On This Day

What Happened in December 1996

Historical Events

  • Dec 1 Davis Cup Tennis, Malmo, Sweden: Arnaud Boetsch beats Sweden's Nicklas Kulti in closest deciding match in Cup history 7-6, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6, 10-8 to give France 3-2 victory
  • Dec 1 South African cricket all-rounder Lance Klusener takes 8-64 on debut in Proteas' 329 run 2nd Test win v India in Kolkata
  • Dec 1 Flamboyant Australian rugby union winger David Campese ends his 15-year, 101 Test career at Cardiff Arms Park in Wales; Wallabies beat Wales, 28-19; Campese scores record 64 career tries

Sports History

Dec 1 Wayne Gretzky becomes first and only player in NHL history to reach 3,000-point plateau (including playoffs); records an assist in NY Rangers' 6-2 win over Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden

Music Awards

Dec 4 7th Billboard Music Awards: Alanis Morissette wins

  • Dec 4 NASA's 1st Mars rover launched from Cape Canaveral
  • Dec 4 Orlando Magic tie NBA record of fewest points scored since inception of 24 second clock losing to Cleveland Cavalier, 84-57
  • Dec 5 "Dreams & Nightmares" opens at Martin Beck Theater NYC
  • Dec 5 Players union approves new collective bargaining agreement
  • Dec 5 Portland's Jermaine O'Neal at 18 becomes the youngest NBA player
  • Dec 6 Mashonaland defeat England in first-class tour match
  • Dec 7 Space Shuttle STS 80 (Columbia 21), lands
  • Dec 7 5th SEC Championship Game: #4 Florida beats #11 Alabama, 45-30
  • Dec 7 1st Big 12 Championship Game: Texas beats #3 Nebraska, 37-27
  • Dec 7 Australian rugby union team ends 12-game European tour unbeaten after 39-19 victory over the Barbarians at Twickenham; Wallabies fullback Matt Burke scores 2 tries and lands 4 conversions, 2 penalties
  • Dec 8 "God Said, Ha!" closes at Lyceum Theater NYC after 22 performances
  • Dec 10 Rwandan Genocide: Maurice Baril military advisor to the UN Secretary-General and head of the UN Military Division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations recommends the UN multi-national forces in Zaire stand down
  • Dec 12 Assassination attempt on Uday (Iraqi's heir to Sadam Hussain)

Sports History

Dec 13 Free agent Roger Clemens signs with Toronto Blue Jays

Election of Interest

Dec 13 Kofi Annan is elected Secretary-General of the United Nations

  • Dec 14 12th Soap Opera Digest Awards - Days of Our Lives wins
  • Dec 14 62nd Heisman Trophy Award: Danny Wuerffel, Florida (QB)
  • Dec 17 "In My Bed" single released by Dru Hill (Billboard Song of the Year 1997)
  • Dec 18 Start of 1st Test Cricket match between Zimbabwe & England
  • Dec 18 US TV industry execs agree to adopt a ratings system
  • Dec 18 The Oakland, California school board passes a resolution officially declaring "Ebonics" a language or dialect.
  • Dec 18 During a press conference, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Maleki states that Iran supports the free flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, but reserves the option of closing off the shipping route if it is threatened

Music Premiere

Dec 19 Revival of Mary Rodgers and Marshall Barer's musical comedy "Once Upon a Mattress", starring Sarah Jessica Parker, opens at Broadhurst Theatre, NYC; runs for 188 performances

Film Release

Dec 20 Horror film classic "Scream", starring Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox, is released

  • Dec 20 First part of the new building for the National Library of France inaugurated in Paris, designed by Dominique Perrault [1]
  • Dec 21 Pakistan all out 67 to lose to Tasmania by an inning

Historic Event

Dec 21 Taiwanese-American AIDS researcher David Ho is named Time Magazine's Man of the Year

  • Dec 22 Steelers' Kordell Stewart runs quarterback record 80 yds for TD
  • Dec 22 Zimbabwe & England draw Bulawayo Test Cricket with England needing 1 run to win

NHL Record

Dec 22 St Louis Blues’ right wing Brett Hull scores his 26th NHL career hat trick to reach 500 career goals in a 7-4 win over the LA Kings; with father Bobby Hull, first father/son combo to each record 500 goals

  • Dec 23 Four women ordained priests in Jamaica, 1st in 330-year Anglican history

