1996 – NASA's Discovery Program begins as the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft lifts off on the first mission ever to orbit and land on an asteroid, 433 Eros.
1996 – In Philadelphia, world champion Garry Kasparov beats the Deep Blue supercomputer in a chess match.
1980 – First winter ascent of Mount Everest by Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy.
1974 – Robert K. Preston, a disgruntled U.S. Army private, buzzes the White House in a stolen helicopter.
1968 – In Springfield, Massachusetts, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame opens.
1964 – In Wesberry v. Sanders the Supreme Court of the United States rules that congressional districts have to be approximately equal in population.
1959 – Project Vanguard: Vanguard 2: The first weather satellite is launched to measure cloud-cover distribution.
1949 – Chaim Weizmann begins his term as the first President of Israel.
1944 – World War II: The Battle of Eniwetok begins: The battle ends in an American victory on February 22.
1933 – Newsweek magazine is first published.
1919 – The Ukrainian People's Republic asks Entente and the US for help fighting the Bolsheviks.
1865 – American Civil War: Columbia, South Carolina, is burned as Confederate forces flee from advancing Union forces.
1864 – American Civil War: The H. L. Hunley becomes the first submarine to engage and sink a warship, the USS Housatonic.
1863 – A group of citizens of Geneva founded an International Committee for Relief to the Wounded, which later became known as the International Committee of the Red Cross.
1819 – The United States House of Representatives passes the Missouri Compromise for the first time.
1801 – An electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr is resolved when Jefferson is elected President of the United States and Burr, Vice President by the United States House of Representatives.
1621 – Myles Standish is appointed as first military commander of the English Plymouth Colony in North America.
1989 – Chord Overstreet, American actor and singer. He is known for his role as Sam Evans on the Fox television series Glee (2009–2015).
1984 – Drew Miller, American ice hockey player. He played in the National Hockey League (NHL) with the Anaheim Ducks, Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings.
1984 – Jimmy Jacobs, American wrestler. Christopher Scoville (born February 17, 1984) is an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Jimmy Jacobs.
1983 – Kevin Rudolf, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer. Kevin Winston Rudolf (born February 17, 1983) is an American musician, director, actor, and record producer from New York City, New York.
1982 – Brian Bruney, American baseball player. He won the 2009 World Series with the Yankees, beating the Philadelphia Phillies.
1981 – Joseph Gordon-Levitt, American actor, director, and producer. He took a break from acting to study at Columbia University, but dropped out in 2004 to pursue acting again.
1981 – Paris Hilton, American model, media personality, actress, singer, DJ, author and businesswoman. Paris Whitney Hilton (born February 17, 1981) is an American media personality, businesswoman, socialite, model, singer, actress, fashion designer and DJ.
1980 – Al Harrington, American basketball player. He also spent a short stint with the Fujian Sturgeons of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).
1974 – Jerry O'Connell, American actor, director, and producer. Jeremiah O'Connell (born February 17, 1974) is an American actor, director and talk show host, known for his roles as Quinn Mallory in the television series Sliders, Andrew Clements in My Secret Identity, Vern Tessio in the film Stand by Me (1986), Joe in Joe's Apartment (1996), Frank Cushman in Jerry Maguire (1996), Derek in Scream 2 (1997), Charlie Carbone in Kangaroo Jack (2003), and Detective Woody Hoyt on the drama Crossing Jordan.
1972 – Billie Joe Armstrong, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and producer. He is also a guitarist and vocalist for the punk rock band Pinhead Gunpowder, and provides lead vocals for Green Day's side projects Foxboro Hot Tubs, The Network, and The Longshot.
1972 – Taylor Hawkins, American singer-songwriter and drummer. Oliver Taylor Hawkins (born February 17, 1972) is an American musician, best known as the drummer for the rock band Foo Fighters.
1971 – Denise Richards, American model and actress. Denise Lee Richards (born February 17, 1971) is an American actress, former fashion model, and television personality.
1968 – Bryan Cox, American football player and coach. He played college football for Western Illinois University, a small college football program, but received attention for his aggressive style of play.
1966 – Michael Lepond, American bass player. Michael Anthony LePond III is an American musician, best known as the bassist of progressive metal band Symphony X.
