Posted: Mar 16, 2017 12:06 AM MDT
Updated: Mar 16, 2017 10:10 AM MDT
2016: Singer and actor Frank Sinatra Jr., the son of legendary singer and actor Frank Sinatra, dies of cardiac arrest at age 72 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
2014: Crimea votes in a controversial referendum to secede from Ukraine to join Russia. The following day, the Crimean parliament formally requested to join the Russian Federation and Russia quickly recognized Crimea as a sovereign state.
2013: Bobby Smith (center), the longtime lead singer of the soul group The Spinners, dies of complications from pneumonia and the flu at age 76 in Orlando, Florida. He was the lead singer on the band's first hit, 1961's "That's What Girls Are Made For," and also sang on a string of Spinners' hits in the 1970s for Atlantic Records, including "I'll Be Around," "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love," "One of a Kind (Love Affair)," "Then Came You" and "Games People Play."
2005: In Redwood City, California, Judge Alfred A. Delucchi sends Scott Peterson to death row for the slaying of his pregnant wife, Laci.
2002: Liza Minnelli marries for the fourth time, wedding promoter David Gest in a lavish ceremony in New York City. The $3.5 million wedding ceremony featured a wedding party of 36 that included best man Michael Jackson, who introduced the couple and escorted Minnelli down the aisle, and maid of honor Elizabeth Taylor.
1995: NASA astronaut Norman Thagard becomes the first American to visit the Russian space station Mir.
1995: Mississippi formally ratifies the 13th Amendment, becoming the last state to approve the abolition of slavery. The amendment had been officially ratified in 1865, but Mississippi lawmakers had balked over a lack of compensation for the value of freed slaves. While the state's legislature ratified the amendment in 1995, due to a paperwork issue the U.S. archivist was never notified of the ratification. The oversight was rectified with official certification in February 2013.
1994: Figure skater Tonya Harding pleads guilty in Portland, Oregon, to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for covering up the attack on her skating rival Nancy Kerrigan after a practice session at the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit. She received three years probation, 500 hours of community service and a $160,000 fine, and was later banned from amateur figure skating.
1988: Mickey Thompson and his wife Trudy are shot to death in their driveway in Bradbury, California. Thompson, known as the "Speed King" and seen here seated in the 1962 Harvey Aluminium Special Indianapolis 500 car, set nearly 500 auto speed endurance records including being the first person to travel more than 400 mph on land. The crime remained unsolved until 2001, when former Thompson business partner Michael Frank Goodwin was charged with orchestrating the murders. He was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to two consecutive life-without-parole terms.
1988: The Kurdish town of Halabjah in Iraq is attacked with a mix of poison gas and nerve agents on the orders of Saddam Hussein, leaving 5,000 people dead and another 10,000 injured. The incident remains the largest chemical weapons attack directed against a civilian-populated area in history.
1985: Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Eddie Shore dies of a lung infection at age 82 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Shore, who played the majority of his career with the NHL's Boston Bruins, won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player four times, the most of any defenseman. Only fellow Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe have won it more often. He also was a part of two Stanley Cup championship teams with the Bruins, in 1928-29 and 1938-39. Shore was known for his toughness and violent style of play, setting a then-NHL record for 165 penalty minutes in his second season. He was also the longtime owner of the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League, and the Eddie Shore Award is given annually to the AHL's best defenseman in his honor.
1978: Supertanker Amoco Cadiz splits in two after running aground on the Portsall Rocks, three miles off the coast of Brittany, France, resulting in the largest oil spill of its kind to that date. The oil spill of 1.6 million barrels of crude oil is now the fifth largest oil spill in history.
1968: During the Vietnam War, between 347 and 504 Vietnamese villagers are killed by U.S. Army soldiers in what became known as the My Lai massacre. Although a total of 26 soldiers were charged with criminal offenses in the incident, only Lt. William Calley Jr., a platoon leader from Company C of the 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry of the 23rd Infantry Division, was convicted. After being found guilty of killing 22 villagers, he originally received a life sentence, but ended up serving only three and a half years under house arrest.
1968: Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" hits No. 1 about three months after his death, becoming the first ever posthumous No. 1 hit on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts.
1967: Actress Lauren Graham, best known for her roles on the TV series "Gilmore Girls" and "Parenthood" as well as in movies such as "Bad Santa" and "Evan Almighty," is born in Honolulu, Hawaii.
