1978 in the United States
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Events from the year 1978 in the United States.
- President: Jimmy Carter (D-Georgia)
- Vice President: Walter Mondale (D-Minnesota)
- Chief Justice: Warren E. Burger (Minnesota)
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: Tip O'Neill (D-Massachusetts)
- Senate Majority Leader: Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia)
- Congress: 95th
- January 1 – The Copyright Act of 1976 takes effect, making sweeping changes to United States copyright law.
- January 6 – The Holy Crown of Hungary (also known as the Crown of St. Stephen) is returned to Hungary from the United States, where it was held since World War II.
- January 14–15 – The body of former U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda, following his death from cancer.
- January 19 – Federal Appeals Court Judge William H. Webster is appointed Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- January 25–27 – The Great Blizzard of 1978 strikes the Ohio Valley and the Great Lakes, causing 51 deaths in Ohio.
- January 28 – Richard Chase, the "Vampire of Sacramento", is arrested.
- February 1 – Hollywood film director Roman Polanski flees to France to avoid sentencing after pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor.
- February 5–7 – The Northeastern United States blizzard of 1978 hits the New England region and the New York metropolitan area, killing about 100 and causing over US$520 million in damage.
- February 8 – United States Senate proceedings are broadcast on radio for the first time.
- February 11 – Sixteen Unification Church couples wed in New York, New York.
- February 15 – Serial killer Ted Bundy is captured in Pensacola, Florida.
- February 16
- March 3 – The New York Post publishes an article about David Rorvik's book The Cloning of Man, about a supposed cloning of a human being.
- March 6 – American porn publisher Larry Flynt is shot and paralyzed in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
- March 22 – Karl Wallenda of the Flying Wallendas dies after falling off a tight-rope between two hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- March 28 – Stump v. Sparkman (435 U.S. 349): The Supreme Court of the United States hands down a 5–3 decision in a controversial case involving involuntary sterilization and judicial immunity.
- April 2 – The CBS soap opera Dallas is launched. It is set to be aired later this year in several countries, including the United Kingdom by the BBC.
- April 3 – The 50th Academy Awards are held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California with Annie Hall winning Best Picture.
- April 7 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter decides to postpone production of the neutron bomb – a weapon which kills people with radiation but leaves buildings relatively intact.
- April 10 – Volkswagen becomes the second (after Rolls-Royce) non-American automobile manufacturer to open a plant in the United States, commencing production of the Rabbit, the North American version of the Volkswagen Golf, at the Volkswagen Westmoreland Assembly Plant near New Stanton, Pennsylvania with a unionized (UAW) workforce (the plant closed in 1988.)
- April 18 – The U.S. Senate votes 68–32 to turn the Panama Canal over to Panamanian control on December 31, 1999.
- April 25 – St. Paul, Minnesota becomes the 2nd U.S. city to repeal its gay rights ordinance after Anita Bryant's successful 1977 anti-gay campaign in Dade County, Florida.
- April 28 – WAC abolished; women integrated into regular Army.
- May 5 – Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds gets his 3,000th major league hit.
- May 20 – Mavis Hutchinson, 53, becomes the first woman to run across the U.S.; her trek took 69 days.
- May 25 – A bomb explodes in the security section of Northwestern University, wounding a security guard (the first Unabomber attack).
- May 26 – In Atlantic City, New Jersey, Resorts International, the first legal casino in the eastern United States, opens.
- May 28 – Indianapolis 500: Al Unser wins his third race, and the first for car owner Jim Hall.
- June 6 – California voters approve Proposition 13, which slashes property taxes nearly 60%.
- June 10 – Affirmed becomes only the 11th horse to ever win the Triple Crown by defeating Alydar in the 110th running of the Belmont Stakes.
- June 16 – The musical film Grease is released, starring 24-year-old New Jersey born actor John Travolta and 29-year-old British-Australian actress and singer Olivia Newton-John.
- June 28
- The U.S. scientific satellite Seasat is launched.
- University of California Regents v. Bakke: The Supreme Court of the United States bars quota systems in college admissions but affirms the constitutionality of programs which give advantages to minorities.
- The rainbow flag of the LGBT movement flies for the first time (in its original form) at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade.
- August 2 – President Jimmy Carter declares an unprecedented state emergency and evacuation immediately following the revelation that Niagara Falls, New York neighborhood Love Canal was built on a toxic waste dump.
- August 13 – The 5.8 Mw Santa Barbara earthquake affected the central coast of California with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (Very strong), causing 65 injuries and $12 million in financial losses.
