Today is Wednesday, Dec. 1, the 335th day of 1999. There are 30 days
left in the year.
- On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, refused to give her
seat to a white man on a city bus in Montgomery, Ala.; her arrest
led to a year-long boycott of the buses by blacks.
- In 1913 the first drive-in automobile service station opened in
- In 1934 Sergei M. Kirov, a collaborator of Josef Stalin, was
assassinated in Leningrad, resulting in a massive purge.
- In 1942 nationwide gasoline rationing went into effect in the U.S.
- In 1956 the Leonard Bernstein musical "Candide," based on Voltaire,
opened on Broadway.
- In 1959 representatives of 12 countries, including the U.S., signed
a treaty setting aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, free
from military activity.
- In 1965 an airlift of refuges from Cuba to the U.S. began when Cubans
were allowed to leave their homeland.
- In 1969 the U.S. government conducted its first draft lottery since
World War II.
- In 1973 David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, died in
Tel Aviv at age 87.
- Ten years ago in an extraordinary encounter, Soviet President
Mikhail S. Gorbachev met with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. East
Germany's Parliament abolished the Communist Party's constitutional
guarantee of supremacy.
- Five years ago the Senate gave final congressional approval to a
world trade agreement, passing the 124-nation General Agreement on
Tariffs and Trade, 76-24.
- One year ago Exxon Corp. agreed to buy Mobil Corp. for $73.7 billion.
Cuba's Communist Party recommended that Dec. 25 be re-established
as an annual holiday.
- Former CIA director Stansfield Turner is 76.
- Actor Robert Symonds is 73.
- Singer Billy Paul is 65.
- Actor-comedian-director Woody Allen is 64.
- Singer Lou Rawls is 64.
- Golfer Lee Trevino is 60.
- Singer Dianne Lennon (The Lennon Sisters) is 60.
- Comedian-actor Richard Pryor is 59.
- Country musician Casey Van Beek (The Tractors) is 57.
- Rock singer-musician Eric Bloom (Blue Oyster Cult) is 55.
- Rock musician John Densmore (The Doors) is 55.
- Actress-singer Bette Midler is 54.
- Singer Gilbert O'Sullivan is 53.
- Actor Treat Williams is 48.
- Country singer Kim Richey is 43.
- Actress Charlene Tilton is 41.
- Actress-model Carol Alt is 39.
- Actor Jeremy Northam is 38.
- Actor Nestor Carbonell is 32.
- Actor Ron Melendez is 27.
- Gospel singer Sarah Masen is 24.
- Actress Ashley Monique Clark is 11.
On Dec. 2, 1859, militant abolitionist John Brown was hanged for his
raid on Harper's Ferry the previous October.
- In 1804 Napoleon was crowned emperor of France.
- In 1816 the first savings bank in the U.S., the Philadelphia Savings
Fund Society, opened for business.
- In 1823 President Monroe outlined his doctrine opposing European
expansion in the Western Hemisphere.
- In 1939 New York's La Guardia Airport began operations as an airliner
from Chicago landed at 12:01 a.m.
- In 1942 a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated
for the first time at the University of Chicago.
- In 1954 the Senate voted to condemn Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis.,
for "conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and
- In 1961 Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared himself a Marxist-Leninist
who would lead Cuba to Communism.
- In 1969 the Boeing 747 jumbo jet made its debut as 191 people, most
of them reporters and photographers, flew from Seattle to New York
- In 1970 the Environmental Protection Agency began operating under
director William Ruckelshaus.
- In 1993 Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was shot to death by
security forces in Medellin.
- Ten years ago President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S.
Gorbachev held the first talks of their wind-tossed Malta summit
aboard the Soviet cruise ship "Maxim Gorky." V.P. Singh was sworn in
as prime minister of India.
- Five years ago the government agreed not to seek a recall of
allegedly fire-prone General Motors pickup trucks; in return, GM
agreed to spend more than $51 million on safety and research.
Reputed "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss was convicted in Los Angeles
of three counts of pandering.
- One year ago former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy was acquitted of
all counts in a corruption case for accepting sports tickets and
travel from companies doing business with his department.
- Actor-playwright Adolph Green is 84.
- Actor Leo Gordon is 77.
- Former Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig is 75.
- Actress Julie Harris is 74.
