Japan Kanji Day (Kanji are Chinese characters used in modern Japanese writing along with hiragana, katakana, Arabic numerals, and romaji. On this day, the kanji of the year is chosen and announced at a special ceremony. It is selected by the Japan Kanji Professionals Society through the national ballot)
2012 – North Korea successfully launches its first satellite, Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2, using an Unha-3 carrier rocket.
2000 – The United States Supreme Court releases its decision in Bush v. Gore.
1985 – Arrow Air Flight 1285, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8, crashes after takeoff in Gander, Newfoundland, killing all 256 people on board, including 236 members of the United States Army's 101st Airborne Division.
1964 – Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta becomes the first President of the Republic of Kenya.
1963 – Kenya gains its independence from the United Kingdom.
1950 – Paula Ackerman, the first woman appointed to perform rabbinical functions in the United States, leads the congregation in her first services.
1941 – World War II: The United Kingdom declares war on Bulgaria. Hungary and Romania declare war on the United States. India declares war on Japan.
1939 – Winter War: Battle of Tolvajärvi: Finnish forces defeat those of the Soviet Union in their first major victory of the conflict.
1935 – Lebensborn Project, a Nazi reproduction program, is founded by Heinrich Himmler.
1918 – The Flag of Estonia is raised atop the Pikk Hermann for the first time.
1901 – Guglielmo Marconi receives the first transatlantic radio signal (the letter "S" in Morse Code), at Signal Hill in St John's, Newfoundland.
1897 – Belo Horizonte, the first planned city in Brazil, is founded.
1870 – Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina becomes the second black U.S. congressman, the first being Hiram Revels.
1862 – American Civil War: USS Cairo sinks on the Yazoo River, becoming the first armored ship to be sunk by a controlled mine.
1787 – Pennsylvania becomes the second state to ratify the United States Constitution, five days after Delaware became the first.
1781 – American Revolutionary War: Second Battle of Ushant: A British fleet led by HMS Victory defeats a French fleet.
1408 – The Order of the Dragon, a monarchical chivalric order, is created by Sigismund of Luxembourg, then king of Hungary.
1098 – First Crusade: Siege of Ma'arrat al-Numan: Crusaders breach the town's walls and massacre about 20,000 inhabitants. After finding themselves with insufficient food, they reportedly resort to cannibalism.
1994 – Otto Warmbier, American student imprisoned in North Korea (d. 2017), was an American college student who was imprisoned in North Korea in 2016 on a charge of subversion. In June 2017, he was released by North Korea in a vegetative state and died soon afterward.
1989 – Mike Glennon, American football player. Michael Joseph Glennon (born December 12, 1989) is an American football quarterback for the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League (NFL).
1986 – T. J. Ward, American football player. J." Ward Jr. (born December 12, 1986) is an American football safety who is currently a free agent.
1985 – David Veikune, American football player. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
1985 – Pat Calathes, Greek-American basketball player. Patrick Sean Calathes (Greek: Πατρίκιος Σον "Πατ" Καλάθης, born on December 12, 1985) is a Greek-American former professional basketball player.
1981 – Jeret Peterson, American skier (d. 2011), was an American World Cup aerial skier from Boise, Idaho, skiing out of Bogus Basin. A three-time Olympian, he won the silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
1981 – Ronnie Brown, American football player. Brown Jr. (born December 12, 1981) is a former American football running back.
1979 – Garrett Atkins, American baseball player. Garrett Bernard Atkins (born December 12, 1979) is an American former Major League Baseball third baseman.
1979 – John Salmons, American basketball player. John Rashall Salmons (born December 12, 1979) is an American former professional basketball player who last played for the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
1979 – Nate Clements, American football player. Clements (born December 12, 1979) is a former American football cornerback in the National Football League (NFL).
1978 – Gbenga Akinnagbe, American actor and screenwriter. Olugbenga Enitan Temitope "Gbenga" Akinnagbe /ˈbɛŋɡə əˈkiːnəbeɪ/ BENG-gə ə-KEEN-ə-bay is an American actor and writer, best known for his roles as Chris Partlow on the HBO series The Wire and as Larry Brown on the HBO series The Deuce.
1977 – Orlando Hudson, American baseball player. Hudson was known for his fielding abilities, and for making spectacular lunging catches and diving stabs at grounders.
1975 – Mayim Bialik, American actress. Bialik later played neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory from 2010 to 2019.
1974 – Bernard Lagat, Kenyan-American runner. Bernard Kipchirchir Lagat (born December 12, 1974) is a Kenyan-American middle and long-distance runner.