Football Awards

Dec 24 Ballon d'Or: Borussia Dortmund's German sweeper Matthias Sammer is named best football player in Europe ahead of PSV/Barcelona striker Ronaldo and Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer

  • Dec 25 1,500 year anniversary of Catholicism in France commemorating the baptism of Clovis I in Rheims
  • Dec 26 Start of the largest strike in South Korean history.
  • Dec 26 The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification goes into force
  • Dec 26 Six-year-old beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey is found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family's home in Boulder, Colorado
  • Dec 27 Carquest Bowl 7: Miami beats Virginia, 31-21
  • Dec 27 Taliban forces retake the strategic Bagram air base which solidifies their buffer zone around Kabul.
  • Dec 28 India all out for 66 at Durban after making 100 in cricket 1st innings
  • Dec 29 "Dreams & Nightmares" closes at Martin Beck Theater NYC
  • Dec 29 "Skylight" closes at Royale Theater NYC after
  • Dec 29 "Taking Sides" closes at Atkinson Theater NYC

Historic Event

Dec 30 Proposed budget cuts by Benjamin Netanyahu spark protests from 250,000 workers who shut down services across Israel.

  • Dec 30 United Nations announces that a total of 21 contracts have been approved for the limited Iraqi oil sales under Resolution 986
  • Dec 31 63rd Orange Bowl: #6 Nebraska beats #10 Virginia Tech, 41-21

Famous Birthdays

Stefanie Scott

Dec 6 Stefanie Scott, American actress (Quinn Brenner-Insidious: Chapter 3) and singer (New Girl in Town), born in Chicago, Illinois

  • Dec 7 Jack Griffo, American actor (The Thundermans) and musician, born in Orlando, Florida
  • Dec 10 Joe Burrow, American football quarterback (Heisman Trophy 2019; National C'ship 2020, MVP; LSU), born in Ames, Iowa
  • Dec 10 Valentina Sampaio, Brazilian pioneering transgender model, born in Aquiraz, Brazil
  • Dec 10 Jonas Vingegaard, Danish road cyclist (Tour de France 2022), born in Hillerslev, Denmark

Hailee Steinfeld

Dec 11 Hailee Steinfeld, American actress (True Grit (2010); Pitch Perfect films), and singer ("Starving"), born in Los Angeles, California

  • Dec 12 Lucas Hedges, American actor (Boy Erased), born in New York City
  • Dec 14 Barbie Ferreira, American actress (Euphoria) and model, born in New York City
  • Dec 19 Paige Speakman, British preemie baby, born 19 days before her twin sister in Swindon, Wiltshire, England
  • Dec 20 Hannah Green, Australian golfer (Women's PGA C'ship 2019), born in Perth, Western Australia
  • Dec 21 Kaitlyn Dever, American actress (Unbelievable), born in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Dec 29 Minatozaki Sana, Japanese singer (Twice), born in Osaka, Japan
  • Dec 31 Alexander Bolshunov, Russian cross-country skier (Olympic gold 30k, 50k, 4 x 10k relay 2022; Tour de Ski 2021, 22), born in Podyvotye, Russia

Famous Weddings

  • Dec 1 Model-actress Angie Everhart (27) weds actor Ashley Hamilton (22) at the Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles
  • Dec 7 Former Tennessee Republican Senator Howard Baker (71) weds retired Kansas GOP Senator Nancy Kassebaum (64) in Washington, D.C.

Lionel Richie

Dec 21 American pop singer Lionel Richie (47) weds clothing designer Diane Alexander (30) at Metropolitan Club in New York

  • Dec 30 "The Last Emperor" Chinese actress Vivian Wu (30) weds producer-director Oscar Costo (43) in Shanghai, China

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 1 Babrak Karmal, Afghan politician (General Secretary 1979-86), dies at 67
  • Dec 1 Irving Gordon, American songwriter ("Unforgettable"; "Me, Myself, And I"), dies of multiple myeloma cancer at 81
  • Dec 3 Babrak Karmal, Prime Minister of Afghanistan (1980-81), dies
  • Dec 3 Det Glynn, teacher/anti-apartheid activist, dies at 84
  • Dec 3 George Duby, historian, dies at 77
  • Dec 4 Basil Nield, British judge and politician (Conservative Party), dies at 83
  • Dec 4 Muriel Monkhouse, Red Cross worker, dies at 86
  • Dec 4 Willard Parker, American actor (Kiss Me Kate, What A Woman), dies at 84
  • Dec 5 Peter Hall, British folklorist and musician, dies at 60
  • Dec 5 Wilf Carter, country singer, dies at 91
  • Dec 6 Bryan Clieve Roberts, English lawyer and colonial administrator (instrumental in Malawi transition to independence), dies at 83

