In 2017 astronomers officially announce the detection of a gravitational wave, named GW170817, associated with the merger of two neutron stars. GW170817 also seemed related to a gamma ray burst, likely GRB 170817A, 1.7 seconds later, and a visible light observational event 11 hours afterwards, AT 2017gfo.
1978 – Karol Wojtyla is elected Pope John Paul II after the October 1978 Papal conclave, the first non-Italian pontiff since 1523.
1968 – United States athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos are kicked off the US team for participating in the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute.
1968 – Yasunari Kawabata becomes the first Japanese person to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
1964 – China detonates its first nuclear weapon.
1951 – The first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, is assassinated in Rawalpindi.
1939 – World War II: No. 603 Squadron RAF intercepts the first Luftwaffe raid on Britain.
1923 – The Walt Disney Company is founded by Walt Disney and his brother, Roy Disney.
1916 – In Brooklyn, New York, Margaret Sanger opens the first family planning clinic in the United States.
1909 – William Howard Taft and Porfirio Díaz hold a summit, a first between a U.S. and a Mexican president, and they only narrowly escape assassination.
1875 – Brigham Young University is founded in Provo, Utah.
1869 – Girton College, Cambridge is founded, becoming England's first residential college for women.
1869 – The Cardiff Giant, one of the most famous American hoaxes, is "discovered".
1846 – William T. G. Morton first demonstrated ether anesthesia at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the Ether Dome.
1841 – Queen's University is founded in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
1780 – Royalton, Vermont and Tunbridge, Vermont are the last major raids of the American Revolutionary War.
1992 – Bryce Harper, American baseball player. Bryce Aron Max Harper (born October 16, 1992) is an American professional baseball right fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball (MLB).
1984 – Rachel Reilly, American talk show host and actress. She has also participated in two seasons of The Amazing Race with her husband Brendon Villegas, placing third on both occasions.
1981 – Anthony Reyes, American baseball player. Anthony Loza Reyes (born October 16, 1981) is an American former professional baseball pitcher who played five seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB).
1981 – Boyd Melson, American boxer. Boyd "Rainmaker" Melson (born October 16, 1981) is a retired American light middleweight boxer.
1980 – Sue Bird, American basketball player. Suzanne Brigit Bird (born October 16, 1980) is an American professional basketball player for the Seattle Storm of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).
1979 – Erin Brown, American actress, director, and screenwriter. Erin Brown (born Erin DeWright;) is an American film actress, filmmaker, model and musician.
1978 – Ethan Luck, American guitarist and drummer. Ethan John Luck is an American musician, producer, multi-instrumentalist and photographer who has played in several bands, most prominently, the ska band The O.C.
1977 – John Mayer, American singer-songwriter, rapper, guitarist, and producer. Together, they formed a short-lived two-man band called Lo-Fi Masters.
1975 – Kellie Martin, American actress, director, and producer. She is known for her roles as Rebecca "Becca" Thatcher in Life Goes On (1989–1993), Christy Huddleston in Christy (1994–1995), Lucy Knight on ER (1998–2000), Samantha Kinsey in Mystery Woman TV film series (2003–2007), and as Hailey Dean in the Hailey Dean Mystery TV film series (2016–present).
1973 – Justin Credible, American wrestler. Peter Joseph "PJ" Polaco (born October 16, 1973) is a semi-retired American professional wrestler, best known for his appearances with Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) under the ring name Justin Credible.
1972 – Adrianne Frost, American comedian, actress, and author. She is best known for her work on Comedy Central's The Daily Show and VH1's Best Week Ever.
1972 – Kordell Stewart, American football player and radio host. Playing for Colorado in 1994 he completed a Hail Mary pass to beat the University of Michigan 27–26, a play which became known as "The Miracle at Michigan." Among NFL quarterbacks, his 38 rushing touchdowns ranks him fourth all-time, behind Cam Newton (with 58), Steve Young (with 43) and Jack Kemp (with 40).
