2013 – Pope Benedict XVI resigns as the pope of the Catholic Church, becoming the first pope to do so since 1415.
1998 – First flight of RQ-4 Global Hawk, the first unmanned aerial vehicle certified to file its own flight plans and fly regularly in U.S. civilian airspace.
1997 – GRB 970228, a highly luminous flash of gamma rays, strikes the Earth for 80 seconds, providing early evidence that gamma-ray bursts occur well beyond the Milky Way.
1993 – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents raid the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas with a warrant to arrest the group's leader David Koresh. Four ATF agents and six Davidians die in the initial raid, starting a 51-day standoff.
1991 – The first Gulf War ends.
1972 – Sino-American relations: The United States and People's Republic of China sign the Shanghai Communiqué.
1959 – Discoverer 1, an American spy satellite that is the first object intended to achieve a polar orbit, is launched but fails to achieve orbit.
1958 – A school bus in Floyd County, Kentucky hits a wrecker truck and plunges down an embankment into the rain-swollen Levisa Fork river. The driver and 26 children die in what remains one of the worst school bus accidents in U.S. history.
1954 – The first color television sets using the NTSC standard are offered for sale to the general public.
1953 – James Watson and Francis Crick announce to friends that they have determined the chemical structure of DNA; the formal announcement takes place on April 25 following publication in April's Nature.
1942 – The heavy cruiser USS Houston is sunk in the Battle of Sunda Strait with 693 crew members killed, along with HMAS Perth which lost 375 men.
1940 – Basketball is televised for the first time (Fordham University vs. the University of Pittsburgh in Madison Square Garden).
1939 – The erroneous word "dord" is discovered in the Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition, prompting an investigation.
1904 – S.L. Benfica is founded in Portugal
1893 – The USS Indiana, the lead ship of her class and the first battleship in the United States Navy comparable to foreign battleships of the time, is launched.
1885 – The American Telephone and Telegraph Company is incorporated in New York as the subsidiary of American Bell Telephone. (American Bell would later merge with its subsidiary.)
1867 – Seventy years of Holy See–United States relations are ended by a Congressional ban on federal funding of diplomatic envoys to the Vatican and are not restored until January 10, 1984.
1849 – Regular steamboat service from the west to the east coast of the United States begins with the arrival of the SS California in San Francisco Bay, four months 22 days after leaving New York Harbor.
1847 – The Battle of the Sacramento River during the Mexican–American War is a decisive victory for the United States leading to the capture of Chihuahua.
1844 – A gun on USS Princeton explodes while the boat is on a Potomac River cruise, killing six people, including two United States Cabinet members.
1827 – The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is incorporated, becoming the first railroad in America offering commercial transportation of both people and freight.
1784 – John Wesley charters the Methodist Church.
1989 – Carlos Dunlap, American football player. Carlos Dunlap (born February 28, 1989) is an American football defensive end for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL).
1986 – Travis Stevens, American judoka. Travis Stevens (born February 28, 1986) is a judoka and Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner from the United States who competed in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics.
1984 – Noureen DeWulf, American actress. Noureen Ahmed, known professionally as Noureen DeWulf (born February 28, 1984), is an American actress who starred as Lacey in television sitcom Anger Management.
1981 – Brian Bannister, American baseball player and scout. Brian Patrick Bannister (born February 28, 1981) is an American former professional baseball starting pitcher, currently in a front-office position with the San Francisco Giants.
1980 – Tayshaun Prince, American basketball player. He was drafted 23rd overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 2002 NBA draft and went on to win a championship with the team in 2004.
1978 – Jamaal Tinsley, American basketball player. Following his senior year he was drafted by the Vancouver Grizzlies with the 27th pick of the 2001 NBA draft, and was immediately dealt to the Atlanta Hawks, and then to the Indiana Pacers on draft night.
1977 – Jason Aldean, American singer-songwriter and guitarist. His 2010 album, My Kinda Party, is certified quadruple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
1977 – Lance Hoyt, American football player and wrestler. Lance Vance Hoyt (born February 28, 1977) is an American professional wrestler, currently working for New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) as Lance Archer, where he is a member of the Suzuki-gun stable.
1976 – Ali Larter, American actress. She made her film debut in Varsity Blues (1999), which was followed by the horror films House on Haunted Hill (1999), Final Destination (2000), and Final Destination 2 (2003).
1975 – Mike Rucker, American football player. Michael Dean Rucker (born February 28, 1975) is a former American football defensive end who played eight seasons for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL).
1970 – Daniel Handler, American journalist, author, and accordion player. Daniel Handler (born February 28, 1970) is an American writer and musician.
1969 – Butch Leitzinger, American race car driver. He is best known as an ALMS driver with Dyson Racing, but he has also driven for a variety of other teams and race series.
