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Monday 20 May 2024 Calendar with holidays, observances and special days

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Holidays and observances


  • 1996 – Civil rights: The Supreme Court of the United States rules in Romer v. Evans against a law that would have prevented any city, town or county in the state of Colorado from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to protect the rights of gays and lesbians.
  • 1990 – The first post-Communist presidential and parliamentary elections are held in Romania.
  • 1983 – First publications of the discovery of the HIV virus that causes AIDS in the journal Science by Luc Montagnier.
  • 1964 – Discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation by Robert Woodrow Wilson and Arno Penzias.
  • 1956 – In Operation Redwing, the first United States airborne hydrogen bomb is dropped over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.
  • 1949 – In the United States, the Armed Forces Security Agency, the predecessor to the National Security Agency, is established.
  • 1948 – Chiang Kai-shek is elected as the first President of the Republic of China.
  • 1940 – The Holocaust: The first prisoners arrive at a new concentration camp at Auschwitz.
  • 1932 – Amelia Earhart takes off from Newfoundland to begin the world's first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a female pilot, landing in Ireland the next day.
  • 1902 – Cuba gains independence from the United States. Tomás Estrada Palma becomes the country's first President.
  • 1891 – History of cinema: The first public display of Thomas Edison's prototype kinetoscope.
  • 1873 – Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis receive a U.S. patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Ware Bottom Church: In the Virginia Bermuda Hundred Campaign, 10,000 troops fight in this Confederate victory.
  • 1861 – American Civil War: The state of Kentucky proclaims its neutrality, which will last until September 3 when Confederate forces enter the state. Meanwhile, the State of North Carolina secedes from the Union.
  • 1609 – Shakespeare's sonnets are first published in London, perhaps illicitly, by the publisher Thomas Thorpe.
  • 1570 – Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issues Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas.
  • 1498 – Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama discovers the sea route to India when he arrives at Kozhikode (previously known as Calicut), India.
  • 325 – The First Council of Nicaea is formally opened, starting the first ecumenical council of the Christian Church.


  • 1993 – Caroline Zhang, American figure skater. She is a two-time (2010 and 2012) Four Continents bronze medalist, the 2007 World Junior Champion, the 2006 Junior Grand Prix Final champion, and a three-time U.S. national medalist (bronze in 2009, pewter in 2008 and 2012).
  • 1987 – Julian Wright, American basketball player. Julian Emil-Jamaal Wright (born May 20, 1987) is an American professional basketball player for Tianjin Pioneers of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).
  • 1984 – Keith Grennan, American football player. He was signed by the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2007.
  • 1981 – Lindsay Taylor, American basketball player. Primeiro de Agosto in Angola.
  • 1981 – Rachel Platten, American singer and songwriter. Platten won a Daytime Emmy Award for a live performance of the song on Good Morning America.
  • 1980 – Austin Kearns, American baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 2002 through 2013 for the Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, and Miami Marlins.
  • 1980 – Kassim Osgood, American football player. He has also played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions.
  • 1979 – Jayson Werth, American baseball player. Jayson Richard Gowan Werth (born May 20, 1979), is an American former professional baseball outfielder, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Washington Nationals.
  • 1977 – Angela Goethals, American actress. Throughout the 1990s, Goethals went on to star in several independent films and television shows, including a leading role on the sitcom Phenom (1993), as well as a small role in Jerry Maguire (1996).
  • 1977 – Matt Czuchry, American actor. He currently stars as Dr.
  • 1976 – Ramón Hernández, Venezuelan-American baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Oakland Athletics (1999–2003), San Diego Padres (2004–2005), Baltimore Orioles (2006–2008), Cincinnati Reds (2009–2011), Colorado Rockies (2012) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2013).
  • 1974 – Allison Amend, American novelist and short story writer. Allison Amend (born May 20, 1974) is an American novelist and short story writer.
  • 1972 – Busta Rhymes, American rapper, producer, and actor. Trevor George Smith Jr. (born May 20, 1972), known professionally as Busta Rhymes, is an American rapper, musician, singer, record producer, record executive, and actor.
  • 1971 – Tony Stewart, American race car driver. Anthony Wayne Stewart (born May 20, 1971), nicknamed Smoke, is an American former professional stock car racing driver and current NASCAR team owner.
