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Today in History — April 27

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

Today is Friday, April 27, the 117th day of 2007. There are 248 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 27, 1805, during the First Barbary War, an American-led force of Marines and mercenaries captured the city of Derna, on the shores of Tripoli.

On this date:

In 1509, Pope Julius II excommunicated the republic of Venice. (The pope lifted the ban in February 1510.)

In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed by natives in the Philippines.

In 1570, Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I.

In 1822, the 18th president of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant, was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio.

In 1865, the steamer Sultana exploded on the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tenn., killing more than 1,400 people, mostly Union prisoners of war.

In 1932, American poet Hart Crane, 32, drowned after jumping from a steamer into the Gulf of Mexico while en route to New York.

In 1947, it was “Babe Ruth Day” at Yankee Stadium as baseball fans, not just in New York, but across the country as well, honored the ailing star.

In 1967, Expo ’67 was officially opened in Montreal by Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.

In 1973, during the Watergate scandal, Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray resigned.

In 1978, convicted Watergate defendant John D. Ehrlichman was released from an Arizona prison after serving 18 months.

Ten years ago: President Clinton, along with former presidents George Bush and Jimmy Carter, helped polish gritty city streets in Philadelphia as they launched the three-day Summit for America’s Future, a gathering on community service also attended by former President Gerald Ford and former first lady Nancy Reagan.

Five years ago: South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth arrived at the international space station for an eight-day, seven-night cruise that had cost him $20 million. A biker brawl at Harrah’s Casino in Laughlin, Nev., left three bikers dead and 12 others wounded. Derek Lowe of the Boston Red Sox pitched a no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 10-0. Mattel toy company co-founder Ruth Handler, who created the Barbie doll, died in Los Angeles at age 85.

One year ago: Construction began on the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower that will stand on the site of the World Trade Center in New York City. The publisher of the teen novel “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life” pulled the book off the market after its author, Harvard student Kaavya Viswanathan acknowledged that numerous passages had been lifted from another writer.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Jack Klugman is 85. Actress Anouk Aimee is 75. Announcer Casey Kasem is 75. Actress Judy Carne is 68. Rhythm-and-blues singer Cuba Gooding is 63. Singer Ann Peebles is

60. Rock singer Kate Pierson (The B-52’s) is 59. Rhythm-and-blues singer Herbie Murrell (The Stylistics) is 58. Actor Douglas Sheehan is 58. Rock musician Ace Frehley is 56. Pop singer Sheena Easton is

48. Actor James Le Gros is 45. Rock musician Rob Squires (Big Head Todd and the Monsters) is 42. Singer Mica Paris is 38. Rock singer-musician Travis Meeks (Days of the New) is 28. Rock singer-musician Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy) is 23.

Thought for Today: “The trouble with our age is all signposts and no destination.” — Louis Kronenberger, American author (1904-1980).