1969 – Patrick Monahan, American singer-songwriter and actor. He has collaborated with multiple artists, and has recorded a solo album, Last of Seven.
1969 – Robert Sean Leonard, American actor. James Wilson in the television series House (2004–2012) and Neil Perry in the film Dead Poets Society.
1966 – Vincent Askew, American basketball player and coach. Vincent Jerome Askew (born February 28, 1966) is an American retired professional basketball player who played for nine seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for eight different teams.
1965 – Colum McCann, Irish-American author and academic. Colum McCann (born 28 February 1965) is an Irish writer of literary fiction.
1965 – Norman Smiley, English-American wrestler and trainer. He is currently working for WWE as a trainer for NXT.
1961 – Rae Dawn Chong, Canadian-American actress. Rae Dawn Chong (born February 28, 1961) is a Canadian-American actress best known for her roles in the films Quest for Fire (1981), Beat Street (1984), The Color Purple and Commando (both 1985), Boulevard (1994) and Time Runner (1993).
1959 – Megan McDonald, American librarian and author. McDonald has also written many picture books for younger children and continues to write.
1958 – Jack Abramoff, American businessman and lobbyist. Steven Griles and David Safavian, U.S.
1957 – Cindy Wilson, American singer-songwriter. Cynthia Leigh Wilson (born February 28, 1957) is an American singer, and is one of the vocalists, songwriters and founding members of new wave rock band the B-52s.
1957 – John Turturro, American actor, director, and screenwriter. John Michael Turturro (/tərˈtʊəroʊ/; born February 28, 1957) is an Italian American character actor, writer and filmmaker known for his roles in the films Do the Right Thing (1989), Miller's Crossing (1990), Barton Fink (1991), Quiz Show (1994), The Big Lebowski (1998), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) and Transformers film series.
1957 – Paul Delph, American singer-songwriter, keyboard player, and producer (d. 1996), was a Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, producer, engineer, and studio musician whose catalog includes work with many well-known recording artists from the late 1970s through the mid-1990s. Delph died from complications of HIV/AIDS at his parents' home in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1955 – Adrian Dantley, American basketball player and coach. In 2010, he was appointed acting head coach of the Denver Nuggets in the absence of stricken head coach George Karl.
1955 – Gilbert Gottfried, American comedian, actor, and singer. His numerous roles in film and television include voicing the parrot Iago in Disney's Aladdin animated films and TV show, Digit in the PBS Kids Go! show Cyberchase, and Kraang Subprime in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
1954 – Brian Billick, American football player, coach, and sportscaster. He was also the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings (1994–1998) when they broke the scoring record in the 1998 season.
1953 – Paul Krugman, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate. Paul Robin Krugman (/ˈkrʊɡmən/ (listen) KRUUG-mən; born February 28, 1953) is an American economist who is the Distinguished Professor of Economics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and a columnist for The New York Times.
1953 – Ricky Steamboat, American wrestler, referee, and trainer. Richard Henry Blood Sr. (born February 28, 1953), better known by his ring name Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, is an American retired professional wrestler.
1951 – Bill Cratty, American dancer and choreographer (d. 1998), was an American modern dancer and choreographer.
1951 – Debora Green, American physician convicted of murder. Debora Green (née Jones; born February 28, 1951) is an American physician who pleaded no contest to setting a 1995 fire which burned down her family's home and killed two of her children, and to poisoning her husband with ricin with the intention of causing his death.
1948 – Bernadette Peters, American actress, singer, and author. She is a critically acclaimed Broadway performer, having received seven nominations for Tony Awards, winning two (plus an honorary award), and nine nominations for Drama Desk Awards, winning three. Four of the Broadway cast albums on which she has starred have won Grammy Awards
1948 – Mercedes Ruehl, American actress. Ruehl (born February 28, 1948) is an American screen and stage actor.
1948 – Steven Chu, American physicist and politician, 12th United States Secretary of Energy, Nobel Prize laureate. Steven Chu born February 28, 1948) is an American physicist and a former government official.
1945 – Bubba Smith, American football player and actor (d. 2011), was an American professional football player, who starred as a defensive end in both college and the NFL before becoming an actor following his retirement from the sport.
1945 – Linda Preiss Rothschild, American mathematician and academic. Her thesis research concerned Lie groups, but subsequently her interests broadened to include also polynomial factorization, partial differential equations, harmonic analysis, and the theory of several complex variables.
1945 – Mimsy Farmer, American-French actress and sculptor. Her nickname came from a line in Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky: "All mimsy were the borogoves".