1971 – Chad Gray, American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Chad Gray (born October 16, 1971) is an American singer, songwriter, and musician who is the current lead vocalist and co-founder of the heavy metal supergroup Hellyeah and lead vocalist for heavy metal band Mudvayne.
1971 – Paul Sparks, American actor. He is known for his roles as gangster Mickey Doyle in the HBO period drama series Boardwalk Empire, writer Thomas Yates in the Netflix political drama series House of Cards, and attorney David Tellis in the Starz anthology drama series The Girlfriend Experience.
1969 – Roy Hargrove, American trumpet player and composer, was an American jazz trumpeter. He won worldwide notice after winning two Grammy Awards for differing types of music in 1997 and in 2002.
1969 – Terri J. Vaughn, American actress and producer. She later co-starred in the UPN/The CW sitcom All of Us (2003–2005), and TBS sitcom Meet the Browns (2009–2011).
1969 – Wendy Wilson, American singer-songwriter. Wendy Wilson (born October 16, 1969) is an American singer and television personality and member of the pop singing trio Wilson Phillips.
1968 – Randall Batinkoff, American actor and producer. Randall Matthew Batinkoff (born October 16, 1968) is an American actor, known for his roles in the films For Keeps, School Ties, and Higher Learning.
1966 – Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, American voice actress, singer, and director. Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (born October 16, 1966) is an American voice actress, ADR director and singer-songwriter best known for her involvement in music production in multiple games from the Silent Hill series, and her extensive English-language dubbing of various anime, animated films and video games.
1965 – Tom Tolbert, American basketball player and sportscaster. Byron Thomas Tolbert (born October 16, 1965) is an American sports broadcaster and retired professional basketball player.
1962 – Flea, Australian-American bass player, songwriter, and actor. Flea, the common name for the order Siphonaptera, includes 2,500 species of small flightless insects that survive as external parasites of mammals and birds.
1962 – Manute Bol, Sudanese-American basketball player and activist (d. 2010). Manute Bol (/məˈnuːt ˈboʊl/; d.
1962 – Tamara McKinney, American skier. Tamara McKinney (born October 16, 1962) is a former World Cup alpine ski racer from the United States.
1961 – Randy Vasquez, American actor, director, and producer. Randy Vasquez (born October 16, 1961) is an American actor and director.
1960 – Bob Mould, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer. Robert Arthur Mould (born October 16, 1960) is an American musician, principally known for his work as guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for alternative rock bands Hüsker Dü in the 1980s and Sugar in the 1990s.
1959 – Brian Harper, American baseball player. Brian David Harper (born October 16, 1959) is a former catcher in Major League Baseball who played for teams in both the American and National Leagues during his 16-year career (1979-1995).
1958 – Tim Robbins, American actor, director, and screenwriter. He is best known for his portrayal of Andy Dufresne in the prison drama film The Shawshank Redemption (1994).
1956 – John Chavis, American football player and coach, was a free black educator and Presbyterian minister in the American South during the early 19th century. Born in Oxford, NC, he fought for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.
1956 – Marin Alsop, American violinist and conductor. She is currently music director of both the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, and chief conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra.
1956 – Meg Rosoff, American-English author. Meg Rosoff (born 16 October 1956) is an American writer based in London, United Kingdom.
1955 – Ellen Dolan, American actress. Ellen Dolan (born October 16, 1955 in Monticello, Iowa, USA) is an American actress.
1954 – Lorenzo Carcaterra, American author and blogger. Lorenzo Carcaterra (born October 16, 1954, in Clinton, New York) is an American writer of Italian descent.
1953 – Tony Carey, American keyboard player, songwriter, and producer. Anthony Lawrence Carey (born October 16, 1953, Watsonville, California) is an American-born, European-based musician, composer, producer, and singer/songwriter.