- Former Attorney General Edwin Meese the Third is 68.
- Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., is 60.
- Country singer John Wesley Ryles is 49.
- Rock singer Michael McDonald is 47.
- Actor Keith Szarabajka is 47.
- Actor Dan Butler is 45.
- NBC news broadcaster Stone Phillips is 45.
- Actor Dennis Christopher is 44.
- Actor Steven Bauer is 43.
- Rock musician Rick Savage (Def Leppard) is 39.
- Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin is 37.
- Rock musician Nate Mendel (Foo Fighters) is 31.
- Rock singer Jimi HaHa (Jimmie's Chicken Shack) is 31.
- Rapper Treach (Naughty By Nature) is 29.
- Tennis player Monica Seles is 26.
- Singer Britney Spears is 18.
On Dec. 3, 1967, Dr. Christiaan Barnard led a team of surgeons in
Cape Town, South Africa, in performing the first human heart
transplant; the patient, Louis Washkansky, lived 18 days with the
- In 1818 Illinois was admitted as the 21st state.
- In 1828 Andrew Jackson was elected president of the U.S.
- In 1833 Oberlin College in Ohio opened its doors as the first truly
coeducational school of higher learning in the U.S.
- In 1925 "Concerto in F" by George Gershwin had its world premiere at
New York's Carnegie Hall, with Gershwin himself at the piano.
- In 1947 the Tennessee Williams play "A Streetcar Named Desire" opened
- In 1953 the musical "Kismet" opened on Broadway.
- In 1960 the musical "Camelot" opened on Broadway.
- In 1967 the "Twentieth Century Limited," the famed luxury passenger
train, completed its final run from New York to Chicago.
- In 1979 11 people were killed in a crush of fans at Cincinnati's
Riverfront Coliseum, where the British rock group The Who was
- In 1984 more than 4,000 people died after a cloud of gas escaped
from a pesticide plant operated by a Union Carbide subsidiary in
- Ten years ago East German Communist leader Egon Krenz, the ruling
Politburo and the party's Central Committee resigned.
- Five years ago rebel Serbs in Bosnia failed to keep a pledge to
release hundreds of U.N. peacekeepers, some already held for more
than a week. Elizabeth Glaser, who became an AIDS activist after she
and her two children were infected with HIV via a blood transfusion,
died in Santa Monica, Calif., at age 47.
- One year ago Republicans jettisoned campaign fund-raising from their
inquiry of President Clinton, clearing the way for a historic House
Judiciary Committee vote on articles of impeachment.
- Country singer Ferlin Husky is 74.
- Singer Andy Williams is 72.
- Movie director Jean-Luc Godard is 69.
- Singer Jaye P. Morgan is 68.
- Actress Mary Alice is 58.
- Rock singer Ozzy Osbourne is 51.
- Actress Heather Menzies is 50.
- Actress Daryl Hannah is 39.
- Actress Julianne Moore is 39.
- Actor Brendan Fraser is 31.
- Actor Royale Watkins is 30.
- Actor Bruno Campos is 26.
- Actress Lauren Roman is 24.
- Actress Anna Chlumsky is 19.
- Actor Brian Bonsall is 18.
On Dec. 4, 1783, Gen. George Washington bade farewell to his
officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York.
- In 1816, James Monroe of Virginia was elected the fifth
president of the United States.
- In 1839, the Whig Party opened a national convention in
Harrisburg, Pa., where delegates nominated William Henry
Harrison for president.
- In 1918, President Wilson set sail for France to attend the
Versailles Peace Conference.
- In 1942, President Roosevelt ordered the dismantling of the
Works Progress Administration, which had been created to
provide jobs during the Depression.
- In 1942, U.S. bombers struck the Italian mainland for the first
time in World War II.
- In 1945, the Senate approved U.S. participation in the United
- In 1965, the United States launched Gemini VII with Air Force
Lt. Col. Frank Borman and Navy Cmdr. James A. Lovell aboard.
- In 1978, Dianne Feinstein became San Francisco's first woman
mayor when she was named to replace George Moscone, who had
- In 1980, bodies were unearthed of four American church women
slain in El Salvador two days earlier; five national guardsmen
later were convicted in the deaths of nuns Ita Ford, Maura
Clarke and Dorothy Kazel, and lay worker Jean Donovan.