1944 – Kelly Bishop, American actress and dancer. Carole "Kelly" Bishop (born February 28, 1944) is an American actress and dancer, best known for her roles as matriarch Emily Gilmore on the series Gilmore Girls and as Marjorie Houseman, the mother of Jennifer Grey's Frances "Baby" Houseman in the film Dirty Dancing.
1943 – Barbara Acklin, American singer-songwriter (d. 1998), was an American soul singer and songwriter, who was most successful in the 1960s and 1970s. Her biggest hit as a singer was "Love Makes a Woman" (1968).
1943 – Donnie Iris, American rock singer-songwriter and guitarist. Donnie Iris (born Dominic Ierace on February 28, 1943) is an American rock musician known for his work with the Jaggerz and Wild Cherry during the 1970s, and for his solo career beginning in the 1980s with his band, the Cruisers.
1940 – Aldo Andretti, Italian-American race car driver. Aldo Andretti (born February 28, 1940) is the twin brother of Mario Andretti and the father of John Andretti, MaryJo Andretti-Dial, Mark Andretti, and Adam Andretti.
1940 – Joe South, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer (d. 2012). Best known for his songwriting, South won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1970 for "Games People Play" and was again nominated for the award in 1972 for "Rose Garden".
1940 – Mario Andretti, Italian-American race car driver. Mario Gabriele Andretti (born February 28, 1940) is an Italian-born American former racing driver, one of the most successful Americans in the history of the sport.
1939 – Daniel C. Tsui, Chinese-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate. Daniel Chee Tsui (Chinese: 崔琦; pinyin: Cuī Qí, born February 28, 1939) is a Chinese-born American physicist whose areas of research included electrical properties of thin films and microstructures of semiconductors and solid-state physics.
1939 – Tommy Tune, American actor, singer, dancer, and director. Over the course of his career, he has won ten Tony Awards, the National Medal of Arts and has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1938 – Foge Fazio, American football player and coach (d. 2009). He served as the head football coach at the University of Pittsburgh from 1982 to 1985.
1937 – Jeff Farrell, American swimmer. Felix Jeffrey Farrell (born February 28, 1937) is an American former competition swimmer, Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in multiple relay events.
1934 – Willie Bobo, American Latin Jazz/Afro-Cuban jazz percussionist (d. 1983), was the stage name of William Correa (February 28, 1934 – September 15, 1983), a Latin and jazz percussionist of Puerto Rican ancestry.
1931 – Dean Smith, American basketball player and coach (d. 2015), was an American men's college basketball head coach. Called a "coaching legend" by the Basketball Hall of Fame, he coached for 36 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
1931 – Gavin MacLeod, American actor. Gavin MacLeod (born Allan George See; February 28, 1931) is an American film and television character actor, ship's ambassador, and Christian activist and author, whose career spans six decades.
1930 – Leon Cooper, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate. Leon N Cooper (born February 28, 1930) is an American physicist and Nobel Prize laureate who, with John Bardeen and John Robert Schrieffer, developed the BCS theory of superconductivity.
1929 – Frank Gehry, Canadian-American architect, designed 8 Spruce Street and Walt Disney Concert Hall. Frank Owen Gehry, CC, FAIA (/ˈɡɛəri/; born Frank Owen Goldberg; (1929 -02-28)February 28, 1929) is a Canadian-born American architect, residing in Los Angeles.
1929 – Hayden Fry, American football player and coach, was an American college football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at Southern Methodist University (SMU) from 1962 to 1972, North Texas State University—now known as the University of North Texas—from 1973 to 1978, and the University of Iowa from 1979 to 1998, compiling a career coaching record of 232–178–10.
1929 – John Montague, American-Irish poet and academic (d. 2016). John Montague is the name of:
1929 – Rangaswamy Srinivasan, Indian-American physical chemist and inventor. He received the National Medal of Technology from President Obama on February 2, 2013 for his contributions to laser eye surgery.
1928 – Tom Aldredge, American actor (d. 2011), was an American television, film and stage actor, best known for various appearances in movies, theatre and television, with a notable role as Hugh De Angelis on The Sopranos. He also appeared in the television shows Damages as Uncle Pete and Ryan's Hope.
1926 – Svetlana Alliluyeva, Russian-American author and educator (d. 2011), was the youngest child and only daughter of Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin and Nadezhda Alliluyeva, Stalin's second wife. In 1967, she caused an international furor when she defected to, and later became a naturalized citizen of, the United States.
1924 – Robert A. Roe, American soldier and politician (d. 2014), was an American Democratic Party politician who represented New Jersey in the United States House of Representatives for over 23 years, serving from November 4, 1969 to January 3, 1993.
1923 – Charles Durning, American soldier and actor (d. 2012), was an American actor, with appearances in over 200 movies, television shows and plays. Durning's best-known films include The Sting (1973), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), True Confessions (1981), Tootsie (1982), Dick Tracy (1990) and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000).
