This day in history (Dec. 24)

Staff Writer

502 – Chinese emperor Xiao Yan names Xiao Tong his heir designate.
640 – Pope John IV is elected.
759 – Tang dynasty poet Du Fu departs for Chengdu, where he is hosted by fellow poet Pei Di.
1144 – The capital of the crusader County of Edessa falls to Imad ad-Din Zengi, the atabeg of Mosul and Aleppo.
1294 – Pope Boniface VIII is elected, replacing St. Celestine V, who had resigned.
1500 – A joint Venetian–Spanish fleet captures the Castle of St. George on the island of Cephalonia.
1777 – Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, is discovered by James Cook.
1800 – The Plot of the rue Saint-Nicaise fails to kill Napoleon Bonaparte.
1814 – Representatives of Britain and the United States sign the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.
1818 – The first performance of "Silent Night" takes place in the church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.
1826 – The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy begins that night, wrapping up the following morning.
1846 – British acquired Labuan from the Sultanate of Brunei for Great Britain.
1851 – Library of Congress burns.
1865 – The Ku Klux Klan is formed.
1871 – Aida opens in Cairo, Egypt.
1906 – Radio: Reginald Fessenden transmits the first radio broadcast; consisting of a poetry reading, a violin solo, and a speech.
1911 – Lackawanna Cut-Off railway line opens in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
1913 – The Italian Hall disaster in Calumet, Michigan results in the deaths of 73 Christmas party participants (including 59 children) when someone falsely yells "fire".
1914 – World War I: The "Christmas truce" begins.
1924 – Albania becomes a republic.
1929 – Assassination attempt on Argentine President Hipólito Yrigoyen.
1939 – World War II: Pope Pius XII makes a Christmas Eve appeal for peace.
1941 – World War II: Kuching is conquered by Japanese forces.
1941 – World War II: Benghazi is conquered by British forces.
1942 – World War II: French monarchist, Fernand Bonnier de La Chapelle, assassinates Vichy French Admiral François Darlan in Algiers, Algeria.
1943 – World War II: U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower is named Supreme Allied Commander for the Invasion of Normandy.
1945 – Five of nine children become missing after their home in Fayetteville, West Virginia, is burned down.
1951 – Libya becomes independent from Italy. Idris I is proclaimed King of Libya.
1953 – Tangiwai disaster: In New Zealand's North Island, at Tangiwai, a railway bridge is damaged by a lahar and collapses beneath a passenger train, killing 151 people.
1964 – Vietnam War: Viet Cong operatives bomb the Brinks Hotel in Saigon, South Vietnam to demonstrate they can strike an American installation in the heavily guarded capital.
1966 – A Canadair CL-44 chartered by the United States military crashes into a small village in South Vietnam, killing 129.
1968 – Apollo program: The crew of Apollo 8 enters into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so. They performed ten lunar orbits and broadcast live TV pictures.
1969 – The oil company Phillips Petroleum made the first oil discovery in the Norwegian sector of North Sea.
1969 – Nigerian troops capture Umuahia, the Biafran capital.
1973 – District of Columbia Home Rule Act is passed, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to elect their own local government.
1974 – Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Australia.
1980 – Witnesses report the first of several sightings of unexplained lights near RAF Woodbridge, in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom, an incident called "Britain's Roswell".
1994 – Air France Flight 8969 is hijacked on the ground at Houari Boumediene Airport, Algiers, Algeria. Over the course of three days three passengers are killed, as are all four terrorists.
1997 – The Sid El-Antri massacre in Algeria kills between 50 and 100 people.
1999 – Indian Airlines Flight 814 is hijacked in Indian airspace between Kathmandu, Nepal, and Delhi, India. The aircraft landed at Kandahar in Afghanistan. The incident ended on December 31 with the release of 190 survivors (one passenger is killed).
2003 – The Spanish police thwart an attempt by ETA to detonate 50 kg of explosives at 3:55 p.m. inside Madrid's busy Chamartín Station.
2005 – Chad–Sudan relations: Chad declares a state of war against Sudan following a December 18 attack on Adré, which left about 100 people dead.
