2010 – An earthquake in Haiti occurs, killing over 100,000 people and destroying much of the capital Port-au-Prince.
2004 – The world's largest ocean liner, RMS Queen Mary 2, makes its maiden voyage.
1998 – Nineteen European nations agree to forbid human cloning.
1991 – Persian Gulf War: An act of the U.S. Congress authorizes the use of American military force to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.
1969 – The New York Jets of the American Football League defeat the Baltimore Colts of the National Football League to win Super Bowl III in what is considered to be one of the greatest upsets in sports history.
1967 – Dr. James Bedford becomes the first person to be cryonically preserved with intent of future resuscitation.
1966 – Lyndon B. Johnson states that the United States should stay in South Vietnam until Communist aggression there is ended.
1962 – Vietnam War: Operation Chopper, the first American combat mission in the war, takes place.
1942 – World War II: United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt creates the National War Labor Board.
1932 – Hattie Caraway becomes the first woman elected to the United States Senate.
1921 – Acting to restore confidence in baseball after the Black Sox Scandal, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis is elected as Major League Baseball's first commissioner.
1916 – Both Oswald Boelcke and Max Immelmann, for achieving eight aerial victories each over Allied aircraft, receive the German Empire's highest military award, the Pour le Mérite as the first German aviators to earn it.
1915 – The United States House of Representatives rejects a proposal to require states to give women the right to vote.
1911 – The University of the Philippines College of Law is formally established; three future Philippine presidents are among the first enrollees.
1908 – A long-distance radio message is sent from the Eiffel Tower for the first time.
1895 – The National Trust is founded in the United Kingdom.
1872 – Yohannes IV is crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in Axum, the first imperial coronation in that city in over 200 years.
1866 – The Royal Aeronautical Society is formed in London.
1808 – John Rennie's scheme to defend St Mary's Church, Reculver, founded in 669, from coastal erosion is abandoned in favour of demolition, despite the church being an exemplar of Anglo-Saxon architecture and sculpture.
1987 – Naya Rivera, American actress and singer. After a series of recurring television roles and guest spots as a teenager, Rivera received her breakthrough role as an adult as Santana Lopez on the Fox television series Glee (2009–2015), for which she received nominations for numerous accolades.
1984 – Daniel Sepulveda, American football player. Daniel Wade Sepulveda (born January 12, 1984) is an American football punter who played five seasons in the National Football League (NFL), all with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
1982 – Dontrelle Willis, American baseball player. Dontrelle Wayne Willis (born January 12, 1982), nicknamed "The D-Train", is an American former Left-Handed professional baseball pitcher.
1981 – Amerie, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress. Amerie Mi Marie Rogers (born January 12, 1980), is an American recording artist, actress and author.
1981 – Dan Klecko, American football player. He played college football at Temple.
1980 – Bobby Crosby, American baseball player. Robert Edward Crosby (born January 12, 1980) is an American former professional baseball infielder and current coach.
1979 – David Zabriskie, American cyclist. David Zabriskie (born January 12, 1979) is a retired professional road bicycle racer from the United States, who competed as a professional between 1999 and 2013.
1975 – Jason Freese, American saxophonist, songwriter, and producer. He is the son of tuba soloist Stan Freese and the younger brother of professional drummer Josh Freese.
1973 – Brian Culbertson, American pianist and producer. Brian Culbertson (born January 12, 1973) is an American contemporary jazz/R&B/funk musician, instrumentalist, producer and performer from Decatur, Illinois, United States.
1971 – Scott Burrell, American basketball player and coach. Scott David Burrell (born January 12, 1971) is an American basketball coach and former player who is currently the men's basketball head coach at Southern Connecticut State University.
1970 – Zack de la Rocha, American rock singer. Zacharias Manuel de la Rocha (born January 12, 1970) is an American musician, rapper, singer, songwriter, and activist.
1969 – Margaret Nagle, American screenwriter and producer. Nagle began her undergraduate work at UC Berkeley while still in high school attending both simultaneously.
