2015 – The JAXA probe Akatsuki successfully enters orbit around Venus five years after the first attempt.
2005 – Rigoberto Alpizar, a passenger on American Airlines Flight 924 who allegedly claimed to have a bomb, is shot and killed by a team of U.S. federal air marshals at Miami International Airport.
1982 – In Texas, Charles Brooks, Jr., becomes the first person to be executed by lethal injection in the United States.
1972 – Apollo 17, the last Apollo moon mission, is launched. The crew takes the photograph known as The Blue Marble as they leave the Earth.
1963 – Instant replay makes its debut during the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.
1941 – World War II: Attack on Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy carries out a surprise attack on the United States Pacific Fleet and its defending Army and Marine air forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (For Japan's near-simultaneous attacks on Eastern Hemisphere targets, see December 8.)
1936 – Australian cricketer Jack Fingleton becomes the first player to score centuries in four consecutive Test innings.
1930 – W1XAV in Boston, Massachusetts telecasts video from the CBS radio orchestra program, The Fox Trappers. The telecast also includes the first television commercial in the United States, an advertisement for I.J. Fox Furriers, who sponsored the radio show.
1917 – World War I: The United States declares war on Austria-Hungary.
1904 – Comparative fuel trials begin between warships HMS Spiteful and HMS Peterel: Spiteful was the first warship powered solely by fuel oil, and the trials led to the obsolescence of coal in ships of the Royal Navy.
1869 – American outlaw Jesse James commits his first confirmed bank robbery in Gallatin, Missouri.
1842 – First concert of the New York Philharmonic, founded by Ureli Corelli Hill.
1787 – Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the United States Constitution.
1776 – Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, arranges to enter the American military as a major general.
1989 – Kyle Hendricks, American baseball player. Kyle Christian Hendricks (born December 7, 1989), is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball (MLB).
1988 – Nathan Adrian, American swimmer. Nathan Ghar-jun Adrian (born December 7, 1988) is an American competitive swimmer and five-time Olympic gold medalist who formerly held the American record in the long course 50-meter freestyle event.
1987 – Aaron Carter, American singer-songwriter, dancer, and actor. He first came to fame as a pop and hip hop singer in the late 1990s, establishing himself as a star among pre-teen and teenage audiences during the first years of the 21st century with his four studio albums.
1986 – Billy Horschel, American golfer. William John Horschel (born December 7, 1986) is an American professional golfer who currently plays on the PGA Tour.
1985 – Dean Ambrose, American wrestler. Jonathan David Good (born December 7, 1985) is an American professional wrestler and actor.
1984 – Aaron Gray, American basketball player. Aaron Michael Gray (born December 7, 1984) is an American former professional basketball player who played eight seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
1983 – Mike Mucitelli, American mixed martial artist. Michael Mucitelli (born December 7, 1983) is an American professional mixed martial artist who competed in Bellator's Light Heavyweight division.
1979 – Sara Bareilles, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and actress. In the third season of NBC's The Sing-Off, Bareilles served as a celebrity judge alongside Ben Folds and Shawn Stockman.
1978 – Shiri Appleby, American actress, director, and producer. She is best known for her leading roles as Liz Parker in the WB/UPN science fiction drama series Roswell (1999–2002) and Rachel Goldberg in the Lifetime/Hulu drama series Unreal (2015–2018).
1977 – Eric Chavez, American baseball player and sportscaster. Eric Cesar Chavez (born December 7, 1977) is a Mexican-American former professional baseball third baseman.
1976 – Alan Faneca, American football player, was a guard in the National Football League (NFL) for thirteen seasons. He played college football for Louisiana State University (LSU), and earned consensus All-America honors.
1976 – Sunny Sweeney, American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Sunny Michaela Sweeney (born December 7, 1976) is an American country music artist.
1973 – Hack Meyers, American wrestler and trainer (d. 2015), was an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, Hack Meyers. A mainstay in Florida independent promotions during the 1990s, he was best known for his time in Extreme Championship Wrestling from 1993 to 1996.
