On This Day

What Happened in December 1979

Historical Events

  • Dec 1 44th Iron Bowl: Alabama beats Auburn 25-18 in Birmingham
  • Dec 1 Australia's World Series Cricket men return to the fold in the drawn 1st Test v West Indies in Brisbane; ex-WSC players Bruce Laird (92), Greg Chappell (74) & David Hookes (33no) provide the scoring on Day 1 in home side's 229/5
  • Dec 2 Crowds attack US embassy in Tripoli, Libya
  • Dec 2 Foots Walker becomes 1st Cleveland Cavalier to score a triple-double
  • Dec 2 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • Dec 3 11 members of the audience trampled to death during a stampede to claim unreserved seats for a concert by The Who at The Riverfront Coliseum, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Dec 3 45th Heisman Trophy Award: Charles White, Southern California (RB)
  • Dec 3 Christies auctions a thimble for a record $18,400
  • Dec 3 Iran accepts constitution
  • Dec 3 Shadow Traffic begins broadcasting in the New York City metropolitan area.
  • Dec 4 Cleveland Cavaliers retire jersey # 7, Bingo Smith

Historic Event

Dec 5 Ireland premier Jack Lynch resigns

  • Dec 5 Ex-World Series Cricket combatants Greg Chappell (124) and Kim Hughes (130no) rescue Australia on last day of the drawn 1st Test v West Indies in Brisbane; WSC players return in this Test

Film Premiere

Dec 7 "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" first movie of the series premieres directed by Robert Wise, starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy

  • Dec 10 Piet Dankert appointed as chairman of European Parliament
  • Dec 11 Geoff Boycott scores cricket century in a limited-over international
  • Dec 12 Gold hits record $462.50 an ounce
  • Dec 12 President of Pakistan, Zia-ul-Haq, confers Nishan-e-Imtiaz on Nobel laureate Dr Abdus Salam.
  • Dec 13 Revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical "Oklahoma!" opens at Palace Theater, NYC,;runs for 301 performances
  • Dec 13 Strikes against price increases in Gdańsk, Poland
  • Dec 13 Saudi Arabia raises marker crude price to $24 per barrel
  • Dec 14 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

Historic Event

Dec 15 Deposed Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi leaves US for Panama

  • Dec 15 World Court in Hague rules Iran should release all US hostages

Historic Event

Dec 15 Chris Haney and Scott Abbott develop the board game Trivial Pursuit

  • Dec 16 68th Davis Cup: USA beats Italy in San Francisco (5-0)
  • Dec 16 Dallas QB Roger Staubach throws 3 TDs and 336 yards in his last NFL regular season game with the Cowboys, a 35-34 win over Washington Redskins at Texas Stadium
  • Dec 16 4 British Army soldiers are killed by a PIRA landmine near Dungannon, County Tyrone. Another British Army soldier was killed by a PIRA landmine near Forkill, County Armagh
  • Dec 16 Libya raises crude oil prices, joining four other OPEC nations, which has a dramatic effect on the United States
  • Dec 16 "An American Christmas Carol" directed by Eric Till starring Henry Winkler premieres in the US
  • Dec 17 Budweiser rocket car reaches 1190 kph (record for wheeled vehicle)
  • Dec 18 Stanley Barrett 1st to exceed land sonic speed (739.666 MPH)

Film Release

Dec 19 "Kramer vs Kramer" directed by Robert Benton and starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep is released (Best Picture 1980)

