2005 – Spain becomes the first country to vote in a referendum on ratification of the proposed Constitution of the European Union, passing it by a substantial margin, but on a low turnout.
1998 – American figure skater Tara Lipinski becomes the youngest gold-medalist at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
1971 – The United States Emergency Broadcast System is accidentally activated in an erroneous national alert.
1965 – Ranger 8 crashes into the Moon after a successful mission of photographing possible landing sites for the Apollo program astronauts.
1962 – Mercury program: While aboard Friendship 7, John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the earth, making three orbits in four hours, 55 minutes.
1956 – The United States Merchant Marine Academy becomes a permanent Service Academy.
1952 – Emmett Ashford becomes the first African-American umpire in organized baseball by being authorized to be a substitute umpire in the Southwestern International League.
1944 – World War II: The "Big Week" began with American bomber raids on German aircraft manufacturing centers.
1944 – World War II: The United States takes Eniwetok Island.
1943 – American movie studio executives agree to allow the Office of War Information to censor movies.
1943 – The Saturday Evening Post publishes the first of Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms in support of United States President Franklin Roosevelt's 1941 State of the Union address theme of Four Freedoms.
1942 – Lieutenant Edward O'Hare becomes America's first World War II flying ace.
1935 – Caroline Mikkelsen becomes the first woman to set foot in Antarctica.
1933 – The Congress of the United States proposes the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution that will end Prohibition in the United States.
1931 – The Congress of the United States approves the construction of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge by the state of California.
1913 – King O'Malley drives in the first survey peg to mark commencement of work on the construction of Canberra.
1901 – The legislature of Hawaii Territory convenes for the first time.
1872 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art opens in New York City.
1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Olustee: The largest battle fought in Florida during the war.
1792 – The Postal Service Act, establishing the United States Post Office Department, is signed by United States President George Washington.
1988 – Kealoha Pilares, American football player. He played college football at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
1988 – Rihanna, Barbadian-American singer-songwriter and actress. Robyn Rihanna Fenty (/riˈænə/ ree-AN-ə; born February 20, 1988) is a Barbadian singer, songwriter, fashion designer, actress and businesswoman, who has been recognized for embracing various musical styles and reinventing her image throughout her career.
1987 – Miles Teller, American actor. His films included The Spectacular Now, Whiplash, The Divergent Series, Bleed for This and Thank You for Your Service.
1985 – Ryan Sweeney, American baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs.
1984 – Ramzee Robinson, American football player. Irrelevant.
1983 – Justin Verlander, American baseball player. Justin Brooks Verlander (born February 20, 1983) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB).
1982 – Jason Hirsh, American baseball player. Jason Michael Hirsh (born February 20, 1982) is a former starting pitcher in Major League Baseball.
1978 – Lauren Ambrose, American actress and producer. Lauren Ambrose is an American actress and singer, known for her work on Broadway and on television.
1977 – Stephon Marbury, American basketball player. He played in the NBA from 1996 to 2009, also as a member of the New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and Boston Celtics.
1975 – Brian Littrell, American singer-songwriter and actor. Brian has had five top 20 solo singles on the Christian charts in the US.
1971 – Calpernia Addams, American actress, author, and activist. Calpernia Sarah Addams (born February 20, 1971) is an American author, actress, musician and spokesperson and activist for transgender rights and issues.
1967 – Andrew Shue, American actor and activist, founded Do Something. Andrew Eppley Shue (born February 20, 1967) is an American actor, known for his role as Billy Campbell on the television series Melrose Place (1992–1999).
1967 – David Herman, American comedian and actor. He is known for his voice-work on the shows Bob's Burgers, Futurama, King of the Hill and OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes.
1967 – Kurt Cobain, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1994), was an American singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the guitarist and frontman of the rock band Nirvana. Regarded as a Generation X icon, he is considered to be one of the most iconic and influential rock musicians in the history of alternative music.
