On This Day December 24
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1922 – Actress Ava Gardner (“The Hucksters,” “Show Boat,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” “The Barefoot Contessa,” “On the Beach,” “Seven Days in May,” “The Night of the Iguana,” “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean,” “Earthquake,” “The Cassandra Crossing” (d. 1990)
1968 – The Apollo 8 astronauts become the first humans to enter orbit around the moon. Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders complete 10 lunar orbits and transmit live TV images that become part of the famous Christmas Eve broadcast, one of the most watched programs in history. The crew members conclude their broadcast by taking turns reading from the Book of Genesis.
1979 – The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan under the pretext of upholding the Soviet-Afghan Friendship Treaty of 1978. It is the first Soviet military expedition beyond the Eastern bloc since World War II and interrupts a period of improving relations in the Cold War.
1990 – Actor Tom Cruise and actress Nicole Kidman tie the knot after meeting on the set of “Days of Thunder” in 1989. They are considered one of Hollywood’s most glamourous couples until their divorce 11 years later.