Today in History
Today is Sunday, Dec. 15, the 349th day of 2013. There are 16 days left in the year.
On Dec. 15 -
In 1893, Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, "From the New World," was rehearsed before the public at New York's Carnegie Hall (the official world premiere was held the next day).
In 1938, groundbreaking for the Jefferson Memorial took place in Washington, D.C. with President Franklin D. Roosevelt taking part in the ceremony.
In 1944, American forces invaded Mindoro Island in the Philippines.
In 1961, former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was sentenced to death by an Israeli court for crimes against humanity. (Eichmann was hanged 5 1/2 months later.)
In 1962, the Vail Mountain ski resort in Colorado officially opened. Actor-director Charles Laughton died in Los Angeles at age 63.
In 1965, two U.S. manned spacecraft, Gemini 6A and Gemini 7, maneuvered to within 10 feet of each other while in orbit.
In 1971, the Secret Service appointed its first five female special agents.
In 1989, a popular uprising began in Romania that resulted in the downfall of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu (chow-SHES'-koo).
In 1991, an Egyptian-registered ferry, the Salem Express, hit a reef and sank in the Red Sea; at least 470 people died, although some estimates are much higher.
In 1993, U.S. Defense Secretary Les Aspin announced his resignation, citing "personal reasons."
In 2001, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy, was reopened to the public after a $27 million realignment that had dragged on for over a decade.
In 2003, former nurse Charles Cullen was charged with murder after telling prosecutors he had killed 30 to 40 severely ill patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey since 1987 by injecting them with drugs. (Cullen later pleaded guilty to killing 29 people and attempting to kill six others; he was sentenced to 18 life prison terms.) The late Sen. Strom Thurmond's family acknowledged Essie Mae Washington-Williams' claim that she was his illegitimate mixed-race daughter.
In 2012, a day after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., investigators worked to understand what led 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza to slaughter 26 children and adults after also killing his mother and before taking his own life.
In entertainment history –
On Dec 15 –
In 1943, keyboardist Fats Waller died during a cross-country trip to New York. He was 39.
In 1959, the Everly Brothers recorded "Let It Be Me" in New York. It was the first time they didn't record in Nashville and the first time they recorded with strings.
In 1966, movie producer Walt Disney died of lung cancer in Los Angeles. He was 65.
In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Plastic Ono Band made its concert debut in London.
In 1977, members of the Sex Pistols were denied visas to enter the U.S., two days before they were to appear on NBC's "Saturday Night Live." Their replacement was Elvis Costello and the Attractions.
In 1985, Sylvester Stallone and Brigitte Nielsen were married.
In 1988, singer James Brown was sentenced to six years in prison for leading police on a chase through two states.
In 1990, singer Rod Stewart married model Rachel Hunter in Beverly Hills, California. They've since split up.
Today's Birthdays: Actor-comedian Tim Conway is 80. Singer Cindy Birdsong (The Supremes) is 74. Rock musician Dave Clark (The Dave Clark Five) is 71. Rock musician Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge) is 67. Actor Don Johnson is 64. Actress Melanie Chartoff is 63. Movie director Julie Taymor is 61. Movie director Alex Cox is 59. Actor Justin Ross is 59. Rock musician Paul Simonon (The Clash) is 58. DNC Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile is 54. Country singer Doug Phelps (Brother Phelps; Kentucky Headhunters) is 53. Movie producer-director Reginald Hudlin is 52. Actress Helen Slater is 50. Actress Molly Price is 48. Actor Michael Shanks is 43. Actor Stuart Townsend is 41. Figure skater Surya Bonaly is 40.