1997 – The United States government acknowledges the existence of the "Secret War" in Laos and dedicates the Laos Memorial in honor of Hmong and other "Secret War" veterans.
1991 – Édith Cresson becomes France's first female premier.
1970 – President Richard Nixon appoints Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington the first female United States Army generals.
1963 – Project Mercury: The launch of the final Mercury mission, Mercury-Atlas 9 with astronaut Gordon Cooper on board. He becomes the first American to spend more than a day in space, and the last American to go into space alone.
1957 – At Malden Island in the Pacific Ocean, Britain tests its first hydrogen bomb in Operation Grapple.
1942 – World War II: In the United States, a bill creating the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) is signed into law.
1941 – First flight of the Gloster E.28/39 the first British and Allied jet aircraft.
1940 – McDonald's opens its first restaurant in San Bernardino, California.
1928 – Walt Disney character Mickey Mouse premieres in his first cartoon, "Plane Crazy".
1925 – Al-Insaniyyah, the first Arabic communist newspaper, is founded.
1911 – In Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, the United States Supreme Court declares Standard Oil to be an "unreasonable" monopoly under the Sherman Antitrust Act and orders the company to be broken up.
1905 – Las Vegas is founded when 110 acres (0.45 km2), in what later would become downtown, are auctioned off.
1864 – American Civil War: Battle of New Market, Virginia: Students from the Virginia Military Institute fight alongside the Confederate Army to force Union General Franz Sigel out of the Shenandoah Valley.
1862 – President Abraham Lincoln signs a bill into law creating the United States Bureau of Agriculture. It is later renamed the United States Department of Agriculture.
1851 – The first Australian gold rush is proclaimed, although the discovery had been made three months earlier.
1850 – The Bloody Island massacre takes place in Lake County, California, in which a large number of Pomo Indians are slaughtered by a regiment of the United States Cavalry.
1817 – Opening of the first private mental health hospital in the United States, the Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason (now Friends Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).
1796 – War of the First Coalition: Napoleon enters Milan in triumph.
1793 – Diego Marín Aguilera flies a glider for "about 360 meters", at a height of 5–6 meters, during one of the first attempted manned flights.
1792 – War of the First Coalition: France declares war on Kingdom of Sardinia.
1776 – American Revolution: The Fifth Virginia Convention instructs its Continental Congress delegation to propose a resolution of independence from Great Britain, paving the way for the United States Declaration of Independence.
1730 – Robert Walpole effectively became the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
1718 – James Puckle, a London lawyer, patents the world's first machine gun.
1618 – Johannes Kepler confirms his previously rejected discovery of the third law of planetary motion (he first discovered it on March 8 but soon rejected the idea after some initial calculations were made).
1987 – Brian Dozier, American baseball player. He made his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut in 2012.
1987 – Mark Fayne, American ice hockey player. Fayne (born May 15, 1987 in Nashua, New Hampshire and raised in Bourne, Massachusetts) is an American professional ice hockey player who is currently an unrestricted free agent.
1987 – Michael Brantley, American baseball player. Michael Charles Brantley Jr. (born May 15, 1987) is an American professional baseball outfielder for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB).
1981 – Jamie-Lynn Sigler, American actress and singer. She is best known for her role as Meadow Soprano on the HBO series The Sopranos.
1980 – Josh Beckett, American baseball player. A three-time Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star, he played for the Florida Marlins, Boston Red Sox, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
1979 – Robert Royal, American football player. He played college football at Louisiana State.
1979 – Ryan Max Riley, American skier, was a humor writer for The Harvard Lampoon. He competed on the World Cup for seven years and was a two-time US National Champion as an athlete on the U.S.
1978 – Amy Chow, American gymnast and pediatrician. Amy Yuen Yee Chow (Chinese: 周婉儀; pinyin: Zhōu Wǎnyí; born May 15, 1978) is a retired American artistic gymnast who competed at the 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics.
1978 – David Krumholtz, American actor. He also played Seth Goldstein in the Harold & Kumar film trilogy and Bernard the Elf in the Santa Clause film franchise.
1976 – Ryan Leaf, American football player and coach, was a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for four seasons. He played for the San Diego Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys between 1998 and 2001, and also spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks.
1976 – Torraye Braggs, American basketball player. Torraye Braggs (born May 15, 1976) is an American professional basketball player born in Fresno, California, formerly of the NBA.
1975 – Ray Lewis, American football player and sportscaster, was a linebacker with the Baltimore Ravens for his entire 17-year career in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Miami Hurricanes, and earned All-America honors.