1965 – Raekwon, American rapper. Corey Woods (born January 12, 1970), better known by his stage name Raekwon (/reɪˈkwɒn/), is an American rapper and a member of Wu-Tang Clan.
1965 – Rob Zombie, American singer-songwriter, producer, actor, and director. He is the older brother of Spider One, lead vocalist for American Industrial metal band Powerman 5000.
1964 – Jeff Bezos, American computer scientist and businessman, founded Amazon.com. Jeffrey Preston Bezos (/ˈbeɪzoʊs/; né Jorgensen; born January 12, 1964) is an American internet and aerospace entrepreneur, media proprietor, and investor.
1962 – Joe Quesada, American author and illustrator. Joseph Quesada (/kəˈsɑːdə/; born December 1, 1962) is an American comic book artist, writer, editor, and television producer.
1962 – Luna Vachon, American-Canadian wrestler and manager (d. 2010), was an American-Canadian professional wrestler, better known as Luna Vachon. Over the course of her 22-year career, she wrestled for promotions such as the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE), Extreme Championship Wrestling, the American Wrestling Association, and World Championship Wrestling.
1960 – Dominique Wilkins, French-American basketball player and manager. In 2006, Wilkins was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
1960 – Oliver Platt, Canadian-American actor. He has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award as well as Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
1959 – B. Brian Blair, American wrestler and politician. Brian Blair as one half of the tag team The Killer Bees in the 1980s.
1958 – Christiane Amanpour, English-born Iranian-American journalist. Christiane Maria Heideh Amanpour CBE (/ˌkrɪstʃiˈɑːn ˌɑːmənˈpʊər/ (listen); Persian: كرستين امانپور, romanized: Kristiane Amānpur; born 12 January 1958) is a British-Iranian journalist and television host.
1958 – Curt Fraser, American-Canadian ice hockey player and coach. Curtis Martin Fraser (born January 12, 1958) is a former ice hockey player of dual American and Canadian citizenship.
1957 – John Lasseter, American animator, director, and producer. John Alan Lasseter (/ˈlæsətər/; born January 12, 1957) is an American animator, film director, screenwriter, producer, and former chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar and Disneytoon Studios.
1955 – Tom Ardolino, American rock drummer (NRBQ) (d. 2012), was an American rock drummer best known as a member of NRBQ (New Rhythm and Blues Quartet).
1954 – Howard Stern, American radio host, actor, and author. Stern has broadcast on Sirius XM Satellite Radio since 2006.
1952 – Phil Perry, American singer-songwriter and producer. Philip Eugene Perry (born January 12, 1952) is an American R&B singer, songwriter, musician and a former member of the soul group The Montclairs from 1971 to 1975.
1952 – Ricky Van Shelton, American country singer-songwriter and guitarist. This figure includes ten Number One hits: "Somebody Lied", "Life Turned Her That Way", 'Don't We All Have the Right", "I'll Leave This World Loving You", "From a Jack to a King" (a cover of the Ned Miller hit), "Living Proof", "I've Cried My Last Tear for You", "Rockin' Years" (a duet with Dolly Parton), "I Am a Simple Man", and "Keep It Between the Lines".
1952 – Walter Mosley, American novelist. Walter Ellis Mosley (born January 12, 1952) is an American novelist, most widely recognized for his crime fiction.
1951 – Kirstie Alley, American actress and producer. Alley played Rebecca Howe on the NBC sitcom Cheers (1987–1993), receiving an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe in 1991 for the role.
1951 – Rush Limbaugh, American talk show host and author. Rush Hudson Limbaugh III (/ˈlɪmbɔː/ LIM-baw; born January 12, 1951) is an American radio personality, conservative political commentator, author, and former television show host.
1950 – Bob McEwen, American businessman and politician, was a member of the United States House of Representatives from southern Ohio's Sixth District, from January 3, 1981 to January 3, 1993. Tom Deimer of Cleveland's Plain Dealer described him as a "textbook Republican" who is "opposed to abortion, gun control, high taxes, and costly government programs." In the House, he criticized government incompetence and charged corruption by the Democratic majority that ran the House in the 1980s.