1952 – Christopher Cox, American lawyer and politician. Prior to his Washington service he was a practicing attorney, teacher, and entrepreneur.
1952 – Cordell Mosson, American bass player (d. 2013), was an American bassist who was a member of Parliament-Funkadelic.
1948 – Bruce Fleisher, American golfer. Bruce Lee Fleisher (born October 16, 1948) is an American professional golfer.
1948 – Leo Mazzone, American baseball player and coach. Leo David Mazzone (born October 16, 1948) is a former pitcher in minor league baseball and pitching coach in Major League Baseball.
1947 – Bob Weir, American singer-songwriter, and guitarist. Robert Hall Weir (/wɪər/ WEER; born October 16, 1947) is an American musician and songwriter best known as a founding member of the rock band Grateful Dead.
1946 – Suzanne Somers, American actress and producer. Suzanne Marie Somers (née Mahoney; born October 16, 1946) is an American actress, author, singer, businesswoman, and health spokesperson.
1945 – Paul Monette, American author and poet (d. 1995), was an American author, poet, and activist best known for his essays about gay relationships.
1941 – Tim McCarver, American baseball player, sportscaster, and singer. James Timothy McCarver (born October 16, 1941) is an American sportscaster and former professional baseball catcher.
1940 – Barry Corbin, American actor and producer. His most well-known role came in the television series Northern Exposure (1990–1995), for which he was consecutively nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards.
1940 – Dave DeBusschere, American basketball player and coach (d. 2003), was an American professional National Basketball Association (NBA) player and coach and Major League Baseball player. In 1996, DeBusschere was named as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.
1938 – Carl Gunter, Jr., American politician (d. 1999), was a Democratic member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1972 to 1992, known for his support of organized labor and his opposition to abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment.
1931 – Charles Colson, American lawyer and politician (d. 2012). Charles Wendell Colson (October 16, 1931 – April 21, 2012), generally referred to as Chuck Colson, served as Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1970.
1931 – P. W. Underwood, American football player and coach (d. 2013). Phillip Wayne "Bear" Underwood (October 16, 1931 – February 4, 2013), known as P.
1928 – Ann Morgan Guilbert, American actress (d. 2016), was an American television and film actress and comedian who portrayed a number of roles from the 1950s on, most notably as Millie Helper in 61 episodes of the early 1960s sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, and later Yetta Rosenberg, Fran Fine's doddering grandmother, in 56 episodes of the 1990s sitcom The Nanny.
1928 – Mary Daly, American philosopher and theologian (d. 2010), was an American radical feminist philosopher, academic, and theologian. Daly, who described herself as a "radical lesbian feminist", taught at the Jesuit-run Boston College for 33 years.
1926 – Charles Dolan, American businessman, founded Cablevision and HBO. Through supervoting shares, Dolan today controls AMC Networks, MSG Networks, and The Madison Square Garden Company, which at one point were all part of Cablevision itself.
1925 – Angela Lansbury, English-American actress, singer, and producer. Her work received international attention.
1923 – Linda Darnell, American actress (d. 1965), was an American film actress. Darnell progressed from modeling as a child to acting in theater and film.
1922 – Leon Sullivan, American minister and activist (d. 2001), was a Baptist minister, a civil rights leader and social activist focusing on the creation of job training opportunities for African Americans, a longtime General Motors Board Member, and an anti-Apartheid activist. Sullivan died on April 24, 2001, of leukemia at a Scottsdale, Arizona, hospital.
1921 – MacKenzie Miller, American horse trainer and breeder (d. 2010). International race wins:Canadian International Stakes (1975)Prix d'Aumale (1982, 1983)
1921 – Matt Batts, American baseball player and coach (d. 2013), was an American professional backup baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a catcher from 1947 through 1956 for the Boston Red Sox, St.
1919 – Kathleen Winsor, American journalist and author (d. 2003), was an American author. She is best known for her first work, the 1944 historical novel Forever Amber.
