What Happened in December 1953

Historical Events

Historic Publication

Dec 1 Hugh Hefner publishes 1st edition of Playboy magazine, featuring Marilyn Monroe as the magazine's 1st centerfold

  • Dec 1 Red Sox trade for slugger Jackie Jensen, sending pitcher Mickey McDermott and outfielder Tom Umphlett to Washington; Jensen averages 25 HRs a year for his 7 seasons in Boston; AL RBI leader x 3, and AL MVP in 1958
  • Dec 1 WAIM (now WAXA) TV channel 40 in Anderson, SC (IND) 1st broadcast
  • Dec 1 WCSH TV channel 6 in Portland, ME (NBC) begins broadcasting

Music History

Dec 3 Premier of Dmitri Shostakovich' 5th String Quartet

  • Dec 3 Robert Wright and George Forrest's musical "Kismet" opens at Ziegfeld Theater, NYC; runs for 583 performances, wins Tony Award for Best Musical

Republican Party

Dec 3 US President Dwight Eisenhower criticizes Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy for saying communists are in the Republican Party

  • Dec 3 Webb Pierce records single "In the Jailhouse Now" (Billboard Song of the Year, 1955)
  • Dec 6 Brown's Lou "Toe" Groza kicks 8 PATs, beating Giants 62-14
  • Dec 7 WCCB TV channel 18 in Charlotte, North Carolina (IND/ABC) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 8 19th Heisman Trophy Award: Johnny Lattner, Notre Dame (HB)
  • Dec 8 Dwight D. Eisenhower gives his "Atoms for Peace" speech at the United Nations in New York
  • Dec 9 General Electric announces all Communist employees will be fired
  • Dec 9 Montreal Canadiens (106) & Toronto Maple Leafs (98) combine for 204 penalty minutes
  • Dec 10 "John Murray Anderson's Almanac" opens at Imperial NYC for 229 performances
  • Dec 10 KOMO TV channel 4 in Seattle, WA (ABC) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 10 WSTV (now WTOV) TV channel 9 in Steubenville-Wheeling, OH (CBS) begins
  • Dec 11 KTVA TV channel 11 in Anchorage (CBS) becomes Alaska's 1st TV station
  • Dec 12 Chuck Yeager reaches Mach 2.43 in Bell X-1A rocket plane
  • Dec 13 KOAM TV channel 7 in Pittsburg-Joplin, KS (CBS) begins broadcasting

Sports History

Dec 14 Brooklyn Dodgers sign pitcher Sandy Koufax

  • Dec 15 WJHG TV channel 7 in Panama City, FL (NBC/ABC) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 16 1st White House Press Conference (President Eisenhower & 161 reporters)
  • Dec 16 Charles E Yeager fly > 2,575 kph in Bell X-1A
  • Dec 17 Dmitri Shostakovich's 10th Symphony premieres in Leningrad
  • Dec 17 US Federal Communications Commission approves RCA's black & white-compatible color TV specifications
  • Dec 18 KATV TV channel 7 in Little Rock, AR (ABC) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 18 KMID TV channel 2 in Midland & Odessa, TX (ABC) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 19 KFYR TV channel 5 in Bismarck, ND (NBC/ABC) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 20 KID (now KIDK) TV channel 3 in Idaho Falls, ID (CBS) 1st broadcasting
  • Dec 20 KWTV TV channel 9 in Oklahoma City, OK (CBS) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 21 KOMU TV channel 8 in Columbia, MO (NBC/PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 22 Jack Dunn III, owner of Baltimore Orioles in Intl League, turns name over to newly relocated St Louis Browns
  • Dec 23 Dodgers 2nd baseman Jim Gilliam wins NL Rookie of Year
  • Dec 24 KHOL (now KHGI) TV channel 13 in Kearney, NB (ABC) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 24 KOA (now KCNC) TV channel 4 in Denver, CO (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 24 René Coty elected president of France
  • Dec 24 Two fast express trains crash head-on killing 103 in Czechoslovakia
  • Dec 24 Wellington-Auckland (NZ) express train swept away in flood kills 166
  • Dec 25 Avalanche of lava kills 150 from Ruapehu volcano in New Zealand
  • Dec 25 KNEV (95.5 The Vibe) radio broadcaster in Reno, Nevada begins broadcasting
  • Dec 27 National Football League Championship, Briggs Stadium, Detroit: Detroit Lions beat Cleveland Browns, 17-16 to retain title
  • Dec 28 WLBT TV channel 3 in Jackson, MS (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 30 The first ever NTSC color television sets go on sale for about USD at $1,175 each from RCA.
  • Dec 31 42nd Davis Cup: Australia beats USA in Melbourne (3-2)

