2003 – The ill-fated Beagle 2 probe, released from the Mars Express spacecraft on December 19, stops transmitting shortly before its scheduled landing.
1968 – Apollo program: Apollo 8 performs the very first successful Trans-Earth injection (TEI) maneuver, sending the crew and spacecraft on a trajectory back to Earth from Lunar orbit.
1946 – The first European self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction is initiated within the Soviet Union's F-1 nuclear reactor.
1941 – Admiral Émile Muselier seizes the archipelago of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, which become the first part of France to be liberated by the Free French Forces.
1935 – Regina Jonas is ordained as the first female rabbi in the history of Judaism.
1868 – United States President Andrew Johnson grants an unconditional pardon to all Confederate veterans.
1837 – Second Seminole War: American general Zachary Taylor leads 1100 troops against the Seminoles at the Battle of Lake Okeechobee.
1826 – The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy concludes after beginning the previous evening.
1815 – The Handel and Haydn Society, oldest continually performing arts organization in the United States, gives its first performance.
1814 – Rev. Samuel Marsden holds the first Christian service on land in New Zealand at Rangihoua Bay.
1809 – Dr. Ephraim McDowell performs the first ovariotomy, removing a 22-pound tumor.
1130 – Count Roger II of Sicily is crowned the first king of Sicily.
1100 – Baldwin of Boulogne is crowned the first King of Jerusalem in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
336 – First documentary sign of Christmas celebration in Rome.
1988 – Eric Gordon, American basketball player. Eric Ambrose Gordon Jr. (born December 25, 1988) is an American professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
1988 – Heather Cooke, American soccer player. Heather Marie Diosano Cooke (born December 25, 1988) is a Filipino-American international association footballer and reality TV personality.
1987 – Demaryius Thomas, American football player. Demaryius Antwon Thomas (born December 25, 1987) is an American football wide receiver for the New York Jets of the National Football league (NFL).
1982 – Chris Rene, American singer-songwriter and producer. Chris auditioned for the first season of The X Factor USA with one of his original compositions "Young Homie" and was one of the finalists during season one, with L.A.
1982 – Shawn Andrews, American football player. Shawn Cornelius Andrews (born December 25, 1982) is an American former college and professional football guard who played for the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL).
1981 – Trenesha Biggers, American wrestler and model. She also was in the 2005 WWE Diva Search making the top 25 before being eliminated.
1980 – Marcus Trufant, American football player, was a cornerback in the National Football League (NFL) for ten seasons. He played college football for Washington State University, and was chosen by the Seattle Seahawks 11th overall in the 2003 NFL Draft.
1975 – Daniel Mustard, American singer-songwriter. He appeared on the Opie and Anthony Show after being chosen to participate in their "Homeless Shopping Spree" charity event.
1972 – Mac Powell, American singer-songwriter and producer. Mac Powell (born Johnny Mac Powell; December 25, 1972), originally from Clanton, Alabama, is an American singer, songwriter, producer, and musician who formed the Christian rock band Third Day with guitarist Mark Lee.
1970 – Rodney Dent, American basketball player. He was drafted by the Orlando Magic in the 1994 NBA draft.
1968 – Jim Dowd, American ice hockey player. Jim Dowd is the name of:
1967 – Jason Thirsk, American bass player (d. 1996), was the bass player of the California punk rock band Pennywise from 1988 through his death in 1996. He grew up in Hermosa Beach, California.
1959 – Michael P. Anderson, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut (d. 2003), was a United States Air Force officer and NASA astronaut. Anderson and his six fellow crew members were killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the craft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
1958 – Hanford Dixon, American football player, coach, and sportscaster. Hanford Dixon (born December 25, 1958) is a former professional American football cornerback who played his entire career (1981–1989) for the Cleveland Browns of the NFL.
1958 – Rickey Henderson, American baseball player and coach. Rickey Nelson Henley Henderson (born December 25, 1958) is an American retired professional baseball left fielder who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for nine teams from 1979 to 2003, including four separate tenures with his original team, the Oakland Athletics.
1952 – C. C. H. Pounder, Guyanese-American actress. She has appeared in numerous plays, films, made-for-television films and television miniseries, and has made appearances on notable television series.
1950 – Karl Rove, American political strategist and activist. Bush administration until his resignation on August 31, 2007.
1949 – Sissy Spacek, American actress. She has also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1948 – Barbara Mandrell, American singer-songwriter and actress. She gave her last concert at the Grand Ole Opry House on October 23, 1997, and subsequently retired from performing music.
