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Today in History — April 21

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

BC-History-April 21,0516

Today in History

By The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, April 21, the 111th day of 2007. There are 254 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 21, 1789, John Adams was sworn in as the first vice president of the United States.

On this date:

In 1649, the Maryland Toleration Act, which provided for freedom of worship for all Christians, was passed by the Maryland assembly.

In 1836, an army of Texans led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, assuring Texas independence.

In 1910, author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, died in Redding, Conn.

In 1918, Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the German ace known as the “Red Baron,” was killed in action during World War I.

In 1940, the quiz show that asked the “$64 question,” “Take It or Leave It,” premiered on CBS Radio.

In 1960, Brazil inaugurated its new capital, Brasilia, transferring the seat of national government from Rio de Janeiro.

In 1972, Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charles Duke explored the surface of the moon.

In 1975, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu resigned after 10 years in office.

In 1977, the musical play “Annie” opened on Broadway.

In 1986, a vault in Chicago’s Lexington Hotel that was linked to Al Capone was opened during a live TV special hosted by Geraldo Rivera; aside from a few bottles and a sign, the vault was empty.

Ten years ago: Police in Franklin, N.J., arrested two teenagers they say lured two pizza deliverymen to an abandoned house before opening fire, killing both men. (Thomas Koskovich and Jayson Vreeland were later convicted of murdering Jeremy Giordano and Giorgio Gallara; both are serving life sentences.)

Five years ago: In a huge upset in French politics, extreme-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen qualified to face incumbent Jacques Chirac in the runoff for French president. (Chirac ended up winning.)

One year ago: Nouri al-Maliki was nominated by the Shiites as Iraq’s prime minister after outgoing Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari gave up his bid for another term. Chinese President Hu Jintao wrapped up his U.S. tour with a visit to Yale University in New Haven, Conn. Miss Kentucky Tara Elizabeth Conner was crowned Miss USA.

Today’s Birthdays: Ice skater Werner Groebli (“Mr. Frick”) is

92. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is 81. Actress-comedian-writer Elaine May is 75. Actor Charles Grodin is 72. Singer-musician Iggy Pop is 60. Singer-songwriter Paul Davis is 59. Actress Patti LuPone is 58. Actor Tony Danza is 56. Actress Andie MacDowell is 49. Rock singer Robert Smith (The Cure) is 48. Rock musician Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) is 48. Actor John Cameron Mitchell is 44. Rapper Michael Franti (Spearhead) is 41. Comedian Nicole Sullivan is 37. Actor James McAvoy is 28.

Thought for Today: “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” — Stephen Leacock, Canadian economist and humorist (1869-1944).