1985 in the United States
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Events from the year 1985 in the United States.
- President: Ronald Reagan (R-California)
- Vice President: George H. W. Bush (R-Texas)
- Chief Justice: Warren E. Burger (Minnesota)
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: Tip O'Neill (D-Massachusetts)
- Senate Majority Leader: Howard Baker (R-Tennessee) (until January 3), Bob Dole (R-Kansas) (starting January 3)
- Congress: 98th (until January 3), 99th (starting January 3)
- January 20
- January 28 – In Hollywood, California, the charity single "We Are the World" is recorded by USA for Africa. Like the enormously successful "Do They Know It's Christmas?" that was recorded by Band Aid in the UK two months prior, the single raises money to combat the ongoing famine in Ethiopia. The American act consists of high-profile performers, including Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper and Diana Ross.
- February 5 – Australia cancels its involvement in United States-led MX missile tests.
- February 9 – U.S. drug agent Enrique Camarena is kidnapped and murdered in Mexico (his body is discovered on March 5).
- February 13 – Bobby Knight throws a chair across a basketball court.
- February 14
- March 1 – The GNU Manifesto by Richard Stallman is published for the first time.
- March 4 – The Food and Drug Administration approves a blood test for AIDS, used since then to screen all blood donations in the United States.
- March 6 – Mike Tyson makes his professional debut in Albany, New York, a match which he wins by a first-round knockout.
- March 8 – A car bomb planted in Beirut by CIA mercenaries attempts to kill Islamic cleric Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah and kills more than eighty people, injuring 200.
- March 16 – Associated Press newsman Terry Anderson is taken hostage in Beirut (he is eventually released on December 4, 1991).
- March 25 – The 57th Academy Awards are held in Los Angeles, California with Amadeus winning Best Picture.
- March 31 – WrestleMania debuts at Madison Square Garden.
- The National Archives and Records Administration is established as an independent federal agency.
- April 1 – Eighth-seeded Villanova defeats national powerhouse Georgetown, 66–64, to win the first 64-team field NCAA Tournament in Lexington, Kentucky.
- April 11 – The USS Coral Sea collides with the Ecuadorian tanker ship Napo off the coast of Cuba.
- April 12 – 1985 El Descanso bombing: A terrorist bombing attributed to the Islamic Jihad Organization in the El Descanso restaurant near Madrid, Spain, mostly attended by U.S. personnel of the Torrejon Air Force Base, causes 18 dead (all Spaniards) and 82 injured.
- April 19 – A 4-day siege of white supremacist group The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord begins in Arkansas.
- April 23 – Coca-Cola changes its recipe and releases New Coke. The response is overwhelmingly negative, and the original formula is back on the market in less than three months.
- May 5 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan joins West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl for a controversial funeral service at a cemetery in Bitburg, Germany, which includes the graves of 59 elite S.S. troops from World War II.
- May 11 – The FBI brings charges against the suspected heads of the five Mafia families in New York City.
- May 13 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Mayor Wilson Goode orders police to storm the radical group MOVE's headquarters to end a stand-off. The police drop an explosive device into the headquarters, killing eleven members of MOVE and destroying the homes of 61 city residents in the resulting fire.
- May 15 – An explosive device sent by the Unabomber injures John Hauser at UC Berkeley.
- May 19 – John Anthony Walker Jr., is arrested by the FBI for passing classified Naval communications onto the Soviets.
- May 31 – Forty-one tornadoes hit in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario, killing 76 people.
- June 9 – Los Angeles Lakers win the NBA championship, defeating the Boston Celtics.
- June 13 – In Auburn, Washington, police defuse a Unabomber bomb sent to Boeing.
- June 14 – TWA Flight 847, carrying 153 passengers from Athens to Rome, is hijacked by a Hezbollah fringe group. One passenger, U.S. Navy Petty Officer Robert Stethem, is killed.
- June 17 – John Hendricks launches the Discovery Channel in the United States.
- June 20 – NeXT is founded by Steve Jobs after he resigns from Apple Computer.
- June 24 – STS-51-G: Space Shuttle Discovery completes its mission, best remembered for having Sultan bin Salman Al Saud, the first Arab and first Muslim in space, as a payload specialist.
- June 26 – A Walt Disney World Monorail System train catches fire in Epcot around 9:00 p.m, due to friction caused by a flat tire.
- June 27 – U.S. Route 66 is officially decommissioned.
- July 3 – Back to the Future opens in American theatres and ends up being the highest-grossing film of 1985 in the United States, and the first film in the successful franchise.
- July 13
- Live Aid pop concerts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and London raise over £50,000,000 for famine relief in Ethiopia. The English rock band Queen performs at Wembley Stadium in London for over 20 minutes. Queen's performance at the event was recreated in the 2018 film Bohemian Rhapsody.
- Vice President George H. W. Bush serves as Acting President for eight hours, while President Ronald W. Reagan undergoes colon cancer surgery.
- July 19 – Vice President George H. W. Bush announces that New Hampshire teacher Christa McAuliffe will become the first school teacher to ride aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger.
- July 20 – The main ship wreck site of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha (which sank in 1622) is found forty miles off the coast of Key West, Florida by treasure hunters who begin to excavate $400,000,000 in coins and silver.
- July 24 – Commodore launches the Amiga personal computer at the Lincoln Center in New York City.
- August 2 – Delta Air Lines Flight 191 crashes near Dallas, Texas, killing 137 people.
- August 4 – Major League Baseball player Rod Carew of the California Angels becomes the sixteenth player to achieve 3,000 hits in a career.
- August 25 – Samantha Smith, "Goodwill Ambassador" between the Soviet Union and the United States for writing a letter to Yuri Andropov about nuclear war, and eventually visiting the Soviet Union at Andropov's request, dies in the Bar Harbor Airlines Flight 1808 plane crash. She was 13 years old.