1973 – Tony Hsieh, American businessman, founded LinkExchange. Tony Hsieh (/ˈʃeɪ/ shay; (Chinese: 謝家華; born December 12, 1973) is an American internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist.
1972 – Hank Williams III, American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Shelton Hank Williams (born December 12, 1972), known as Hank Williams III and Hank 3, is an American musician, singer and multi-instrumentalist, known for his alternating musical style, between country, punk rock and heavy metal.
1970 – Jennifer Connelly, American actress. Connelly continued modeling and acting, starring in a number of films, including the horror film Phenomena (1985), the musical fantasy film Labyrinth (1986), the romantic comedy Career Opportunities (1991), and the period superhero film The Rocketeer (1991).
1970 – Regina Hall, American actress. Hall, who was an English major in college and studied journalism in graduate school, envisioned a career as a journalist, but ventured into acting in her late twenties.
1968 – Rory Kennedy, American director and producer. Rory Elizabeth Katherine Kennedy (born December 12, 1968) is an American documentary filmmaker and youngest child of U.S.
1967 – John Randle, American football player. John Anthony Randle (born December 12, 1967) is a former American football defensive tackle who played for the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL).
1966 – Royce Gracie, Brazilian-American mixed martial artist and actor. A member of the famed Gracie family, he is considered to be one of the most influential figures in the history of MMA.
1964 – Haywood Jeffires, American football player and coach, was selected by the Houston Oilers in the 1st round (20th overall) of the 1987 NFL Draft out of North Carolina State. A 6'2", 198 lb (90 kg). wide receiver, Jeffires played in 10 NFL seasons from 1987 to 1996.
1962 – Arturo Barrios, Mexican-American runner. Arturo Barrios Flores (born December 12, 1962 in Mexico City) is a Mexican long-distance runner who set the 10,000 m world record in 1989, the one hour world record in 1991, and the 20,000 m world record en route to the one hour run world record.
1962 – Mike Golic, American football player and radio host. Michael Louis Golic Sr. (/ˈɡoʊlɪk/; born December 12, 1962) is a former co-host of ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike, a current co-host of Golic and Wingo, and a former National Football League (NFL) defensive lineman.
1962 – Peter Bergen, American-English journalist and author. Peter Bergen (born December 12, 1962) is an American journalist, author, and producer who serves as CNN's national security analyst, New America's vice president, and as a professor of practice at Arizona State University.
1962 – Tracy Austin, American tennis player and sportscaster. Additionally, she won the WTA Tour Championships in 1980 and the year-ending Toyota Championships in 1981, both in singles.
1958 – Alexander Crutchfield, American businessman, financier and investor. Alexander Crutchfield (born December 12, 1958) is an American businessman, financier and investor.
1957 – Sheila E., American singer-songwriter, drummer, and actress. Sheila Cecelia Escovedo (born December 12, 1957), better known under the stage name Sheila E., is an American percussionist, singer, author, and actress.
1953 – Bruce Kulick, American guitarist and songwriter. Bruce Howard Kulick (born December 12, 1953) is an American guitarist, musician and since 2000 a member of the band Grand Funk Railroad.
1953 – Rafael Septién, Mexican-American football player. He played college football at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
1952 – Cathy Rigby, American gymnast. Cathleen Roxanne Rigby (later Mason, later McCoy, born December 12, 1952), known as Cathy Rigby, is an actress, speaker, and former artistic gymnast.
1950 – Gorman Thomas, American baseball player. Thomas played in the American League (AL) with the Milwaukee Brewers (1973–76, 1978–83, 1986), Cleveland Indians (1983) and Seattle Mariners (1984–86).
1947 – Wings Hauser, American actor, director, and screenwriter. He received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for his supporting role in Tough Guys Don't Dance (1987).
1944 – Rob Tyner, American singer-songwriter and bass player (d. 1991). Derminer (December 12, 1944 – September 18, 1991), known as Rob Tyner, was an American musician best known as lead singer for the Detroit proto-punk band, MC5.
1943 – Dickey Betts, American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Forrest Richard Betts (born December 12, 1943) known as Dickey Betts, is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter, and composer best known as a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band.
1943 – Grover Washington, Jr., American singer-songwriter, saxophonist, and producer (d. 1999), was an American jazz-funk / soul-jazz saxophonist. Along with George Benson, John Klemmer, David Sanborn, Bob James, Chuck Mangione, Dave Grusin, Herb Alpert, and Spyro Gyra, he is considered by many to be one of the founders of the smooth jazz genre.
1942 – Morris Sadek, Egyptian-American lawyer and activist, was denounced by protesters at American embassies and consulates. His Egyptian citizenship had previously been revoked for promoting the invasion of Egypt and attacking Islam.