1967 – Lili Taylor, American actress. Lili Anne Taylor (born February 20, 1967) is an American actress notable for her appearances in such award-winning indie films as Mystic Pizza (1988), Say Anything... (1989), Dogfight (1991), Short Cuts (1993) and I Shot Andy Warhol (1996), as well as several big-budget films such as Ransom (1996), The Haunting (1999), Public Enemies (2009), The Conjuring (2013) and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015).
1967 – Tom Waddle, American football player and sportscaster. He also appears on Pro Football Weekly and NFL Network.
1966 – Cindy Crawford, American model and businesswoman. Her years of success at modeling made her an international celebrity that have led to roles in television and film, and work as a spokesperson.
1964 – French Stewart, American actor. Milton French-Stewart (born February 20, 1964), known professionally as French Stewart, is an American actor and dancer, known for his role as Harry Solomon on the 1990s sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun and for his role as Chef Rudy on the sitcom Mom.
1964 – Jeff Maggert, American golfer. Jeffrey Allan Maggert (born February 20, 1964) is an American professional golfer who plays on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions.
1964 – Willie Garson, American actor and director. He is known for playing Stanford Blatch on the HBO series Sex and the City and in the related films Sex and the City and Sex and the City 2, and for his role as Mozzie, in the USA Network series White Collar from 2009 to 2014.
1963 – Charles Barkley, American basketball player and sportscaster. An All-American power forward at Auburn University, he was drafted as a junior by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 5th pick of the 1984 NBA draft.
1962 – Dwayne McDuffie, American author, screenwriter, and producer, co-founded Milestone Media (d. 2011), was an American writer of comic books and television, known for creating the animated television series Static Shock, writing and producing the animated series Justice League Unlimited and Ben 10, and co-founding the pioneering minority-owned-and-operated comic-book company Milestone Media.
1961 – Steve Lundquist, American swimmer. Lundquist (born February 20, 1961) is an American former competition swimmer who is an Olympic gold medalist and former world record-holder.
1960 – Joel Hodgson, American comedian, actor, and screenwriter. In 2007, MST3K was listed as "one of the top 100 television shows of all time" by Time.com.
1959 – Bill Gullickson, American baseball player. William Lee Gullickson (born February 20, 1959 in Marshall, Minnesota) is a former major league baseball pitcher who played for six different major-league teams, in Canada, the U.S. and Japan, during an 18-year professional career, of which 14 seasons were spent in MLB.
1959 – David Corn, American journalist and author. He has been Washington editor for The Nation and appeared regularly on FOX News, MSNBC, National Public Radio, and BloggingHeads.tv opposite various other media personalities.
1959 – Scott Brayton, American race car driver (d. 1996), was an American race car driver on the American open-wheel circuit. He competed in 14 Indianapolis 500s, beginning with the 1981 event.
1954 – Jon Brant, American bass player. Jonathan Edward "Jon" Brant (born February 20, 1955 in Chicago) is an American musician and business owner, best known as the bass player for the band Cheap Trick from 1981 to 1988.
1954 – Patty Hearst, American actress and author. Hearst was found 19 months after being abducted, by which time she was a fugitive wanted for serious crimes committed with members of the group.
1953 – Poison Ivy, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer. Toxicodendron radicans, commonly known as eastern poison ivy or poison ivy, is a poisonous Asian and Eastern North American flowering plant in the genus Toxicodendron.
1951 – Edward Albert, American actor (d. 2006), was an American film and television actor. The son of actor Eddie Albert, he is best remembered for his breakout starring role in Butterflies Are Free (1972) opposite Goldie Hawn, for which he won the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year and was nominated for Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy.
1951 – Randy California, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1997), was a guitarist, singer and songwriter and one of the original members of the rock group Spirit, formed in 1967.
1950 – Walter Becker, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (d. 2017), was an American musician, songwriter, and record producer. He was best known as the co-founder, guitarist, bassist, and co-songwriter of the jazz rock band Steely Dan.
