Glorious Twelfth in United Kingdom (The Glorious Twelfth is the twelfth day of August, the start of the shooting season for red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica), and to a lesser extent the ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) in Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
World Elephant Day (Conceived in 2011 by Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark of Canazwest Pictures, and Sivaporn Dardarananda, Secretary-General of the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation in Thailand, it was officially founded, supported and launched by Patricia Sims and the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation on August 12, 2012)
In 2017 scientists discover 91 volcanoes located two kilometres below the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, making it the largest volcanic region on Earth.
In 2016 researchers at University College London devise a software algorithm able to scan and replicate almost anyone's handwriting.
1992 – Canada, Mexico and the United States announce completion of negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
1990 – Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton found to date, is discovered by Sue Hendrickson in South Dakota.
1981 – The IBM Personal Computer is released.
1977 – The first free flight of the Space Shuttle Enterprise.
1960 – Echo 1A, NASA's first successful communications satellite, is launched.
1953 – The first testing of a real thermonuclear weapon (not test devices): The Soviet atomic bomb project continues with the detonation of "RDS-6s" (Joe 4), the first Soviet thermonuclear bomb.
1950 – Korean War: Bloody Gulch massacre: American POWs are massacred by North Korean Army.
1944 – Alençon is liberated by General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, the first city in France to be liberated from the Nazis by French forces.
1898 – The Hawaiian flag is lowered from ʻIolani Palace in an elaborate annexation ceremony and replaced with the flag of the United States to signify the transfer of sovereignty from the Republic of Hawaii to the United States.
1851 – Isaac Singer is granted a patent for his sewing machine.
1806 – Santiago de Liniers, 1st Count of Buenos Aires re-takes the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina after the first British invasion.
1499 – First engagement of the Battle of Zonchio between Venetian and Ottoman fleets.
1492 – Christopher Columbus arrives in the Canary Islands on his first voyage to the New World.
1323 – Signature of the Treaty of Nöteborg between Sweden and Novgorod Republic, that regulates the border between the two countries for the first time.
1121 – Battle of Didgori: The Georgian army under King David IV wins a decisive victory over the famous Seljuk commander Ilghazi.
1099 – First Crusade: Battle of Ascalon Crusaders under the command of Godfrey of Bouillon defeat Fatimid forces led by Al-Afdal Shahanshah. This is considered the last engagement of the First Crusade.
1986 – Kyle Arrington, American football player. He played college football at Hofstra.
1984 – Bryan Pata, American football player (d. 2006), was an American football defensive lineman for the Miami Hurricanes and was majoring in criminology. After leaving a football practice during his fourth year at the school, Pata was murdered.
1980 – Dominique Swain, American actress. She worked predominantly in independent films throughout the late 90s and early 2000s.
1980 – Maggie Lawson, American actress. Margaret Cassidy Lawson (born August 12, 1980) is an American actress who is best known for her role as Detective Juliet "Jules" O'Hara in the TV show Psych.
1980 – Matt Thiessen, Canadian-American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Matthew Arnold Thiessen (born August 12, 1980) is a Canadian-American musician, singer and songwriter known for being co-founder, lead singer, guitarist, pianist, and primary songwriter for the Christian rock band Relient K.
1979 – D. J. Houlton, American baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers and in Nippon Professional Baseball for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks and Yomiuri Giants and in the KBO League for the Kia Tigers.
1978 – Chris Chambers, American football player. Chambers (born August 12, 1978) is a former American football wide receiver who played ten seasons in the National Football League (NFL).
1977 – Plaxico Burress, American football player. Plaxico Antonio Burress (born August 12, 1977) is a former American football wide receiver who played 13 seasons in the National Football League.
1976 – Antoine Walker, American basketball player. Walker played for the Celtics, Mavericks, Hawks, Heat, Timberwolves, the BSN's Mets and the NBA D-League's Stampede before retiring from basketball in 2012.
1975 – Casey Affleck, American actor. He later appeared in three Gus Van Sant films – To Die For (1995), Good Will Hunting (1997), and Gerry (2002) – and in Steven Soderbergh's comedy heist trilogy Ocean's Eleven (2001), Ocean's Twelve (2004), and Ocean's Thirteen (2007).
1974 – Matt Clement, American baseball player and coach. Matthew Paul Clement (born August 12, 1974) is a former Major League Baseball starting pitcher.
1973 – Jonathan Coachman, American basketball player, wrestler, and sportscaster. Jonathan William Coachman (born August 12, 1973), also known as "The Coach", is an American sports interviewer, analyst and professional wrestling personality currently signed to WWE as the pre-show host for pay-per-views.
