President: John F. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts)
Vice President: Lyndon B. Johnson (D-Texas)
Chief Justice: Earl Warren (California)
Speaker of the House of Representatives: vacant (until January 10), John William McCormack (D-Massachusetts) (starting January 10)
Senate Majority Leader: Mike Mansfield (D-Montana)
The United States Navy SEALs are activated. SEAL Team One is commissioned in the Pacific Fleet and SEAL Team Two in the Atlantic Fleet.
NBC introduces the "Laramie peacock" before a midnight showing of the series Laramie.
January 2 – NAACP Executive Secretary Roy Wilkins praises U.S. President John F. Kennedy's "personal role" in advancing civil rights.
January 4 – New York City introduces a subway train that operates without a crew on board.
January 26 – Ranger 3 is launched to study the Moon but later misses its target by 22,000 miles.
January 30 – Two of the high-wire "Flying Wallendas" are killed, when their famous 7-person pyramid collapses during a performance in Detroit, Michigan.
February 3 – The United States embargo against Cuba is announced.
February 6 – Negotiations between U.S. Steel and the United States Department of Commerce begin.
February 7 – The United States Government bans all U.S.-related Cuban imports and exports.
February 10 – Captured American spy pilot Francis Gary Powers is exchanged for captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel in Berlin.
February 14 – First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy takes television viewers on a tour of the White House.
February 20 – Project Mercury: while aboard Friendship 7, John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth, three times in 4 hours, 55 minutes.
March 1 – An American Airlines Boeing 707 crashes on takeoff at New York International Airport, after its rudder separates from the tail, with the loss of all life on board.
March 2 – Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points in a single NBA basketball game.
March 7 – Ash Wednesday Storm: a snow storm batters the Mid-Atlantic.
March 19 – Bob Dylan releases his debut album, Bob Dylan.
March 26 – Baker v. Carr: the U.S. Supreme Court rules that federal courts can order state legislatures to reapportion seats.
April 6 – Leonard Bernstein causes controversy with his remarks before a concert featuring Glenn Gould with the New York Philharmonic.
April 9 – The 34th Academy Awards ceremony is held; West Side Story wins Best Picture.
April 10 – In Los Angeles, California, the first MLB game is played at Dodger Stadium.
April 14 – A Cuban military tribunal convicts 1,179 Bay of Pigs attackers.
April 21 – The Century 21 Exposition World's Fair opens in Seattle, Washington, opening the Space Needle to the public for the first time.
May 1 – Dayton Hudson Corporation opens the first of its Target discount stores in Roseville, Minnesota.
May 24 – Project Mercury: Scott Carpenter orbits the Earth 3 times in the Aurora 7 space capsule.
June 3 – Air France Flight 007, Boeing 707 Chateau de Sully on a charter flight carrying cultural and civic leaders of Atlanta, Georgia, overruns the runway at Orly Airport in Paris; 130 of 132 passengers are killed.
June 6 – President John F. Kennedy gives the commencement address at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.
June 11 – President John F. Kennedy gives the commencement address at Yale University.
June 15 – Port Huron Statement completed.
June 25 – United States Supreme Court rulings:
Engel v. Vitale: the court rules that mandatory prayers in public schools are unconstitutional.
MANual Enterprises v. Day: the court rules that photographs of nude men are not obscene, decriminalizing nude male pornographic magazines.
June 28 – The United Lutheran Church in America, the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, the American Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church merge to form the Lutheran Church in America.
July 2 – The first Wal-Mart store opens for business in Rogers, Arkansas.
July 10 – AT&T's Telstar, the world's first commercial communications satellite, is launched into orbit, and activated the next day.
July 17 – Nuclear testing: the "Small Boy" test shot Little Feller I becomes the last atmospheric test detonation at the Nevada Test Site.
July 22 – Mariner program: the Mariner 1 spacecraft flies erratically several minutes after launch and has to be destroyed.
August 5 – Marilyn Monroe is found dead at age 36 from "acute barbiturate poisoning".
August 15 – The New York Agreement is signed trading the West New Guinea colony to Indonesia.
August 27 – NASA launches the Mariner 2 space probe.
September 12 – President John F. Kennedy, at a speech at Rice University, reaffirms that the U.S. will put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
September 22 – 21-year-old Bob Dylan premieres his song "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall".
September 23 – The animated sitcom The Jetsons premieres on ABC.
September 25 – Sonny Liston knocks out Floyd Patterson two minutes into the first round of his fight for the boxing world title at Comiskey Park in Chicago.