- In 1996, the Mars Pathfinder lifted off from Cape Canaveral and
began a 310 million-mile odyssey to explore the Red Planet's
- Ten years ago: President Bush briefed NATO leaders in Brussels,
Belgium, on the just-concluded Malta summit with Soviet
President Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
- Five years ago: Bosnian Serbs released 53 of some 400 U.N.
peacekeepers held as insurance against further NATO airstrikes.
- One year ago: Space shuttle Endeavour and a crew of six blasted
off on a mission to begin assembling the first international
- Today in 1999, Madeline Kahn, an Oscar-nominated actress and comedian best known for her work in "Paper Moon" and "Blazing Saddles," died Friday of ovarian cancer at age 57.
- Actress-singer Deanna Durbin is 78.
- Game show host Wink Martindale is 65.
- Actor-producer Max Baer Jr. is 62.
- Singer-musician Chris Hillman is 57.
- Rock musician Bob Mosley (Moby Grape) is 57.
- Rock singer Southside Johnny Lyon is 51.
- Actor Jeff Bridges is 50.
- Rock musician Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd; the Rossington
Collins Band) is 48.
- Actress Patricia Wettig is 48.
- Jazz singer Cassandra Wilson is 44.
- Country musician Brian Prout (Diamond Rio) is 44.
- Rock musician Bob Griffin (The BoDeans) is 40.
- Rock singer Vinnie Dombroski (Sponge) is 37.
- Actress Marisa Tomei is 35.
- Actress Chelsea Noble is 35.
- Actress-model Tyra Banks is 26.
- Country singer Lila McCann is 18.
- Actor Orlando Brown ("Family Matters") is 12.
On Dec. 5, 1933, national Prohibition came to an end as Utah became
the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution,
repealing the 18th Amendment.
- In 1776, the first scholastic fraternity in America, Phi Beta
Kappa, was organized at the College of William and Mary in
- In 1782, the first native U.S. president, Martin Van Buren, was born
in Kinderhook, N.Y.
- In 1791, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in Vienna, Austria,
at age 35.
- In 1792, George Washington was re-elected president; John Adams was
re-elected vice president.
- In 1848, President Polk triggered the Gold Rush of '49 by confirming
that gold had been discovered in California.
- In 1901, movie producer Walt Disney was born in Chicago.
- In 1932, German physicist Albert Einstein was granted a visa, making
it possible for him to travel to the United States.
- In 1955, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of
Industrial Organizations merged to form the AFL-CIO under its first
president, George Meany.
- In 1978, the American space probe Pioneer Venus I, orbiting Venus,
began beaming back its first information and picture of the planet.
- In 1979, feminist Sonia Johnson was formally excommunicated by the
Mormon Church because of her outspoken support for the proposed
Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.
- Ten years ago: East Germany's former leaders, including ousted
Communist Party chief Erich Honecker, were placed under house
- Five years ago: Jubilant Republicans chose Newt Gingrich to be the
first GOP speaker of the House in four decades. President Clinton,
on a whirlwind visit to the Conference on Security and Cooperation
in Budapest, Hungary, urged European leaders to "prevent future
- One year ago: James P. Hoffa claimed the Teamsters presidency after
challenger Tom Leedham conceded defeat in the union's presidential
election. Former Senator Albert Gore Sr., father of the vice
president, died at his home in Carthage, Tenn.; he was 90.
- Senate President Pro Tempore Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., is 97.
- Singer Little Richard is 67.
- Author Joan Didion is 65.
- Author Calvin Trillin is 64.
- Musician J.J. Cale is 61.
- Actor Jeroen Krabbe is 55.
- Pop singer Jim Messina is 52.
- Actress Morgan Brittany is 48.
- Actress Carrie Hamilton is 36.
- Country singer Ty England is 36.
- Rock singer-musician John Rzeznick (The Goo Goo Dolls) is 34.
- Country singer Gary Allan is 32.
- Comedian-actress Margaret Cho is 31.
- Actor Ross Bagley is 11.
On Dec. 6, 1889, Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of
the Confederate States of America, died in New Orleans.
- In 1790 Congress moved from New York to Philadelphia.
