World Climate Day (initiated by several environmental associations of France and Belgium)
2010 – With the second launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 and the first launch of the SpaceX Dragon, SpaceX becomes the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft.
2004 – The Cusco Declaration is signed in Cusco, Peru, establishing the South American Community of Nations.
1988 – A United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II crashes into an apartment complex in Remscheid, Germany, killing 5 people and injuring 50 others.
1987 – An Israeli army tank transporter kills four Palestinian refugees and injures seven others during a traffic accident at the Erez Crossing on the Israel–Gaza Strip border, which has been cited as one of the events which sparked the First Intifada.
1972 – United Airlines Flight 553, a Boeing 737, crashes after aborting its landing attempt at Chicago Midway International Airport, killing 45. This is the first-ever loss of a Boeing 737.
1953 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers his "Atoms for Peace" speech, which leads to an American program to supply equipment and information on nuclear power to schools, hospitals, and research institutions around the world.
1941 – World War II: Japanese forces simultaneously invade Shanghai International Settlement, Malaya, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies. (See December 7 for the concurrent attack on Pearl Harbor in the Western Hemisphere.)
1941 – World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares December 7 to be "a date which will live in infamy", after which the U.S. declares war on Japan.
1927 – The Brookings Institution, one of the United States' oldest think tanks, is founded through the merger of three organizations that had been created by philanthropist Robert S. Brookings.
1660 – A woman (either Margaret Hughes or Anne Marshall) appears on an English public stage for the first time, in the role of Desdemona in a production of Shakespeare's play Othello.
1432 – The first battle between the forces of Švitrigaila and Sigismund Kęstutaitis is fought near the town of Oszmiana (Ashmyany), launching the most active phase of the Lithuanian Civil War.
1993 – AnnaSophia Robb, American actress. She made her feature film debut in Because of Winn-Dixie (2005), followed by the supporting role of Violet Beauregarde in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005).
1986 – Enzo Amore, American wrestler. Eric Arndt (born December 8, 1986) is an American professional wrestler who performs on the independent circuit under the ring name nZo.
1986 – Kate Voegele, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actress. She performed numerous local live shows to promote the album, and toured with artists such as John Mayer.
1985 – Dwight Howard, American basketball player. Dwight David Howard II (born December 8, 1985) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
1985 – Josh Donaldson, American baseball player. Joshua Adam Donaldson (born December 8, 1985) is an American professional baseball third baseman who is a free agent.
1984 – Sam Hunt, American singer-songwriter. Born in Cedartown, Georgia, Hunt played football in his high school and college years and once attempted to pursue a professional sports career before signing with MCA Nashville in 2014.
1982 – Alfredo Aceves, American baseball player. He pitched in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.
1982 – Chrisette Michele, American singer-songwriter. She won a Grammy Award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance in 2009 for her song "Be OK".
1982 – Nicki Minaj, Trinidadian-American rapper and actress. Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty (born December 8, 1982), known professionally as Nicki Minaj (/mɪˈnɑːʒ/), is a rapper, singer, songwriter, actress, and model.
1981 – Jeremy Accardo, American baseball player. Jeremiah Lee Accardo (born December 8, 1981) is an American former professional baseball pitcher and current assistant pitching coach for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB).
1981 – Philip Rivers, American football player. Philip Michael Rivers (born December 8, 1981) is an American football quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers of the National Football League (NFL).
1979 – Ingrid Michaelson, American singer-songwriter and pianist. Her two highest-charting singles are "The Way I Am" (2007) and "Girls Chase Boys" (2014), at No. 37 and No. 52 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively.
1978 – Ian Somerhalder, American actor. Luther Swann in Netflix's sci-fi horror series V Wars.
1978 – Vernon Wells, American baseball player. Vernon Michael Wells III (born December 8, 1978) is an American former professional baseball center fielder.
1976 – Brettina, Bahamian-American singer-songwriter and actress. Brettina Lorena Robinson (born December 8, 1976) is a Bahamian jazz singer-songwriter, model, and SAG actress, who lives in metropolitan Los Angeles.
1976 – Reed Johnson, American baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, and Washington Nationals.
1975 – Kevin Harvick, American race car driver. Kevin Michael Harvick (born December 8, 1975), nicknamed "The Closer" and "Happy Harvick," is an American professional stock car racing driver.