1974 – Ahmet Zappa, American musician and writer. Ahmet Emuukha Rodan Zappa (born May 15, 1974) is an American musician and writer, and executor of the Zappa Family Trust.
1970 – Desmond Howard, American football player and sportscaster. He is currently a college football analyst for ESPN.
1969 – Emmitt Smith, American football player and sportscaster, was a running back for fifteen seasons in the National Football League (NFL) during the 1990s and 2000s, primarily with the Dallas Cowboys. A three-time Super Bowl champion with the Cowboys, he is the league's all-time leading rusher.
1969 – Hideki Irabu, Japanese-American baseball player (d. 2011), was a Japanese professional baseball player of American and Japanese mixed ancestry. He played professionally in both Japan and the United States.
1967 – John Smoltz, American baseball player and sportscaster. John Andrew Smoltz (born May 15, 1967), nicknamed "Smoltzie" and "Marmaduke," is an American former baseball pitcher who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball from 1988 to 2009, all but the last year with the Atlanta Braves.
1967 – Laura Hillenbrand, American journalist and author. Her writing style is distinct from New Journalism, dropping "verbal pyrotechnics" in favor of a stronger focus on the story itself.
1960 – Rob Bowman, American director and producer. Robert Bowman (also Rob, Bob, or Bobby) may refer to:
1959 – Beverly Jo Scott, American-Belgian singer-songwriter. Scott, is an American-born singer-songwriter living in Brussels, Belgium.
1958 – Jason Graae, American musical theater actor. Jason Graae (pronounced "grah" or "graw", but not "gray") (born 15 May 1958) is an American musical theater actor, best known for his musical theater performances but with a varied career spanning Broadway, opera, television and film.
1958 – Ron Simmons, American football player and wrestler. He is signed with WWE, working in their Legends program.
1957 – Kevin Von Erich, American football player and wrestler. Kevin Ross Adkisson (born May 15, 1957) is an American retired professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, Kevin Von Erich.
1957 – Meg Gardiner, American-English author and academic. Meg Gardiner (born May 15, 1957) is an American thriller writer and author of fourteen published books.
1956 – Dan Patrick, American television anchor and sportscaster. Daniel Patrick Pugh (born May 15, 1956), known professionally as Dan Patrick, is an American sportscaster, radio personality, and actor from Mason, Ohio.
1956 – Kevin Greenaugh, American nuclear engineer. Kevin Greenaugh (born May 15, 1956) is an American nuclear engineer and senior manager at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in Washington, DC, United States.
1954 – Diana Liverman, English-American geographer and academic. Diana Liverman (born May 15, 1954, Accra, Ghana) is Regents Professor of Geography and Development, and formerly co-Director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona, USA.
1953 – George Brett, American baseball player and coach. George Howard Brett (born May 15, 1953) is an American former professional baseball player who played 21 years, primarily as a third baseman, in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Kansas City Royals.
1952 – Chazz Palminteri, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. He is best known for his Academy Award-nominated role for Best Supporting Actor in Bullets over Broadway, the 1993 film A Bronx Tale, based on his play of the same name, Special Agent Dave Kujan in The Usual Suspects, Primo Sidone in Analyze This and his recurring role as Shorty in Modern Family.
1951 – Dennis Frederiksen, American singer-songwriter (d. 2014), was an American rock singer best known as the former lead singer of Trillion, Angel, LeRoux and Toto, as well as providing backing vocals for Survivor. He was occasionally credited as Fergie Frederiksen or just Fergie.
1951 – Frank Wilczek, American mathematician and physicist, Nobel Prize laureate. D.
1950 – Jim Simons, American golfer (d. 2005). James Simons is a mathematician and hedge fund manager.
1949 – Frank L. Culbertson Jr., American captain, pilot, and astronaut. Frank Lee Culbertson Jr. (born May 15, 1949) (Capt, USN, Ret.) is an American former naval officer and aviator, test pilot, aerospace engineer, NASA astronaut and graduate of the US Naval Academy.
1948 – Kathleen Sebelius, American politician, 44th Governor of Kansas. Kathleen Sebelius (/sɪˈbiːliəs/; née Gilligan; born May 15, 1948) is an American businesswoman and politician who served as the 21st United States Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2009 until 2014.
1945 – Jerry Quarry, American boxer (d. 1999), was an American heavyweight boxer. During the peak of his career from 1968 to 1971, Quarry was rated by Ring magazine as the most popular fighter in the sport.
1944 – Bill Alter, American police officer and politician. Bill Alter (born May 15, 1944) is a former Missouri Republican politician serving in the Missouri State Senate.