- In 1884 Army engineers completed construction of the Washington
- In 1923 a presidential address was broadcast on radio for the first
time as President Coolidge spoke to a joint session of Congress.
- In 1939 the Cole Porter musical comedy "Du Barry Was a Lady" opened
- In 1947 Everglades National Park in Florida was dedicated by
- In 1957 America's first attempt at putting a satellite into orbit
blew up on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Fla. AFL-CIO members
voted to expel the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The
Teamsters were readmitted in 1987.
- In 1969 a concert by The Rolling Stones at the Altamont Speedway in
Livermore, Calif., was marred by the deaths of four people,
including one who was stabbed by a Hell's Angel.
- In 1973 House minority leader Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as vice
president, succeeding Spiro T. Agnew.
- In 1988 rock-and-roll pioneer Roy Orbison died near Nashville, Tenn.,
at age 52.
- Ten years ago 14 women were shot to death at the University of
Montreal's school of engineering by a man who then took his own life.
Egon Krenz resigned as leader of East Germany.
- Five years ago former Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell
pleaded guilty to defrauding his former law partners and clients of
nearly $400,000. Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen announced his
resignation. Orange County, Calif., filed for bankruptcy protection
due to investment losses of about $2 billion.
- One year ago in Venezuela, former Lt. Col. Hugo Chavez, who staged a
bloody coup attempt against the government six years earlier, was
elected president. Endeavour's astronauts connected the first two
building blocks of the international space station in the shuttle
- Jazz musician Dave Brubeck is 79.
- Country singer Helen Cornelius is 58.
- Singer Len Barry is 57.
- Actor James Naughton is 54.
- Senator Don Nickles, R-Okla., is 51.
- Actress JoBeth Williams is 46.
- Actor Tom Hulce is 46.
- Actor Kin Shriner is 46.
- Talk show host Wil Shriner is 46.
- Actor Miles Chapin is 45.
- Rock musician Rick Buckler (The Jam) is 44.
- Comedian Steven Wright is 44.
- Country singer Bill Lloyd (Foster and Lloyd) is 44.
- Singer Tish Hinojosa is 44.
- Rock musician Peter Buck (R.E.M.) is 43.
- Actress Janine Turner is 37.
- Rock musician Ben Watt (Everything But The Girl) is 37.
- Rock musician Ulf "Buddha" Ekberg (Ace of Base) is 29.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese forces attacked American and British
territories and possessions in the Pacific, including the home base
of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
- In 1787 Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S.
- In 1796 electors chose John Adams to be the second president of the
- In 1836 Martin Van Buren was elected the eighth president of the
- In 1842 the New York Philharmonic gave its first concert.
- In 1946 fire broke out at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta; the blaze
killed 119 people, including hotel founder W. Frank Winecoff.
- In 1972 America's last moon mission to date was launched as Apollo
17 blasted off from Cape Canaveral.
- In 1982 convicted murderer Charlie Brooks Junior became the first
U.S. prisoner to be executed by injection, at a prison in Huntsville,
- In 1985 retired Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart died in Hanover,
N.H., at age 70.
- In 1987 Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev set foot on American soil
for the first time, arriving for a Washington summit with President
- In 1988 a major earthquake in the Soviet Union devastated northern
Armenia; official estimates put the death toll at 25,000.
- Ten years ago East Germany's Communist Party agreed to cooperate
with the opposition in paving the way for free elections and a
- Five years ago PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, meeting with U.S.
Secretary of State Warren Christopher in Gaza City, pledged to
protect Israelis from militant extremists.
- One year ago on the eve of historic hearings, House Judiciary
Committee Chairman Henry Hyde said there was a "compelling case" for
impeaching President Clinton. Attorney General Janet Reno declined
to seek an independent counsel investigation of President Clinton
over 1996 campaign financing.
- Actor Eli Wallach is 84.
- Bluegrass singer Bobby Osborne is 68.
- Actress Ellen Burstyn is 67.
- Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., is 62.
- ABC News anchorwoman Carole Simpson is 59.
- Baseball Hall-of-Famer Johnny Bench is 52.
- Country singer Gary Morris is 51.
- Singer-songwriter Tom Waits is 50.
- Actress Priscilla Barnes is 44.
- Basketball Hall-of-Famer Larry Bird is 43.
- "Tonight Show" announcer Edd (cq) Hall is 41.