2008 – Lord's Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group, begins a series of attacks on Democratic Republic of the Congo, massacring more than 400.
Births[edit]
3 BC – Galba, Roman emperor (d. 69)
1166 – John, King of England (d. 1216)
1389 – John V, Duke of Brittany (d. 1442)
1474 – Bartolomeo degli Organi, Italian musician (d. 1539)
1475 – Thomas Murner, German poet and translator (d. 1537)
1508 – Pietro Carnesecchi, Italian scholar (d. 1567)
1520 – Martha Leijonhufvud, Swedish noble (d. 1584)
1537 – Willem IV van den Bergh, Stadtholder of Guelders and Zutphen (d. 1586)
1549 – Kaspar Ulenberg, German theologian (d. 1617)
1588 – Constance of Austria (d. 1631)
1596 – Leonaert Bramer, Dutch painter (d. 1674)
1597 – Honoré II, Prince of Monaco (d. 1662)
1625 – Johann Rudolph Ahle, German organist, composer, and theorist (d. 1673)
1635 – Mariana of Austria (d. 1696)
1679 – Domenico Sarro, Italian composer and educator (d. 1744)
1698 – William Warburton, English bishop (d. 1779)
1726 – Johann Hartmann, Danish composer (d. 1793)
1731 – Julie Bondeli, Swiss salonist and lady of letters (d. 1778)
1754 – George Crabbe, English priest, surgeon, and poet (d. 1832)
1761 – Selim III, Ottoman sultan (d. 1808)
1761 – Jean-Louis Pons, French astronomer (d. 1831)
1798 – Adam Mickiewicz, Polish poet and playwright (d. 1855)
1809 – Kit Carson, American general (d. 1868)
1810 – Wilhelm Marstrand, Danish painter and illustrator (d. 1873)
1812 – Karl Eduard Zachariae von Lingenthal, German lawyer and jurist (d. 1894)
1818 – James Prescott Joule, English physicist and brewer (d. 1889)
1822 – Matthew Arnold, English poet and critic (d. 1888)
1827 – Alexander von Oettingen, German theologian and statistician (d. 1905)
1837 – Empress Elisabeth of Austria (d. 1898)
1843 – Lydia Koidula, Estonian poet and playwright (d. 1886)
1845 – George I of Greece (d. 1913)
1865 – Szymon Askenazy, Polish historian, educator, and diplomat, founded the Askenazy school (d. 1935)
1867 – Tevfik Fikret, Turkish poet and educator (d. 1915)
1867 – Kantarō Suzuki, Japanese admiral and politician, 42nd Prime Minister of Japan (d. 1948)
1868 – Emanuel Lasker, German chess player, mathematician, and philosopher (d. 1941)
1869 – Henriette Roland Holst, Dutch poet, playwright, and politician (d. 1952)
1872 – Frederick Semple, American golfer and tennis player (d. 1927)
1875 – Émile Wegelin, French rower (d. 1962)
1877 – Sigrid Schauman, Finnish painter and critic (d. 1979)
1879 – Émile Nelligan, Canadian poet (d. 1941)
1879 – Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (d. 1952)
1880 – Johnny Gruelle, American author and illustrator (d. 1939)
1881 – Charles Wakefield Cadman, American composer and critic (d. 1946)
1882 – Hans Rebane, Estonian journalist and politician, 8th Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs (d. 1961)
1883 – Stefan Jaracz, Polish actor and producer (d. 1945)
1885 – Paul Manship, American sculptor (d. 1966)
1887 – Louis Jouvet, French actor and producer (d. 1951)
1888 – Michael Curtiz, Hungarian-American actor, director, and producer (d. 1962)
1891 – Feodor Stepanovich Rojankovsky, Russian illustrator and painter (d. 1970)
1892 – Ruth Chatterton, American actress (d. 1961)
1893 – Harry Warren, American pianist and composer (d. 1981)
1894 – Georges Guynemer, French captain and pilot (d. 1917)
1894 – Jack Thayer, American businessman (d. 1945)
1895 – E. Roland Harriman, American financier and philanthropist (d. 1978)
1895 – Noel Streatfeild, English author (d. 1986)
1895 – Marguerite Williams, American geologist (d. 1991)
