2016: Country music legend Merle Haggard dies on his 79th birthday at his ranch in Northern California, having recently suffered from double pneumonia. He was best known for songs such as "Okie from Muskogee," "The Fightin' Side of Me," "Mama Tried," "Sing Me Back Home" and "Workin' Man Blues."
2014: Actor Mickey Rooney, whose film, television, and stage appearances spanned nearly his entire lifetime, dies at the age of 93 in Studio City, California. Born Joseph Yule Jr. in Brooklyn, New York, Rooney started out as a child performer and became movie star as a teenager, starring in a series of films portraying the character Andy Hardy and a string of successful musicals with close friend Judy Garland. Rooney's breakthrough dramatic role came as a 18-year-old in 1938's "Boys Town," co-starring with Spencer Tracy. His role earned him a special Juvenile Academy Award and he was named the biggest box-office draw in 1939, 1940 and 1941.
2012: Thomas Kinkade, the self-styled "Painter of Light" who sold millions of his works through the mass marketing of printed reproductions and other licensed products, dies of acute intoxication from alcohol and Valium at age 54 in Monte Sereno, California.
2009: A 6.3 magnitude earthquake strikes near L'Aquila, Italy, killing 308 and injuring another 1,500.
2004: The University of Connecticut becomes the first school to win the NCAA Division I men's and women's basketball titles in the same season, with the women's team beating Tennessee 70-61 for their third consecutive championship. The UConn men's team had won its second title in school history the day before, beating Georgia Tech 82-73. The teams would repeat the feat a decade later in 2014.
1998: Tammy Wynette, one of country music's best-known artists and biggest-selling female singers, dies from a of a blood clot in her lung at age 55 in Nashville, Tennessee. Born Virginia Wynette Pugh, she was best known for songs such as "Stand By Your Man," "I Don't Wanna Play House," "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" and "Kids Say the Darndest Things." She was married to fellow country music singer George Jones from 1969 to 1975 and the duo recorded several albums and singles throughout the 1970s and early '80s, including the No. 1 country hits "We're Gonna Hold On," "Golden Ring" and "Near You." She suffered a series of serious physical ailments starting in the 1970s, including more than a dozen major operations and an addiction to large doses of pain medication.
1998: Financial conglomerate Travelers Group announces an agreement to undertake a $76 billion merger with banking giant Citicorp in one of the world's largest mergers in history. When the merger was completed on Oct. 8, 1998, the resulting company was named Citigroup.
1997: Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins announces that he would retire from the National Hockey League following 1996-97 season. In 1999, he headed up an ownership group that bought the team out of bankruptcy and a year later he came out of retirement to play for his team. He continued playing with the Penguins before ending his career for good in 2006.
1996: English-American actress Greer Garson dies from heart failure at age 91 in Dallas, Texas. Garson received seven Academy Award nominations, including a record five consecutive nominations between 1941 and 1945, winning the Best Actress Oscar for 1942's "Mrs. Miniver." Some of her other movie credits include "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," "Madame Curie," "Mrs. Parkington" and "The Valley of Decision."
1994: The Rwandan Genocide begins when the aircraft carrying Rwandan president Juv��nal Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira is shot down on its descent into Kigali, Rwanda, killing all on board. Genocidal killings began the following day with soldiers, police and militia executing key Tutsi and moderate Hutu leaders and then erecting checkpoints and barricades to systematically kill Tutsi. Over the next 100 days, between 500,000 and 1 million Rwandans were killed, representing as much as 20 percent of the country's total population and 70 percent of the Tutsi then living in Rwanda. Pictured are skulls and bones of victims on display at the Nyamata Genocide Memorial.
1992: Russian-American author and biochemistry professor Isaac Asimov, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books, dies of heart and kidney failure at age 72 in Brooklyn, New York. Asimov's most famous work is the "Foundation Series." His other major series are the "Galactic Empire" series and the "Robot" series.
1987: After coming out of retirement for a second time, Sugar Ray Leonard takes the WBC middleweight title from Marvin Hagler, earning a controversial split decision at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
1976: Actress Candace Cameron Bure, best known for playing D.J. Tanner on the sitcom "Full House," is born in Los Angeles, California.
1975: Actor and filmmaker Zach Braff, best known for the sitcom "Scrubs" and the movie "Garden State," is born in South Orange, New Jersey.
1973: Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees becomes the first designated hitter in major-league baseball history, facing Boston Red Sox right-hander Luis Tiant in his first plate appearance. Blomberg earned a walk in the historic at-bat.
1973: The Pioneer 11 spacecraft is launched by NASA to study the asteroid belt, the environment around Jupiter and Saturn, and eventually the far reaches of the solar system and heliosphere. It would eventually become the first probe to encounter Saturn and the second to fly through the asteroid belt and by Jupiter.