Sports History

Dec 31 Bill Shoemaker shatters record, riding 485 winners in a year

  • Dec 31 Hulan Jack sworn in as Manhattan Borough president
  • Dec 31 WFBC (now WYFF) TV channel 4 in G'ville-Spartanburg, SC (NBC) begins

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 2 Jay Haas, American golfer (Senior PGA C'ship 2006, 08; Senior Players C'ship 2009; 9 PGA Tour titles), born in St Louis, Missouri
  • Dec 2 Meg Griffin, American DJ (WNEW-FM, WPLJ-FM, WKRK-FM)/VJ (V-1)
  • Dec 3 Franz Klammer, Austrian alpine skier (Olympic gold downhill 1976; World C'ships gold combined 1974, downhill 1976), born in Mooswald, Carinthia, Austria
  • Dec 3 Robert Guédiguian, French director (The Snows of Kilimanjaro; Marius and Jeannette), born in Marseille, France
  • Dec 4 Jean-Marie Pfaff, Belgian soccer goalkeeper (64 caps; Beveren, Bayern Munich), born in Lebbeke, Belgium
  • Dec 4 Rick Middleton, Canadian ice hockey right wing (Canada Cup gold 1984; NHL All-Star Game 1981-82, 84; Boston Bruins), born in Toronto, Ontario
  • Dec 5 John Molo, American rock and jazz drummer (Bruce Hornsby and The Range; Moonalice) ,born in Bethesda, Maryland)
  • Dec 5 Larry Zbyszko [Lawrence Whistler], American professional wrestler (WCW/AWA/NWA/WWF), and ringside commentator, born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Dec 6 Gary Ward, American baseball player, born in Los Angeles, California
  • Dec 6 Gina Hecht, American actress (Melanie-Hizzoner, Mork & Mindy), born in Houston, Texas
  • Dec 6 Kin Shriner, American actor (Scott-General Hospital, Rituals), born in NYC, New York
  • Dec 6 Thomas Hulce, American actor (Amadeus, Equus, Echo Park), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • Dec 6 Wil Shriner, American talk show host (Wil Shriner Show), born in NYC, New York
  • Dec 8 Kim Basinger, American actress
  • Dec 8 Norman Finkelstein, American professor, activist
  • Dec 8 Roy Firestone, American sportscaster (Life's Most Embarrassing Moments), born in Miami, Florida

Sam KinisonSam Kinison (1953-1992)

Dec 8 American screaming comedian and actor (Back to School, Charlie Hoover), born in Yakima, Washington

  • Dec 8 Stan Harrison, American rock and jazz saxophonist and woodwind player (Mud Music Ensemble)

John MalkovichJohn Malkovich (68 years old)

Dec 9 American actor (The Killing Fields; Dangerous Liaisons), born in Christopher, Illinois

  • Dec 9 World B. Free [Lloyd Bernard Free], American NBA guard (Philadelphia 76ers; Cleveland Cavaliers; Golden State Warriors), born in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Dec 10 Diane Schuur, American jazz pianist and singer (Diane Schuur & the Count Basie Orchestra; Heart To Heart), born in Tacoma, Washington
  • Dec 11 Bess Armstrong, American actress (Julia-On Our Own, 4 Seasons, Jaws), born in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Dec 11 Peter Isacksen, American actor (CPO Sharkey, Jessie), born in Fullerton, California
  • Dec 12 Bruce Kulick, American rock guitarist and singer (KISS), born in Brooklyn, New York

Ben BernankeBen Bernanke (68 years old)

Dec 13 American economist and Chairman of the Federal Reserve (2006-14, 2022 Nobel Prize), born in Augusta, Georgia

