On This Day

What Happened in December 1997

Historical Events

  • Dec 1 Golden State Warriors NBA guard Latrell Sprewell assaults head coach P.J. Carlesimo; suspended for 10 games
  • Dec 1 Howard Stern Radio Show premieres in Davenport IA on KORB 93.5 FM
  • Dec 1 Westinghouse formally changes its name to CBS
  • Dec 1 In their 81st season, Montreal Canadiens become first team in history to play 5,000 NHL games; host the Penguins but lose, 1-0; franchise record 2,625-1,603-772 with .620 winning percentage
  • Dec 2 MCI Center opens in Washington, D.C., Wizards vs SuperSonics
  • Dec 2 For only the second time in English Football League history, 5 players are sent from the field; 4 Bristol Rovers players and 1 from Wigan are dismissed in the Division 2 match at JJB Stadium; four of the red cards come in 45th minute
  • Dec 3 "1776" opens at Gershwin Theater NYC
  • Dec 3 Golden State Warriors terminates guard Latrell Sprewell's four-year, $32 million NBA contract for attacking coach P.J. Carlesimo
  • Dec 4 "Diary of Anne Frank" opens at Music Box Theater NYC
  • Dec 4 NBA suspends former Golden State Warriors guard Latrell Sprewell for 1 year for attacking coach P.J. Carlesimo
  • Dec 4 Nizar Hamdoon warns that Iraq will not allow oil to flow during a third six-month phase of the UN's oil-for-food sale until the UN approves an aid distribution plan
  • Dec 5 1st Game at Wash Capitals' MCI Center vs Fla Panthers
  • Dec 5 STS 87 (Columbia 24) lands
  • Dec 6 6th SEC Championship Game: #3 Tennessee beats #11 Auburn, 30-29

Music History

Dec 8 Revival of Neil Simon's comedy "The Sunshine Boys", starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randell, opens at Lyceum Theater, NYC; runs for 230 performance

Film Premiere

Dec 9 "Tomorrow Never Dies", 18th James Bond film starring Pierce Brosnan and Michelle Yeoh, premieres in London

  • Dec 11 Federal judge orders Microsoft not to bundle IE4 in Windows
  • Dec 11 Delegates from 150 industrial nations attending a UN climate conference in Kyoto, Japan, reach agreement to control heat-trapping greenhouse gases
  • Dec 12 Carlos the Jackal, "professional revolutionary", goes on trial in Paris
  • Dec 12 Florida releases Alex Arias, the last original Marlin
  • Dec 12 Japanese train builders (Maglev) claim world speed record at 332 MPH
  • Dec 12 Red Sox sign Pedro Martinez to record 6 year $69 million contract
  • Dec 12 SWAT team shoots John E Armstrong in Florida, freeing 2 young hostages
  • Dec 12 TWA 800 hearings end

Film & TV History

Dec 12 Fed judge sentences Autumn Jackson, who claims to be Bill Cosby's daughter, to 26 months for trying to extort $40 million from him

  • Dec 13 63rd Heisman Trophy Award: Charles Woodson, Michigan (CB)

Theater Premiere

Dec 14 Revival of Arthur Miller's dramatic play "A View From the Bridge", starring Anthony LaPaglia, Allison Janney, and Brittany Murphy. opens at the Criterion Theater, NYC; runs for 239 performance, wins 2 Tony and 4 Drama Desk Awards

Sports History

Dec 14 Phoenix Coyote winger Mike Gartner becomes 5th NHLer to score 700 goals

Sports History

Dec 15 SF 49ers retire Joe Montana's #16

Film Premiere

Dec 15 "Spice World" movie directed by Bob Spiers and starring girl group the Spice Girls premieres in the UK

Historic Event

Dec 16 US President Bill Clinton names his Labrador retriever "Buddy"

  • Dec 18 HTML 4.0 is published by the World Wide Web Consortium
  • Dec 21 Detroit Lions Barry Sanders is 3rd to run for 2,000 yards in a season
  • Dec 21 Detroit Lions linebacker Reggie Brown, knocked unconscious in game

Music History

Dec 22 MTV removes music video for Prodigy's song "Smack My Bitch Up" from broadcast rotation

  • Dec 22 Hunter Tylo awarded $4 million in Melrose Place breach of contract
  • Dec 22 Merck baldness pill for men approved by FDA

Sports History

Dec 22 Nancy Kerrigan & Tonya Harding pre-record a show to air on FOX on Feb 5

  • Dec 22 Acteal massacre: Attendees at a prayer meeting of Roman Catholic activists for indigenous causes in the small village of Acteal in the Mexican state of Chiapas are massacred by paramilitary forces.

Sports History

Dec 22 Scotty Bowman's Red Wings beat the Boston Bruins, 4-2 giving him 200 wins with Detroit, and making him the first NHL coach to record 200 wins with 3 different teams; also Montreal and Buffalo

Sports History

Dec 23 Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson is quickest to reach 500 wins (682 games)

NHL Record

Dec 23 Colorado Avalanche Jari Kurri is 8th NHLer to score 600 career goals

  • Dec 23 Terry Nichols found guilty of manslaughter in Oklahoma bombing
  • Dec 23 US Agriculture Department estimates it costs $149,820 to raise a child to 18
  • Dec 23 A Channukah candle is officially lighted in Vatican City for the 1st time to celebrate Hanukkah and to reconcile Roman Catholics and Jews [1]

Film Release

Dec 23 "As Good as It Gets" film released written and directed by James L. Brooks, starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt

Football Awards

Dec 23 Ballon d'Or: Barcelona/Inter's Brazilian striker Ronaldo wins his first of 2 best football player in Europe awards ahead of Real Madrid forward Predrag Mijatović and Juventus midfielder Zinedine Zidane

  • Dec 24 The Sid El-Antri massacre (or Sidi Lamri) in Algeria kills 50-100 people.
  • Dec 24 The Dominican Republic becomes a member of the Berne Convention copyright treaty
  • Dec 25 For 1st time US movie box office receipts pass $6 billion

Television Finale

Dec 25 Jerry Seinfeld announces the final season of his TV show "Seinfeld" will air the following year

  • Dec 26 The Soufriere Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat explodes, creating a small tsunami offshore.
  • Dec 27 Protestant paramilitary leader Billy Wright is assassinated in Northern Ireland.
  • Dec 28 Sting beats Hollywood Hogan for WCW Championship
  • Dec 29 Carquest Bowl 8: Georgia Tech beats West Virginia, 35-30
  • Dec 29 Hong Kong begins slaughtering all its chickens to prevent bird flu
  • Dec 29 Orville Lynn Majors, 36, arrested for many deaths under his care
  • Dec 29 Russia signs agreement to build a $3B nuclear power plant in China
  • Dec 29 Cricket Women's World Cup: Australia defeats New Zealand by 5 wickets
  • Dec 30 An abandoned building collapses on NY's 42nd St, no one hurt
  • Dec 30 In the worst incident in Algeria's insurgency, the Wilaya of Relizane massacres, 400 people are killed from four villages.

Historic Event

Dec 31 Intel cuts price of Pentium II-233 MHz from $401 to $268

  • Dec 31 72 year-old Marv Levy retires as coach of the NFL Buffalo Bills after 12 seasons, including 4 consecutive losing Super Bowl appearances
  • Dec 31 Microsoft buys Hotmail email service for $400 million and re-launches it as MSN Hotmail
  • Dec 31 More Swedes died than were born in 1997, 1st time since 1809
  • Dec 31 Orlando Hernandez, half-brother of pitcher Livan, defects from Cuba
  • Dec 31 South African & US surgeons separate Zambian Siamese twins joined at the head
  • Dec 31 27th Fiesta Bowl: #10 Kansas State beats #14 Syracuse, 35-18
  • Dec 31 Buffalo's Czech NHL goalie Dominik Hasek stops 36 shots for his 27th career shutout in Sabres' 3-0 win over Ottawa Senators; his 6th shutout in month of December; first since George Hainsworth in 1928-29 to achieve the feat

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 15 Maude Apatow, American actress (Euphoria), born in Los Banos, California
  • Dec 16 Zara Larsson, Swedish pop singer-songwriter ("Uncover"; "Never Forget You"), born in Solna, Sweden
  • Dec 24 Neeraj Chopra, Indian athlete (Olympic gold javelin 2020; first-ever Indian Olympic track & field gold), born in Panipat, Haryana, India
  • Dec 29 Dylan Minnette, American actor (13 Reasons Why; Saving Grace), and singer-songwriter (Wallows - Are You Bored Yet?), born in Evansville, Indiana

Famous Weddings

Peter Jennings

Dec 6 ABC's World News Tonight news anchor Peter Jennings (59) weds Kayce Freed in Bridgehampton, New York

Milla Jovovich

Dec 14 French film director Luc Besson (38) marries Russian-American actress Milla Jovovich (22); divorce in 1999

Woody Allen

Dec 23 Woody Allen, 62 weds Soon-Yi Previn 27, adopted daughter of Mia Farrow

  • Dec 25 Actress Rue McClanahan (64) weds actor-producer Morrow Wilson (58) at Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria

Robert Carlyle

Dec 28 Actor Robert Carlyle (36) weds makeup artist Anastasia Shirley in Scotland

Cate Blanchett

Dec 29 Actress Cate Blanchett (28) weds screenwriter Andrew Upton (31) at Blue Mountains National Park in New South Wales, Australia

Wedding of Interest

Dec 31 American rapper and actor "The Fresh Prince" Will Smith (31) weds actress Jada Pinkett (26) in Baltimore, Maryland

Helen Mirren

Dec 31 Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren (52) weds The Devil's Advocate director Taylor Hackford (53) at the Ardersier Parish Church near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands

Famous Divorces

Evel Knievel

Dec 10 Motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel (59) divorces Linda Joan Bork after 38 years of marriage

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 1 Denis Gerald Barrington, British artist, dies at 67
  • Dec 1 Stéphane Grappelli, French jazz violinist who founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France, dies at 89
  • Dec 1 Michel Bélanger, French Canadian businessman and banker (b. 1929)
  • Dec 2 Steve Hamilton, American baseball pitcher (New York Yankees) and basketball forward (Minneapolis Lakers), dies of cancer at 63
  • Dec 2 Endicott Peabody, American politician (62nd Governor of Massachusetts), dies at 77
  • Dec 2 Shirley Crabtree Jr. [Big Daddy], English pro wrestler (record-breaking 64-inch chest), dies from a stroke at 67
  • Dec 2 Michael Hedges, American new age guitarist and composer, dies in a car accident at 43
  • Dec 3 Marian Kratochwil, artist, dies at 91
  • Dec 3 Violet Carlson, American Broadway actress (The Student Prince), dies at 97
  • Dec 4 Richard Vernon, British character actor (A Hard Days Night; The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; Gandhi), dies of complications from Parkinson's disease at 72
  • Dec 4 Joseph Wolpe, South African psychotherapist, dies at 82
  • Dec 5 Daphne Fielding, British socialite and writer, dies at 93
  • Dec 6 Alan Mouncer, film director and producer, dies at 68
  • Dec 6 Eddie Myers, British WWII soldier and engineer, dies at 91
  • Dec 6 Eliot Daniel, American composer (I Love Lucy theme), dies at 89
  • Dec 6 Willy den Ouden, Dutch swimmer (WR 100m freestyle, 1:04.06 1933-56; Olympic gold 4×100m freestyle 1936), dies at 79
  • Dec 7 Billy Bremner, Scottish footballer (Leeds United), dies at 54 from a suspected heart attack
  • Dec 8 Bob Bell, clown (WGN's 1st Bozo), dies at 75
  • Dec 8 Leon Poliakov, historian, dies at 87
  • Dec 8 Nicholas Polunin, British botanist and environmentalist, dies at 88
  • Dec 9 Tamara Geva, Russian-born dancer and actress, dies at 91
  • Dec 10 Jake Carey, American actor (Rock Rock Rock!, Go, Johnny, Go!), dies at 71
  • Dec 11 Kenneth W. Gatland, British aerospace scientist, dies at 73
  • Dec 12 Yevgeniy Landis, Russian mathematician (b. 1921)
  • Dec 12 (Irving) "Mouse" Randolph, American swing jazz trumpeter (Cab Calloway Orchestra), dies at 88
  • Dec 13 Alexander Oppenheim, mathematician, dies at 94
  • Dec 13 Martin Carter, Guyanese poet and political activist, dies at 70
  • Dec 13 Rafael Jose Fernandez de la Calzada y Ferrer, restaurateur, dies at 83
  • Dec 13 Harry Glaß, German ski jumper (Olympic bronze 1956), dies at 67
  • Dec 14 Owen Barfield, British philosopher of language, dies at 99
  • Dec 14 Robert Sutton, New Zealand electronics engineer, dies at 82
  • Dec 14 Stubby Kaye [Bernard Solomon Kotzin], American actor (Guys & Dolls; Lil' Abner;, Cat Ballou), dies of lung cancer at 79
  • Dec 14 Kurt Winter, Canadian musician (The Guess Who), dies of kidney failure at 51
  • Dec 15 Pananayiotis Taki Vatikiotis, Middle Eastern scholar, dies at 69
  • Dec 16 Lillian Disney, widow of animator Walt Disney, dies of a stroke at 98
  • Dec 16 Nicolette Larson, American rock vocalist (Lotta Love; Twins), dies from brain seizure at 45
  • Dec 16 Richard Warwick, English actor (Johnny Dangerously, Sebastine, If), dies of AIDS complications at 52
  • Dec 17 Reginald Victor Jones, British scientist who worked in military intelligence in WWII, dies at 86
  • Dec 18 Chris Farley, American actor (SNL, Wayne's World, Coneheads), dies of a drug overdose at 33
  • Dec 19 David Schramm, American astrophysicist (pioneer in establishing particle astrophysics as a vibrant research field), dies at 52
  • Dec 19 Masaru Ibuka, Japanese electronics industrialist (Sony Corp), dies at 89
  • Dec 19 Jimmy Rogers, American blues musician (Muddy Waters' Band) dies at 73
  • Dec 20 Dawn Steel, American filmmaker, 1st woman to head Hollywood studio, dies of cancer at 51
  • Dec 20 Denise Levertov, American poet and essayist (Joy Beneath the Skin), dies at 74
  • Dec 20 Vincent Ciccone, inventor (Blow-Pops candy), dies at 81
  • Dec 20 Dick Spooner, English cricket wicket-keeper (7 Tests; 12 dismissals), dies at 77
  • Dec 21 Bruce Woodcock, English boxer, European Heavyweight Champion, dies at 76
  • Dec 21 Juzo Itami, film director/actor (Lord Jim, Yuuguremade), dies at 64
  • Dec 21 Michael Lyne, air-marshal, dies at 78
  • Dec 21 Harold Roxbee Cox, Baron Kings Norton, British aeronautical engineer, dies at 95
  • Dec 21 Amie Comeaux, American country music singer, dies at 21
  • Dec 22 Douglas Ranger, British surgeon, dies at 81
  • Dec 22 Hugh Edward Conway Seymour, 8th Marquess of Hertford, dies at 67
  • Dec 22 John Pinkerton, English computer scientist who designed the first business computer in England, the LEO computer, dies at 78
  • Dec 22 Johnny Coles, trumpeter, dies at 71
  • Dec 22 Juzo Itami, Japanese director, commits suicide at 64
  • Dec 23 Austin Whitaker, schoolmaster classical scholar/archivist, dies at 90
  • Dec 23 Brian Malzard Foss, British psychologist, dies at 76
  • Dec 23 Donald Gunn MacRae, British sociologist, dies at 76
  • Dec 23 Hrvoje Horvatic, Croatian video artist, dies at 39
  • Dec 23 Keith Bentley, English international racing cyclist, dies at 72
  • Dec 23 Stanley Cortez, American cinematographer (Magnificent Ambersons), dies at 89
  • Dec 24 Alan Fluck, Scottish musical educator, dies at 69
  • Dec 24 James Komack, American writer, director and actor (Courtship of Eddie's Father), dies at 67

