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Thursday 16 May 2024 Calendar with holidays, observances and special days

May 16 Events

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Holidays and observances


  • 1991 – Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom addresses a joint session of the United States Congress. She is the first British monarch to address the U.S. Congress.
  • 1988 – A report by the Surgeon General of the United States C. Everett Koop states that the addictive properties of nicotine are similar to those of heroin and cocaine.
  • 1960 – Theodore Maiman operates the first optical laser (a ruby laser), at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California.
  • 1951 – The first regularly scheduled transatlantic flights begin between Idlewild Airport (now John F Kennedy International Airport) in New York City and Heathrow Airport in London, operated by El Al Israel Airlines.
  • 1929 – In Hollywood, the first Academy Awards ceremony takes place.
  • 1919 – A naval Curtiss NC-4 aircraft commanded by Albert Cushing Read leaves Trepassey, Newfoundland, for Lisbon via the Azores on the first transatlantic flight.
  • 1891 – The International Electrotechnical Exhibition opens in Frankfurt, Germany, and will feature the world's first long distance transmission of high-power, three-phase electric current (the most common form today).
  • 1868 – United States President Andrew Johnson is acquitted in his impeachment trial by one vote in the United States Senate.
  • 1866 – The United States Congress establishes the nickel.
  • 1843 – The first major wagon train heading for the Pacific Northwest sets out on the Oregon Trail with one thousand pioneers from Elm Grove, Missouri.
  • 1771 – The Battle of Alamance, a pre-American Revolutionary War battle between local militia and a group of rebels called The "Regulators", occurs in present-day Alamance County, North Carolina.
  • 1204 – Baldwin IX, Count of Flanders is crowned as the first Emperor of the Latin Empire.


  • 1996 – Louisa Chirico, American tennis player. Louisa Chirico (born May 16, 1996) is an American tennis player.
  • 1991 – Ashley Wagner, American figure skater. She is the 2016 World silver medalist, a 2014 Olympic bronze medalist in the team event, the 2012 Four Continents champion, a three-time Grand Prix Final medalist, winner of five Grand Prix events (2012 and 2016 Skate America; 2012 and 2013 Trophée Éric Bompard; 2015 Skate Canada), and a three-time U.S. national champion (2012, 2013, and 2015).
  • 1990 – Omar Strong, American basketball player. In 2012–13, he was a senior at Texas Southern University and was named the Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
  • 1986 – Megan Fox, American actress. In 2004, she made her film debut with a role in the teen comedy Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.
  • 1984 – Jensen Lewis, American baseball player. Jensen Daniel Lewis (born May 16, 1984) is an American former professional baseball pitcher and a current baseball analyst with FOX Sports.
  • 1974 – Sonny Sandoval, American singer-songwriter and rapper. Over the course of their career, the band has received three Grammy Award nominations, contributed to numerous motion picture soundtracks and toured internationally.
  • 1973 – Tori Spelling, American actress, reality television personality, and author. She has appeared in a string of made-for-television films, including A Friend to Die For (1994), A Carol Christmas (2003), The Mistle-Tones (2012), both versions of Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? (1996, 2016), and The Last Sharknado: It's About Time (2018).
  • 1969 – David Boreanaz, American actor. David Boreanaz (/bɔːriˈɑːnəs/; born May 16, 1969) is an American actor, television producer, and director, known for playing the roles of vampire-turned-private investigator Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003) and its spinoff Angel (1999–2004); FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth on the television crime procedural comedy-drama series Bones (2005–2017); and Jason Hayes in the military drama series SEAL Team (2017–present).
  • 1969 – Tucker Carlson, American journalist, co-founded The Daily Caller. Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson (born May 16, 1969) is an American conservative journalist and political commentator who has hosted the nightly political talk show Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News since 2016.
  • 1968 – Ralph Tresvant, American singer and producer. Ralph Edward Tresvant (born May 16, 1968), is an American singer, songwriter, actor and record producer, best known as the lead singer of R&B group New Edition.
  • 1967 – Doug Brocail, American baseball player and coach. He has coached in MLB for the Astros and Rangers.
  • 1966 – Janet Jackson, American singer-songwriter, producer, dancer, and actress. A prominent figure in popular culture, she is known for sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records and elaborate stage shows.
  • 1966 – Scott Reeves, American singer-songwriter and actor. His best known roles include Noel Laughlin on ABC's, Nashville, Ryan McNeil on The Young and the Restless and Steven Webber on General Hospital.