- August 26 – Ryan White, who was expelled from Western High School in Indiana, is allowed to attend his first day of classes via telephone.
- August 31 – Richard Ramirez, the serial killer known as the Night Stalker, is captured in Los Angeles.
- September 6 – Midwest Express Airlines Flight 105, a Douglas DC-9, crashes just after takeoff from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, killing 31 people.
- October 4 – The Free Software Foundation is founded in Massachusetts.
- October 7
- October 18 – The Nintendo Entertainment System is released in U.S. stores.
- October 27 – The Kansas City Royals defeat the St. Louis Cardinals, 4 games to 3, to win their first World Series Title.
- November 15 – In separate events, mail bombs kill two people in Salt Lake City, Utah; a third bomb explodes the next day, injuring career counterfeiter Mark Hofmann. The ensuing police investigation leads to the arrest of Hofmann for the two murders.
- November 18 – The comic strip Calvin and Hobbes debuts in 35 newspapers.
- November 19 – Cold War: In Geneva, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev meet for the first time.
- November 20 – Microsoft Corporation releases the first version of Windows, Windows 1.0.
- November 26 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan sells the rights to his autobiography to Random House for a record US$3,000,000.
- December 1 – The Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable are released for sale to the public.
- December 12 – Arrow Air Flight 1285, a Douglas DC-8, crashes after takeoff in Gander, Newfoundland, killing 256, 248 of whom were U.S. servicemen returning to Fort Campbell, Kentucky from overseeing a peacekeeping force in Sinai.
- December 16 – In New York City, Mafia bosses Paul Castellano and Thomas Bilotti are shot dead in front of Spark's Steak House, making hit organizer John Gotti the leader of the powerful Gambino crime family.
- December 24 – Right wing extremist David Lewis Rice murders civil rights attorney Charles Goldmark as well as Goldmark's wife and two children in Seattle. Rice suspected the family of being both Jewish and Communist, and claimed his dedication to the Christian Identity movement drove him to the crime.
- December 27 – American naturalist Dian Fossey is found murdered in Rwanda.
- December 31 – The last issue of The Columbus Citizen-Journal is circulated.
- "The Year of the Spy", name given by media to 1985 because of a large number of foreign spies arrested in the United States.
- The Tommy Hilfiger brand is established.
- The Asian tiger mosquito, an invasive species, is first found in Houston, Texas.
- January 1 – Juliana Harkavy, actress
- January 3 – Nicole Beharie, actress and singer
- January 11 – Aja Naomi King, actress
- January 12 – Issa Rae, actress
- January 25 – Michael Trevino, actor
- January 29 – Mikey Hachey, bass player
- February 1 – Alex Clark, Youtuber/animator
- February 6 – Crystal Reed, actress
- February 7 – Deborah Ann Woll, actress
- February 19
- February 22
- March 10 – Cooper Andrews, actor
- March 15 – Eva Amurri, actress
- March 21 – Sonequa Martin-Green, actress and producer
- March 26 – Jonathan Groff, actor and singer
- March 31 – Jessica Szohr, actress
- April 15
- April 17 – Rooney Mara, actress
- May 2 – Sarah Hughes, figure skater
- May 8 – Usama Young, American football player
- May 12 – Tally Hall, soccer player
- June 6 – Chris Henry, American football player
- June 25 – Annaleigh Ashford, actress and singer
- June 30
- June 24 – Jandy Nelson, writer
- June 25 – Daniel Bard, baseball player
- June 28 – Cory Blair, rugby player
- July 2 – Ashley Tisdale, actress, singer and producer
- July 5 – Megan Rapinoe, soccer plaer
- July 16 – Rosa Salazar, actress
- July 30 – Mary Wiseman, actress
- August 9 – Anna Kendrick, actress and singer
- August 15 – Emily Kinney, actress, singer and songwriter
- August 16
- August 18 – Brooke Harman, actress
- August 27 – Kayla Ewell, actress
- August 29 – Marc Rzepczynski, baseball player
- October 8 – Bruno Mars, singer-songwriter, producer and actor
- October 11 – Michelle Trachtenberg, actress, producer and singer
- October 28 – Troian Bellisario, actress
- November 12 – Arianny Celeste, model and actress
- November 15 – Charron Fisher, basketball player
- November 23 – Mike Tolbert, American football player
- November 25 – Dan Carpenter, American football player
- November 30
- December 1 – Janelle Monáe, singer-songwriter, actress and model
- December 3 – Amanda Seyfried, actress, singer and songwriter
- December 5 – Frankie Muniz, actor, musician, writer, producer and racecar driver
- December 8
- December 12
- December 21 – James Stewart Jr., motorcycle racer
- December 26 – Beth Behrs, actress
- February 21 – John G. Trump, electrical engineer, inventor, and physicist (b. 1907)
- February 22 – Alexander Scourby, actor (born 1913)
- March 13 – Annette Hanshaw, singer (b. 1901)
- April 1 – Douglass Wallop, author and playwright (b. 1920)
- October 2 – Rock Hudson, actor (b. 1925)
- October 10
- November 16 – John Sparkman, United States Senator from Alabama from 1946 till 1979. (b. 1899)
- November 25 – Ray Jablonski, American baseball player (b. 1926)
- 1985 in American television
- List of American films of 1985
- Timeline of United States history (1970–1989)
- Kifner, John (1985-02-15). "U.S. TV Reporter Free In Lebanon". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-07-17. Retrieved 2011-07-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Milestones of the U.S. Archival Profession and the National Archives, 1800-2011". U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
- Media related to 1985 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons