2010: Jockey-turned-crime-novelist Dick Francis, who wrote more than 40 international best-sellers, usually centered around horse racing in England, dies of natural causes at the age of 89 in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.
2008: Former Northern Illinois University student Steven Kazmierczak opens fire in a lecture hall of the DeKalb, Ill., school, killing five people and injuring 21 more before committing suicide.
2004: In a suburb of Moscow, Russia, the glass roof of the Transvaal water park collapses, killing more than 25 people and wounding more than 100 others. Engineer Nodar Kancheli, who had designed the structure, first claimed that terrorists likely attacked the attraction, but the cause turned out to be a faulty design.
2003: Dolly the sheep, the first mammal cloned from an adult in 1996, is put to death at age 6 because she had a progressive lung disease and severe arthritis.
2000: The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous - Shoemaker spacecraft enters orbit around asteroid 433 Eros, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid. The spacecraft would orbit the asteroid several more times before finally terminating its mission by touching down on the asteroid on Feb. 12, 2001.
1999: John Ehrlichman, who was counsel and assistant to the president for domestic affairs under President Richard Nixon, dies of complications from diabetes at the age of 73 in Atlanta, Ga. Ehrlichman was a key figure in events leading to the Watergate first break-in and the ensuing Watergate scandal, for which he was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury. He served a year and a half in prison for his crimes.
1992: The comedy "Wayne's World," starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, opens in theaters. The movie, based off a popular "Saturday Night Live" sketch, grossed $121.6 million in its theatrical run, placing it as the 10th highest-grossing film of 1992 and the highest-grossing film ever based on a "Saturday Night Live" skit.
1991: The movie "The Silence of the Lambs," starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Ted Levine and Scott Glenn, and directed by Johnathan Demme, premieres in theaters. The movie would go on gross more than $272 million at the box office and become only the third film to win Academy Awards in all the top five categories: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay).
1989: Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini issues a fatwa encouraging Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie (pictured), the author of "The Satanic Verses," calling the book "blasphemous against Islam."
1988: Composer Frederick Loewe (left), who collaborated with lyricist Alan Jay Lerner (right) to create some of the world's most popular and enduring works of musical theater for both the stage and on film, dies at age 86 in Palm Springs, Calif. Some of Loewe's best known works with Lerner include "Brigadoon," "Gigi," "My Fair Lady" and "Camelot."
1977: The B-52's perform their first concert together at a Valentine's Day party for their friends in their college town of Athens, Ga.
1975: English writer P. G. Wodehouse, best known today for the "Jeeves" and "Blandings Castle" novels and short stories, dies of a heart attack at the age of 93 in Southampton, N.Y.
1972: Singer-songwriter Rob Thomas, best known as the frontman of the band Matchbox Twenty, is born at Ramstein Air Base in Landstuhl, West Germany.
1972: The 1950s tribute musical "Grease" opens off-Broadway at New York City's Eden Theatre, featuring Barry Bostwick and Adrienne Barbeau. The play would prove to be an instant hit, moving to Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre for a record 3,388 performances and spawning one of the most popular movies of all time.
1972: Members of the rock band Steppenwolf, best known for the top 10 hits "Born to Be Wild," "Magic Carpet Ride" and "Rock Me," announce they are splitting up, saying, "We were locked into an image and style of music and there was nothing for us to look forward to." The same day, Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty declared it "Steppenwolf Day" in the city.
1970: Comedian and actor Simon Pegg, best known for his roles in movies such as "Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuss" and the 2009 "Star Trek" reboot, is born in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, England.
1970: The Who play a legendary concert at Leeds University in England that would eventually become the "Live at Leeds" album. The album, the only live album that was released while the band was still actively recording and performing with its best known line-up of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon, has often been cited as one of the best live rock recording of all time.
1967: The Turtles release their song "Happy Together." The song would go on to knock The Beatles' "Penny Lane" out of the No. 1 slot on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks to become the group's only chart-topper.