  • 1966 – Thurman Thomas, American football player, was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins. Thomas was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 and into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
  • 1965 – Krist Novoselic, American bass player, songwriter, author, and activist. Krist Anthony Novoselic (/ˌnoʊvəˈsɛlɪk/; born May 16, 1965) is an American musician and political activist, best known as the bassist and a founding member of the rock band Nirvana.
  • 1964 – Boyd Tinsley, American singer-songwriter and violinist. Boyd Calvin Tinsley (born May 16, 1964) is an American violinist and mandolinist who is best known for having been a member of the Dave Matthews Band.
  • 1964 – John Salley, American basketball player and actor. He was the first player in NBA history to win championships with three franchises, as well as the first player (and only one of two, the other being Tim Duncan) in the NBA to win a championship in three decades.
  • 1963 – Rachel Griffith, Anglo-American economist. She is professor of economics at the University of Manchester and a research director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • 1959 – Mare Winningham, American actress and singer-songwriter. She was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the 1995 film Georgia.
  • 1959 – Mitch Webster, American baseball player. Mitchell Dean Webster (born May 16, 1959) is a former outfielder in Major League Baseball who played from 1983 through 1995 for the Toronto Blue Jays, Montreal Expos, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • 1957 – Bob Suter, American ice hockey player and coach (d. 2014), was an American former ice hockey defenseman and member of the Miracle on Ice 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team who won the gold medal.
  • 1957 – Joan Benoit, American runner, was the first-ever women's Olympic Games marathon champion, winning the Gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. She held the fastest time for an American woman at the Chicago Marathon for 32 years after winning the race in 1985.
  • 1955 – Debra Winger, American actress. She won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress for Terms of Endearment, and the Tokyo International Film Festival Award for Best Actress for A Dangerous Woman (1993).
  • 1955 – Jack Morris, American baseball player and sportscaster. John Scott Morris (born May 16, 1955) is an American former professional baseball starting pitcher.
  • 1953 – Pierce Brosnan, Irish-American actor and producer. After leaving comprehensive school at age 16, Brosnan began training in commercial illustration, then went on to train at the Drama Centre in London for three years.
  • 1953 – Richard Page, American singer-songwriter and bass player. Richard Lewis Page (born 22 February 1941 in Tredegar) is a former Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) in the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979 and from December 1979 to 2005.
  • 1951 – Jonathan Richman, American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Since the mid-1970s, Richman has worked either solo or with low-key, acoustic and electric, backing.
  • 1950 – Bruce Coville, American author. Enraptured with reading novels at a young age, Coville was first published in 1977 and has over 100 books in his repertoire.
  • 1949 – Rick Reuschel, American baseball player. His nickname was "Big Daddy" because of his portly physique.
  • 1944 – Billy Cobham, Panamanian-American drummer, composer, and bandleader. William Emanuel Cobham Jr. (born May 16, 1944) is a Panamanian-American jazz drummer who came to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s with trumpeter Miles Davis and then with the Mahavishnu Orchestra.
  • 1944 – Danny Trejo, American actor. Dan "Danny" Trejo (/ˈtrɛhoʊ/; Spanish: ; born May 16, 1944) is an American actor and voice actor who has appeared in numerous Hollywood films.
  • 1943 – Dan Coats, American politician and diplomat, 29th United States Ambassador to Germany. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a United States Senator from Indiana from 1989 to 1999 and again from 2011 to 2017.
  • 1938 – Ivan Sutherland, American computer scientist and academic. Evans in that subject at the University of Utah in the 1970s was pioneering in the field.
  • 1937 – Yvonne Craig, American ballet dancer and actress (d. 2015), was an American ballet dancer and actress best known for her role as Batgirl in the 1960s television series Batman and as the green-skinned Orion slave girl Marta in the Star Trek episode "Whom Gods Destroy" (1969). The Huffington Post called her "a pioneer of female superheroes" for television.
  • 1931 – Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., American soldier and politician, 85th Governor of Connecticut. Senator, and the 85th Governor of Connecticut.
  • 1929 – Adrienne Rich, American poet, essayist, and feminist (d. 2012). She was called "one of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th century", and was credited with bringing "the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse." Rich criticized rigid forms of feminist identities, and valorized what she coined the "lesbian continuum"; which is a female continuum of solidarity and creativity which has impacted and even filled women's lives.
