December 31st, 1879. Inventor Thomas Edison gives the first public demonstration of his electric incandescent light bulb at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

1961. The United States winds down the Marshall Plan after distributing more than 12 billion dollars in foreign aid to European countries following World War II.

1937. Actor Anthony Hopkins, whose intense characters on stage and screen include Hannibal Lecter and The Silence of the Lambs, is born in Wales.

1905. Broadway composer Jule Styne is born in London. Among his works, Funny Girl and Gentlemen Prefer Blonde.

And 1948. Singer and songwriter Donna Summer, dubbed the Queen of Disco back in the 70s, is born in Boston.

Today in History, December 31st, Ed Donahue, the Associated Press.