On this Day June 15
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1937 – Country music singer-songwriter Waylon Jennings (d. 2002)
1954 – Actor and comedian Jim Belushi (“Curly Sue,” “According to Jim”)
1963 – Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress Helen Hunt (“Mad About You,” “Twister,” “As Good As It Gets”)
1964 – Actress-producer Courteney Cox (“Friends,” “Scream,” “Cougar Town”)
1969 – Rapper-turned-actor and filmmaker Ice Cube, born O’Shea Jackson (“Straight Outta Compton,” “Boyz n the Hood,” “Friday, “Three Kings,” “Barbershop,” “21 Jump Street”)
1973 – Emmy and Tony-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris (“Doogie Howser, M.D.,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”)
1215 – Following a revolt by the English nobility against his rule, King John puts his royal seal on the Magna Carta (“Great Charter”). The document, essentially a peace treaty between John and his barons, guaranteed that the king would respect feudal rights and privileges, uphold the freedom of the church, and maintain the nation’s laws.
1846 – Representatives of the United States and Great Britain sign the Oregon Treaty, establishing the boundary between the U.S. and Canada.
1877 – Henry Ossian Flipper, born a slave in Thomasville, Georgia, becomes the first black cadet to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
1917 – Two months after America formally enters World War I Congress passes the Espionage Act. The measure makes it a crime for any person to convey information intended to interfere with the U.S. armed forces’ prosecution of the war effort or to promote the success of the country’s enemies.
1934 – Great Smoky Mountains National Park is established, straddling North Carolina and Tennessee.
1955 – The Eisenhower administration stages the first Operation Alert (OPAL) exercise, an attempt to assess America’s preparations for a nuclear attack.
1969 – The variety show “Hee Haw” premieres on CBS and continues through 1971 before starting a 21-year run in syndication. The show centered around country music and rural culture.
1986 – Auto racing legend Richard Petty makes the 1,000th start of his National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR) career, becoming the first driver to do so.
1963 – Japanese singer Kyu Sakamoto begins a three-week domination of the U.S. pop chart with “Sukiyaki.” Two decades later, in 1981, the band A Taste of Honey — which gave us the disco hit “Boogie Oogie Oogie” — releases its English-language version of the song and takes it to No. 3 on the pop chart.
1965 – Bob Dylan records one of the defining songs of his career: “Like a Rolling Stone.” The track is credited with transforming Dylan’s image from folk singer to rock star, and is considered one of the most influential compositions in postwar popular music. “Rolling Stone” magazine named it the best song of all time.
1974 – One-hit wonder Bo Donaldson claims a two-week hold on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero.”
1985 – “Around the World in a Day,” by Prince and the Revolution, begins its third and final week atop the Billboard album chart. The album contains the hits “Paisley Park and “Raspberry Beret.”
1989 – Nirvana’s debut album, “Bleach,” is released in the U.S., but doesn’t gain much traction until after the grunge band’s “Nevermind” album is released three years later.
1996 – “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald, dies at the age of 79. Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century, winning 13 Grammy awards and selling more than 40 million albums.
2002 – Ashanti’s debut single, “Foolish,” is in the midst of a 10-week run on top of the Billboard Hot 100. Her accompanying music video features actor Terrence Howard.