1897 – Ville Pörhölä, Finnish shot putter and discus thrower (d. 1964)
1897 – Väinö Sipilä, Finnish runner (d. 1987)
1898 – Baby Dodds, American drummer (d. 1959)
1900 – Joey Smallwood, Canadian journalist and politician, 1st Premier of Newfoundland (d. 1991)
1900 – Hawayo Takata, Japanese-American teacher and master practitioner of Reiki (d. 1980)
1903 – Joseph Cornell, American sculptor and director (d. 1972)
1903 – Ernst Krenkel, Polish-Russian geographer and explorer (d. 1971)
1903 – Ava Helen Pauling, American humanitarian and activist (d. 1981)
1904 – Joseph M. Juran, Romanian-American engineer and businessman (d. 2008)
1905 – Howard Hughes, American businessman, engineer, and pilot (d. 1976)
1906 – Franz Waxman, German-American composer and conductor (d. 1967)
1907 – I. F. Stone, American journalist and author (d. 1989)
1910 – Ellen Braumüller, German javelin thrower and triathlete (d. 1991)
1910 – Fritz Leiber, American author and poet (d. 1992)
1910 – Max Miedinger, Swiss typeface designer, created Helvetica (d. 1980)
1913 – Ad Reinhardt, American painter and academic (d. 1967)
1914 – Ralph Marterie, Italian-American trumpet player and bandleader (d. 1978)
1914 – Herbert Reinecker, German author and screenwriter (d. 2007)
1919 – Qateel Shifai, Pakistani poet and songwriter (d. 2001)
1919 – Pierre Soulages, French artist
1920 – Franco Lucentini, Italian author and screenwriter (d. 2002)
1920 – Yevgeniya Rudneva, Ukrainian-Russian lieutenant and navigator (d. 1944)
1921 – Bill Dudley, American football player (d. 2010)
1922 – Ava Gardner, American actress (d. 1990)
1923 – George Patton IV, American general (d. 2004)
1924 – Lee Dorsey, American singer-songwriter (d. 1986)
1924 – Abdirizak Haji Hussein, Somalian soldier and politician, 4th Prime Minister of Somalia (d. 2014)
1924 – Mohammed Rafi, Indian singer (d. 1980)
1924 – Norman Rossington, English actor (d. 1999)
1927 – Mary Higgins Clark, American author
1928 – Lev Vlassenko, Georgian-Australian pianist and educator (d. 1996)
1929 – Lennart Skoglund, Swedish footballer (d. 1975)
1929 – Philip Ziegler, English historian and author
1930 – Robert Joffrey, American dancer and choreographer (d. 1988)
1930 – John J. Kelley, American runner (d. 2011)
1931 – Ray Bryant, American pianist and composer (d. 2011)
1931 – Mauricio Kagel, Argentinian-German composer and scholar (d. 2008)
1932 – Colin Cowdrey, Indian-English cricketer (d. 2000)
1932 – On Kawara, Japanese-American painter (d. 2014)
1934 – John Critchinson, English pianist and composer (d. 2017)
1934 – Stjepan Mesić, Croatian lawyer and politician, 2nd President of Croatia
1936 – Ivan Lawrence, English lawyer and politician
1937 – Félix Miélli Venerando, Brazilian footballer and manager (d. 2012)
1937 – John Taylor, Baron Kilclooney, Northern Irish politician, Irish Minister of Home Affairs
1938 – Bobby Henrich, American baseball player
1938 – Valentim Loureiro, Portuguese soldier and politician
1940 – Janet Carroll, American actress and singer (d. 2012)
1941 – Mike Hazlewood, English singer-songwriter (d. 2001)
1942 – Indra Bania, Indian actor, director, and playwright (d. 2015)
1942 – Jonathan Borofsky, American sculptor and painter
1942 – Đoàn Viết Hoạt, Vietnamese journalist, educator, and activist
1943 – Tarja Halonen, Finnish lawyer and politician, 11th President of Finland
1943 – Suzy Menkes, English journalist and critic
1944 – Barry Elliot, English actor and screenwriter
1944 – Mike Curb, American businessman and politician, 42nd Lieutenant Governor of California
1944 – Oswald Gracias, Indian cardinal