1971: Russian composer, pianist and conductor Igor Stravinsky, widely considered to be one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century, dies of heart failure at age 88 in New York City.
1971: The Rolling Stones unveil their famous "Tongue and Lips Design" logo.
1969: Actor Paul Rudd, best known for movies such as "Clueless," "40-Year-Old Virgin," "Anchorman," "Knocked Up," "I Love You, Man" and "This Is 40," is born in Passaic, New Jersey.
1965: Intelsat I, the first communications satellite to be placed in geosynchronous orbit, is launched. Nicknamed "Early Bird," it was originally slated to operate for only 18 months but ended up being in active service for four years.
1956: Having impressed Paramount Studios with his screen test five days earlier, Elvis Presley is signed to a seven-year, three-picture deal worth nearly $500,000.
1956: Capitol Tower, the Hollywood home of Capitol Records, is dedicated. It was the first circular office tower designed in America. It is 13 stories tall and 92 feet in diameter.
1955: Actor Michael Rooker, best known for his roles in the TV series "The Walking Dead" and in movies such as "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer," "Mississippi Burning," "Cliffhanger," "Days of Thunder" and "Guardians of the Galaxy," is born in Jasper, Alabama.
1952: Actress Marilu Henner, best known for her role on the sitcom "Taxi," is born in Chicago, Illinois.
1951: Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Bert Blyleven is born Rik Aalbert Blijleven in Zeist, Netherlands. He played for the Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians and California Angels in his 22-year career, winning World Series titles with the Pirates in 1979 and the Twins in 1987. The two-time All-Star finished his career with a 287���250 record along with an ERA of 3.31 and 3,701 career strikeouts.
1947: The first Tony Awards are presented for theatrical achievement at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. The winners at the inaugural ceremony received a scroll, cigarette lighter and articles of jewelry such as 14-carat gold compacts and bracelets for the women, and money clips for the men. The actual Tony medallion seen here wasn't presented until the third awards ceremony in 1949.
1947: Actor John Ratzenberger, best known for playing Cliff Clavin on the sitcom "Cheers," is born in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
1942: Actor and filmmaker Barry Levinson, best known for directing the movies "Diner," "The Natural," "Good Morning, Vietnam," "Rain Man," "Bugsy" and "Wag the Dog," is born in Baltimore, Maryland. He's been nominated for six Academy Awards, winning Best Director for "Rain Man," which also claimed the Oscar for Best Picture.
1938: Du Pont researcher Roy J. Plunkett and his technician Jack Rebok accidentally discover the chemical compound polytetrafluoroethylene, later marketed as Teflon. Plunkett had noticed a lining of the solid polymer had formed inside containers that had stored tetrafluoroethylene gas under pressure.
1937: Country music singer-songwriter Merle Haggard, best known for songs such as "Okie from Muskogee," "The Fightin' Side of Me," "Mama Tried," "Sing Me Back Home" and "Workin' Man Blues," is born in Oildale, California. He died on his 79th birthday on April 6, 2016, at his ranch in Northern California, having recently suffered from double pneumonia.
1937: Actor Billy Dee Williams, best known for playing Lando Calrissian in "Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi," is born in New York City. He's also known for his roles in the movies "Brian's Song," "Lady Sings the Blues" and "Batman."
1930: Twinkies are invented by James Dewar, a baker for the Continental Baking Company. The snack cake was originally filled with banana cream, but it was changed to vanilla cream when bananas were rationed during World War II.
1926: Varney Air Lines makes its first commercial flight as an air-mail carrier, traveling from Pasco, Washington, to Elko, Nevada, with an intermediate stop in Boise. The airline is the predecessor of United Airlines.
1917: The United States declares war on Germany, entering World War I.
1916: Charlie Chaplin becomes the highest-paid film star in the world by signing a contract with Mutual Film Corporation for $675,000 a year. He was 26 years old.
1896: The first modern Olympic Games open in Athens, Greece, 1,500 years after the original games were banned by Roman Emperor Theodosius I. A total of 14 nations sent athletes to the games, with the winners receiving silver medals, an olive branch and a diploma. Second place finishers received a copper medal, a branch of laurel and a diploma.
1865: In the Battle of Sailor's Creek, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia fights its last major battle of the American Civil War while in retreat from Richmond, Virginia.
1830: Joseph Smith Jr. (pictured), Oliver Cowdery and a group of about 30 believers meet in either Fayette or Manchester, New York, to formally organize the Church of Christ, which today is known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
1808: John Jacob Astor incorporates the American Fur Company, which would eventually make him America's first multi-millionaire.
1789: At the Federal Hall in New York City, the Senate and the House of Representatives meet in joint session for the first time.
1520: Italian painter and architect Raphael, one of the great masters of the Renaissance, dies at the age of 37 in Rome, Italy.
1199: King Richard I of England dies from an infection nearly two weeks after being struck with a crossbow bolt in his left shoulder by the neck while fighting France.