Today in History — April 23

/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Monday, April 23, the 113th day of 2007. There are 252 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

April 23, 1564, is believed to be the birthdate of English poet and dramatist William Shakespeare; he died 52 years later, also on April 23.

On this date:

In 1791, the 15th president of the United States, James Buchanan, was born in Franklin County, Pa.

In 1896, the Vitascope system for projecting movies onto a screen was publicly demonstrated in New York City.

In 1899, Russian-American author Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg.

In 1940, about 200 people died in the Rhythm Night Club Fire in Natchez, Miss.

In 1954, Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Braves hit the first of his record 755 major-league home runs, in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals. (The Braves won, 7-5.)

In 1968, the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged to form the United Methodist Church.

In 1969, Sirhan Sirhan was sentenced to death for assassinating New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. (The sentence was later reduced to life imprisonment.)

In 1985, Coca-Cola Co. announced it was changing the secret flavor formula for Coke (negative public reaction forced the company to resume selling the original version).

In 1987, 28 construction workers were killed when an apartment complex being built in Bridgeport, Conn., suddenly collapsed.

In 1998, James Earl Ray, who’d confessed to assassinating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 and then insisted he’d been framed, died at a Nashville, Tenn., hospital at age 70.

Ten years ago: Doctors at University of Southern California announced that a child was born in late 1996 to a 63-year-old woman on hormone therapy. Golfer Fuzzy Zoeller, again apologizing for racial comments about Masters winner Tiger Woods, withdrew from the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic. The military confirmed that two pieces of wreckage found on a snowy Rocky Mountain peak were from an Air Force plane that had vanished on a training mission over Arizona.

Five years ago: American cardinals opened an extraordinary meeting with top Vatican officials to discuss a sex abuse scandal rocking the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. President Bush’s top White House aide, Karen Hughes, resigned to go home to Texas with her family.

One year ago: Osama bin Laden issued new threats in an audiotape broadcast on Arab television and accused the United States and Europe of supporting a “Zionist” war on Islam by cutting off funds to the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress-turned-diplomat Shirley Temple Black is 79. Actor Alan Oppenheimer is 77. Actor David Birney is 68. Actor Lee Majors is 68. Irish nationalist Bernadette Devlin McAliskey is 60. Actress Blair Brown is 59. Writer-director Paul Brickman is 58. Actress Joyce DeWitt is 58. Actor James Russo is

54. Filmmaker-author Michael Moore is 53. Actress Judy Davis is 52. Actress Jan Hooks is 50. Actress Valerie Bertinelli is 47. Actor Craig Sheffer is 47. Actor George Lopez (“George Lopez”) is 46. Rock musician Gen is 43. U.S. Olympic gold medal skier Donna Weinbrecht is 42. Actress Melina Kanakaredes is 40. Rock musician Stan Frazier (Sugar Ray) is 39. Country musician Tim Womack (Sons of the Desert) is 39. Actor Scott Bairstow is 37. Actor Barry Watson is 33. Actress Jaime King is 28. Actress Rachel Skarsten is 22. Actor Matthew Underwood is 17. Actor Camryn Walling is 17.

Thought for Today: “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” — From “Twelfth-Night,” by William Shakespeare (1564-1616).