1940 – Dionne Warwick, American singer. Marie Dionne Warwick (/ˌdiːɒn ˈwɒrɪk/ DEE-on WORR-ik; née Warrick; born December 12, 1940) is a six-time Grammy Award-winning singer, actress, television host, and former United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization and United States Ambassador of Health.
1939 – Terry Kirkman, American singer-songwriter and musician. Terry Robert Kirkman (born December 12, 1939) is an American musician, singer of the band the Association and writer of the hit songs "Cherish," "Everything That Touches You," and "Six Man Band" among many others.
1938 – Connie Francis, American singer and actress. Connie Francis (born Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero, December 12, 1938) is an American pop singer, former actress, and top-charting female vocalist of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
1937 – Buford Pusser, American police officer (d. 1974), was the Sheriff of McNairy County, Tennessee, from 1964 to 1970 and Constable of Adamsville from 1970 to 1972. Pusser is known for his virtual one-man war on moonshining, prostitution, gambling, and other vices along the Mississippi–Tennessee state line.
1932 – Bob Pettit, American basketball player and coach. Louis Hawks (1954–1965).
1930 – Silvio Santos, Brazilian television host and businessman, founded Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão. Senor Abravanel (born December 12, 1930), known professionally as Silvio Santos, is a Brazilian entrepreneur, media tycoon and television host.
1928 – Helen Frankenthaler, American painter and academic (d. 2011), was an American abstract expressionist painter. She was a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting.
1927 – Robert Noyce, American inventor and businessman, co-founded the Intel Corporation (d. 1990), was an American physicist who co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel Corporation in 1968. He is also credited with the realization of the first monolithic integrated circuit or microchip, which fueled the personal computer revolution and gave Silicon Valley its name.
1924 – Ed Koch, American lawyer, judge, and politician, 105th Mayor of New York City (d. 2013), was an American lawyer, politician, political commentator, movie critic, and television personality. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1969 to 1977 and was mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989.
1923 – Bob Barker, American game show host and producer. He is also known for hosting Truth or Consequences from 1956 to 1974.
1923 – Bob Dorough, American musician, composer, and producer, was an American bebop and cool jazz vocalist, pianist, composer, songwriter, arranger and producer. Dorough became famous as the composer and performer of songs in the series Schoolhouse Rock!, as well as for his work with Miles Davis, Blossom Dearie, and others.
1920 – Fred Kida, American illustrator (d. 2014), was a Japanese-American comic book and comic strip artist best known for the 1940s aviator hero Airboy and his antagonist and sometime ally Valkyrie during the period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books. He went on to draw for Marvel Comics' 1950s iteration, Atlas Comics, in a variety of genres and styles, and then again for Marvel superhero titles in the 1970s.
1919 – Dan DeCarlo, American soldier and illustrator (d. 2001). DeCarlo (December 12, 1919 – December 18, 2001) was an American cartoonist best known for having developed the look of Archie Comics in the late 1950s and early 1960s, modernizing the characters to their contemporary appearance and establishing the publisher's house style up until his death.
1915 – Frank Sinatra, American singer, actor, and producer (d. 1998), was an American singer, actor and producer who was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide.
1912 – Henry Armstrong, American boxer (d. 1988), was an American professional boxer and a world boxing champion who fought under the name Henry Armstrong.
1909 – Karen Morley, American actress and political activist (d. 2003), was an American film actress.
1904 – Nicolas de Gunzburg, French-American banker and journalist (d. 1981), was a French-born magazine editor and socialite of Russian-Jewish, Polish, and Portuguese descent. He became an editor at several American publications, including Town & Country, Vogue, and Harper's Bazaar.
1902 – Adele Dunlap, American educator and supercentenarian (d. 2017). American supercentenarians are citizens or residents of the United States who have attained or surpassed 110 years of age.
1893 – Edward G. Robinson, American actor (d. 1973). Robinson (born Emanuel Goldenberg; Yiddish: ײמאַנועל גאָלדענבערג; December 12, 1893 – January 26, 1973) was a Romanian American actor of stage and screen during Hollywood's Golden Age.
1881 – Harry Warner, Polish-American businessman, co-founded Warner Bros (d. 1958), was an American studio executive, one of the founders of Warner Bros., and a major contributor to the development of the film industry. Along with his three younger brothers (Albert, Sam and Jack) Warner played a crucial role in the film business and played a key role in establishing Warner Bros.
1876 – Alvin Kraenzlein, American hurdler and runner (d. 1928), was an American track-and-field athlete, and the first sportsman in the history of Olympic games to win four individual gold medals in a single discipline at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris. Before, Carl Schuhmann, a German athlete, won four Olympic titles in gymnastics and wrestling at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens.