1950 – Dorrit Moussaieff, Israeli-Icelandic jewelry designer and businesswoman, 5th First Lady of Iceland, was the First Lady of Iceland from 2003 to 2016. She became engaged to President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson in 2000 and they were married on Grímsson's 60th birthday in 2003.
1950 – Sheila Jackson Lee, American lawyer, judge, and politician. Representative for Texas's 18th congressional district, currently serving in her 13th term in the House, having served since 1995.
1947 – Tom Dempsey, American football player and educator. Thomas John Dempsey (born January 12, 1947) is a former American football placekicker in the National Football League (NFL) for the New Orleans Saints (1969–1970), Philadelphia Eagles (1971–1974), Los Angeles Rams (1975–1976), Houston Oilers (1977) and Buffalo Bills (1978–1979).
1946 – George Duke, American keyboard player, composer, and educator (d. 2013). He worked with numerous artists as arranger, music director, writer and co-writer, record producer and as a professor of music.
1944 – Cynthia Robinson, American R&B trumpet player and singer (d 2015), was an American musician, best known for being the trumpeter and vocalist in Sly and the Family Stone. Her voice and presence were featured in the hit "Dance to the Music".
1944 – Joe Frazier, American boxer (d. 2011), was an American professional boxer who competed from 1965 to 1981. He reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion from 1970 to 1973, and as an amateur won a gold medal at the 1964 Summer Olympics.
1942 – Bernardine Dohrn, American domestic terrorist, political activist and academic. Bernardine Rae Dohrn (née Ohrnstein; born January 12, 1942) is a retired law professor and a former leader of the Weather Underground.
1941 – Chet Jastremski, American swimmer and physician (d. 2014), was an American competition swimmer, Olympic medalist and world record-holder.
1940 – Ronald Shannon Jackson, American drummer and composer (d. 2013), was an American jazz drummer and composer from Fort Worth, Texas. A pioneer of avant-garde jazz, free funk, and jazz fusion, he appeared on over 50 albums as a bandleader, sideman, arranger, and producer.
1939 – Jim Palosaari, American evangelist (d. 2011), was an evangelist and performer, one of the leaders in the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s and 1970s.
1939 – William Lee Golden, American singer-songwriter and painter. William Lee Golden (born January 12, 1939), a native of Brewton, Alabama, is an American country music singer.
1934 – Alan Sharp, Scottish-American author and screenwriter (d. 2013), was a Scottish novelist and screenwriter. He published two novels in the 1960s, and subsequently wrote the screenplays for about twenty films, mostly produced in the United States.
1930 – Glenn Yarbrough, American singer and actor (d. 2016), was an American folk singer and guitarist. He was the lead singer (tenor) with the Limeliters from 1959 to 1963.
1930 – Tim Horton, Canadian ice hockey player and businessman, founded Tim Hortons (d. 1974), was a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who played 24 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL). He played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Buffalo Sabres.
1929 – Alasdair MacIntyre, Scottish-American philosopher and academic. Alasdair Chalmers MacIntyre (/ˈæləstər/; born 1929) is a Scottish philosopher, primarily known for his contribution to moral and political philosophy, but also known for his work in history of philosophy and theology.
1928 – Lloyd Ruby, American race car driver (d. 2009), was an American racecar driver who raced in the USAC Championship Car series for 20 years, achieving 7 victories and 88 top-ten finishes. He also had success in endurance racing, winning the 24 Hours of Daytona (twice), the 1966 12 Hours of Sebring and the 1966 World Sportscar Championship.
1928 – Ruth Brown, American R&B singer-songwriter and actress (d. 2006), was an American singer-songwriter and actress, sometimes known as the "Queen of R&B". She was noted for bringing a pop music style to R&B music in a series of hit songs for Atlantic Records in the 1950s, such as "So Long", "Teardrops from My Eyes" and "(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean".
1926 – Morton Feldman, American composer and academic (d. 1987). A major figure in 20th-century music, Feldman was a pioneer of indeterminate music, a development associated with the experimental New York School of composers also including John Cage, Christian Wolff, and Earle Brown.
1925 – Bill Burrud, American television host, producer, and actor (d. 1990), was a former child star and a television host and producer best known for his travel programs.
1924 – Chris Chase, American model, actress, and journalist (d. 2013), was an American model, film actress, writer, and journalist. Her best-known role was in Killer's Kiss.
1923 – Ira Hayes, American marine who raised the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima (d. 1955), was a Pima Native American and a United States Marine who was one of the six flag raisers immortalized in the iconic photograph of the flag raising on Iwo Jima during World War II. Hayes was an enrolled member of the Gila River Pima Indian Reservation located in the Pinal and Maricopa counties in Arizona.
1920 – James Farmer, American activist and politician, co-founded Congress of Racial Equality (d. 1999), was an American civil rights activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement "who pushed for nonviolent protest to dismantle segregation, and served alongside Martin Luther King Jr." He was the initiator and organizer of the first Freedom Ride in 1961, which eventually led to the desegregation of interstate transportation in the United States.
1917 – Walter Hendl, American pianist, composer, and conductor (d. 2007), was an American conductor, composer and pianist.
1916 – Ruth R. Benerito, American chemist and inventor (d. 2013), was an American chemist and inventor known for her work related to the textile industry, notably including the development of wash-and-wear cotton fabrics. She held 55 patents.
1915 – Paul Jarrico, American screenwriter and producer (d. 1997), was an American screenwriter and film producer who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses during the era of McCarthyism.
1910 – Patsy Kelly, American actress and comedian (d. 1981). She is known for her role as the brash, wisecracking sidekick to Thelma Todd in a series of short comedy films produced by Hal Roach in the 1930s.
1908 – Clement Hurd, American illustrator (d. 1988). He is known for illustrations of children's picture books, especially collaborations with writer Margaret Wise Brown including Goodnight Moon (1947) and The Runaway Bunny (1942).
1905 – James Bennett Griffin, American archaeologist and academic (d. 1997). He is regarded as one of the most influential archaeologists in North America in the 20th century.
1905 – Tex Ritter, American actor and singer (d. 1974), was an American country music singer and actor popular from the mid 1930s into the 1960s, and the patriarch of the Ritter acting family (son John and grandsons Jason and Tyler). He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
1904 – Mississippi Fred McDowell, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1972), was an American hill country blues singer and guitar player.
1896 – David Wechsler, Romanian-American psychologist and author (d. 1981). He developed well-known intelligence scales, such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC).
1884 – Texas Guinan, Canadian-American entertainer and bootlegger (d. 1933), was an American actress, producer and entrepreneur. Born in Texas to Irish immigrant parents, she decided at an early age to become an entertainer.
1882 – Milton Sills, American actor and screenwriter (d. 1930), was an American stage and film actor of the early twentieth century.
1879 – Ray Harroun, American race car driver and engineer (d. 1968), was an American racecar driver and pioneering constructor most famous for winning the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911.
1878 – Ferenc Molnár, Hungarian-American author and playwright (d. 1952), was a Hungarian-born author, stage-director, dramatist, and poet, widely regarded as Hungary’s most celebrated and controversial playwright. His primary aim through his writing was to entertain by transforming his personal experiences into literary works of art.
1877 – Frank J. Corr, American lawyer and politician, 45th Mayor of Chicago (d. 1934). Corr served as the 45th mayor of Chicago, Illinois.
1876 – Jack London, American novelist and journalist (d. 1916), was an American novelist, journalist, and social activist. A pioneer in the world of commercial magazine fiction, he was one of the first writers to become a worldwide celebrity and earn a large fortune from writing.
1874 – Laura Adams Armer, American author and photographer (d. 1963), was an American artist and writer. In 1932, her novel Waterless Mountain won the Newbery Medal.
1856 – John Singer Sargent, American painter and academic (d. 1925), was an American expatriate artist, considered the "leading portrait painter of his generation" for his evocations of Edwardian-era luxury. He created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings.
