On this date in:
1851 Isaac Singer was granted a patent on his sewing machine.
1880 Baseball Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson was born in Factoryville, Pa.
1898 Hawaii was formally annexed to the United States.
1944 Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., eldest son of Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, was killed when an explosives-laden Navy plane blew up over England during World War II.
1953 The Soviet Union conducted a secret test of its first hydrogen bomb.
1960 The first balloon satellite, Echo 1, was launched by the United States from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
1966 John Lennon apologized at a news conference in Chicago for saying "the Beatles are more popular than Jesus."
1977 The space shuttle Enterprise passed its first solo flight test by taking off atop a Boeing 747, separating and then touching down in California's Mojave Desert.
1985 A crippled Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 on a domestic flight crashed into a mountain, killing 520 people in the world's worst single-aircraft accident.
1998 Swiss banks agreed to pay $1.25 billion as restitution to Holocaust survivors to settle claims for their assets.
2000 The Russian nuclear submarine Kursk and its 118-man crew were lost during naval exercises in the Barents Sea.
2004 New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey announced his resignation and proclaimed himself "a gay American."
2004 The California Supreme Court voided the nearly 4,000 same-sex marriages sanctioned in San Francisco earlier in the year.
2008 Russia halted its devastating five-day assault on Georgia that left homes in smoldering ruins and uprooted 100,000 people.
Rebecca Gayheart turns 38 years old today.
85 Dale Bumpers
Former U.S. senator, D-Ark.
71 George Hamilton
69 Dana Ivey
61 Mark Knopfler
Rock singer, musician (Dire Straits)
60 Kid Creole
56 Pat Metheny
54 Bruce Greenwood
47 Sir Mix-A-Lot
45 Peter Krause
Actor ("Six Feet Under")
39 Michael Ian Black
Actor, comedian ("Ed")
39 Yvette Nicole Brown
39 Pete Sampras
35 Casey Affleck
33 Plaxico Burress
30 Maggie Lawson
30 Dominique Swain
Cecil B. DeMille
8/12/1881 - 1/21/1959
American motion-picture producer and director
(Go to obit.)
73 Robert Mills
8/12/1781 - 3/3/1855
80 Lillie Devereux Blake
8/12/1833 - 12/30/1913
American novelist and activist for women's suffrage
60 James Brady
8/12/1856 - 4/13/1917
American financier and philanthropist; known as "Diamond Jim"
69 Katherine Lee Bates
8/12/1859 - 3/28/1929
American author and educator; wrote "America the Beautiful"
87 Jacinto Benavente y Martinez
8/12/1866 - 7/14/1954
Spanish Nobel Prize-winning dramatist (1922)
82 Mary Roberts Rinehart
8/12/1876 - 9/22/1958
American novelist and playwright
45 Christy Mathewson
8/12/1880 - 10/7/1925
American professional baseball pitcher
62 Vincent Bendix
8/12/1882 - 3/27/1945
American inventor and industrialist
42 George Bellows
8/12/1882 - 1/8/1925
American painter and lithographer
79 Oscar Homolka
8/12/1898 - 1/27/1978
Austrian-born American stage and screen actor
8/12/1904 - 7/?16/1918
Russian son of Tsar Nicholas ll; killed by the Bolsheviks
8/12/1911 - 4/20/1993
Mexican clown, acrobat, musician and satirist