What Happened in December 1961

Historical Events

  • Dec 1 The independent Republic of West Papua is proclaimed in modern-day Western New Guinea.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 2 Fidel Castro declares he's a Marxist & will lead Cuba to Communism

Cuban Revolutionary and President Fidel Castro
Cuban Revolutionary and President
Fidel Castro
  • Dec 2 Wind Bell, journal of San Francisco Zen Center, begins publishing
  • Dec 2 26th Iron Bowl: Alabama beats Auburn 34-0 in Birmingham
  • Dec 3 Dutchman Anton Geesink becomes 1st non-Japanese judo world champion
  • Dec 3 The Beatles meet future manager Brian Epstein
  • Dec 3 George Blanda of Houston Oilers kicks 55-yard field goal
  • Dec 3 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

Sport defeatBoxing Title Fight

Dec 4 Floyd Patterson KOs Tom McNeeley in 4 for heavyweight boxing title

Boxer and Undisputed Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson
Boxer and Undisputed Heavyweight Champion
Floyd Patterson

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 4 Museum of Modern Art hangs Matisse's Le Bateau upside down for 47 days

Impressionist Painter Henri Matisse
Impressionist Painter
Henri Matisse
  • Dec 4 Smallest NY Knick, 49th St Madison Square Garden crowd-1,300 (snowstorm)
  • Dec 4 Tanganyika becomes 104th member of UN
  • Dec 4 WXGA TV channel 8 in Waycross, GA (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 4 The female contraceptive 'pill' becomes available on the National Health Service in Britain
  • Dec 4 1962 NFL Draft: Ernie Davis from University of Syracuse first pick by Washington Redskins
  • Dec 6 27th Heisman Trophy Award: Ernie Davis, Syracuse (HB) (1st African American to win)

  • Dec 8 Antwerp Belgium diocese forms
  • Dec 8 Larry Costello scores 32 consecutive pts without a miss (NBA rec)
  • Dec 8 South Africa v NZ, Durban debuts for Eddie Barlow & Peter Pollock

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 8 Wilt Chamberlain scores the 2nd highest total in the NBA - 78

NBA Legend Wilt Chamberlain
NBA Legend
Wilt Chamberlain
  • Dec 9 "From the Second City" closes at Royale Theater NYC after 87 performances
  • Dec 9 "Let It Ride" closes at Eugene O'Neill Theater NYC after 68 performances
  • Dec 9 Tanganyika gains independence from Britain, takes name Tanzania
  • Dec 10 Houston Oiler Billy Cannon gains record 373 yards against Titans
  • Dec 10 US performs nuclear test at Carlsbad New Mexico (underground)
  • Dec 10 USSR & Albania break diplomatic relations

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

Dec 10 Robert Hofstadter and Rudolf Ludwig Mössbauer win the Nobel Prize in Physics for their pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and discoveries concerning the structure of the nucleon

  • Dec 11 "Please, Mr. Postman" by Marvelettes released

Music release#1 in the Charts

Dec 11 Elvis Presley's "Blue Hawaii" album goes #1 & stays #1 for 20 wks

Singer & Cultural Icon Elvis Presley
Singer & Cultural Icon
Elvis Presley

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 11 JFK provides US military helicopters & crews to South Vietnam

35th US President John F. Kennedy
35th US President
John F. Kennedy
  • Dec 12 Amateur radio satellite Oscar 1 launched with military Discoverer 36

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 12 Martin Luther King Jr. & 700 demonstrators are arrested in Albany, Georgia

Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr.
Civil Rights Activist
Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Dec 13 The Beatles sign a formal agreement to be managed by Brian Epstein

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 13 Gideon Hausner in Jerusalem demands death penalty for Adolf Eichmann

SS officer Adolf Eichmann
SS officer
Adolf Eichmann
  • Dec 13 Jimmy Dean's Big Bad John album is country music 1st million $ seller

Film release premierFilm Premier

Dec 13 "The Young Ones" directed by Sidney J. Furie, starring Cliff Richard, Robert Morley and Carole Gray premieres in London

  • Dec 14 Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John" is 1st country song to get a gold record
  • Dec 15 Adolf Eichmann is sentenced to death for war crimes in Israel
  • Dec 15 Equal access rule, political parties get TV broadcasting time
  • Dec 15 JFK visits Puerto Rico

  • Dec 15 L J Suenens appointed archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels
  • Dec 16 "Evening with Yves Montand" closes at John Golden Theatre, NYC after 55 performances
  • Dec 17 India seizes Goa & 2 other Portuguese colonies
  • Dec 17 Niteroi Circus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil catches fire; 323 die after disgruntled employee sets fire to the tent
  • Dec 18 Britain's EMI Records originally rejects the Beatles
  • Dec 18 For 2nd consecutive year, AP names Wilma Rudolph female athlete of year
  • Dec 18 India annexes Portuguese colonies of Goa, Damao & Diu
  • Dec 18 KAIL TV channel 53 in Fresno, CA (IND) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 18 Wilt Chamberlain of NBA Philadelphia Warriors scores 78 points vs LA

