On This Day December 15
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1966 – Animation pioneer Walt Disney, who built an entertainment empire around a cartoon mouse, dies at the age of 65. The visionary creator of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck produced some of Hollywood’s greatest hits, conceived Disneyland and Disney World and was one of world’s most beloved storytellers.
1993 – “Schindler’s List,” from director Steven Spielberg, opens, starring Liam Neeson as German businessman Oskar Schindler, who saves the lives of over a thousand Jews during the Holocaust. The movie wins seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.
2011 – The U.S. marks the end of the war in Iraq with a low-key ceremony in Baghdad eight years after the American-led invasion of that nation. Despite the declaration, violence intensifies there over the next several years.
1943 – Jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer and comedic entertainer Fats Waller dies of pneumonia while traveling by train near Kansas City, Missouri. Waller wrote many songs, including “Ain’t Misbehavin'” and “Your Feet’s Too Big.”
1944 – Overseas to entertain U.S troops during World War II, legendary bandleader Glenn Miller takes off from England en route to France, but his plane vanishes over the English Channel. The beloved 40-year-old musician is never seen again.
1988 – “Godfather of Soul,” James Brown, begins serving time in a South Carolina prison following a series of run-ins with the law that summer for which he was convicted of assault and battery with intent to kill and other criminal charges.