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Today in history: July 2

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

Today is Sunday, July 2, the 183rd day of 2006. There are 182 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution saying that “these United Colonies are, and of right, ought to be, Free and Independent States.”

On this date:
In 1566, French astrologer, physician and prophet Nostradamus died in Salon.

In 1881, President Garfield was shot by Charles J. Guiteau at the Washington railroad station; Garfield died the following September.

In 1926, the United States Army Air Corps was created.

In 1937, aviator Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first round-the-world flight at the equator.

In 1961, author Ernest Hemingway shot himself to death at his home in Ketchum, Idaho.

In 1964, President Johnson signed into law a sweeping civil rights bill passed by Congress.

In 1976, the Supreme Court ruled the death penalty was not inherently cruel or unusual.

In 1994, a US Air DC-9 crashed in poor weather at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, killing 37 of the 57 people aboard.

In 1997, actor James Stewart died in Beverly Hills, Calif., at age 89.

In 2004, actor Marlon Brando died in Los Angeles at age 80.

Ten years ago: Electricity and phone service was knocked out for millions of customers from Canada to the Southwest after power lines throughout the West failed on a record-hot day. Seven years after they had shot their parents to death in the family’s Beverly Hills mansion, Lyle and Erik Menendez were sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Five years ago: Robert Tools received the world’s first self-contained artificial heart in Louisville, Ky. (He lived 151 days with the device.) Vice President Dick Cheney returned to work two days after receiving a new pacemaker.

One year ago: Shasta Groene, an 8-year-old girl kidnapped six weeks earlier, was rescued at a restaurant in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; the man with her, Joseph Edward Duncan III, was arrested and accused of kidnapping Shasta as well as killing members of Shasta’s family. Egypt’s top envoy to post-Saddam Hussein Iraq (Ihab al-Sherif) was kidnapped in Baghdad (al-Qaida later announced it had killed him). The marathon Live 8 concert rocked the globe and the Internet, focusing attention on African poverty. Venus Williams beat top-ranked Lindsay Davenport at Wimbledon 4-6, 7-6 (4), 9-7 for her fifth major title and her first in nearly four years. Hollywood screenwriter Ernest Lehman died in Los Angeles at age 89.

Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Marvin Rainwater is 81. Former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos is 77. Jazz musician Ahmad Jamal is 76. Actor Robert Ito is 75. Actress Polly Holliday is 69. Former White House chief of staff John H. Sununu is 67. Actor Ron Silver is 60. Writer-director-comedian Larry David is 59. Luci Baines Johnson, daughter of President Johnson, is 59. Actor Saul Rubinek is 58. Rock musician Roy Bittan (Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band) is 57. Rock musician Gene Taylor (The Blasters) is 54. Actress-model Jerry Hall is 50. Actor Jimmy McNichol is 45. Rock musician Dave Parsons (Bush) is 41. Actress Yancy Butler is 36. Singer Michelle Branch is 23. Actress Vanessa Lee Chester is 22. Actress-singer Ashley Tisdale is 21. Actress Lindsay Lohan is 20.

Thought for Today: “No great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of great men.” — Thomas Carlyle, Scottish critic and historian (1795-1881).