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2003 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 2002

2003 History Snapshot

  • The Politics of War: The 2003 invasion of Iraq was initially called "Operation Iraqi Liberation", but was quickly changed to "Operation Iraqi Freedom" due to the acronym spelling out "OIL".
  • The Top Song was Hey Ya! by OutKast
  • The Big Movies included The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Finding Nemo and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  • Price of Gold Star Air conditioner 5,200 BTU in 2003: $85.00
    Coppertone Waterbabies suntan lotion, 5 oz: $4.99
  • The World Population was ~ 6,326,000,000
  • "5 Hour Energy" entered the market.
  • The Alibi: Juan Catalan was cleared of murder charges, after outtake footage shot for "The Car Pool Lane" episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm showed him and his daughter attending the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves baseball game some 20 miles from the crime scene at the time of the murder.
  • And... After Michael Jordan retired in 2003, The Miami Heat retired his number 23 jersey even though Jordan never played for the team.

World Series Champions

Florida Marlins

Superbowl XXXVII Champions

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

National Basketball Association Champions

San Antonio Spurs

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

New Jersey Devils

US Open Golf

Jim Furyk

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Andy Roddick/Kim Clijsters

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Roger Federer/Serena Williams

NCAA Football Champions


NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 2, 2003 - USC over Iowa
Rose Bowl: January 1, 2003 - Oklahoma over Washington State
Sugar Bowl : January 1, 2003 - Georgia over Florida State

Kentucky Derby

Funny Cide

Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Torums Scarf Michael

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

The American Soldier

Miss America

Erika Harold (Urbana, IL)

Miss USA

Susie Castillo (Massachusetts)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Christina Aguilera, Jessica Alba, Pamela Anderson, Jennifer Aniston, Pamela Anderson, Christina Applegate, Ashanti, Morena Baccarin, Tyra Banks, Drew Barrymoore, Victoria Beckham, Kate Beckinsale, Monica Bellucci, Halle Berry, Beyonce, Selma Blair, Brooke Burke, Gisele Bündchen, Brooke Burns, Laetitia Casta, Kelly Clarkson, Penélope Cruz, Elisha Cuthbert, Rosario Dawson, Cameron Diaz, Carmen Electra, Jennifer Garner, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Salma Hayek, Katie Holmes, Kelly Hu, Kate Hudson, Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Heidi Klum, Keira Knightley, Kristin Kreuk, Mila Kunis, Ali Larter, Avril Lavigne, Lucy Liu, Kristanna Loken, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Eva Mendez, Kylie Minogue, Brittany Murphy, Mya, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Pink, Jaime Pressly, Trista Rehn, Tara Reid, Denise Richards, LeAnn Rimes, Julia Roberts, Michelle Rodriguez, Rebecca Romijn, Kelly Rowland, Paulina Rubio, Shakira, Jessica Simpson, Molly Sims, Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, Julia Stiles, Hilary Swank, Shania Twain, Aisha Tyler, Naomi Watts, Reese Witherspoon, Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones

Brad Pitt, Jude Law, Heath Ledger, Hugh Grant, Ben Affleck, Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, Johnny Depp, Julian McMahon, Justin Timberlake, Adam Brody

"The Quotes"

"Where do buffalo wings come from? Chickens or buffaloes?"
-Jessica Simpson, on her Newlyweds reality show.

"He's just not that into you."
-Jack Berger, Sex In The City

"We'd love to have children of our own one day. That would be such a dream come true."
- Louise Brown Mullinder, the first test-tube baby (1978), on her wedding day.

2003 Pop Culture History

The 2003 invasion of Iraq was initially called "Operation Iraqi Liberation", but was quickly changed to "Operation Iraqi Freedom" due to the acronym spelling out "OIL".

Mitsubishi offered a "0-0-0" deal in the US which offered a new car for 0 down, 0% interest and 0 payments for a year. Many buyers defaulted after the year leaving Mitsubishi with used vehicles for which they'd received no money and which were now worth less than they cost to manufacture.

The original "Dunkin' Donut" from Dunkin' Donuts had an actual pastry handle for dipping into coffee. It was discontinued this year because it had to be cut by hand.