1918 – Abraham Nemeth, American mathematician and academic (d. 2013), was an American mathematician and inventor. He was Professor of Mathematics at the University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, Michigan.
1912 – Clifford Hansen, American rancher and politician, 26th Governor of Wyoming (d. 2009), was an American politician from the state of Wyoming. A Republican, he served as the 26th Governor of Wyoming (January 7, 1963 – January 2, 1967) and subsequently as a United States Senator (January 3, 1967 – December 31, 1978).
1908 – Olivia Coolidge, English-American author and educator (d. 2006), was a British-born American writer and educator. She published 27 books, many for young adults, including The Greek Myths (1949), her debut; The Trojan War (1952); Legends of the North (1951); Makers of the Red Revolution (1963); Men of Athens, one runner-up for the 1963 Newbery Medal; Lives of Famous Romans (1965); and biographies of Eugene O'Neill, Winston Churchill, Edith Wharton, Gandhi, and Tom Paine.
1903 – Big Joe Williams, American Delta blues singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1982), was an American Delta blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, notable for the distinctive sound of his nine-string guitar. Performing over four decades, he recorded the songs "Baby Please Don't Go", "Crawlin' King Snake" and "Peach Orchard Mama", among many others, for various record labels, including Bluebird, Delmark, Okeh, Prestige and Vocalion.
1900 – Goose Goslin, American baseball player and manager (d. 1971), was an American professional baseball left fielder. He played in Major League Baseball for the Washington Senators, St.
1898 – William O. Douglas, American lawyer and jurist (d. 1980), was an American jurist and politician who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Nominated by President Franklin D.
1890 – Paul Strand, American photographer and director (d. 1975), was an American photographer and filmmaker who, along with fellow modernist photographers like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston, helped establish photography as an art form in the 20th century. His diverse body of work, spanning six decades, covers numerous genres and subjects throughout the Americas, Europe, and Africa.
1888 – Eugene O'Neill, American playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1953), was an American playwright and Nobel laureate in Literature. His poetically titled plays were among the first to introduce into U.S. drama techniques of realism earlier associated with Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, and Swedish playwright August Strindberg.
1888 – Paul Popenoe, American founder of relationship counseling (d. 1979), was an American agricultural explorer and eugenicist. He was an influential advocate of the compulsory sterilization of the mentally ill and the mentally disabled, and the father of marriage counseling in the United States.
1881 – William Orthwein, American swimmer and water polo player (d. 1955), was an American sportsman, attorney, business executive and political activist.
1872 – Walter Buckmaster, English polo player and businessman, co-founded Buckmaster & Moore (d. 1942), was a British polo player in the 1900 Summer Olympics and in the 1908 Summer Olympics.
1869 – Claude H. Van Tyne, American historian and author (d. 1930). He was a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in 1902.
1819 – Austin F. Pike, American lawyer and politician (d. 1886), was a United States Representative and Senator from New Hampshire. Born in Hebron, New Hampshire, he pursued an academic course, studied law, and was admitted to the bar of Merrimack County in 1845.
1815 – Francis Lubbock, American colonel and politician, 9th Governor of Texas (d. 1905), was the ninth Governor of Texas and was in office during the American Civil War. He was the brother of Thomas Saltus Lubbock, for whom Lubbock County, Texas, and the City of Lubbock are named.
1806 – William P. Fessenden, American lawyer and politician, 26th United States Secretary of the Treasury (d. 1869), was an American politician from the U.S. state of Maine. Fessenden was a Whig (later a Republican) and member of the Fessenden political family.
1802 – Isaac Murphy, American educator and politician, 8th Governor of Arkansas (d. 1882), was a native of Pennsylvania, a teacher and lawyer who moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas with his wife and child in 1834. He continued to teach and also became active in politics.