1974 – Nick Zinner, American guitarist, songwriter, and producer. Zinner is an accomplished photographer.
1969 – Kristin Lauter, American mathematician and cryptographer. Kristin Estella Lauter (born 1969) is an American mathematician and cryptographer whose research interest is broadly in application of number theory and algebraic geometry in cryptography.
1968 – Mike Mussina, American baseball player and coach. Michael Cole Mussina (born December 8, 1968), nicknamed "Moose", is an American former baseball starting pitcher who played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Baltimore Orioles (1991–2000) and the New York Yankees (2001–2008).
1967 – Jeff George, American football player. Jeffrey Scott George (born December 8, 1967) is a former American college and professional football player in the National Football League (NFL) for thirteen seasons during the 1990s and early 2000s.
1964 – Teri Hatcher, American actress. For her portrayal of Susan Mayer, she won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, three Screen Actors Guild Awards (one as lead female actor and the other two as part of the best ensemble), and a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
1963 – Greg Howe, American guitarist, songwriter, and producer. An active musician for more than three decades, he has released nine studio albums in addition to collaborating with a wide variety of artists.
1962 – Marty Friedman, American-Japanese guitarist, songwriter, and television host. Martin Adam "Marty" Friedman (born December 8, 1962) is an American guitarist, known for his tenure as the lead guitarist for heavy metal band Megadeth which spanned nearly the full decade of the 1990s.
1962 – Steve Elkington, Australian-American golfer. Elkington won a major title at the PGA Championship in 1995, and is a two-time winner of The Players Championship.
1961 – Ann Coulter, American lawyer, journalist, and author. Ann Hart Coulter (/ˈkoʊltər/; born December 8, 1961) is an American conservative media pundit, best-selling author, syndicated columnist, and lawyer.
1960 – Aaron Allston, American game designer and author (d. 2014), was an American game designer and author of many science fiction books, notably Star Wars novels. His works as a game designer include game supplements for role-playing games, several of which served to establish the basis for products and subsequent development of TSR's Dungeons & Dragons game setting Mystara.
1960 – Bill McKibben, American author and environmentalist. William Ernest "Bill" McKibben (born December 8, 1960) is an American environmentalist, author, and journalist who has written extensively on the impact of global warming.
1959 – Mark Steyn, Canadian-American author and critic. Steyn has been published by magazines and newspapers around the world, and is a regular guest host of the nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh Show.
1958 – Bob Greene, American physiologist and author. Greene has written books on subjects including Michael Jordan, Alice Cooper, and U.S. presidents.
1958 – Rob Byrnes, American author and blogger. Robert Charles "Rob" Byrnes, Jr. is a 21st-century gay American, novelist and blogger, whose fiction focuses primarily on gay men and other sexual minorities.
1957 – James Cama, American martial artist and educator (d. 2014), was an American martial arts practitioner and teacher.
1956 – Warren Cuccurullo, American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Warren Bruce Cuccurullo (born December 8, 1956 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American musician, singer, songwriter and former body builder who first worked with Frank Zappa during the 1970s.
1955 – Kasim Sulton, American singer-songwriter, bass player, and producer. Kasim Sulton (born 8 December 1955) is an American bass guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist.
1954 – Harold Hongju Koh, American lawyer, academic, and politician. He was nominated to this position by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2009, and confirmed by the Senate on June 25, 2009.
1953 – Kim Basinger, American actress. Kimila Ann Basinger (/ˈbeɪsɪŋər/ BAY-sing-ər; born December 8, 1953) is an American actress, singer and former fashion model.
1953 – Norman Finkelstein, American author, academic, and activist. He is a graduate of Binghamton University and received his Ph.D. in political science at Princeton University.
1953 – Roy Firestone, American sportscaster and journalist. Firestone is a graduate of Miami Beach High School and the University of Miami.
1953 – Sam Kinison, American comedian (d. 1992), was an American stand-up comedian and actor. A former Pentecostal preacher, he performed stand-up routines that were characterized by an intense style, similar to charismatic preachers, and punctuated by his distinct scream.
