Today in Entertainment History

On Dec. 24, 1954, singer Johnny Ace accidentally killed himself with a gun he did not think was loaded while backstage at a show in Houston. He was 25. His song “Pledging My Love” became a hit the next year.

In 1961, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” by The Tokens became the first African song to reach number one on the American pop charts.

In 1965, The Beatles earned a gold record for the album “Rubber Soul,” just two-and-a-half weeks after it was released.

In 1972, police in Miami cut short a concert by Manfred Mann and his Earth Band. Fans rioted for about two hours while the band members hid in a dressing room.

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In 1973, Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers was arrested in Visalia, California, for marijuana possession.

In 1978, Bjorn Ulvaeus (ul-VAY’-us) and Agnetha (ag-NET’-tuh) Faltskog of ABBA separated after seven years of marriage.

In 1984, actor Peter Lawford died of cardiac arrest in Los Angeles. He was 61.

In 1990, actors Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were married in Telluride, Colorado. They had met while filming “Days of Thunder.” They have since divorced.

In 1992, former Doobie Brothers percussionist Bobby LaKind (lah-KIHND’) died after a long battle with cancer. He was 47.

In 1997, the Gin Blossoms announced their breakup. They have since reunited.

Today’s birthdays: Actress Sharon Farrell (“Hawaii Five-0”) is 73. Actor Grand L. Bush (TV’s “The Visitor,” film’s “Demolition Man”) is 64. Actor Clarence Gilyard (“Walker, Texas Ranger”) is 64. Actress Stephanie Hodge (“Unhappily Ever After”) is 63. Bassist-synthesizer player Ian Burden of Human League is 62. Actor Anil Kapoor (ah-NEEL’ kuh-POOR’) (“Slumdog Millionaire”) is 60. Actor Wade Williams (“Prison Break,” “The Bernie Mac Show”) is 58. Singer Mary Ramsey of 10,000 Maniacs is 56. Actor Mark Valley (“Boston Legal”) is 55. Actor Diedrich Bader (“The Drew Carey Show”) is 53. Actor Amaury Nolasco (TV’s “Deception,” “Prison Break”) is 49. Singer Ricky Martin is 48. “Twilight” series author Stephenie Meyer is 46. TV host Ryan Seacrest (“American Idol,” ”Live with Kelly and Ryan”) is 45. Actor Michael Raymond-James (“Once Upon A Time,” ”True Blood”) is 42. Actor Austin Stowell (“12 Strong”) is 35. Actress Sofia Black-D’Elia (deh-LEE’-ah) (“Your Honor,” “The Mick”) is 28. Singer Louis (LOO’-ee) Tomlinson of One Direction is 28.

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