2008 – American swimmer Michael Phelps becomes the first person to win eight gold medals at one Olympic Games.
2005 – The first forced evacuation of settlers, as part of Israeli disengagement from Gaza, starts.
1978 – Double Eagle II becomes first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean when it lands in Miserey, France near Paris, 137 hours after leaving Presque Isle, Maine.
1977 – The Soviet icebreaker Arktika becomes the first surface ship to reach the North Pole.
1970 – Venera program: Venera 7 launched. It will later become the first spacecraft to successfully transmit data from the surface of another planet (Venus).
1958 – Pioneer 0, America's first attempt at lunar orbit, is launched using the first Thor-Able rocket and fails. Notable as one of the first attempted launches beyond Earth orbit by any country.
1953 – Addiction: First meeting of Narcotics Anonymous takes place, in Southern California.
1945 – The novella Animal Farm by George Orwell is first published.
1943 – World War II: First Québec Conference of Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and William Lyon Mackenzie King begins.
1943 – World War II: The Royal Air Force begins Operation Hydra, the first air raid of the Operation Crossbow strategic bombing campaign against Germany's V-weapon program.
1915 – Jewish American Leo Frank is lynched in Marietta, Georgia after a 13-year-old girl is murdered.
1908 – Fantasmagorie, the first animated cartoon, created by Émile Cohl, is shown in Paris, France.
1883 – The first public performance of the Dominican Republic's national anthem, Himno Nacional.
1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Gainesville: Confederate forces defeat Union troops near Gainesville, Florida.
1863 – American Civil War: In Charleston, South Carolina, Union batteries and ships bombard Confederate-held Fort Sumter.
1862 – American Civil War: Major General J. E. B. Stuart is assigned command of all the cavalry of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.
1862 – American Indian Wars: The Dakota War of 1862 begins in Minnesota as Lakota warriors attack white settlements along the Minnesota River.
1807 – Robert Fulton's North River Steamboat leaves New York City for Albany, New York, on the Hudson River, inaugurating the first commercial steamboat service in the world.
1585 – A first group of colonists sent by Sir Walter Raleigh under the charge of Ralph Lane lands in the New World to create Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island, off the coast of present-day North Carolina.
1498 – Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI, becomes the first person in history to resign the cardinalate; later that same day, King Louis XII of France names him Duke of Valentinois.
1995 – Gracie Gold, American figure skater. She is the 2014 Olympic team event bronze medalist, the 2015 Internationaux de France champion, the 2014 NHK Trophy champion and a two-time U.S. national champion (2014, 2016) and a two-time silver medalist (2013, 2015), and a two-time World Team Trophy champion (2013, 2015).
1986 – Rudy Gay, American basketball player. Rudy Carlton Gay Jr. (born August 17, 1986) is an American professional basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
1986 – Tyrus Thomas, American basketball player. Tyrus Wayne Thomas (born August 17, 1986) is an American former professional basketball player who last played for Eisbären Bremerhaven of the Basketball Bundesliga.
1984 – Garrett Wolfe, American football player. He played his college football at Northern Illinois.
1983 – Dustin Pedroia, American baseball player. Dustin Luis Pedroia (born August 17, 1983) is an American baseball second baseman for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB).
1982 – Cheerleader Melissa, American wrestler and manager. Melissa Anderson (born August 17, 1982) is an American professional wrestler, better known by her ring name Cheerleader Melissa.
1979 – Antwaan Randle El, American football player and journalist, was a wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL) for nine seasons. He is currently an offensive assistant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
1971 – Jorge Posada, Puerto Rican-American baseball player. Jorge Rafael Posada Villeta (born August 17, 1971) is a Puerto Rican former professional baseball catcher who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees.
1970 – Jim Courier, American tennis player and sportscaster. James “Jim” Spencer Courier (born August 17, 1970) is an American former world No. 1 professional tennis player.
1969 – Christian Laettner, American basketball player and coach. Christian Donald Laettner (/ˈleɪtnər/, LAYT-nər; born August 17, 1969) is a retired American basketball player whose Hall of Fame career for the Duke Blue Devils is widely regarded as one of the best in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) history.
1969 – Donnie Wahlberg, American singer-songwriter, actor and producer. Outside music, he has had roles in the Saw films, Zookeeper, Dreamcatcher, The Sixth Sense, Righteous Kill, and Ransom, as well as appearing in the World War II miniseries Band of Brothers as Carwood Lipton.
1969 – Kelvin Mercer, American rapper, songwriter and producer (De La Soul). Kelvin Mercer (born August 17, 1969), known professionally as Posdnuos and occasionally Pos, is an American rapper and producer from East Massapequa, New York best known for his work as one-third of the hip hop trio De La Soul.