1951 – Bill Bryson, American essayist, travel and science writer. William McGuire Bryson OBE HonFRS (/ˈbraɪsən/; born 8 December 1951) is an American-British author of books on travel, the English language, science, and other non-fiction topics.
1951 – Richard Desmond, English publisher and businessman, founded Northern & Shell. Express Newspapers were sold to Reach Plc (formerly Trinity Mirror) for a consideration of £200m of which £74m was invested in the Express newspapers pension scheme until 2027.
1950 – Dan Hartman, American singer-songwriter and producer (d. 1994), was an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Among songs he wrote and recorded were "Free Ride" with The Edgar Winter Group, and the solo hits "Relight My Fire", "Instant Replay", "I Can Dream About You", "We Are the Young" and "Second Nature". "I Can Dream About You", his most successful song, reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984.
1950 – Rick Baker, American actor and makeup artist. Baker (born December 8, 1950) is a retired American special make-up effects creator and actor, mostly known for his creature effects and designs.
1950 – Tim Foli, American baseball player, coach, and manager. At age 17, Foli was the first pick in the Major League Baseball Draft in 1968 and went on to be a member of the 1979 World Series champion Pirates.
1949 – Nancy Meyers, American director, producer, and screenwriter. She is the writer, producer and director of several big-screen successes, including The Parent Trap (1998), What Women Want (2000), Something's Gotta Give (2003), The Holiday (2006), It's Complicated (2009) and The Intern (2015).
1949 – Robert Sternberg, American psychologist and academic. He is Professor of Human Development at Cornell University.
1948 – Luis Caffarelli, Argentinian-American mathematician and academic. Luis Angel Caffarelli (born December 8, 1948) is an Argentine mathematician and luminary in the field of partial differential equations and their applications.
1947 – Gregg Allman, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2017), was an American singer-songwriter and musician. He was known for performing in the Allman Brothers Band.
1947 – Margaret Geller, American astrophysicist, astronomer, and academic. Geller (born December 8, 1947) is an American astrophysicist at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
1947 – Thomas Cech, American chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate. Thomas Robert Cech (born December 8, 1947) is an American chemist who shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Sidney Altman, for their discovery of the catalytic properties of RNA.
1946 – John Rubinstein, American actor, director, and composer. John Arthur Rubinstein (born December 8, 1946) is an American Broadway and television actor, a composer of film and theater music, and a director in theater and television.
1944 – Bertie Higgins, American singer-songwriter. It spawned the #1 Billboard romantic classic ballad "Key Largo", which referenced the Humphrey Bogart movie of the same name and reached #8 in the U.S.
1943 – Jim Morrison, American singer-songwriter and poet (d. 1971), was an American singer, songwriter and poet, who served as the lead vocalist of the rock band the Doors. Due to his poetic lyrics, distinctive baritone voice, wild personality, unpredictable and erratic performances, and the dramatic circumstances surrounding his life and early death, Morrison is regarded by music critics and fans as one of the most iconic and influential frontmen in rock history.
1943 – Larry Martin, American paleontologist and ornithologist (d. 2013), was an American vertebrate paleontologist and curator of the Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center at the University of Kansas. Among Martin's work is research on the Triassic reptile Longisquama and theropod dinosaur (or fossil bird) Caudipteryx and Dakotaraptor.
1943 – Mary Woronov, American actress, director, and screenwriter. Woronov has appeared in over 80 movies and on stage at Lincoln Center and off-Broadway productions as well as numerous times in mainstream American TV series, such as Charlie's Angels and Knight Rider.
1941 – Bob Brown, American football player. Robert James Brown (born 27 December 1944) is a former Australian politician, medical doctor, and environmentalist who is a former Senator, and former Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens.
1941 – Duke Cunningham, American commander and politician. House of Representatives from California's 50th District from 1991 to 2005 and subsequently served 8 years in prison for accepting at least $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors.
1941 – Ed Brinkman, American baseball player and coach (d. 2008), was an American professional baseball player, coach and scout. He played for 15 seasons in Major League Baseball, principally as a shortstop, for the Washington Senators (1961–1970), Detroit Tigers (1971–1974), St.
1940 – Brant Alyea, American baseball player. Garrabrant Ryerson Alyea (born December 8, 1940) is an American former professional baseball outfielder.
