On This Day

What Happened in December 1971

Historical Events

Baseball Record

Dec 1 Chicago Cubs release longtime star and future Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, ending his 19-year MLB career; announce Banks will serve as a coach on manager Leo Durocher's staff; Banks finishes with 512 home runs and 1,636 RBI

  • Dec 1 Galt MacDermot and John Guare's "Two Gentlemen of Verona" opens at St James Theater NYC for 613 performances

Music History

Dec 1 John Lennon and Yoko Ono release "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" in US

  • Dec 1 Cambodian Civil War: Khmer Rouge rebels intensify assaults on Cambodian government positions, forcing their retreat from Kompong Thmar and nearby Ba Ray.
  • Dec 2 Soviet space probe Mars 3 is first to soft land on Mars
  • Dec 2 United Arab Emirates (Trucial States) declares independence from UK
  • Dec 2 Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujeira, Sharjah & Umm ak Qiwain form United Arab Emirates

Appointment of Interest

Dec 2 Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is appointed President of the United Arab Emirates

Sports History

Dec 2 Frank Robinson is traded from the Baltimore Orioles to the Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Dec 3 India invades West Pakistan claiming hundreds of lives and starting the full scale Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
  • Dec 4 The UN Security Council calls an emergency session to consider the deteriorating situation between India and Pakistan
  • Dec 4 The Indian Navy attacks the Pakistan Navy and Karachi
  • Dec 4 McGurk's Bar bombing: the UVF explode a bomb at a Catholic-owned pub in Belfast, killing fifteen Catholic civilians and wounding seventeen others; this was the highest death toll from a single incident in Belfast during 'the Troubles'
  • Dec 5 KCBJ (now KMIZ) TV channel 17 in Columbia, MO (ABC) 1st broadcast
  • Dec 5 Libya nationalizes British Petroleum concession
  • Dec 6 Lewis Franklin Powell confirmed as US Supreme Court justice
  • Dec 6 A woman dies trying to salvage property from the Salvation Army Citadel in Belfast after bomb which started a large fire in an adjoining building
  • Dec 7 Musical "Wild and Wonderful" opens and closes at the Lyceum Theater, NYC, after 1 performance
  • Dec 7 Wings release their 1st album "Wild Life"
  • Dec 7 An off-duty member of the Ulster Defence Regiment is shot dead by members of the Irish Republican Army in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
  • Dec 9 Lewis F. Powell Jr. appointed to US Supreme Court

Nobel Prize

Dec 10 West German Chancellor Willy Brandt receives the Nobel Peace Prize

  • Dec 10 William H Rehnquist confirmed as Supreme Court justice

Film & TV History

Dec 10 Lucasfilm Ltd. is founded as a film and television production company by George Lucas in San Francisco, California

  • Dec 11 The Libertarian Party of the United States is formed
  • Dec 11 A bomb explodes outside a furniture showroom on the mainly-Protestant and loyalist Shankill Road, Belfast; four civilians (including two babies) were killed and nineteen wounded

Sports History

Dec 12 Romanian tennis star Ilie Năstase finishes ATP Masters Grand Prix with a perfect 6-0 record to win the rich season ending event at the Coubertin Stadium, Paris

  • Dec 13 John Sinclair (sentence: 10 yrs, sold 2 marijuana joints) is freed
  • Dec 14 Golden Gate Bridge lights out all night due to power failure
  • Dec 14 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • Dec 14 U.S. premiere of "Nicholas and Alexandra", film adaptation of Robert K. Massie's best selling novel
  • Dec 14 The Pakistan Army executes an estimated 1,111 of East Pakistan's intellectuals during the Bangladesh Liberation War
  • Dec 15 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • Dec 16 Vijay Diwas (Victory Day): East Pakistan's independence (as Bangladesh) from Pakistan is recognized internationally after India's army occupies Dacca, and 93,000 West Pakistani troops surrender
  • Dec 16 Don McLean's 8+ minute version of "American Pie" released
  • Dec 17 "Diamonds are Forever", 7th James Bond film, last starring Sean Conner, also starring Jill St. John is 1st released in West Germany
  • Dec 17 Cease fire between India & Pakistan in Kashmir
  • Dec 17 Radio Bangladesh begins transmitting
  • Dec 18 1st Candlelight Processional at the EPCOT Center, Disney World
  • Dec 18 CBS radio cancels Saturday morning band concerts
  • Dec 18 People United To Save Humanity (PUSH) formed by Jesse Jackson in Chicago
  • Dec 18 US dollar devalued 7.9% in Holland ($1=Ÿ3,245)
  • Dec 18 Three members of the Irish Republican Army die when the bomb they were transporting explodes prematurely in King Street, Magherafelt, County Derry.
  • Dec 19 "Inner City" opens at Barrymore Theater NYC for 97 performances
  • Dec 19 CBS airs "Homecoming A Christmas Story," (introducing the Waltons)
  • Dec 19 NASA launches Intelsat 4 F-3 for COMSAT Corp

