President Kennedy rejected the Soviet Union's proposal to withdraw its offensive weapons from Cuba if America did the same in Turkey. The U.S. Navy was ordered to sink any ships en route to Cuba with weaponry.
John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth.
The World's Fair opened in Seattle with a "space age" theme, including the city's now-famous Space Needle and Monorail.
Marilyn Monroe died of an apparent overdose of sleeping pills in her Los Angeles mansion.
Incumbent Edmund Brown defeated Richard Nixon in his bid for governor of California.
The Beverly Hillbillies debuted on CBS-TV and shot straight to number one in the ratings.
Chubby Checker introduced America to its biggest dance craze of the century, The Twist. Other hits of the year included The Stripper by David Rose & His Orchestra, Monster Mash by Bobby "Boris" Pickett and Telstar by the Tornadoes.