On this Day August 7
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1903 – Paleontologist, archaeologist and anthropologist Louis Leakey (d. 1972)
1904 – Nobel Peace Prize–winning academic and U.N. diplomat Ralph Bunche (d. 1971)
1942 – Pop-country singer B.J. Thomas (“Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” “Don’t Worry Baby”)
1942 – Grammy-winning writer and “A Prairie Home Companion” creator-host Garrison Keillor
1955 – Actor Wayne Knight, best known as Newman from the NBC sitcom “Seinfeld”
1960 – Actor David Duchovny, best known for playing Special Agent Fox Mulder in “The X-Files”
1963 – Actor Harold Perrineau (“Oz,” “28 Weeks Later,” “The Matrix Reloaded,” “The Matrix Revolutions,” “The Killing Jar,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Lost”)
1975 – Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron (“The Devil’s Advocate,” “Mighty Joe Young,” “The Cider House Rules,” “Monster,” “North Country,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Atomic Blonde”)
1782 – General George Washington, commander in chief of the Continental Army, creates the “Badge for Military Merit” — a decoration for valor consisting of a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk with the word “Merit” stitched across the face. Only three soldiers were awarded the badge before it fell into disuse. It was revived in 1932 as the Purple Heart, consisting of a bust of Washington below a coat of arms.
1959 – The sheaves of wheat image on the U.S. penny is replaced with the Lincoln Memorial.
1959 – NASA launches the Explorer 6 satellite to study trapped radiation, galactic cosmic rays and geomagnetism in the upper atmosphere. It is the first spacecraft to transmit images of Earth from orbit.
1972 – Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax, Lefty Gomez and Early Wynn are inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
1974 – After six years of planning and preparation, French high-wire artist Philippe Petit walks a tightrope a quarter mile above the streets of Manhattan between the World Trade Center towers.
1990 – President George H. W. Bush orders the launch of Operation Desert Shield in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on August 2. The order prepares American troops to join an international coalition in the war against Iraq that would be launched as Operation Desert Storm in January 1991.
2005 – Longtime ABC News anchor and reporter Peter Jennings loses his battle with cancer at the age of 67.
2005 – The seven-person crew of a small Russian submarine (Priz) is rescued by an unmanned British submersible that freed the sub after its propellers became entangled in fishing nets deep in Pacific waters.
1965 – “I’m Henry VIII, I Am” by Herman’s Hermits is the best-selling single in the U.S. It’s the band’s second Billboard No. 1.
1971 – The Bee Gees achieve a milestone when “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” becomes the trio’s first No. 1 single. The song holds the top spot for four weeks.
1976 – Heartbreak is the theme of another No. 1 single: “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Elton John and Kiki Dee, which remains on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks.
1982 – “Eye of the Tiger,” from the movie “Rocky III,” is midway through a six-week domination of the pop chart. The track garners Survivor a Grammy for Best Rock Performance by Duo or Group With Vocal.
1982 – Fleetwood Mac kicks off five weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with “Mirage,” the band’s third chart-topping album, which contains the Top-20 hits “Hold Me” and “Gypsy.”
1993 – UB40 is mid-way through a seven-week occupation of the top spot on the singles chart with their cover of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
1999 – Christina Aguilera rules the pop chart with “Genie in a Bottle.” The track holds at No. 1 for five weeks.
2004 – “Slow Motion,” by rapper Juvenile featuring Soulja Slim, kicks off two weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100.