1973 – Todd Marchant, American ice hockey player and coach. Todd Michael Marchant (born August 12, 1973) is a retired American professional ice hockey player who played 17 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL).
1971 – Michael Ian Black, American comedian, actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. He also appeared on Celebrity Poker Showdown several times.
1971 – Pete Sampras, American tennis player. His professional career began in 1988 and ended at the 2002 US Open, which he won, defeating rival Andre Agassi in the final.
1971 – Rebecca Gayheart, American actress. Gayheart began her career as a teen model in the 1980s, and subsequently appeared in a student short film by Brett Ratner, with whom she had an extensive relationship.
1970 – Anthony Swofford, American soldier and author. This memoir was the basis of the 2005 film of the same name, directed by Sam Mendes.
1970 – Jim Schlossnagle, American baseball player and coach. Schlossnagle has been named a National Coach of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in 2010 and by Baseball America in 2016, and he has won 8 conference Coach of the Year awards in his 16-year head coaching career.
1966 – Tobias Ellwood, American-English captain and politician. He currently serves as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bournemouth East and served as a UK Government Minister at the Ministry of Defence from 2017 to 2019.
1965 – Peter Krause, American actor. He has played lead roles in multiple television series, portraying Casey McCall on Sports Night (1998–2000), Nate Fisher on Six Feet Under (2001–2005), Nick George on Dirty Sexy Money (2007–2009), Adam Braverman on Parenthood (2010–2015), Benjamin Jones on The Catch (2016–2017), and Bobby Nash on 9-1-1 (2018–present).
1963 – Sir Mix-a-Lot, American rapper, producer, and actor. Ray (born August 12, 1963), better known by his stage name Sir Mix-a-Lot, is an American rapper, songwriter, and recording producer.
1954 – Pat Metheny, American jazz guitarist and composer. Patrick Bruce Metheny (/məˈθiːni/ mə-THEE-nee; born August 12, 1954) is an American jazz guitarist and composer.
1952 – Daniel Biles, American associate justice of the Kansas Supreme Court. Biles was appointed on January 7, 2009, by Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to replace retiring Chief Justice Kay McFarland.
1950 – Jim Beaver, American actor, director, and screenwriter. He also played Whitney Ellsworth on the HBO Western drama series Deadwood, which brought him acclaim and a Screen Actors Guild Awards nomination for Ensemble Acting, and Sheriff Shelby Parlow on the FX series Justified.
1949 – Rick Ridgeway, American mountaineer and photographer. Rick Ridgeway (born August 12, 1949) is a mountaineer and adventurer, who during his career has also been an environmentalist, writer, filmmaker and businessman.
1945 – Dorothy E. Denning, American computer scientist and academic. Dorothy Elizabeth Denning, born August 12, 1945, is a US-American information security researcher known for lattice-based access control (LBAC), intrusion detection systems (IDS), and other cyber security innovations.
1945 – Ron Mael, American keyboard player and songwriter. Ronald David "Ron" Mael (born August 12, 1945) is an American musician, songwriter, composer and record producer.
1941 – Dana Ivey, American actress. Her film appearances include The Color Purple (1985), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), The Addams Family (1991), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), Two Weeks Notice (2002), Rush Hour 3 (2007), and The Help (2011).
1941 – L. M. Kit Carson, American actor, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2014), was an American actor, screenwriter, director and film producer.
1937 – Walter Dean Myers, American author and poet (d. 2014), was a writer of children's books best known for young adult literature. He was born in Martinsburg, West Virginia, but was raised in Harlem, New York City.
1935 – John Cazale, American actor (d. 1978). He appeared in five films over six years, all of which were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture: The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Deer Hunter.
1933 – Parnelli Jones, American race car driver and businessman. In 1962, he became the first driver to qualify over 150 mph.
1932 – Charlie O'Donnell, American radio and television announcer (d. 2010), was an American radio and television announcer, primarily known for his work on game shows. Among them, he was best known for Wheel of Fortune, where he worked from 1975 to 1980, and again from 1989 until his death.
1932 – Dallin H. Oaks, American lawyer, jurist, and religious leader. Dallin Harris Oaks (born August 12, 1932) is an American jurist, educator, and religious leader who since 2018 has been the First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).
1931 – William Goldman, American author, playwright, and screenwriter, was an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. He first came to prominence in the 1950s as a novelist before turning to screenwriting.