  • 1970 – Terrell Brandon, American basketball player. He played for three teams during his 11-year career in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
  • 1969 – Road Dogg, American wrestler, producer, and soldier. Brian Girard James (born May 20, 1969) is a retired American professional wrestler and producer, currently signed to WWE.
  • 1968 – Timothy Olyphant, American actor and producer. He then branched out to film; in the early years of his career, he was often cast in supporting villainous roles, most notably in Scream 2 (1997), Go (1999), A Man Apart (2003) and The Girl Next Door (2004).
  • 1966 – Dan Abrams, American journalist and author. Dan Abrams (born May 20, 1966) is an American web entrepreneur and television presenter who serves as the chief legal affairs anchor for ABC News, host of Live PD on the A&E cable network, and hosts The Dan Abrams Show: Where Politics Meets The Law on SiriusXM's P.O.T.U.S. channel.
  • 1965 – Ted Allen, American television host and author. On April 13, 2014, he became the host of another Food Network show, originally called America's Best Cook; a retooled version of that show, retitled All-Star Academy, which debuted on March 1, 2015.
  • 1963 – David Wells, American baseball player and sportscaster. David Lee Wells (born May 20, 1963), nicknamed "Boomer", is an American former Major League Baseball pitcher.
  • 1960 – Tony Goldwyn, American actor and director. He starred in the ABC legal/political drama Scandal as Fitzgerald Grant III, a fictional president of the United States, from 2012 to 2018.
  • 1959 – Susan Cowsill, American singer-songwriter. Susan Claire Cowsill (born May 20, 1959; Canton, Ohio) is a musician, vocalist and songwriter.
  • 1958 – Jane Wiedlin, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actress. Wiedlin has also had a solo musical career.
  • 1958 – Ron Reagan, American journalist and radio host. Ronald Prescott Reagan (born May 20, 1958) is an American former radio host and political analyst for KIRO radio and later, Air America Radio, where he hosted his own daily three-hour show.
  • 1956 – Douglas Preston, American journalist and author. He has authored a half-dozen non-fiction books on science and exploration and writes occasionally for The New Yorker, Smithsonian, and other magazines.
  • 1954 – David Paterson, American lawyer and politician, 55th Governor of New York. David Alexander Paterson (born May 20, 1954) is an American politician who served as the 55th Governor of New York, succeeding Eliot Spitzer and serving out nearly three years of Spitzer's term from March 2008 to the end of 2010.
  • 1951 – Mike Crapo, American lawyer and politician, was first elected to in 1998. A Republican, he previously served as the U.S.
  • 1951 – Thomas Akers, American colonel, engineer, and astronaut. Thomas Dale Akers (born May 20, 1951) is a former American astronaut in NASA's Space Shuttle program.
  • 1950 – Andy Johns, English-American engineer and producer (d. 2013), was a British sound engineer and record producer, who worked on several well-known rock albums, including the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street (1972), Television's Marquee Moon (1977), and a series of albums by Led Zeppelin during the 1970s. His sound is exemplified by Free's album Highway, which he engineered and produced.
  • 1946 – Bobby Murcer, American baseball player, coach, manager, and sportscaster (d. 2008), was an American Major League Baseball outfielder who played for 17 seasons between 1965 and 1983, mostly with the New York Yankees, whom he later rejoined as a longtime broadcaster. A Gold Glove winner and five-time All-Star, Murcer led the American League in on-base percentage in 1971, and in runs and total bases in 1972.
  • 1946 – Cher, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress. Cher (/ʃɛər/; born Cherilyn Sarkisian; May 20, 1946) is an American singer, actress and television personality.
  • 1944 – Dietrich Mateschitz, Austrian businessman, co-founded Red Bull GmbH. As of June 2019, Mateschitz's net worth was estimated at $19.5 billion, making him the 53rd richest person in the world.
  • 1942 – Carlos Hathcock, American sergeant and sniper (d. 1999), was a United States Marine Corps (USMC) sniper with a service record of 93 confirmed kills. Hathcock's record and the extraordinary details of the missions he undertook made him a legend in the U.S.