1965 – Michael Bay, American director and producer. Michael Benjamin Bay (born February 17, 1965) is an American filmmaker known for directing and producing big-budget, high-concept action films characterized by fast cutting, stylistic visuals and extensive use of special effects, including frequent depictions of explosions.
1963 – Jen-Hsun Huang, Taiwanese-American businessman, co-founded Nvidia. Jen-Hsun "Jensen" Huang (Chinese: 黃仁勳; pinyin: Huáng Rénxūn; born February 17, 1963) is a Taiwanese-born American billionaire businessman and electrical engineer.
1963 – Larry the Cable Guy, American comedian and voice actor. Daniel Lawrence Whitney (born February 17, 1963), known professionally by his stage name Larry the Cable Guy, is an American stand-up comedian, actor, producer, singer and radio personality, with a career spanning over 30 years.
1963 – Michael Jordan, American basketball player and actor. Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963), also known by his initials MJ, is an American former professional basketball player and the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
1962 – Lou Diamond Phillips, American actor and director. For the Academy Award-nominated Stand and Deliver (1988), Phillips was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and won an Independent Spirit Award.
1959 – Rowdy Gaines, American swimmer and sportscaster. Ambrose "Rowdy" Gaines IV (born February 17, 1959) is an American former competitive swimmer, U.S.
1958 – Alan Wiggins, American baseball player (d. 1991), was an American professional baseball player. He was a second baseman and outfielder in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the San Diego Padres and Baltimore Orioles between 1981 and 1987.
1956 – Richard Karn, American actor and game show host. He starred as Al Borland in the 1990s sitcom Home Improvement and was the fourth host of game show Family Feud from 2002 to 2006.
1954 – Lou Ann Barton, American blues singer-songwriter. Lou Ann Barton (born February 17, 1954, Fort Worth, Texas, United States) is an American blues singer based in Austin, Texas since the 1970s.
1954 – Rene Russo, American actress. She made her film debut in the 1989 comedy Major League, and rose to international prominence in a number of thrillers and action films throughout the 1990s, including Lethal Weapon 3 (1992), In the Line of Fire (1993), Outbreak (1995), Get Shorty (1995), Ransom (1996), Lethal Weapon 4 (1998), and The Thomas Crown Affair (1999).
1950 – Rickey Medlocke, American guitarist. Rickey Medlocke (born February 17, 1950) is an American musician, best known as the frontman/guitarist for the southern rock band Blackfoot and a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
1949 – Dennis Green, American football player and coach (d. 2016), was an American football coach. During his National Football League (NFL) career, Green coached the Minnesota Vikings for 10 seasons.
1948 – Rick Majerus, American basketball player and coach (d. 2012), was an American college basketball coach and TV analyst. He coached at Marquette University (1983–1986), Ball State University (1987–1989), the University of Utah (1989–2004), and Saint Louis University (2007–2012).
1946 – Shahrnush Parsipur, Iranian-American author and academic. Shahrnush Parsipur (Persian: شهرنوش پارسی پور; born February 17, 1946) is an Iranian writer.
1945 – Zina Bethune, American actress, dancer, and choreographer (d. 2012). Bethune was born on Staten Island, the daughter of Ivy (née Vigder, 1918–2019), an actress, and William Charles Bethune, a sculptor and painter who died in 1950 when Zina was 5 years old.
1942 – Huey P. Newton, American activist, co-founded the Black Panther Party (d. 1989), was a revolutionary African-American political activist who, along with fellow Merritt College student Bobby Seale, co-founded the Black Panther Party in 1966. In 1967, he was involved in a shootout which led to the death of a police officer and in 1974 was accused of shooting a woman, leading to her death.
1940 – Gene Pitney, American singer-songwriter (d. 2006), was an American singer-songwriter, musician, and sound engineer.
1937 – Mary Ann Mobley, American model and actress, Miss America 1959 (d. 2014), was an American actress, television personality, and Miss America 1959.
1936 – Jim Brown, American football player and actor. Considered to be one of the greatest football players of all time, Brown was a Pro Bowl invitee every season he was in the league, was recognized as the AP NFL Most Valuable Player three times, and won an NFL championship with the Browns in 1964.