1930 – George Soros, Hungarian-American businessman and investor, founded the Soros Fund Management. As of February 2018, he had a net worth of $8 billion, having donated more than $32 billion to his philanthropic agency, the Open Society Foundations.
1929 – Buck Owens, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2006), was an American musician, singer, songwriter and band leader. He was the front man for Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, which had 21 No. 1 hits on the Billboard country music charts.
1928 – Bob Buhl, American baseball player (d. 2001), was an American right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played with the Milwaukee Braves, Chicago Cubs, and Philadelphia Phillies.
1928 – Dan Curtis, American director and producer (d. 2006), was an American director, writer, and producer of television and film, known among fans of horror films for his afternoon TV series Dark Shadows and TV films such as Trilogy of Terror. Dark Shadows originally aired from 1966 to 1971 and has aired in syndication for nearly 40 years.
1927 – Porter Wagoner, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2007), was an American country music singer known for his flashy Nudie and Manuel suits and blond pompadour.
1926 – John Derek, American actor, director, and cinematographer (d. 1998), was an American actor, director and photographer. He appeared in such films as Knock on Any Door, All the King's Men (both 1949), and Rogues of Sherwood Forest (1950).
1925 – Dale Bumpers, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 38th Governor of Arkansas (d. 2016), was an American politician who served as the 38th Governor of Arkansas (1971–1975) and in the United States Senate (1975–1999). He was a member of the Democratic Party.
1925 – Donald Justice, American poet and writing teacher (d. 2004), was an American poet and teacher of writing. In summing up Justice's career David Orr wrote, "In most ways, Justice was no different from any number of solid, quiet older writers devoted to traditional short poems.
1925 – George Wetherill, American physicist and academic (d. 2006), was the Director Emeritus, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington, DC, USA.
1925 – Norris McWhirter, Scottish publisher and activist co-founded the Guinness World Records (d. 2004), was a British writer, political activist, co-founder of The Freedom Association, and a television presenter. He and his twin brother Ross were known internationally for the founding of Guinness World Records (as The Guinness Book of Records) which they wrote and annually updated together between 1955 and 1975.
1925 – Ross McWhirter, Scottish publisher and activist, co-founded the Guinness World Records (d. 1975), was, with his twin brother, Norris, the co-founder in 1955 of Guinness Book of Records (known since 2000 as Guinness World Records) and a contributor to the television programme Record Breakers. He was assassinated by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) in 1975.
1920 – Percy Mayfield, American R&B singer-songwriter (d. 1984), was an American rhythm-and-blues singer with a smooth vocal style. He was also a songwriter, known for the songs "Please Send Me Someone to Love" and "Hit the Road Jack".
1919 – Margaret Burbidge, English-American astrophysicist and academic. Eleanor Margaret Burbidge, FRS (née Peachey; born August 12, 1919) is a British-born American astrophysicist, noted for original research and holding many administrative posts, including Director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory.
1918 – Sid Bernstein, American record producer (d. 2013), was an American music promoter, talent manager, and author. Bernstein changed the American music scene in the 1960s by bringing the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits, the Moody Blues, and the Kinks to America.
1917 – Oliver Crawford, American screenwriter and author (d. 2008), was an American screenwriter and author who overcame the Hollywood blacklist during the McCarthy Era of the 1950s to become one of the entertainment industry's most successful television writers. Shows that Crawford wrote for include Star Trek, Bonanza, Quincy, M.E., Perry Mason and the Kraft Television Theatre.
1916 – Edward Pinkowski, American writer, journalist and Polonia historian. He turned 100 in August 2016.
1915 – Michael Kidd, American dancer and choreographer (d. 2007), was an American film and stage choreographer, dancer and actor, whose career spanned five decades, and staged some of the leading Broadway and film musicals of the 1940s and 1950s. Kidd, who was strongly influenced by Charlie Chaplin and Léonide Massine, was an innovator in what came to be known as the "integrated musical", in which dance movements are integral to the plot.
1913 – Richard L. Bare, American director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2015), was an American director, producer, and screenwriter of television shows and short films.
1912 – Samuel Fuller, American actor, director, and screenwriter (d. 1997), was an American screenwriter, novelist, and film director known for low-budget, understated genre movies with controversial themes, often made outside the conventional studio system. Fuller wrote his first screenplay for Hats Off in 1936, and made his directorial debut with the Western I Shot Jesse James (1949).
1910 – Jane Wyatt, American actress (d. 2006). She starred in a number of Hollywood films like Frank Capra's Lost Horizon, but is likely best known for her role as the housewife and mother Margaret Anderson on the CBS and NBC television comedy series, Father Knows Best, and as Amanda Grayson, the human mother of Spock on the science-fiction television series Star Trek.
