On This Day in Film & TV for December 20

Events in Film & TV

Film release premierFilm Premier

1946 Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life" film premieres in New York, directed by Frank Capra, starring James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore

Actor Lionel Barrymore
Lionel Barrymore
Actor James Stewart
James Stewart
Film Director Frank Capra
Film Director
Frank Capra

Film release premierFilm Premier

1950 "Harvey" starring James Stewart premieres in New York

  • 1952 KHQ TV channel 6 in Spokane, WA (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • 1953 KID (now KIDK) TV channel 3 in Idaho Falls, ID (CBS) 1st broadcasting
  • 1953 KWTV TV channel 9 in Oklahoma City, OK (CBS) begins broadcasting

Film release premierFilm Release

1963 "Contempt" film directed by Jean-Luc Godard, starring Brigitte Bardot and Jack Palance, is released

Actress and Model Brigitte Bardot
Actress and Model
Brigitte Bardot

Film release premierFilm Release

1974 "The Godfather Part II", directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, is released (Academy Awards Best Picture 1975)

  • 1980 NBC broadcasts NY Jets' 24-17 win over Dolphins without audio
  • 1985 Sportscaster Howard Cosell retires from television sports after 20 years with ABC

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1987 "Nuts" with Barbra Streisand premieres

Singer-songwriter & Actress Barbra Streisand
Singer-songwriter & Actress
Barbra Streisand
  • 1988 NBC signs lease to stay in NYC, 33 more years

Film release premierFilm Premier

1988 "Working Girl" premieres directed by Mike Nicols, starring Melanie Griffin, Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver

Film release premierFilm Release

1991 "Father of the Bride" film starring Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, and Martin Short, is released

Actor and Comedian Steve Martin
Actor and Comedian
Steve Martin
Actor Martin Short
Martin Short
Actress Diane Keaton
Diane Keaton

Film release premierFilm Release

1996 Horror film classic "Scream", starring Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox, is released

Film release premierFilm Release

2002 "Gangs of New York", starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Cameron Diaz, is released

Birthdays in Film & TV

  • 1869 Charley Grapewin, American actor (The Wizard of Oz, Libeled Lady), born in Xenia, Ohio (d. 1956)
  • 1890 Yvonne Arnaud, French-born pianist, singer and actress (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre), born in Bordeaux, Gironde, Aquitaine, France (d. 1958)
  • 1898 Irene Dunne, American actress (Cimarron, Theodora Goes Wild), born in Louisville, Kentucky (d. 1990)
  • 1905 Albert Dekker, American actor (Dr Cyclops, Beau Gesture), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 1968)
  • 1906 Lowell Gilmore, American actor (The Picture of Dorian Gray, Living Christ Series), born in St. Paul, Minnesota (d. 1960)
  • 1908 Norman Hackforth, broadcaster
  • 1908 Dennis Morgan, American actor (Kitty Foyle), born in Prentice, Wisconsin (d. 1994)
  • 1917 Audrey Totter, American actress (Carpetbaggers, Set-Up, The Unsuspected), born in Joliet, Illinois (d. 2013)
  • 1922 Charita Bauer, American actress (The Guiding Light, Aldrich Family), born in Newark, New Jersey (d. 1985)
  • 1924 Errol John, Trinidadian actor and playwright (A Man from the Sun, The Nun's Story, Assault on a Queen), born in Port of Spain, Trinidad (d. 1988)
  • 1924 Judy LaMarsh, Canadian politician and broadcaster (d. 1980)
  • 1931 Mary Ellen "Mala" Powers, American actress (Cyrano de Bergerac, The Wild Wild West), born in San Francisco, California (d. 2007)
  • 1932 John Hillerman, American actor (Magnum PI, Chinatown, Blazing Saddles), born in Denison, Texas (d. 2017)
  • 1939 Kathryn Joosten, Eustis, Florida, actress (Desperate Housewives), (d. 2012)
  • 1943 Angel Tompkins, Albany California, actress (Gloria-Search) [or 12/29/49]
  • 1944 Jean Fergusson, English actress
  • 1946 John Spencer, American actor (LA Law, West Wing), born in New York City (d. 2005)
  • 1949 Claudia Jennings, [Mary Ellen Chestrerton], Minn, playmate (Nov, 1969)
  • 1952 Jenny Agutter, Taunton England, actress (Logan's Run, Equus, Amy)
  • 1952 Sergio Vastano, Italian actor (Nightclub, Prete Bello)
  • 1954 Michael Badalucco, American actor
  • 1955 Pierre Bokma, Dutch actor (Avonden, Leedvermaak)
  • 1956 Blanche Baker, American actress, Carroll Baker's Daughter (French Postcard), born in NYC, New York
  • 1957 Joyce Hyser, American actress
  • 1961 Bonnie Marino, playmate (Jun, 1990), born in Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1961 Mohammad Fouad, Arab singer and actor
  • 1963 Karen Moncrieff, actress (Xtro 3, Days of Our Lives), born in Sacramento, California
  • 1965 Robert Cavanah, Scottish actor
  • 1967 Wendy Hamilton, playmate (Dec, 1991), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1968 Joe Cornish, British comedian
  • 1970 Nicole DeBoer, Canadian actress
  • 1975 Jaydy Michel, Mexican model
  • 1976 Jang Hyuk, Korean actor
  • 1982 David Cook, American singer, winner of American Idol.