1966: NASA launches Gemini 8, the 12th manned American space flight. The mission, piloted by Neil Armstrong, performed the first docking of two spacecraft in orbit, but was forced to make an emergency landing shortly after following the first critical in-space system failure of a U.S. spacecraft. Armstrong and fellow astronaut David Scott, both making their first spaceflight, survived the landing in the Pacific Ocean.
1964: Capitol Records releases The Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love" backed with "You Can't Do That." It would eventually hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, giving them three consecutive No. 1 songs. When it topped the chart on April 11, 1964, the entire top five of the Hot 100 was by the Beatles, the next positions being filled by "Twist and Shout," "She Loves You," "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "Please Please Me," respectively.
1964: Filmmaker Gore Verbinski is born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is best known for directing the first three films of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film series, "The Ring" and "Rango," winning an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for "Rango."
1959: Rapper Flavor Flav, a member of the hip-hop group Public Enemy, is born William Jonathan Drayton Jr. in Roosevelt, New York.
1954: Singer-songwriter and musician Nancy Wilson (right), best known as the lead guitarist of the rock band Heart, with her sister Ann Wilson (left), is born in San Francisco, California. Heart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.
1949: Actor Erik Estrada, who played Frank "Ponch" Poncharello on the 1977-83 TV show "CHiPs," is born in New York City.
1942: Country music singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, best known for writing the song "Mr. Bojangles," is born Ronald Clyde Crosby in Oneonta, New York.
1941: Game show host Chuck Woolery is born in Ashland, Kentucky. He was the original host of "Wheel of Fortune" and also hosted "Love Connection" and "Scrabble."
1940: Director and screenwriter Bernardo Bertolucci, best known for directing movies such as "Last Tango in Paris" and "The Last Emperor," is born in Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. He won two Golden Globes and two Academy Awards in 1988 for writing and directing "The Last Emperor."
1935: Adolf Hitler announces that he would rearm Germany and reintroduce military conscription in open violation of the Treaty of Versailles.
1926: Actor, singer and filmmaker Jerry Lewis is born Joseph Levitch in Newark, New Jersey. Known for his slapstick humor, he first rose to fame by partnering with Dean Martin in the mid-1940s and became known for his roles in movies such as "The Bellboy," "The Ladies Man" and "The Nutty Professor." He's also known for hosting the Muscular Dystrophy Association's annual Labor Day Telethon from 1966 to 2010 and as the national chairman of the MDA for even longer.
1926: Engineer and physicist Robert Goddard launches the first liquid-fueled rocket in a field in Auburn, Massachusetts. The gasoline and liquid oxygen-fueled rocket rose just 41 feet during a 2.5-second flight that ended 184 feet away, but was important in that it demonstrated the feasibility of liquid propellants. The launch site is now a National Historic Landmark.
1916: The 7th and 10th U.S. cavalry regiments under Gen. John J. Pershing (pictured) cross the U.S.-Mexico border to join the hunt for Pancho Villa, who a week earlier had led a raid on Columbus, New Mexico. Pershing pursued Villa unsuccessfully for nine months before being called back to Washington, D.C., when the U.S. entered into World War I.
1912: Pat Nixon, who served as the 39th first lady of the United States from 1969 to 1974 as the wife of President Richard Nixon, is born Thelma Catherine Ryan in Ely, Nevada. She died of lung cancer at age 81 on June 22, 1993.
1906: Comedian and violinist Henny Youngman, known as the King of the One Liners, is born in Liverpool, England. His performances featured short, simple jokes usually delivered rapid-fire, often with violin interludes. Among his best known one-liners was "Take my wife -- please." He died of pneumonia at age 91 on Feb. 24, 1998.
1872: The Wanderers F.C. wins the first FA Cup, the oldest soccer competition in the world, beating Royal Engineers A.F.C. 1-0 at The Oval in Kennington, London.
1850: The novel "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne is published for the first time.
1792: King Gustav III of Sweden is shot in an assassination attempt during a masked ball at the Royal Opera House in Stockholm. He would eventually die from his injuries on March 29.
1751: James Madison, who served as the fourth U.S. president from 1809 to 1817, is born in Port Conway, Virginia Colony. A Founding Father who also served in the House of Representatives and as secretary of state, Madison has been called the "Father of the Constitution" for his role in the drafting of the U.S. Constitution and as a key champion and author of the Bill of Rights.
1621: Samoset, a subordinate chief of the Abenaki tribe, visits the settlers of Plymouth Colony and greets them in broken English he had learned from a group of English fishermen in Maine. He was the first Native American to make contact with the colony's pilgrims.