A Year In History: 1982

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This Year in History:

1982

Discover what happened in this year with HISTORY’s summaries of major events, anniversaries, famous births and notable deaths.

January 4

President Reagan gives CIA authority to establish the Contras

On January 4, 1982, President Ronald Reagan signs off on a top secret document, National Security Decision Directive 17 (NSDD-17), which gives the Central Intelligence Agency the power to recruit and support a 500-man force of Nicaraguan rebels to conduct covert actions against the leftist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. A budget of $19 million was […]

March 6

Controversial writer-philosopher Ayn Rand dies

On March 6, 1982, bestselling writer and philosopher Alice O’Connor—known mostly by her pen name, Ayn Rand—dies at age 77. Two days later, at the funeral home visitation, a floral arrangement shaped like a six-foot dollar sign stood next to her casket. It aptly symbolized her passionate belief in a philosophy she called “Objectivism,” which […]

March 29

Freshman Michael Jordan hits winning shot to give North Carolina NCAA title

On March 29, 1982, 19-year-old North Carolina freshman Michael Jordan makes a 16-foot jump shot with 15 seconds left to give the Tar Heels a 63-62 win over Georgetown for the NCAA Tournament championship. “To tell the truth,” Jordan tells reporters in New Orleans afterward, “I didn’t see it go in. I didn’t want to […]

April 24

Jane Fonda’s first workout video released

On April 24, 1982, Oscar-winning actress, anti-war activist and Hollywood royalty Jane Fonda adds a new title—exercise guru—as she extends her reach into the home-video market with the release of her first of her many bestselling aerobic workout tapes. Daughter of the celebrated actor Henry Fonda (star of 1940’s The Grapes of Wrath), Jane worked […]

May 15

“Ebony And Ivory” begins a seven-week run at #1 on the pop charts

On May 15, 1982, “Ebony And Ivory” takes the top spot in the Billboard Hot 100 , holding the spot for seven weeks. Recorded as a duet with the great Stevie Wonder, it was the biggest hit record of Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles career. McCartney had been a fan of Stevie Wonder’s for many years before […]

June 11

“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” released

Then 34-year-old director Steven Spielberg reportedly drew on his own experiences as an unusually imaginative, often-lonely child of divorce for his science-fiction classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which is released on June 11, 1982. For Spielberg, E.T. marked a return to territory he had first visited with the classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), […]

June 21

John Hinckley Jr., who attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan, found not guilty

John W. Hinckley, Jr., who on March 30, 1981, shot President Ronald Reagan and three others outside a Washington, D.C., hotel, is found not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity. In the trial, Hinckley’s defense attorneys argues that their client was ill with narcissistic personality disorder, citing medical evidence, and had a pathological […]

June 24

Garment workers’ strike begins in New York City’s Chinatown

Over 20,000 garment workers, almost all of them Asian American women, pack into Columbus Park in New York City’s Chinatown on June 24, 1982. The rally and subsequent march demonstrate the workers’ power to the city and the entire garment industry, delivering a decisive victory for the striking workers. After the Immigration and Nationality Act […]

July 24

“Eye Of The Tiger” from “Rocky III” tops the U.S. pop charts

On July 24, 1982, Sylvester Stallone’s hit Rocky franchise produces its second #1 pop hit when Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger” begins a six-week run atop the Billboard pop chart. The first #1 hit from Stallone’s boxing film series was “Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rocky),” which topped the charts in the summer of 1977, […]