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Today in History
Famous Birthdays
 Encyclopaedia Britannica

*1939Sir Ian McKellen, a British actor of great versatility who earned acclaim for his work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and for such films as The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003), was born this day in 1939.  
*1926American jazz musician Miles Davis, born this day in 1926, was a great trumpeter who, as a bandleader and composer, was one of the major influences on jazz from the late 1940s. 
*1889Russian-born aircraft designer Igor Sikorsky, who successfully developed the helicopter, was born in Kiev. 
*1878American entertainer Bill (“Bojangles”) Robinson was born in Richmond, Virginia. 
2008NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander landed in the arctic plains of Mars. 
2001Erik Weihenmeyer, 32, of Golder, CO, became the first blind climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest.  
2001Sherman Bull, 64, of New Canaan, CT, became the oldest climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest.  
2000The Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc. signed a long-term deal that ended a dispute over the airing policies of Time Warner. Time Warner had blacked out Disney programs for a 39 hour period the previous month due to the lack of an agreement.  
1999A report by the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China concluded that China had "stolen design information on the U.S. most-advanced thermonuclear weapons" and that China's penetration of U.S. weapons laboratories "spans at least the past several decades and almost certainly continues today."  
1997In Sierra Leone a military coup overthrew the popularly elected President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. He was replaced with Major Johnny Paul Koromah.  
1997Poland adopted a constitution that removed all traces of communism.  
1997U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond became the longest-serving senator in U.S. history (41 years and 10 months).  
1996In Nimes, France, Christina Sanchez became the first woman to achieve the rank of matadore in Europe.  
1992Jay Leno debuted as the new permanent host of NBC's "Tonight Show."  
1989The Calgary Flames won their first NHL Stanley Cup by defeating the Montreal Canadiens.  
1986Approximately 7 million Americans participated in "Hands Across America."  
1985Bangladesh was hit with a hurricane and tidal wave that killed more than 11,000 people.  
1985The first Winston All-Star Challenge was run at Lowe's Motor Speedway (formerly Charlotte Motor Speedway). Darrell Waltrip, driver for the Junior Johnson Racing Team, won the first Winston All-Star Challenge race. Driving a Chevrolet 105 miles with an average speed of 161.184 mph, Darrell earned $20,000 for taking the checkered flag. 
1983"The Return of the Jedi" opened nationwide. It set a new record in opening day box office sales. The gross was $6,219,629.  
1981Daredevil Daniel Goodwin scaled Chicago's Sears Tower, while wearing a "Spiderman" costume, in 7 1/2 hours.  
1979An American Airlines DC-10 crashed during takeoff at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. 275 people were killed.  
1977"Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" opened and became the largest grossing film to date.  
1977An opinion piece by Vietnam verteran Jan Scruggs appeared in "The Washington Post." The article called for a national memorial to "remind an ungrateful nation of what it has done to its sons" that had served in the Vietnam War.  
1970Boeing Computer Services was founded.  
1968The Gateway Arch, part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, MO, was dedicated.  
1963The Organization of African Unity was founded, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  
1961America was asked by U.S. President Kennedy to work toward putting a man on the moon before the end of the decade.  
1953In Nevada, the first atomic cannon was fired.  
1946Jordan gained independence from Britain.  
1946'Abdullah I, ruler of Transjordan, proclaimed himself king. 
1935American track-and-field standout Jesse Owens set three world records and equaled one other at a meet in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 
1935Babe Ruth hit his final homerun, his 714th, and set a record that would stand for 39 years.  
1935Jesse Owens tied the world record for the 100-yard dash. He ran it in 9.4 seconds. He also broke three other world track records.  
1927Ford Motor Company announced that the Model A would replace the Model T.  
1927The "Movietone News" was shown for the first time at the Sam Harris Theatre in New York City.  
1925John Scopes was indicted for teaching the Darwinian theory in school.  
1911President of Mexico, Porfolio Diaz, resigned his office.  
1895James P. Lee first published "Gold in America -- A Practical Manual."  
1895Oscar Wilde, a playwright, poet and novelist, was convicted of a morals charge and sentenced to prison in London.  
1844The first telegraphed news dispatch, sent from Washington, DC, to Baltimore, MD, appeared in the Baltimore "Patriot."  
1844The gasoline engine was patented by Stuart Perry.  
1810Argentina declared independence from Napoleonic Spain.  
1810The municipal council of Buenos Aires, Argentina, having severed ties with Spain and the viceregal government, established an autonomous government. 
1787U.S. Constitutional Convention opened in Philadelphia. On this day in 1787, the Constitutional Convention opened in Philadelphia, where 55 state delegates, initially charged with amending the Articles of Confederation, later drafted the Constitution of the United States. Stimulated by severe economic troubles, which produced radical political movements such as Shays's Rebellion, and urged on by a demand for a stronger central government, a convention of delegates from the states met in the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia beginning this day, ostensibly to amend the Articles of Confederation. All the states except Rhode Island responded to an invitation issued by the Annapolis Convention of 1786 to send delegates. The delegates included such leading figures of the period as George Washington, who was elected to preside, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, James Wilson, John Rutledge, Charles Pinckney, Oliver Ellsworth, and Gouverneur Morris.  
1085Alfonso VI took Toledo, Spain from the Moslems.  
-585The first known prediction of a solar eclipse was made in Greece. 
Asterisks (*) denotes birthday

Famous Birthdays
1975 - Lauryn Hill
1969 - Anne Heche
1963 - Mike Myers
1958 - Paul WellerRock Singer-Musician
1955 - Connie Sellecca
1951 - Patti D'ArbanvilleActress
1948 - Klaus MeineRock Singer (The Scorpions)
1947 - Karen ValentineActress
1944 - Frank Oz
1943 - Jessi ColterCountry Singer
1943 - Leslie Uggams
1939 - Ian McKellen
1936 - Tom T. Hall
1929 - Beverly Sills
1927 - Robert Ludlum
1925 - Jeanne Crain
1921 - Hal DavidLyricist
1918 - Claude Akins
1803 - Ralph W. Emerson

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