Toshiro Mifune

Dec 24 Toshiro Mifune, Japanese writer and actor (Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Shogun), dies at 77

  • Dec 24 Pierre Péladeau, Canadian businessman and founder of Quebecor, dies at 72
  • Dec 25 Anatoli Boukreev, mountaineer, dies at 39
  • Dec 25 Denver Pyle, American actor (The Dukes of Hazzard, The Andy Griffith Show), dies of lung cancer at 77
  • Dec 25 Giorgio Strehler, Italian opera and theatre director, dies at 76
  • Dec 25 Laurence Gower, academic, dies at 84
  • Dec 26 John Hinde, photographer/circus promoter, dies at 81
  • Dec 26 John Whitley, British air-marshal, dies at 92
  • Dec 26 Cornelius Castoriadis, Greek philosopher and economist, dies at 75
  • Dec 27 Anthea Joseph, British music promoter, dies at 57
  • Dec 27 Brendan Gill, American critic (The New Yorker), dies at 83
  • Dec 27 Dorothy Stroud, garden historian, dies at 87
  • Dec 27 Ewart Abner, American record label executive, President of Motown Records, manager of Stevie Wonder), dies at 74
  • Dec 27 Tom Hudson, British artist and teacher, dies at 75
  • Dec 27 Billy Wright, Irish Protestant paramilitary leader (b. 1960)
  • Dec 27 Buxton Orr, Anglo-Scottish composer, dies at 73
  • Dec 28 George Fleming, cyclist, dies at 80
  • Dec 28 James Lees-Milne, English writer and architectural historian, dies at 89
  • Dec 28 Ronald Clive Williams, Welsh actor and comedian (Twin Town), dies at 68
  • Dec 28 Henry Barraud, French composer, dies at 97
  • Dec 29 Pat Clarke, British cyclist, dies at 82
  • Dec 30 Shinichi Hoshi, Japanese novelist (b. 1926)
  • Dec 31 76 law enforcement officers, killed by felons in US this year
  • Dec 31 Dominique de Menil, arts patron/human rights advocate, dies at 89
  • Dec 31 Floyd Cramer, American Country Music Hall of Fame pianist ("Last Date"; "On the Rebound"), dies of cancer at 64
  • Dec 31 Billie Dove [Lilian Bohny], American actress (Black Pirate, Stolen Bride), dies at 96
  • Dec 31 Michael Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy, dies in ski accident at 39