  • Dec 20 Garry Sherman and Peter Udell's musical "Comin' Uptown", based on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", and starring Gregory Hines, opens at Winter Garden Theater, NYC; runs for 45 performances
  • Dec 20 Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Behn Wilson scores with 4:08 remaining in regulation to earn a 1-1 tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins and equal NHL record for longest undefeated streak of 28 games; go on to break record and extend to 35 games
  • Dec 21 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • Dec 21 New constitution for Zimbabwe agreed
  • Dec 21 Garry Unger’s NHL record for consecutive games ends at 914, as his Atlanta Flames lose 5-1 to the St Louis Blues and he is benched by coach Al MacNeil; record eventually broken by Doug Jarvis (964)
  • Dec 23 NY Islanders greatest shutout lose (8-0) vs Chicago Black Hawks
  • Dec 23 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • Dec 24 1st Ariane rocket launched
  • Dec 25 Soviet forces invade Afghanistan to prop up the Communist government, beginning a disastrous and failed ten-year war
  • Dec 25 9th Fiesta Bowl: #10 Pittsburgh beats Arizona, 16-10
  • Dec 25 Ballon d'Or: Hamburg's English forward Kevin Keegan wins his 2nd consecutive trophy as best football player in Europe; beats Bayern Munich forward Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Ajax sweeper Ruud Krol
  • Dec 26 Soviet Special forces take over presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan.
  • Dec 27 Soap Opera "Knots Landing" premieres on CBS-TV
  • Dec 27 Red Army beats NY Rangers 5-2 at Madison Square Garden
  • Dec 27 After invading Afghanistan two days earlier Soviet forces pull off a coup in Kabul, killing President Hafizullah Amin
  • Dec 27 Los Angeles left wing Charlie Simmer scores in a Kings' 3-0 shutout of the Quebec Nordiques to extend his modern day NHL goal-scoring streak to 13 straight games (ends next game)

Album Release

Dec 27 Sire Records releases "Pretenders", the debut album of The Pretenders, in US

  • Dec 29 Red Army beats NY Islanders 3-2 at Nassau Coliseum
  • Dec 30 Rock group, Emerson, Lake & Palmer break up
  • Dec 30 Togo adopts constitution
  • Dec 31 Winterland Rock Concert Hall in San Francisco closes after 556 concerts

