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Today in history: April 13

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

Today is Thursday, April 13th, the 103rd day of 2006. There are 262 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 13th, 1970, Apollo 13, four-fifths of the way to the moon, was crippled when a tank containing liquid oxygen burst. (The astronauts managed to return safely.)

On this date:
In 1598, King Henry IV of France endorsed the Edict of Nantes, which granted rights to the Protestant Huguenots. (The edict was abrogated in 1685 by King Louis the 14th, who declared France entirely Catholic again.)

In 1742, Handel’s “Messiah” was first performed publicly, in Dublin, Ireland.

In 1743, the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, was born.

In 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in New York.

In 1906, 100 years ago, playwright, novelist and poet Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin, Ireland.

In 1943, President Roosevelt dedicated the Jefferson Memorial.

In 1958, Van Cliburn became the first American to win the Tchaikovsky International Piano Contest in Moscow.

In 1964, Sidney Poitier became the first black performer in a leading role to win an Academy Award, for “Lilies of the Field.”

In 1986, Pope John Paul II visited a Rome synagogue in the first recorded papal visit of its kind.

In 1992, the Great Chicago Flood took place as the city’s century-old tunnel system and adjacent basements filled with water from the Chicago River.

Ten years ago: President Clinton used his weekly radio address to call on Congress to pass an anti-terrorism bill that had languished for a year despite a promise of quick action after the Oklahoma City bombing.

Five years ago: With the crew of a U.S. spy plane safely back in the United States, American officials gave their detailed version of what happened when the plane collided with a Chinese fighter on April 1; the U.S. said its plane was struck by the jet. (China maintained that the U.S. plane rammed the fighter.)

One year ago: Eric Rudolph pleaded guilty to carrying out the deadly bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and three other attacks in back-to-back court appearances in Birmingham, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia. Contract worker Jeffrey Ake was shown at gunpoint on a videotape aired by Al-Jazeera television, two days after he was kidnapped near Baghdad. Gymnast Paul Hamm received the 75th Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete.

Today’s Birthdays: Movie director Stanley Donen is 82. Former Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Republican, Colorado) is 73. Actor Lyle Waggoner is 71. Actor Edward Fox is 69. Playwright Lanford Wilson is 69. Actor Paul Sorvino is 67. Movie and TV composer Bill Conti is 64. Rock musician Jack Casady is 62. Actor Tony Dow is 61. Singer Al Green is 60. Actor Ron Perlman is 56. Actor William Sadler is 56. Singer Peabo Bryson is 55. Rock musician Max Weinberg is 55. Bluegrass singer-musician Sam Bush is 54. Rock musician Jimmy Destri (Blondie) is 52. Singer-musician Louis Johnson (The Brothers Johnson) is 51. Comedian Gary Kroeger is 49. Actress Saundra Santiago is 49. Rock musician Joey Mazzola (Sponge) is 45. Chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov is 43. Actress Page Hannah is 42. Actress-comedian Caroline Rhea (RAY) is 42. Rock musician Lisa Umbarger is 41. Reggae singer Capleton is 39. Actor Rick Schroder is 36. Singer Lou Bega is 31. Actress Courtney Peldon is 25. Pop singer Nellie McKay is 24.

Thought for Today: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” — Samuel Beckett, Irish-born playwright and author (1906-1989).