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80s Events


Dr. Herman Tarnower, author of the bestselling The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet, is shot by his mistress, Jean Harris after he jilts her for a younger woman.
Mount St. Helens erupts in the state of Washington, killing eight people.
Richard Pryor nearly dies after he sets himself afire while freebasing cocaine.
Ronald Reagan elected the 40th president of the U.S.
John Lennon is shot outside his New York city home by crazed fan Mark David Chapman.


After 444 days in captivity in Tehran, 52 American hostages are released.
In an attempt to “impress” Jodie Foster, John Hinckley tries to assasinate President Reagan by shooting him in the chest. Reagan survives.
The first space shuttle, named Columbia, completes its first orbital flight.
Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer before a worldwide TV audience of millions.
The Sony “Walkman” starts appearing on ears everywhere.
“MTV” makes its cable debut.
A mysterious new virus termed “AIDS” begins showing up.


Britain goes to war with Argentina over the British-held Falkland Islands — a battle that lasts only 45 days.
Princess Grace of Monaco dies in a car accident.
Barney Clark, a retired dentist, receives the first permanent artificial heart. He lives for a year.
Compact discs are developed.
“Late Night with David Letterman” makes its debut.
Eight people taking Tylenol capsules die after its discovered that someone deliberately poisoned the product. The company issues a massive recall.
Actor Vic Morrow and two children are killed in an accident on the set of the movie, “The Twilight Zone.”
Graceland, Elvis’ Memphis home, is opened to the public.


A West German magazine acquires a 60-volume diary, supposedly written by Hitler. It’s later exposed as a fake.
Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space.
Ex-President Gerald Ford makes a cameo appearance on “Dynasty.”
Michael Jackson unveils his “moonwalk” on TV at Motown’s 25th anniversary show.
Shirley MacLaine’s “Out On A Limb” becomes a New Age bestseller.
Tom Cruise and Rebecca DeMornay have an affair on the set of “Risky Business.”
Debra Winger begins dating Nebraska governor Bob Kerrey while filming “Terms of Endearment.”


The Soviets boycott the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
The “PG-13” rating is introduced at the movies.
Walter Mondale chooses Geraldine Ferraro for his VP nominee, the first woman to be named to a major-party ticket.
Vanessa Williams, the first black Miss America, loses her title after nude pictures of her are published.
While filming a Pepsi commercial, Michael Jackson’s hair catches on fire.
To raise money for famine-ravaged Ethiopa, Bob Geldof organizes15 different British rock acts into “Band -Aid,” and records the single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”
The first MTV Video Awards are broadcast from Radio City Music Hall.
“A Nightmare On Elm Street” makes its screen debut.


Coca-Cola introduces “New Coke”… sales immediately fall flat.
Cincinnati’s Pete Rose scores career hit 4,192, beating Ty Cobb’s 57-year old record.
73 years after it sank, The Titanic is located off the coast of Newfoundland.
Billy Joel marries Christie Brinkley; Madonna marries Sean Penn; Bruce Springsteen marries Julianne Phillips.
In July, the “Live Aid” concert for African famine relief airs in Philadelphia and London; in September, “Farm Aid” raises money for American farms.
Rock Hudson dies of AIDS.
VH-1 makes its debut.
Belinda Carlisle leaves The Go Gos.


The Statue of Liberty celebrates its 100th birthday with a huge, national party.
Prince Andrew marries Sarah Ferguson.
The space shuttle Challenger explodes 74 seconds after liftoff.
Over 5 million participants–including President Reagan — take part in “Hands Across America,” a human chain across the country designed to raise money for the hungry.
Boy George of Culture Club is busted for heroin possession.
Tommy Lee of Motley Crue marries Heather Locklear.
Clint Eastwood is elected mayor of Carmel, California.
George Michael leaves Wham!


Gary Hart drops out of the presidential race after being caught with part-time model (and full-time bimbo) Donna Rice.
The Dow Jones plunges to record lows in a single day on what will forever be called “Black Monday.”
Reverend Jim Bakker resigns his PTL television ministry after being accused of sexual shenanigans by former secretary Jessica Hahn.
19-year old Matthias Rust of Germany surprises Russians when he lands his light plane in the middle of Red Square.
Cher wins “Best Actress” for her role in “Moonstruck.”
Stockbroker Ivan Boesky gets jail time for insider trading.
Demi Moore marries Bruce Willis; Geena Davis marries Jeff Goldblum.


On a London to New York flight, a terrorist bomb explodes aboard a Pan Am 747, flight 103, killing all 259 people aboard.
George Bush is elected President.
Elvis’ 20-year old daughter Lisa Marie Presley marries musician Danny Keough.
James Brown is jailed for trying to run down a police officer.
Jane Fonda apologizes on TV for any hurt she caused with her antiwar comments during the Vietnam era. Burt Reynolds marries Loni Anderson; Michael J. Fox marries Tracey Pollan.
Madonna complains to cops that Sean Penn beat her and tied her to a chair.
“Minoxidil,” a reputed remedy for baldness, is approved by the FDA.


The worst oil spill in American history occurs when the tanker Exxon Valdez hits a submerged reef in Alaska and 240,000 barrels of oil are dumped into Prince William Sound.
The Ayatollah Khomeni puts a 5.2 million dollar bounty on the head of author Salman Rushdie, claiming his novel, The Satanic Verses , slanders Islam.
Kim Basinger buys the Georgia town of Braselton (pop. 500).
Melanie Griffith marries Don Johnson for the second time.
Madonna signs a multi-million dollar endorsement deal with Pepsi, only to have them yank it after Christian groups complain about her “Like A Prayer” video. She keeps most of the dough.
The Berlin Wall comes down.
Over a million students hold mass demonstrations for democracy in China’s Tienamen Square.
Madonna and Sean Penn divorce; she’s rumored to be having an affair with her “Dick Tracy” co-star Warren Beatty.

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