1985 – United States–Canada tornado outbreak: Forty-one tornadoes hit Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario, leaving 76 dead.
1973 – The United States Senate votes to cut off funding for the bombing of Khmer Rouge targets within Cambodia, hastening the end of the Cambodian Civil War.
1971 – In accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1968, observation of Memorial Day occurs on the last Monday in May for the first time, rather than on the traditional Memorial Day of May 30.
1958 – Feijenoord Rotterdam wins the first edition of the Benelux Cup
1909 – The National Negro Committee, forerunner to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), convenes for the first time.
1864 – American Civil War: Overland Campaign: Battle of Cold Harbor: The Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee engages the Army of the Potomac under Ulysses S. Grant and George Meade.
1862 – American Civil War: Peninsula Campaign: Battle of Seven Pines, also known as the "Battle of Fair Oaks": Confederate forces under Joseph E. Johnston and G.W. Smith engage Union forces under George B. McClellan outside Richmond, Virginia.
1790 – The United States enacts its first copyright statute, the Copyright Act of 1790.
1775 – American Revolution: The Mecklenburg Resolves are adopted in the Province of North Carolina.
1578 – King Henry III lays the first stone of the Pont Neuf (New Bridge), the oldest bridge of Paris, France.
1991 – Azealia Banks, American rapper. Azealia Amanda Banks (/əˈziːliə/; born May 31, 1991) is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer and actress.
1989 – Lauren Barnes, American soccer player. Lauren Kate Barnes (born May 31, 1989) is an American professional soccer defender who currently plays for Reign FC of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and Melbourne City in the Australian W-League.
1989 – Noah Gundersen, American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Noah Gundersen (born May 31, 1989) is an American indie folk singer-songwriter from Seattle.
1985 – Jordy Nelson, American football player. During his tenure in Green Bay, he was regarded by sports analysts as one of the elite wide receivers in the NFL, and won Super Bowl XLV with the team over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2010 season.
1984 – Nate Robinson, American basketball player. The 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) point guard has also played for the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, and Denver Nuggets.
1981 – Andy Hurley, American musician. Prior to Fall Out Boy, Hurley played in several hardcore punk bands.
1981 – Jake Peavy, American baseball player. Jacob Edward Peavy (born May 31, 1981) is a retired professional baseball pitcher.
1977 – Eric Christian Olsen, American actor. He is known for his portrayals of Detective Marty Deeks on the CBS television series NCIS: Los Angeles, and of Austin in the film Not Another Teen Movie.
1977 – Scott Klopfenstein, American singer-songwriter and trumpet player. He sings and plays trumpet, guitar, and keyboard.
1976 – Matt Harpring, American basketball player and sportscaster. Matthew Joseph Harpring (born May 31, 1976) is a retired American professional basketball player who played 11 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and is currently paired with play-by-play broadcaster Craig Bolerjack as the color analyst in broadcasting games for the Utah Jazz.
1974 – Chad Campbell, American golfer. He also notably finished as a runner-up at the 2009 Masters, after losing in a sudden-death playoff.
1967 – Kenny Lofton, American baseball player, coach, and sportscaster. Kenneth Lofton (born May 31, 1967) is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) center fielder.
1965 – Brooke Shields, American model, actress, and producer. Shields garnered widespread notoriety in the role, and she continued to model into her late teenage years and starred in several dramas in the 1980s, including The Blue Lagoon (1980), and Franco Zeffirelli's Endless Love (1981).
1964 – Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels, American rapper and producer. Darryl Matthews McDaniels (born May 31, 1964), better known by his stage name DMC, is an American musician and rapper.
1963 – Wesley Willis, American singer-songwriter and keyboard player (d. 2003), was an American singer-songwriter and visual artist. Diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1989, Willis began a career as an underground singer-songwriter in the outsider music tradition, with songs featuring his bizarre, humorous and often obscene lyrics sung over the auto accompaniment feature on his Technics KN keyboard.
1961 – Lea Thompson, American actress, director, and producer. Other films for which she is known include All the Right Moves (1983), Red Dawn (1984), Howard the Duck (1986), Some Kind of Wonderful (1987), and The Beverly Hillbillies (1993).
1960 – Chris Elliott, American actor, comedian, and screenwriter. He has also starred in the films Cabin Boy, There's Something About Mary, Scary Movie 2, and Groundhog Day.
1955 – Bruce Adolphe, American pianist, composer, and scholar. He also founded the nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization Artful Thinkers.
1955 – Susie Essman, American actress, comedian, and screenwriter. Susan Essman (born May 31, 1955) is an American stand-up comedian, actress, writer and television producer, best known for her role as Susie Greene on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bobbi Wexler on Broad City, and the voice of Mittens in Bolt.