- Rock musician Tim Butler (The Psychedelic Furs) is 41.
- Actor C. Thomas Howell is 33.
- Pop singer Nicole Appleton (All Saints) is 24.
On Dec. 8, 1941, the U.S. entered World War II as Congress declared
war against Japan, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
- In 1776 George Washington's retreating army in the American
Revolution crossed the Delaware River from New Jersey to
- In 1854 Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate
- In 1863 President Lincoln announced his plan for the Reconstruction
of the South.
- In 1886 the American Federation of Labor was founded in Columbus,
- In 1914 "Watch Your Step," the first musical revue to feature a
score composed entirely by Irving Berlin, opened in New York.
- In 1949 the Chinese Nationalist government moved from the Chinese
mainland to Formosa as the Communists pressed their attacks.
- In 1978 former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir died in Jerusalem
at age 80.
- In 1980 rock star John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York
City apartment building by an apparently deranged fan.
- In 1987 President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev
signed a treaty calling for destruction of intermediate-range
- In 1993 President Clinton signed into U.S. law the North American
Free Trade Agreement.
- Ten years ago communist leaders in Czechoslovakia offered to
surrender their control over the government and accept a minority
role in a coalition Cabinet.
- Five years ago Bosnian Serbs released dozens of hostage peacekeepers,
but continued to detain about 300 others. In Los Angeles, 12
alternate jurors were chosen for the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
- One year ago, struggling to stave off impeachment, President Clinton's
defenders forcefully pleaded his case before the House Judiciary
Committee. The Supreme Court ruled that police cannot search people
and their cars after merely ticketing them for routine traffic
violations. San Francisco and several suburbs suffered a power
blackout; it was more than seven hours before electricity was fully
- Singer-songwriter Floyd Tillman is 85.
- Movie director Richard Fleischer is 83.
- Actor-director Maximilian Schell is 69.
- Actor David Carradine is 63.
- Actor James MacArthur is 62.
- Flutist James Galway is 60.
- Singer Jerry Butler is 60.
- Pop musician Bobby Elliott (The Hollies) is 57.
- Actor John Rubenstein is 53.
- Rock singer-musician Gregg Allman is 52.
- Actress Kim Basinger is 46.
- Rock musician Warren Cuccurullo (Duran Duran) is 43.
- Rock musician Phil Collen (Def Leppard) is 42.
- Country singer Marty Raybon (Shenandoah) is 40.
- Rock musician Marty Friedman (Megadeth) is 37.
- Actor Malcolm Gets is 36.
- Actress Teri Hatcher is 35.
- Rapper Bushwick Bill (The Geto Boys) is 33.
- Singer Sinead O'Connor is 33.
- Actor Matthew Laborteaux is 33.
- Rock musician Ryan Newell (Sister Hazel) is 27.
On Dec. 9, 1907, Christmas seals went on sale for the first time at
the Wilmington, Del., post office; proceeds went to fight
- In 1608 English poet John Milton was born in London.
- In 1854 Alfred Lord Tennyson's famous poem, "The Charge of the Light
Brigade," was published in England.
- In 1940 British troops opened their first major offensive in North
Africa during World War II.
- In 1941 China declared war on Japan, Germany and Italy.
- In 1942, the Aram Khachaturian ballet "Gayane," featuring the
surging "Saber Dance," was first performed by the Kirov Ballet.
- In 1958 the anti-Communist John Birch Society was formed in
- In 1965 Nikolai V. Podgorny replaced Anastas I. Mikoyan as president
of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.
- In 1979 Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the religious broadcaster, died
in New York City at age 84.
- In 1992 Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana announced their
separation. The couple's divorce became final in 1996.
- In 1995 Congressman Kweisi Mfume, D-Md., was chosen to become the
new head of the NAACP.
- Ten years ago President Bush's national security adviser, Brent
Scowcroft, and Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger began
a surprise visit to Beijing, six months after China's crackdown on
- Five years ago representatives of the Irish Republican Army and the
British government opened peace talks in Northern Ireland. President
Clinton fired Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders after learning she had
told a conference that masturbation should be discussed in school as
a part of human sexuality.
- One year ago Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee drew up
four articles of impeachment against President Clinton, all stemming
from his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky and long campaign
to cover it up.