1949 – Ivana Trump, Czech-American socialite and model, was the first of the three wives of Donald Trump. They married in 1977 and divorced in 1991.
1948 – Jennifer O'Neill, American model and actress. Jennifer O'Neill (born February 20, 1948) is a Brazilian-American actress, model, author and speaker, known for her role in the 1971 film Summer of '42 and modelling for CoverGirl cosmetics starting in the 1970s.
1947 – Peter Strauss, American actor and producer. Peter Lawrence Strauss (born February 20, 1947) is an American television and film actor, known for his roles in several television miniseries in the 1970s and 1980s.
1946 – J. Geils, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2017). John Warren Geils Jr. (/ɡaɪlz/) (February 20, 1946 – April 11, 2017), known professionally as J.
1946 – Sandy Duncan, American actress, singer, and dancer. Sandra Kay Duncan (born February 20, 1946) is an American singer, dancer, comedian and actress of stage and television.
1944 – Lew Soloff, American trumpet player, composer, and actor (d. 2015), was an American jazz trumpeter, composer and actor. From New York City, he studied trumpet at the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School.
1942 – Mitch McConnell, American lawyer, and politician. Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr. (born February 20, 1942) is an American politician serving as Kentucky's senior United States senator and as Senate Majority Leader.
1938 – Richard Beymer, American actor, director, and cinematographer. George Richard Beymer, Jr. (born February 20, 1938) is an American actor, filmmaker and artist who is best known for playing the roles of Tony in the film version of West Side Story (1961), Peter in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) and Ben Horne on the television series Twin Peaks (1990–1991, 2017).
1937 – David Ackles, American singer-songwriter and actor (d. 1999), was an American singer-songwriter, pianist, and child actor. He recorded four albums between 1968 and 1973.
1937 – Roger Penske, American race car driver and businessman. Roger Searle Penske (born February 20, 1937) is an American businessman and entrepreneur involved in professional auto racing and formerly a professional auto racing driver himself.
1936 – Larry Hovis, American actor and singer (d. 2003), was an American singer and actor best known for playing Sergeant Carter on the 1960s television sitcom Hogan's Heroes.
1936 – Marj Dusay, American actress. Marj Dusay (/mɑːrdʒ duːˈseɪ/; born Marjorie Ellen Pivonka Mahoney on February 20, 1936, in Russell, Kansas) is an American actress known for her roles on American soap operas.
1935 – Ellen Gilchrist American novelist, short story writer, and poet. She won a National Book Award for her 1984 collection of short stories, Victory Over Japan.
1934 – Bobby Unser, American race car driver. Robert William "Bobby" Unser (born February 20, 1934) is an American former automobile racer.
1931 – John Milnor, American mathematician and academic. John Willard Milnor (born February 20, 1931) is an American mathematician known for his work in differential topology, K-theory and dynamical systems.
1929 – Amanda Blake, American actress (d. 1989), was an American actress best known for the role of the red-haired saloon proprietress "Miss Kitty Russell" on the western television series Gunsmoke. Along with her third husband, Frank Gilbert, she ran one of the first successful programs for breeding cheetahs in captivity.
1928 – Jean Kennedy Smith, American diplomat, 25th United States Ambassador to Ireland. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald, and is their last surviving child.
1928 – Roy Face, American baseball player and carpenter. Elroy Leon Face (born February 20, 1928) is an American former professional baseball relief pitcher.
1927 – Roy Cohn, American lawyer and political activist (d. 1986), was an American lawyer best known for being Senator Joseph McCarthy's chief counsel during the Army–McCarthy hearings in 1954, for assisting with McCarthy's investigations of suspected communists, as a top political fixer, and for being Donald Trump's personal lawyer.