1954 – Vicki Sue Robinson, American actress and singer (d. 2000), was an American theatre/film actress and singer, closely associated with the disco era of late 1970s pop music; she is most famous for her 1976 hit, "Turn the Beat Around."
1950 – Gregory Harrison, American actor. George Alonzo "Gonzo" Gates, the young surgeon assistant of Dr.
1950 – Jean Chalopin, French director, producer, and screenwriter, founded DIC Entertainment. Jean Chalopin (born 31 May 1950) is a French producer and writer.
1949 – Tom Berenger, American actor. Tom Berenger (born Thomas Michael Moore; May 31, 1949) is an American television and motion picture actor.
1946 – Ted Baehr, American publisher and critic. Theodore Baehr (born 1946) is an American media critic and Chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, a division of Good News Communications, Inc.
1945 – Bernard Goldberg, American journalist and author. He worked for Fox News for ten years and is a correspondent for HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
1943 – Joe Namath, American football player, sportscaster, and actor, was a quarterback in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) during the 1960s and 1970s. He played college football for the Alabama Crimson Tide under coach Paul "Bear" Bryant from 1962 to 1964.
1943 – Sharon Gless, American actress. Sharon Marguerite Gless (born May 31, 1943) is an American actress, who is known for her television roles as Maggie Philbin on Switch (1975–78), Sgt.
1941 – Louis Ignarro, American pharmacologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate. For demonstrating the signaling properties of nitric oxide, he was co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Robert F.
1940 – Augie Meyers, American musician and singer-songwriter. He is perhaps best known as a founding member of the Sir Douglas Quintet and the Texas Tornados.
1940 – Gilbert Shelton, American illustrator. Gilbert Shelton (born May 31, 1940) is an American cartoonist and a key member of the underground comix movement.
1938 – Johnny Paycheck, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2003), was an American country music singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and Grand Ole Opry member notable for recording the David Allan Coe song "Take This Job and Shove It". He achieved his greatest success in the 1970s as a force in country music's "Outlaw Movement" popularized by artists David Allan Coe, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver, and Merle Haggard.
1938 – Peter Yarrow, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer. He is also a political activist and has supported liberal causes that range from opposition to the Vietnam War to the creation of Operation Respect, an organization that promotes tolerance and civility in schools.
1934 – Jim Hutton, American actor (d. 1979), was an American actor in film and television best remembered for his role as Ellery Queen in the 1970s TV series of the same name and his screen partnership with Paula Prentiss in four films, starting with Where the Boys Are. He is the father of actor Timothy Hutton.
1933 – Henry B. Eyring, American religious leader, educator, and author. Nelson in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).
1932 – Jay Miner, American computer scientist and engineer (d. 1994), was an American integrated circuit designer, known primarily for developing multimedia chips for the Atari 2600 and Atari 8-bit family and as the "father of the Amiga".
1931 – John Robert Schrieffer, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate, was an American physicist who, with John Bardeen and Leon Cooper, was a recipient of the 1972 Nobel Prize in Physics for developing the BCS theory, the first successful quantum theory of superconductivity. In 2005, Schrieffer fell asleep while driving and received a sentence of two years in prison for vehicular manslaughter which killed one, and injured seven other people.
1931 – Shirley Verrett, American soprano and actress (d. 2010), was an African-American operatic mezzo-soprano who successfully transitioned into soprano roles, i.e. soprano sfogato. Verrett enjoyed great fame from the late 1960s through the 1990s, particularly well known for singing the works of Verdi and Donizetti.
1930 – Clint Eastwood, American actor, director, musician, and producer. These roles, among others, have made Eastwood an enduring cultural icon of masculinity.
1925 – Julian Beck, American actor and director (d. 1986), was an American actor, director, poet, and painter. He is best known for co-founding and directing The Living Theatre, as well as his role as Kane, the malevolent preacher in the 1986 movie Poltergeist II: The Other Side.
1923 – Ellsworth Kelly, American painter and sculptor (d. 2015), was an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker associated with hard-edge painting, Color Field painting and minimalism. His works demonstrate unassuming techniques emphasizing line, color and form, similar to the work of John McLaughlin and Kenneth Noland.
1921 – Howard Reig, American radio and television announcer (d. 2008). His last name was pronounced "reeg."
1919 – Robie Macauley, American editor, novelist and critic (d. 1995), was an American editor, novelist and critic whose literary career spanned more than 50 years.
1918 – Lloyd Quarterman, African American chemist (d. 1982). During the Second World War he worked on the Manhattan Project.
1916 – Bernard Lewis, English-American historian and author, was a British American historian specializing in oriental studies. He was also known as a public intellectual and political commentator.
1912 – Chien-Shiung Wu, Chinese-American experimental physicist (d. 1997), was a Chinese-American experimental physicist who made significant contributions in the field of nuclear physics. Wu worked on the Manhattan Project, where she helped develop the process for separating uranium into uranium-235 and uranium-238 isotopes by gaseous diffusion.
