed in a car accident 6 days after getting married. Film: Back to School. Quote: "There's no happy ending to cocaine. You either die, you go to jail, or else you run out."
1953 Kim Basinger American actress. Film: Never Say Never Again (1983, Domino Petachi) and Batman (1989, Vicki Vale). In 1993, she was ordered to pay $8.1 million for failing to appear in the movie Boxing Helena.
1947 Gregg Allman American singer, with the Allman Brothers. Music: Ramblin' Man.
1943 Jim Morrison d. 1971 American singer, with The Doors, "The Lizard King." Music: Light My Fire (1967, #1) and L.A. Woman (1971).
1936 David Carradine d. 2009 (John Arthur Carradine), American actor. TV: Kung Fu (1972-75, Kwai Chang Caine) and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (1993-97, plays the grandson of his character in Kung Fu)
1933 Flip Wilson (Clerow Wilson), American comedian.
1925 Sammy Davis Jr d. 1990 American singer, dancer, actor. Music: That Old Black Magic (1956) and Candy Man (1972, #1). After a 1954 car crash that robbed him of his left eye, he joked of being "the world's only one-eyed Jewish nigger."
1916 Richard Fleischer d. 2006 American film director. Film: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), Fantastic Voyage (1966), Dr. Dolittle (1967), Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), Soylent Green (1973), and Red Sonja (1985).
1911 Lee J. Cobb d. 1976 American actor. TV: The Virginian (Judge Garth). He is famous for his portrayal of Willy Loman in stage and TV productions of Death of a Salesman.
1902 Oswald Jacoby d. 1984 American actuary, bridge expert, author of numerous books on card playing.
1894 James Grover Thurber d. 1961 American author, cartoonist. Blind since the age of 40, he continued to illustrate his books until his death.
1894 Elzie Crisler Segar d. 1938 American cartoonist, creator of Popeye the Sailor (1919). He also coined the words "jeep" and "goon."
1891 Percy Leo Crosby d. 1964 American cartoonist, creator of Skippy (1923).
1861 William Crapo Durant d. 1947 American auto manufacturer, founder of Buick Motor Car Co. (1905), General Motors (1908), Chevrolet Motor Co (1915) and Durant Motors Inc (1921).
1828 Henry Timrod d. 1867 American poet, known as the "Poet Laureate of the Confederacy."
1816 August Belmont d. 1890 Sr., Chairman Democratic National Committee (1860-72). The Belmont Stakes thoroughbred horse race is named in his honor.
1991 Kimberly Bergalis b. 1968 American AIDS victim. It is believed that she contracted AIDS from her dentist, Dr. David Acer, during a tooth extraction (December 1987). She won a $1,000,000 settlement from his insurer (January 1991).
1983 Slim Pickens b. 1919 (Louis Burton Lindley, Jr.), American actor, Hall of Fame rodeo clown. Film: Dr. Strangelove (1964, B-52 pilot who rides the bomb to doom), Blazing Saddles (1974), and The Howling (1981).
1980 John Lennon b. 1940 British musician, member of the Beatles. He was shot and killed by Mark Chapman, for whom he had signed an autograph for earlier that day.
1978 Golda Meir b. 1898 (Golda Mabovitch), Israel's first female Prime Minister (1969-74) and signer of the Israeli Declaration of Independence (1948).
1964 Percy Leo Crosby b. 1891 American cartoonist, creator of Skippy (1923).
1903 Herbert Spencer b. 1820 English sociologist, philosopher. As an early evolutionist, he developed his theories independently of Darwin. He coined the term "survival of the fittest" (1852), seven years before Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859).
1831 James Hoban b. circa 1762 American architect. He designed and built the White House and rebuilt it after it was burned by the British in 1814. He also designed South Carolina's first Capitol building.
1792 Henry Laurens b. 1724 5th president of the Continental Congress (1777-78), signer of the Treaty of Paris (ending the Revolutionary War). He was the first person formally cremated in America.