Pete Rozelle

Dec 6 Pete Rozelle, American football executive (NFL Commissioner 1960-89), dies of brain cancer at 70

  • Dec 6 (John) Trevor Key, British photographer and graphic designer, t known for his work for album cover art (Mike Oldfield; Phil Collins; New Order; OMD), dies of a brain tumor at 48
  • Dec 7 Eugene Izzi, mystery writer, hangs himself at 43
  • Dec 7 Jose Donoso, Chilean writer (The Place Without Limits), dies at 72
  • Dec 8 Howard E Rollins Jr, actor (Ed Harding-Another World), dies at 46
  • Dec 8 Marin Sorescu, Romanian poet, playwright and artist (Iona, House under surveillance), dies of a heart attack at 60
  • Dec 9 Alain Poher, French politician and President of the European Parliament (1966-69), dies at 87
  • Dec 9 Anne Bolt, photo-journalist and trade unionist, dies at 84
  • Dec 9 Ivor Roberts-Jones, British sculptor (known for sculpted heads of Yehudi Menuhin and George Thomas), dies at 83
  • Dec 9 Mary Leakey, British archaeologist and anthropologist, discovered earliest human footprints (3.6 million years old), dies at 83
  • Dec 9 Raphael Samuel, British Marxist historian, dies at 61
  • Dec 9 Patty Donahue, American new wave rock singer (The Waitresses - "I Know What Boys Like"; "Christmas Wrapping), dies of lung cancer at 40
  • Dec 10 Faron Young, American country singer ("Hello Walls"; "It's Four in the Morning"), and actor (Hidden Guns; Daniel Boone, Trailblazer), commits suicide at 64
  • Dec 10 John Duffey, bluegrass guitarist, dobro, and mandolin player (Country Gentlemen), dies of a heart attack at 62
  • Dec 11 Herbert Sally Frankel, South African born economist, dies at 93
  • Dec 11 Robert Bromston Thesiger Daniell, English soldier, dies at 95
  • Dec 11 W. G. G. Duncan-Smith, British WWII fighter pilot, dies at 82
  • Dec 11 William Rushton, actor, author and cartoonist (TW3, Private Eye), dies of a heart attack at 59
  • Dec 12 Gerald Ian Lacey, architect/town planner, dies at 70
  • Dec 12 Jack Perry, businessman, dies at 81
  • Dec 12 Jean-Pierre Guerlain, cosmetics pioneer, dies at 91
  • Dec 12 Michael Geoffrey Corcos, medical researcher, dies at 77
  • Dec 12 Vance Packard, American journalist and writer (The Hidden Persuaders), dies at 82
  • Dec 12 Larry Gates, American actor (Guiding Light, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Body Snatchers), dies of leukemia at 81
  • Dec 13 Cao Yu, Chinese dramatist (Peking Man), dies at 86
  • Dec 13 Charles Edwin Molnar, computer pioneer, dies at 61
  • Dec 13 Edward Blishen, English author (The God Beneath the Sea), dies at 76
  • Dec 13 Mae Barnes {Stith], American dancer and jazz singer ("The Sunny Side Of The Street"), dies of cancer at 89 (or older, year of birth disputed)
  • Dec 14 Norman Hackforth, British musician & radio broadcaster (Noel Coward; Twenty Questions), dies at 88
  • Dec 15 Gerald Moverley, first Bishop of the Diocese of Hallam in Yorkshire, dies at 74
  • Dec 15 Guiseppe Dossetti, Italian politician (drafted Italian constitution) and priest, dies at 83
  • Dec 15 Tristan Keuris, Dutch composer (Sinfonia) dies at 50
  • Dec 16 Laurens Jan van der Post, South African writer, explorer and conservationist, dies at 90
  • Dec 16 Jean-Pierre Levy, French resistance leader during WWII, dies at 85
  • Dec 16 Joe Coral [Joseph Kagarlitski], British bookmaker (Gala Coral Group), dies at 92
  • Dec 16 Quentin Bell, artist author/teacher, dies at 86
  • Dec 17 Elizabeth Hill, Russian-English teacher of Salvonic languages, dies at 96