1948 – Kay Hymowitz, American sociologist and writer. Hymowitz (born December 25, 1948) is an American author.
1946 – Gene Lamont, American baseball player and manager. Gene William Lamont (born December 25, 1946) is an American special assistant to the general manager of the Kansas City Royals.
1946 – Jimmy Buffett, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor. Together with his Coral Reefer Band, Buffett has recorded hit songs including "Margaritaville" (ranked 234th on the Recording Industry Association of America's list of "Songs of the Century") and "Come Monday".
1946 – Larry Csonka, American football player and sportscaster, was inducted to both the College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame. With the Miami Dolphins he was a member of their perfect season in 1972 and won Super Bowl championships in 1972 and 1973.
1945 – Ken Stabler, American football player and sportscaster (d. 2015), was an American football quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for the Oakland Raiders (1970–1979), Houston Oilers (1980–1981) and New Orleans Saints (1982–1984). He played college football for the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
1945 – Rick Berman, American screenwriter and producer. He is best known for his work as the executive producer of several of the Star Trek television series: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise, as well as several of the Star Trek films, and for ultimately succeeding Gene Roddenberry as head of the Star Trek franchise until the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2005.
1942 – Barry Goldberg, American keyboard player, songwriter, and producer. Barry Joseph Goldberg (born December 25, 1942) is a blues and rock keyboardist, songwriter, and record producer.
1938 – Duane Armstrong, American painter. His mother taught him to paint as a child.
1937 – O'Kelly Isley Jr., American R&B/soul singer-songwriter (d. 1986), was an American singer and one of the founding members of the family group The Isley Brothers.
1935 – Jeanne Hopkins Lucas, American educator and politician (d. 2007), was the first African-American woman elected to serve in North Carolina's state Senate.
1935 – Stephen Barnett, American scholar and academic (d. 2009), was an American law professor and legal scholar who campaigned against the Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970 and the effects its antitrust exemptions had on newspaper consolidation. He also criticized the California Supreme Court for practices that hid information from the public.
1932 – Mabel King, American actress and singer (d. 1999), was an American film, stage, and television actress, and singer. She is best known for her role as Mabel "Mama" Thomas on the ABC sitcom What's Happening!! from its premiere in 1976 until the end of its second season in 1978.
1930 – Emmanuel Agassi, Iranian-American boxer and coach. Emanoul Aghassian (Persian: ایمانوئل آغاسيان, Anglicized as Emmanuel "Mike" Agassi (born December 25, 1930), is a former boxer and the father and former coach of Andre Agassi.
1929 – China Machado, Chinese-born Portuguese-American fashion model, editor and television producer (d. 2016). She was the first non-white person to appear in a major American fashion magazine, in the February 1959 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.
1929 – Christine M. Jones, American educator and politician (d. 2013). Jones (December 25, 1929 – January 26, 2013) was an American politician who represented district 26 in the Maryland House of Delegates.
1928 – Dick Miller, American actor, director, and screenwriter, was an American character actor who appeared in more than 180 films, including many produced by Roger Corman. He later appeared in the films of directors who began their careers with Corman, including Joe Dante and James Cameron and Martin Scorsese, with the distinction of appearing in every film directed by Dante.
1927 – Leo Kubiak, American basketball and baseball player. Kubiak was selected in the 1948 BAA Draft by the Rochester Royals.
1927 – Nellie Fox, American baseball player and coach (d. 1975), was an American professional baseball player. Fox was one of the best second basemen of all time, and the third-most difficult hitter to strike out in Major League Baseball (MLB) history.
1925 – Carlos Castaneda, Peruvian-American anthropologist and author (d. 1998), was an American author.
1925 – Ned Garver, American baseball player (d. 2017), was an American professional baseball pitcher who played in Major League Baseball from 1948 to 1961. Most of his career was spent playing for perennial second division teams such as the St.
1924 – Rod Serling, American screenwriter and producer, created The Twilight Zone (d. 1975), was an American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, and narrator known for his live television dramas of the 1950s and his science-fiction anthology TV series, The Twilight Zone. Serling was active in politics, both on and off the screen, and helped form television industry standards.
1923 – Louis Lane, American conductor and educator (d. 2016). He was born in Eagle Pass, Texas.
1923 – René Girard, French-American historian, philosopher, and critic (d. 2015). René Noël Théophile Girard (/ʒɪəˈrɑːrd/; French: ; 25 December 1923 – 4 November 2015) was a French historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science whose work belongs to the tradition of anthropological philosophy.
