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Today in History - Feb. 4

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

Today is Sunday, Feb. 4, the 35th day of 2007. There are 330 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 4, 1789, electors chose George Washington to be the first president of the United States (however, the results of the balloting were not counted in the U.S. Senate until two months later).

On this date:

In 1783, Britain declared a formal cessation of hostilities with its former colonies, the United States of America.

In 1801, John Marshall was sworn in as chief justice of the United States.

In 1861, delegates from six southern states met in Montgomery, Ala., to form the Confederate States of America.

In 1932, New York Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt opened the Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid.

In 1941, the United Service Organizations came into existence.

In 1945, President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin began a wartime conference at Yalta.

In 1974, newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was kidnapped in Berkeley, Calif., by the Symbionese Liberation Army.

In 1977, 11 people were killed when two Chicago Transit Authority trains collided on an elevated track.

In 1987, pianist Liberace died at his Palm Springs, Calif., home at age 67.

In 2004, the Massachusetts high court declared that homosexuals were entitled to nothing less than marriage and that Vermont-style civil unions would not suffice.

Ten years ago: A civil jury in Santa Monica, Calif., found O.J. Simpson liable for the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, awarding $8.5 million in compensatory damages to Goldman’s parents. (Six days later, the jury added $25 million in punitive damages to go to Nicole Brown Simpson’s estate and Goldman’s father.) President Clinton delivered his State of the Union address. Seventy-three Israeli soldiers were killed in the collision of two helicopters.

Five years ago: President Bush proposed a $2.13 trillion budget, including billions for fighting terrorism. The World Economic Forum concluded five days of meetings in New York. Former Enron chairman and chief executive Kenneth Lay resigned from the board, cutting his last tie to the company beyond stock ownership.

One year ago: Thousands of Syrians enraged by caricatures of Islam’s revered prophet torched the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus. In Gaza, Palestinians marched through the streets, storming European buildings and burning German and Danish flags. Thousands of mourners poured into the Georgia Capitol rotunda to pay tribute to civil rights activist Coretta Scott King. Feminist author Betty Friedan died on her 85th birthday in Washington D.C. Troy Aikman, Reggie White, Warren Moon, Harry Carson, John Madden and Rayfield Wright were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor William Phipps is 85. Actor Conrad Bain is 84. Actor Gary Conway is 71. Movie director George A. Romero is

67. Rock musician John Steel (The Animals) is 66. Singer Florence LaRue (The Fifth Dimension) is 63. Comedian David Brenner is 62. Former Vice President Dan Quayle is 60. Rock singer Alice Cooper is

59. Actor Michael Beck is 58. Actress Lisa Eichhorn is 55. Rock singer Tim Booth is 47. Rock musician Henry Bogdan is 46. Country singer Clint Black is 45. Country musician Dave Buchanan (Yankee Grey) is 41. Actress Gabrielle Anwar is 37. Singer David Garza is

36. Actor Michael Goorjian is 36. Rock musician Rick Burch (Jimmy Eat World) is 32. Singer Natalie Imbruglia is 32. Rapper Cam’ron is 31. Rock singer Gavin DeGraw is 30.

Thought for Today: “Habit is necessary; it is the habit of having habits, of turning a trail into a rut, that must be incessantly fought against if one is to remain alive.” Edith Wharton, American author (1862-1937).