1944 – Daniel Johnson, Jr., Canadian lawyer and politician, 25th Premier of Quebec
1944 – Erhard Keller, German speed skater
1944 – Bob Shaw, Australian golfer
1944 – Woody Shaw, American trumpeter (d. 1989)
1945 – Lemmy, English hard rock singer-songwriter and bass player (d. 2015)
1945 – Steve Smith, Canadian-American actor and comedian
1946 – Jan Akkerman, Dutch rock guitarist and songwriter
1946 – Jeff Sessions, American captain, lawyer, and politician, 44th Attorney General of Alabama
1947 – Kevin Sheedy, Australian footballer and coach
1948 – Stan Bowles, English footballer and sportscaster
1948 – Frank Oliver, New Zealand rugby player and coach
1949 – Warwick Brown, Australian race car driver
1949 – Randy Neugebauer, American accountant and politician
1950 – Dana Gioia, American poet and critic
1950 – Hiroshi Ikushima, Japanese businessman and academic
1950 – Libby Larsen, American composer
1951 – John D'Acquisto, American baseball player
1951 – Nick Kent, English-French journalist and author
1953 – Timothy Carhart, American actor
1954 – Yves Debay, Congolese-French commander and journalist (d. 2013)
1954 – José María Figueres, Costa Rican businessman and politician, President of Costa Rica
1954 – Helen Jones, English lawyer and politician
1954 – Dale Brown Emeagwali, American microbiologist and cancer researcher
1955 – Scott Fischer, American mountaineer and guide (d. 1996)
1955 – Clarence Gilyard, American actor and educator
1957 – Hamid Karzai, Afghan politician, 12th President of Afghanistan
1957 – Diane Tell, Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist
1958 – Munetaka Higuchi, Japanese drummer and producer (d. 2008)
1958 – Paul Pressey, American basketball player and coach
1958 – Gene Sperling, American economist
1959 – Chris Blackhurst, English journalist
1959 – Lee Daniels, American director and producer
1960 – Glenn McQueen, Canadian-American animator (d. 2002)
1960 – Carol Vorderman, English television host
1961 – Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijani businessman and politician, 4th President of Azerbaijan
1961 – Mary Barra, American businesswoman, current CEO and chairwoman of General Motors
1961 – Eriko Kitagawa, Japanese director and screenwriter
1961 – Darren Wharton, English singer-songwriter and keyboard player
1961 – Wade Williams, American actor
1961 – Jay Wright, American basketball player and coach
1962 – Kate Spade, American fashion designer, co-founded Kate Spade New York
1963 – Caroline Aherne, English actress, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2016)
1963 – Jay Bilas, American basketball player and sportscaster
1963 – Timo Jutila, Finnish ice hockey player and sportscaster
1963 – Mary Ramsey, American singer-songwriter and violinist
1963 – Neil Turbin, American singer-songwriter
1964 – Mark Valley, American actor
1965 – Millard Powers, American bass player, songwriter, and producer
1966 – Diedrich Bader, American actor
1967 – Mikhail Shchennikov, Russian race walker
1967 – Pernilla Wahlgren, Swedish singer and actress
1968 – Doyle Bramhall II, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
1968 – Marleen Renders, Belgian runner
1969 – Brad Anderson, American wrestler
1969 – Milan Blagojevic, Australian footballer and manager
1969 – Pernille Fischer Christensen, Danish director and screenwriter
1969 – Taro Goto, Japanese soccer player
1969 – Leavander Johnson, American boxer (d. 2005)
1969 – Ryuji Kato, Japanese soccer player
1969 – Nick Love, English director and screenwriter
1969 – Clinton McKinnon, American saxophonist and keyboard player
1969 – Ed Miliband, English academic and politician, Minister for the Cabinet Office