1922 – William Demby, American author (d. 2013), was an African-American writer, whose works include Beetlecreek (1950), The Catacombs (1965), Love Story Black (1978) and King Comus (2007, published posthumously in November 2017).
1919 – Paul David, Canadian cardiologist and politician, founded the Montreal Heart Institute (d. 1999), was a Canadian cardiologist, founder of the Montreal Heart Institute, and Senator.
1915 – Pete Rugolo, Italian-American composer and producer (d. 2011), was an American jazz composer, arranger and record producer.
1914 – Oscar Lewis, American anthropologist of Latin America (d. 1970). He is best known for his vivid depictions of the lives of slum dwellers and his argument that a cross-generational culture of poverty transcends national boundaries.
1913 – Candy Candido, American singer, bass player, and voice actor (d. 1999), was an American radio performer, bass player, vocalist and animation voice actor, best remembered for his famous line, "I'm feeling mighty low."
1911 – Louise Bourgeois, French-American sculptor and painter (d. 2010), was a French-American artist. Although she is best known for her large-scale sculpture and installation art, Bourgeois was also a prolific painter and printmaker.
1909 – Zora Arkus-Duntov, Belgian-American engineer (d. 1996), was a Belgian-born American engineer whose work on the Chevrolet Corvette earned him the nickname "Father of the Corvette.":6 He is sometimes erroneously referred to as the inventor of the Corvette, whereas that title belongs to Harley Earl. He was also a professional racing driver, appearing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times and taking a class win in 1954.
1908 – Ernest L. Massad, American general (d. 1993), was a college football star, major general of the U.S. Army, and successful oilman.
1908 – Jo-Jo Moore, American baseball player (d. 2001), was a left fielder in Major League Baseball who played his entire career with the New York Giants from 1930 through 1941. Moore batted left-handed and threw right-handed.
1907 – Cab Calloway, American singer-songwriter and bandleader (d. 1994), was an American jazz singer, dancer, and bandleader. He was associated with the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City, where he was a regular performer.
1907 – Glenn McCarthy, American businessman, founded the Shamrock Hotel (d. 1988), was an American oil tycoon. The media often referred to him as "Diamond Glenn" and "The King of the Wildcatters".
1907 – Mike Mazurki, Ukrainian-American wrestler and actor (d. 1990), was an American actor and professional wrestler who appeared in more than 100 films. His towering 6 ft 5 in (196 cm) presence and intimidating face usually got him roles playing tough guys, thugs, strong men, and gangsters.
1902 – Barton MacLane, American actor, playwright, and screenwriter (d. 1969). Although he appeared in many classic films from the 1930s through the 1960s, he became best-known for his role as General Martin Peterson on the 1960s NBC television comedy series I Dream of Jeannie, with Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman.
1899 – Humphrey Bogart, American actor (d. 1957), was an American film and theater actor. His performances in numerous films during the Classical Hollywood era made him an American cultural icon.
1890 – Robert Ripley, American anthropologist and publisher (d. 1949), was an American cartoonist, entrepreneur, and amateur anthropologist who is known for creating the Ripley's Believe It or Not! newspaper panel series, radio show, and television show which feature odd facts from around the world.
1889 – Lila Bell Wallace, American publisher and philanthropist, co-founded Reader's Digest (d. 1984), was an American magazine publisher and philanthropist.
1887 – Conrad Hilton, American entrepreneur (d. 1979), was an American hotelier and the founder of the Hilton Hotels chain.
1886 – Kid Ory, American trombonist and bandleader (d. 1973), was a Louisiana French-speaking jazz trombonist and bandleader. He was born on Woodland Plantation, near LaPlace, Louisiana.
1884 – Evelyn Nesbit, American model and actress (d. 1967), was an American artists' model, chorus girl, and actress.
1884 – Samuel Berger, American boxer (d. 1925). Samuel Berger is the name of:
1878 – Joseph M. Schenck, Russian-American film producer (d. 1961), was a Russian-born American film studio executive.
1878 – Louis Chevrolet, Swiss-American race car driver and businessman, co-founded Chevrolet (d. 1941), was a Swiss-American race car driver, co-founder of the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in 1911, and a founder in 1916 of the Frontenac Motor Corporation.
1873 – Otto Frederick Hunziker, Swiss-American agriculturalist and educator (d. 1959), was a pioneer in the American and international dairy industry, as both an educator and a technical innovator. Hunziker was born and raised in Switzerland, emigrated to the U.S., and studied at Cornell University.
