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Today in History — June 12

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

Today is Tuesday, June 12, the 163rd day of 2007. There are 202 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On June 12, 1987, President Reagan, during a visit to the divided German city of Berlin, publicly challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

On this date:
In 1665, England installed a municipal government in New York, formerly the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam.

In 1776, Virginia’s colonial legislature became the first to adopt a Bill of Rights.

In 1898, Philippine nationalists declared independence from Spain.

In 1939, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was dedicated in Cooperstown, N.Y.

In 1957, bandleader Jimmy Dorsey died in New York at age 53.

In 1963, civil rights leader Medgar Evers was fatally shot in front of his home in Jackson, Miss.; he was 37. (In 1994, Byron De La Beckwith was convicted of murdering Evers and sentenced to life in prison; he died in 2001.)

In 1963, one of Hollywood’s most notoriously expensive productions, “Cleopatra,” starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison, opened in New York.

In 1967, the Supreme Court, in Loving v. Virginia, struck down state laws prohibiting interracial marriages.

In 1978, David Berkowitz was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for each of the six “Son of Sam” .44-caliber killings that had terrified New Yorkers.

In 1981, major league baseball players began a 49-day strike over the issue of free-agent compensation. (The season did not resume until Aug. 10.)

Ten years ago: The Treasury Department unveiled a new $50 bill meant to be more counterfeit-resistant. Baseball began interleague play, ending a 126-year tradition of separating the major leagues until the World Series.

Five years ago: The Los Angeles Lakers finished off the New Jersey Nets in four games, winning their third straight NBA title with the 113-107 victory. Fashion designer Bill Blass died in Washington, Conn., at age 79.

One year ago: Al-Qaida in Iraq named a successor to slain leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, identified by the nom de guerre Abu Hamza al-Muhajer. FBI statistics showed violent crime across the U.S. surged in 2005 by the largest margin in 15 years. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger broke his jaw and nose in a motorcycle crash in which he was not wearing a helmet. Composer Gyorgy Ligeti died in Vienna, Austria, at age 83.

Today’s Birthdays: Banker/philanthropist David Rockefeller is 92. Former President George H.W. Bush is 83. Singer Vic Damone is 79. Songwriter Richard Sherman is 79. Actor-singer Jim Nabors is 77. Jazz musician Chick Corea is 66. Sportscaster Marv Albert is 66. Singer Roy Harper is 66. Pop singer Len Barry is 65. Rock singer Reg Presley (The Troggs) is 64. Rock singer-musician John Wetton (Asia, King Crimson) is 58. Rock musician Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick) is 56. Country singer-musician Junior Brown is 55. Singer-songwriter Rocky Burnette is 54. Actor Timothy Busfield is 50. Singer Meredith Brooks is 49. Actress Jenilee Harrison is 48. Rock musician John Linnell (They Might Be Giants) is 48. Rapper Grandmaster Dee (Whodini) is 45. Actress Paula Marshall is 43. Actress Frances O’Connor is 40. Blues musician Kenny Wayne Shepherd is 30. Actor Wil Horneff is 28. Singer Robyn is 28.

Thought for Today: “Any coward can fight a battle when he’s sure of winning.” — George Eliot, English novelist (1819-1880).