Born on this Day in History: January 31, 1923 - Author Norman Mailer was born in Long Branch, New Jersey. He studied at Harvard and served in the Army from 1944 to 1946. His first book The Naked and the Dead won immediate acclaim. His writing style, New Journalism, combined the imagination of fiction with qualities of reporting. His work included the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Executioner’s Song. He died in 2007.
On this Day in History: January 31, 1961 - The United States sends its first monkey into space, Ham the chimpanzee. His Mercury/Redstone 2 achieves an altitude of 158 miles, a 19-minute ride that subjects Ham to a force of 16 times gravity. The space ape splashes down safely, his capsule is plucked from the ocean by the USS Donner.
Born on this Day in History: January 30, 1951 - Born in London, Phil Collins became one of the most successful musicians in the world during the 1980s after having replaced Peter Gabriel as the face of Genesis in 1975. Between 1984 and 1990 he released 13 U.S. Top Ten hits, including "In the Air Tonight," "You Can't Hurry Love" and "I Don't Care Anymore".
On this Day in History: January 30, 1835 - Andrew Jackson is the subject of the first recorded assassination attempt on a U.S. president. After a man fires shots at him, Jackson beat his would-be assassin senseless.
Born on this Day in History: January 27, 1964 - The granddaughter of Henry Fonda, daughter of Peter Fonda, and niece of Jane Fonda, Bridget Fonda made her film debut with a non-speaking role in the 1982 comedy Partners. In the 1990s, she starred in Single White Female, Cameron Crowe's Singles, and Point of No Return (1993), among others. She has also appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown and Sam Raimi’s A Simple Plan.
On this Day in History: January 27, 1992 - Prostitute Aileen Wuornos found guilty after she killed seven "johns." She claimed self defense but was still sentenced to death. Oddly, prosecutors had arranged movie deals before an arrest had even been made.
Born on this Day in History: January 26, 1955 - Eddie Van Halen formed the band Van Halen in 1974. His quick-fingered guitar riffs and singer David Lee Roth's onstage antics caught the eye of Kiss guitarist Gene Simmons in 1977.
On this Day in History: January 26, 1998 - Residents of the Japanese town of Ito are attacked by a pack of raving wild monkeys. A total of 26 were injured and had to receive rabies shots. It remains unclear why the monkeys chose to attack.
Born on this Day in History: January 25, 1981 - Alicia Keys was born in New York, NY and began piano lessons at age 7. After graduating from the Professional Performance Arts School, she signed a deal with Clive Davis, the head of Arista Records. Davis left Arista to start J Records and Keys followed. Her debut album Songs in A Minor went platinum five times over and earned her five Grammys.
On this Day in History: January 25, 1980 - Beatle Paul McCartney is deported from Japan for possession of nearly a half pound of marijuana. It is Sir Paul's third pot bust and his second deportation, an earlier one occurring in Germany 20 years previously.
Born on this Day in History: January 24, 1943 - Actress Sharon Tate began acting in Hollywood in the 1960s, most notably a recurring role on the "Beverly Hillbillies." Her breakthrough performance was the 1967 hit Valley of the Dolls. After marrying director Roman Polanski, the two became Hollywood's darlings. Tate is most famous for her death. At eight and a half months pregnant, the serial killer Charles Manson murdered her and four others.
On this Day in History: January 24, 1948 - James W. Marshall discovered a gold nugget at Sutter's Mill in northern California. The discovery led to the California Gold Rush of '49.
Born on this Day in History: January 23, 1957 - Princess Caroline of Monaco is best known as the eldest daughter of Prince Rainier III and American actress Grace Kelly. She was born in Monaco. Although considered the most stable of the Grimaldi children, Princess Caroline has made headlines with her various romantic relationships. She has served as Monaco's de facto first lady since her mother's death in 1982.
On this Day in History: January 23, 1971 - In Prospect Creek Camp, AK, the lowest temperature ever recorded in the U.S. was reported as minus 80 degrees.
Born on this Day in History: January 20, 1896 - George Burns was an American comedian and actor, popular in vaudeville, radio, film and television for over 70 years. He's remembered as always smoking a cigar and wearing big, round eyeglasses. He was especially known for as part of a comedy team with his wife, Gracie Allen. After Allen's death in 1964, Burns made an unexpected comeback with a new persona as a wise, witty old-man.
On this Day in History: January 20, 1998 - Nepalese police seized a shipment of 272 human skulls in Kathmandu, stashed atop a bus, apparently destined for sale to tourists as curios.
Born on this Day in History: January 19, 1943 - Born in Port Arthur, Texas, Janis Joplin developed a love of music at an early age, but her career never really took off until she joined Big Brother in 1966. Their album Cheap Thrills was a huge hit, but caused strife between Joplin and the band. Joplin left and her second solo album became her most successful, but she died of an accidental overdose before it was released
On this Day in History: January 19, 1997 - Todd Bridges, "Willis" on "Diff'rent Strokes," booked in Marina Del Rey on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. He repeatedly rammed the weapon, his car, into another vehicle after an argument in a video arcade.
Born on this Day in History: January 18, 1955 - Kevin Costner was born in Compton, California. He studied at California State University (1978), became an actor, and established a reputation in the critically acclaimed films Bull Durham (1988) and Field of Dreams (1989). He directed and starred in the epic film Dances With Wolves (1990), a major triumph which won seven Oscars. Further successes followed.
On this Day in History: January 18, 1990 - Washington DC mayor Marion Barry is arrested on cocaine possession charges at the Vista International Hotel, as he tokes on a glass crack pipe while being videotaped with his mistress Rasheeda.
Born on this Day in History: January 17, 1922 - Born in Oak Park, Illinois, Betty White has been in show business since the 1950s. In these 50-odd years, White has appeared in sitcoms, on game shows, and, most recently, on "Saturday Night Live" as the host, after a Facebook-fueled effort to get her to host the show.
On this Day in History: January 17, 1950 - Seven men wearing Halloween masks rob the Brink's office in Boston of $1.2M cash, and $1.5M securities. One of the robbers confesses to the job in 1953, eleven days before the statute of limitations was to expire.
Born on this Day in History: January 16, 1974 - Kate Moss was born in London, England. She appeared in her first cover shot a year after she was discovered at age 14. Featured in Calvin Klein's Obsession ad campaign in 1993, she became even more famous and sought-after. During her career, she has appeared on the cover of more than 300 magazines. She also starred in advertising campaigns for many of the top fashion houses.
On this Day in History: January 16, 1997 - Bill Cosby's 27 year old son Ennis William Cosby is shot to death at Skirball Center in Sepulveda Pass, near Los Angeles CA. It was a robbery attempt while he was attempting to change a flat tire.
Born on this Day in History: January 13, 1961 - Julia Louis-Dreyfus was born in New York City. She was cast as a regular on "Saturday Night Live" in 1982 where she stayed for two seasons. In 1986, she launched her film career, appearing in Hannah and Her Sisters and Soul Man. But it was her portrayal of Elaine on "Seinfeld" that launched her to stardom. In 2002, starred in the sitcom "Watching Ellie" and "The New Adventures of Old Christine" in 2006.
On this Day in History: January 13, 1987 - New York mobsters Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno and Carmine "Junior" Persico sentenced to 100 years of prison for racketeering, along with six others. All were members of the Mafia "board of directors."