1919 – Alfred Marshall, American businessman, founded Marshalls (d. 2013), was one of the most influential economists of his time. His book, Principles of Economics (1890), was the dominant economic textbook in England for many years.
1915 – Ketti Frings, American author, playwright, and screenwriter (d. 1981), was an American author, playwright, and screenwriter who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1958.
1915 – Zero Mostel, American actor and comedian (d. 1977), was an American actor, singer and comedian of stage and screen, best known for his portrayal of comic characters such as Tevye on stage in Fiddler on the Roof, Pseudolus on stage and on screen in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Max Bialystock in the original film version of The Producers. Mostel was a student of Don Richardson, and used an acting technique based on muscle memory.
1908 – Billie Bird, American actress (d. 2002), was an American actress and comedian.
1907 – Milton Caniff, American cartoonist (d. 1988), was an American cartoonist famous for the Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon comic strips.
1906 – Bugsy Siegel, American gangster (d. 1947), was an American mobster. Siegel was known as one of the most "infamous and feared gangsters of his day".
1903 – Vincente Minnelli, American director and screenwriter (d. 1986), was an American stage director and film director. He directed the classic movie musicals Meet Me in St.
1901 – Linus Pauling, American chemist and activist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1994). New Scientist called him one of the 20 greatest scientists of all time, and as of 2000, he was rated the 16th most important scientist in history.
1900 – Wolf Hirth, German pilot and engineer, co-founded Schempp-Hirth (d. 1959), was a German gliding pioneer and sailplane designer. He was a co-founder of Schempp-Hirth, still a renowned glider manufacturer.
1896 – Philip Showalter Hench, American physician and endocrinologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1965). Hench, along with his Mayo Clinic co-worker Edward Calvin Kendall and Swiss chemist Tadeus Reichstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1950 for the discovery of the hormone cortisone, and its application for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
1894 – Ben Hecht, American director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1964), was an American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, journalist, and novelist. A journalist in his youth, he went on to write 35 books and some of the most entertaining screenplays and plays in America.
1887 – William Zorach, Lithuanian-American sculptor and painter (d. 1966), was a Lithuanian-born American sculptor, painter, printmaker, and writer. He won the Logan Medal of the arts.
1882 – Geraldine Farrar, American soprano and actress (d. 1967), was an American soprano opera singer and film actress, noted for her beauty, acting ability, and "the intimate timbre of her voice." She had a large following among young women, who were nicknamed "Gerry-flappers".
1851 – Samuel W. McCall, American journalist and politician, 47th Governor of Massachusetts (d. 1923), was a Republican lawyer, politician, and writer from Massachusetts. He was for twenty years (1893–1913) a member of the United States House of Representatives, and the 47th Governor of Massachusetts, serving three one-year terms (1916–19).
2016 – George Kennedy, American actor (b. 1925)
2015 – Alex Johnson, American baseball player (b. 1942)
2014 – Lee Lorch, American mathematician and activist (b. 1915)
2013 – Donald A. Glaser, American physicist and biologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1926)
2012 – Jim Green, American-Canadian educator and politician (b. 1943)
2011 – Jane Russell, American actress and singer (b. 1921)
2009 – Paul Harvey, American radio host (b. 1918)
2008 – Joseph M. Juran, Romanian-American engineer and businessman (b. 1904)
2007 – Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. American historian and critic (b. 1917)
2007 – Charles Forte, Baron Forte, Italian-English businessman, founded the Forte Group (b. 1908)
2006 – Owen Chamberlain, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1920)
2004 – Daniel J. Boorstin, American historian and librarian (b. 1914)
2003 – Chris Brasher, Guyanese-English runner and journalist, co-founded the London Marathon (b. 1928)
2002 – Mary Stuart, American actress and singer (b. 1926)
1993 – Ruby Keeler, Canadian-American actress and dancer (b. 1909)
1991 – Wassily Hoeffding, Finnish-American statistician and theorist (b. 1914)
1978 – Zara Cully, American actress (b. 1892)
1977 – Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, American actor and comedian (b. 1905)
1967 – Henry Luce, Chinese-American publisher, co-founded Time Magazine (b. 1898)
1966 – Charles Bassett, American captain, engineer, and astronaut (b. 1931)
1966 – Elliot See, American commander, engineer, and astronaut (b. 1927)
1959 – Maxwell Anderson, American journalist, author, and playwright (b. 1888)
1916 – Henry James, American novelist, short writer, and critic (b. 1843)
1891 – George Hearst, American businessman and politician (b. 1820)
1788 – Thomas Cushing, American lawyer and politician, 1st Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts (b. 1725)