On This Day

What Happened in December 1985

Historical Events

  • Dec 1 Noraly Beyer becomes Neth's 1st black TV newscaster
  • Dec 1 STS 61-C vehicle moves to launch pad
  • Dec 1 South Africa's Cosatu union centre forms

Film & TV History

Dec 1 TV mini series "Anne of Green Gables" based on the novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery, starring Megan Follows is first shown on CBS in Canada

  • Dec 2 Philipine Chief of Staff General Fabian speaks of Benigno Aquino's murder
  • Dec 2 Rupert Holmes' musical "Mystery of Edwin Drood" premieres in NYC at Imperial Theater NYC (608 performances)

Sports History

Dec 2 NFL quarterback legends Dan Marino and John Elway (Denver Broncos) face each other for the first time, a 30-26 win for Marino's Miami Dolphins (390 yards and 3 TDs)

Sports History

Dec 2 Chicago Bears' head coach Mike Ditka and defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan almost come to blows at halftime in a 38-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins at the Orange Bowl, Miami; Chicago's only loss of the NFL season

  • Dec 3 23rd Shuttle Mission (61-B)-Atlantis 2-lands at Edwards AFB

Film & TV History

Dec 3 7th ACE Cable Awards: Shelley Duvall wins the Golden CableACE for "Faerie Tale Theatre"

  • Dec 4 "Les Miserables" opens at Palace Theatre, London

Historic Event

Dec 4 French President François Mitterrand receives Polish leader Wojciech Jaruzelski

Historic Event

Dec 4 President Reagan appoints Vice Admiral John Poindexter as security adviser

Sports History

Dec 4 Slobodan Živojinović of Yugoslavia upsets No. 2 seed John McEnroe 2-6, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, 6-0 in the Australian Open quarter finals; leaves McEnroe without a major singles title for the first time since 1978

  • Dec 5 Dow Jones Industrial Average rose above 1,500 level for 1st time
  • Dec 5 Great Britain performs nuclear test
  • Dec 5 Sam Shepard's "Lie of the Mind" premieres in NYC

Sports History

Dec 7 51st Heisman Trophy Award: Bo Jackson, Auburn (RB)

  • Dec 7 Atlantis (61-B) returns to Kennedy Space Center via Kelly AFB

Australian Open Women's Tennis

Dec 7 Australian Open Women's Tennis: Martina Navratilova beats Chris Evert-Lloyd 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 for her 3rd and final Australian singles crown

  • Dec 8 Ken O'Brien's 96 yard TD pass (NY Jet record) to Wesley Walker

Australian Men's Tennis Open

Dec 8 Australian Open Men's Tennis: Stefan Edberg wins 1st career Grand Slam singles title; beats defending champion & fellow Swede Mats Wilander 6-3, 6-3, 6-3

  • Dec 8 NBC premiere of thriller "Final Jeopardy", starring Richard Thomas and Mary Crosby

Sports History

Dec 9 SF 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice begins NFL streak of 274 consecutive games with a reception in a 27-20 loss to LA Rams at Candlestick Park

  • Dec 9 Phoenix, Arizona, gets 3" of snow

Historic Event

Dec 9 Argentinian Junta leaders Jorge Rafael Videla and Emilio Eduardo Massera sentenced to life imprisonment for human rights violations in Buenos Aires

  • Dec 10 Bill to balance the federal budget passed by US Congress

Film Premiere

Dec 10 "Out of Africa", based on the book by Isak Dinesen, directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford premieres in Los Angeles (Best Picture 1986)

  • Dec 11 Computer store owner in Sacramento California killed by package bomb
  • Dec 11 Dow Jones closes above 1,500 for 1st time (1,511.70)
  • Dec 11 General Electric acquires RCA Corp & its subsidiary, NBC
  • Dec 11 NHL Record 62 points scored, Edmonton (36) beats Chicago (26) 12-9 & ties record of 21 goals
  • Dec 12 248 US soldiers & 8 crew members die in Arrow Air charter crash
  • Dec 12 DC-8 crashes near Gander, Newfoundland; 258 die
  • Dec 12 NASA launches space vehicle S-207

