On This Day December 15
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1832 – Engineer Gustave Eiffel, who designed the Paris landmark that bears his name (d. 1923)
1892 – Industrialist J. Paul Getty, who built his fortune as president of the Getty Oil Company (d. 1976)
1933 – Emmy-winning comedian Tim Conway (“McHale’s Navy,” “The Carol Burnett Show”) (d. 2019)
1942 – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician Dave Clark of the 1960s beat group The Dave Clark Five
1949 – Actor Don Johnson, best known for his role as detective Sonny Crockett in the 1980s hit TV crime drama series “Miami Vice”
1963 – Actress Helen Slater (“Supergirl,” “Ruthless People,” “The Secret of My Success,” “City Slickers”)
1791 – Following ratification by the state of Virginia, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, become the law of the land.
1939 – The motion picture classic “Gone With the Wind,” starring Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh, premieres in Atlanta. The film goes on to capture 10 Academy Awards.
1961 – Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi SS officer considered to be the architect of the Holocaust, is condemned to death by an Israeli war crimes tribunal.
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.
1973 – Jean Paul Getty III, the grandson of American billionaire J. Paul Getty, is found alive near Naples, five months after his kidnapping by an Italian gang.
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.
2001 – Italy’s iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after a team of experts spends 11 years and $27 million to fortify the historic landmark without eliminating its famous lean.
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.
1973 – Charlie Rich dominates the singles chart for two weeks with “The Most Beautiful Girl.”
1979 – “Babe,” by Styx, enjoys its second and final week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is the Chicago-based band’s first and only chart-topper.
1984 – Hall & Oates begin a second and final week at No. 1 with “Out of Touch,” off their “Big Bam Boom” album.
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.
1990 – “Because I Love You (The Postman Song),” by Stevie B, is midway through a four-week ride on top of the pop chart, becoming the last No. 1 single of 1990.
2001 – Usher lays claim to the top spot on the singles chart with “U Got It Bad” from his “8701” album.” The track holds at No. 1 for a week.