Declared himself President upon the resignation of President Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr due to "health problems" (16 July 1979).
At a now-infamous meeting shown on Iraqi television, he had several members escorted out and executed in an "effort" to "cleanse" the Ba'ath Party (22 July 1979).
In an open letter to the American people, Hussein said that the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center were retribution for the death and destruction America has unleashed against foreigners, including the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Gulf War and economic sanctions against Iraq. (18 September 2001).
Had over 20 presidential palaces.
His birthday was formerly an Iraqi national holiday.
Wrote two novels, "Zabibah and the King" and "The Fortified Castle", under the pen name "He Who Wrote It.".
An admirer of Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin.
Ranked 55th on the Forbes World's Richest with an estimated worth of $7 billion. (2000).
Attended Cairo (Egypt) University School of Law.
An interrogator and torturer at the infamous "Palace of the End", the cellar of the former palace of King Faisal II.
In 1956, he participated in an unsuccessful coup attempt against King Faisal II.
In 1959, he and a group from the radical nationalist movement Ba'ath attempted to assassinate General Abd al-Karim Qasim, who had overthrown King Faisal II. It was unsuccessful, forcing Saddam to go into exile until 9 February, 1963, when Qasim was tortured and killed by Ba'ath army officers after a kangaroo trial broadcast live on Iraqi television.
Waged war against Iran from September 22, 1980 to August 1988. The Iran-Iraq war is estimated to have caused one million casualties including 250,000 Iraqi dead.
Invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990 and made it the 19th province of Iraq.
Favorite movie was The Godfather (1972).
Usually portrayed in US movies by actor Jerry Haleva.
Has a look-alike puppet in the French show Les Guignols de l'info (1988).
His regime ended publicly, if not officially, on 9 April 2003, when citizens of Baghdad pulled down a statue of him erected to mark his 65th birthday.
Children: Sons Uday Hussein and Qusay Hussein, daughters Raghda, Rana and Hala by first wife, Sajida; son Ali Saddam by second wife, Samira. Uday controlled the media and was named Journalist of the Century by the Iraqi Union of Journalists. Qusay ran the elite Republican Guard and was considered Saddam's heir. Both brothers made a fortune smuggling oil. Saddam ordered Raghda's and Rana's husbands killed in 1996 after they plotted against him. Raghda, Rana and Sajida were placed under house arrest in 1997 when it was suspected they had a role in the 12 December 1996 ambush that nearly killed Uday. Hala's husband, Jamal Mustafa Sultan al-Tikriti, surrendered to U.S. troops in April 2003. Uday and Qusai were killed in Mosul during a firefight with United States troops in mid-July 2003.
First wife Sajida is the daughter of Khairallah Tulfah, Saddam's uncle and first mentor. Their marriage was arranged when Saddam was 5 and Sajida was 7. However, the two didn't meet until 1958; they were married in Egypt during his exile. While Sajida was officially Iraq's First Lady, Saddam has at least three other wives the Iraqi press kept silent about. His newest wife, Wafa, is the daughter of his last deputy prime minister, Abdul Tawab el-Mulla Howeish.
In July 2003, a $25 million reward was offered for evidence of his whereabouts, his capture, or proof of his death.
His sons, Uday Hussein and Qusay Hussein, were killed along with 2 others in a 6-hour standoff with United States forces at a palatial villa in Mosul, Iraq. (22 July 2003).
Credited as "Himself" in the animated film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999). Photos of the real Hussein (and the voice of Matt Stone) were used for the animated character.
14 December 2003: Acting on a tip, coalition forces captured the dictator hiding in an underground crawl space on a farm in Adwar, 10 miles from Tikrit.
When climbing out of the "spider hole" where he was hiding, he said to the US troops, "Don't shoot! I am Saddam Hussein! I am the President of the Republic of Iraq and I wish to negotiate!" One of the troops replied, "President Bush sends his regards."
Has been portrayed in movies and TV by actor James Evans of General Hospital (1963) fame.
In 1980, he was given the key to Detroit, making him an honorary citizen.
On November 5, 2006, he was sentenced to death by hanging for the murders of 148 people in the mostly-Shia town of Dujail in 1982.
He became very close with the soldiers guarding him after his capture and during his trial, to the point that many of them cried as he was led to the gallows.