1943 – Freddie Perren, American songwriter, producer, and conductor (d. 2004), was an American songwriter, record producer, arranger, and orchestra conductor. He co-wrote and co-produced songs including "Boogie Fever" by the Sylvers, "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor, and "Shake Your Groove Thing" by Peaches & Herb.
1942 – K. T. Oslin, American singer-songwriter and actress. She is also well known for a series of other top-ten country hits during the late 1980s and early 1990s, four of which topped the American Country chart.
1942 – Lois Johnson, American singer-songwriter (d. 2014), was an American country music singer. She was from Maynardville, Tennessee.
1941 – Jaxon, American illustrator and publisher, co-founded the Rip Off Press (d. 2006), was an American cartoonist, illustrator, historian, and writer. He co-founded Rip Off Press, and some consider him to be the first underground comix artist, due to his most well-known comic strip God Nose.
1940 – Don Nelson, American basketball player and coach. He coached the Milwaukee Bucks, the New York Knicks, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Golden State Warriors.
1940 – Lainie Kazan, American actress and singer. Elsewhere and the 1993 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for My Favorite Year.
1940 – Roger Ailes, American businessman (d. 2017), was an American television executive and media consultant. He was the chairman and CEO of Fox News and Fox Television Stations, from which he was fired in July of 2016 for engaging in multiple sexual harassment cases with 23 known victims.
1938 – Nancy Garden, American author (d. 2014), was an American writer of fiction for children and young adults, best known for the lesbian novel Annie on My Mind. She received the 2003 Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association recognizing her lifetime contribution in writing for teens, citing Annie alone.
1937 – Madeleine Albright, Czech-American politician and diplomat, 64th United States Secretary of State. She is the first female United States Secretary of State in U.S. history, having served from 1997 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton.
1937 – Trini Lopez, American singer, guitarist, and actor. Other hits included "Lemon Tree", "I'm Comin' Home, Cindy" and "Sally Was a Good Old Girl".
1936 – Anna Maria Alberghetti, Italian-American actress and singer. She became a U.S. citizen in 1961.
1936 – Paul Zindel, American playwright and novelist (d. 2003), was an American playwright, young adult novelist, and educator.
1935 – Don Bragg, American pole vaulter, was an American athlete who competed mainly in the pole vault and won a gold medal in that event at the 1960 Summer Olympics.
1935 – Utah Phillips, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2008), was an American labor organizer, folk singer, storyteller and poet. He described the struggles of labor unions and the power of direct action, self-identifying as an anarchist.
1931 – Ken Venturi, American golfer and sportscaster (d. 2013), was an American professional golfer and golf broadcaster. In a career shortened by injuries, he won 14 events on the PGA Tour including a major, the U.S.
1930 – Jasper Johns, American painter and sculptor. Jasper Johns (born May 15, 1930) is an American painter, sculptor and printmaker whose work is associated with abstract expressionism, Neo-Dada, and pop art.
1925 – Carl Sanders, American soldier, pilot, and politician, 74th Governor of Georgia (d. 2014), was an American attorney and politician who served as the 74th Governor of the state of Georgia from 1963 to 1967.
1923 – Richard Avedon, American sailor and photographer (d. 2004), was an American fashion and portrait photographer. An obituary published in The New York Times said that "his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America's image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century".
1918 – Arthur Jackson, American lieutenant and target shooter (d. 2015). Arthur Jackson is the name of:
1918 – Eddy Arnold, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor (d. 2008), was an American country music singer who performed for six decades. He was a Nashville sound (country/popular music) innovator of the late 1950s, and scored 147 songs on the Billboard country music charts, second only to George Jones.
1918 – Joseph Wiseman, Canadian-American actor (d. 2009), was a Canadian American theatre and film actor, well known for starring as the villain Julius No in the first James Bond film, Dr. No in 1962.
1915 – Paul Samuelson, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2009). Economic historian Randall E.
1910 – Constance Cummings, British-based American actress (d. 2005), was an American-born British actress, known for her work on both screen and stage.
1905 – Abraham Zapruder, American businessman and amateur photographer, filmed the Zapruder film (d. 1970), was a Ukrainian-born American clothing manufacturer who witnessed the assassination of U.S. President John F.
1905 – Joseph Cotten, American actor (d. 1994), was an American film, stage, radio and television actor. Cotten achieved prominence on Broadway, starring in the original stage productions of The Philadelphia Story and Sabrina Fair.
1904 – Clifton Fadiman, American game show host and author (d. 1999), was an American intellectual, author, editor, radio and television personality. He began his work with the radio, and switched to television later in his career.