- Actor Douglas Fairbanks Junior is 90.
- Actor Kirk Douglas is 83.
- Actress Dina Merrill is 74.
- Actor Dick Van Patten is 71.
- Actor-writer Buck Henry is 69.
- Talk show host Morton Downey Junior is 66.
- Actress Dame Judi Dench is 65.
- Actor Beau Bridges is 58.
- Football Hall-of-Famer Dick Butkus is 57.
- Rock singer-musician Rick Danko (The Band) is 56.
- Actor Michael Nouri is 54.
- Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., is 52.
- Singer Joan Armatrading is 49.
- Actor Michael Dorn is 47.
- Actor John Malkovich is 46.
- Country singer Sylvia is 43.
- Singer Donny Osmond is 42.
- Rock musician Nick Seymour (Crowded House) is 41.
- Actor Joe Lando is 38.
- Actress Allison Smith is 30.
- Rock musician Tre Cool (Green Day) is 27.
- Rapper Canibus is 25.
- Rock musician Eric Zamora (Save Ferris) is 23.
On Dec. 10, 1817, Mississippi was admitted as the 20th state.
- In 1520 Martin Luther publicly burned the papal edict demanding that
he recants, or face excommunication.
- In 1869 women were granted the right to vote in the Wyoming
- In 1898 a treaty was signed in Paris officially ending the
- In 1906 President Theodore Roosevelt became the first American to be
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for helping to mediate an end to the
- In 1931 Jane Addams became a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize,
the first American woman so honored.
- In 1948 the U.N. General Assembly adopted its Universal Declaration
on Human Rights.
- In 1950 Ralph J. Bunche was presented the Nobel Peace Prize, the
first black American to receive the award.
- In 1964 Dr. Martin Luther King Junior received the Nobel Peace Prize
during ceremonies in Oslo, Norway.
- In 1967 singer Otis Redding died in the crash of his private plane
- In 1984 South African Bishop Desmond Tutu received the Nobel Peace
- Ten years ago Czechoslovakia's president, Gustav Husak, resigned
after swearing in a coalition cabinet in which Communists were
relegated to a minority role.
- Five years ago Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin received
the Nobel Peace Prize, pledging to pursue their mission of healing
the anguished Middle East. Advertising executive Thomas Mosser of
North Caldwell, N.J., was killed by a mail bomb blamed on the
- One year ago Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee lined up
one by one in favor of impeaching President Clinton; Democrats vowed
opposition after lawyers clashed in closing arguments over alleged
"high crimes and misdemeanors." Six astronauts jubilantly swung open
the doors to the new international space station, becoming the first
guests aboard the 250-mile-high outpost. The Palestinian leadership
scrapped constitutional clauses rejecting Israel's existence.
- Actor Harold Gould is 76.
- Former Agriculture Secretary Clayton Yeutter is 69.
- Actor Mako is 66.
- Actor Tommy Kirk is 58.
- Actress Fionnula Flannagan is 58.
- Pop singer Chad Stuart (Chad and Jeremy) is 56.
- Actress-singer Gloria Loring is 53.
- Pop-funk musician Walter "Clyde" Orange (The Commodores) is 52.
- Rhythm-and-blues singer Ralph Tavares is 51.
- Rhythm-and-blues singer Jessica Cleaves is 51.
- Country singer Johnny Rodriguez is 48.
- Actress Susan Dey is 47.
- Actor-director Kenneth Branagh is 39.
- Actress Nia Peeples is 38.
- Rock singer-musician J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.) is 34.
- Country singer Kevin Sharp is 29.
- Rock musician Scot (cq) Alexander (Dishwalla) is 28.
- Singer Puff Johnson is 27.
- Violinist Sarah Chang is 19.
- Actress Raven-Symone is 14.
On Dec. 11, 1936, Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in
order to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson.
- In 1719 the first recorded sighting of the Aurora Borealis took
place in New England.
- In 1792 France's King Louis XVI went before the Convention to face
charges of treason. Louis was convicted, and executed the following
- In 1816 Indiana became the 19th state.
- In 1872 America's first black governor took office as Pinckney
Benton Stewart Pinchback became acting governor of Louisiana.
- In 1928 police in Buenos Aires thwarted an attempt on the life of
President-elect Herbert Hoover.