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 19 Indonesian President Sukarno proclaims general mobilization

1st President of Indonesia Sukarno
1st President of Indonesia
  • Dec 21 Beatles record "Sweet Georgia Brown" & "Ready Teddy"
  • Dec 21 US President Kennedy & British PM MacMillan meet in Bermuda

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 21 Gangster Joe Gallo is sentenced to 7 to 14 years in state prison for extortion

Gangster Joe Gallo
Joe Gallo
  • Dec 22 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • Dec 23 KICU TV channel 43 in Visalia-Fresno, CA (IND) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 23 Train accident in Italy, 70 die
  • Dec 23 Fidel Castro announces Cuba will release 1,113 prisoners from failed 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion for $62M worth of food & medical supplies
  • Dec 24 Houston Oilers beat San Diego Chargers 10-3 in AFL championship game
  • Dec 27 Belgium & Congo resume diplomatic relations
  • Dec 27 Styne, Comden and Green's musical "Subways are for Sleeping" premieres at St James Theater NYC for 205 performances

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 28 Tennessee Williams' "Night of the Iguana" premieres in NYC

Playwright Tennessee Williams
Tennessee Williams
  • Dec 28 50th Davis Cup: Australia beats Italy in Melbourne (5-0)

Music releaseMusic Premiere

Dec 30 Premiere of Dmitri Shostakovich's 4th Symphony in Moscow (completed 1936)

  • Dec 31 "lrma La Douce" closes at Plymouth Theater NYC after 527 performances
  • Dec 31 The Beach Boys play their debut gig under that name
  • Dec 31 Failed coup by Syrian group in Lebanon
  • Dec 31 Green Bay Packers shutout NY Giants 37-0 in NFL championship game
  • Dec 31 Marshall Plan expires after distributing more than $12 billion

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 1 Barb Mucha, American golfer (5 LPGA titles), born in Parma Heights, Ohio
  • Dec 1 Jeremy Northam, English actor
  • Dec 1 Armin Meiwes, German cannibal
  • Dec 3 Adal Ramones, Mexican television host
  • Dec 4 Frank Reich, Freeport, New York, American NFL quarterback (Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions)
  • Dec 6 David Lovering, American drummer (Pixies)
  • Dec 7 Mary Beth Evans, actress (Katherine Ashton-Gen Hospital), born in Pasadena, California
  • Dec 8 Ann Coulter, American author, political commentator, and attorney
  • Dec 8 Mikey Robins, Australian comedian
  • Dec 9 Christiane Jolissaint, Swiss tennis star
  • Dec 9 Ian Andrew Wright, New Zealand rower (Olympics 1996), born in Hamilton, New Zealand
  • Dec 9 Joe Lando, actor (Byron Sully-Dr Quinn), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Dec 9 David Anthony Higgins, American actor (Malcolm in the Middle), born in Des Moines, Iowa
  • Dec 10 Mark McKoy, Canadian track star (world record 50m indoor)
  • Dec 10 Nia Peeples, [Vernia], dancer/host (Fame, Party Machine), born in Hollywood, California
  • Dec 11 Mike Henneman, pitcher (Texas Rangers), born in Saint Charles, Missouri
  • Dec 11 Marco Pierre White, English chef and restaurateur
  • Dec 11 Darryl Jones, American musician (Rolling Stones), born Chicago, Illinois
  • Dec 12 Dale Sanderson, CFL guard (Hamilton Tiger Cats)
  • Dec 12 Daniel O'Donnell, singer/Television presented, born in Donegal, Ireland
  • Dec 13 Gary Zimmerman, NFL tackle (Denver Broncos-Super Bowl 32)
  • Dec 13 Harry Gregson-Williams, English composer
  • Dec 13 Irene Saez, Miss Universe 1981 and Venezuelan politician
  • Dec 14 Jeff Robinson, American baseball player (Det, Balt), born in Ventura, California, (d. 2014)
  • Dec 15 Annie Pujol, Perpignan, French TV hostess (Roue de la Fortune)
  • Dec 15 Reginald Hudlin, director (House Party)
  • Dec 15 Karin Resetarits, Austrian journalist
  • Dec 16 William Melvin "Bill" Hicks, Valdosta, Georgia, American stand-up comedian and social critic
  • Dec 16 Kelly Tough, playmate (Oct, 1981), born in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Dec 17 Sara Dallin, British musician (Bananarama), born in Bristol, England
  • Dec 17 Venice Kong, St Mary Jamaica, playmate (September, 1985)
  • Dec 18 Brian Orser, Canadian figure skater (Olympic silver 1988)
  • Dec 18 Ken Foreman, rocker (Thrashing Doves-Reprobate's Hymm)
  • Dec 18 Lalchand Rajput, cricketer (Indian Test opening batsman 1985-86)
  • Dec 18 Thomas Strittmatter, writer

