Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin born

On this day in 1980, Macaulay Culkin, the star of the Home Alone movies and the most successful child actor of his generation, is born in New York City.

Culkin, the third of seven children born to Patricia Brentrup and former actor Christopher “Kit” Culkin, began appearing in theater productions by the age of four. He made his feature film debut in 1988’s Rocket Gibraltar (1988), starring Burt Lancaster. In 1989, Culkin appeared in the comedy Uncle Buck (1989), which was written and directed by John Hughes and featured John Candy in the title role.

Culkin would skyrocket to fame as Kevin McCallister in the 1990 blockbuster Home Alone, about a little boy who must protect his suburban Chicago house from bumbling thieves after his family accidentally leaves him alone when they go on vacation. The film, directed by Chris Columbus and written by Hughes, who reportedly recommended Culkin for the lead, spawned a 1992 sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, which also starred Culkin. (A third film, Home Alone 3, was released in 1997, along with a 2002 TV movie, Home Alone 4, but Culkin wasn’t involved with either project.)

Following Home Alone, Culkin starred in My Girl (1991) and The Good Son (1993), in which he departed from his cute image to play an evil character. By 1994, he was the highest-paid child actor in show business. Culkin’s career and those of his brothers Kieran (Father of the Bride, The Cider House Rules) and Rory (You Can Count on Me) were managed by their father Kit, who earned a reputation in the media as a “stage parent from hell.” Following the disappointing box-office results of Macaulay’s films Getting Even with Dad (1994), The Pagemaster (1994) and Richie Rich (1994), he took a break from acting. Around this time, his parents (who never married) became involved in a highly publicized custody battle over their children. The case was finally resolved in 1997, when Kit Culkin ceded control to Brentrup.

In 1998, when they were both 17 years old, Culkin married the actress Rachel Miner. The couple divorced in 2000. In 2003, Culkin returned to the big screen in Party Monster, based on the true story of the drug-addicted New York City party promoter Michael Alig, who was convicted of the 1996 murder of fellow clubgoer Angel Melendez. Though the film found only moderate success, it helped revive Culkin’s career. He has since appeared in several other films–including the teen comedy Saved! (2004)–none of which have approached the commercial success of Home Alone.


“Preppy Murder” stuns New York

On this day in 1986, 18-year-old Jennifer Levin is found dead in New York City’s Central Park less than two hours after she was seen leaving a bar on the city’s Upper East Side with 19-year-old Robert Chambers. The tall, handsome Chambers was soon arrested and charged with more

Battle of Crecy

During the Hundred Years War, King Edward III’s English army annihilates a French force under King Philip VI at the Battle of Crecy in Normandy. The battle, which saw an early use of the deadly longbow by the English, is regarded as one of the most decisive in history. On July more

Charles Lindbergh dies

Charles Lindbergh, the first man to accomplish a solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, dies in Maui, Hawaii, at the age of 72. Charles Augustus Lindbergh, born in Detroit in 1902, took up flying at the age of 20. In 1923, he bought a surplus World War I Curtiss “Jenny” more

19th Amendment adopted

The 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. The amendment was the culmination of more than 70 years of struggle by woman suffragists. Its two sections read simply: more

Mini makes its debut

On this day in 1959, the British Motor Corporation (BMC) launches its newest car, the small, affordable–at a price tag of less than $800–Mark I Mini. The diminutive Mini went on to become one of the best-selling British cars in history. The story behind the Mini began in August more

First televised Major League baseball game

On this day in 1939, the first televised Major League baseball game is broadcast on station W2XBS, the station that was to become WNBC-TV. Announcer Red Barber called the game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York. At the time, more

Lights, cameras, baseball

On this day in 1939, television station W2XBS in New York City broadcasts a doubleheader between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. The game, filmed with two cameras, was the first Major League Baseball game ever aired on television. more

George Washington writes to Henry Lee

On this day in 1794, President George Washington writes to Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee, Virginia’s governor and a former general, regarding the Whiskey Rebellion, an insurrection that was the first great test of Washington’s authority as president of the United States. In the more

NYC and Philly sizzle in heat wave

On this day in 1948, the temperature hits 108 degrees Fahrenheit in New York City during a week-long heat wave that kills at least 33 people. The intense heat hit the entire northeastern United States, but it was New York City and Philadelphia that suffered the most. In New York, more

Second Bull Run campaign begins

The stage is set for the Second Battle of Bull Run, Virginia, on this day when Confederate cavalry under General Fitzhugh Lee enter Manassas Junction and capture the rail center. Union General John Pope’s Army of Virginia was soon on its way, and the two armies would clash on more