On This Day

What Happened in December 2001

Historical Events

  • Dec 1 Captain Bill Compton brings Trans World Airlines Flight 220, an MD-83, into St. Louis International Airport bringing to an end 76 years of TWA operations following TWA's purchase by American Airlines.
  • Dec 1 Nicaraguan baseball team wins the Central American Games; Ramon Padilla ends 15 year stint with the national team with 2 homers in the 9-0 finale against Guatemala
  • Dec 2 Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York

Historic Event

Dec 2 Tony Fernandes' company Tune Air Sdn Bhd buys the heavily indebted AirAsia for 1 MYR (about USD 0.26 at the time)

  • Dec 2 Davis Cup Tennis, Melbourne: Nicolas Escudé defeats Wayne Arthurs of Australia 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 to give France a 3-2 victory; 9th French title, despite not playing a single match on home soil

Murder of Interest

Dec 4 Marike de Klerk, ex-wife of former President F.W. de Klerk is murdered at her home in Cape Town

Film Premiere

Dec 5 "Ocean's Eleven" directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts premieres in Westwood, California

  • Dec 6 The Canadian province of Newfoundland is renamed Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Dec 8 10th SEC Championship Game: #21 LSU beats #2 Tennessee, 31-20

Film Premiere

Dec 10 "The Fellowship of the Ring" Lord of the Rings film directed by Peter Jackson and starring Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen premieres in London

  • Dec 10 67th Heisman Trophy Award: Eric Crouch, Nebraska (QB)

Nobel Prize

Dec 10 Nobel Prize for Economics awarded jointly to Joseph Stiglitz, George A. Akerlof and A. Michael Spence "for their analyses of markets with asymmetric information"

  • Dec 11 The People's Republic of China joins the World Trade Organization.

Film & TV History

Dec 12 Winona Ryder is arrested on shoplifting charges in Beverly Hills, California

  • Dec 13 Indian Parliament Sansad attacked by terrorists. 15 people killed, including all terrorists

Film Premiere

Dec 13 "A Beautiful Mind" based on the bio by Sylvia Nasar, directed by Ron Howard and starring Russell Crowe premieres in Los Angeles (Best Picture 2002)

  • Dec 15 The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after 11 years and $27,000,000 to fortify it, without fixing its famous lean
  • Dec 18 Ballon d'Or: Liverpool forward Michael Owen is named best football player in Europe ahead of Real Madrid striker Raúl and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn
  • Dec 19 A record high barometric pressure of 1085.6 hPa (32.06 inHg) is recorded at Tosontsengel, Khövsgöl Province, Mongolia.
  • Dec 19 Argentine economic crisis: December 2001 riots - Riots erupt in Buenos Aires after Domingo Cavallo's corralito measures restrict the withdrawal of cash from bank deposits.

Film Release

Dec 19 "The Fellowship of the Ring", 1st Lord of the Rings film is released. Makes US$47 million US opening weekend, $871 million total worldwide.

  • Dec 20 Argentine economic crisis: President of Argentina Fernando de la Rúa is forced out of office.
  • Dec 20 90th Davis Cup: France beats Australia in Melbourne (3-2)

Historic Event

Dec 22 Burhanuddin Rabbani, political leader of the Afghan Northern Alliance, hands over power in Afghanistan to the interim government headed by President Hamid Karzai

  • Dec 22 Richard Reid attempts to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63.
  • Dec 26 Crude oil prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) record one of their largest 1-day jumps of the year as traders become convinced that OPEC will follow through on production cuts
  • Dec 27 The People's Republic of China is granted permanent normal trade relations with the United States.
  • Dec 28 OPEC oil ministers meeting in Cairo agree to reduce their crude oil output quotas by a combined 1.5 million barrels per day
  • Dec 29 Mesa Redonda shopping center fire, Lima, Peru, at least 291 killed.