1902 – Richard J. Daley, American lawyer and politician, 48th Mayor of Chicago (d. 1976). Richard Joseph Daley (May 15, 1902 – December 20, 1976) was an American politician who served as the Mayor of Chicago from 1955 to his death and the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party Central Committee from 1953 to his death.
1900 – Ida Rhodes, American mathematician (d. 1986), was an American mathematician who became a member of the clique of influential women at the heart of early computer development in the United States.
1895 – Prescott Bush, American captain, banker, and politician (d. 1972), was an American banker and politician. After working as a Wall Street executive investment banker, he represented Connecticut in the United States Senate from 1952 to 1963.
1895 – William D. Byron, American lieutenant and politician (d. 1941), was a U.S. Congressman who represented the 6th congressional district of Maryland from January 3, 1939 to February 27, 1941.
1894 – Feg Murray, American hurdler and cartoonist (d. 1973), was an American athlete who competed mainly in the 110 meter hurdles. He was furthermore a well-known artist, writer, and cartoonist.
1892 – Charles E. Rosendahl, American admiral (d. 1977), was a highly decorated Vice Admiral in the United States Navy, and an advocate of lighter-than-air flight.
1890 – Katherine Anne Porter, American short story writer, novelist, and essayist (d. 1980), was an American journalist, essayist, short story writer, novelist, and political activist. Her 1962 novel Ship of Fools was the best-selling novel in America that year, but her short stories received much more critical acclaim.
1863 – Frank Hornby, English businessman and politician, invented Meccano (d. 1936), was an English inventor, businessman and politician. He was a visionary in toy development and manufacture, and although he had no formal engineering training, he was responsible for the invention and production of three of the most popular lines of toys based on engineering principles in the 20th century: Meccano, Hornby Model Railways and Dinky Toys.
1857 – Williamina Fleming, Scottish-American astronomer and academic (d. 1911), was a Scottish astronomer. During her career, she helped develop a common designation system for stars and cataloged thousands of stars and other astronomical phenomena.
1856 – L. Frank Baum, American novelist (d. 1919), was an American author chiefly famous for his children's books, particularly The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its sequels. He wrote 14 novels in the Oz series, plus 41 other novels, 83 short stories, over 200 poems, and at least 42 scripts.
1841 – Clarence Dutton, American commander and geologist (d. 1912), was an American geologist and US Army officer. Dutton was born in Wallingford, Connecticut on May 15, 1841.
1749 – Levi Lincoln Sr., American lawyer and politician, 4th United States Attorney General (d. 1820), was an American revolutionary, lawyer, and statesman from Massachusetts. A Democratic-Republican, he most notably served as Thomas Jefferson's first Attorney General, and played a significant role in the events that led to the celebrated Marbury v.
1608 – René Goupil, French-American missionary and saint (d. 1642), was a French Jesuit lay missionary (in French "donné", "given", or "one who offers himself") who became a lay brother of the Society of Jesus shortly before his death. He was the first of the eight North American Martyrs of the Roman Catholic Church to receive the crown of martyrdom and the first canonized Catholic martyr in North America.
2015 – Elisabeth Bing, German-American physical therapist and author (b. 1914)
2015 – Garo Yepremian, Cypriot-American football player (b. 1944)
2015 – Jackie Brookner, American sculptor and educator (b. 1945)
2009 – Wayman Tisdale, American basketball player and bass player (b. 1964)
2008 – Alexander Courage, American composer and conductor (b. 1919)
2007 – Jerry Falwell, American pastor, founded Liberty University (b. 1933)
2003 – June Carter Cash, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actress (b. 1929)
1998 – Earl Manigault, American basketball player (b. 1944)
1996 – Charles B. Fulton, American lawyer and judge (b. 1910)
1994 – Gilbert Roland, American actor (b. 1905)
1989 – Johnny Green, American composer and conductor (b. 1908)
1986 – Theodore H. White, American historian, journalist, and author (b. 1915)
1985 – Jackie Curtis, American actress and writer (b. 1947)
1984 – Francis Schaeffer, American pastor, theologian, and philosopher (b. 1912)
1982 – Gordon Smiley, American race car driver (b. 1946)
1980 – Gordon Prange, American historian and author (b. 1910)
1967 – Edward Hopper, American painter (b. 1882)
1954 – William March, American soldier and author (b. 1893)
1948 – Edward J. Flanagan, Irish-American priest, founded Boys Town (b. 1886)
1886 – Emily Dickinson, American poet and author (b. 1830)
1879 – Gottfried Semper, German architect and educator, designed the Semper Opera House (b. 1803)