2001 – The first draft of the complete human genome is published in Nature.
1972 – Sound recordings are granted U.S. federal copyright protection for the first time.
1961 – Sabena Flight 548 crashes in Belgium, killing 73, including the entire United States figure skating team along with several of their coaches and family members.
1954 – Canada and the United States agree to construct the Distant Early Warning Line, a system of radar stations in the far northern Arctic regions of Canada and Alaska.
1949 – Gerald Lankester Harding and Roland de Vaux begin excavations at Cave 1 of the Qumran Caves, where they will eventually discover the first seven Dead Sea Scrolls.
1946 – ENIAC, the first electronic general-purpose computer, is formally dedicated at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
1901 – The association football club Alianza Lima is founded in Lima, Peru, under the name Sport Alianza.
1898 – The battleship USS Maine explodes and sinks in Havana harbor in Cuba, killing 274. This event leads the United States to declare war on Spain.
1891 – Allmänna Idrottsklubben (AIK) (Swedish Sports Club) is founded.
1879 – Women's rights: US President Rutherford B. Hayes signs a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.
1870 – Stevens Institute of Technology is founded in New Jersey, USA and offers the first Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering.
1862 – American Civil War: General Ulysses S. Grant attacks Fort Donelson, Tennessee.
1835 – The first constitutional law in modern Serbia is adopted.
1493 – While on board the Niña, Christopher Columbus writes an open letter (widely distributed upon his return to Portugal) describing his discoveries and the unexpected items he came across in the New World.
1982 – Shameka Christon, American basketball player. Shameka Delynn Christon (born February 15, 1982) is an American professional women's basketball player with the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA.
1981 – Matt Hoopes, American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Hoopes has played lead guitar and provided backing vocals for Relient K since 1998.
1980 – Conor Oberst, American singer-songwriter. Oberst was named the Best Songwriter of 2008 by Rolling Stone magazine.
1976 – Brandon Boyd, American singer-songwriter. He is best known as the lead vocalist of the American rock band Incubus.
1975 – Brendon Small, American animator, producer, screenwriter, and actor. Brendon Small (born February 15, 1975) is an American stand-up comedian, animator, actor, voice actor, writer, director, producer, singer and musician known for co-creating the animated series Home Movies (1999–2004; with Loren Bouchard) and Metalocalypse (2006–13; with Tommy Blacha).
1974 – Miranda July, American actress, director, and screenwriter. Miranda July (born Miranda Jennifer Grossinger; February 15, 1974) is an American film director, screenwriter, singer, actress, author and artist.
1973 – Amy van Dyken, American swimmer. Amy Deloris Van Dyken-Rouen (born February 15, 1973) is an American former competitive swimmer, Olympic champion, former world record-holder, and national radio sports talk show co-host.
1971 – Alex Borstein, American actress, voice artist, producer, and screenwriter. She is known for voicing Lois Griffin on the animated comedy series Family Guy (1999–present), for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award from multiple nominations.
1971 – Renee O'Connor, American actress, director, and producer. Evelyn Renee O'Connor (born February 15, 1971) is an American actress, producer, and director, known for the role of Gabrielle on the television series Xena: Warrior Princess.
1970 – Shepard Fairey, American artist and activist. Frank Shepard Fairey (born February 15, 1970) is an American contemporary street artist, graphic designer, activist, illustrator, and founder of OBEY Clothing who emerged from the skateboarding scene.
1964 – Chris Farley, American comedian and actor (d. 1997), was an American actor and comedian. Farley was known for his loud, energetic comedic style, and was a member of Chicago's Second City Theatre and later a cast member of the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live between 1990 and 1995.
1964 – Leland D. Melvin, American engineer and astronaut. Melvin was named the NASA Associate Administrator for Education in October 2010.
1964 – Mark Price, American basketball player and coach. As a player, he played for 12 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA), from 1986 to 1998.
1960 – Darrell Green, American football player, was a cornerback in the National Football League (NFL) for the Washington Redskins from 1983 to 2002. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest cornerbacks to have ever played in the NFL.
1957 – Jake E. Lee, American guitarist and songwriter. He formed the band Red Dragon Cartel in 2013.