1909 – Art Coulter, Canadian-American ice hockey player (d. 2000), was a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who played for the New York Rangers and Chicago Black Hawks in the National Hockey League.
1908 – Don Ameche, American actor (d. 1993), was an American actor and comedian. After playing in college shows, stock, and vaudeville, he became a major radio star in the early 1930s, which led to the offer of a movie contract from 20th Century Fox in 1935.
1901 – Alfredo Antonini, Italian-American conductor and composer (d. 1983), was a leading Italian-American symphony conductor and composer who was active on the international concert stage as well as on the CBS radio and television networks from the 1930s through the early 1970s. In 1972 he received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Religious Programming on television for his conducting of the premiere of Ezra Laderman's opera And David Wept for CBS television during 1971. In addition, he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 1980
1898 – Norman Vincent Peale, American minister and author (d. 1993), was an American minister and author known for his work in popularizing the concept of positive thinking, especially through his best-selling book The Power of Positive Thinking. He served as the pastor of Marble Collegiate Church, New York, from 1932 until 1984, leading a Reformed Church in America congregation.
1894 – Fred Allen, American comedian, radio host, game show panelist, and author (d. 1956). His absurdist, topically pointed radio program The Fred Allen Show (1932–1949) made him one of the most popular and forward-looking humorists in the Golden Age of American radio.
1866 – John Ringling, American entrepreneur; one of the founders of the Ringling Brothers Circus (d. 1936), was an American entrepreneur who is the best known of the seven Ringling brothers, five of whom merged the Barnum & Bailey Circus with their own Ringling Bros World's Greatest Shows to create a virtual monopoly of traveling circuses and helped shape the modern circus. In addition to owning and managing many of the largest circuses in the United States, he was also a rancher, a real estate developer and art collector.
1852 – Julius Richard Petri, German microbiologist, invented the Petri dish (d. 1921), was a German microbiologist who is generally credited with inventing the device known as the Petri dish after him, while working as assistant to bacteriologist Robert Koch.
1819 – Walt Whitman, American poet, essayist, and journalist (d. 1892). A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works.
1818 – John Albion Andrew, American lawyer and politician, 25th Governor of Massachusetts (d. 1867), was an American lawyer and politician from Massachusetts. He was elected in 1860 as the 25th Governor of Massachusetts, serving between 1861 and 1866, and led the state's contributions to the Union cause during the American Civil War (1861-1865).
1683 – Jean-Pierre Christin, French physicist, mathematician, and astronomer, invented the Celsius thermometer (d. 1755), was a French physicist, mathematician, astronomer and musician. His proposal in 1743 to reverse the Celsius thermometer scale (from water boiling at 0 degrees and ice melting at 100 degrees, to where zero represented the freezing point of water and 100 represented the boiling point of water) was widely accepted and is still in use today.
2016 – Jan Crouch, American televangelist, co-founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (b. 1938)
2014 – Hoss Ellington, American race car driver (b. 1935)
2014 – Lewis Katz, American businessman and philanthropist (b. 1942)
2014 – Marilyn Beck, American journalist (b. 1928)
2014 – Martha Hyer, American actress (b. 1924)
2013 – Gerald E. Brown, American physicist and academic (b. 1926)
2013 – Jean Stapleton, American actress (b. 1923)
2013 – Miguel Méndez, American author and poet (b. 1930)
2013 – Tim Samaras, American engineer and storm chaser (b. 1957)
2012 – Orlando Woolridge, American basketball player and coach (b. 1959)
2012 – Randall B. Kester, American lawyer and judge (b. 1916)
2011 – Andy Robustelli, American football player and manager (b. 1925)
2011 – Derek Hodge, Virgin Islander lawyer and politician, Lieutenant Governor of the United States Virgin Islands (b. 1941)
2011 – Jonas Bevacqua, American fashion designer, co-founded the Lifted Research Group (b. 1977)
2011 – Pauline Betz, American tennis player (b. 1919)
2010 – Louise Bourgeois, French-American sculptor and painter (b. 1911)
2010 – William A. Fraker, American director, producer, and cinematographer (b. 1923)
2009 – George Tiller, American physician (b. 1941)
2006 – Raymond Davis, Jr., American physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1914)
2006 – Ryan Bennett, American sportscaster (b. 1970)
2004 – Robert Quine, American guitarist (b. 1941)
2001 – Arlene Francis, American actress, talk show host, game show panelist, and television personality (b. 1907)
2000 – Tito Puente, American jazz musician (b. 1923)
1998 – Charles Van Acker, Belgian-American race car driver (b. 1912)
1996 – Timothy Leary, American psychologist and author (b. 1920)
1995 – Stanley Elkin, American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (b. 1930)