- Soviet leader Chernenko dies at 73 and is replaced by Mikhail Gorbachev, 54 (March 11). Under the slogans of glasnost and Perestroika, Gorbachev initiates a broad program of reform and liberalization. Background: Rulers of Russia since 1533
- Two Shi’ite Muslim gunmen capture TWA airliner with 133 aboard, 104 of them Americans (June 14); 39 remaining hostages freed in Beirut (June 30).
- PLO terrorists hijack Achille Lauro, Italian cruise ship, with 80 passengers, plus crew (Oct. 7); American, Leon Klinghoffer, killed (Oct. 8); Italian government toppled by political crisis over hijacking (Oct. 16).
- Reagan and Gorbachev meet at summit (Nov. 19); agree to step up arms control talks and renew cultural contacts (Nov. 21). Background: nuclear disarmament
- Terrorists seize Egyptian Boeing 737 airliner after takeoff from Athens (Nov. 23); 59 dead as Egyptian forces storm plane on Malta (Nov. 24).
- Ronald Reagan, 73, takes oath for second term as 40th President (Jan. 20).
- General Westmoreland settles libel action against CBS (Feb. 18).
- US Supreme Court, 5–4, bars public school teachers from parochial schools (July 1).
- Arthur James Walker, 50, retired naval officer, convicted by federal judge of participating in Soviet spy ring operated by his brother, John Walker (Aug. 9).
- US budget-balancing bill enacted (Dec. 12).
US GDP (1998 dollars): $4,180.70 billion
Federal spending: $946.39 billion
Federal debt: $1817.5 billion
Median Household Income
(current dollars): $23,618
Consumer Price Index: 107.6
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.20 ($0.22 as of 2/17/1985)
San Francisco d. Miami (38-16)
Kansas City d. St. Louis Cardinals (4-3)
LA Lakers d. Boston (4-2)
Edmonton d. Philadelphia (4-1)
Women: Martina Navratilova d. C. Evert Lloyd (4-6 6-3 6-2)
Men: Boris Becker d. K. Curren (6-3 6-7 7-6 6-4)
Kentucky Derby Champion
Spend A Buck
NCAA Basketball Championship
Villanova d. Georgetown (66-64)
NCAA Football Champions
- Rock Hudson dies of AIDS at age 59. He’s the first major star to fall victim to the disease.
- Madonna launches her first road show, the Virgin Tour.
- Dozens of top-name musicians and bands perform at the Live Aid concerts in Philadelphia and London. The shows benefit African famine victims.
- With the availability of relatively inexpensive laser printers and computers, tools for desktop publishing begin to be commonly used.
- Kiss of the Spider Woman, Out of Africa, Prizzi’s Honor, The Color Purple
- Robert Bly, Loving a Woman in Two Worlds
- Keri Hulme, The Bone People
- Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove
- British scientists report the opening of an enormous hole in the earth’s ozone layer over Antarctica. Background: Environment & Nature
- Researchers at IBM develop the scanning tunneling microscope, which can visualize images on an atomic scale.
- Coca-Cola attempts to change its 99-year-old formula in an effort to attract younger drinkers. “New” Coke is poorly received, and the company soon reintroduces the original, “Classic” beverage. Background: carbonated beverages
- Louise Brooks
- Marc Chagall
- Rock Hudson
- Frank Oppenheimer