- August 17 – Double Eagle II becomes the first balloon to successfully cross the Atlantic Ocean, flying from Presque Isle, Maine, to Miserey, France.
- September 17 – Camp David Accords: Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat begin the peace process at Camp David, Maryland.
- September 25
- PSA Flight 182, a Boeing 727, collides with a small private airplane and crashes in San Diego, California; 144 are killed.
- Giuseppe Verdi's opera Otello makes its first appearance on Live from the Met, in a complete production of the opera starring Jon Vickers. This is the first complete television broadcast of the opera in the U.S. since the historic 1948 one.
- October 2 – The New York Yankees defeat the Boston Red Sox 5–4 at Fenway Park to clinch the AL East after being 14 games out of first place only two months earlier. The Yankees would eventually go on to defeat the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Dodgers and win the World Series.
- October 4 – Pier 39 opens on Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, as a tourist attraction.
- October 10 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs a bill that authorizes the minting of the Susan B. Anthony dollar.
- October 14 – United States President Jimmy Carter signs a bill into law which allows homebrewing of beer in the United States.
- October 17 – The New York Yankees clinch their 22nd World Series championship, defeating the Dodgers 7–2 in Los Angeles and winning the Series 4 games to 2.
- October 27 – President Jimmy Carter signs the Humphrey–Hawkins Full Employment Act, adjusting the government's economic goals to include full employment, growth in production, price stability, and balance of trade and budget.
- November 7 – California voters defeat the Briggs Initiative that would have prohibited gay school teachers.
- November 18 – Mass murder/suicide of 909 Americans in Jonestown, Guyana under the direction of Jim Jones.
- November 19 – The first U.S. Take Back the Night march occurs in San Francisco.
- November 27 – In San Francisco, California, Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk are assassinated by former Supervisor Dan White.
- December 3 – The Southern Crescent passenger train derails at Shipman, Virginia, killing 6, injuring 60.
- December 4 – Dianne Feinstein succeeds the murdered George Moscone as San Francisco, California's first woman mayor (she serves until January 8, 1988).
- December 11 – Lufthansa heist: Six men rob a Lufthansa cargo facility in New York City's Kennedy airport.
- December 13 – The first Susan B. Anthony dollar enters circulation.
- December 15 – Cleveland, Ohio becomes the first major American city to go into default since the Great Depression, under Mayor Dennis Kucinich.
- December 22 – Chicago serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who is subsequently convicted of the murder of 33 young men, is arrested.
- January 9 – AJ McLean, pop singer-songwriter (Backstreet Boys)
- January 29
- February 7 – Ashton Kutcher, screen actor and venture capitalist
- February 17 – Jacob Wetterling, kidnapping victim
- February 22 – Gus Sorola, actor and podcast host
- March 1 – Jensen Ackles, screen actor
- March 6
- March 12 – Claudio Sanchez, alternative rock musician and writer
- April 2 – John Gall, baseball player
- April 19 – James Franco, screen actor
- April 20 – Rebecca Makkai, novelist and short story writer
- May 1 – Nick Traina, singer-songwriter (Link 80) (d. 1997)
- May 9 – Aaron Harang, baseball player
- May 10 – Kenan Thompson, African American comic screen actor
- May 12 – Josh Phelps, baseball player
- May 15 – David Krumholtz, screen actor
- May 22 – Ginnifer Goodwin, actress
- May 23 – Mike Gonzalez, baseball player
- June 2
- June 6 – Judith Barsi, actress and murder victim (killed 1988)
- June 7
- June 10 – Shane West, screen actor, punk rock musician and songwriter
- June 19 – Zoe Saldana, screen actress
- June 20 – Bobby Seay, baseball player
- June 29 – Nicole Scherzinger, screen performer
- July 1 – Hillary Tuck, screen actress
- July 4
- July 6 – Tia and Tamera Mowry, African American actresses
- July 21 – Crystal Mangum, Murderer responsible for making false rape allegations in the Duke lacrosse case
- July 21 – Josh Hartnett, screen actor
- July 23 – Lauren Groff, fiction writer
- July 28 – Julian Peterson, American football player
- August 3 – Shanelle Workman, television actress
- August 4 – Kurt Busch, stock car racing driver
- August 18 – Andy Samberg, comic screen actor
