Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson

John Shearer/Getty Images, Craig Sjodin/ABC

The 2012 Grammys was one for the history books.

And sadly so.

Held one day after the sudden death of singer Whitney Houston, the music-industry's prime promotional event hastily remade itself, opening with an L.L. Cool J prayer, and showcasing a Jennifer Hudson a cappella rendition of "I Will Always Love You."

Here's a look at five other instances where awards shows were forced to deal with tragic circumstances beyond their control:  

1. Remembering Pearl Harbor: Shortly after Japan's attack on the United States, the Motion Picture Academy voted to cancel the 1942 Academy Awards. The decision subsequently was reversed, and the ceremony went on, though like never before. There was no host; attendees were asked to wear business attire; dancing was nixed.

2. The President's Been Shot: As March 30, 1981, got underway, Ordinary People was hours away from claiming Best Picture at that night's Academy Awards. But then at 2:27 p.m. ET, President Ronald Reagan was wounded by a would-be assassin, and the Oscars was called off. With Reagan's prognosis good, the show went on 24 hours later. Among its highlights: a pre-taped greeting from the president himself.

3. 9/11: In 2001, the Sept. 11 terror attacks suspended business as usual, including the Primetime Emmys, originally slated for Sept. 16. Rescheduled for Oct. 7, and set to feature a live segment with then-New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the show was iced again when the U.S. war in Afghanistan was launched that same day. The show finally went on, without incident, and with low-key goodwill, on Nov. 4.  

4. Assassination: The April 4, 1968, shooting death of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. resulted in turmoil throughout the country, including in Hollywood, where the Academy Awards ceremony was scheduled to go on just four days later. When prominent African-American stars, including Best Actor nominee Sidney Poitier, announced they'd sit out the show, the event was rescheduled for April 10, one day after King's funeral. Poitier attended, Gregory Peck paid tribute to King, and a crime drama that hinged on race, In the Heat of the Night, won Best Picture.  

5. Long Live the King of Pop: The 2009 BET Awards were held four days after the June 25, 2009, death of Michael Jackson, and it showed. The event underwent a "total overhaul" in working in all-star tributes to Jackson.

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