1927 – Sidney Poitier, Bahamian-American actor, director, and diplomat. He was also nominated six times for each of the Golden Globe for Best Actor and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award (BAFTA) for Best Foreign Actor, winning each once.
1926 – Matthew Bucksbaum, American businessman and philanthropist, co-founded General Growth Properties (d. 2013). Matthew and his brothers Martin and Maurice co-founded General Growth Properties (NYSE: GGP).
1926 – Richard Matheson, American author and screenwriter (d. 2013), was an American author and screenwriter, primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres.
1925 – Robert Altman, American director and screenwriter (d. 2006), was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. A five-time nominee of the Academy Award for Best Director and an enduring figure from the New Hollywood era, Altman was considered a "maverick" in making films with a highly naturalistic but stylized and satirical aesthetic, unlike most Hollywood films.
1924 – Gloria Vanderbilt, American actress and fashion designer, was an American artist, author, actress, fashion designer, heiress, and socialite. She was a member of the Vanderbilt family of New York and the mother of CNN television anchor Anderson Cooper.
1923 – Victor G. Atiyeh, American businessman and politician, 32nd Governor of Oregon (d. 2014), was an American politician and member of the Republican Party who served as the 32nd Governor of Oregon from 1979 to 1987. He was also the first elected governor of Syrian descent in the United States.
1920 – Karl Albrecht, German businessman, co-founded Aldi (d. 2014), was a German entrepreneur who founded the discount supermarket chain Aldi with his brother Theo. He was for many years the richest person in Germany.
1918 – Leonore Annenberg, American businesswoman and diplomat (d. 2009), was an American businesswoman, diplomat, and philanthropist. She was noted for serving as Chief of Protocol of the United States from 1981 to 1982.
1916 – Jean Erdman, American dancer and choreographer. Jean Erdman (born February 20, 1916) is an American dancer and choreographer of modern dance as well as an avant-garde theater director.
1914 – John Charles Daly, South African–American journalist and game show host (d. 1991), was a South African-born American radio and television personality, CBS News broadcast journalist, ABC News executive and TV anchor and a game show host, best known as the host and moderator of the CBS television panel show What's My Line?
1913 – Tommy Henrich, American baseball player and sportscaster (d. 2009), was an American professional baseball player of German descent. He played his entire Major League Baseball career as a right fielder and first baseman for the New York Yankees (1937–1942 and 1946–1950).
1906 – Gale Gordon, American actor (d. 1995), was an American character actor perhaps best remembered as Lucille Ball's longtime television foil—and particularly as cantankerously combustible, tightfisted bank executive Theodore J. Mooney, on Ball's second television situation comedy, The Lucy Show.
1902 – Ansel Adams, American photographer and environmentalist (d. 1984), was a landscape photographer and environmentalist known for his black-and-white images of the American West. He helped found Group f/64, an association of photographers advocating "pure" photography which favored sharp focus and the use of the full tonal range of a photograph.
1901 – Louis Kahn, American architect, designed the Salk Institute, the Kimbell Art Museum and the Bangladesh Parliament Building (d. 1974), was an American architect, based in Philadelphia. After working in various capacities for several firms in Philadelphia, he founded his own atelier in 1935.
1901 – René Dubos, French-American biologist and author (d. 1982), was an American microbiologist, experimental pathologist, environmentalist, humanist, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book So Human An Animal. He is credited for having made famous environmental maxim: "Think globally, act locally" Aside from a period from 1942 to 1944 when he was George Fabyan Professor of Comparative Pathology and professor of tropical medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, his scientific career was spent entirely at The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, later renamed The Rockefeller University.
1899 – Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, American businessman and philanthropist (d. 1992), was an American businessman, film producer, writer, philanthropist, polo player, and government official, as well as the owner of a stable of thoroughbred racehorses.
1893 – Elizabeth Holloway Marston, American psychologist and author (d. 1993), was an American attorney and psychologist. She is credited, with her husband William Moulton Marston, for the development of the systolic blood pressure measurement used to detect deception.