1973 – Terrell Owens, American football player and actor. Terrell Eldorado Owens (/ˈtɛrəl/; born December 7, 1973), popularly known by his initials, T.O., is a former American football wide receiver who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 16 seasons.
1972 – Tammy Lynn Sytch, American wrestler and manager. Tamara Lynn Sytch (born December 7, 1972), widely known by her ring name Sunny, is an American professional wrestling manager, valet, and ring announcer.
1967 – Tino Martinez, American baseball player, coach, and sportscaster. Louis Cardinals, and Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 1990 through 2005.
1966 – C. Thomas Howell, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. He has also appeared in Gettysburg as Thomas Chamberlain, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Amazing Spider-Man, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay.
1965 – Jeffrey Wright, American actor. He starred as Jean-Michel Basquiat in Basquiat, Felix Leiter in the James Bond films Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and No Time to Die, Narcisse in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, and Beetee in The Hunger Games films.
1964 – Patrick Fabian, American actor. His film roles include End Game (2006), The Last Exorcism (2010), Pig (2011) and Jimmy (2013).
1964 – Peter Laviolette, American ice hockey player and coach. He coached the Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup win in 2006, and later coached the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010, and the Predators in 2017.
1958 – Rick Rude, American wrestler and sportscaster (d. 1999), was an American professional wrestler who performed for many promotions, including World Championship Wrestling (WCW), World Wrestling Federation (WWF), and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW).
1956 – Larry Bird, American basketball player and coach. Larry Joe Bird (born December 7, 1956) is an American former professional basketball player, former coach, and former executive who most recently served as President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
1954 – Mary Fallin, American businesswoman and politician, 27th Governor of Oklahoma. A member of the Republican Party, she was elected in 2010 and reelected in 2014.
1952 – Susan Collins, American politician. Susan Margaret Collins (born December 7, 1952) is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator for Maine.
1949 – Tom Waits, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor. During the 1970s, he worked primarily in jazz, but since the 1980s his music has reflected greater influence from blues, vaudeville, and experimental genres.
1947 – James Keach, American actor, producer, and director. He is the younger brother of actor Stacy Keach Jr. and son of actor Stacy Keach Sr.
1947 – Johnny Bench, American baseball player and sportscaster. Johnny Lee Bench (born December 7, 1947) is an American former professional baseball catcher who played in the Major Leagues for the Cincinnati Reds from 1967 to 1983 and is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
1944 – Daniel Chorzempa, American organist and composer. Daniel Walter Chorzempa (born December 7, 1944) is an American organist and architect.
1943 – Bernard C. Parks, American police officer and politician. Parks (born December 7, 1943) is an American politician and a member of the Democratic Party.
1943 – John Bennett Ramsey, American businessman and pilot, was murdered in her Boulder, Colorado home on December 25, 1996. He discovered 6-year-old JonBenét's body in the cellar of the home just hours after her murder.
1943 – Nick Katz, American mathematician and academic. Nicholas Michael Katz (born December 7, 1943) is an American mathematician, working in arithmetic geometry, particularly on p-adic methods, monodromy and moduli problems, and number theory.
1943 – Susan Isaacs, American author and screenwriter. She adapted her debut novel into the film "Compromising Positions."
1942 – Alex Johnson, American baseball player (d. 2015), was an American professional baseball outfielder, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB), from 1964 to 1976, for the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, California Angels, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, and Detroit Tigers.
1942 – Harry Chapin, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1981), was an American singer-songwriter, humanitarian, and producer best known for his folk rock and pop rock songs, who achieved worldwide success in the 1970s and became one of the most popular artists and highest paid performers. Chapin is also one of the best charting musical artists in the United States.
1942 – Peter Tomarken, American game show host and producer (d. 2006), was an American television personality primarily known as the host of the game show Press Your Luck.
1941 – Melba Pattillo Beals, American journalist and activist. Melba Joyner Pattillo Beals (born December 7, 1941) is an American journalist and college educator who is widely-known as a member of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who were the first to integrate Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.
1937 – Thad Cochran, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, was an American attorney and politician who served as a United States Senator for Mississippi from 1978 to 2018. A Republican, he served in the U.S.