1870 – Helena Rubinstein, Polish-American businesswoman and philanthropist (d. 1965), was a Polish-American businesswoman, art collector, and philanthropist. A cosmetics entrepreneur, and was the founder and eponym of Helena Rubinstein Incorporated cosmetics company, which made her one of the world's richest women.
1869 – Charles Finger, English-American journalist and author (d. 1941), was a British born American writer. He also directed an orchestra and taught piano.
1856 – Pud Galvin, American baseball player and manager (d. 1902), was an American Major League Baseball pitcher in the 19th century. He was MLB's first 300-game winner and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1965.
1829 – Patrick Gilmore, Irish-American composer and bandleader (d. 1892), was an Irish-born American composer and bandmaster who lived and worked in the United States after 1848. While serving in the Union Army during the U.S.
1825 – Stephen F. Chadwick, American lawyer and politician, 5th Governor of Oregon (d. 1895), was an American Democratic politician who served as the fifth Governor of Oregon from 1877 to 1878. Governor Chadwick was the first person to obtain the governorship by way of the state's Line of Succession.
1821 – Clara Barton, American nurse and humanitarian, founded the American Red Cross (d. 1912), was a pioneering American nurse who founded the American Red Cross. She was a hospital nurse in the American Civil War, a teacher, and patent clerk.
1810 – L. L. Langstroth, American apiarist, clergyman and teacher (d. 1895). He created the modern day Langstroth hive.
1730 – Philip Mazzei, Italian-American physician and philosopher (d. 1816), was an Italian physician. A close friend of Thomas Jefferson, Mazzei acted as an agent to purchase arms for Virginia during the American Revolutionary War.
2016 – Vera Rubin, American astronomer (b. 1928)
2015 – Dorothy M. Murdock, American author and historian (b. 1961)
2015 – George Clayton Johnson, American author and screenwriter (b. 1929)
2013 – Anthony J. Bryant, American historian and author (b. 1961)
2013 – Mike Hegan, American baseball player and sportscaster (b. 1942)
2012 – Joe Krivak, American football player and coach (b. 1935)
2011 – Jim Sherwood, American saxophonist (b. 1942)
2011 – Simms Taback, American author and illustrator (b. 1932)
2009 – Vic Chesnutt, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1964)
2008 – Eartha Kitt, American singer and actress (b. 1927)
2007 – Jim Beauchamp, American baseball player and coach (b. 1939)
2006 – James Brown, American singer-songwriter (b. 1933)
2003 – Nicholas Mavroules, American politician (b. 1929)
2000 – Willard Van Orman Quine, American philosopher and academic (b. 1908)
1997 – Denver Pyle, American actor (b. 1920)
1995 – Dean Martin, American singer and actor (b. 1917)
1992 – Monica Dickens, British-American nurse and author (b. 1915)
1991 – Wilbur Snyder, American football player and wrestler (b. 1929)
1989 – Benny Binion, American poker player and businessman (b. 1904)
1989 – Betty Garde, American actress (b. 1905)
1989 – Elena Ceaușescu, Romanian politician, First Lady of Romania (b. 1916)
1989 – Frederick F. Houser, American judge and politician, 34th Lieutenant Governor of California (b. 1905)
1989 – Robert Pirosh, American director and screenwriter (b. 1910)
1979 – Joan Blondell, American actress and singer (b. 1906)
1975 – Gaston Gallimard, French publisher, founded Éditions Gallimard (b. 1881)
1961 – Otto Loewi, German-American pharmacologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1873)
1961 – Owen Brewster, American captain, lawyer, and politician, 54th Governor of Maine (b. 1888)
1957 – Charles Pathé, French record producer, founded Pathé Records (b. 1863)
1953 – Patsy Donovan, Irish-American baseball player and manager (b. 1865)
1952 – Margrethe Mather, American photographer (b. 1886)
1949 – Leon Schlesinger, American animator and producer, founded Warner Bros. Cartoons (b. 1884)
1947 – Gaspar G. Bacon, American lawyer and politician, 51st Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts (b. 1886)
1946 – W. C. Fields, American actor, comedian, juggler, and screenwriter (b. 1880)
1941 – Richard S. Aldrich, American lawyer and politician (b. 1884)
1940 – Agnes Ayres, American actress (b. 1898)
1928 – Miles Burke, American boxer (b. 1885)
1916 – Albert Chmielowski, Polish saint, founded the Albertine Brothers (b. 1845)
1868 – Linus Yale, Jr., American engineer and businessman (b. 1821)