A Clockwork Orange

Dec 19 Stanley Kubrick's X-rated film "A Clockwork Orange" based on the book by Anthony Burgess and starring Malcolm McDowell premieres

  • Dec 20 Pakistan president Yahya Khan resigns

Historic Publication

Dec 20 First preview issue of "Ms" magazine is published in the US launched by Gloria Steinem

Historic Event

Dec 21 UN Security Council chooses Kurt Waldheim as 4th Secretary-General

  • Dec 21 A publican is killed as he tried to remove a bomb from his pub, Northern Ireland
  • Dec 22 KUAC TV channel 9 in Fairbanks/College, AK (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 22 UN General Assembly ratifies former Austrian President Kurt Waldheim as Secretary-General
  • Dec 22 USSR performs underground nuclear test

Historic Event

Dec 23 US President Richard Nixon commutes remaining 8 years of Teamsters labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa's 13-year jail term for bribery and fraud

Historic Event

Dec 23 British Prime Minister Edward Heath visits Northern Ireland and expresses his determination to end the violence

  • Dec 24 Peruvian Airlines Electra crashes at headwaters of Amazon, killing all except Juliane Margaret Koepcke found 10 days later
  • Dec 25 Longest game in NFL history as Miami Dolphins beat KC Chiefs, 27-24 in 2OT in AFL playoff game; duration: 82 minutes and 40 seconds
  • Dec 25 Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity) formed by Jesse Jackson
  • Dec 25 Worst hotel fire in history kills 163 at Taeyokale Hotel in Seoul

Sports History

Dec 26 Muhammad Ali finishes off German Jürgen Blin with a thundering right cross for a 7th-round knockout in a non-title heavyweight boxing contest in Zurich, Switzerland

  • Dec 27 1st Fiesta Bowl: #8 Arizona State beats Florida State, 45-38
  • Dec 28 Hashish now falls under the Dutch Opium Law (Opiumwet)

Football Awards

Dec 28 Ballon d'Or: Ajax forward Johan Cruyff wins award for best European football player ahead of Inter forward Sandro Mazzola and Manchester United winger George Best; first Dutch national and Ajax player to win award

  • Dec 30 Long Island NHL franchise purchased (NY Islanders)
  • Dec 30 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • Dec 30 A member of the Irish Republican Army is killed in a premature bomb explosion in Santry, Dublin.
  • Dec 31 KAID TV channel 4 in Boise, ID (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • Dec 31 Lt Gen Robert E Cushman, Jr, USMC, ends term as deputy director of CIA
  • Dec 31 Edmund Compton, then Northern Ireland Ombudsman, is replaced by John Benn