1932 – Ellen Burstyn, American actress. Ellen Burstyn (born Edna Rae Gillooly; December 7, 1932) is an American actress best known for her roles in films such as The Last Picture Show, The Exorcist, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, for which she won an Academy Award, and Requiem For a Dream.
1932 – Rosemary Rogers, American journalist and author. Rosemary Rogers, née Jansz (born 7 December 1932 in Panadura, British Ceylon, now Sri Lanka) is a British-American best-selling author of historical romance novels.
1931 – Allan B. Calhamer, American game designer, created Diplomacy (d. 2013), was an American board game designer, known for his game Diplomacy.
1928 – Mickey Thompson, American racing driver (d. 1988), was an American auto racing builder and promoter.
1928 – Noam Chomsky, American linguist and philosopher. Avram Noam Chomsky (born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist.
1927 – Jack S. Blanton, American businessman and philanthropist (d. 2013), was an American oil industry executive, philanthropist, and civic leader.
1926 – William John McNaughton, American bishop. He served as the first Bishop of Incheon from 1961 to 2002.
1923 – Ted Knight, American actor and comedian (d. 1986), was an American actor and voice artist well known for playing the comedic roles of Ted Baxter in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Henry Rush in Too Close for Comfort, and Judge Elihu Smails in Caddyshack.
1915 – Eli Wallach, American actor (d. 2014), was an American film, television and stage actor whose career spanned more than six decades, beginning in the late 1940s. Trained in stage acting, which he enjoyed doing most, he became "one of the greatest 'character actors' ever to appear on stage and screen", with over 90 film credits.
1915 – Leigh Brackett, American author and screenwriter (d. 1978), was an American writer, particularly of science fiction, and has been referred to as the Queen of Space Opera. She was also a screenwriter, known for her work on such films as The Big Sleep (1946), Rio Bravo (1959) and The Long Goodbye (1973).
1910 – Louis Prima, American singer-songwriter, trumpet player, and actor (d. 1978), was an American singer, actor, songwriter, bandleader, and trumpeter. While rooted in New Orleans jazz, swing music, and jump blues, Prima touched on various genres throughout his career: he formed a seven-piece New Orleans-style jazz band in the late 1920s, fronted a swing combo in the 1930s and a big band group in the 1940s, helped to popularize jump blues in the late 1940s and early to mid 1950s, and performed frequently as a Vegas lounge act beginning in the 1950s.
1905 – Gerard Kuiper, Dutch-American astronomer and academic (d. 1973), was a Dutch astronomer, planetary scientist, selenographer, author and professor. He is the eponymous namesake of the Kuiper belt.
1904 – Clarence Nash, American voice actor and singer (d. 1985), was an American voice actor, best known as the original voice of the Disney cartoon character Donald Duck. He was born in the rural community of Watonga, Oklahoma, and a street in that town is named in his honor.
1893 – Fay Bainter, American actress (d. 1968), was an American film and stage actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Jezebel (1938) and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1888 – Hamilton Fish III, American captain and politician (d. 1991), was a soldier and Republican politician from New York State. Born into a family long active in the state, he served in the United States House of Representatives from 1920 to 1945 and during that time was a prominent opponent of United States intervention in foreign affairs and was a critic of President Franklin D.
1887 – Ernst Toch, Austrian-American composer and songwriter (d. 1964), was an Austrian composer of classical music and film scores. He sought throughout his life to introduce new approaches to music.
1885 – Mason Phelps, American golfer (d. 1945), was an American golfer who competed in the 1904 Summer Olympics.
1885 – Peter Sturholdt, American boxer and painter (d. 1919), was an American boxer who competed in the 1904 Summer Olympics.
1879 – Rudolf Friml, Czech-American pianist, composer, and academic (d. 1972), was a Czech-born composer of operettas, musicals, songs and piano pieces, as well as a pianist. After musical training and a brief performing career in his native Prague, Friml moved to the United States, where he became a composer.