Person of interestJonah Hill

1983 Jonah Hill, American actor (Superbad, Moneyball, The Wolf of Wall Street), born in Los Angeles, California

Actor Jonah Hill
Jonah Hill
  • 1983 Lucy Pinder, English model and actress, born in Hampshire, England
  • 1983 Lara Stone, Dutch model

Weddings in Film & TV

HeartWedding of Interest

1919 Actress Gloria Swanson (20) weds businessman Herbert K. Somborn (38)

HeartWedding of Interest

1949 "Gone with the Wind" actor Clark Gable (48) weds socialite Sylvia Ashley (45)

HeartWedding of Interest

1993 Businessman Donald Trump (47) weds former model Marla Maples (30) at Trump Plaza Hotel

45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality Donald Trump
45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality
Donald Trump
  • 1998 "Def Jam" business magnate Russell Simmons (41) weds model Kimora Lee (23) on the French Caribbean island of Saint Barthelemy
  • 2012 Actor Facundo Arana (40) weds Maria Susini at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nordelta, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 2015 Broadcaster Christine Bleakley (36) weds footballer Frank Lampard (37) at Saint Paul's Church in Knightsbridge, London

Divorces in Film & TV

Broken heartDivorce of Interest

1984 Actress Kate Jackson (36) divorces business executive David Greenwald after 2 years of marriage

Actress Kate Jackson
Kate Jackson
  • 2005 Actress Renee Zellweger (36) annuls her marriage to country-music singer Kenny Chesney (37) citing fraud, after 4 months of marriage

Broken heartDivorce of Interest

2007 "Hot in Cleveland" actress Valerie Bertinelli (47) divorces guitarist Eddie Van Halen (52) due to irreconcilable differences after 25 years of marriage

Hall of Fame rocker Eddie Van Halen
Hall of Fame rocker
Eddie Van Halen

Deaths in Film & TV

  • 1948 C Aubrey Smith [Charles], British actor (The Prisoner of Zenda), dies at 85
  • 1971 Roy O Disney, brother of Walt, dies of cerebral hemorrhage at 78
  • 1975 William Lundigan, American actor (Climax, Pinky, They Asked for It), dies of lung and heart congestion at 61
  • 1976 Walter Fitzgerald, actor (Adv of Sadie, Fallen Idol), dies at 80
  • 1981 Dimitris Rontiris, Greek actor and director (b. 1899)

Person of interestMax Robinson

1988 Max Robinson, 1st African American network TV anchor (ABC), dies of aids at 49

1st African-American Network TV Anchor Max Robinson
1st African-American Network TV Anchor
Max Robinson
  • 1988 Alphonse Ouimet, Canadian television pioneer and president of the CBC, dies at 80
  • 1989 Audrey Christie, American actress (Splendor in the Grass, Fair Exchange), dies at 77
  • 1991 Helene Heigh, actress (Undercover Woman, Teen Age Thunder), dies at 86
  • 1991 Thomas Newman, actor/composer (Cape Fear), dies of heart attack at 60
  • 1991 Walter Chiari, actor (Girl Under Sheet), dies of heart attack at 67
  • 1995 Madge Sinclair, actress (Star Trek IV, Conrack, Convoy), dies at 55
  • 1997 Dawn Steel, American filmmaker, 1st woman to head Hollywood studio, dies of cancer at 51
  • 1998 Irene Hervey, American actress (b. 1910)
  • 1999 Riccardo Freda, Italian film director (b. 1909)
  • 2001 Foster Brooks, American comedian and actor (The Villain, Oddballs, Mork & Mindy), dies of natural causes at 89
  • 2008 Dorothy Sarnoff, American operatic soprano, Broadway actress (Rosalinda), author and pioneer of the self-help movement (Speech Can Change Your Life, Speech Dynamics), dies at 94
  • 2009 Brittany Murphy, American actress (b. 1977)
  • 2009 Arnold Stang, American comic actor (b. 1918)
  • 2009 Mairoon Ali, Trinidadian comedienne and actress (b. 1954)
  • 2010 Steve Landesberg, American actor and comedian (b. 1945)
  • 2014 John Freeman, British politician (Labour)/ambassador/TV host, dies at 99
  • 2015 Patricia Elliott, American actress (Renee-Empire, One Life to Live), dies at 77
  • 2016 Michèle Morgan, French actress (Passage to Marseille), dies at 96