1966: Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia 76ers scores 41 points to break the NBA career scoring record with a seven-year total of 20,884 points, four points more than retired Hawk Bob Pettit registered in 11 years. Chamberlain would go on to score a total of 31,419 points in his NBA career. He now ranks fourth all-time among NBA career scoring leaders, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan.
1962: First lady Jacqueline Kennedy takes television viewers on a tour of the redecorated White House. The restoration of the White House was Kennedy's first major project as a first lady.
1960: Hall of Fame football quarterback Jim Kelly, who led the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls from 1991 to 1994, is born in Pittsburgh, Pa. A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Kelly passed for 35,467 yards and 237 touchdowns during his 11 seasons in the NFL.
1949: The Knesset, the Israeli parliament, convenes for the first time, replacing the Provisional State Council that had acted as Israel's official legislature from its date of independence on May 14, 1948.
1948: Magician and comedian Teller (right), the frequently silent half of the comedy magic duo Penn & Teller, along with Penn Jillette, is born Raymond Joseph Teller in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1948: Mordecai Brown, whose pitching helped the Chicago Cubs to World Series titles in 1907 and 1908, dies of diabetic complications at age 71 in Terre Haute, Ind. He also helped the Cubs to National League pennants in 1906 and 1910, won 20 or more games each season between 1906 and 1911, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame a year after his death. Brown finished his major-league career with a 239-130 record, 1,375 strikeouts, and a 2.06 ERA, the third best ERA in MLB history amongst players inducted into the Hall of Fame, after Ed Walsh and Addie Joss. His career ERA is also the best in MLB history for any pitcher with more than 200 wins.
1946: Dancer and actor Gregory Hines, best known for movies such as "Running Scared," "White Nights" and "Waiting to Exhale," is born in New York City. He died of liver cancer at age 57 on Aug. 9, 2003.
1946: The black-and-white film noir movie "Gilda," starring Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth, premieres in theaters. The movie featured Hayworth in her signature role as the ultimate femme fatale.
1945: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt meets with King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia aboard the USS Quincy, officially starting the U.S.-Saudi diplomatic relationship.
1944: Film director and screenwriter Alan Parker, best known for directing movies such as "Midnight Express," "Fame," "Pink Floyd—The Wall," "Mississippi Burning," "The Commitments" and "Evita," is born in London, England. Parker earned Academy Award nominations for Best Director for "Midnight Express" and "Mississippi Burning."
1944: Journalist Carl Bernstein, who with his fellow Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward did the majority of the most important news reporting on the Watergate scandal, is born in Washington, D.C.
1942: Politician and media mogul Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City from 2002 through 2012, is born in Boston, Mass. With a net worth of $25 billion as of 2012, he also ranks as one of the richest people in the United States.
1934: Actress Florence Henderson, best known for her role of Carol Brady on the sitcom "The Brady Bunch," is born in Dale, Ind.
1929: Actor Vic Morrow, known for his starring role in the 1960s TV series "Combat!" and for roles in movies such as "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry," "The California Kid" and "The Bad News Bears," is born in New York City. Morrow is also remembered for his tragic death, dying with two child actors when a stunt helicopter crashed on them during the filming of "Twilight Zone: The Movie" in 1982.
1929: In what's termed the "Saint Valentine's Day Massacre," seven people, six of them gangster rivals of Al Capone's gang, are murdered in Chicago, Ill.
1924: The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company changes its name to International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).
1920: The League of Women Voters is founded in Chicago, Ill., during the last meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association about six months before the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution gives women the right to vote. Today, the advocacy group operates one of the largest and longest running non-partisan voter registration efforts in the nation and local chapters often sponsor candidate debates.
1913: Jimmy Hoffa, the labor union leader who served as the Teamsters president between 1958 and 1971, is born in Brazil, Ind. Hoffa would famously go missing on July 30, 1975, and be declared legally dead seven years later, although his body has yet to be found.