1939 – Jerry Butler, American singer-songwriter and producer. Since leaving The Impressions, Jerry has had over 55 Billboard Pop & R&B Chart Hits as a solo artist, including some 15 Top 40 Pop Hits in the Hot 100, and 15 R&B Top 10's.
1939 – Soko Richardson, American drummer (d. 2004), was an American rhythm and blues drummer. His career spanned almost fifty years, during which he performed and recorded with seminal groups including John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and the Ike & Tina Turner Revue.
1937 – James MacArthur, American actor (d. 2010), was an American actor best known for the role of Danny "Danno" Williams, the reliable second-in-command of the fictional Hawaiian State Police squad in the long-running television series Hawaii Five-O, and for playing the juvenile lead in a series of Disney movies.
1936 – David Carradine, American actor, director, and producer (d. 2009), was an American actor and martial artist best known for playing martial arts roles. He is perhaps best known as the star of the 1970s television series Kung Fu, playing Kwai Chang Caine, a peace-loving Shaolin monk travelling through the American Old West.
1936 – Michael Hobson, American publisher. Hobson is a successful publisher, who was an executive vice president for Marvel Comics.
1933 – Flip Wilson, American actor and comedian (d. 1998), was an American comedian and actor best known for his television appearances during the late 1960s and the 1970s. From 1970 to 1974, Wilson hosted his own weekly variety series, The Flip Wilson Show, and introduced viewers to his recurring character Geraldine.
1931 – Bob Arum, American boxing promoter, founded Top Rank. He also worked for the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York in the tax division during his legal career before moving into boxing promotion.
1928 – Ulric Neisser, German-American psychologist, neuroscientist, and academic (d. 2012), was a German-born American psychologist and member of the US National Academy of Sciences. He has been referred to as the "father of cognitive psychology".
1927 – Ferdie Pacheco, American physician and author. Fernando "Ferdie" Pacheco (December 8, 1927 – November 16, 2017) was the personal physician and cornerman for world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali as well as numerous other boxing champions.
1923 – Rudolph Pariser, Chinese-American soldier and chemist. He attended the Von Hindenburg Schule in Harbin, an American Missionary School in Beijing and American School in Japan in Tokyo.
1922 – Jean Ritchie, American singer-songwriter (d. 2015), was an American folk music singer, songwriter, and Appalachian dulcimer player. Her career formed a kind of bridge between the traditional and modern forms of folk music: in her youth she learned folksongs in the traditional way (orally, from her family and members of her community); and in adulthood she became a successful modern folksinger, promulgating songs in public through concerts and recordings.
1919 – Julia Robinson, American mathematician and theorist (d. 1985), was an American mathematician noted for her contributions to the fields of computability theory and computational complexity theory—most notably in decision problems. Her work on Hilbert's 10th problem (now known as Matiyasevich's theorem or the MRDP theorem) played a crucial role in its ultimate resolution.
1919 – Peter Tali Coleman, Samoan-American lawyer and politician, 43rd Governor of American Samoa (d. 1997), was the first person of Samoan descent to be appointed Governor of American Samoa, and later became the territory's first popularly elected Governor. A member of the Republican Party, he is the only U.S. governor whose service spanned five decades (1956–1961, 1978–1985 and 1989–1993) and one of the longest-serving governors of any jurisdiction in American history.
1916 – Richard Fleischer, American director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2006). Fleischer (/ˈflaɪʃər/; December 8, 1916 – March 25, 2006) was an American film director known for such movies as The Narrow Margin (1952), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), Fantastic Voyage (1966), the Oscar-award winning musical film Doctor Dolittle (1967) and Soylent Green (1973).
1915 – Ernest Lehman, American director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2005), was an American screenwriter. He was nominated six times for Academy Awards for his screenplays during his career, but did not win.
1914 – Floyd Tillman, American country music singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2003), was an American country musician who, in the 1930s and 1940s, helped create the Western swing and honky tonk genres. Tillman was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1984.
1913 – Delmore Schwartz, American poet and short story writer (d. 1966). Schwartz was born in 1913 in Brooklyn, New York, where he also grew up.
1911 – Lee J. Cobb, American actor (d. 1976). He is best known for his performances in On the Waterfront (1954), 12 Angry Men (1957), and The Exorcist (1973).