1968 – Ed McCaffrey, American football player and sportscaster. Edward Thomas McCaffrey (born August 17, 1968) is an American football coach and former wide receiver who played in the National Football League (NFL) for thirteen seasons.
1966 – Rodney Mullen, American skateboarder and stuntman. John Rodney Mullen (born August 17, 1966) is an American professional skateboarder, entrepreneur, inventor, and public speaker who practices freestyle skateboarding and street skateboarding.
1965 – Dottie Pepper, American golfer. Dottie Pepper (born August 17, 1965) is an American professional golfer and television golf broadcaster.
1965 – Steve Gorman, American drummer. Steve Gorman (born August 17, 1965, Muskegon, Michigan) is an American musician and sports talk radio host.
1964 – Maria McKee, American singer-songwriter (Lone Justice). She is the half-sister of Bryan MacLean, who was best known as a guitarist and vocalist in the band Love.
1963 – Jon Gruden, American football player, coach, and sportscaster. Jon David Gruden (born August 17, 1963) is an American football coach who is the head coach of the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League (NFL).
1962 – Dan Dakich, American basketball player, coach, and sportscaster. He is a former player, assistant coach, interim head coach for the Indiana University Hoosiers and former head coach at Bowling Green State University.
1962 – Gilby Clarke, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer. Following this, Clarke went on to forge a solo career as well playing guitar with Slash's Snakepit, Kat Men, Heart, Nancy Sinatra, Kathy Valentine (of the Go-Go's), MC5 and forming his own group Rock Star Supernova with members of Metallica and Mötley Crüe.
1960 – Sean Penn, American actor, director, and political activist. He has won two Academy Awards, for his roles in the mystery drama Mystic River (2003) and the biopic Milk (2008).
1959 – Eric Schlosser, American journalist and author. Eric Matthew Schlosser (born August 17, 1959) is an American journalist and author known for his investigative journalism, such as in his books Fast Food Nation (2001), Reefer Madness (2003), and Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety (2013).
1959 – Jonathan Franzen, American novelist and essayist. His novel Freedom (2010) garnered similar praise and led to an appearance on the cover of Time magazine alongside the headline "Great American Novelist".
1958 – Belinda Carlisle, American singer-songwriter. She gained worldwide fame as the lead singer of the Go-Go's, one of the most successful all-female bands in history, and went on to have a prolific career as a solo artist.
1957 – Ken Kwapis, American director and screenwriter. He specialized in the single-camera sitcom in the 1990s and 2000s and has directed feature films such as Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird (1985), The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005), and He's Just Not That into You (2009).
1957 – Laurence Overmire, American poet, author, and actor. Laurence Overmire (born August 17, 1957) is an American poet, author, actor, educator, genealogist, peace activist, civil rights, human rights, and animal rights advocate and environmentalist.
1956 – Gail Berman, American businessman, co-founded BermanBraun. Gail Berman (born August 17, 1956) is an American producer and television executive.
1949 – Norm Coleman, American lawyer and politician, 52nd Mayor of St. Paul. Senator for Minnesota.
1949 – Sib Hashian, American rock drummer (Boston) (d. 2017), was an Armenian-American musician, best known as a drummer for the rock band Boston.
1949 – Sue Draheim, American fiddler and composer (d. 2013), was an American fiddler, boasting a more than forty year musical career in the US and the UK. Growing up in North Oakland, Draheim began her first private violin lessons at age eleven, having started public school violin instruction at age eight while attending North Oakland's Peralta Elementary School.
1947 – Gary Talley, American guitarist (The Box Tops), singer-songwriter, and author. He began his career as lead guitarist for the Grammy-nominated group The Box Tops who were famous for hits like "The Letter," and "Cry Like a Baby".
1946 – Martha Coolidge, American director, producer, and screenwriter. She has directed such films as Real Genius and Rambling Rose.
1945 – Rachel Pollack, American author, poet, and educator. Pollack is involved in the women's spirituality movement.
1944 – Larry Ellison, American businessman, co-founded the Oracle Corporation. As of October 2019, he was listed by Forbes magazine as the fourth-wealthiest person in the United States and as the sixth-wealthiest in the world, with a fortune of $69.1 billion, increased from $54.5 billion in 2018.
1943 – Dave "Snaker" Ray, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2002), was an American blues singer and guitarist from St. Paul, Minnesota, United States, who was most notably associated with Spider John Koerner and Tony "Little Sun" Glover in the early Sixties folk revival.
1943 – Robert De Niro, American actor, entrepreneur, director, and producer. DeMille Award, the Golden Lion, the AFI Life Achievement Award, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and has been nominated for six BAFTA Awards, four Primetime Emmy Awards, and four Screen Actors Guild Awards.
