Top Events of 1982


January 4: Bryant Gumbel makes history by becoming the first African-American to anchor a national news program at NBC-TV.
January 19: Heater explodes at Star Elementary School-Oklahoma, killing six kids and one teacher.
February 1: Late Night with David Letterman debuts on NBC-TV.
February 28: AT&T loses a record $7 billion for fiscal year.
February 28: Puerto Rican nationalist group bombs Wall Street in NYC.


March 1: The New York Times raises its price from 25 to 30 cents.
Mar 1: Russian spacecraft Venera 14 lands on Venus and sends back data.
March 11: Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat sign a peace treaty in Washington, D.C.
March 25: Wayne Gretzky becomes the first NHL player to score 200 points in a season.
March 28: The 12th Easter Seal Telethon raises $19.5 million.
April 19: Sally Ride is announced the first woman astronaut.
April 26: A gunman mugs Rod Stewart, stealing his $50,000 Porsche.


May 6: Seattle Mariner Gaylord Perry becomes the 15th pitcher to win 300 games.
May 7: The U.S. performs a nuclear test in Nevada.
June 7: Graceland, home of Elvis Presley, opens to the public.
June 21: John Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1981 assassination attempt of President Reagan.
June 22: Prince Charles and Lady Diana take home newborn Prince William from the hospital.
June 30: Equal Rights Amendment fails ratification.


July 1: More than 2,000 Unification Church couples marry at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
July 15: The body of Wendy Coffield, the first Green River victim, is found near Seattle.
July 22: In the biggest mass wedding, Reverend Sun Myung Moon weds 2,200 couples in NYC.
August 17: The first Compact Discs, also known as CDs, were released to the public in Germany.
September 1: The United States Air Force Space Command is founded.
September 4: The USSR performs an underground nuclear test.
September 6: Jerry Lewis’s 17th Muscular Dystrophy telethon raises $28.4 million.
September 14: Screen legend Grace Kelly, also known as Princess of Monaco, dies in a car accident.
September 15: First issue of USA Today is published by Gannett Co., Inc.
September 15: Pope John Paul II receives Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat.
September 28: Reports surface of deaths caused by cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules.


October 1: EPCOT Center opens in Orlando, Florida.
October 7: Cats opens on Broadway and runs for nearly 18 years before closing on September 10, 2000.
November 10: Vietnam Veterans Memorial opens.
November 20: Drew Barrymore hosts Saturday Night Live at age 7.
November 25: The Minneapolis Thanksgiving Day fire destroys an entire city block, including the Northwestern National Bank building and the recently closed Donaldson’s Department Store.
December 2: Barney B. Clark receives the first artificial heart.
December 7: In Texas, Charles Brooks, Jr., becomes the first person to be executed by lethal injection in the U.S.
December 26: TIME’s Man of the Year is a personal computer.
December 31: NBC radio cancels most of its network’s daily features.
December 31: Alice Walker’s The Color Purple (Mariner Books) hits the book market. Reviews are mixed due to the portrayal of her African-American male characters as controlling and abusive.

Memorable Moments in Music of 1982

January 15: K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s Harry Wayne Casey is seriously injured in an automobile accident in Miami, Florida.
January 20: Ozzy Osbourne bites the head off of a live bat thrown at him during a performance in Des Moines, Iowa. He thought it was rubber.
February 20: Pat Benatar marries her guitarist, Neil Giraldo.
March 5: Comedian and Blues Brother John Belushi dies from a drug overdose at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Los Angeles.
March 18: Teddy Pendergrass is severely injured in a car accident in Philadelphia. Pendergrass’s injuries result in him being paralyzed from the waist down.
April 17: Johnny Cash hosts Saturday Night Live with musical guest Elton John.
July 4: Ozzy Osbourne marries his manager, Sharon Arden.
August 31: Ronnie James Dio plays his final show with Black Sabbath (until 1992).
September 7: The musical Cats begins its 18-year run on Broadway.
October 6: Madonna’s debut single “Everybody” is released.
November 30: Michael Jackson releases Thriller. It goes on to be greatest selling album of all time.

Popular Songs of 1982

“Physical” by Olivia Newton-John • “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor • “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts • “Ebony and Ivory” by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder • “Centerfold” by The J. Geils Band • “Don’t You Want Me” The Human League • “Jack and Diane” by John Cougar • “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” by Chicago • “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell • “Rosanna” by Toto • “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” by Hall & Oates • “867-5309/Jenny” by Tommy Tutone • “Mickey” by Toni Basil • “Waiting for a Girl Like You” by Foreigner “Don’t Talk to Strangers” by Rick Springfield • “Shake It Up” by The Cars • “Who Can It Be Now?” by Men at Work • “Heat of the Moment” by Asia

Sporting Events of 1982

January 1: Clemson wins the Orange Bowl.
January 24: The San Francisco 49ers beat the Cincinnati Bengals in Superbowl XVI.
March 25: Wayne Gretzky becomes first NHL to score more than 90 goals and 200 points in a season.
May 6: Seattle Mariner Gaylord Perry becomes 15th pitcher to win 300 games.
May 12: The U.S. Football League forms.
June 7: The New York Mets draft Dwight Gooden, Roger McDowell and Randy Myers.
June 8: In the 36th NBA Championship, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Philadelphia 76ers.
June 11: Larry Holmes hammers out a 13-round TKO of Cooney to defend his title in Las Vegas.
June 30: The New Jersey NHL franchise is officially named Devils by fan balloting. Runner-up names include Blades, Meadowlanders and Americans.
July 7: Steve Scott runs a record-breaking mile in 3:47.69.
October 20: The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers in the 79th World Series.
October 26: Steve Carlton becomes first pitcher to win four Cy Young Awards.
November 13: A boxing match held in Las Vegas, Nevada, ends when Ray Mancini defeats Duk Koo Kim. Kim’s death on November 17 led to significant changes in the sport.
November 24: Calvin Ripken, Jr., is named the American League Rookie of the Year.
December 15: Bill Parcells becomes 12th head coach of New York Giants.

Popular Films of 1982

Annie • Tron • The Sword and the Sorcerer • Conan the Barbarian • The Dark Crystal • E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial • Fast Times at Ridgemont High • Ghandi • An Officer and a Gentleman • Poltergeist • Rocky III • The Secret of NIMH • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan • The Toy • Tootsie