Year
2014

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman dies at age 46

On this day in 2014, Philip Seymour Hoffman, considered one of the most talented and versatile actors of his generation, dies of an accidental drug overdose at age 46 in New York City. During his career, the prolific performer appeared in more than 50 movies, including “Capote,” “Doubt” and “The Hunger Games” series, and earned a reputation for playing difficult or quirky characters. Hoffman also was an accomplished stage actor and director.

He won an Academy Award in the best actor category for his portrayal of author Truman Capote in “Capote” (2005), and received Oscar nominations for best supporting actor for his role as a CIA agent in “Charlie Wilson’s War” (2007) and for his performance as a priest in “Doubt” (2008). Other film credits include “Mission: Impossible III” (2006), “Moneyball” (2011) and “The Hunger Games” series. Hoffman garnered a third best supporting actor Oscar nomination for his role as a cult leader in “The Master” (2012).

Hoffman also was an acclaimed stage actor and director, who helped co-found a theater company, LAByrinth, and earned Tony Award nominations for his performances in “True West” (2000), “Long Day’s Journey into Night” (2003) and “Death of a Salesman” (2012), in which he starred as Willy Loman.

On February 2, 2014, Hoffman, who had struggled with drug addiction in his early 20s but was sober for many years before relapsing in 2012, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment. The medical examiner later ruled that the father of three had died from acute mixed drug intoxication.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Idi Amin takes power in Uganda

One week after toppling the regime of Ugandan leader Milton Obote, Major General Idi Amin declares himself president of Uganda and chief of the armed forces. Amin, head of the Ugandan army and air force since 1966, seized power while Obote was out of the country. Ruling directly, ...read more

Battle of Stalingrad ends

On this day, the last German troops in the Soviet city of Stalingrad surrender to the Red Army, ending one of the pivotal battles of World War II. On June 22, 1941, despite the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, Nazi Germany launched a massive invasion against the USSR. Aided ...read more

ABSCAM operation revealed

On February 2, 1980, details of ABSCAM, an FBI operation to uncover political corruption in the government, are released to the public. Thirty-one public officials were targeted for investigation, including Representative John Murphy of New York, five other representatives, and ...read more

First Groundhog Day

On this day in 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, is celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, it gets scared and runs back into ...read more

Germans surrender at Stalingrad

On this day, the last of the German forces fighting at Stalingrad surrender, despite Hitler’s earlier declaration that “Surrender is out of the question. The troops will defend themselves to the last!” The Battle of Stalingrad began in the summer of 1942, as German forces ...read more

Antiwar protestors sue Dow Chemical

Antiwar protestors take legal action in an attempt to prove that the Dow Chemical Company is still making napalm. Dow had claimed that it had stopped making napalm. Members of the antiwar movement filed suit against the Dow Chemical Company in a Washington, D.C., court. The ...read more

National League of baseball is founded

On February 2, 1876, the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, which comes to be more commonly known as the National League (NL), is formed. The American League (AL) was established in 1901 and in 1903, the first World Series was held. The first official game of ...read more

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed

On this day in 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed, ending the Mexican-American War in favor of the United States. The Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo added an additional 525,000 square miles to United States territory, including the area that would become the states of ...read more

Russians establish Fort Ross

Staking a tenuous claim to the riches of the Far West, Russians establish Fort Ross on the coast north of San Francisco. As a growing empire with a long Pacific coastline, Russia was in many ways well positioned to play a leading role in the settlement and development of the ...read more

James Joyce is born

Novelist James Joyce is born this day in Dublin, Ireland, the eldest of 10 children. His father, a cheerful ne’er-do-well, will eventually go bankrupt. Joyce attended Catholic school and University College in Dublin. A brilliant scholar, he learned Dano-Norwegian in order to read ...read more

Gene Kelly dies

On this day in 1996, the dancer, actor and choreographer Gene Kelly dies at the age of 83, at his home in Beverly Hills, California. Born in Pittsburgh in 1912, Kelly graduated with a degree in economics from the University of Pittsburgh during the Great Depression. With jobs ...read more

First Donner Party member dies

On this day in 1847, the first woman of a group of pioneers commonly known as the Donner Party dies during the group’s journey through a Sierra Nevada mountain pass. The disastrous trip west ended up killing 42 people and turned many of the survivors into cannibals. A total of 87 ...read more

Murder in Hollywood: A tale of vice and vixens

Police discover the body of film director William Desmond Taylor in his Los Angeles bungalow. Lieutenant Tom Ziegler responded to a call about a “natural death” at the Alvarado Street home of Taylor. Whenhe arrived they found actors, actresses, and studio executives rummaging ...read more

Albert Sidney Johnston born

On this day in 1803, Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston is born in Washington, Kentucky. Johnston was considered one of the best Confederate commanders until he was killed at the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, the first major engagement in the West. Johnston grew up in ...read more