On This Day

What Happened in December 1989

Historical Events

  • Dec 1 Romanian 5-time Olympic gold medal winning gymnast Nadia Comăneci arrives in NYC requesting political asylum to the United States; granted
  • Dec 1 "Day Without Art" - Artists demonstrate against AIDS
  • Dec 1 East Germany drops communist monopoly from its constitution
  • Dec 1 Mark Langston signs record $3.2 million per year Cal Angels contract
  • Dec 2 55th Heisman Trophy Award: Andre Ware, Houston (QB)
  • Dec 2 KHJ-TV in Los Angeles CA changes call letters to KCAL-TV
  • Dec 2 V. P. Singh sworn in as the 8th Prime Minister of India
  • Dec 2 54th Iron Bowl: Auburn beats Alabama 30-20 in Auburn

Historic Event

Dec 3 Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and US President George H. W. Bush, declare the Cold War over

Sports History

Dec 3 Stefan Edberg of Sweden claims his first and only ATP Masters Grand Prix tennis title with a 4–6, 7–6, 6–3, 6–1 win over defending champion Boris Becker at Madison Square Garden, NYC

  • Dec 4 NBC's premiere of "Howard Beach: Making A Case for Murder", based on December 1986 murders of black youths by white youths in New York City
  • Dec 5 France TGV train reaches world record speed of 482.4 kph
  • Dec 6 Mafia drug kingpin bombs security force at Bogota, kills 52
  • Dec 6 Worst Canadian mass murder: Marc Lepine kills 14 women at U Montreal
  • Dec 7 C Coleman & D Zippel's musical "City of Angels" premieres in NYC
  • Dec 8 Great Britain performs nuclear test
  • Dec 9 "Les Miserables" opens at Princess Theatre, Melbourne
  • Dec 10 President Gustav Husak of Czechoslovakia, resigns
  • Dec 11 Cy Coleman and David Zippel's musical "City of Angels" opens at Virginia Theater, NYC; runs for 878 performances, wins 6 Tony Awards and 8 Drama Desk Awards
  • Dec 11 Mark Davis signs record $3.25 million per year KC Royals contract
  • Dec 13 Walter Davis (Denver) ends NBA free throw streak of 53 games
  • Dec 13 The last issue of Gnistan (The Spark), the organ of the Solidaritetspartiet, is published in Sweden

Film Release

Dec 13 "Driving Miss Daisy" directed by Bruce Beresford and starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy is released (Best Picture 1990)

  • Dec 16 Commencement of 1st Test Cricket play at Bellerive Oval, Hobart (v SL)
  • Dec 16 Geoff Marsh completes 355* for WA against South Australia
  • Dec 16 Protest breaks out in Timişoara in response to an attempt by the government to evict dissident Hungarian pastor, László Tőkés.

Television Premiere

Dec 17 "The Simpsons" created by Matt Groening, premieres on Fox TV as a full animated series with the episode, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire"

  • Dec 17 78th Davis Cup: Germany beats Sweden in Stuttgart (3-2)
  • Dec 17 Brazil elects conservative Fernando Collor de Mello as president
  • Dec 17 Michael Bevan scores cricket century on 1st-class debut (114 SA v WA)
  • Dec 18 "I Love Lucy" Christmas episode, shown for 1st time in over 30 years
  • Dec 18 Athol Fugard's "My Children, My Africa" premieres in NYC
  • Dec 19 American Airlines purchases Eastern Airline's Latin American route

Sports History

Dec 19 Larry Bird (Celtics) begins NBA free throw streak of 71 games

  • Dec 20 Premier Lubbers sees CDA-party leader Elco Brinkman as successor

Historic Event

Dec 20 US troops invade Panama & oust Manuel Noriega, but don't catch him

  • Dec 21 VP Quayle sends out 30,000 Xmas cards with word beacon spelled beakon
  • Dec 21 New Zealand is the first country to set a formal inflation target (0-2%) for how much prices should rise each year. Similar targets are subsequently adopted by most developed countries.

Historic Event

Dec 22 After 23 years of dictatorial rule, Romania ousts Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu

  • Dec 22 Republic of Chad (Africa) adopts its Constitution
  • Dec 22 Cold wave: -6°F in Tulsa, Oklahoma; -12°F in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; -18°F in Denver, Colorado; -23°F in Kansas City, Missouri; -42°F in Scottsbluff, Nebraska; -47°F in Hardin, Montana; and -60°F in Black Hills, South Dakota
  • Dec 24 Charles Taylor enters Liberia to unseat President Samuel K Doe
  • Dec 24 Panama's dictator, Manual Noriega, seeks asylum at Vatican embassy
  • Dec 25 Japanese scientist achieve -271.8°C, coldest temperature ever recorded
  • Dec 25 Show trial of Romanian Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena on charges of genocide and personal enrichment. The couple are found guilty and executed by firing squad the same day.

