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Today in History - March 11

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day

Today is Sunday, March 11, the 70th day of 2007. There are 295 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 11, 1942, as Japanese forces continued to advance in the Pacific during World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines for Australia, vowing: “I shall return.” (He kept that promise nearly three years later.)

On this date:

In 1810, Emperor Napoleon of France was married by proxy to Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria.

In 1861, the Confederate convention in Montgomery, Ala., adopted a constitution.

In 1888, the famous “Blizzard of ’88” began inundating the northeastern United States, resulting in some 400 deaths.

In 1941, President Roosevelt signed into law the Lend-Lease Bill, providing war supplies to countries fighting the Axis.

In 1957, Charles Van Doren’s 14-week run on the rigged NBC game show “Twenty-One” ended as he was “defeated” by attorney Vivienne Nearing; Van Doren’s take was $129,000.

In 1957, American explorer Richard E. Byrd died in Boston at age 68.

In 1965, the Rev. James J. Reeb, a white minister from Boston, died after being beaten by whites during civil rights disturbances in Selma, Ala.

In 1977, more than 130 hostages held in Washington, D.C., by Hanafi Muslims were freed after ambassadors from three Islamic nations joined the negotiations.

In 1985, Mikhail S. Gorbachev was chosen to succeed the late Soviet President Konstantin U. Chernenko.

In 2004, 10 bombs exploded in quick succession across the commuter rail network in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 people in an attack linked to al-Qaida.

Ten years ago: In a startling turnaround, Senate Republicans agreed to a broader investigation of campaign financing that would include a look at huge “soft money” donations. Senate confirmation hearings for CIA Director-designate Anthony Lake began. Paul McCartney was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Five years ago: Two columns of light soared skyward from ground zero in New York as a temporary memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. At the White House, President Bush unveiled a commemorative stamp to raise money to help Sept. 11 victims “get their lives back in order.” Israel lifted Yasser Arafat’s three-month confinement in the West Bank.

One year ago: Former Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic was found dead of a heart attack in his prison cell in the Netherlands, abruptly ending his four-year U.N. war crimes trial for orchestrating a decade of conflict that had killed a quarter of a million people; he was 64. Michelle Bachelet was sworn in as Chile’s first female president.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Terence Alexander is 84. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is 76. ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson is 73. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is 71. Musician Flaco Jimenez is 68. Actress Tricia O’Neil is 62. Actor Mark Metcalf is 61. Rock singer-musician Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge) is 60. Singer Bobby McFerrin is 57. Movie director Jerry Zucker is 57. Actress Susan Richardson is 55. Recording executive Jimmy Iovine is 54. Singer Nina Hagen is 52. Country singer Jimmy Fortune (The Statler Brothers) is 52. Singer Cheryl Lynn is 50. Actress Alex Kingston is

44. Country musician David Talbot is 44. Actor Wallace Langham is

42. Actor John Barrowman is 40. Singer Lisa Loeb is 39. Singer Pete Droge is 38. Actor Terrence Howard is 38. Rock musician Rami Jaffee (Wallflowers) is 38. Actor Johnny Knoxville is 36. Rock singer-musicians Joel and Benji Madden (Good Charlotte) are 28. Actor David Anders is 26. Singer LeToya is 26. Actress Thora Birch is 25. Actor Anton Yelchin is 18.

Thought for Today: “There are some people who leave impressions not so lasting as the imprint of an oar upon the water.” — Kate Chopin, American writer (1851-1904).