  • Dec 17 Francesco Siciliani, Italian opera administrator, dies at 85
  • Dec 17 Irving Caesar, American lyricist and theater composer (Tea for Two; Just A Gigilo; Sometimes I'm Happy; Animal Crackers In My Soup), dies at 101 [1]
  • Dec 17 Ruby Murray, Irish singer ("Heartbeat"; "Softly, Softly"), dies of liver cancer at 61
  • Dec 17 Stanko Todorov, Bulgarian communist politician, Prime Minister of Bulgaria (1971-81), dies at 76
  • Dec 17 Wayne Barlow, American composer, dies at 84
  • Dec 17 Lawrie Miller, New Zealand cricket batsman (13 Tests), dies at 73
  • Dec 18 Arthur Jacobs, English musicologist (Penguin Dictionary of Music), dies at 74
  • Dec 19 Ronald Howard, British actor (Naked Edge; Come September; Murder She Said), dies at 78
  • Dec 19 Yuli Borisovich Khariton, Russian physicist and "chief nuclear weapon designer" for the Soviet Union, dies at 92
  • Dec 19 Marcello Mastroianni, Italian actor (8½; La Dolce Vita; Dark Eyes; The Pizza Triangle), dies of pancreatic cancer at 72
  • Dec 20 Amata Kabua, President of Marshall Islands (1979-96), dies
  • Dec 20 Carl Sagan, American scientist, astronomer and author (Broca's Brain, Cosmos, Contact) known for his research on extraterrestrial life, dies of pneumonia after suffering from myelodysplasia at 62
  • Dec 20 Roger Peacock, English writer (Thursday is missing, dies at 76
  • Dec 21 Margaret E Rey, author of children's books, dies at 90
  • Dec 21 Olga Maria Nicolis di Robilant, patron of the arts, dies at 96
  • Dec 21 Barry Gray [Bernard Yaroslaw], American radio personality and interviewer (started call-in radio), dies at 80
  • Dec 22 Hetta Empson, South African-British artist, dies at 81
  • Dec 23 Rina Ketty [Cesarina Picchetto], Italian singer (J'attendrai), dies at 85
  • Dec 23 Ronnie Scott [Schatt], British jazz saxophonist and club-owner, dies at 69
  • Dec 23 Krešimir Fribec, Croatian composer, dies at 88
  • Dec 24 Edward Leadbitter, politician, dies at 77
  • Dec 24 Nguyen Huu Tho, President of Vietnam (1980-81), dies
  • Dec 24 Peter Dormer, arts writer, dies at 47
  • Dec 25 Jon Benet Ramsey, Colorado child beauty queen, murdered at 6
  • Dec 25 Rupert John, gov-gen of Grenadines (1970-76), dies
  • Dec 27 Johnny Heartsman [Eastman], American R&B, soul and electric blues session musician and songwriter, dies of a stroke at 60
  • Dec 29 Alma Birk, journalist/politician, dies at 77
  • Dec 29 Mireille Hartuch, singer/songwriter, dies at 90
  • Dec 29 Oswald Szemerényi, Hungarian linguist, dies at 83
  • Dec 29 Peggy (Margaret McCrorie) Herbison, politician, dies at 89
  • Dec 29 Robert Morris, American lawyer, dies at 81
  • Dec 29 Pennar Davies, Welsh poet, author and theologian, dies at 85
  • Dec 29 Daniel Mayer, French journalist and resistance fighter, dies at 87
  • Dec 30 (Marvin John) "Jack" Nance, American stage & screen actor (Eraserhead; Twin Peaks), dies at 53
  • Dec 30 Lew Ayres, American actor (All Quiet on Western Front; Holiday; Dr. Kildare (films); Johnny Belinda), dies at 88
  • Dec 30 Robert Grant Ferris, British politician, dies at 89
  • Dec 31 61 law enforcement officers, killed by felons in US this year
  • Dec 31 Ann Susan Hills, freelance journalist, dies at 55
  • Dec 31 David Sinclair, actor (Love & Hate), dies at 62
  • Dec 31 Frederico Davia, opera singer, dies at 63
  • Dec 31 Michael Roberts, English historian, dies at 88
  • Dec 31 Philip Manson-Bahr, English zoologist and specialist in tropical medicine, dies at 85
  • Dec 31 Wesley Addy, American actor (Kiss Me Deadly, Bostonians, Loving), dies at 83