1939 – Luther Allison, American blues guitarist and singer (d. 1997). He was born in Widener, Arkansas, and moved with his family to Chicago in 1951.
1936 – Margaret Heafield Hamilton, American computer scientist, systems engineer, and business owner. She later founded two software companies—Higher Order Software in 1976 and Hamilton Technologies in 1986, both in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1936 – Seamus Mallon, Irish educator and politician, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland. Séamus Frederick Mallon (born 17 August 1936) is an Irish former Gaelic footballer and politician who served as deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2001 and Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party from 1979 to 2001.
1933 – Mark Dinning, American pop singer (d. 1986), was an American pop music singer. In February 1960, the song "Teen Angel", written by his sister Jean (Eugenia) (March 29, 1924 — February 22, 2011) and her husband (Mark's brother-in-law) Red Surrey, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Charts.
1932 – Duke Pearson, American pianist and composer (d. 1980), was an American jazz pianist and composer. Allmusic describes him as having a "big part in shaping the Blue Note label's hard bop direction in the 1960s as a record producer."
1930 – Harve Bennett, American screenwriter and producer (d. 2015), was an American television and film producer and screenwriter.
1929 – Francis Gary Powers, American captain and pilot (d. 1977), was an American pilot whose Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) U-2 spy plane was shot down while flying a reconnaissance mission in Soviet Union airspace, causing the 1960 U-2 incident.
1928 – T. J. Anderson, American composer, conductor, and educator. Thomas Jefferson "T.J." Anderson, Jr. (born August 17, 1928) is an American composer, conductor, orchestrator and educator.
1927 – F. Ray Keyser Jr., American lawyer and politician, 72nd Governor of Vermont (d. 2015), was an American lawyer and politician from Vermont. He served as Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives from 1959 to 1961, and the 72nd Governor of Vermont from 1961 to 1963.
1927 – Sam Butera, American saxophonist and bandleader (d. 2009), was an American tenor saxophonist best noted for his collaborations with Louis Prima and Keely Smith. Butera is frequently regarded as a crossover artist who performed with equal ease in both R&B and the post-big band pop style of jazz that permeated the early Vegas nightclub scene.
1924 – Evan S. Connell, American novelist, poet, and short story writer (d. 2013), was a U.S. novelist, poet, and short-story writer. He also published under the name Evan S.
1923 – Larry Rivers, American painter and sculptor (d. 2002), was an American artist, musician, filmmaker and occasional actor. Rivers resided and maintained studios in New York City, Southampton, Long Island, and Zihuatanejo, Mexico.
1920 – Lida Moser, American photographer and author (d. 2014), was an American-born photographer and author, with a career that spanned more than six decades, before retiring in her 90s. She was known for her photojournalism and street photography as a member of both the Photo League and the New York School.
1920 – Maureen O'Hara, Irish-American actress and singer (d. 2015). She was a famous redhead who was known for playing fiercely passionate but sensible heroines, often in westerns and adventure films.
1919 – Georgia Gibbs, American singer (d. 2006), was an American popular singer and vocal entertainer rooted in jazz. Already singing publicly in her early teens, Gibbs first achieved acclaim (and notoriety) in the mid-1950s interpreting songs originating with the black rhythm and blues community and later as a featured vocalist on a long list of radio and television variety and comedy programs.
1918 – Evelyn Ankers, British-American actress (d. 1985), was an American actress who often played variations on the role of the cultured young leading lady in the many American horror films during the 1940s, most notably The Wolf Man (1941) opposite Lon Chaney Jr., a frequent screen partner.
1918 – Ike Quebec, American saxophonist and pianist (d. 1963), was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. He began his career in the big band era of the 1940s, then fell from prominence for a time until launching a comeback in the years before his death.
1914 – Bill Downs, American journalist (d. 1978), was an American broadcast journalist and war correspondent. He worked for CBS News from 1942 to 1962 and for ABC News beginning in 1963.
1914 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr., American lawyer and politician (d. 1988), was an American lawyer, politician, and businessman. He served as a United States Congressman from New York from 1949 to 1955 and as the first chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 1965 to 1966.
1913 – Mark Felt, American lawyer and agent, 2nd Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (d. 2008), was an American law enforcement officer who worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 1942 to 1973 and was known for his role in the Watergate scandal. Felt was an FBI special agent who eventually rose to the position of Associate Director, the Bureau's second-highest-ranking post.
1913 – Rudy York, American baseball player and manager (d. 1970), was an American professional baseball player, coach, scout, and manager. He played in Major League Baseball as a catcher and a first baseman between 1934 and 1948, most notably as a member of the Detroit Tigers.
1909 – Larry Clinton, American trumpet player and bandleader (d. 1985), was an American musician, best known as a trumpeter who became a prominent American bandleader and arranger.