September 29 – The Canadian Alouette 1, the first satellite built outside the United States and the Soviet Union, is launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
September 30 – CBS broadcasts the final episodes of Suspense and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, marking the end of the Golden Age of Radio.
The first black student, James Meredith, registers at the University of Mississippi, escorted by Federal Marshals.
Johnny Carson takes over as permanent host of NBC's The Tonight Show, a post he would hold for 30 years.
Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship Incorporated was founded at Morgan State College
The infamous Columbus Day Storm strikes the U.S. Pacific Northwest with wind gusts up to 170 mph (270 km/h); 46 are killed, 11 billion board feet (26 million m³) of timber is blown down, with $230 million U.S. in damages.
Jazz bassist/composer Charles Mingus presents a disastrous concert at Town Hall in New York City. It will gain a reputation as the worst moment of his career.
October 13 – Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opens on Broadway.
October 14 – Cuban Missile Crisis begins: a U-2 flight over Cuba takes photos of Soviet nuclear weapons being installed. A stand-off then ensues the next day between the United States and the Soviet Union, threatening the world with nuclear war.
October 22 – In a televised address, U.S. President John F. Kennedy announces to the nation the existence of Soviet missiles in Cuba.
October 27 – The British revue play Beyond the Fringe makes its Broadway debut.
October 28 – Cuban Missile Crisis: Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev announces that he has ordered the removal of Soviet missile bases in Cuba. In a secret deal between Kennedy and Khrushchev, Kennedy agrees to the withdrawal of U.S. missiles from Turkey. The fact that this deal is not made public makes it look like the Soviets have backed down.
November 7 – Richard M. Nixon loses the California governor's race. In his concession speech, he states that this is his "last press conference" and that "you won't have Dick Nixon to kick around any more".
November 17 – In Washington, D.C., U.S. President John F. Kennedy dedicates Dulles International Airport.
November 20 – The Cuban Missile Crisis ends: in response to the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, U.S. President John F. Kennedy ends the quarantine of the Caribbean nation.
December 2 – Vietnam War: after a trip to Vietnam at the request of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield becomes the first American official to make a non-optimistic public comment on the war's progress.
December 8 – The 1962 New York City newspaper strike begins, affecting all of the city's major newspapers; it would last for 114 days.
December 14 – U.S. spacecraft Mariner 2 flies by Venus, becoming the first probe to successfully transmit data from another planet.
December 24 – Cuba releases the last 1,113 participants in the Bay of Pigs Invasion to the U.S., in exchange for food worth $53 million.
December 30 – An unexpected storm buries Maine under five feet of snow, forcing the Bangor Daily News to miss a publication date for the first and only time in history.
American advertising man Martin K. Speckter invents the interrobang, a new English-language punctuation mark.
Publication of Helen Gurley Brown's Sex and the Single Girl.
Cold War (1945–1991)
Space Race (1957–1975)
Vietnam War, U.S. involvement (1962–1973)
January 17 – Jim Carrey, Canadian-born comedian and actor
February 11 – Tammy Baldwin, United States Senator from Wisconsin since 2013.
February 22 – Lenda Murray, American bodybuilder
March 11 – Barbara Alyn Woods, actress
March 21 – Matthew Broderick, actor
March 30 – Mark Begich, United States Senator from Alaska since 2009.
April 7 – Hugh O'Connor, actor, son of Carroll O'Connor (died 1995)
July 3 – Tom Cruise, actor and producer
July 13 – Tom Kenny, actor and comedian
August 16 – Steve Carell, comedian, actor, voice artist, producer, writer and director
September 6 – Chris Christie, 55th Governor of New Jersey
September 11 – Kristy McNichol, actress and singer
November 3 – Gabe Newell, co-founder and managing director of Valve
November 11 – Demi Moore, actress, film producer, film director, songwriter and model
Mark Acres, basketball player and educator
Judy Gold, comedian, actress, and producer
November 18 - Kirk Hammett, current Metallica and former Exodus (American band) guitarist
November 19 - Jodie Foster, actress, film director, and producer
December 12 – Peter Bergen,journalist and author
December 31 – Jeff Flake, United States Senator from Arizona since 2013.
August 5 – Marilyn Monroe, American actress and icon (born 1926)
September 19 – Ben J. Tarbutton, interpreter (born 1885)
November 7 – Eleanor Roosevelt, Former First Lady of the United States 1933–1945 (born 1884)
Jens Christian Bay, Danish-American writer and librarian (born 1871)
1962 in the United States Wikipedia
Events from the year 1962 in the United States.