Sports History

Dec 13 Australian cricketer David Boon's 1st Test century, 123 v India at Adelaide

  • Dec 13 Test debut of cricketers Merv Hughes, Geoff Marsh and Bruce Reid (v India)

Historic Event

Dec 14 US Secretary of State George P. Shultz arrives in West Berlin

  • Dec 16 Challenger moves to Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center (Florida) for mating of STS 51-L mission

Historic Event

Dec 16 John Gotti assumes leadership of New York's Gambino crime family after ordering the executions of Paul Castellano and Thomas Bilotti

Film Premiere

Dec 16 Film "The Color Purple" based on novel by Alice Walker, directed by Stephen Spielberg starring Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover premieres in New York

  • Dec 18 Jerry Herman's musical revue "Jerry's Girls" opens at St James Theater, NYC; runs for 139 performances
  • Dec 18 UN Security Council unanimously condemns "acts of hostage-taking"
  • Dec 19 "Wind in the Willows" opens at Nederlander Theater NYC for 4 performances
  • Dec 19 Mary Lund is 1st woman to receive a Jarvik VII artificial heart at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis
  • Dec 19 STS 61-C scrubbed at T -13s because of SRB auxiliary power problem

Sports History

Dec 20 Denis Potvin passes Bobby Orr as NHL defenseman scorer (916 points)

  • Dec 20 Sportscaster Howard Cosell retires from television sports after 20 years with ABC
  • Dec 20 Position of American Poet Laureate established (Robert Warren is 1st)
  • Dec 21 ARCO Anchorage runs aground near Port Angeles, WA
  • Dec 21 Heart's "Heart" album goes #1
  • Dec 22 "Wind in the Willows" closes at Nederlander Theater NYC after 4 performances
  • Dec 22 74th Davis Cup: Sweden beats Germany in Munich (3-2)
  • Dec 22 STS 51-L vehicle moves to Launch Pad 39B

Football Awards

Dec 24 Ballon d'Or: Juventus' French midfielder Michel Platini is named Europe's best football player for the 3rd consecutive time; beats Verona striker Preben Elkjær and Barcelona midfielder Bernd Schuster

  • Dec 26 Test Cricket debut of Steve Waugh, v India at the MCG

Historic Event

Dec 27 Terrorists kill 20 and wound 110 attacking El Al at Rome and Vienna airports. President Reagan blames Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

  • Dec 28 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • Dec 28 Warring Lebanese Muslim & Christian leaders sign peace agreement
  • Dec 30 IBM-PC DOS Version 3.2 released
  • Dec 30 Pakistan restores constitution