  • 1942 – Raymond Chrétien, Canadian lawyer and diplomat, Canadian Ambassador to the United States. He holds many honours and titles, including Officer of the Order of Canada, Commander in the Legion of Honour (France) and Officer of the Order of the Aztec Eagle.
  • 1941 – John Strasberg, American actor and teacher. John Strasberg (born May 20, 1941 in New York City) is the son of Lee and Paula Strasberg of the Actors Studio, and brother of actress Susan Strasberg.
  • 1940 – Shorty Long, American singer-songwriter and producer (d. 1969), was an American soul singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer for Motown's Soul Records imprint. He was placed in the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1980.
  • 1937 – Dave Hill, American golfer (d. 2011). David John Hill (born 4 April 1946) is an English musician, who is the lead guitarist and backing vocalist in the English band Slade.
  • 1936 – Anthony Zerbe, American actor. Notable film roles include the post-apocalyptic cult leader Matthias in The Omega Man, a 1971 film adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1954 novel, I Am Legend; as a corrupt gambler in Farewell, My Lovely; as Abner Devereaux in Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park; as villain Milton Krest in the James Bond film Licence to Kill; Rosie in The Turning Point; Roger Stuart in The Dead Zone; Admiral Dougherty in Star Trek: Insurrection and Councillor Hamann in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.
  • 1933 – Constance Towers, American actress and singer. Her accolades include two Emmy Award nominations.
  • 1931 – Ken Boyer, American baseball player and manager (d. 1982). Kenton Lloyd "Ken" Boyer (May 20, 1931 – September 7, 1982) was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) third baseman, coach and manager who played on the St.
  • 1930 – Sam Etcheverry, American football player and coach (d. 2009), was a professional American and Canadian football player and head coach. Etcheverry played the quarterback position, most famously with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, and was named Canadian football's Most Outstanding Player in 1954.
  • 1927 – Bud Grant, American football player and coach. Harry Peter "Bud" Grant Jr. (born May 20, 1927) is a former head coach and player of American football, Canadian football, and a former basketball player in the NBA.
  • 1927 – David Hedison, American actor, was an American film, television, and stage actor. He was billed as Al Hedison in his early film work until 1959 when he was cast in the role of Victor Sebastian in the short-lived espionage television series Five Fingers.
  • 1926 – Bob Sweikert, American race car driver (d. 1956), was an American racing driver, best known as the winner of the 1955 Indianapolis 500 and the 1955 National Championship, as well as the 1955 Midwest Sprint car championship - the only driver in history to sweep all three in a single season.
  • 1925 – Alexei Tupolev, Russian engineer, designed the Tupolev Tu-144 (d. 2001), was a Soviet aircraft designer who led the development of the first supersonic passenger jet, the Tupolev Tu-144. He also helped design the Buran space shuttle and the long-range heavy bomber Tu-2000, both of which were suspended for lack of funding.
  • 1924 – David Chavchavadze, English-American CIA officer and author (d. 2014), was an American author and a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer of Georgian-Russian origin.
  • 1923 – Edith Fellows, American actress (d. 2011), was an American actress who became a child star in the 1930s. Best known for playing orphans and street urchins, Fellows was an expressive actress with a good singing voice.
  • 1921 – Hal Newhouser, American baseball player and scout (d. 1998), was an American professional baseball player. In Major League Baseball (MLB), he pitched 17 seasons on the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians, from 1939 through 1955.
  • 1921 – Hao Wang, Chinese-American logician, philosopher, and mathematician (d. 1995). Wang Hao is the name of:
  • 1919 – George Gobel, American comedian (d. 1991), was an American humorist, actor, and comedian. He was best known as the star of his own weekly comedy variety television series, The George Gobel Show, broadcasting from 1954 to 1959 on NBC, and on CBS from 1959 to 1960, (alternating in its final season with The Jack Benny Program).
  • 1918 – Edward B. Lewis, American biologist, geneticist, and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2004), was an American geneticist, a corecipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He helped to found the field of evolutionary developmental biology.
  • 1913 – William Redington Hewlett, American engineer, co-founded Hewlett-Packard (d. 2001), was an American engineer and the co-founder, with David Packard, of the Hewlett-Packard Company (HP).