Country Music Star Brad Paisley saw Actress Kimberly Williams in the movie Father of the Bride while he was on tour and decided to track her down to ask her on a date. They've been married since 2003.

The $2 dollar bill is still in circulation and last had a printing in 2003.

Robert Downey Jr. thanked Burger King for getting him off drugs. In 2003, with a car full of drugs he had a burger that was so disgusting it made him rethink his life, and dump the drugs in the ocean.

A philosophy riddle from 1688 was recently solved. If a man born blind can feel the differences between shapes such as spheres and cubes, could he, if given the ability, distinguish those objects by sight alone? In 2003 five people had their sight restored though surgery, and, no they could not.

Frane Selak: the luckiest unlucky person in the world. Cheated death seven times (including falling out of an airplane) and then won the lottery in 2003.

Dodge built and sold nine motorcycles with a Viper V-10 engine called the Dodge Tomahawk.

'Lord of the Rings: The Return Of The King' won 11 Oscars, winning every it was in. For this reason, many consider it to be the greatest film of all time. Several books have been written regarding the making of the Lord of the Rings film series.

Rock band Green Day had finished an album in 2003, but it was never released because the master tracks were stolen from the studio. Instead of re-recording the album, the band decided to write and record an entire new album, which turned out to be their hit record.

When Andy Serkis (appearing as Gollum) delivered his acceptance speech for "Best Visual Performance," in the Two Towers, at the MTV Movie Awards, the speech itself won a Hugo award for "Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form".

Queen are the only group in which every member has composed more than one #1 single, and hence, all four members were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003.

HERO - 13 year old Surfer Bethany Hamilton jumped right back on a surfboard after getting patched up from her shark-bite, which took her left arm. A 2011 film, Soul Surfer, starring AnnaSophia Robb, was made about her life.

HERO - Aron Ralston - while canyoneering in Utah, he was forced to amputate his right arm with a dull knife in order to free himself from a boulder. A 2011 film, 127 Hours, starring James Franco, was made about the adventure.

HERO - Elizabeth Smart was found alive, 9 months after she was kidnapped. She has become an activist, working with Sexual Predator Legislation and the AMBER Alert system, and she spoke after the signing of the Adam Walsh Act. A TV movie about the ordeal, The Elizabeth Smart Story, was shown on CBS.

Juan Catalan was cleared of murder charges, after outtake footage shot for "The Car Pool Lane" episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm showed him and his daughter attending the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves baseball game some 20 miles from the crime scene at the time of the murder.

Steven Bartman, sitting in Section 4, Row 8, Seat 113 of the stands at Wrigley Field, reached for and deflected a foul ball that Cubs left fielder Moises Alou was trying to catch. The Florida Marlins won the game and the chance to be in the World Series.By all reports, Steven is a decent guy, and still a Cubs fan. A film, featuring Kevin James, was proposed.

The word "McJob" was added to the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, defined as "a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement".

Leonardo Notarbartolo stole diamonds worth $100 million after getting past a lock with millions of possible combinations, infrared heat detectors, a seismic sensor, Doppler radar, a magnetic field and security force. He was caught because he left a partially eaten sandwich near the crime scene

Cost of a Superbowl ad in 2003: $2,100,000

The Human Genome Project that mapped the structure of DNA and all the specific information that it contained completed its work.

The Shuttle Disaster

On Feb 1, Space Shuttle Columbia broke up while re-entering Earth's atmosphere. William C. McCool, Michael P. Anderson, Ilan Ramon, Kalpana Chawla, David M. Brown, Laurel Clark and Commander Rick D. Husband all died in the disaster

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

Kim Dae-han, a korean taxi driver who was unhappy with his medical treatment after a paralyzing stroke, boarded a subway train, carrying flammable liquid, and set himself on fire. Train insulation and interior were very flammable; fire spread, killing 192.

The story that Gavrilo Princip, the assassin of Franz Ferdinand, was eating a sandwich when Franz's car stopped in front of him is likely false. There was no mention of a sandwich in court documents during Princip's trial, and the anecdote first appeared in 2003. Ferdinand's assassination was the spark for World War I.

