E.T.: The Extraterrestrial - the movie - was released. (1982) One of director Steven Spielberg's biggest cult classic films, the movie passed Star Wars as the most financially successful movie, with a gross revenue of almost $800 million U.S. Dollars.
The Committee of Five was assembled to draft a declaration of independence. (1776) Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert R. Livingston and Roger Sherman were appointed by the Continental Congress to pen the document.
American terrorist Timothy McVeigh was executed. (2001) McVeigh was sentenced to death for his role in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, which killed 168 people. It was the deadliest act of terror on American soil to date.
The first inventor of the telephone was identified. (2002) The U.S. Congress recognized Italian inventor Antonio Meucci as the inventor of the telephone. Alexander Graham Bell held the patent, but Congress argued that if Meucci had the funds to pay the $10 U.S. Dollar fee to maintain the patent after 1874, Bell wouldn't have been able to secure it.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a law prohibiting the desecration of the American flag. (1990) The court's ruling stated that self expression through flag burning was a constitutional right.
An escape from Alcatraz federal prison was successful. (1962) Three prisoners, John and Clarence Anglin and Frank Lee Morris, were the only prisoners ever to successfully escape the famed federal prison. Most believe, however, the the trio drowned swimming through San Francisco Bay. Photos and other articles belonging to the group were found, but their bodies never were. The escape was the subject of a 1979 film Escape from Alcatraz.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a Pennsylvania abortion law. (1986) The ruling reestablished its 1973 decision making the right to abortion a constitutional right.
Jeannette Rankin was born. (1880) Rankin was the first female member of the United States Congress. Often referred to as Lady of the House, she served for Montana's 2nd District from March 3, 1917 to March 3, 1919 and for its 1st District from January 3, 1941 to January 3, 1943. To date, she is the only woman elected to Congress from Montana.
American journalist and broadcaster David Brinkley died. (2003) Brinkley was a pioneer for broadcast journalism with a career that spanned 54 years. He was awarded 10 Emmy awards, three Peabody awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
American actor John Wayne died. (1979) Also known as The Duke, Wayne became famous for performing in rugged Western movies, such as True Grit, for which he won a Best Actor Oscar award. He died of stomach cancer at the age of 72.
English actor Hugh Laurie was born. (1959) Laurie first reached fame in the comedy act Fry and Laurie, with his comedy partner Stephen Fry. He now is the noted lead character on the American TV show House.
Hank William, Sr. debuted at the Grand Ole Opry. (1949) The performance was aired on WSN Nashville radio. He was called out by the live audience at Ryman Auditorium for six encores. The audience had to be persuaded not to call for more so the show could go on.
Sir Barton became the first horse to win the Triple Crown. (1919) Winning the Belmont Stakes on this day completed the trio, including wins at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.