1907 – Gladys Bentley, American blues singer (d. 1960), was an American blues singer, pianist, and entertainer during the Harlem Renaissance.
1907 – Joe Besser, American actor (d. 1988), was an American actor, voice actor, comedian and musician, known for his impish humor and wimpy characters. He is best known for his brief stint as a member of the Three Stooges in cinematic short subjects of 1957–59.
1906 – Tedd Pierce, American animator, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1972), was a screenwriter of American animated cartoons, principally from the mid-1930s to the late 1950s.
1892 – Alfred Lunt, American actor and director (d. 1977), was an American stage director and actor who had a long-time professional partnership with his wife, actress Lynn Fontanne. Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre was named for them.
1889 – Zerna Sharp, American author and educator (d. 1981), was an American educator and book editor who is best known as the creator of the Dick and Jane series of beginning readers for elementary school-aged children. Published by Scott, Foresman and Company of Chicago, Illinois, the readers, which described the activities of her fictional siblings, "Dick," "Jane," "Sally," and other characters, were widely used in schools in the United States and many other English-speaking countries for nearly forty years.
1883 – Marion Lorne, American actress (d. 1968), was an American actress of stage, film, and television. After a career in theatre in New York and London, Lorne made her first film in 1951, and for the remainder of her life played small roles in films and television.
1883 – Martha Hedman, Swedish-American actress and playwright (d. 1974), was a Swedish-American stage actress popular on the Broadway stage.
1881 – Cecil B. DeMille, American director and producer (d. 1959), was an American filmmaker. Between 1914 and 1958, he made a total of 70 features, both silent and sound films.
1880 – Christy Mathewson, American baseball player and manager (d. 1925). Christopher Mathewson (August 12, 1880 – October 7, 1925), nicknamed "Big Six", "The Christian Gentleman", "Matty", and "The Gentleman's Hurler", was a Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher, who played 17 seasons with the New York Giants.
1876 – Mary Roberts Rinehart, American author and playwright (d. 1958), was an American writer, often called the American Agatha Christie, although her first mystery novel was published 14 years before Christie's first novel in 1920.
1870 – Henry Reuterdahl, Swedish-American artist (d. 1925), was a Swedish-American painter highly acclaimed for his nautical artwork. He had a long relationship with the United States Navy.
1867 – Edith Hamilton, German-American author and educator (d. 1963), was an American educator and internationally known author who was one of the most renowned classicists of her era in the United States. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, she also studied in Germany at the University of Leipzig and the University of Munich.
1859 – Katharine Lee Bates, American poet and author (d. 1929), was a prolific American writer, college professor, scholar, and social activist. Although she published volumes of poetry, travel books, essays, children's books, books for young adults, and editions of many earlier writers' works, today Bates is primarily remembered as the author of "America the Beautiful".
1856 – Diamond Jim Brady, American businessman and philanthropist (d. 1917), was an American businessman, financier and philanthropist of the Gilded Age.
1852 – Michael J. McGivney, American priest, founded the Knights of Columbus (d. 1890), was an American Catholic priest based in New Haven, Connecticut. He founded the Knights of Columbus at a local parish to serve as a mutual aid and fraternal insurance organization, particularly for immigrants and their families.
2014 – Lauren Bacall, American model, actress, and singer (b. 1924)
2013 – Pauline Maier, American historian and academic (b. 1938)
2012 – Jerry Grant, American race car driver (b. 1935)
2012 – Jimmy Carr, American football player and coach (b. 1933)
2012 – Joe Kubert, Polish-American illustrator, founded The Kubert School (b. 1926)
2010 – Isaac Bonewits, American Druid, author, and activist; founded Ár nDraíocht Féin (b. 1949)
2010 – Richie Hayward, American drummer and songwriter (b. 1946)
2009 – Les Paul, American guitarist and songwriter (b. 1915)
2007 – Merv Griffin, American actor, singer, and producer, created Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune (b. 1925)
2007 – Mike Wieringo, American author and illustrator (b. 1963)
2005 – John Loder, English sound engineer and producer, founded Southern Studios (b. 1946)
2002 – Enos Slaughter, American baseball player and manager (b. 1916)
2000 – Loretta Young, American actress (b. 1913)
1997 – Jack Delano, American photographer and composer (b. 1914)
1996 – Mark Gruenwald, American author and illustrator (b. 1953)
1992 – John Cage, American composer and theorist (b. 1912)