Angelina Jolie kissed her brother, James Haven, rather passionately at the Oscars. James claimed it was a quick peck, just caught at the wrong second.

Gary Leon Ridgway stood up in a Seattle court on November 5, 2003 and admitted 48 counts of aggravated first degree murder, officially becoming America's most prolific serial killer.

Paris Hilton's sex tape, with then-boyfriend Rick Salomon, One Night In Paris, was released.

New York Times reporter Jayson Blair resigned after being confronted with evidence of fabricating quotes and details in at least 36 articles.

Motown Records dropped Bruno Mars in 2003. He was signed by Atlantic Records in 2009

Natalie Maines, lead singer for the Dixie Chicks, told a London crowd that "we're ashamed that the President of the United States is From Texas."

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh entered rehab for addiction to prescription drugs oxycodone and hydrocodone. This may have led to his hearing loss. (the radio talk show host is essentially deaf)

Michael Jackson was alleged to have engaged in sexual activities with a teenage boy (again).

Madonna Kissed Britney Spears at the VMAs

Beloved TV Star Sudden Death: John Ritter, age 54

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Game Boy Advance SP, Beyblades, Bionicle, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Flavas dolls, Barbie as Supergirl, Barbie as Wonder Woman

Teen Vogue began publication

The Habits

Reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Wearing Chandelier Earrings
Wearing Monogramed Shirts and Coats while carrying monogramed bags
Wearing Uggs with Cargo pants

2003/4 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. CSI (CBS)
2. American Idol (FOX)
3. Friends (NBC)
4. The Apprentice (NBC)
5. ER (NBC)
6. Survivor (CBS)
7. CSI: Miami (CBS)
8. Monday Night Football (ABC)
9. Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS)
10. Without a Trace (CBS)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 2003 include
Ashanti, Beyonce, Busta Rhymes, Chingy, Christina Aguilera, Clay Aiken, Evanescence, 50 Cent, Fabolous, Jason Mraz, Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Kenny Chesney, Kid Rock, Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz, Lil Kim, Ludacris, Maroon 5, Nelly, Outkast, P. Diddy, Pharrell, Pink, R. Kelly, Sean Paul, Snoop Dogg, 3 Doors Down, Ying Yang Twins

(Data is complied from various charts including: Billboard's Pop, Rock, Airplay, R&B/Dance and Singles Charts. The Hot 100 is the primary chart used for this list.)

Number One Hits of 2003

November 9, 2002 - January 31, 2003: Eminem - Lose Yourself

February 1, 2003 - February 7, 2003: B2K featuring P. Diddy - Bump, Bump, Bump

February 8, 2003 - March 7, 2003: Jennifer Lopez featuring LL Cool J - All I Have

March 8, 2003 - May 9, 2003: 50 Cent - In Da Club

May 10, 2003 - May 30, 2003: Sean Paul - Get Busy

May 31, 2003 - June 27, 2003: 50 Cent featuring Nate Dogg - 21 Questions

June 28, 2003 - July 11, 2003: Clay Aiken - This Is the Night

July 12, 2003 - September 5, 2003: Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z - Crazy in Love

September 6, 2003 - October 3, 2003: Nelly, P. Diddy and Murphy Lee - Shake Ya Tailfeather

October 4, 2003 - December 5, 2003: Beyoncé featuring Sean Paul - Baby Boy

December 6, 2003 - December 12, 2003: Ludacris featuring Shawnna - Stand Up

December 13, 2003 - February 13, 2004: Outkast - Hey Ya!

Popular Movies

(according to boxofficemojo)
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2. Finding Nemo
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
4. The Matrix Reloaded
5. Bruce Almighty
6. X2: X-Men United
7. Elf
8. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
9. The Matrix Revolutions
10. Cheaper By The Dozen

2 Fast 2 Furious, Anger Management, Bad Boys II, Bringing Down the House, Bruce Almighty, Cheaper by the Dozen, Elf, Finding Nemo, Freaky Friday, Hulk, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Seabuscuit, Something's Gotta Give, Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, S.W.A.T., Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, X2: X-Men United

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 2003
# 1 Hits of 2003
Pop Culture News

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