1795 – William Buell Sprague, American minister, historian, and author (d. 1876), was an American Congregational and Presbyterian clergyman and compiler of Annals of the American Pulpit (nine volumes, 1857–1869), a comprehensive biographical dictionary of the leading American Protestant Christian ministers who died before 1850.
1758 – Noah Webster, American lexicographer (d. 1843), was an American lexicographer, textbook pioneer, English-language spelling reformer, political writer, editor, and prolific author. He has been called the "Father of American Scholarship and Education".
1351 – Gian Galeazzo Visconti, first Duke of Milan (d. 1402), was the first Duke of Milan (1395) and ruled the late-medieval city just before the dawn of the Renaissance. He was the founding patron of the Certosa di Pavia, completing the Visconti Castle at Pavia begun by his father and furthering work on the Duomo of Milan.
2015 – James W. Fowler, American psychologist and academic (b. 1940)
2015 – Richard J. Cardamone, American lawyer and judge (b. 1925)
2015 – Vera Williams, American author and illustrator (b. 1927)
2014 – Allen Forte, American musicologist and theorist (b. 1926)
2013 – Robert B. Rheault, American colonel (b. 1925)
2013 – Saggy Tahir, Pakistani-American lawyer and politician (b. 1944)
2012 – Eddie Yost, American baseball player and coach (b. 1926)
2012 – Frank Moore Cross, American scholar and academic (b. 1921)
2012 – John A. Durkin, American lawyer and politician (b. 1936)
2012 – Mario Gallegos, Jr., American firefighter and politician (b. 1950)
2010 – Barbara Billingsley, American actress (b. 1915)
2010 – Eyedea, American rapper and producer (b. 1981)
2006 – John Victor Murra, Ukrainian-American anthropologist and academic (b. 1916)
2004 – Pierre Salinger, American journalist and politician, 11th White House Press Secretary (b. 1925)
2001 – Etta Jones, American singer-songwriter (b. 1928)
2000 – Mel Carnahan, American lieutenant, lawyer, and politician, 51st Governor of Missouri (b. 1934)
2000 – Rick Jason, American actor (b. 1923)
1999 – Jean Shepherd, American radio host, actor, and screenwriter (b. 1921)
1998 – Jon Postel, American computer scientist and academic (b. 1943)
1997 – Audra Lindley, American actress (b. 1918)
1997 – James A. Michener, American author and philanthropist (b. 1907)
1996 – Jason Bernard, American actor (b. 1938)
1992 – Shirley Booth, American actress and singer (b. 1898)
1990 – Art Blakey, American drummer and bandleader (b. 1919)
1990 – Jorge Bolet, Cuban-American pianist and educator (b. 1914)
1989 – Cornel Wilde, American actor (b. 1915)
1989 – Scott O'Dell, American journalist and author (b. 1898)
1989 – Walter Farley, American author and educator (b. 1915)
1981 – Eugene Eisenmann, Panamanian-American lawyer and ornithologist (b. 1906)
1978 – Dan Dailey, American actor, singer, dancer, and director (b. 1913)
1973 – Gene Krupa, American drummer, composer, and actor (b. 1909)
1972 – Hale Boggs, American lawyer and politician (b. 1914)
1972 – Leo G. Carroll, English-American actor (b. 1886)
1972 – Nick Begich, American lawyer and politician (b. 1932)
1971 – Robin Boyd, Australian architect and educator, designed the Domain Park Flats (b. 1919)
1968 – Ellis Kinder, American baseball player (b. 1914)
1959 – George Marshall, American general and politician, 3rd United States Secretary of Defense, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1880)
1959 – Minor Hall, American drummer (b. 1897)
1958 – Robert Redfield, American anthropologist of Mexico (b. 1897)
1913 – Ralph Rose, American shot putter, discus, and hammer thrower (b. 1885)
1810 – Nachman of Breslov, Ukrainian religious leader, founded the breslov hasidic group (b. 1772)
1730 – Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, French-American explorer and politician, 3rd French Governor of Louisiana (b. 1658)