  • Dec 13 Bill Castro, Dominican baseball player, born in Santiago, Dominican Republic
  • Dec 13 Bob Gainey, Canadian NHL player & hockey bureaucrat, born in Peterborough, Canada
  • Dec 13 Karl Howman, British actor (Brush Strokes; EastEnders - "Buster"), born in Woolwich, London, England
  • Dec 13 Thomas E. Sanders, American aerial cameraman (Living Daylights), born in San Pedro, California (d. 2017)
  • Dec 13 Zoltán Magyar, Hungarian side horse gymnast (Olympic gold 1976, 80), born in Budapest, Hungary
  • Dec 14 Joe Toplyn, American comedic writer (Late Night with David Letterman), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Dec 14 Mikael Odenberg, Swedish politician (Minister for Defence), born in Stockholm, Sweden
  • Dec 14 René Eespere, Soviet-born Estonian composer, born in Tallinn, Estonia
  • Dec 14 Vangelis Meimarakis, Greek lawyer and politician, born in Athens, Greece
  • Dec 14 Vijay Amritraj, Indian tennis player and actor (Octopussy), born in Chennai, India
  • Dec 15 J. M. DeMatteis, American comic book writer, born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Dec 16 Filip Bolluyt, Dutch actor (Daybreak)
  • Dec 17 Barry Livingston, American actor (My Three Sons -"Ernie"), born in Los Angeles, California

Bill PullmanBill Pullman (68 years old)

Dec 17 American actor (Sommersby, League of their Own, Independence Day), born in Hornell, New York

  • Dec 17 Ikue Mori, Japanese experimental drummer and composer, born in Tokyo
  • Dec 17 Mark Gane, rocker (M+M), born in Toronto, Ontario
  • Dec 17 Samuel Hadida, film distributor
  • Dec 18 Elliot Easton [Steinberg], American rock lead guitarist (The Cars - "My Best Friend's Girl"), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Dec 18 Jim "Kimo" West, Canadian guitarist (More Guitar Stories), born in Toronto, Ontario
  • Dec 18 Khas-Magomed Hadjimuradov, Chechen bard
  • Dec 21 Andras Schiff, Hungarian-British concert pianist and conductor, born in Budapest, Hungary
  • Dec 21 Arie Luyendyk, American-Dutch Indy-car racer (1990 Indianapolis 500), born in Sommelsdijk, Netherlands
  • Dec 21 Betty Wright [Bessie Norris], American R&B singer-songwriter (Clean Up Woman), born in Miami, Florida (d. 2020)
  • Dec 22 Bernnadette Stanis, American actress (Thelma-Good Times), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Dec 22 David Leisner, American classical guitarist and composer, born in Los Angeles, California
  • Dec 23 Belinda Lang [Lange], British stage and screen actress (Second Thoughts -"Liza"; 2point4 Children -"Bill"), born in Marleybone, England
  • Dec 23 Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, born in Madrid, Spain
  • Dec 23 John Callahan, American actor (Craig-Santa Barbara, Falcon Crest), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Dec 23 Tatsumi Fujinami, Japanese wrestler (WWF/NWA), born in Kunisaki, Ōita Prefecture, Japan
  • Dec 24 François Loos, French politician, born in Strasbourg, France
  • Dec 26 Henning Schmitz, German recording engineer & keyboardist (Kraftwerk, 1991-present), born in Wuppertal, Germany
  • Dec 26 Leonel Fernández, Dominican politician & President of the Dominican Republic (2004-12), born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • Dec 26 Matthew Harding, English businessman & soccer administrator (Chelsea Football Club), born in Haywards Heath, England
  • Dec 26 Steve Sisolak, American politician & Governor of Nevada (2019-), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Dec 26 Valeri Yuriyevich Sharov, Russian cosmonaut, born in Moscow
  • Dec 27 Arthur Kent [The Scud Stud], American newscaster (prominent Gulf War coverage for NBC), born in Alberta, Canada
  • Dec 27 Kevin Wright, cricketer (Australian wicket-keeper 1979)
  • Dec 28 Martha Wash, American disco singer-songwriter (Two Tons O' Fun; The Weather Girls - "It's Raining Men"), born in San Francisco, California
  • Dec 28 Richard Clayderman, French pop instrumental pianist (Amour, Romantic America), born in Paris
  • Dec 28 Robert Pittman, TV executive/developer (MTV)
  • Dec 28 Roberto Cacciapaglia, Italian pianist and composer of electronic and classical music, born in Milan, Italy
  • Dec 29 Gali Atari, Israeli pop singer (Milk And Honey) and actress, born in Rehovot, Israel
  • Dec 29 Kate Schmidt, American javelin thrower (Olympic bronze 1972, 76; WR 69.32m 1977), born in Long Beach, California
  • Dec 29 Stanley "Tookie" Williams, American gangster, born in Shreveport, Louisiana (d. 2005)
  • Dec 29 Thomas Bach, German lawyer (9th President International Olympic Committee 2013-present), born in Würzburg, West Germany
  • Dec 30 Bill Kazmaier, American powerlifter
  • Dec 30 Daniel T Barry, PhD/MD/astronaut (STS 72), born in Norwalk, Connecticut
  • Dec 30 Graham Vick, British opera director (Birmingham Opera Company, 1987-2020), born in Birkenhead, England (d. 2021)
  • Dec 30 Harald Schmautz, German-born journalist
  • Dec 30 Meredith Vieira, American television journalist
  • Dec 31 James Remar, American actor (48 Hours, Rent-a-Cop, Cotton Club), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Dec 31 Jane Badler, American actress (Fine Gold, Easy Kill, V), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Dec 31 Michael Hedges, American new age guitarist and composer, born in Sacramento, California (d. 1997)
  • Dec 31 Yahya Ould Hademine, Mauritanian politician & 13th Prime Minister of Mauritania (2014-present), born in Timbédra, French West Africa