1908 – John A. Volpe, American soldier and politician, 61st Governor of Massachusetts (d. 1994), was an American businessman, diplomat, and politician from Massachusetts. A self-made son of Italian immigrants, he founded and owned a large construction firm.
1900 – Ants Oras, Estonian-American author and academic (d. 1982), was an Estonian translator and writer.
1899 – John Qualen, Canadian-American actor (d. 1987), was a Canadian-American character actor of Norwegian heritage who specialized in Scandinavian roles.
1894 – E. C. Segar, American cartoonist, created Popeye (d. 1938). Elzie Crisler Segar (December 8, 1894 – October 13, 1938) pen name E.
1894 – James Thurber, American humorist and cartoonist (d. 1961), was an American cartoonist, author, humorist, journalist, playwright, children's book author, and celebrated wit. He was best known for his cartoons and short stories published mainly in The New Yorker magazine, such as "The Catbird Seat", and collected in his numerous books.
1892 – Marcus Lee Hansen, American historian, author, and academic (d. 1938), was an American historian, who won the 1941 Pulitzer Prize for History for The Atlantic Migration, 1607–1860 (1940).
1890 – Bohuslav Martinů, Czech-American pianist and composer (d. 1959), was a Czech composer of modern classical music. He wrote 6 symphonies, 15 operas, 14 ballet scores and a large body of orchestral, chamber, vocal and instrumental works.
1861 – William C. Durant, American businessman, founded General Motors and Chevrolet (d. 1947), was a leading pioneer of the United States automobile industry, who created a system in which a company held multiple marques - each seemingly independent, with different automobile lines - bound under a unified corporate holding company. Durant, along with Frederic L.
1813 – August Belmont, Prussian-American financier and diplomat, 16th United States Ambassador to the Netherlands (d. 1890), was a German-American politician, financier, foreign diplomat, and party chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 1860s, and later a horse-breeder and racehorse owner. He was the founder and namesake of the Belmont Stakes, third leg of the Triple Crown series of American thoroughbred horse racing.
1765 – Eli Whitney, American engineer, invented the cotton gin (d. 1825), was an American inventor best known for inventing the cotton gin. This was one of the key inventions of the Industrial Revolution and shaped the economy of the Antebellum South.
2016 – John Glenn, American astronaut & senator, first American to go into orbit (b. 1921)
2015 – Douglas Tompkins, American businessman, co-founded The North Face and Esprit Holdings (b. 1943)
2015 – John Trudell, American author, poet, and actor (b. 1946)
2015 – Mattiwilda Dobbs, American soprano and actress (b. 1925)
2014 – Russ Kemmerer, American baseball player and coach (b. 1930)
2013 – Richard S. Williamson, American lawyer and diplomat (b. 1949)
2012 – Jerry Brown, American football player (b. 1987)
2012 – Johnny Lira, American boxer (b. 1951)
2008 – Robert Prosky, American actor (b. 1930)
2006 – Martha Tilton, American singer (b. 1915)
2004 – Dimebag Darrell, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1966)
2001 – Betty Holberton, American computer scientist and programmer (b. 1917)
1997 – Bob Bell, American clown and actor (b. 1922)
1996 – Howard Rollins, American actor (b. 1950)
1992 – William Shawn, American journalist (b. 1917)
1991 – Buck Clayton, American trumpet player and composer (b. 1911)
1984 – Luther Adler, American actor (b. 1903)
1984 – Robert Jay Mathews, American militant leader, founded The Order (b. 1953)
1983 – Slim Pickens, American actor (b. 1919)
1982 – Marty Robbins, American singer-songwriter and race car driver (b. 1925)
1966 – Ward Morehouse, American playwright, author, and critic (b. 1899)
1958 – Tris Speaker, American baseball player and manager (b. 1888)
1954 – Gladys George, American actress (b. 1904)
1954 – Joseph B. Keenan, American lawyer and politician (b. 1888)
1942 – Albert Kahn, American architect, Fisher Building, Packard Automotive Plant, Ford River Rouge Complex (b. 1869)
1919 – J. Alden Weir, American painter (b. 1852)
1886 – Isaac Lea, American conchologist, geologist, and publisher (b. 1792)
1885 – William Henry Vanderbilt, American businessman and philanthropist (b. 1821)