December 17 - Marguerite Yourcenar, Belgian novelist (b. 1903)
December 18 - Conny Plank, German record producer and musician (b. 1940)
December 31 - Jerry Turner, Baltimore Anchorman (b. 1929)
January 4 - The Chase, Maryland rail wreck: An Amtrak train en route to Boston, Massachusetts from Washington, D.C., collides with Conrail engines in Chase, Maryland, killing 16 people.
January 20 - Church of England envoy Terry Waite is kidnapped in Lebanon.
January 22 - Pennsylvania politician R. Budd Dwyer shoots and kills himself at a press conference on live national television, leading to debates on boundaries in journalism.
February 6 - Justice Mary Gaudron is appointed to the High Court of Australia, the first woman to be appointed.
February 11 - Philippines constitution goes into effect.
February 16 - The trial of John Demjanjuk, accused of being a Nazi guard dubbed "Ivan the Terrible" in Treblinka extermination camp, starts in Jerusalem.
February 20 - Unabomber: In Salt Lake City, Utah, a bomb explodes in a computer store.
February 23 - Supernova 1987a: A supernova is seen in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
February 26 - Iran-Contra affair: The Tower Commission rebukes American President Ronald Reagan for not controlling his national security staff.
March 6 - The British ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise capsizes in about 90 seconds killing 193.
March 10 - The Holy See condemns the practice of surrogate motherhood, along with test-tube babies and artificial insemination.
March 19 - Televangelist Jim Bakker resigns as head of the PTL Club due to a brewing sex scandal; he hands over control to Jerry Falwell.
March 20 - The Food and Drug Administration approves the anti-AIDS drug, AZT.
March 29 - Wrestlemania III sets a world indoor attendance record at the Pontiac Silverdome with 93,173 fans.
April 8 - Los Angeles Dodgers executive Al Campanis resigns amid controversy over racially-charged remarks he had made while on Nightline.
April 11 - The London Agreement is secretly signed between Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Shimon Peres and King Hussein of Jordan.
April 13 - Portugal and the People's Republic of China sign an agreement in which Macau would be returned to China in 1999.
April 16 - British Conservative MP Harvey Proctor appears at Bow Street Magistrates' Court in London charged with gross indecency.
April 21 - The Tamil Tigers are blamed for a car bomb that explodes in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, killing 106 people.
April 23 - 28 construction workers die when the L'Ambiance Plaza apartment building collapses while under construction in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
April 27 - The U.S. Justice Department bars the Austrian President Kurt Waldheim from entering the United States, saying he had aided in the deportation and execution of thousands of Jews and others as a German Army officer during World War II.
April 28 - American engineer Ben Linder is killed in an ambush by U.S.-funded Contras in northern Nicaragua.
May 3 - A crash by Bobby Allison at the Talladega Superspeedway, Alabama fencing at the start-finish line would lead NASCAR to develop restrictor plate racing the following season both at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega.
May 5 - Iran-Contra affair: Start of Congressional televised hearings.
May 8 - The Loughgall ambush: The SAS kill 8 IRA members and 1 civilian, in Loughgall, Northern Ireland.
May 9 - A Polish LOT Ilyushin IL-62M "Tadeusz Kościuszko" (SP-LBG) crashes after takeoff in Warsaw, Poland, killing 183 people.
May 11 - Klaus Barbie goes on trial in Lyon for war crimes committed during World War II.
May 11 - In Baltimore, Maryland, The first heart-lung transplant takes place. The surgery is performed by Dr. Bruce Reitz, of Stanford University School of Medicine.
May 15 - The Soviet Union launches the Polyus prototype orbital weapons platform. It fails to reach orbit.
May 17 - An Iraqi fighter jet fires two missiles into the U.S. warship USS Stark (FFG-31), killing 37 and injuring 21 of her crew.
May 28 - 19-year-old West German pilot Mathias Rust evades Soviet Union air defenses and lands a private plane in Red Square in Moscow. He is immediately detained and is not released until August 3, 1988.
May 28 - A robot probe finds the wreckage of the USS Monitor near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
May 31 - Athena 98.4 FM, the first legal private radio station starts broadcasting in Greece.
June 3 - Trade unionists in Vanuatu found the Vanuatu Labour Party.
June 7 - Washington Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are transferred to The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
June 8 - New Zealand's Labour government legislates against nuclear weapons and nuclear powered vessels. This makes New Zealand the first and (as of June 2006) only nation to ban these things from its territory.
June 12 - Cold War: U.S. President Ronald Reagan publicly challenges Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate.
June 17 - With the death of the last individual, the Dusky Seaside Sparrow becomes extinct.
June 19 - The ETA commits one of its most violent attacks, in which a bomb is set off in a supermarket, Hipercor, killing 21 and injuring 45.
