- France transfers sovereignty to new republic of Algeria (July 3).
- Cuban Missile Crisis: USSR to build missile bases in Cuba; Kennedy orders Cuban blockade, lifts blockade after Russia backs down (Aug.-Nov.).
- Pope John XXIII opens Second Vatican Council (Oct. 11).
- Cuba releases 1,113 prisoners of 1961 invasion attempt (Dec. 24).
- Burundi, Jamaica, Western Samoa, Uganda, and Trinidad and Tobago become independent.
Population: 3.136 billion
Nobel Peace Prize:
Linus Pauling (US)
- James H. Meredith, escorted by federal marshals, registers at University of Mississippi (Oct. 1).
- Pat Brown defeats Richard Nixon in the California gubernatorial race.
President: John F. Kennedy
Vice President: Lyndon B. Johnson
Life expectancy: 70.1 years
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 20.2
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000): 18.6
Homicide Rate (per 100,000): 4.8
US GDP (1998 dollars): $585.2 billion
Federal spending: $106.82 billion
Federal debt: $302.9 billion
Consumer Price Index: 30.2
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.04
NY Yankees d. San Francisco Giants (4-3)
Boston d. LA Lakers (4-3)
Toronto d. Chicago (4-2)
Women: Karen Susman d. V. Sukova (6-4 6-4)
Men: Rod Laver d. M. Mulligan (6-2 6-2 6-1)
Kentucky Derby Champion
NCAA Basketball Championship
Cincinnati d. Ohio St. (71-59)
NCAA Football Champions
Brazil d. Czechoslovakia (3-1)
- Marilyn Monroe dies of a drug overdose at age 36.
- The first transatlantic television transmission occurs via the Telstar Satellite, making worldwide television and cable networks a reality.
- Government regulations force studios out of the talent agency business.
- Johnny Carson takes over hosting duties of The Tonight Show.
- Lawrence of Arabia, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Manchurian Candidate, Divorce-Italian Style
- James Baldwin, Another Country
- Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths, Ficciones
- Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
- Robert Frost, In the Clearing
- Günter Grass, The Tin Drum
- Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’ Nest
- Sylvia Plath, The Colossus and Other Poems
- Anne Sexton, All My Pretty Ones
- William Stafford, Traveling through the Dark
- Richard Yates, Eleven Kinds of Loneliness
Fiction: The Edge of Sadness, Edwin O’Connor
Music: The Crucible, Robert Ward
Drama: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Frank Loesser and Abe Burrows
Oscars awarded in 1962
Academy Award, Best Picture: West Side Story, Robert Wise, producer (United Artists)
Nobel Prize for Literature: John Steinbeck (US)
Grammys awarded in 1962
Record of the Year: “Moon River,” Henry Mancini
Album of the Year: Judy at Carnegie Hall, Judy Garland (Capitol)
Song of the Year: “Moon River,” Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, songwriters
Miss America: Maria Fletcher (NC)
- Lt. Col. John H. Glenn, Jr., is first American to orbit Earth — three times in 4 hours 55 minutes (Feb. 20). Background: US Staffed Space Flights
- Mariner II, the first interplanetary probe, reaches Venus. Background: US Unstaffed Planetary and Lunar Programs
- Unimation introduces the first industrial robot.
- The commercially sponsored Telstar communications satellite is launched.
Nobel Prizes in Science
Chemistry: Max F. Perutz and John C. Kendrew (UK), for mapping protein molecules with X-rays
Physics: Lev D. Landau (USSR), for his theories about condensed matter
Physiology or Medicine: James D. Watson (US), Maurice H. F. Wilkins, and Francis H. C. Crick (both UK), for determining structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
- Niels Bohr
- William Faulkner
- Ernie Kovacs
- Eleanor Roosevelt