- August 23 – Kobe Bryant, African American basketball player
- August 25 – Kel Mitchell, African American comic screen actor
- September 14 – Teddy Park, rapper (1TYM)
- September 16 – Brian Sims, Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
- September 23 – Anthony Mackie, African American actor
- October 5 – James Valentine, pop rock guitarist (Maroon 5)
- October 9 – Kristy Kowal, U.S. Swimmer
- October 14 – Usher (Raymond IV), African American R&B singer-songwriter
- October 20 – Dionne Quan, voice actress
- October 26 – CM Punk (Phil Brooks), martial artist
- November 3 – Tim McIlrath, Singer of Rise Against
- November 14
- November 15 – Floyd Womack, American football player
- November 24 – Katherine Heigl, screen actress
- December 7 – Shiri Appleby, screen actress
- December 8 – Ian Somerhalder, screen actor
- December 18 – Katie Holmes, screen actress
- December 22 – Danny Ahn, rapper (g.o.d)
- December 28 – John Legend (John Stephens), African American R&B singer-songwriter
- December 31 – Craig Wayne Boyd, country music singer
- January 3 – Jack Oakie, actor (born 1903)
- January 13 – Hubert H. Humphrey, 38th Vice President of the United States from 1965 to 1969 (born 1911)
- January 14 – Kurt Gödel, mathematician (born 1906 in Austria-Hungary)
- January 20 – Gilbert Highet, classicist, academic, writer, intellectual, critic and literary historian (born 1906 in Scotland)
- February 16 – Edward Lindberg, Olympic track athlete (born 1886)
- February 18 – Maggie McNamara, actress (born 1928)
- February 22
- March 13 – John Cazale, film actor (born 1935)
- March 18
- March 19 – Faith Baldwin, romantic novelist and poet (born 1893)
- March 22
- April 16 – Lucius D. Clay, military governor of Germany from 1947 to 1949 (born 1897)
- April 21 – Thomas Wyatt Turner, civil rights activist, biologist and educator; first African American to receive a doctorate from Cornell (born 1877)
- May 6 – Ethelda Bleibtrey, Olympic swimmer (born 1902)
- May 12 – Louis Zukofsky, modernist poet (born 1904)
- May 16 – William Steinberg, conductor (born 1899)
- May 22
- June 3 – Frank Stanford, poet, suicide (born 1948)
- June 18 – Walter C. Alvarez, physician and writer (born 1884)
- July 18 – Claude P. Dettloff, photographer (born 1899)
- August 14 – Joe Venuti, jazz violinist (born 1903)
- August 21 – Charles Eames, architect and designer (born 1907)
- August 24 – Louis Prima, swing singer and bandleader (born 1910)
- August 26 – Charles Boyer, film actor (born 1899 in France)
- August 27 – Gordon Matta-Clark, artist, cancer (born 1943)
- August 28 – Bruce Catton, Civil War historian, Pulitzer Prize winner in 1954 (born 1899)
- August 31 – Lee Garmes, cinematographer (born 1899)
- September 23 – Lyman Bostock, baseball player, killed (born 1950)
- September 24 – Ruth Etting, "torch" singer (born 1897)
- September 30 – Edgar Bergen, actor and ventriloquist (born 1903)
- October 8 – Bertha Cody, Native American archaeologist (born 1907)
- October 10 – Ralph Metcalfe, sprinter and U.S. Congressman (born 1910)
- October 12 – Nancy Spungen, groupie and girlfriend of Sid Vicious, killed (born 1958)
- October 16 – Dan Dailey, actor (born 1915)
- October 19 – Gig Young, actor (born 1913)
- November 8 – Norman Rockwell, painter and illustrator (born 1894)
- November 15 – Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist (born 1901)
- November 25 – Elaine Esposito, coma victim (born 1934)
- November 27 – Harvey Milk, politician and gay activist, killed (born 1930)
- December 3 – William Grant Still, "the Dean" of African American composers (born 1895)
- December 10 – Ed Wood, American filmmaker, actor, writer, producer and director (born 1924)
- December 28 – Harry Winston, diamond dealer (born 1896)
- 1978 in American soccer
- 1978 in American television
- List of American films of 1978
- Timeline of United States history (1970–1989)
- "History of Belmont Stakes Racing Festival - Belmont Stakes - Belmont Stakes". www.belmontstakes.com.
- "Grease (1978) - IMDb" – via www.imdb.com.
- James Stuart Olson, ed. (1999). "Chronology". Historical Dictionary of the 1970s. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-30543-6.
- "Investigators probe fatal train wreck". Anchorage Daily News. 1978-12-05. Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2016-09-19.
- "BRIAN K. SIMS". The official website for the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
- Media related to 1978 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons