• On Nov. 21, 1783, Jean- François Pilatre de Rozier and François Laurent make the first untethered hot-air balloon flight, flying 5 1/2 miles over Paris in about 25 minutes. On Sept. 19, brothers Joseph and Etienne Montgolfiers had sent a sheep, a rooster and a duck aloft in one of their balloons in a prelude to the first manned flight.
• On Nov. 23, 1859, the infamous Western outlaw known as “Billy the Kid” is born on New York City’s East Side. Billy the Kid called himself William H. Bonney, but his original name was probably Henry McCarty. Before he was shot dead at age 21, Billy reputedly killed 27 people in the American West.
• On Nov. 17, 1944, actor and director Danny DeVito is born in Neptune, N.J. A former hairdresser, DeVito made his stage debut in 1969. He spent five years playing cab dispatcher Louie De Palma on the TV sitcom “Taxi.”
• On Nov. 18, 1966, Sandy Koufax, the ace pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, retires from baseball. Koufax is perhaps most famous for is his refusal in 1965 to pitch the first game of the World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur. Don Drysdale pitched instead, and gave up seven runs in the first three innings.
• On Nov. 22, 1980, actress and writer Mae West dies at the age of 88. In 1926, West produced her own play, “Sex,” about a gigolo. West was arrested and spent 10 days in jail for obscenity. Undaunted, she continued writing racy plays until she finally scored a Broadway success with her 1928 play, “Diamond Lil.”
(c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.