EVENTS IN 1959
• January 3 - Alaska is admitted as the 49th U.S. state.
• January 7 - The United States recognizes the new Cuban government of Fidel Castro.
• January 8 - Charles De Gaulle inaugurated as the first president of French Fifth Republic.
• January 9 - Mark Martin, NASCAR driver, born.
• January 12 - The Caves of Nerja were discovered in Spain.
• January 16 - Sade, Nigerian-born singer, born.
• January 21 - Cecil B. DeMille, American film director died (b. 1881)
• January 24 - Nastassja Kinski, German actress, born.
• January 25 - Pope John XXIII announces that the Second Vatican Council will be convened in Rome.
• February 1 - A referendum in Switzerland turns down female suffrage.
• February 3 - The chartered plane transporting musicians Buddy Holly (b. 1936), Ritchie Valens (b. 1941) and the Big Bopper (b. 1930) goes down in foggy conditions near Clear Lake, Iowa, killing all four occupants on board. The tragedy is later termed "The Day the Music Died" popularized in Don McLean's song "American Pie".
• February 4 - Lawrence Taylor, American football player, born.
• February 16 - John McEnroe, American tennis player, born.
• February 22 - Kyle MacLachlan, American actor, born.
• February 22 - Lee Petty wins the first Daytona 500.
• February 26 - Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife, eldest grandchild of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom (b. 1891)
• March 3 - Lou Costello, American actor and comedian, died (b. 1906).
• March 8 - Last television appearance of The Marx Brothers, in The Incredible Jewel Robbery.
• March 9 - The Barbie doll debuts.
• March 10 - Tibetan uprising against ten years of Chinese occupation in Lhasa.
• March 18 - Luc Besson, French film producer, writer, and director, born.
• March 26 - Raymond Chandler, American-born novelist, died (b. 1888).
• March 29 - Barry Blanchard, Canadian mountaineer, born.
• April 9 - NASA announces its selection of seven military pilots to become the first US astronauts (Mercury Seven).
• April 9 - Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect, died (b. 1867).
• April 10 - Brian Setzer, American guitarist (Stray Cats), born.
• May 19 - Nicole Brown Simpson, ex-wife of O.J. Simpson and murder victim (d. 1994)
• May 20 - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, American singer, born (d. 1997).
• May 24 - British Empire Day is renamed Commonwealth Day.
• June 5 - A new government of the State of Singapore is sworn in by Sir William Goode. Two former Ministers were re-elected to the Legislative Assembly.
• June 10 - Eliot Spitzer, American politician and former governor of New York, born.
• June 16 - George Reeves, American actor, TV "Superman", died (b. 1914).
• June 22 - Ed Viesturs, American mountaineer, born (d. 2005).
• July 1 - The opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway by Canada and the United States, officiated by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II
• July 4 - With the admission of Alaska as the 49th U.S. state earlier in the year, the 49-star flag of the United States debuts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
• July 6 - Richard Dacoury, French basketball player, born.
• July 8 - Charles Ovnand and Dale R. Buis become the first Americans killed in action in Vietnam.
• July 11 - Richie Sambora, American musician, born.
• July 17 - The first skull of Australopithecus is discovered by Louis Leakey and his wife Mary Leakey in the Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.
• July 17 - Billie Holiday, American singer, died (b. 1915).
• July 24 - At the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, US Vice President Richard Nixon and USSR Premier Nikita Khrushchev have a "kitchen debate."
• July 25 - Mutara III, king of Rwanda, died (b. c. 1912)
• July 26 - Kevin Spacey, American actor, born.
• August 13 - Danny Bonaduce, American actor, born.
• August 14 - Explorer 6 sends the first picture of Earth from space.
• August 14 - Magic Johnson, American basketball player, born.
• August 21 - Hawaii is admitted as the 50th U.S. state.
• August 29 - Rebecca De Mornay, American actress, born.
• September 2 - Guy Laliberté, Quebec Cirque du soleil founder, born.
• September 13 - Luna 2 crashes onto the Moon as the first man-made object on the moon.
• October 2 - Rod Serling's classic anthology series The Twilight Zone premieres on CBS.
• October 3 - Fred Couples, American golfer, born.
• October 7 - Simon Cowell, English music producer and TV talent show judge, born.
• October 7 - U.S.S.R. probe Luna 3 sends back first ever photos of the far side of the Moon.
• October 13 - Marie Osmond, American singer, born.
• October 14 - Errol Flynn, Australian actor, died (b. 1909).
• October 15 - Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, born.
• October 16 - George C. Marshall, United States Secretary of State, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, died (b. 1880).
• October 23 - "Weird Al" Yankovic, American singer and parodist, born.
• October 31 - Neal Stephenson, American writer, born.
• October 31 -Lee Harvey Oswald announces in Moscow that he will never return to the United States.
• November 15 - The Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas is brutally murdered.
• November 18 - MGM's widescreen, multimillion dollar, Technicolor version of Ben-Hur, starring Charlton Heston, is released and becomes the studio's greatest hit up to that time. It is critically acclaimed and eventually wins 11 Academy Awards - a record held until 1998, when 1997's Titanic becomes the first film to equal the record.
• December 1 - Cold War: Antarctic Treaty signed - 12 countries, including the United States and the Soviet Union, sign a landmark treaty, which sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and bans military activity on that continent (this was the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War).
• December 13 - Three years after its first telecast, MGM's The Wizard of Oz is shown on television for only the second time, but it gains an even larger viewing audience than its first television outing, spurring CBS to make it an annual tradition.
• December 24 - Keith Deller, English darts player, born.
• December 31 - Val Kilmer, American actor, born.
Physics - Emilio Gino Segrè, Owen Chamberlain
Chemistry - Jaroslav Heyrovský
Physiology or Medicine - Severo Ochoa, Arthur Kornberg
Literature - Salvatore Quasimodo
Peace - Philip John Noel-Baker
Best Picture: Gigi
Best Director: Vincente Minnelli, Gigi
Best Actor: David Niven, Separate Tables
Best Supporting Actor: Burl Ives, The Big Country
Best Actress: Susan Hayward, I Want To Live!
Best Supporting Actress: Wendy Hiller, Separate Tables
Best Original Story and Screenplay: Nedrick Young and Harold Jacob Smith, The Defiant Ones
Best Screenplay Based on Material From Another Medium: Alan Jay Lerner, Gigi