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Today in history: July 26

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

Today is Wednesday, July 26th, the 207th day of 2006. There are 158 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History
On July 26th, 1856, 150 years ago, playwright George Bernard Shaw was born in Dublin, Ireland.

On this date
In 1775, Benjamin Franklin became Postmaster-General.

In 1788, New York became the eleventh state to ratify the U-S Constitution.

In 1945, Winston Churchill resigned as Britain’s prime minister after his Conservatives were soundly defeated by the Labour Party. (Clement Attlee became the new prime minister.)

In 1952, Argentina’s first lady, Eva Peron, died in Buenos Aires at age 33.

In 1952, King Farouk the First of Egypt abdicated in the wake of a coup led by Gamal Abdel Nasser.

In 1956, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal.

In 1956, the Italian liner Andrea Doria sank off New England, some eleven hours after colliding with the Swedish liner Stockholm; at least 51 people died.

In 1971, Apollo 15 was launched from Cape Kennedy.

In 1986, kidnappers in Lebanon released the Reverend Lawrence Martin Jenco, an American hostage held for nearly 19 months.

In 1986, American statesman W. Averell Harriman died in Yorktown Heights, New York, at age 94.

Ten years ago: President Clinton rejected a clemency plea from Jonathan Pollard, who’d spent more than ten years in prison for spying for Israel. Amy Van Dyken became the first American woman to win four gold medals at a single Olympics as she captured the 50-meter freestyle in Atlanta.

Five years ago: China granted parole to two U-S-based scholars convicted of spying for Taiwan.

One year ago: America’s manned space program roared back to life with the launch of Discovery, two and a-half years after the Columbia disaster. Six nations resumed nuclear disarmament talks that North Korea had boycotted for 13 months, but little progress was made. Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux recorded his three-thousandth career strikeout against San Francisco in the third inning of a 3-to-2, eleven-inning victory for the Giants.

Today’s Birthdays: Movie director Blake Edwards is 84. Actor James Best is 80. Singer Dobie Gray is 66. Actress-singer Darlene Love is 65. Singer Brenton Wood is 65. Rock star Mick Jagger is 63. Movie director Peter Hyams is 63. Actress Helen Mirren is 61. Rock musician Roger Taylor (Queen) is 57. Actress Susan George is 56. Actor Kevin Spacey is 47. Rock singer Gary Cherone is 45. Actress Sandra Bullock is 42. Actor Jeremy Piven is 41. Rapper-reggae singer Wayne Wonder is 40. Actress Kate Beckinsale is 33. Gospel/Contemporary Christian singer Rebecca St. James is 29.

Thought for Today:

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” -- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950).