Shimla, Dec. 24
English playwright Harold Pinter, who achieved international renown—and was awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature—as one of the most complex and challenging post-World War II dramatists, died at age 78.
Japanese actor Mifune Toshirō, known internationally for his energetic, flamboyant portrayals of samurai characters, especially in films directed by Kurosawa Akira, died near Tokyo.
The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to aid the Afghan communist government in its conflict with anticommunist Muslim guerrillas during the Afghan War.
American writer Stephenie Meyer—author of the popular Twilight Saga, a series of vampire-themed novels for teenagers—was born.
Idris I, head of the Sanūsiyyah (a Sufi Muslim brotherhood), was proclaimed king of an independent United Kingdom of Libya.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force during World War II.
Admiral François Darlan, a leading figure in Marshal Philippe Pétain’s Vichy government, was assassinated in Algiers.
American manufacturer, aviator, and film producer Howard Hughes, who was known for his reclusiveness and for the uses to which he put his vast wealth, was born.
English Victorian poet Matthew Arnold, a literary and social critic noted especially for his Classical attacks on the contemporary tastes and manners of the “Barbarians” (the aristocracy), the “Philistines” (the commercial middle class), and the “Populace,” was born.