Person of interestReggie White

Dec 19 Reggie White, American NFL defensive end (Green Bay Packers - Super Bowl 31), born in Chattanooga, Tennessee (d. 2004)

NFL Legend Reggie White
NFL Legend
Reggie White
  • Dec 20 Bonnie Marino, playmate (Jun, 1990), born in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Dec 20 Gale Gilbert, NFL quarterback (San Diego Chargers)
  • Dec 20 Nate Newton, NFL guard (Dallas Cowboys)
  • Dec 20 Mohammad Fouad, Arab singer and actor
  • Dec 21 Trevor Bayliss, Australian cricketer (NSW batsman) and coach (England), born in Goulburn, Australia
  • Dec 21 Francis Ng, Hong Kong actor (Internal Affairs), born in Hong Kong
  • Dec 21 Ryuji Sasai, Japanese video game composer, born in Osaka, Japan
  • Dec 22 Yuri Ivanovich Malinchenko, Russian cosmonaut (1st person to marry in space), born in Khrushchev, Ukrainian SSR, USSR
  • Dec 22 Andrew Fastow, US convicted criminal and businessman (former CFO of Enron), born in Washington, D.C., United States
  • Dec 23 Carol Smillie, British television personality
  • Dec 24 Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan Republic
  • Dec 24 Jay Wright, American basketball coach
  • Dec 24 Mary Barra, American CEO of General Motors (1st woman to head a global automotive company), born in Waterford, Michigan
  • Dec 25 Storm Davis, baseball player
  • Dec 25 Ingrid Betancourt, Colombian senator
  • Dec 26 Storm Davis, pitcher (KC Royals), born in Dallas, Texas
  • Dec 26 Tahnee Welch, [La Tahn Renee Welch], actress (Cocoon), born in San Diego, California
  • Dec 26 John Lynch, Irish actor
  • Dec 27 Caroline Gowan, LPGA golfer (SC Women's Amat-1981, 83), born in Greenville, South Carolina
  • Dec 28 Heather Hafner, WPVA volleyballer (National-7th-90), born in Santa Barbara, California
  • Dec 28 Kent Nielsen, Danish footballer and football coach
  • Dec 29 Robert Louis Tewdwr Moss, journalist/travel writer
  • Dec 29 Jim Reid, Scottish singer (The Jesus and Mary Chain, Freeheat)
  • Dec 30 Ben Johnson, Canadian athlete (Olympic 100m gold 1988-disqualified), born in Falmouth, Jamaica
  • Dec 30 Sue Malaxos, Australian marathoner (Olympics 1996)
  • Dec 30 Douglas Coupland, Canadian author
  • Dec 30 Bill English, New Zealand politician, Prime Minister (2016-), born in Lumsden
  • Dec 31 Joanna Johnson, actress (Caroline-Bold & Beautiful)
  • Dec 31 Rick Aguilera, pitcher (Minnesota Twins), born in San Gabriel, California

Famous Weddings

  • Dec 10 Dr Ruth marries Fred Westheimer

HeartWedding of Interest

Dec 23 Actor Martin Sheen (21) weds Janet Templeton

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 3 Jēkabs Graubiņš, Latvian composer, dies at 75
  • Dec 3 Mary Charleson, actress (Upstairs & Downstairs), dies at 76
  • Dec 6 Frantz Fanon, West Indian psychiatrist and philosopher (The Wretched of the Earth), dies of leukemia at 36
  • Dec 8 William Beatton Moonie, composer, dies at 78
  • Dec 12 Daiun Sogaku Harada, Zen founder of Sanbo Kyodan lineage, dies at 91

Person of interestGrandma Moses

Dec 13 Grandma Moses [Anna M], US painter, dies at 101

Primitive Painter Grandma Moses
Primitive Painter
Grandma Moses
  • Dec 15 William "Dummy" Hoy, professional baseball player, dies at 99
  • Dec 16 Boris Semyonovich Shekhter, composer, dies at 61
  • Dec 16 Cato Engelen-Sewing, Dutch soprano singer, prima donna, dies at 93
  • Dec 17 Marion Perkins, sculptor (Man of Sorrow), dies at 53

Person of interestMoss Hart

Dec 20 Moss Hart, American dramatist (You can't take it with you), dies at 57

Playwright Moss Hart
Moss Hart
  • Dec 20 Earle Page, eleventh Prime Minister of Australia (b. 1880)
  • Dec 23 Kurt Meyer, German SS officer (b. 1910)
  • Dec 24 Guy de Lioncourt, composer, dies at 76
  • Dec 25 Rheinhold Rudenberg, inventor of electron microscope, dies
  • Dec 25 Otto Loewi, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1873)
  • Dec 25 Owen Brewster, U.S. Senator from Maine (b. 1888)
  • Dec 26 Charlie Frank, cricketer (S Af Test centurion v Aust 1921-22), dies
  • Dec 28 Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, 1st lady (1915-21), dies at 89
  • Dec 30 Jacobus "Ko" van den Bosch, Dutch actor (Amsterdamned)/dir, dies at 53