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 1 Angelique Bates, American Actress (All That), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Dec 2 Yvonne Catterfeld, German singer and actress, born in Erfurt, East Germany
  • Dec 2 Abdul Razzaq, Pakistan cricket all-rounder (46 Tests, top score 134, 100 wickets; 265 ODIs), born in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
  • Dec 3 Daniel Bedingfield, English-New Zealand pop singer-songwriter ("Gotta Get Thru This"), born in Auckland, New Zealand
  • Dec 3 Rainbow Sun Francks, Canadian actor (Stargate Atlantis), born in Toronto, Ontario
  • Dec 3 Tiffany Haddish, American comedian and actress (Girls Trip), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Dec 3 Sean Parker, American entrepreneur who co-founded the file-sharing computer service Napster and was the 1st President of Facebook, born in Herndon, Virginia,
  • Dec 4 Jay DeMerit, American soccer defender (25 caps; Watford, Vancouver Whitecaps FC), born in Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Dec 5 Matteo Ferrari, Italian footballer, born in Aflou, Algeria
  • Dec 5 Niklas Hagman, Finnish ice hockey player, born in Espoo, Finland
  • Dec 5 Gareth McAuley, Northern Irish footballer (Rangers), born in Larne, Northern Ireland
  • Dec 5 Nick Stahl, American actor (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines), born in Harlingen, Texas
  • Dec 6 Tim Cahill, Australian soccer forward (108 caps, 50 goals; Everton), born in Sydney, New South Wales
  • Dec 7 Lampros Choutos, Greek footballer, born in Athens, Greece
  • Dec 7 Ayako Fujitani, Japanese actress and writer, born in Osaka, Japan
  • Dec 7 Sara Bareilles, American pop singer ("Love Song"; "Brave"), born in Eureka, California
  • Dec 7 Jennifer Carpenter, American actress (Debra Morgan-Dexter), born in Louisville, Kentucky
  • Dec 8 Johan Forssell, Swedish politician, born in Stockholm, Sweden
  • Dec 8 Christian Wilhelmsson, Swedish footballer, born in Malmö Municipality, Sweden
  • Dec 8 Daniel Fitzhenry, Australian rugby league footballer, born in Macksville, Australia
  • Dec 8 Ingrid Michaelson, American folk-pop singer-songwriter (Lights Out), born in New York City
  • Dec 9 Olivia Lufkin, Japanese singer, born in Naha, Japan
  • Dec 9 Stephen McPhail, Irish footballer, born in City of Westminster, London
  • Dec 10 Matt Bentley, American professional wrestler (TNA), born in Clinton, Iowa
  • Dec 11 Rider Strong, American actor, writer and director (Boy Meets World), born in San Francisco, California
  • Dec 12 Garrett Atkins, American baseball player, born in Orange, California
  • Dec 12 Nate Clements, American football player, born in Shaker Heights, Ohio
  • Dec 12 Sharin Foo, Danish singer and bassist, born in Emmelev, Djursland, Denmark
  • Dec 14 Kyle Shanahan, American NFL coach (San Francisco 49ers 2017-20), born in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Dec 14 Sophie Monk, Australian actress, singer, and model, born in London
  • Dec 14 Michael Owen, English footballer, 1996-2013 (Liverpool; New Castle United; and 3 other teams), sports commentator, and racehorse breeder, born in Chester, England
  • Dec 15 Adam Brody, American actor (The O.C.), born in San Diego, California
  • Dec 15 Eric Young, Canadian professional wrestler
  • Dec 16 Mihai Trăistariu, Romanian singer-songwriter ("Tornerò"), born in Constanța, Romania
  • Dec 16 Jessie Ward, American professional wrestler
  • Dec 16 Trevor Immelman, South African golfer (US Masters 2008), born in Cape Town, Western Cape
  • Dec 17 Ryan Key, American musician and songwriter (Yellowcard), born in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Dec 17 Jaimee Foxworth, American actress (Family Matters, 1989-93 - "Judy"), born in Belleville, Illinois
  • Dec 17 Matt Murley, American ice hockey player
  • Dec 18 Carlos, Portuguese footballer
  • Dec 19 Kevin Devine, American singer-songwriter (Brother's Blood), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Dec 19 Paola Rey, Colombian actress
  • Dec 20 David DeJesus, American baseball player, born in Brooklyn, New York City
  • Dec 20 Michael Rogers, Australian cyclist, born in Barham, Australia
  • Dec 21 Tuva Novotny, Swedish actress and singer, born in Stockholm, Sweden
  • Dec 23 Summer Altice, American model and actress, born in Fountain Valley, California
  • Dec 23 Scott Gomez, American ice hockey player, born in Anchorage, Alaska
  • Dec 23 Holly Madison, American model, born in Astoria, Oregon
  • Dec 23 Kenny Miller, Scottish football player, born in Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Dec 24 Chris Hero, American professional wrestler, born in Dayton, Ohio
  • Dec 26 Fabián Carini, Uruguayan footballer, born in Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Dec 26 Dimitry Vassiliev, Russian ski jumper, born in Ufa, Russia
  • Dec 26 Chris Daughtry, American rock singer, born in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina
  • Dec 26 Mzbel [Nana Akua Amoah], Ghanaian singer (16 Years, Saucy Girl), born in Accra, Ghana
  • Dec 27 David Dunn, English footballer
  • Dec 27 Carson Palmer, American NFL quarterback (Heisman Trophy 2002, USC; Pro Bowl 2005, 06, 15; Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals), born in Fresno, California
  • Dec 28 James Blake, American tennis player, born in Yonkers, New York City
  • Dec 28 Bill Hall, American baseball player, born in Nettleton, Mississippi
  • Dec 28 Senna Guemmour, German singer-songwriter (Monrose), born in Frankfurt, Germany
  • Dec 29 Mitsuhiro Ishida, Japanese mixed-martial arts fighter, born in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
  • Dec 29 Ariel Schrag, American cartoonist, born in Berkeley, California
  • Dec 29 Diego Luna, Mexican actor, born in Toluca, Mexico
  • Dec 30 Flávio, Angolan footballer
  • Dec 31 Bob Bryar, American drummer (My Chemical Romance, Gerardolopoly), born in Downers Grove, Illinois
  • Dec 31 Elaine Cassidy, Irish actress, born in Raheny, Republic of Ireland
  • Dec 31 Josh Hawley, American politician (Senator(R) Missouri 2019-), 1st to object to certification of Biden victory, born in Springdale, Arkansas