1957 – Jimmy Spencer, American race car driver and sportscaster. He hosted the NASCAR-inspired talk show, What’s the Deal?, on Speed, and was co-host, with John Roberts and Kenny Wallace, of the Speed's pre-race and post-race NASCAR shows NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Victory Lane.
1955 – Christopher McDonald, American actor. He played Darryl Dickinson in Thelma & Louise (1991), Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore (1996), Ward Cleaver in the film adaptation of Leave It to Beaver (1997), Kent Mansley in The Iron Giant (1999), Tappy Tibbons in Requiem for a Dream (2000), and Mel Allen in the HBO film 61* (2001).
1955 – Janice Dickinson, American model, agent, and author. Janice Doreen Dickinson (born February 16, 1955) is an American model, author, actress, television personality, and talent agent.
1954 – Matt Groening, American animator, producer, and screenwriter. Matthew Abraham Groening (/ˈɡreɪnɪŋ/ (listen) GRAY-ning; born February 15, 1954) is an American cartoonist, writer, producer, animator, and voice actor.
1953 – Tony Adams, Irish-American screenwriter and producer (d. 2005). Tony Alexander Adams MBE (born 10 October 1966) is an English football manager.
1951 – Jane Seymour, English-American actress, producer, and jewelry designer, was Queen of England from 1536 to 1537 as the third wife of King Henry VIII. She succeeded Anne Boleyn as queen consort following the latter's execution in May 1536.
1951 – Melissa Manchester, American singer-songwriter and actress. She has also appeared on television, in films, and on stage.
1948 – Art Spiegelman, Swedish-American cartoonist and critic. Art Spiegelman (/ˈspiːɡəlmən/; born Itzhak Avraham ben Zeev Spiegelman on February 15, 1948) is an American cartoonist, editor, and comics advocate best known for his graphic novel Maus.
1947 – Marisa Berenson, American model and actress. The role also earned her Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations.
1945 – Douglas Hofstadter, American author and academic. Douglas Richard Hofstadter (born February 15, 1945) is an American scholar of cognitive science, physics, and comparative literature whose research includes concepts such as the sense of self in relation to the external world, consciousness, analogy-making, artistic creation, literary translation, and discovery in mathematics and physics.
1945 – Jack Dann, American-Australian author and poet. Jack Dann (born February 15, 1945) is an American writer best known for his science fiction, an editor and a writing teacher, who has lived in Australia since 1994.
1941 – Brian Holland, American songwriter and producer, was responsible for much of the Motown sound and numerous hit records by artists such as Martha and the Vandellas, The Supremes, The Four Tops, and The Isley Brothers. Holland, along with Lamont Dozier, served as the team's musical arranger and producer.
1940 – John Hadl, American football player and coach. John Willard Hadl (born February 15, 1940) is a former American football player, a quarterback in the American Football League and National Football League for sixteen seasons, with the San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers, and Houston Oilers.
1937 – Gregory Mcdonald, American author (d. 2008), was an American mystery writer whose most famous character is investigative reporter Irwin Maurice "Fletch" Fletcher.
1935 – Gene Hickerson, American football player (d. 2008), was an American Football offensive guard who played for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) in a fifteen-year career from 1958 to 1960 and 1962 to 1973. Hickerson was a six-time Pro Bowler from 1965 to 1970.
1935 – Roger B. Chaffee, American lieutenant, engineer, and astronaut (d. 1967), was an American naval officer and aviator, aeronautical engineer, and NASA astronaut in the Apollo program.
1935 – Susan Brownmiller, American journalist and author. Susan Brownmiller (born February 15, 1935) is an American feminist journalist, author, and activist best known for her 1975 book Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape.
1934 – Abe Woodson, American football player and minister (d. 2014), was an American football cornerback and kick returner who played nine seasons in the National Football League, mainly with the San Francisco 49ers. He also spent two years with the St.
1929 – James R. Schlesinger, American economist and politician, 12th United States Secretary of Defense (d. 2014), was an American economist and public servant who was best known for serving as Secretary of Defense from 1973 to 1975 under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Prior to becoming Secretary of Defense, he served as Chair of Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) from 1971 to 1973, and as CIA Director for a few months in 1973.