Music History

Dec 25 Leonard Bernstein conducts Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in East Berlin's Schauspielhaus to celebrate fall of the Berlin Wall. Broadcast worldwide to audience of 100 million.

Sports History

Dec 26 ODI cricket debut for Australia's Mark Taylor and Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya at the MCG

  • Dec 26 Ballon d'Or: Milan's second straight 1-2-3; Dutch striker Marco van Basten wins his 2nd best football player in Europe title ahead of Franco Baresi and Frank Rijkaard
  • Dec 27 Oregon begins taking bids on NBA games

Election of Interest

Dec 28 Alexander Dubček elected Chairman of the Federal Assembly (Parliament) of Czechslovakia

  • Dec 28 Earthquake at Newcastle Australia, 11 die
  • Dec 29 Jane Pauley says goodbye to NBC's "Today" show

Historic Event

Dec 29 Václav Havel is selected to be president of Czechoslovakia by the Federal Assembly shortly after the Velvet Revolution

Sports History

Dec 29 Wayne Gretzky and Martina Navratilova, named athletes of decade by the Associated Press

  • Dec 29 Riots break-out after Hong Kong decides to forcibly repatriate Vietnamese refugees.
  • Dec 30 10th United Negro College Fund raises $12,000,000
  • Dec 30 Dmitri Volkov swims world record 50m freestyle (27.15 sec)
  • Dec 31 "Me & My Girl" closes at Marquis Theater NYC after 1420 performances
  • Dec 31 "Threepenny Opera" closes at Lunt-Fontanne Theater NYC after 65 performances
  • Dec 31 Jockey Kent Desormeaux sets record with 598 wins in a year

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 2 Cassie Steele, Canadian actress (Degrassi: The Next Generation), born in Toronto, Ontario
  • Dec 2 Matteo Darmian, Italian soccer full-back (36 caps; Torino, Manchester United), born in Legnano, Milan, Italy
  • Dec 4 Pornanong Phatlum, Thai golfer (British Open 2018 runner-up), born in Khon Kaen, Thailand
  • Dec 7 Nicholas Hoult, English actor (The Favourite), born in Wokingham, England
  • Dec 7 Caleb Landry Jones, American actor and musician (Nitram), born in Garland, Texas
  • Dec 7 Kyle Hendricks, American MLB pitcher (Chicago Cubs), born in Newport Beach, California
  • Dec 8 Drew Doughty, Canadian hockey player, born in London, Canada
  • Dec 11 Kellie Harrington, Irish boxer (lightweight Gold Medal 2021 Tokyo Olympics), born in Dublin, Ireland

Taylor Swift

Dec 13 Taylor Swift, American Grammy and Emmy Award-winning country-pop singer-songwriter ("You Belong To Me"; "Our Song"; "All Too Well"), and Guinness World Record holder born in Reading, Pennsylvania

  • Dec 18 Ashley Benson, American actress
  • Dec 18 Ashley Slanina-Davies, Hollyoaks actress
  • Dec 20 Virgilio Falco, Italian politician
  • Dec 21 Mark Ingram Jr., American football running back (Heisman Trophy 2009, U of Alabama; NFL Pro Bowl 2014, 17, 19; New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens), born in Hackensack, New Jersey
  • Dec 21 Quinta Brunson, American writer, producer and actress (Abbott Elementary), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Dec 22 Jordin Sparks, American singer and American Idol winner, born in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Dec 28 Mackenzie Rosman, American actress, born in Charleston, South Carolina
  • Dec 28 Jessie Buckley, Irish actress (The Lost Daughter), born in Killarney, Ireland
  • Dec 29 Kei Nishikori, Japanese tennis player (11 singles titles, only Japanese player ranked in top 10), born in Matsue, Japan
  • Dec 29 Jane Levy, American actress (Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Dec 30 Ryan Sheckler, American professional skateboarder

Famous Weddings

David Hasselhoff

Dec 9 "Baywatch" actor David Hasselhoff (37) weds actress Pamela Bach (26) at the Little Brown Church in Studio City, California

George Clooney

Dec 15 Actor and director George Clooney (28) weds actress Talia Balsam (30) in Las Vegas

