Today's History Trivia for December 15
1939 Gone With the Wind The film version of Margaret Mitchell's American Civil War drama is released. It would go on to win 8 Academy Awards. Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American to win an Academy Award (Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy). However, she was racially segregated from her co-stars at the awards ceremony and had to sit at a separate table at the back of the room.
1863 First U.S. Armed Bank Robbery A man walks into a bank in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, shoots the 17-year-old bookkeeper, and steals $5,000. The directors of the bank offered a $6,000 reward for the arrest of the murderer.
1992 Bobby Fischer is indicted for his Yugoslavian chess match with Boris Spassky.
1979 Trivial Pursuit The game is invented by Canadians Chris Haney and Scott Abbott. Over 15,000,000 were sold in 1984 alone.
1973 Homosexuality Declared Not a Mental Illness The American Psychiatric Association votes 13–0 to remove homosexuality from its official list of psychiatric disorders, the DSM-II.
1965 First rendezvous in space Gemini 6 and Gemini 7.
1961 Adolf Eichmann The German SS officer, who organized the transportation of Jews to concentration camps for "the final solution" during World War II, is sentenced to death by an Israeli court for war crimes. He was hanged the following May.
1950 Rabbit of Seville The classic Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd cartoon is released. Watch it here
1939 First Commercially Produced Nylon Yarn by the E.I. du Pont Co.
1791 Bill of Rights The document is ratified, providing the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Today's Birthdays for December 15
1861 Charles Edgar Duryea d. 1938 American inventor, "Father of the Automobile." He and his brother Frank formed the first U.S. automobile company, Duryea Motor Wagon Co. (1895), selling their first car in 1896.
A.D. 37 Nero Claudius Caesar d. A.D. 68 Emperor of Rome (54-68). He was the first emperor to persecute Christians on a large scale, and is said to be responsible for the deaths of Peter and Paul. According to legend, he played his lyre as Rome burned (64 A.D.). He committed suicide after being overthrown. Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church
1949 Don Johnson (Donald Wayne), American actor. Film: A Boy and His Dog. TV: Miami Vice (Sonny Crockett).
1942 Dave Clark musician, with the Dave Clark Five. They were the second British group to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show.
1933 Tim Conway American comedian. TV: The Carol Burnett Show.
1921 Alan Freed d. 1965 American Hall of Fame disc-jockey, coined the phrase "Rock 'n' Roll." His TV dance show "The Big Beat" was canceled after a black male performer danced with a white girl. In 1958, Freed was arrested and charged with "inciting to riot" after announcing on the radio, "The police don't want you to have fun." In 1962, he pleaded guilty to commercial bribery for his part in the payola scandal.
1916 Maurice Wilkins d. 2004 British biochemist, co-winner of the 1962 Nobel prize for discovering the structure of DNA. He also worked on creating the first atomic bomb.
1859 Dr. L.L.Zamenhof d. 1917 (Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof), Russian philologist. He developed of the international language Esperanto (1887). He also wrote the first grammar of the Yiddish language (1879).
Deaths for December 15
2013 Joan Fontaine b. 1917 (Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland), British-American Oscar-winning actress. Film: Suspicion (1941, Oscar). She and her sister Olivia de Havilland are the only siblings to have won lead acting Oscars.
2010 Blake Edwards b. 1922 (William Blake Crump), American film writer, director, producer. Producer of the Pink Panther movies (1963). Film: Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961, director).
2009 Oral Roberts b. 1918 American evangelist, founder of Oral Roberts University (1965). In 1987 he announced "God will call me home" if he didn't raise $4.5 million in three months. At the end of the three months, he declared he had reached his goal.
1978 Chill Wills b. 1902 American actor, voice of Francis the talking mule.
1944 Glenn Miller b. 1904 American bandleader. His was the world's most popular dance band of the time. Music: Moonlight Serenade (1939) and Chattanooga Choo Choo (1941).
1917 Bernard John Dowling Irwin b. 1830 American military leader. He received the first U.S. Medal of Honor (1894) for his action against Apache Indians (1861).
1857 Sir George Cayley b. 1773 English inventor, "Father of Aerodynamics." He piloted the first manned glider.
1796 Anthony Wayne b. 1745 American Revolutionary War General. His daring and reckless tactics earned him the name "Mad Anthony."
1683 Izaak Walton b. 1593 English author, called the "Father of Angling." His book The Compleat Angler, or the Contemplative Man's Recreation (1653) is one of the monuments of English literature.