- In 1937 Italy withdrew from the League of Nations.
- In 1941 Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S.; the U.S.
responded in kind.
- In 1946 the U.N. International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
- In 1961 a U.S. aircraft carrier carrying Army helicopters arrived in
Saigon - the first direct American military support for South
Vietnam's battle against Communist guerrillas.
- In 1981 the U.N. Security Council chose Javier Perez de Cuellar of
Peru to be the fifth secretary-general of the world body.
- Ten years ago President Bush, facing criticism at home for sending
two U.S. officials to China, defended the diplomatic overture
despite the Beijing government's crackdown on pro-democracy
demonstrators the previous June.
- Five years ago thousands of Russian troops backed by armored columns
and jets rolled into breakaway republic of Chechnya in a bid to
restore Moscow's control over the region. Leaders of 34 Western
Hemisphere nations signed a free-trade declaration in Miami.
- One year ago majority Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee
pushed through three articles of impeachment against President
Clinton, over Democratic objections. The Mars Climate Orbiter
blasted off on a nine-month journey to the Red Planet; however, the
probe disappeared last September, apparently destroyed because
scientists had failed to convert English measures to metric values.
- Nobel Prize-winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn is 81.
- Actor Jean-Louis Trintignant is 69.
- Actress Rita Moreno is 68.
- Actor Ron Carey is 64.
- California state senator Tom Hayden is 60.
- Pop singer David Gates (Bread) is 59.
- Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is 58.
- Actress Donna Mills is 56.
- Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is 56.
- Singer Brenda Lee is 55.
- Actress Lynda Day George is 53.
- Country producer Tony Brown is 53.
- Actress Teri Garr is 51.
- Movie director Susan Seidelman is 47.
- Actress Bess Armstrong is 46.
- Singer Jermaine Jackson is 45.
- Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 41.
- Rock musician David Schools (Widespread Panic) is 35.
- Actor Rider Strong is 20.
On Dec. 12, 1979, in response to the Iran hostage crisis, the Carter
administration ordered the removal of most Iranian diplomats in the
- In 1787 Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the U.S.
- In 1870 Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina became the first black
lawmaker sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives.
- In 1913 authorities in Florence, Italy, announced that the "Mona
Lisa," stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1911, had been
- In 1917 Father Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town outside Omaha, Neb.
- In 1925, the first motel - the "Motel Inn" - opened in San Luis
- In 1937 Japanese aircraft sank the U.S. gunboat "Panay" on China's
Yangtze River. Japan apologized, and paid $2.2 million dollars in
- In 1947 the United Mine Workers union withdrew from the American
Federation of Labor.
- In 1963 Kenya gained its independence from Britain.
- In 1975 Sara Jane Moore pleaded guilty to a charge of trying to kill
President Ford in San Francisco the previous September.
- In 1985 248 American soldiers and eight crew members were killed
when an Arrow Air charter crashed after takeoff from Gander,
- Ten years ago amid international criticism, Britain forcibly removed
51 Vietnamese from Hong Kong and returned them to their homeland. In
New York, hotel queen Leona Helmsley was sentenced to four years in
prison for tax evasion. Helmsley served 18 months behind bars, plus
a month at a halfway house and two months of house arrest.
- Five years ago the Brazilian Supreme Court acquitted former
President Fernando Collor de Mello of the corruption charges that
had forced him to resign in 1992. IBM stopped shipments of personal
computers with Intel's flawed Pentium chip, saying the processor's
problems were worse than earlier believed.
- One year ago the House Judiciary Committee approved a fourth and
final article of impeachment, this one accusing President Clinton of
abuse of power. President Clinton began a three-day visit to the
Middle East aimed at rescuing the Wye River peace accords. Florida
Gov. Lawton Chiles died in Tallahassee at age 68. Former U.S. Rep.
Morris K. Udall died in Washington, D.C. at age 76.
In 1642 Dutch navigator Abel Tasman arrived in present-day New
- In 1769 Dartmouth College in New Hampshire received its charter.
- In 1835 Phillips Brooks, the American Episcopal bishop who wrote the
words to "O Little Town of Bethlehem," was born in Boston.
- In 1862 Union forces suffered a major defeat to the Confederates at
the Battle of Fredericksburg.