  • 1929 – Betty Carter, American singer-songwriter (d. 1998), was an American jazz singer known for her improvisational technique, scatting and other complex musical abilities that demonstrated her vocal talent and imaginative interpretation of lyrics and melodies. Vocalist Carmen McRae once remarked: "There's really only one jazz singer—only one: Betty Carter.":xiv
  • 1929 – John Conyers, American lawyer and politician, was an American career politician of the Democratic Party who served as a U.S. Representative for Michigan from 1965 to 2017.
  • 1928 – Billy Martin, American baseball player and coach (d. 1989). Alfred Manuel Martin Jr. (May 16, 1928 – December 25, 1989), commonly called "Billy", was an American Major League Baseball second baseman and manager who, in addition to leading other teams, was five times the manager of the New York Yankees.
  • 1925 – Nancy Roman, American astronomer, was an American astronomer and one of the first female executives at NASA. She is known to many as the "Mother of Hubble" for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • 1923 – Merton Miller, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2000), was an American economist, and the co-author of the Modigliani–Miller theorem (1958), which proposed the irrelevance of debt-equity structure. He shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1990, along with Harry Markowitz and William F.
  • 1923 – Victoria Fromkin, American linguist and academic (d. 2000), was an American linguist who taught at UCLA. She studied slips of the tongue, mishearing, and other speech errors and applied this to phonology, the study of how the sounds of a language are organized in the mind.
  • 1919 – Liberace, American pianist and entertainer (d. 1987), was an American pianist, singer and actor. A child prodigy born in Wisconsin to parents of Italian and Polish origin, Liberace enjoyed a career spanning four decades of concerts, recordings, television, motion pictures, and endorsements.
  • 1917 – Ben Kuroki, American sergeant and pilot (d. 2015), was the only American of Japanese descent in the United States Army Air Forces to serve in combat operations in the Pacific theater of World War II. He flew a total of 58 combat missions over Japan, Europe and North Africa during World War II.
  • 1917 – James C. Murray, American lawyer and politician (d. 1999), was a U.S. Representative from Illinois from 1955-1957.
  • 1914 – Edward T. Hall, American anthropologist and author (d. 2009), was an American anthropologist and cross-cultural researcher. He is remembered for developing the concept of proxemics and exploring cultural and social cohesion, and describing how people behave and react in different types of culturally defined personal space.
  • 1913 – Woody Herman, American singer, saxophonist, and clarinet player (d. 1987), was an American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, singer, and big band leader. Leading various groups called "The Herd", Herman came to prominence in the late 1930s and was active until his death in 1987.
  • 1912 – Studs Terkel, American historian and author (d. 2008), was an American author, historian, actor, and broadcaster. He received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1985 for The Good War and is best remembered for his oral histories of common Americans, and for hosting a long-running radio show in Chicago.
  • 1909 – Margaret Sullavan, American actress and singer (d. 1960), was an American actress of stage and film.
  • 1905 – Henry Fonda, American actor (d. 1982), was an American film and stage actor who had a career that spanned five decades in Hollywood. Fonda cultivated a strong, appealing screen image in several films now considered to be classics, earning one Academy Award for Best Actor on two nominations.
  • 1903 – Charles F. Brannock, American inventor and manufacturer (d. 1992). Brannock (May 16, 1903 – November 22, 1992) was the inventor and manufacturer of the familiar Brannock Device for measuring overall length, width, and heel-to-ball length of the foot.
  • 1898 – Tamara de Lempicka, Polish-American painter (d. 1980), was a Polish painter who spent her working life in France and the United States. She is best known for her polished Art Deco portraits of aristocrats and the wealthy, and for her highly stylized paintings of nudes.
  • 1888 – Royal Rife, American microbiologist and instrument maker (d. 1971), was an American inventor and early exponent of high-magnification time-lapse cine-micrography.
  • 1882 – Simeon Price, American golfer (d. 1945), was an American golfer who competed in the 1904 Summer Olympics.
  • 1831 – David Edward Hughes, Welsh-American physicist, co-invented the microphone (d. 1900), was a British-American inventor, practical experimenter, and professor of music known for his work on the printing telegraph and the microphone. He is generally considered to have been born in London but his family moved around that time so he may have been born in Corwen, Wales.
  • 1827 – Pierre Cuypers, Dutch architect, designed the Amsterdam Centraal railway station and Rijksmuseum (d. 1921). His name is most frequently associated with the Amsterdam Central Station (1881–1889) and the Rijksmuseum (1876–1885), both in Amsterdam.
