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)
U.S. President Ronald Reagan is privately sworn in for a second term in office (publicly sworn in, January 21).
Super Bowl XIX: The San Francisco 49ers defeat the Miami Dolphins 38–16 at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California.
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 Britain 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 U.S.-led MX missile tests.
February 9 – U.S. drug agent Enrique Camarena is kidnapped and murdered in Mexico (his body is discovered March 5).
CNN reporter Jeremy Levin is freed from captivity in Lebanon.
21-year-old female singer Whitney Houston releases her first album - Whitney Houston.
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 80 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.
National Archives and Records Administration 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 23 – Coca-Cola changes its formula 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 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 11 MOVE members 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 on to the Soviets.
May 31 – Forty-one tornadoes hit in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario, killing 76.
June 9 – Los Angeles Lakers win NBA championship
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 24 – STS-51-G: Space Shuttle Discovery completes its mission, best remembered for having Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the first Arab and first Muslim in space, as a Payload Specialist.
June 26 – The Walt Disney World Resort Monorail Gold catches fire on the EPCOT beam around 9:00 p.m., due to friction from 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.
Live Aid pop concerts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and London raise over £50 million for famine relief in Ethiopia.
U.S. Vice President George H. W. Bush serves as Acting President for 8 hours, while President Ronald W. Reagan undergoes colon cancer surgery
July 19 – U.S. Vice President George H. W. Bush announces that New Hampshire teacher Christa McAuliffe will become the first schoolteacher 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 40 miles off the coast of Key West, Florida by treasure hunters who begin to excavate $400 million 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 16th 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.
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.
October 4 – The Free Software Foundation is founded in Massachusetts, USA.
The cruise ship Achille Lauro is hijacked in the Mediterranean Sea by four heavily armed Palestinian terrorists. One passenger, American Leon Klinghoffer, is killed.
The Mameyes landslide kills close to 300 in worst ever landslide in North American history.
October 18 – The Nintendo Entertainment System is released in U.S. stores.
November 15 – In separate events, mail bombs kill 2 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 2 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 million.
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 organized crime family.
December 24 – Right wing extremist David Lewis Rice murders civil rights attorney Charles Goldmark as well as Goldmark's wife and 2 children in Seattle. Rice suspected the family of being 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 large number of foreign spies arrested in the U.S.
1985 Recordings which raised funds for famine relief USA for Africa ("We Are the World") and Live Aid
NeXT is founded by Steve Jobs after he resigns from Apple Computer.
The Tommy Hilfiger brand is established.
The Asian tiger mosquito, an invasive species, is first found in Houston, Texas.
Cold War (1945–1991)
Iran–Contra affair (1985–1987)
February 22 – Alexander Scourby, actor (born 1913)
March 13 – Annette Hanshaw, singer (b. 1901)
October 2 – Rock Hudson, actor (b. 1925)
Yul Brynner, Russian-born American actor (b. 1920)
Orson Welles, actor and director (born 1915)
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 the United States Wikipedia
Events from the year 1985 in the United States.