- In 1918 President Wilson arrived in France, becoming the first chief
executive to visit Europe while in office.
- In 1928 George Gershwin's musical work "An American in Paris" had
its premiere at Carnegie Hall in New York.
- In 1944 during World War II, the U.S. cruiser "Nashville" was badly
damaged in a Japanese "kamikaze" suicide attack that claimed 138
- In 1978 the Philadelphia Mint began stamping the Susan B. Anthony
dollar, which went into circulation the following July.
- In 1981 authorities in Poland imposed martial law in a crackdown on
the Solidarity labor movement. Martial law formally ended in 1983.
- In 1997 a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in Los Angeles for the $1
billion Getty Center, one of the largest arts centers in the U.S.
- Ten years ago South African President F.W. de Klerk met for the
first time with imprisoned African National Congress leader Nelson
Mandela, at de Klerk's office in Cape Town.
- Five years ago an American Eagle commuter plane carrying 20 people
crashed short of Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North
Carolina, killing 15.
- One year ago with a grave impeachment threat looming, President
Clinton told a news conference in Jerusalem he would not resign, and
insisted he did not commit perjury. Voters in Puerto Rico rejected
- Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz is 79.
- Actor-comedian Dick Van Dyke is 74.
- Actor Robert Prosky is 69.
- Country singer Buck White is 69.
- Movie producer Richard Zanuck is 65.
- Singer John Davidson is 58.
- Singer Ted Nugent is 51.
- Rock musician Jeff "Skunk" Baxter is 51.
- Country musician Ron Getman is 51.
- Country singer-musician Randy Owen is 50.
- Actress Wendie Malick is 49.
- Actor Robert Lindsay is 48.
- Country singer John Anderson is 45.
- Actor Steve Buscemi is 42.
- Actor Johnny Whitaker is 40.
- Actor-comedian Jamie Foxx is 32.
- Actress Chelsea Hertford is 18.
Two hundred years ago, on Dec. 14, 1799, the first president of the
U.S., George Washington, died at his Mount Vernon home at age 67.
- In 1819 Alabama joined the Union as the 22nd state.
- In 1861 Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, died in London.
- In 1911 Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first man to
reach the South Pole, beating out an expedition led by Robert F.
- In 1939 the Soviet Union was dropped from the League of Nations.
- In 1946 the U.N. General Assembly voted to establish U.N.
headquarters in New York.
- In 1962 the U.S. space probe Mariner II approached Venus,
transmitting information about the planet.
- In 1980 fans around the world paid tribute to John Lennon, six days
after he was shot to death in New York City.
- In 1981 Israel annexed the Golan Heights, which it had seized from
Syria in 1967.
- In 1986 the experimental aircraft "Voyager," piloted by Dick Rutan
and Jeana Yeager, took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California
on the first non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world.
- In 1988 President Reagan authorized the U.S. to enter into a
"substantive dialogue" with the Palestine Liberation Organization,
after chairman Yasser Arafat said he was renouncing "all forms of
- Ten years ago Nobel Peace laureate Andrei D. Sakharov died in Moscow
at age 68.
- Five years ago a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction
blocking almost all of Proposition 187's bans affecting illegal
immigrants in California. Former Arkansas Governor Orval E. Faubus,
whose refusal to let nine black students into Little Rock's Central
High School in 1957 forced President Eisenhower to send in federal
troops, died at age 84.
- One year ago President Clinton stood witness as hundreds of
Palestinian leaders renounced a call for the destruction of Israel.
- Jazz musician Clark Terry is 79.
- "60 Minutes" executive producer Don Hewitt is 77.
- Actor-playwright George Furth is 67.
- Actor Hal Williams is 61.
- Actress Patty Duke is 53.
- Pop singer Joyce Vincent-Wilson (Tony Orlando and Dawn) is 53.
- Entertainment executive Michael Ovitz is 53.
- Actress Dee Wallace Stone is 51.
- Rock musician Cliff Williams (AC/DC) is 50.
- Rock singer-musician Mike Scott (The Waterboys) is 41.
- Singer-musician Peter "Spider" Stacy (The Pogues) is 41.
- Actress Cynthia Gibb is 36.
- Rhythm-and-blues singer Brian Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 24.
- Model Bridget Hall is 22.