Famous Weddings

Liza Minnelli

Dec 4 American singer Liza Minnelli (33) weds (her 3rd) American sculptor Mark Gero; divorce 1992

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Dec 23 American blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan (25) weds Lenora "Lenny" Bailey; divorce in 1988

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 2 Vasily Pavlovich Solov'yov-Sedoy, Russian composer, dies at 72
  • Dec 3 Dhyan Chand, Indian field hockey player (Olympic gold 1928, 1932, 1936; birthday 29/8 celebrated as India's National Sports Day), dies at 74
  • Dec 4 Robert Karnes, actor (Max-The Lawless Years), dies at 62
  • Dec 5 Sonia Delaunay, Russian-born French artist (Orphism), dies at 94
  • Dec 7 Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, British-American astronomer and astrophysicist who proposed that stars are composed largely of hydrogen and are not glowing balls of molten rock, dies at 79 [1]
  • Dec 7 Mari Andriessen, Dutch sculptor (Dock Worker), dies at 82
  • Dec 7 Nicolas Born, German writer, dies of cancer at 41
  • Dec 7 Prince Chahryar Shafik, Shah of Iran's nephew, murdered in Paris
  • Dec 9 Fulton J. Sheen, American archbishop and religious broadcaster (Life is Worth Living), dies in NYC at 84
  • Dec 10 Ann Dvorak [McKim], American actress (G Men, Life of Her Own, Scarface), dies at 67
  • Dec 11 Claire Carleton, American actress (Alice-Cimarron City), dies at 66
  • Dec 11 James J. Gibson, American perceptual psychologist (b. 1904)
  • Dec 13 Jon Hall, American actor (Ramar of the Jungle), dies at 64
  • Dec 14 Nirode Ranjan Chowdhury, Indian cricketer (2 Tests for India, avg 205), dies at 56
  • Dec 15 Bern Hoffman, American actor (Major Dell Conway), dies at 66
  • Dec 21 Mac Anderson, New Zealand cricketer (Test for NZ 1946, scored five & one), dies at 60
  • Dec 22 Darryl F. Zanuck, American film producer and President (20th Century Fox), dies at 77
  • Dec 23 Peggy Guggenheim, American art collector, dies at 81
  • Dec 24 Dirk Uipko Stikker, Dutch politician, diplomat (Ambassador to Great Britain, 1952-58; Secretary General of NATO, 1961-64), and CEO (Heineken), dies at 82
  • Dec 24 Rudi [Rudolf] Dutschke, German student leader, dies at 39
  • Dec 25 Joan Blondell, American actress (Real McCoys), dies of leukemia at 73
  • Dec 25 Lee Bowman, American actor (Ellery Queen, Miami Undercover, The Impatient Years), dies from a heart attack at 64
  • Dec 25 Jordi Bonet, Quebec muralist and sculptor (b. 1932)
  • Dec 27 Hafizullah Amin, Afghan politician (President of Afghanistan, 1979), killed by Russian forces in a coup during Soviet invasion at 50
  • Dec 29 Branimir Sakač, Croatian composer (Matrix Symphony), dies at 61

Richard Rodgers

Dec 30 Richard Rodgers, American composer, mostly for theater (Rodgers & Hart - "Pal Joey"; "Babes In Arms"; Rodgers & Hammerstein - "Oklahoma!"; "South Pacific"; "The King And I"; "The Sound Of Music") and 1st EGOT (Emmy; Grammy; Oscar; and Tony awards winner), dies at 77