Richard Branson

Dec 20 Business magnate Richard Branson (39) weds Joan Templeman in British Virgin Islands

  • Dec 31 Actress Annabella Sciorra (Jungle Fever) weds Joe Petruzzi

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 1 Alvin Ailey, US choreographer (Blues Suite, Revelations), dies at 58
  • Dec 1 William "Billy" Lyall, Scottish musician (Bay City Rollers), dies of AIDS-related causes at 36
  • Dec 3 Fernando Martín, Spanish basketball center (first Spaniard in NBA 1986, Portland Trail Blazers; FIBA Club World Cup 1981, Real Madrid), dies in a car accident at 27
  • Dec 3 Jimmy Shirley, American jazz and R&B electric guitarist, and early proponent of the Vibrola vibrato arm ("whammy bar"), dies at 76
  • Dec 5 John M Pritchard, British conductor, dies at 68
  • Dec 6 Frances Bavier, American Emmy Award-winning stage and screen actress (The Andy Griffith Show & Mayberry, RFD - "Aunt Bee"), dies of congestive heart failure at 86
  • Dec 6 Sammy Fain, American popular music composer, dies at 87
  • Dec 6 John Payne, American actor (The Restless Gun, Miracle on 34th Street), dies aged 77
  • Dec 6 Gabor Jodal, Romanian composer, dies at 76
  • Dec 7 William 'Haystacks' Calhoun, American professional wrestler, dies at 55
  • Dec 8 Hans Hartung, German-French painter, dies at 85
  • Dec 11 Louise Dahl-Wolfe, American fashion photographer, dies at 94
  • Dec 14 Jock Mahoney [Jacques Joseph O'Mahoney], American actor & stuntman (Dallas, Yancy Derringer, Day of Fury), dies of a stroke at 70
  • Dec 14 Pattie Santos, American singer (It's a Beautiful Day), dies in a car accident at 40
  • Dec 15 Arnold Moss, American actor (Loves of Carmen, Kim, Quebec, Viva Zapata), dies at 79
  • Dec 15 Edward Underdown, British actor (Beat the Devil, Thunderball), dies at 81
  • Dec 16 Aileen Pringle, actress (Age of Consent, Convicted, Night Parade), dies
  • Dec 16 Lee Van Cleef, American actor (Good, Bad & Ugly), dies at 64
  • Dec 16 Silvana Mangano, Italian actress (Death in Venice, Barabbas), dies at 59
  • Dec 16 Oscar Alfredo Gálvez, Argentine racing driver (b. 1913)
  • Dec 19 Dorothea "Stella" Gibbons, English journalist and author (Cold Comfort Farm), dies at 87
  • Dec 20 Audrey Christie, American actress (Splendor in the Grass, Fair Exchange), dies at 77
  • Dec 20 Kurt Böhme, German bass, dies at 81
  • Dec 21 Ján Cikker, Slovak composer, dies at 78

Samuel Beckett

Dec 22 Samuel Beckett, Irish-French writer (Molloy, Nobel 1969), dies at 83

  • Dec 23 Josef Alexander, American composer (Of Masks and Mirrors), dies at 82
  • Dec 23 Peter Bennett, British actor (Lady Chatterley's Lover, The Adventures of Robin Hood), dies at 72
  • Dec 25 Georgy Mushel, Uzbek pianist and composer, dies at 80
  • Dec 25 Barrel Regtien, student leader, dies

Billy Martin

Dec 25 Billy Martin, American baseball 2nd baseman (MLB All Star 1956; World Series 1951, 52, 53, 56; NY Yankees) and manager (World Series 1977 NY Yankees), killed in a car accident at 61

  • Dec 25 Elena Ceausescu, wife of Romania's Communist dictator Nicolae, executed at 73
  • Dec 25 Ton Regtien, Dutch student leader, dies at 51
  • Dec 26 Lennox R. F. Berkeley, British composer and pedagogue (Castaway), dies at 86
  • Dec 26 Peggy Thorpe-Bates, actress (Alcatraz Island), dies

Doug Harvey

Dec 26 Doug Harvey, Canadian ice hockey defence player ('100 Greatest NHL Players), dies of cirrhosis of the liver at 65

  • Dec 28 Hermann Oberth, German physicist (founded modern astronautics), dies at 95
  • Dec 30 Madoline Thomas, actress (Girl in the Canal), dies
  • Dec 30 Lenore Lemmon, girlfriend of "Superman" George Reeves (b. 1923)
  • Dec 30 Etienne Leroux, Afrikaans author (Een vir Azazel), dies at 67