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 1 Janelle Monáe, American singer-songwriter (Dirty Computer) and actress (Hidden Figures), born in Kansas City, Kansas
  • Dec 2 Amaury Leveaux, French swimmer (Olympic gold 4x100m freestyle relay 2012; WR 100m freestyle short course – 44.94s), born in Belfort, France
  • Dec 3 Amanda Seyfried, American actress (Mamma Mia), born in Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • Dec 3 László Cseh, Hungarian swimmer (World C'ship gold 400m medley 2005, 200m butterfly 2015; 7 x Olympic medals), born in Budapest, Hungary
  • Dec 4 Carlos Gómez, Dominican baseball outfielder (MLB All Star 2013-14; Gold Glove Award 2013; hit for cycle 2008, 2017), born in Santiago, Dominican Republic
  • Dec 5 Frankie Muniz, American actor (Malcolm in the Middle), born in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey
  • Dec 5 Nico Verdonck, Belgian racing driver, born in Brussels, Belgium
  • Dec 5 Josh Smith, American basketball player (New Orleans Pelicans), born in College Park, Georgia
  • Dec 6 Dulce María, Mexican actress and singer, born in Mexico City, Mexico
  • Dec 6 R. P. Singh, Indian cricketer, born in Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh, India
  • Dec 8 Dwight Howard, American basketball player (Charlotte Hornets), born in Atlanta, Georigia
  • Dec 10 T. J. Hensick, American ice hockey player
  • Dec 10 Raven-Symoné [Pearman], American actress (The Cosby Show, 1989-92 -"Olivia"; That's So Raven, 2003-07), and singer, born in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Dec 10 Grace Chatto, British electronic-pop singer and cellist (Clean Bandit - "Rather Be"; "Symphony"), born in London
  • Dec 11 Karla Souza, Mexican actress (How to Get Away With Murder), born in Mexico City, Mexico
  • Dec 11 Samantha Ponder, American sportscaster (ESPN), born in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Dec 12 Joel Karekezi, Rwandan film director (The Mercy of the Jungle), born in Rubavu, Rwanda
  • Dec 12 Sabine Devieilhe, French operatic coloratura soprano, born in Ifs, France
  • Dec 14 Jakub Błaszczykowski, Polish footballer, born in Truskolasy, Silesian Voivodeship, Poland
  • Dec 14 Paul Rabil, Lebanese-American professional lacrosse player, born in Gaithersburg, Maryland
  • Dec 14 Julio Pimentel, Dominican baseball player, born in La Romana, Dominican Republic
  • Dec 14 Tom Smith, Welsh rugby union footballer, born in Bristol, Somerset
  • Dec 14 Nonami Takizawa, Japanese gravure idol and actress, born in Saitama prefecture, Japan
  • Dec 14 Ren Yagami, Japanese actor and singer, born in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
  • Dec 15 Sheba Mason [Reiter], American comedian and daughter of Jackie Mason, born in Miami, Florida
  • Dec 16 Keita Tachibana, member of Japanese boy band w-inds.
  • Dec 17 Ryuichi Ogata, member of Japanese boy band w-inds.
  • Dec 18 Tara Conner, 2006 Miss USA
  • Dec 18 Hana Soukupová, Czech supermodel
  • Dec 19 Gary Cahill, English soccer defender (61 caps; Chelsea, Bolton), born in Dronfield, Derbyshire
  • Dec 19 Neil Kilkenny, English-born Australian footballer
  • Dec 19 Lady Sovereign [Louise Amanda Harman], British rapper (9 to 5, Love Me or Hate Me), born in London, England
  • Dec 21 Bubba Stewart, American motocross racer (FIM World Supercross Champion 2009; FIM World Supercross GP Champion 2006, 07), born in Bartow, Florida
  • Dec 23 Harry Judd, British drummer (McFly), born in Chelmsford, United Kingdom
  • Dec 23 Luke O'Loughlin, Australian actor, born in Adelaide, Australia
  • Dec 24 David Ragan, American race car driver, born in Unadilla, Georgia
  • Dec 25 Perdita Weeks, British actress, born in Cardiff, United Kingdom
  • Dec 26 Steven Hartman, American actor (Rick Forrester in Bold & Beautiful), born in Westlake, California
  • Dec 26 Yuu Shirota, Japanese-Spanish actor & singer, born in Tokyo, Japan
  • Dec 27 Logan Bailly, Belgian football goalkeeper
  • Dec 27 Paul Stastny, Canadian-American ice hockey player
  • Dec 27 Tivon Pennicott, Jamaican-American jazz saxophonist (Celery Juice), born in Marietta, Georgia
  • Dec 27 Bjarke Mogensen, Danish classical accordionist (Martin Lohse - In Liquid), and educator (Royal Danish Academy, 2011-present), born in Rønne, Bornholm, Denmark
  • Dec 28 Kamani Hill, American footballer, born in Berkeley, California
  • Dec 29 Alexa Ray Joel, American singer-songwriter and daughter of Billy Joel & Christie Brinkley, born in Manhattan, New York City
  • Dec 30 Lars Boom, Dutch cyclist
  • Dec 30 Samuel Adams, American double bassist, classical and electro-acoustic composer, born in San Francisco, California

Famous Weddings

  • Dec 14 "The Cosby Show" actress Phylicia Rashad (37) weds former NFL wide receiver and sportscaster Ahmad Rashad (36)

Sylvester Stallone

Dec 15 Actor Sylvester Stallone (39) weds "Rocky IV" actress Brigitte Nielsen (22) in Beverly Hills, California