1870 – Walter Benona Sharp, American businessman, co-founded Hughes Tool Company (d. 1912), was an American oilman and innovator in drilling techniques.
1864 – Paul Elmer More, American journalist, author, and critic (d. 1937), was an American journalist, critic, essayist and Christian apologist.
1849 – William Kissam Vanderbilt, American businessman and horse breeder (d. 1920), was an American heir, businessman, philanthropist and horsebreeder. Born into the Vanderbilt family, he managed his family's railroad investments.
1845 – Bruce Price, American architect, designed the American Surety Building and Bank of the Metropolis (d. 1903), was an American architect and an innovator in the Shingle Style. The stark geometry and compact massing of his cottages in Tuxedo Park, New York, influenced Modernist architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright and Robert Venturi.
1806 – Stand Watie, American general (d. 1871). Stand Watie (Cherokee: ᏕᎦᏔᎦ, romanized: Degataga, lit. 'Stand firm') (December 12, 1806 – September 9, 1871), also known as Standhope Uwatie, Tawkertawker, and Isaac S.
1805 – Henry Wells, American businessman, co-founded Wells Fargo and American Express (d. 1878), was an American businessman important in the history of both the American Express Company and Wells Fargo & Company.
1786 – William L. Marcy, American lawyer, judge, and politician, 21st United States Secretary of State (d. 1857), was an American lawyer, politician, and judge who served as U.S. Senator, Governor of New York, U.S.
1779 – Madeleine Sophie Barat, French nun and saint, founded the Society of the Sacred Heart (d. 1865), was the founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart.
1745 – John Jay, American jurist and politician, 1st Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1829), was an American statesman, patriot, diplomat, Founding Father of the United States, abolitionist, negotiator and signatory of the Treaty of Paris of 1783, second Governor of New York, and the first Chief Justice of the United States (1789–1795). He directed U.S. foreign policy for much of the 1780s and was an important leader of the Federalist Party after the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788.
2016 – Shirley Hazzard, Australian-American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (b. 1931)
2015 – Evelyn S. Lieberman, American politician, White House Deputy Chief of Staff (b. 1944)
2014 – Herb Plews, American baseball player (b. 1928)
2014 – Norman Bridwell, American author and illustrator, created Clifford the Big Red Dog (b. 1928)
2013 – Audrey Totter, American actress (b. 1917)
2013 – Tom Laughlin, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1931)
2012 – Joe Allbritton, American banker, publisher, and philanthropist, founded the Allbritton Communications Company (b. 1924)
2010 – Tom Walkinshaw, Scottish race car driver, founded Tom Walkinshaw Racing (b. 1946)
2008 – Avery Dulles, American cardinal and theologian (b. 1918)
2008 – Van Johnson, American actor (b. 1916)
2007 – Ike Turner, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b. 1931)
2006 – Alan Shugart, American engineer and businessman, co-founded Seagate Technology (b. 1930)
2006 – Kenny Davern, American clarinet player and saxophonist (b. 1935)
2006 – Paul Arizin, American basketball player (b. 1928)
2006 – Peter Boyle, American actor (b. 1935)
2006 – Raymond P. Shafer, American lawyer and politician, 38th Governor of Pennsylvania (b. 1917)
2005 – Robert Newmyer, American actor and producer (b. 1956)
2000 – Ndabaningi Sithole, Zimbabwean militant leader, founded Zimbabwe African National Union (b. 1920)
1999 – Joseph Heller, American novelist, short story writer, and playwright(b. 1923)
1999 – Paul Cadmus, American painter and illustrator (b. 1904)
1998 – Lawton Chiles, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 41st Governor of Florida (b. 1930)
1998 – Mo Udall, American captain and politician (b. 1922)
1996 – Vance Packard, American journalist, author, and critic (b. 1914)
1994 – Donna J. Stone, American poet and philanthropist (b. 1933)
1994 – Stuart Roosa, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1933)
1985 – Anne Baxter, American actress (b. 1923)
1976 – Jack Cassidy, American actor (b. 1927)
1971 – David Sarnoff, Belarusian-American businessman (b. 1891)
1970 – George Terwilliger, American director and screenwriter (b. 1882)
1968 – Tallulah Bankhead, American actress (b. 1902)
1966 – Karl Ruberl, Austrian-American swimmer (b. 1880)
1964 – William Rootes, 1st Baron Rootes, English businessman, founded Rootes Group (b. 1894)
1951 – Mildred Bailey, American singer (b. 1907)
1939 – Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., American actor, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1883)
1921 – Henrietta Swan Leavitt, American astronomer and academic (b. 1868)