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 1 Aiko, Princess Toshi of Japan

Billie Eilish

Dec 18 Billie Eilish, American Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter (When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?), born in Los Angeles, California


Famous Weddings

  • Dec 12 Actress Ashley Judd (33) weds race car driver Dario Franchetti (28) at Skibo Castle in Scotland

J. K. Rowling

Dec 26 "Harry Potter" author J. K. Rowling (36) weds anesthesiologist Neil Murray (30) in Aberfeldy, Scotland

  • Dec 31 Glamour model and actress Coco Austin (33) weds rapper-actor Ice-T (54) in Las Vegas, Nevada

Prince Rogers Nelson

Dec 31 American singer Prince Rogers Nelson (43) weds Canadian businesswoman Manuela Testolini; divorce in 2006


Famous Divorces

Kate Winslet

Dec 13 Oscar winning-actress Kate Winslet (26) divorces assistant film director Jim Threapleton (28) due to unreasonable behavior after 3 years of marriage

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 1 Ellis R. Dungan, American born Indian film director, dies at 92
  • Dec 3 Grady Martin, American country music guitarist (The Nashville A-Team), dies at 72

Peter Blake

Dec 5 Peter Blake, New Zealand yachtsman (Whitbread Round the World Race 1989-90; America's Cup 1995, 2000) and Special Envoy UN Environment Program, killed by pirates on the Amazon River at 53

  • Dec 5 Franco Rasetti, Italian physicist (b. 1901)
  • Dec 6 Charles McClendon, Hall of Fame college football coach (b. 1923)
  • Dec 7 Charles McClendon, LSU Tigers head football coach (b. 1923)
  • Dec 7 Pauline Moore [Joless Love], American actress (Colorado, Young Mr. Lincoln), dies of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at 87
  • Dec 8 Don Tennant, American advertising executive (b. 1922)
  • Dec 9 Michael Carver, British soldier (b. 1915)
  • Dec 10 Ashok Kumar [Dadamoni, Kumudlal Kunjilal Ganguly], Indian actor (Mahal, Afsana), dies from chronic asthma at 90
  • Dec 12 Jean Richard, French actor (b. 1921)
  • Dec 12 Ardito Desio, Italian explorer and topographer, dies at 104
  • Dec 13 Chuck Schuldiner, American heavy metal singer-songwriter (Death), dies of brain cancer at 34
  • Dec 14 W. G. Sebald, German writer, dies at 57
  • Dec 14 (Secondo) "Conte" Candoli, American jazz, big band, and session trumpeter (Woody Herman; Stan Kenton; The Brothers Candoli; The Tonight Show, 1967-92), dies of prostate cancer at 74
  • Dec 15 Russ Haas, American professional wrestler, dies of heart attack at 27
  • Dec 15 Rufus Thomas [Mr. Swing], American musician (Do the Funky Chicken), dies at 84
  • Dec 16 Stuart Adamson, Scottish rock vocalist and guitarist (The Skids, Big Country), dies at 43
  • Dec 16 Stefan Heym, German-American author (Crusaders, Family Benda), dies at 88
  • Dec 18 Gilbert Bécaud [François Gilbert Léopold Silly], French singer, pianist, composer and actor (Nathalie) known as "Monsieur 100,000 Volts" for his energetic performances, dies at 74
  • Dec 18 Dimitris Dragatakis, Greek composer, dies at 87
  • Dec 18 Dan DeCarlo, American cartoonist (Archie Comics), dies at 82
  • Dec 19 Marcel Mule, French classical saxophonist, composer, and teacher, dies at 100
  • Dec 20 Foster Brooks, American comedian and actor (The Villain, Oddballs, Mork & Mindy), dies of natural causes at 89
  • Dec 21 Dick Schaap, American Emmy Award-winning sportscaster, journalist, and author (Bo Knows Bo: Instant Replay), dies from complications during hip replacement surgery at 67
  • Dec 23 Bola Ige, Nigerian politician, Minister of Justice, murdered at 71
  • Dec 26 Nigel Hawthorne, English actor (Tartuffe, Pope John Paul II), dies at 72
  • Dec 28 Samuel A. Goldblith, American food scientist (b. 1919)
  • Dec 28 William X. Kienzle, American novelist (b. 1928)
  • Dec 29 Takashi Asahina, Japanese conductor (b. 1908)
  • Dec 30 Ralph Sutton, American stride and Dixieland jazz pianist and composer, dies at 79
  • Dec 31 Eileen Heckart, American actress (Butterflies Are Free, Doll's House, Trauma Center), dies of lung cancer at 82
  • Dec 31 John Grigg, 2nd Baron Altrincham, British writer and historian, dies at 77