1913: College football coach Woody Hayes, who won five national championships and captured 13 Big Ten Conference titles during his 28 years as head coach at Ohio State University, is born in Clifton, Ohio. Hayes, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983, also was head coach for Denison University and Miami University and compiled a career coaching record of 238 wins, 72 losses and 10 ties. He died of a heart attack at age 74 on March 12, 1987.
1912: Arizona is admitted as the 48th U.S. state.
1903: The United States Department of Commerce and Labor is established. It would later be split into the Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor.
1899: Voting machines are approved by the U.S. Congress for use in federal elections.
1895: Oscar Wilde's final play, "The Importance of Being Earnest," opens at the St. James' Theatre in London. The farcical comedy, which satirizes the customs of the Victorian age, would prove to be Wilde's most enduringly popular play.
1894: Actor and comedian Jack Benny, best known for his show "The Jack Benny Program," which ran on radio and TV for more than three decades and was a major influence on the sitcom genre, is born Benjamin Kubelsky in Chicago, Ill. He's seen here in 1960 with his wife, Mary Livingstone. Benny died of pancreatic cancer at age 80 on Dec. 26, 1974.
1891: Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, known for the "scorched earth" policies he implemented in conducting total war against the Confederate States, including his "March to the Sea" from Atlanta, Ga., to the port city of Savannah, Ga., in late 1864, dies at the age of 71 in New York City. When Ulysses S. Grant was elected U.S. president in 1869, Sherman succeeded him as Commanding General of the Army, serving until his retirement in 1883.
1876: Alexander Graham Bell applies for a patent for the telephone, as does electrical engineer Elisha Gray. Bell's patent (No. 174,465) would be issued on March 7, 1876, by the U.S. Patent Office.
1859: George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., an American engineer and inventor most famous for creating the original Ferris Wheel for the 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition, is born in Galesburg, Ill. Despite his invention, Ferris would die on the edge of bankruptcy in 1896, unable to claim enough of his share of the profits from the original Ferris Wheel to cover his expenses.
1859: Oregon is admitted as the 33rd U.S. state.
1849: In New York City, President James K. Polk becomes the first serving U.S. president to have his photograph taken.
1847: Anna Howard Shaw, one of the most influential leaders of the women's suffrage movement, is born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England. Shaw, who was also a physician and the first ordained female Methodist minister in the United States, joined the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1888 at the encouragement of Susan B. Anthony and was a driving force in the organization.
1818: Although the exact date of birth remains unknown, this is the day abolitionist Frederick Douglass chose to celebrate his birthday. Douglass was born a slave in Talbot County, Md., but escaped in 1838 and became a leader of the abolitionist movement, noted for his for his dazzling oratory skills and incisive antislavery writing.
1779: Capt. James Cook is killed by Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii during his third exploratory voyage in the Pacific. Cook had attempted to take hostage the King of Hawaii, Kalani'opu'u, to use as leverage for the return of a small boat that had been stolen from him. When the effort failed, he and his men retreated to the beach. When Cook turned his back to help launch the boats, he was struck on the head and then stabbed to death as he fell into the surf.
1778: The United States Flag is formally recognized by a foreign naval vessel for the first time, when French Adm. Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte renders a nine-gun salute to the USS Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones, as it arrived in Quiberon Bay in France.
1400: The deposed Richard II of England dies, most likely from starvation while in captivity in Pontifract Castle on orders from Henry Bolingbroke, who had claimed the throne for himself as Henry IV.
270: Saint Valentine dies a martyr on Via Flaminia in the north of Rome. Little is known about St. Valentine, with many of the current legends about him being invented in the 14th century in England when the feast day of Feb. 14 first became associated with romantic love. This painting from the 1600s depicts a kneeling Saint Valentine receiving a rosary from the Virgin Mary.
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