1935 – Christina Pickles, English-American actress. Elsewhere (1982–1988), for which she received five nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
1933 – Bobby Lewis, American R&B singer. Robert Alan Lewis (born February 9, 1925) is an American rock and roll and rhythm and blues singer, best known for his 1961 hit singles "Tossin' and Turnin'" and "One Track Mind".
1933 – Craig L. Thomas, American captain and politician (d. 2007), was an American politician who served as United States Senator from Wyoming from 1995 to 2007. He was a member of the Republican Party.
1933 – Larry Jennings, American magician and author (d. 1997), was a magician, best known for his card techniques. He has eight books published by, or written about him.
1931 – Buddy Ryan, American football coach (d. 2016), was an American football coach in the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL). During his 35-season coaching career, Ryan served as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals, and the defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears and Houston Oilers of the NFL.
1929 – Chaim Potok, American rabbi and author (d. 2002), was an American author and rabbi. His first book The Chosen (1967), was listed on The New York Times’ best seller list for 39 weeks and sold more than 3,400,000 copies.
1925 – Hal Holbrook, American actor and director. He won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play in 1966 for his portrayal of Twain.
1924 – Margaret Truman, American singer and author (d. 2008), was an American classical soprano, actress, journalist, radio and television personality, writer, and New York socialite. She was the only child of President Harry S.
1923 – Buddy DeFranco, American clarinet player and bandleader (d. 2014), was an Italian American jazz clarinet player. One of few clarinetists playing bebop, DeFranco was described by critic Scott Yanow as the leading American jazz musician on his instrument from the 1940s until Eddie Daniels came to prominence in the 1980s.
1922 – Tommy Edwards, American R&B singer-songwriter (d. 1969). His biggest-selling record was with the multi-million-selling song "It's All in the Game."
1921 – Duane Gish, American biochemist and academic (d. 2013), was an American biochemist and a prominent member of the creationist movement. A young Earth creationist, Gish was a former vice-president of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and the author of numerous publications about creation science.
1920 – Curt Swan, American soldier and illustrator (d. 1996), was an American comics artist. The artist most associated with Superman during the period fans call the Silver Age of Comic Books, Swan produced hundreds of covers and stories from the 1950s through the 1980s.
1919 – Joe Hunt, American tennis player (d. 1945), was an American tennis player of the late 1930s and early 1940s from Southern California. He was the number one ranked American in 1943 and won the US singles championship in his final match.
1919 – Kathleen Freeman, American actress and singer (d. 2001), was an American film, television, voice actress, and stage actress. In a career that spanned more than 50 years, she portrayed acerbic maids, secretaries, teachers, busybodies, nurses, and battle-axe neighbors and relatives, almost invariably to comic effect.
1918 – William Bronk, American poet and academic (d. 1999). For his book, Life Supports (1981), he won the National Book Award for Poetry.
1914 – Arthur Kennedy, American actor (d. 1990), was an American stage and film actor known for his versatility in supporting film roles and his ability to create "an exceptional honesty and naturalness on stage", especially in the original casts of Arthur Miller plays on Broadway. He won the 1949 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for Miller's Death of a Salesman.
1912 – Andre Norton, American author (d. 2005), was an American writer of science fiction and fantasy, who also wrote works of historical fiction and contemporary fiction. She wrote primarily under the pen name Andre Norton, but also under Andrew North and Allen Weston.
1911 – Oskar Seidlin, German-American author, poet, and scholar (d. 1984), was an emigre from Nazi Germany first to Switzerland and then to the U.S. who taught German language and literature as a professor at Smith College, Middlebury College, Ohio State University, and Indiana University from 1939 to 1979. He authored a number of fictional and non-fictional works.
1910 – Marc Lawrence, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2005), was an American character actor who specialized in underworld types. He has also been credited as F.
1908 – Red Barber, American sportscaster (d. 1992), was an American sports commentator. Barber, nicknamed "The Ol' Redhead", was primarily identified with broadcasts of Major League Baseball, calling play-by-play across four decades with the Cincinnati Reds (1934–1938), Brooklyn Dodgers (1939–1953), and New York Yankees (1954–1966).