1873 – Willa Cather, American novelist, short story writer, and poet (d. 1947), was an American writer who achieved recognition for her novels of frontier life on the Great Plains, including O Pioneers! (1913), The Song of the Lark (1915), and My Ántonia (1918). In 1923 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours (1922), a novel set during World War I.
1863 – Richard Warren Sears, American businessman, co-founded Sears (d. 1914), was an American manager, businessman and the founder of Sears, Roebuck and Company with his partner Alvah Curtis Roebuck.
1847 – Deacon White, American baseball player and manager (d. 1939), was an American baseball player who was one of the principal stars during the first two decades of the sport's professional era. The outstanding catcher of the 1870s during baseball's barehanded period, he caught more games than any other player during the decade, and was a major figure on five consecutive championship teams from 1873 to 1877 – three in the National Association (NA), in which he played throughout its five-year existence from 1871 to 1875, and two in the National League (NL), which was formed as the first fully recognized major league in 1876, partially as a result of White and three other stars moving from the powerhouse Boston Red Stockings to the Chicago White Stockings.
2015 – Gerhard Lenski, American sociologist and academic (b. 1924)
2015 – Hyron Spinrad, American astronomer and academic (b. 1934)
2015 – Jesse C. Deen, American soldier and politician (b. 1922)
2014 – Mark Lewis, American author and educator (b. 1954)
2013 – Chick Willis, American singer and guitarist (b. 1934)
2012 – Marty Reisman, American table tennis player and author (b. 1930)
2012 – Ralph Parr, American colonel and pilot (b. 1924)
2012 – Saul Steinberg, American businessman and financier (b. 1939)
2011 – Harry Morgan, American actor (b. 1915)
2010 – Elizabeth Edwards, American lawyer and author (b. 1949)
2008 – Herbert Hutner, American banker and lawyer (b. 1908)
2006 – Jeane Kirkpatrick, American academic and diplomat, 16th United States Ambassador to the United Nations (b. 1926)
2005 – Bud Carson, American football player and coach (b. 1931)
2004 – Frederick Fennell, American conductor and educator (b. 1914)
2004 – Jay Van Andel, American businessman and philanthropist, co-founded Amway (b. 1924)
2004 – Jerry Scoggins, American singer and guitarist (b. 1913)
2003 – Azie Taylor Morton, American educator and politician, 36th Treasurer of the United States (b. 1933)
2003 – Carl F. H. Henry American journalist and theologian (b. 1913)
1998 – John Addison, English-American composer and conductor (b. 1920)
1998 – Martin Rodbell, American biochemist and endocrinologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1925)
1992 – Richard J. Hughes, American politician, 45th Governor of New Jersey, and Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court (b. 1909)
1990 – Joan Bennett, American actress (b. 1910)
1989 – Haystacks Calhoun, American wrestler and actor (b. 1934)
1985 – J. R. Eyerman, American photographer and journalist (b. 1906)
1985 – Potter Stewart, American soldier and jurist (b. 1915)
1984 – LeeRoy Yarbrough, American race car driver (b. 1938)
1979 – Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, English-American astronomer and astrophysicist (b. 1900)
1978 – Alexander Wetmore, American ornithologist and paleontologist (b. 1886)
1977 – Peter Carl Goldmark, Hungarian-American engineer (b. 1906)
1976 – Paul Bragg, American nutritionist (b. 1895)
1975 – Hardie Albright, American actor (b. 1903)
1975 – Thornton Wilder, American novelist and playwright (b. 1897)
1970 – Rube Goldberg, American cartoonist, sculptor, and author (b. 1883)
1969 – Lefty O'Doul, American baseball player and manager (b. 1897)
1956 – Huntley Gordon, Canadian-American actor (b. 1887)
1949 – Rex Beach, American author, playwright, and water polo player (b. 1877)
1947 – Nicholas Murray Butler, American philosopher and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1862)
1902 – Thomas Nast, German-American cartoonist (b. 1840)
1723 – Jan Santini Aichel, Czech architect, designed the Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk and Karlova Koruna Chateau (b. 1677)
1672 – Richard Bellingham, English-American lawyer and politician, 8th Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (b. 1592)