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Today in history: March 19

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Sunday, March 19, the 78th day of 2006. There are 287 days left in the year. This is the date the swallows traditionally return to the San Juan Capistrano Mission in California.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 19th, 1953, the Academy Awards ceremony was televised for the first time; “The Greatest Show on Earth” was named best picture of 1952.

On this date:
In 1859, the opera “Faust” by Charles Gounod premiered in Paris.

In 1917, the Supreme Court upheld the eight-hour work day for railroads.

In 1918, Congress approved Daylight-Saving Time.

In 1931, Nevada legalized gambling.

In 1945, during World War II, 724 people were killed when a Japanese dive bomber attacked the U-S carrier Franklin off Japan; the ship, however, was saved.

In 1945, Adolf Hitler issued his so-called “Nero Decree,” ordering the destruction of German facilities that could fall into Allied hands.

In 1951, Herman Wouk’s World War Two novel “The Caine Mutiny” was first published.

In 1976, Buckingham Palace announced the separation of Princess Margaret and her husband, the Earl of Snowdon, after 16 years of marriage.

In 1979, the U.S. House of Representatives began televising its day-to-day business.

In 2003, President Bush ordered the start of war against Iraq. (Because of the time difference, it was early March 20th in Iraq.)

Ten years ago: Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole wrapped up the Republican presidential nomination with solid primary victories in four Midwestern states. President Clinton rolled out a $1.6 trillion election-year budget, promising it would invigorate the economy, erase federal deficits and cut taxes.

Five years ago: California officials declared a power alert, ordering the first of two days of rolling blackouts.

One year ago: Police in Citrus County, Florida, found the body of nine-year-old Jessica Marie Lunsford, more than three weeks after she’d disappeared from her bedroom. (A suspect, John Couey, has pleaded not guilty to capital murder, kidnapping and sexual assault in Jessica’s death.) Irina Slutskaya won the gold medal for the second time at the World Figure Skating Championships, held in Moscow; Sasha Cohen of the United States won the silver medal for the second straight year. Automaker John Z. DeLorean died in Summit, New Jersey, at age 80.

Today’s Birthdays: Former White House national security adviser Brent Scowcroft is 81. Actor-director Patrick McGoohan is 78. Theologian Hans Kung is 78. Jazz musician Ornette Coleman is 76. Author Philip Roth is 73. Actress Renee Taylor is 73. Actress-singer Phyllis Newman is 73. Actress Ursula Andress is 70. Singer Clarence “Frogman” Henry is 69. Singer Ruth Pointer (The Pointer Sisters) is 60. Actress Glenn Close is 59. Actor Bruce Willis is 51. Rock musician Gert Bettens (K’s Choice) is 36. Rock musician Zach Lind (Jimmy Eat World) is 30. Actor Craig Lamar Traylor (“Malcolm in the Middle”) is 17. Actor Philip Bolden is eleven.

Thought for Today: “No one is such a liar as the indignant man.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844-1900).