1896 – Leslie Groves, American general and engineer (d. 1970), was a United States Army Corps of Engineers officer who oversaw the construction of the Pentagon and directed the Manhattan Project, a top secret research project that developed the atomic bomb during World War II.
1896 – Oliver Waterman Larkin, American historian and author (d. 1970), was an American art historian and educator. He won the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for History for his book Art and Life in America.
1894 – William Rootes, 1st Baron Rootes, English businessman, founded Rootes Group (d. 1964), was a British motor manufacturer. He opened his first car sales agency in 1913, leading to the global Rootes Group.
1893 – John Brahm, German-American director and production manager (d. 1982), was a film and television director. His films include The Undying Monster (1942), The Lodger (1944), Hangover Square (1945), The Locket (1946), The Brasher Doubloon (1947), and the 3D horror film, The Mad Magician (1954).
1893 – Mae West, American actress, playwright, and screenwriter (d. 1980), was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, comedian, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades. She was known for her lighthearted, bawdy double entendres and breezy sexual independence.
1890 – Harry Hopkins, American politician and diplomat, 8th United States Secretary of Commerce (d. 1946), was an American social worker, the 8th Secretary of Commerce, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's closest advisor on foreign policy during World War II. He was one of the architects of the New Deal, especially the relief programs of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which he directed and built into the largest employer in the country.
1888 – Monty Woolley, American actor, raconteur, and pundit (d. 1963). At the age of 50, he achieved a measure of stardom for his best-known role in the 1939 stage play The Man Who Came to Dinner and its 1942 film adaptation.
1887 – Marcus Garvey, Jamaican journalist and activist, founded Black Star Line (d. 1940). ONH (17 August 1887 – 10 June 1940) was a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator.
1877 – Ralph McKittrick, American golfer and tennis player (d. 1923), was an American golfer and tennis player who competed in the 1904 Summer Olympics.
1873 – John A. Sampson, American gynecologist and academic (d. 1946), was a gynecologist who studied endometriosis.
1865 – Julia Marlowe, English-American actress (d. 1950), was an English-born American actress and suffragist, known for her interpretations of William Shakespeare's plays.
1863 – Gene Stratton-Porter, American author and photographer (d. 1924), was a Wabash County, Indiana, native who became a self-trained American author, nature photographer, and naturalist. In 1917 Stratton-Porter used her position and influence as a popular, well-known author to urge legislative support for the conservation of Limberlost Swamp and other wetlands in the state of Indiana.
1786 – Davy Crockett, American soldier and politician (d. 1836), was an American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier, and politician. He is commonly referred to in popular culture by the epithet "King of the Wild Frontier".
1578 – Johann, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, first prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (d. 1638). Johann, typically a male given name, is the Germanized form of the originally Hebrew language name יוחנן (Yohanan) (meaning "God is merciful").
2015 – Mike Gaechter, American football player (b. 1940)
2015 – Yvonne Craig, American ballet dancer and actress (b. 1937)
2014 – Sophie Masloff, American civil servant and politician, 56th Mayor of Pittsburgh (b. 1917)
2013 – Frank Martínez, American painter (b. 1924)
2013 – Jack Harshman, American baseball player (b. 1927)
2013 – John Hollander, American poet and critic (b. 1929)
2013 – Odilia Dank, American educator and politician (b. 1938)
2012 – Victor Poor, American engineer, developed the Datapoint 2200 (b. 1933)
2005 – John N. Bahcall, American astrophysicist and academic (b. 1934)
1995 – Howard E. Koch, American playwright and screenwriter (b. 1902)
1994 – Jack Sharkey, American boxer and referee (b. 1902)
1994 – Luigi Chinetti, Italian-American race car driver and businessman (b. 1901)
1990 – Pearl Bailey, American actress and singer (b. 1918)
1988 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr., American lawyer and politician (b. 1914)
1983 – Ira Gershwin, American songwriter (b. 1896)
1979 – John C. Allen, American roller coaster designer (b. 1907)
1979 – Vivian Vance, American actress and singer (b. 1909)
1973 – Conrad Aiken, American novelist, short story writer, critic, and poet (b. 1889)
1940 – Billy Fiske, American soldier and pilot (b. 1911)
1935 – Adam Gunn, American decathlete (b. 1872)
1935 – Charlotte Perkins Gilman, American sociologist and author (b. 1860)
1920 – Ray Chapman, American baseball player (b. 1891)
1861 – Alcée Louis la Branche, American politician and diplomat, 1st United States Ambassador to Texas (b. 1806)
1785 – Jonathan Trumbull, English-American merchant and politician, 16th Governor of Connecticut (b. 1710)