  • 1824 – Edmund Kirby Smith, American general (d. 1893), was a career United States Army officer who fought in the Mexican–American War. He later joined the Confederate States Army in the Civil War, and was promoted to general in the first months of the war. He was notable for his command of the Trans-Mississippi Department after the fall of Vicksburg to the United States
  • 1824 – Levi P. Morton, American banker and politician, 22nd United States Vice President (d. 1920), was the 22nd vice president of the United States from 1889 to 1893. He also served as United States ambassador to France, as a US representative from New York, and as the 31st governor of New York.
  • 1804 – Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, American educator who founded the first U.S. kindergarten (d. 1894), was an American educator who opened the first English-language kindergarten in the United States. Long before most educators, Peabody embraced the premise that children's play has intrinsic developmental and educational value.
  • 1801 – William H. Seward, American lawyer and politician, 24th United States Secretary of State (d. 1872), was United States Secretary of State from 1861 to 1869, and earlier served as governor of New York and United States Senator. A determined opponent of the spread of slavery in the years leading up to the American Civil War, he was a prominent figure in the Republican Party in its formative years, and was praised for his work on behalf of the Union as Secretary of State during the Civil War.


  • 2015 – Prashant Bhargava, American director and producer (b. 1973)
  • 2014 – Bud Hollowell, American baseball player and manager (b. 1943)
  • 2014 – Clyde Snow, American anthropologist and author (b. 1928)
  • 2013 – Angelo Errichetti, American politician (b. 1928)
  • 2013 – Bernard Waber, American author and illustrator (b. 1921)
  • 2013 – Dick Trickle, American race car driver (b. 1941)
  • 2013 – Frankie Librán, Puerto Rican-American baseball player (b. 1948)
  • 2012 – Chuck Brown, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b. 1936)
  • 2012 – Ernie Chan, Filipino-American illustrator (b. 1940)
  • 2012 – James Abdnor, American soldier and politician, 30th Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota (b. 1923)
  • 2012 – Kevin Hickey, American baseball player (b. 1956)
  • 2012 – Patricia Aakhus, American author and academic (b. 1952)
  • 2010 – Hank Jones, American pianist, composer, and bandleader (b. 1918)
  • 2010 – Ronnie James Dio, American singer-songwriter and producer (b. 1942)
  • 2008 – Robert Mondavi, American winemaker, co-founded the Opus One Winery (b. 1913)
  • 2005 – Andrew Goodpaster, American general (b. 1915)
  • 2003 – Mark McCormack, American lawyer and sports agent, founded IMG (b. 1930)
  • 1997 – Elbridge Durbrow, American diplomat (b. 1903)
  • 1996 – Jeremy Michael Boorda, American admiral (b. 1939)
  • 1993 – Marv Johnson, American singer-songwriter and pianist (b. 1938)
  • 1990 – Jim Henson, American puppeteer, director, producer, and screenwriter, created The Muppets (b. 1936)
  • 1984 – Andy Kaufman, American actor, comedian, and screenwriter (b. 1949)
  • 1984 – Irwin Shaw, American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and short story writer (b. 1913)
  • 1981 – Ernie Freeman, American pianist, composer, and bandleader (b. 1922)
  • 1979 – A. Philip Randolph, American union leader and activist (b. 1889)
  • 1973 – Jacques Lipchitz, Lithuanian-American sculptor (b. 1891)
  • 1961 – George A. Malcolm, American lawyer and jurist (b. 1881)
  • 1957 – Eliot Ness, American federal agent (b. 1903)
  • 1956 – H. B. Reese, American candy-maker and businessman, created Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (b. 1876)
  • 1955 – James Agee, American novelist, screenwriter, and critic(b. 1909)
  • 1955 – Manny Ayulo, American racing driver (b. 1921)
  • 1944 – George Ade, American journalist, author, and playwright (b. 1866)
  • 1920 – Levi P. Morton, American politician, 22nd United States Vice President (b. 1824)
  • 1882 – Reuben Chapman, American lawyer and politician, 13th Governor of Alabama (b. 1799)
  • 1691 – Jacob Leisler, German-American politician, 8th Colonial Governor of New York (b. 1640)
  • 1669 – Pietro da Cortona, Italian painter and architect, designed the Santi Luca e Martina (b. 1596)
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