1969 – Mark Millar, Scottish author
1969 – Luis Musrri, Chilean footballer and manager
1969 – Oleg Skripochka, Russian astronaut and engineer
1969 – Gintaras Staučė, Lithuanian footballer and manager
1969 – Michael Zucchet, American economist and politician
1970 – Adam Haslett, American author and academic
1970 – Amaury Nolasco, Puerto Rican-American actor
1971 – Geoff Allott, New Zealand cricketer
1971 – Sascha Fischer, German rugby player
1971 – Ricky Martin, Puerto Rican-American singer-songwriter and actor
1972 – Álvaro Mesén, Costa Rican footballer
1972 – Klaus Schnellenkamp, Chilean businessman and author
1973 – Liu Dong, Chinese-Spanish runner
1973 – Paul Foot, English comedian
1973 – Stephenie Meyer, American author and film producer
1973 – Ali Salem Tamek, Moroccan activist
1974 – Thure Lindhardt, Danish actor
1974 – Paal Nilssen-Love, Norwegian drummer and composer
1974 – Marcelo Salas, Chilean footballer
1974 – Ryan Seacrest, American radio host and television personality, and producer
1974 – J.D. Walsh, American actor, director, and producer
1976 – Linda Ferga, French hurdler
1977 – Michael Raymond-James, American actor
1978 – Yıldıray Baştürk, German-Turkish footballer
1978 – Warren Tredrea, Australian footballer and sportscaster
1979 – Chris Hero, American wrestler and trainer
1980 – Maarja Liis-Ilus, Estonian pop musician
1980 – Stephen Appiah, Ghanaian footballer
1980 – Tomas Kalnoky, Czech-American singer-songwriter and guitarist
1981 – Dima Bilan, Russian singer-songwriter and actor
1984 – Isaac De Gois, Australian rugby league player
1985 – Alexey Dmitriev, German ice hockey player
1985 – David Ragan, American race car driver
1986 – Tim Elliott, American mixed martial artist
1986 – Kyrylo Fesenko, Ukrainian basketball player
1987 – Jane Summersett, American ice dancer
1988 – Stefanos Athanasiadis, Greek footballer
1988 – Emre Özkan, Turkish footballer
1988 – Simon Zenke, Nigerian footballer
1990 – Brigetta Barrett, American high jumper
1990 – Marcus Jordan, American basketball player
1990 – Ryo Miyake, Japanese fencer
1991 – Lara Michel, Swiss tennis player
1991 – Wasim Tareen, Pakistani footballer
1991 – Louis Tomlinson, English singer-songwriter
1994 – Fa'amanu Brown, New Zealand rugby league player
1994 – Miguel Castro, Dominican baseball player
Deaths[edit]
427 – Archbishop Sisinnius I of Constantinople
903 – Hedwiga, duchess of Saxony
950 – Shi Hongzhao, Chinese general
950 – Wang Zhang, Chinese official
950 – Yang Bin, Chinese chancellor
1193 – Roger III of Sicily (b. 1175)
1257 – John I, Count of Hainaut (b. 1218)
1263 – Hōjō Tokiyori, regent of Japan (b. 1227)
1281 – Henry V of Luxembourg (b. 1216)
1449 – Walter Bower, Scottish chronicler (b. 1385)
1453 – John Dunstaple, English composer (b. 1390)
1456 – Đurađ Branković, Despot of Serbia (b. 1377)
1473 – John Cantius, Polish scholar and theologian (b. 1390)
1524 – Vasco da Gama, Portuguese explorer and politician, Governor of Portuguese India (b. 1469)
1541 – Andreas Karlstadt, Christian theologian and reformer (born 1486)
1635 – Hester Jonas, German nurse (b. 1570)
1660 – Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange (b. 1631)
1707 – Noël Coypel, French painter and educator (b. 1628)
1813 – Empress Go-Sakuramachi of Japan (b. 1740)
1844 – Friedrich Bernhard Westphal, Danish-German painter (b. 1803)
1863 – William Makepeace Thackeray, English author and poet (b. 1811)
1865 – Charles Lock Eastlake, English painter and historian (b. 1793)
1868 – Adolphe d'Archiac, French paleontologist and geologist (b. 1802)