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 1 Rob Waldrop, American College Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle (Outland Trophy 1993 Arizona; CFL, Toronto Argonauts), born in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Dec 1 Peter Van de Veire, Belgian radio-presenter
  • Dec 1 Christian Pescatori, Italian auto racer (Sports Racing World Cup 2000; FIA GT C'ship N-GT class 2001), born in Brescia, Italy
  • Dec 2 Rachel McQuillan, Australian tennis player (5 WTA, 21 ITF titles), born in Newcastle, Australia
  • Dec 2 Wilson Jermaine Heredia, American actor (Rent), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Dec 2 Francesco Toldo, Italian soccer goalkeeper (28 caps; Fiorentina, Internazionale), born in Padua, Italy
  • Dec 3 Frank Sinclair, Jamaican soccer defender (28 caps; Chelsea, Leicester City), born in Lambeth, England
  • Dec 3 Keegan Connor Tracy, Canadian actress (Once Upon A Time; The Magicians), born in Windsor, Ontario
  • Dec 3 Vernon White, American mixed martial arts fighter (King of the Cage Middleweight Champion; UFC), born in Sparks, Nevada
  • Dec 3 Heiko Herrlich, German soccer manager and forward (5 caps; Bayer Leverkusen; Borussia Dortmund), born in Mannheim, Germany
  • Dec 3 Henk Timmer, Dutch soccer goalkeeper (7 caps; Zwolle, Feyenoord), born in Hierden, Netherlands
  • Dec 4 Shannon Briggs, American boxer (lineal 1997-98 & WBO heavyweight champion 2006-07), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Dec 5 Bryan Schwartz, American NFL linebacker (Jacksonville Jaguars), born in St. Lawrence, South Dakota
  • Dec 5 Joe Fleming, CFL defensive end (BC Lions), born in Wellesley, Massachusetts
  • Dec 5 Kali Rocha, American actress (Liv and Maddie), born in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Dec 6 Ainsley Robinson, Oshawa Ontario, 62 kg Greco Roman wrestler (Olympics 1996)
  • Dec 6 Richard Krajicek, Dutch tennis player (Wimbledon 1996), born in Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Dec 6 Rika Hiraki, Japanese tennis star (1992 Japan doubles), born in Beirut, Lebanon
  • Dec 6 Thomas Bailey, American NFL wide receiver (Cin Bengals), born in Dallas, Texas
  • Dec 6 Naozumi Takahashi, Japanese singer and voice actor, born in Ōshū, Iwate Prefecture, Japan
  • Dec 6 José Contreras, Cuban baseball pitcher (MLB All-Star 2006; World Series 2005; Olympic gold 1996; Chicago WS), born in Las Martinas, Pinar del Río, Cuba
  • Dec 7 Ben Atkins, American fencer-epee (Olympics 1996), born in NYC, New York
  • Dec 7 Mauricio Hadad, Colombian tennis star (1995 Bermuda), born in Cali, Colombia
  • Dec 7 Vladimir Akopian, Armenian chess Grandmaster, born in Baku, Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, Soviet Union
  • Dec 7 Stephanie D'Abruzzo, American actress, puppeteer (Avenue Q; Sesame Street), and cabaret singer, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Dec 8 James Stewart, American NFL running back (Minnesota Vikings), born in Vero Beach, Florida
  • Dec 9 Chris Boniol, NFL kicker (Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles), born in Alexandria, Louisiana
  • Dec 9 Clifton Abraham, American NFL cornerback (Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Bucs), born in Dallas, Texas
  • Dec 9 Petr Nedved, Czech NHL center (Team Czech, Pitts Penguins), born in Liberec, Czechia
  • Dec 9 Todd Van Poppel, American baseball pitcher (Oakland A's), born in Hinsdale, Illinois
  • Dec 10 Amanda Hardy, Altona Australia, badminton player (Olympics 1996)
  • Dec 10 Carla Sacramento, Portuguese 1.5k runner, born in São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon
  • Dec 10 Manjula Munasinghe, Sri Lankan-Australian cricketer (Sri Lankan ODI pace bowler), born in Colombo, Ceylon
  • Dec 10 Brian Nichols, American spree killer (on trial for rape when he escaped from custody and murdered the judge presiding over his trial, a court reporter, a sheriff's deputy and later a federal agent), born in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Dec 11 Cedric Ihalauw, Dutch soccer player (Roda JC), born in Geleen, Netherlands
  • Dec 11 Willie McGinest, American NFL outside linebacker (NE Patriots), born in Long Beach, California
  • Dec 12 Tito Wooten, American NFL safety (NY Giants), born in Goldsboro, North Carolina
  • Dec 12 Toni Hodgkinson, 800m (Olympics 1996), born in Auckland, New Zealand
  • Dec 13 Miguel Angel Martinez Soto, mariachi
  • Dec 13 Mike Pelton, American NFL defensive tackle (Indianapolis Colts), born in Goshen, Alabama
  • Dec 14 Chris Therien, Canadian NHL defenceman (Philadelphia Flyers), born in Ottawa, Ontario
  • Dec 14 Lisa-Marie Vizaniari, Australian discus and shot putter (Olympics 1996), born in Lake Cargelligo, New South Wales
  • Dec 14 Natascha McElhone, English actress (The Truman Show), born in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England
  • Dec 16 Catherine "Cathy" Symon, rower (Olympics 1996), born in Washington, D.C.
  • Dec 16 Kristen Kane, diver (Olympics 1996), born in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Dec 16 Michael McCary, American R&B singer (Boyz II Men), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Dec 16 Paul van Dyk {Mattias Paul], German DJ, and record producer, born in Eisenhüttenstadt, Germany
  • Dec 17 Alyson Habetz, Crowley LA, female pitcher (Colo Silver Bullets)
  • Dec 17 Carl Reeves, NFL defensive end (Chicago Bears)
  • Dec 17 Nikki McCray, Collierville Tenn, basketball guard (Olympic gold 1996)
  • Dec 17 Sari Kristiina Fisk, ice hockey defenseman (Finland, Olympics 1998)
  • Dec 17 Tony Richardson, NFL fullback (KC Chiefs)
  • Dec 17 Antoine Rigaudeau, French basketball player
  • Dec 17 Claire Forlani, British actress (Mallrats, Meet Joe Black, Hawaii Five-0), born in Twickenham, London