Famous Weddings

John Diefenbaker

Dec 8 Prime Minister of Canada John Diefenbaker (58) weds second wife Olive Palmer (51) at Park Road Baptist Church in Toronto, Canada

Milton Berle

Dec 9 Entertainer Milton Berle (45) marries for the third time Ruth Cosgrove (32)

Roone Arledge

Dec 27 Broadcasting pioneer Roone Arledge (22) weds Joan Heise at St. Frances de Chantal Parish in Wantagh, New York


Famous Deaths

  • Dec 2 Ernie Hayes MBE, English cricket all-rounder (5 Tests; Surrey, Leicestershire), dies at 77
  • Dec 2 Francis Picabia, French avante-garde artist, writer and typographist (Amorous Parade), dies at 74
  • Dec 2 Reginald "Snowy" Baker, Australian boxer (Olympic silver middleweight 1908), rugby union halfback (2 caps) and actor (The Sword of Valor), dies at 69
  • Dec 2 Walter "Doc" Meanwell, English Basketball Hall of Fame coach (University of Wisconsin 1911–1917, 1920–1934), dies at 69
  • Dec 4 Daniel Gregory Mason, American composer (Chanticker), dies at 80
  • Dec 5 Jorge Negrete [Moreno], Mexican singer and actor (The Rebel, La madrina del diablo), dies of hepatitis at 42
  • Dec 6 Konstanty I Galczynski, Polish poet (Zielona Ges), dies at 48
  • Dec 10 Abdullah Yusuf Ali, British-Indian Islamic scholar and translator (translated Qu'ran into English), dies at 81
  • Dec 15 Ed Barrow, American Baseball HOF manager (World Series 1918 Boston Red Sox) and executive (10 x World Series NY Yankees), dies at 85
  • Dec 15 Kishio Hirao, Japanese composer, dies at 46

Robert A. MillikanRobert A. Millikan (1868-1953)

Dec 19 American physicist (photoelectric effect; Nobel 1923), dies at 85

  • Dec 19 Rudolf Leonhard, writer, dies
  • Dec 20 Henry Horatio Dixon, Irish Biologist (cohesion-tension theory in plants), dies at 84

Lavrentiy BeriaLavrentiy Beria (1899-1953)

Dec 23 Soviet politician and head of the NKVD secret service, executed after being ousted from power at 54

  • Dec 25 Lee Shubert, American theatre producer (theatres in NY & LA named after him), dies at about 80
  • Dec 25 Patsy Donovan, Irish-American baseball outfielder (Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals) and manager (Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Washington Sens, Brooklyn Superbas, Boston RS), dies at 88
  • Dec 27 Julian Tuwim, Polish poet and lyricist, dies at 59
  • Dec 29 Violet MacMillan, American Broadway theatre actress(b. 1887)
  • Dec 31 Albert Plesman, Dutch aviation pioneer and founder (KLM), dies at 64