1872 – William John Macquorn Rankine, Scottish physicist and engineer (b. 1820)
1873 – Johns Hopkins, American businessman and philanthropist (b. 1795)
1889 – Jan Jakob Lodewijk ten Kate, Dutch pastor and poet (b. 1819)
1898 – Charbel Makhluf, Lebanese priest and saint (b. 1828)
1914 – John Muir, Scottish-American geologist, botanist, and author, founded Sierra Club (b. 1838)
1920 – Stephen Mosher Wood, American lieutenant and politician (b. 1832)
1926 – Wesley Coe, American shot putter, hammer thrower, and discus thrower (b. 1879)
1931 – Flying Hawk, American warrior, educator and historian (b. 1854)
1935 – Alban Berg, Austrian composer and educator (b. 1885)
1938 – Bruno Taut, German architect and urban planner (b. 1880)
1941 – Siegfried Alkan, German composer (b. 1858)
1942 – François Darlan, French admiral and politician, 122nd Prime Minister of France (b. 1881)
1947 – Charles Gondouin, French rugby player and tug of war competitor (b. 1875)
1957 – Norma Talmadge, American actress and producer (b. 1893)
1961 – Robert Hillyer, American poet and academic (b. 1895)
1962 – Wilhelm Ackermann, German mathematician (b. 1896)
1962 – Eveline Adelheid von Maydell, German illustrator (b. 1890)
1964 – Claudia Jones, Trinidad-British journalist and activist (b. 1915)
1965 – John Black, English businessman (b. 1895)
1965 – William M. Branham, American minister and theologian (b. 1906)
1967 – Burt Baskin, American businessman, co-founded Baskin-Robbins (b. 1913)
1969 – Stanisław Błeszyński, Polish-German entomologist and lepidopterist (b. 1927)
1969 – Cortelia Clark, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1907)
1969 – Olivia FitzRoy, English soldier and author (b. 1921)
1969 – Alfred B. Skar, Norwegian journalist and politician (b. 1896)
1971 – Maria Koepcke, German-Peruvian ornithologist and zoologist (b. 1924)
1972 – Gisela Richter, English-American archaeologist and historian (b. 1882)
1973 – Fritz Gause, German historian and author (b. 1893)
1975 – Bernard Herrmann, American composer and conductor (b. 1911)
1977 – Samael Aun Weor, Colombian author and educator (b. 1917)
1980 – Karl Dönitz, German admiral and politician, President of Germany (b. 1891)
1982 – Louis Aragon, French author and poet (b. 1897)
1984 – Peter Lawford, English-American actor (b. 1923)
1985 – Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, American lawyer (b. 1904)
1985 – Camille Tourville, Canadian-American wrestler and manager (b. 1927)
1986 – Gardner Fox, American author (b. 1911)
1987 – Joop den Uyl, Dutch journalist, economist, and politician, 45th Prime Minister of the Netherlands (b. 1919)
1987 – M. G. Ramachandran, Sri Lankan-Indian actor, producer, and politician, 5th Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (b. 1917)
1988 – Jainendra Kumar, Indian author (b. 1905)
1990 – Thorbjørn Egner, Norwegian playwright and songwriter (b. 1922)
1991 – Virginia Sorensen, American author (b. 1912)
1992 – Peyo, Belgian cartoonist, created The Smurfs (b. 1928)
1992 – Bobby LaKind, American singer-songwriter and conga player (b. 1945)
1993 – Norman Vincent Peale, American minister and author (b. 1898)
1994 – John Boswell, American historian, author, and academic (b. 1947)
1994 – Rossano Brazzi, Italian actor (b. 1916)
1997 – James Komack, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1930)
1997 – Toshiro Mifune, Chinese-Japanese actor and producer (b. 1920)
1997 – Pierre Péladeau, Canadian businessman, founded Quebecor (b. 1925)
1998 – Syl Apps, Canadian ice hockey player and pole vaulter (b. 1915)
1999 – Bill Bowerman, American runner, coach, and businessman, co-founded Nike, Inc. (b. 1911)