1874 – Mary Garden, Scottish-American soprano and actress (d. 1967), was a Scottish operatic soprano with a substantial career in France and America in the first third of the 20th century. She spent the latter part of her childhood and youth in the United States and eventually became an American citizen, although she lived in France for many years and eventually retired to Scotland, where she died.
1870 – Jay Johnson Morrow, American engineer and politician, 3rd Governor of the Panama Canal Zone (d. 1937), was Chief Engineer of the United States First Army and as Deputy Chief Engineer of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I and Governor of the Panama Canal Zone from 1921 to 1924.
1866 – Carl Westman, Swedish architect, designed the Stockholm Court House and Röhsska Museum (d. 1936), was a Swedish architect and interior designer. He was an early adopter of the National Romantic Style, but turned later to the neo-classical style of the 1920s.
1848 – E. H. Harriman, American businessman and philanthropist (d. 1909), was an American railroad executive.
1839 – Benjamin Waugh, English activist, founded the NSPCC (d. 1908), was a Victorian social reformer and campaigner who founded the UK charity, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in the late 19th century, and also wrote various hymns.
1726 – William Prescott, American colonel (d. 1795), was an American colonel in the Revolutionary War who commanded the patriot forces in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Prescott is known for his order to his soldiers, "Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes", such that the rebel troops may shoot at the enemy at shorter ranges, and therefore more accurately and lethally, and so conserve their limited stocks of ammunition.
2017 – Mildred Dresselhaus, American physicist (b. 1930)
2015 – Henry Segerstrom, American businessman and philanthropist (b. 1923)
2015 – John C. Willke, American physician, author, and activist (b. 1925)
2014 – Garrick Utley, American journalist (b. 1939)
2014 – Walter D. Ehlers, American lieutenant, Medal of Honor recipient (b. 1921)
2013 – David S. McKay, American biochemist and geologist (b. 1936)
2012 – Katie Hall, American educator and politician (b. 1938)
2010 – Alexander Haig, American general and politician, 59th United States Secretary of State (b. 1924)
2009 – Larry H. Miller, American businessman and philanthropist (b. 1944)
2006 – Curt Gowdy, American sportscaster (b. 1919)
2005 – Hunter S. Thompson, American journalist and author (b. 1937)
2005 – John Raitt, American actor and singer (b. 1917)
2005 – Sandra Dee, American actress (b. 1942)
2003 – Orville Freeman, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 29th Governor of Minnesota (b. 1918)
2001 – Donella Meadows, American environmentalist, author, and academic (b. 1941)
2001 – Rosemary DeCamp, American actress (b. 1910)
1999 – Gene Siskel, American journalist and critic (b. 1946)
1996 – Audrey Munson, American model (b. 1891)
1996 – Solomon Asch, American psychologist and academic (b. 1907)
1993 – Ernest L. Massad, American general (b. 1908)
1993 – Ferruccio Lamborghini, Italian businessman, founded Lamborghini (b. 1916)
1992 – Dick York, American actor (b. 1928)
1987 – Wayne Boring, American illustrator (b. 1905)
1981 – Nicolas de Gunzburg, French-American banker and publisher (b. 1904)
1972 – Maria Goeppert-Mayer, German-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1906)
1972 – Walter Winchell, American journalist and actor (b. 1897)
1966 – Chester W. Nimitz, American admiral (b. 1885)
1961 – Percy Grainger, Australian-American pianist and composer (b. 1882)
1920 – Robert Peary, American admiral and explorer (b. 1856)
1900 – Washakie, American tribal leader (b. 1798)
1895 – Frederick Douglass, American author and activist (b. 1818)
1893 – P. G. T. Beauregard, American general (b. 1818)
1862 – William Wallace Lincoln, American son of Abraham Lincoln (b. 1850)
1806 – Lachlan McIntosh, Scottish-American general and politician (b. 1725)