TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1577, Sir Francis Drake left England on a three-year voyage around the world.
In 1972, American astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt began the third and final lunar excursion of the Apollo 17 mission. They remain the most recent humans to set foot on the moon.
In 2002, Cardinal Bernard Law resigned as archbishop of Boston following sex abuse scandals in the archdiocese.
In 2003, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. military forces in a small underground hideout near Tikrit, Iraq.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), poet; Mary Todd Lincoln (1818-1882), first lady; Dick Van Dyke (1925- ), actor; Christopher Plummer (1929- ), actor; Ted Nugent (1948- ), singer-songwriter; Steve Buscemi (1957- ), actor; Rex and Rob Ryan (1962- ), football coaches/TV analysts; Mike Tirico (1966- ), sportscaster; Jamie Foxx (1967- ), actor; Sergei Fedorov (1969- ), hockey player; B.J. Penn (1978- ), mixed martial artist; Taylor Swift (1989- ), singer-songwriter.
TODAY'S FACT: Jamie Foxx is one of five performers to have both a Billboard No. 1 single and an Oscar win. The others are Barbra Streisand, Cher, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 2007, the "Mitchell Report" was released, indicating widespread steroid use in professional baseball and naming dozens of players involved.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "People in those old times had convictions; we moderns only have opinions. And it needs more than a mere opinion to erect a Gothic cathedral." -- Heinrich Heine
TODAY'S NUMBER: 6 -- Mary Todd Lincoln's age when her mother died. Abraham Lincoln's mother died when he was 9.
TODAY'S MOON: Between new moon (Dec. 7) and first quarter moon (Dec. 15).