1928 – Joseph Willcox Jenkins, American composer, conductor, and educator (d. 2014), was an American composer, professor of music, and musician. During his military service in the Korean War, he became the first arranger for the United States Army Chorus.
1928 – Norman Bridwell, American author and illustrator, created Clifford the Big Red Dog (d. 2014), was an American author and cartoonist best known for the Clifford the Big Red Dog book series.
1927 – Harvey Korman, American actor and comedian (d. 2008), was an American actor and comedian, who performed in television and film productions. His big break was being a featured performer on CBS' The Danny Kaye Show.
1925 – Angella D. Ferguson, American pediatrician. Angella Dorothea Ferguson (born February 15, 1925) is an African American pediatrician known for her groundbreaking research on sickle cell disease.
1924 – Robert Drew, American director and producer (d. 2014), was an American documentary filmmaker known as one of the pioneers—and sometimes called father—of cinéma vérité, or direct cinema, in the United States. Two of his films are archived in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
1922 – John B. Anderson, Swedish-American lawyer and politician, was a United States politician from Illinois. As a member of the Republican Party, he served in the United States House of Representatives, representing Illinois's 16th congressional district from 1961 to 1981.
1920 – Endicott Peabody, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 62nd Governor of Massachusetts (d. 1997), was an American politician from Massachusetts. A Democrat, he served a single two-year term as the 62nd Governor of Massachusetts, from 1963 to 1965.
1919 – Ducky Detweiler, American baseball player and manager (d. 2013), was an American professional baseball infielder and manager. Listed at 5' 11", 178 lb., he batted and threw right handed.
1918 – Allan Arbus, Jewish-American actor and photographer (d. 2013), was an American actor and photographer and the husband of photographer Diane Arbus. He is known for his role as psychiatrist Dr.
1918 – Hank Locklin, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2009), was an American country music singer-songwriter. A member of the Grand Ole Opry for nearly 50 years, Locklin had a long recording career with RCA Victor, and scored big hits with "Please Help Me, I'm Falling", "Send Me the Pillow You Dream On" and "Geisha Girl" from 1957-1960.
1916 – Mary Jane Croft, American actress (d. 1999), was an American actress best known for her roles as Betty Ramsey on I Love Lucy, Ms. Daisy Enright on the radio and television versions of Our Miss Brooks, Mary Jane Lewis on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy, and Clara Randolph on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.
1914 – Hale Boggs, American lawyer and politician (d. 1972), was an American Democratic politician and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Orleans, Louisiana.
1907 – Cesar Romero, American actor (d. 1994), was an American actor, singer, dancer, and vocal artist. He was active in film, radio, and television for almost 60 years.
1905 – Harold Arlen, Jewish-American composer (d. 1986), was an American composer of popular music, who composed over 500 songs, a number of which have become known worldwide. In addition to composing the songs for the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz (lyrics by Yip Harburg), including "Over the Rainbow", Arlen is a highly regarded contributor to the Great American Songbook. "Over the Rainbow" was voted the 20th century's No. 1 song by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
1899 – Gale Sondergaard, Danish-American actress (d. 1985). Sondergaard began her acting career in theater, and progressed to films in 1936.
1892 – James Forrestal, American lieutenant and politician, 1st United States Secretary of Defense (d. 1949), was the last Cabinet-level United States Secretary of the Navy and the first United States Secretary of Defense.
1883 – Sax Rohmer, English-American author (d. 1959), was a prolific English novelist. He is best remembered for his series of novels featuring the master criminal Dr.
1861 – Martin Burns, American wrestler and coach (d. 1937), was an American catch wrestler, wrestling coach and teacher. Born in Cedar County, Iowa he started wrestling as a teenager and made money traveling around the Midwest wrestling in carnivals and fairs.
1845 – Elihu Root, American lawyer and politician, 38th United States Secretary of State, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1937), was an American lawyer and statesman who served as the Secretary of State under President Theodore Roosevelt and as Secretary of War under Roosevelt and President William McKinley. He moved frequently between high-level appointed government positions in Washington, D.C. and private-sector legal practice in New York City.