Arantxa Sánchez Vicario

Dec 18 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, Spanish tennis player (US Open 1994, French Open 1989, 94, 98), born in Barcelona, Spain

  • Dec 18 Frank Pimiskern, CFL safety (BC Lions)
  • Dec 18 Joe Dziedzic, NHL left wing (Pitts Penguins), born in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Dec 18 Neil Little, Medicine Hat, NHL goalie (Philadelphia Flyers)
  • Dec 18 Barkha Dutt, Indian journalist
  • Dec 18 Noriko Matsueda, Japanese composer
  • Dec 19 Amy Locane, American actress (Andrea-Spencer, Sandy-Melrose Place), born in Trenton, New Jersey
  • Dec 19 Jennifer Dore, American rower (Olympic 4th 1996), born in Kearny, New Jersey
  • Dec 19 Liz Cho, American television reporter
  • Dec 20 Jerry Ellison, American NFL running back (Tampa Bay Bucs), born in Augusta, Georgia
  • Dec 21 Matthieu Chedid, French musician, born in Boulogne-Billancourt, France
  • Dec 21 Fenton Keogh, Australian celebrity chef
  • Dec 21 Brett Scallions, American singer (Fuel, The X's), born in Brownsville, Tennessee
  • Dec 22 Pat Mastroianni, Canadian actor, born in Toronto, Ontario
  • Dec 23 Corey Haim, Canadian actor (Silver Bullet, Lucas, License to Drive), born in Toronto, Ontario
  • Dec 23 Pete Bercich, American football linebacker (Minnesota Vikings), born in Joliet, Illinois
  • Dec 23 Steve Stenstrom, American football quarterback (Chicago Bears), born in Lake Forest, California
  • Dec 23 Michalis Klokidis, Greek footballer, born in Greece
  • Dec 23 Masayoshi Yamazaki, Japanese singer-songwriter, born in Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture, Japan
  • Dec 23 Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, British socialite, born in Hampshire (d. 2017)
  • Dec 23 Wim Vansevenant, Belgian cyclist, born in Diksmuide, Belgium

Ricky Martin

Dec 24 Ricky Martin, Puerto Rican singer (Menudo) and actor (General Hospital), born in San Juan, Puerto Rico

  • Dec 24 Tamir Bloom, American fencer-epee (Olympics 1996), born in NYC, New York
  • Dec 24 Christopher Daniels, American professional wrestler, born in Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Dec 24 Giorgos Alkaios, Greek singer, born in Athens, Greece
  • Dec 25 Noel Hogan, Irish musician (Cranberries), born in Moyross, Ireland
  • Dec 25 Terry Vaughn, American CFL receiver (1006 career receptions, 1st in CFL history to reach 1,000; Grey Cup 1998, 2003), born in Sumter, South Carolina


Dec 25 Dido [Florian O'Malley Armstrong], English pop singer (No Angel; Eminem's "Stan"), born in London, England

  • Dec 26 Mark Lathwell, English cricketer (England opening batsman v Australia 1993), born in Bletchley, United Kingdom
  • Dec 26 Jared Leto, American actor (My So Called Life, Requiem for a Dream), born in Bossier City, Louisiana
  • Dec 26 Jonathan M. Parisen, American film director, born in Staten Island, New York City
  • Dec 27 Bryan Smolinski, NHL forward (Team USA, Pitts Penguins), born in Toledo, Ohio
  • Dec 27 James Stewart, NFL running back (Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions), born in Fairfield, Texas
  • Dec 27 Duncan Ferguson, Scottish footballer
  • Dec 28 Melvin Nieves, Puerto Rican professional baseball outfielder (Detroit Tigers), born in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Dec 28 Steve Morrison, US NFL linebacker (Indianapolis Colts), born in Birmingham, Michigan
  • Dec 28 Frank Sepe, US bodybuilder, born in Rosedale, New York
  • Dec 28 Benny Agbayani, American baseball player, born in Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Dec 28 William Gates, American basketball player, born in Chicago, Illinois
  • Dec 29 Jay Fiedler, American NFL quarterback (Amsterdam Admirals), born in Long Island, New York
  • Dec 29 Margot Thien, American synchronized swimmer (Olympic gold 1996), born in San Diego, California
  • Dec 29 Mark Montreuil, Canadian NFL cornerback (San Diego Chargers), born in Montreal, Quebec
  • Dec 30 Sylvester Wright, NFL linebacker (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • Dec 30 Thomas Strzalkowski, American fencer-sabre (Olympics 1996), born in Kraków, Poland
  • Dec 30 Daniel Sunjata, American actor