1849 – Jean Béraud, Russian-French painter and academic (d. 1935), was a French painter renowned for his numerous paintings depicting the life of Paris, and the nightlife of Paris society. Pictures of the Champs Elysees, cafés, Montmartre and the banks of the Seine are precisely detailed illustrations of everyday Parisian life during the "Belle Époque".
1822 – Étienne Lenoir, Belgian engineer, designed the internal combustion engine (d. 1900). Prior designs for such engines were patented as early as 1807 (De Rivaz engine), but none were commercially successful.
1746 – Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, Swiss philosopher and educator (d. 1827), was a Swiss pedagogue and educational reformer who exemplified Romanticism in his approach.
1723 – Samuel Langdon, American minister, theologian, and academic (d. 1797), was an American Congregational clergyman and educator. After serving as pastor in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, he was appointed president of Harvard University in 1774.
1591 – Jusepe de Ribera, Spanish painter (d. 1652), was a Spanish Tenebrist painter and printmaker, also known as José de Ribera and Josep de Ribera. He also was called Lo Spagnoletto ("the Little Spaniard") by his contemporaries and early writers.
2017 – William Peter Blatty, American writer and filmmaker (b. 1928)
2015 – Carl Long, American baseball player (b. 1935)
2015 – Robert Gover, American journalist and author (b. 1929)
2015 – Trevor Colbourn, American historian and academic (b. 1927)
2014 – Connie Binsfeld, American educator and politician, 58th Lieutenant Governor of Michigan (b. 1924)
2014 – George Dement, American soldier, businessman, and politician (b. 1922)
2013 – Eugene Patterson, American journalist and activist (b. 1923)
2013 – Precious Bryant, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1942)
2012 – Bill Janklow, American lawyer and politician, 27th Governor of South Dakota (b. 1939)
2012 – Charles H. Price II, American businessman and diplomat, United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom (b. 1931)
2012 – Glenda Dickerson, American director, choreographer, and educator (b. 1945)
2012 – Jim Stanley, American football player and coach (b. 1935)
2010 – Hasib Sabbagh, Palestinian businessman and philanthropist, co-founded Consolidated Contractors Company (b. 1920)
2009 – Russ Conway, Canadian-American actor (b. 1913)
2007 – Alice Coltrane, American pianist and composer (b. 1937)
2006 – Pablita Velarde, Santa Clara Pueblo (Native American) painter (b. 1918)
2003 – Dean Amadon, American ornithologist and author (b. 1912)
2002 – Cyrus Vance, American lawyer and politician, 57th U.S. Secretary of State (b. 1917)
2001 – William Redington Hewlett, American engineer and businessman, co-founded Hewlett-Packard (b. 1913)
2000 – Bobby Phills, American basketball player (b. 1969)
2000 – Marc Davis, American animator and screenwriter (b. 1913)
1999 – Doug Wickenheiser, Canadian-American ice hockey player (b. 1961)
1997 – Charles Brenton Huggins, Canadian-American physician and physiologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1901)
1990 – Laurence J. Peter, Canadian-American author and educator (b. 1919)
1973 – Roy Franklin Nichols, American historian and academic (b. 1896)
1965 – Lorraine Hansberry, American author, playwright, and director (b. 1936)
1958 – Charles Hatfield, American meteorologist (b. 1875)
1944 – Lance C. Wade, American commander and pilot (b. 1915)
1938 – Oscar Florianus Bluemner, German-American painter and illustrator (b. 1867)
1899 – Hiram Walker, American businessman, founded Canadian Club (b. 1816)
1777 – Hugh Mercer, Scottish-American general and physician (b. 1726)
1705 – Luca Giordano, Italian painter and illustrator (b. 1634)
1700 – Marguerite Bourgeoys, French-Canadian nun and saint, founded the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal (b. 1620)
690 – Benedict Biscop, English scholar and saint, founded the Monkwearmouth–Jarrow Abbey (b. 628)