1820 – Susan B. Anthony, American suffragist and activist (d. 1906). Anthony (February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906) was an American social reformer and women's rights activist who played a pivotal role in the women's suffrage movement.
1812 – Charles Lewis Tiffany, American businessman, founded Tiffany & Co. (d. 1902), was a leader in the nineteenth century American jewelry trade and founded New York City's Tiffany & Co. in 1837. Known for his jewelry expertise, Tiffany created the country's first retail catalog and introduced the English standard of sterling silver in imported jewelry in 1851.
1809 – Cyrus McCormick, American journalist and businessman, co-founded International Harvester (d. 1884), was an American inventor and businessman who founded the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, which later became part of the International Harvester Company in 1902. Originally from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, he and many members of his family became prominent residents of Chicago.
1797 – Henry E. Steinway, German-American businessman, founded Steinway & Sons (d. 1871), was a German-American piano maker who made pianos in both Germany and the United States. He was the founder of the piano company Steinway & Sons.
1739 – Alexandre-Théodore Brongniart, French architect, designed the Paris Bourse (d. 1813), was a prominent French architect.
1734 – William Stacy, American colonel (d. 1802), was an officer of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and a pioneer to the Ohio Country. Published histories describe Colonel William Stacy's involvement in a variety of events during the war, such as rallying the militia on a village common in Massachusetts, participating in the Siege of Boston, being captured by Loyalists and American Indians at the Cherry Valley massacre, narrowly escaping a death by burning at the stake, General George Washington's efforts to obtain Stacy's release from captivity, and Washington's gift of a gold snuff box to Stacy at the end of the war.
1725 – Abraham Clark, American surveyor, lawyer, and politician (d. 1794), was an American politician and Revolutionary War figure. He was delegate for New Jersey to the Continental Congress where he signed the Declaration of Independence and later served in the United States House of Representatives in both the Second and Third United States Congress, from March 4, 1791, until his death in 1794.
1612 – Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, French soldier, founded Montreal (d. 1676), was a French military officer and the founder of Fort Ville-Marie (modern day Montreal) in New France ( Province of Quebec, Canada).
1519 – Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, first Spanish Governor of Florida (d. 1574), was a Spanish admiral and explorer from the region of Asturias, Spain, who is remembered for planning the first regular trans-oceanic convoys and for founding St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565.
2016 – George Gaynes, Finnish-American actor (b. 1917)
2016 – Vanity, Canadian-American singer-songwriter, dancer, and actress (b. 1959)
2015 – Arnaud de Borchgrave, American journalist and author (b. 1926)
2014 – Thelma Estrin, American computer scientist and engineer (b. 1924)
2010 – Jeanne M. Holm, American general (b. 1921)
2008 – Johnny Weaver, American wrestler and sportscaster (b. 1935)
2007 – Ray Evans, American songwriter (b. 1915)
2007 – Walker Edmiston, American actor (b. 1925)
2005 – Samuel T. Francis, American historian and journalist (b. 1947)
2002 – Howard K. Smith, American journalist and actor (b. 1914)
1999 – Big L, American rapper (b. 1974)
1999 – Henry Way Kendall, American physicist and mountaineer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1926)
1998 – Martha Gellhorn, American journalist and author (b. 1908)
1996 – McLean Stevenson, American actor (b. 1929)
1992 – William Schuman, American composer and academic (b. 1910)
1988 – Richard Feynman, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1918)
1984 – Avon Long, American actor and singer (b. 1910)
1984 – Ethel Merman, American actress and singer (b. 1908)
1981 – Mike Bloomfield, American guitarist and songwriter (b. 1943)
1973 – Tim Holt, American actor (b. 1919)
1973 – Wally Cox, American actor (b. 1924)
1967 – Antonio Moreno, Spanish-American actor and director (b. 1887)
1965 – Nat King Cole, American singer and pianist (b. 1919)
1961 – Laurence Owen, American figure skater (b. 1944)
1932 – Minnie Maddern Fiske, American actress and playwright (b. 1865)
1905 – Lew Wallace, American general and politician, 11th Governor of New Mexico Territory (b. 1827)