This day in history

Wednesday, May 16, is the 137th day of 2012. There are 229 days left in the year.

Today’s birthdays: Actor George Gaynes is 95. Actor Harry Carey Jr. is 91. Jazz musician Billy Cobham is 68. Actor Bill Smitrovich is 65. Actor Pierce Brosnan is 59. Actress Debra Winger is 57. Olympic gold medal gymnast Olga Korbut is 57. Actress Mare Winningham is 53. Rock musician Boyd Tinsley (Dave Matthews Band) is 48. Rock musician Krist Novoselic is 47. Singer Janet Jackson is 46. Country singer Scott Reeves is 46. Actor Brian F. O’Byrne is 45. R&B singer Ralph Tresvant (New Edition) is 44. Actor David Boreanaz is 43. Political correspondent Tucker Carlson is 43. Actress Tracey Gold is 43. Tennis player Gabriela Sabatini is 42. Country singer Rick Trevino is 41. Musician Simon Katz is 41. Actress Tori Spelling is 39. Actress Lynn Collins is 35. Actress Melanie Lynskey is 35. Actress Megan Fox is 26. Actor Jacob Zachar is 26. Actor Marc John Jefferies is 22. Actor Miles Heizer is 18.

In 1770, Marie Antoinette, age 14, married the future King Louis XVI of France, 15.


In 1866, Congress authorized minting of the first 5-cent piece, also known as the ‘‘Shield nickel.’’

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

In 1920, Joan of Arc was canonized by Pope Benedict XV.

In 1929, the first Academy Awards were presented. The movie ‘‘Wings’’ won ‘‘best production,’’ while Emil Jannings and Janet Gaynor were named best actor and best actress.

In 1939, the government began its first food stamp program in Rochester, N.Y.

In 1948, CBS News correspondent George Polk, who’d been covering the Greek civil war between communist and nationalist forces, was found slain in Solonica Harbor.


In 1955, American author and critic James Agee died in New York at age 45.

In 1961, Park Chung-hee seized power in South Korea in a military coup.

In 1975, Japanese climber Junko Tabei became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

In 1992, the space shuttle Endeavour completed its maiden voyage with a safe landing in the California desert.

In 2002, the remains of kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl were unearthed in Pakistan.


In 2007, antiwar Democrats in the Senate failed in an attempt to cut off funds for the Iraq war. Britain’s army reversed course and announced that Prince Harry would not be sent to Iraq with his regiment due to ‘‘specific threats’’ from insurgents. (The prince did end up serving in Afghanistan for 10 weeks, until word of his deployment got out.) British Prime Minister Tony Blair paid a farewell visit to President George W. Bush at the White House. Nicolas Sarkozy took over from Jacques Chirac as France’s president.

In 2011, a judge in New York refused to release on bail the chief of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was accused of trying to rape a hotel maid. (The charges against Strauss-Kahn were later dropped.)