Lee Hsien Loong

Dec 17 Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong (33) weds Temasek Holdings CEO Ho Ching


Famous Deaths

  • Dec 2 Alex Courtney, actor (Sword of Justice), dies
  • Dec 2 Philip Larkin, English poet and writer (North Ship, Jill), dies at 63
  • Dec 2 Aniello Dellacroce, American gangster (b. 1914)
  • Dec 3 Sam Gillman, actor (Sam-Shane), dies at 70
  • Dec 4 Marcel Boereboom, Belgian pianist, critic, educator, and musicologist (Handbook of Music History), dies at 83
  • Dec 6 Burleigh Grimes, American baseball player, dies at 92
  • Dec 6 Burr Tillstrom, American puppeteer (Kukla Fran & Ollie), dies at 68
  • Dec 7 Potter Stewart, 94th Supreme Court Justice (1958-81), dies in NH at 70
  • Dec 7 Robert Graves, English writer and poet (King Jesus), dies at 90
  • Dec 12 Anne Baxter, American actress (The Razor's Edge; All About Eve), and singer, dies of a stroke at 62
  • Dec 12 Ian Stewart, Scottish keyboardist, road manager, and co-founder of the Rolling Stones, dies of a heart attack at 47

Roger Maris

Dec 14 Roger Maris, American baseball right fielder (7-time MLB All Star, 61 HRs 1961), dies of cancer at 51

  • Dec 14 Catherine Doherty, Russian-born Canadian activist, dies at 89
  • Dec 14 Charlie Bachman, American College Football Hall of Fame guard & coach (Notre Dame, Florida, Michigan State), dies at 93
  • Dec 15 Forrest C. Shaklee, American chiropractor and founder (Shaklee Products), dies at 91
  • Dec 16 Dick Pollard, cricketer (England fast-medium bowler 1946-48), dies
  • Dec 16 Merv Waite, cricketer (2 Tests for Aust 1938, 1 wkt avg 190), dies
  • Dec 16 Paul Castellano, American organized-crime chief, shot dead at a NYC restaurant at 70
  • Dec 16 Thomas Bilotti, American mafioso (b. 1940)
  • Dec 17 Otto Gotsche, writer, dies
  • Dec 18 Xuân Diệu, Vietnamese poet (b. 1916)
  • Dec 21 Kamatari Fujiwara, Japanese film actor (Seven Samurai, The Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo), dies of a heart attack at 80
  • Dec 22 D. Boon, American singer and guitarist (The Minutemen) (b. 1958)
  • Dec 23 James Vance (20) and Raymond Belknap (18) attempt suicide (Belknap dies). Their families later sue rock group Judas Priest for subliminal messages in song "Better By You, Better Than Me".
  • Dec 24 Ferhat Abbas, Algerian politician and President of the National Constituent Assembly of Algeria (1962-63), dies at 86
  • Dec 25 George Rhodes, American pianist, composer, arranger, and music director (Sammy Davis, Jr. Show), dies of a heart attack at 66
  • Dec 26 Dian Fossey, American zoologist (Gorillas in the Mist), murdered in Rwanda at 53
  • Dec 26 Harold P. Warren, American movie director (Manos: The Hands of Fate), dies at 62
  • Dec 26 Jackie Ormes, African-American cartoonist (Torchy Brown), dies at 74
  • Dec 27 Harry Hopman, Australian tennis player, coach (Davis Cup captain 1939-67, won 16), dies of a heart attack at 79
  • Dec 28 Benny Morton, American jazz trombonist (Teddy Wilson Sextet), dies at 78

Ricky Nelson

Dec 31 (Eric) "Ricky" Nelson, American Rock Star ("Hello Mary Lou"; "It's Late"; "Garden Party") and actor (The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet), dies in a plane crash at 45

  • Dec 31 Sam Spiegel, American film producer (On the Waterfront, The Bridge on the River Kwai) dies at 84
  • Dec 31 Mal Matheson, New Zealand cricket fast bowler (2 Tests) and rugby union Test referee (Australia v NZ 1946), dies at 79