1999 – Maurice Couve de Murville, French soldier and politician, 152nd Prime Minister of France (b. 1907)
1999 – João Figueiredo, Brazilian general and politician, 30th President of Brazil (b. 1918)
2000 – John Cooper, English businessman, co-founded the Cooper Car Company (b. 1923)
2002 – Kjell Aukrust, Norwegian author and poet (b. 1920)
2002 – Jake Thackray, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1938)
2004 – Johnny Oates, American baseball player, coach, and manager (b. 1946)
2006 – Braguinha, Brazilian singer-songwriter and producer (b. 1907)
2006 – Kenneth Sivertsen, Norwegian guitarist and composer (b. 1961)
2006 – Frank Stanton, American businessman (b. 1908)
2007 – Nicholas Pumfrey, English lawyer and judge (b. 1951)
2007 – George Warrington, American businessman (b. 1952)
2008 – Ralph Harris, British journalist (b. 1921)
2008 – Harold Pinter, English playwright, screenwriter, director, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1930)
2009 – Marcus Bakker, Dutch journalist and politician (b. 1923)
2009 – Rafael Caldera, Venezuelan lawyer and politician, 65th President of Venezuela (b. 1916)
2009 – George Michael, American sportscaster (b. 1939)
2009 – Gero von Wilpert, German author and academic (b. 1933)
2010 – Elisabeth Beresford, French-English journalist and author (b. 1926)
2010 – Frans de Munck, Dutch footballer and manager (b. 1922)
2010 – Orestes Quércia, Brazilian journalist, lawyer, and politician, 28th Governor of São Paulo State (b. 1938)
2010 – Eino Tamberg, Estonian composer and educator (b. 1930)
2011 – Johannes Heesters, Dutch-German entertainer (b. 1903)
2012 – Richard Rodney Bennett, English-American composer and academic (b. 1936)
2012 – Charles Durning, American soldier and actor (b. 1923)
2012 – Jack Klugman, American actor (b. 1922)
2012 – Dennis O'Driscoll, Irish poet and critic (b. 1954)
2013 – Frédéric Back, German-Canadian director, animator, and screenwriter (b. 1924)
2013 – Ian Barbour, Chinese-American author and scholar (b. 1923)
2013 – John M. Goldman, English haematologist and oncologist (b. 1938)
2013 – Allan McKeown, English-American screenwriter and producer (b. 1946)
2014 – Buddy DeFranco, American clarinet player (b. 1923)
2014 – Edward Greenspan, Canadian lawyer and author (b. 1944)
2014 – Herbert Harris, American lawyer and politician (b. 1926)
2014 – Krzysztof Krauze, Polish director and screenwriter (b. 1953)
2015 – Turid Birkeland, Norwegian businesswoman and politician, Norwegian Minister of Culture (b. 1962)
2015 – Letty Jimenez Magsanoc, Filipino journalist (b. 1941)
2015 – Adriana Olguín, Chilean lawyer and politician, Chilean Minister of Justice (b. 1911)
2016 – Rick Parfitt, British musician (b. 1948)
2016 – Liz Smith, English actress (b. 1921)
2016 – Richard Adams, English author (b. 1920)
Holidays and observances[edit]
Christian feast day:
Adela and Irmina
Paola Elisabetta Cerioli
December 24 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
Christmas Eve (Christianity) and its related observances:
Aðfangadagskvöld, the day when the 13th and the last Yule Lad arrives to towns. (Iceland)
Feast of the Seven Fishes (Italy)
Juleaften (Denmark)/Julaften (Norway)/Julafton (Sweden)
Nittel Nacht (certain Orthodox Jewish denominations)
Nochebuena (Spain and Spanish-speaking countries)
The Declaration of Christmas Peace (Old Great Square of Turku, Finland's official Christmas City)
Independence Day (Libya)
Mōdraniht (Anglo-Saxon paganism)
Day of Military Honour - Siege of Ismail (Russia)

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