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1959

Buddy Holly dies in a plane crash

On this day in 1959 rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson are killed when their chartered Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashes in Iowa a few minutes after takeoff on a flight from Mason City to Moorehead, Minnesota. Holly had chartered the plane for his band to fly between tour dates during the Winter Dance Party Tour. However, Richardson, who had a cold, talk... Read more >

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1953

Cousteau publishes The Silent World

French oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau publishes his most famous and lasting work, The Silent World, on this day. While in the French navy, he and engineer Émile Gagnan invented the Aqua-Lung, the world's first self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba). In 1953, he published The Silent World, written with Frédéric Dumas, and began work on a film version of the book with direc... Read more >

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1989

John Cassavetes dies

The film director, writer and actor John Cassavetes, hailed as a fiercely independent filmmaker and a pioneer of American cinema verite, dies on this day in 1989 at the age of 59, in Los Angeles. Born in New York City, Cassavetes studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts there. As an actor, he subscribed to the Method school, in which actors attempt to replicate the emotional cond... Read more >

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1966

Lunik 9' soft-lands on lunar surface

On February 3, 1966, the Soviet Union accomplishes the first controlled landing on the moon, when the unmanned spacecraft 'Lunik 9' touches down on the Ocean of Storms. After its soft landing, the circular capsule opened like a flower, deploying its antennas, and began transmitting photographs and television images back to Earth. The 220-pound landing capsule was launched from Earth on January ... Read more >