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Today in history: August 19

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

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Aug. 19, 1812, the USS Constitution defeated the British frigate Guerriere east of Nova Scotia during the War of 1812.

On this date:

In 1856, 150 years ago, Gail Borden Jr. received a patent for his invention, condensed milk.

In 1906, 100 years ago, Philo T. Farnsworth, one of the pioneering inventors of television, was born in Beaver County, Utah.

In 1929, the comedy program “Amos and Andy,” starring Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, made its network radio debut on NBC.

In 1934, a plebiscite in Germany approved the vesting of sole executive power in Adolf Hitler.

In 1942, about 6,000 Canadian and British soldiers launched a disastrous raid against the Germans at Dieppe, France, suffering about 50 percent casualties.

In 1955, severe flooding in the northeastern U.S. claimed some 200 lives.

In 1960, a tribunal in Moscow convicted American U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers of espionage.

In 1976, President Ford won the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Kansas City.

In 1981, two U.S. Navy F-14 jet fighters shot down a pair of Soviet-built Libyan SU-22s in a dogfight over the Gulf of Sidra.

In 1991, Soviet hard-liners announced to a shocked world that President Mikhail S. Gorbachev had been removed from power. (The coup collapsed two days later.)

Ten years ago: Ralph Nader accepted the presidential nomination of the Green Party in Los Angeles. A judge sentenced former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker to four years’ probation for his Whitewater crimes.

Five years ago: An underground methane and coal dust explosion in Ukraine killed 55 miners. Davis Toms won the PGA Championship with a 1-under-par 69. Donald Woods, a veteran South African newspaper editor and apartheid opponent, died in Sutton, England, at age 67. Soul singer Betty Everett died in Beloit, Wis., at age 61.

One year ago: A Texas jury found pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. liable for the death of a man who’d taken the once-popular painkiller Vioxx, awarding his widow $253.4 million in damages. (Texas caps on punitive damages reduced that figure to about $26 million; Merck plans to appeal.) Attackers firing Katyusha rockets narrowly missed a U.S. amphibious assault ship docked at the Red Sea resort of Aqaba, but killed a Jordanian soldier. Britain’s former Northern Ireland chief, Mo Mowlam, died after hitting her head in a fall in Canterbury, England; she was 55.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor L.Q. Jones is 79. Author Frank McCourt is 76. Actress Debra Paget is 73. Tennis coach Renee Richards is

72. Actress Diana Muldaur is 68. Rock musician Ginger Baker (Cream, Blind Faith) is 67. Singer Johnny Nash is 66. Actress Jill St. John is 66. Actor and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson is 64. Singer Billy J. Kramer is 63. Country singer-songwriter Eddy Raven is 62. Rock singer Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) is 61. Former President Clinton is 60. Tipper Gore, wife of former Vice President Al Gore, is 58. Actor Gerald McRaney is 58. Rock musician John Deacon (Queen) is 55. Actor Jonathan Frakes is 54. Actor Peter Gallagher is 51. Actor Adam Arkin is 50. Singer-songwriter Gary Chapman is 49. Actor Martin Donovan is 49. Actor Eric Lutes is 44. Actor John Stamos is

43. Actress Kyra Sedgwick is 41. Actor Kevin Dillon is 41. Country singer Lee Ann Womack is 40. TV reporter Tabitha Soren is 39. Country singer-songwriter Mark McGuinn is 38. Actor Matthew Perry is 37. Country singer Clay Walker is 37. Rapper Fat Joe is 36. Tennis player Mary Joe Fernandez is 35. Actress Erika Christensen is 24. Actor J. Evan Bonifant is 21. Rapper Lil’ Romeo is 17.

Thought for Today: “A mere madness, to live like a wretch and die rich.” — Robert Burton, English author (1577-1640).