Famous Weddings

George Foreman

Dec 24 Professional boxer George Foreman (22) weds Adrienne Calhoun

Tony Bennett

Dec 29 American singer Tony Bennett (45) weds actress Sandra Grant in Manhattan, New York; divorce in 1983

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 1 Arthur B. Spingarn, American lawyer and civil rights activist (NAACP chairman 1940-65), dies at 93
  • Dec 4 Shunryu Suzuki, Zen teacher, founder of San Francisco Zen Center, dies
  • Dec 5 Hugh Wakefield, British actor (The Man Who Knew Too Much, Blithe Spirit), dies at 83
  • Dec 6 Hugo Godron, Dutch composer, dies at 71
  • Dec 6 Jan Altink, Dutch painter/co-founder (Plough), dies at 86
  • Dec 7 Milton Rosmer, British director (Murder in the Red Barn), dies at 90

Ralph Bunche

Dec 9 Ralph Bunche, American UN delegate, first person of color to win Nobel Peace Prize winner (1950), dies at 67

  • Dec 9 Sergey Konenkov, Russian sculptor, dies at 97
  • Dec 10 Jo [Jozef Maria Laurens Theo] Cals, Prime Minister of Netherlands (1965-66) and Minister of Education, Arts and Sciences, dies at 57
  • Dec 11 Maurice "Mac" McDonald, American fast-food pioneer (b. 1902)
  • Dec 12 David Sarnoff, American radio and television pioneer (RCA, NBC), dies at 80
  • Dec 12 Frank Wolff, actor (Erotic Illusion, Last Gun), commits suicide at 43
  • Dec 12 Jack Barnhill, Northern Ireland senator, assassinated
  • Dec 12 John A Emmens, art historian/poet (Dog of Pavlov), dies at 47
  • Dec 13 Max Mell, Austria artillery officer and literary (Donauweibchen), dies at 88
  • Dec 14 Dick Tiger, Nigerian professional boxer, dies at 42
  • Dec 15 Paul Pierre Lévy, French mathematician (b. 1886)
  • Dec 18 Aleksandr Tvardovsky, Russian poet and editor in chief (Novyj Mir), dies at 61

Bobby Jones

Dec 18 Bobby Jones Jr., American golfer, course designer (13 major titles, Grand Slam 1930), dies of syringomyelia at 69

  • Dec 18 Diana Lynn [Dolores Eartha Loehr], American actress (Annapolis Story, Easy Come Easy Go), dies of a stroke at 45
  • Dec 20 Roy O. Disney, American businessman and co-founder of the Walt Disney Company with brother Walt, dies of cerebral hemorrhage at 78
  • Dec 22 Godfried Jan Arnold Bomans, Dutch writer (Eric), dies at 58
  • Dec 22 Renee Evans, entertainer, dies of heart attack at 63
  • Dec 22 Fred Guy, American jazz banjo player and guitarist (Joseph C. Smith's Orchestra; Duke Ellington's Washingtonians), dies at 74
  • Dec 23 Carlo Jachino, Italian composer, dies at 84
  • Dec 24 Maria Koepcke, ornithologist (b. 1924)
  • Dec 25 Byron Arnold, American composer, dies at 70
  • Dec 26 Robert Lowery, actor (Circus Boy, Pistols 'n' Petticoats), dies at 57
  • Dec 28 Max Steiner, Austrian composer (Gone With The Wind), dies at 83
  • Dec 29 Stuart Holmes, American actor (Life's Shop Window, Prisoner of Zenda), dies of stomach ailment at 87
  • Dec 30 Dorothy Comingore [Linda Winters], American actress (Citizen Kane), dies after illness at 58
  • Dec 30 Jan Mul, Dutch composer, dies at 60
  • Dec 30 Melba Rae, American actress (Search for Tomorrow) (b. 1922)
  • Dec 31 Pete Duel [Deuel], American stage and screen actor (Gidget; Love on a Rooftop; Alias Smith and Jones), commits suicide at 31
  • Dec 31 Marin Sais, American actress (b. 1890)
  • Dec 31 Vikram Sarabhai, Indian physicist (b. 1919)