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Today in History - March 15

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

Today is Thursday, March 15, the 74th day of 2007. There are 291 days left in the year. This is Buzzard Day in Hinckley, Ohio.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 15, 44 B.C., Roman dictator Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of nobles that included Brutus and Cassius.

On this date:

In 1493, Christopher Columbus returned to Spain, concluding his first voyage to the Western Hemisphere.

In 1767, the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson, was born in Waxhaw, S.C.

In 1820, Maine became the 23rd state.

In 1913, President Wilson held the first open presidential news conference.

In 1919, the American Legion was founded, in Paris.

In 1944, during World War II, Allied bombers again raided German-held Monte Cassino.

In 1956, the Lerner and Loewe musical play “My Fair Lady” opened on Broadway.

In 1964, actress Elizabeth Taylor married actor Richard Burton in Montreal; it was her fifth marriage, his second.

In 1975, Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis died near Paris at age 69.

In 1977, the U.S. House of Representatives began a 90-day test to determine the feasibility of showing its sessions on television.

Ten years ago: President Clinton spent a second day at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, recuperating from surgery for a partially torn knee tendon. Greek frogmen and U.S. Marines evacuated hundreds of foreigners trapped in Albania by that country’s descent into anarchy.

Five years ago: A Houston jury spared Andrea Yates’ life after prosecutors stopped short of demanding the death penalty for the tormented mother who’d drowned her five children in the bathtub. (Yates was sentenced to life in prison; however, she was later acquitted by reason of insanity in a retrial.) TV pioneer Sylvester “Pat” Weaver, who’d created NBC’s “Today” and “Tonight” shows, died in Santa Barbara, Calif., at age 93.

One year ago: Saddam Hussein, testifying for the first time in his trial, called on Iraqis to stop killing each other and instead fight U.S. troops; the judge reprimanded him for making a rambling, political speech and ordered the TV cameras switched off. A gunman opened fire inside a Denny’s restaurant in Pismo Beach, Calif., leaving three dead and two injured before taking his own life. Jeff King won his fourth Iditarod, finishing several hours ahead of runner-up Doug Swingley.

Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Carl Smith is 80. Musician DJ Fontana is 76. Former astronaut Alan L. Bean is 75. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 74. Actor Judd Hirsch is 72. Rock musician Phil Lesh is 67. Singer Mike Love (The Beach Boys) is 66. Rock singer-musician Sly Stone is 64. Rock singer-musician Howard Scott (War) is 61. Rock singer Ry Cooder is 60. Actor Craig Wasson is 53. Rock singer Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) is 52. Actress Park Overall is 50. Movie director Renny Harlin is 48. Model Fabio is

46. Singer Sananda Maitreya (formerly Terence Trent D’Arby) is 45. Rock singer Bret Michaels (Poison) is 44. Singer Rockwell is 43. Rock singer Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray) is 39. Actress Kim Raver is

38. Rock musician Mark Hoppus is 35. Actress Eva Longoria is 32. Rapper-musician (Black Eyed Peas) is 32. Rock DJ Joseph Hahn (Linkin Park) is 30. Rapper Young Buck is 26. Actor Sean Biggerstaff is 24. Rock musician Ethan Mentzer is 24. Actress Caitlin Wachs is 18.

Thought for Today: “Sometimes it’s worse to win a fight than to lose.” — Billie Holiday, American singer (1915-1959).