On This Day February 8

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Celebrity Birthdays
Celebrity Birthdays

1828 – Author Jules Verne (“20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” “Journey to the Center of the Earth) (d. 1905)

1921 – Actress-sex symbol Lana Turner (“Peyton Place,” “Imitation of Life”) (d. 1995)

1922 – Actress Audrey Meadows (“The Honeymooners”) (d. 1996)

1925 – Actor Jack Lemmon (“Days of Wine and Roses.” “The Odd Couple.” “Grumpy Old Men”) (d. 2001)

1931 – Actor and pop culture icon James Dean (“East of Eden,” “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Giant”) (d. 1955)

1932 – Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe-winning movie soundtrack composer-conductor John Williams (“Jaws,” “Star Wars,” “Superman,” “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”) 

1940 – Journalist and former ABC “Nightline” host Ted Koppel

1941 – Golden Globe-winning actor Nick Nolte (“48 Hours,” “Down and Out in Beverly Hills,” “The Prince of Tides,” “Cape Fear,” “Lorenzo’s Oil,” “Hotel Rwanda,” “A Walk in the Woods,” “Graves”)

1942 – Standup comedian, singer and actor Robert Klein

1953 – Oscar-winning actress Mary Steenburgen (“Melvin and Howard,” “Parenthood,” “Philadelphia,” “Back to the Future Part III,” “The Proposal,” “The Help”)

1955 – Attorney and bestselling novelist John Grisham (“The Firm,” “The Pelican Brief,” “The Rainmaker,” “The Runaway Jury,” “A Time to Kill”) 

1968 – Child star Gary Coleman (“Diff’rent Strokes”) (d. 2010)

1974 – Actor-producer Seth Green (“Austin Powers” series, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Family Guy,” “Robot Chicken”) 

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1960 – “Teen Angel,” by Mark Dinning, is the No. 1 single in the U.S.

1964 – On their first full day in the U.S., The Beatles tour New York City and pose for photos in Central Park.

1964 – The Beatles are in the midst of a seven-week domination of the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

1967 – Peter & Gordon (Peter Asher & Gordon Waller), the talent behind the 60s hits “A World Without Love,” “Lady Godiva” and “I Go To Pieces,” announce their breakup. Waller goes on to do solo recording and occasional acting until his death in 2009. Asher still performs today following a celebrated career as a manager/producer for artists including Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Randy Newman and 10,000 Maniacs.

1975 – The Ohio Players have a scorcher of a hit as “Fire” blazes its way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. While it only spends a week at No. 1 on the singles chart, it smolders for five weeks on top of the soul chart.

1986 – “That’s What Friends Are For,” featuring Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder, wraps up four weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100.

1990 – Suffering from depression, American singer-songwriter Del Shannon, best known for his 1961 smash “Runaway,” dies of self-inflicted gunshot wounds. 

1997 – Toni Braxton dominates the pop chart with”Un-Break My Heart.”

2003 – “All I Have,” by Jennifer Lopez featuring LL Cool J, kicks off four weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100. It’s Lopez’s fourth No. 1 and LL Cool J’s first.

On this Day June 30

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1859 – Frenchman Jean Francois Gravelet, a.k.a.  The Great Blondin, or Charles Blondin, becomes the first daredevil to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Thousands of spectators line the American and Canadian sides of the falls to observe the feat, which he  performs along an 1,100-foot-long tightrope suspended 160 feet above the raging waters of Niagara Gorge.

1934 – In what comes to be known as the Night of the Long Knives, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler orders a bloody purge of his own political party, assassinating hundreds of Nazis whom he believed had the potential to become political enemies in the future.

1936 – Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Gone with the Wind,” one of the best-selling novels of all time and the basis for the blockbuster 1939 movie, is published.

1971 – “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” a movie musical-fantasy starring Gene Wilder, opens in theaters. It’s an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

1971 – Three Soviet cosmonauts who made up the crew of the world’s first space station are killed when their spacecraft, Soyuz 11, depressurizes during reentry to Earth’s atmosphere.

1974 – The July 4th scene from the movie “Jaws” is filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, with 400 screaming, panic-stricken extras in bathing suits running from the water multiple times until director Steven Spielberg gets the right take.

1989 – Writer-director Spike Lee’s celebrated third feature film, “Do the Right Thing” about racial tensions boiling over in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood on the hottest day of the year — opens in U.S. theaters. The movie receives Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Danny Aiello.

1993 – The legal thriller “The Firm,” directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Gene Hackman, opens in theaters. It’s based on the 1991 novel of the same name by John Grisham.

1995 – Director Ron Howard’s high-intensity drama “Apollo 13,” about NASA’s desperate efforts to bring the crew of Apollo 13 safely home after an explosion that denies them a moon landing, opens in U.S. theaters. Starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Ed Harris and Gary Sinise, the movie receives nine Oscar nominations and wins for Best Film Editing and Best Sound.