1906 – Mary Brian, American actress (d. 2002), was an American actress, who made the transition from silent films to sound films.
1904 – Hans Morgenthau, German-American political scientist, philosopher, and academic (d. 1980), was one of the major twentieth-century figures in the study of international relations. Morgenthau's works belong to the tradition of realism in international relations theory, and he is usually considered, along with George F.
1900 – Ruth Clifford, American actress (d. 1998), was an American actress of leading roles in silent films, whose career lasted from that era into the television era.
1893 – Wally Pipp, American baseball player and journalist (d. 1965), was an American professional baseball player. A first baseman, Pipp played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, and Cincinnati Reds between 1913 and 1928.
1888 – Otto Stern, German-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1969), was a German-American physicist and Nobel laureate in physics. He was the second most nominated person for a Nobel Prize with 82 nominations in the years 1925–1945 (most times nominated is Arnold Sommerfeld with 84 nominations), ultimately winning in 1943.
1881 – Mary Carson Breckinridge, American nurse-midwife, founded Frontier Nursing Service (d. 1965), was an American nurse midwife and the founder of the Frontier Nursing Service.
1874 – Thomas J. Watson, American businessman (d. 1956). He served as the chairman and CEO of International Business Machines (IBM).
1844 – Aaron Montgomery Ward, American businessman, founded Montgomery Ward (d. 1913), was an American entrepreneur based in Chicago who made his fortune through the use of mail order for retail sales of general merchandise to rural customers. In 1872 he founded Montgomery Ward & Company, which became nationally known.
1832 – Richard Henry Park, American sculptor (d. 1902), was an American sculptor who worked in marble and bronze. He was commissioned to do work by the wealthy of the nineteenth century.
1821 – Lola Montez, Irish-American actress and dancer (d. 1861), was an Irish dancer and actress who became famous as a Spanish dancer, courtesan, and mistress of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, who made her Gräfin von Landsfeld (Countess of Landsfeld). At the start of the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, she was forced to flee.
1781 – René Laennec, French physician, invented the stethoscope (d. 1826), was a French physician and musician. His skill of carving his own wooden flutes led him to invent the stethoscope in 1816, while working at the Hôpital Necker.
2017 – Michael Novak, American Roman Catholic theologian (b. 1933)
2017 – Robert H. Michel, American politician (b. 1923)
2016 – Tony Phillips, American baseball player (b. 1959)
2015 – John Barrow, American-Canadian football player and manager (b. 1935)
2014 – Bob Casale, American guitarist, keyboard player, and producer (b. 1952)
2013 – Mindy McCready, American singer-songwriter (b. 1975)
2013 – Sophie Kurys, American baseball player (b. 1925)
2012 – Michael Davis, American singer-songwriter and bass player (b. 1943)
2012 – Ulric Neisser, German-American psychologist and academic (b. 1928)
2010 – Kathryn Grayson, American actress and singer (b. 1922)
2006 – Bill Cowsill, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1948)
2006 – Ray Barretto, American drummer (b. 1929)
2005 – Dan O'Herlihy, Irish-American actor (b. 1919)
2003 – Steve Bechler, American baseball player (b. 1979)
1994 – Randy Shilts, American journalist and author (b. 1951)
1989 – Lefty Gomez, American baseball player (b. 1908)
1986 – Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian-American philosopher and author (b. 1895)
1982 – Lee Strasberg, American actor and director (b. 1901)
1982 – Nestor Chylak, American baseball player and umpire (b. 1922)
1982 – Thelonious Monk, American pianist and composer (b. 1917)
1970 – Alfred Newman, American composer and conductor (b. 1900)
1966 – Hans Hofmann, German-American painter (b. 1880)
1962 – Bruno Walter, German-American pianist, composer, and conductor (b. 1876)
1962 – Joseph Kearns, American actor (b. 1907)
1961 – Nita Naldi, American actress (b. 1897)
1946 – Dorothy Gibson, American actress and singer (b. 1889)
1909 – Geronimo, American tribal leader (b. 1829)
1905 – William Bickerton, English-American religious leader, leader in the Latter Day Saint movement (b. 1815)
1890 – Christopher Latham Sholes, American publisher and politician (b. 1819)