  • 1911 – Gardner Fox, American author (d. 1986), was an American writer known best for creating numerous comic book characters for DC Comics. Comic book historians estimate that he wrote more than 4,000 comics stories, including 1,500 for DC Comics.
  • 1908 – Francis Raymond Fosberg, American botanist and author (d. 1993). A prolific collector and author, he played a significant role in the development of coral reef and island studies.
  • 1908 – James Stewart, American actor (d. 1997), was an American actor and military officer who is among the most honored and popular stars in film history. Known for his distinctive drawl, down-to-earth authentic personas and everyman acting style, Stewart had a film career that spanned over 55 years and 80 films.
  • 1907 – Carl Mydans, American photographer and journalist (d. 2004), was an American photographer who worked for the Farm Security Administration and Life magazine.
  • 1901 – Doris Fleeson, American journalist (d. 1970), was an American journalist and columnist and was the first woman in the United States to have a nationally syndicated political column.
  • 1899 – John Marshall Harlan II, American lawyer and jurist (d. 1971), was an American lawyer and jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1955 to 1971.
  • 1895 – R. J. Mitchell, English engineer, designed the Supermarine Spitfire and Supermarine S.6B (d. 1937), was an English aeronautical engineer who worked for Supermarine Aviation. Between 1920 and 1936 he designed many aircraft.
  • 1886 – Ali Sami Yen, Turkish footballer and manager, founded the Galatasaray Sports Club (d. 1951), was an Albanian-Turkish sports official best known as the founder of the Galatasaray Sports Club. After the enactment of law on family names in 1934, he took the surname Yen, which literally means "win" in the Turkish language.
  • 1877 – Pat Leahy, Irish-American jumper (d. 1927). Patrick Leahy is a United States Senator from Vermont.
  • 1851 – Emile Berliner, German-American inventor, invented the Gramophone record (d. 1929), was a German-born American inventor. He is best known for inventing the flat disc record (called a "gramophone record" in British and American English) and the Gramophone.
  • 1818 – William Fargo, American businessman and politician, co-founded Wells Fargo and American Express (d. 1881), was a pioneer American expressman who helped found the modern day financial firms of American Express Company and Wells Fargo with his business partner, Henry Wells. He was also the 27th Mayor of Buffalo, serving from 1862 until 1866 during the U.S.
  • 1772 – Sir William Congreve, 2nd Baronet, English inventor and politician, developed Congreve rockets (d. 1828), was a British military officer who improved artillery strength through gunpowder experiments.
  • 1759 – William Thornton, Virgin Islander-American architect, designed the United States Capitol (d. 1828). He also served as the first Architect of the Capitol and first Superintendent of the United States Patent Office.


  • 2015 – Bob Belden, American saxophonist, composer, and producer (b. 1956)
  • 2014 – Arthur Gelb, American journalist, author, and critic (b. 1924)
  • 2014 – Sandra Bem, American psychologist and academic (b. 1944)
  • 2013 – Ray Manzarek, American singer-songwriter, keyboard player, and producer (b. 1939)
  • 2013 – Zach Sobiech, American singer-songwriter (b. 1995)
  • 2012 – Andrew B. Steinberg, American lawyer (b. 1958)
  • 2012 – Eugene Polley, American engineer, invented the remote control (b. 1915)
  • 2012 – Ken Lyons, American bass guitarist (b. 1953)
  • 2011 – Randy Savage, American wrestler and actor (b. 1952)
  • 2009 – Arthur Erickson, Canadian architect and urban planner, designed Roy Thomson Hall (b. 1924)
  • 2008 – Hamilton Jordan, American politician, 8th White House Chief of Staff (b. 1944)
  • 2005 – William Seawell, American general (b. 1918)
  • 2002 – Stephen Jay Gould, American paleontologist, biologist, and academic (b. 1941)
  • 2000 – Malik Sealy, American basketball player and actor (b. 1970)
  • 1989 – Gilda Radner, American actress and comedian (b. 1946)
  • 1964 – Rudy Lewis, American singer (b. 1936)
  • 1909 – Ernest Hogan, American actor and composer (b. 1859)
  • 1506 – Christopher Columbus, Italian explorer, discovered the Americas (b. 1451)