June 27 - A commercial HS 748 (Philippine Airlines Flight 206) crashes near Baguio City, Philippines, killing 50.
June 30 - The Royal Canadian Mint introduces the $1 coin, known as the Loonie.
July 1 - American radio station WFAN in New York City is launched as the world's first all-sports radio station.
July 2 - Nilde Iotti is named as the first female President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.
July 4 - In France, former Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie (aka the "Butcher of Lyon") is convicted of crimes against humanity and is sentenced to life imprisonment.
July 5 - First instance of the LTTE using suicide attacks on Sri Lankan Army. The Black Tigers are born and in the following years continue to use it to deadly effect.
July 11 - According to the United Nations, the world population crosses the 5,000,000,000 (5 billion) mark.
July 20 - UN Security Council Resolution 598, condemning the Iran–Iraq War and demanding cease-fire, is unanimously adopted.
July 27 - First expedited salvaging of Titanic wreckage begins by RMS Titanic, Inc.
July 29 - British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President of France François Mitterrand sign the agreement to build the tunnel under the English Channel (Eurotunnel).
July 29 - Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President J. R. Jayawardene sign the Indo-Lankan Pact on ethnic issues.
July 31 - A rare, class F-4 tornado rips through Edmonton, Alberta, killing 27 people and causing $330 million in damage.
August 4 - The Federal Communications Commission rescinds the Fairness Doctrine which had required radio and television stations to present controversial issues "fairly".
August 16 - A McDonnell Douglas MD-82 carrying Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashes on take-off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Michigan (Detroit), killing 155 passengers and crew. The sole survivor is four-year-old Cecelia Cichan.
August 19 - Hungerford Massacre: in the United Kingdom, Michael Ryan kills sixteen people with an assault rifle and then commits suicide.
August 26 - President Ronald Reagan proclaims September 11, 1987 as 9-1-1 Emergency Number Day.
September 11 - Dan Rather walks off the set of the CBS Evening News over disapproval of the handling of a major event being interrupted and postponed by a sports program, leaving six minutes of dead air.
September 13 - Goiânia accident: A radioactive object is stolen from an abandoned hospital in Goiânia, Brazil, contaminating many people in the following weeks and leading some to die from radiation poisoning.
September 14 - The Toronto Blue Jays set a major league record for most home runs in a single game
September 15 - U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze sign a treaty to establish centers to reduce the risk of nuclear war.
September 16 - The Montreal Protocol is signed to protect the ozone layer from depletion.
October 1 - The Whittier Narrows earthquake shook the San Gabriel Valley, registering as a magnitude 5.9.
October 15 - The Great Storm of 1987 hits France and England.
October 16 - Great Storm of 1987: A hurricane force winds hit much of the South of England killing 23 people.
October 19 - In retaliation for Iranian attacks on ships in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy disables three of Iran's offshore oil platforms.
October 19 - (Black Monday) Dow Jones Industrial Average falls by 22%, 508 points. This is considered a Stock Market Crash.
October 30 - In Japan, NEC releases the first 16-bit home entertainment system, the TurboGrafx-16, known as PC Engine.
November 5 - Govan Mbeki is released from custody after serving 24 years in prison. He had been sentenced to life for terrorism and treason.
November 7 - In Tunisia, president Habib Bourguiba is overthrown and replaced by Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
November 8 - Remembrance Day Bombing: In Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, an Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb explodes, at a ceremony honoring Britain's war dead, killing twelve people.
November 15 - Continental Airlines Flight 1713, a Douglas DC-9-14 jetliner, crashes in a snowstorm at Denver, Colorado Stapleton International Airport, killing 28 occupants, while 54 survive the crash.
November 18 - Iran-Contra Affair: The U.S. Congress issues its final report on the Iran-Contras Affair.
November 18 - King's Cross fire: In London, 31 people die in a fire at the city's busiest underground station at King's Cross St Pancras.
November 22 - Two Chicago television stations are hijacked by an unknown pirate dressed as Max Headroom.
November 25 - Supertyphoon Nina pummels the Philippines with category 5 winds of 165 mph and a surge that swallows entire villages. at least 1,036 deaths attributed to the storm.
November 28 - South African Airways flight 295 crashes into the Indian Ocean, killing all 159 people on-board.
November 29 - A Korean Air Boeing 707 explodes over the Thai-Burmese border, killing 155.
December 7 - Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771 crashes near Paso Robles, California, killing all 43 on board, after a disgruntled passenger shoots his ex-boss traveling on the flight, then shoots both pilots and himself.
December 8 - The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is signed.
December 8 - The Queen Street Massacre: Frank Vitkovic shoots and kills 8 people at the offices of Australia Post in Melbourne, Australia before being killed himself.