IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Today in History — June 15

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

Today is Friday, June 15, the 166th day of 2007. There are 199 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On June 15, 1215, England’s King John put his seal to Magna Carta (“the Great Charter”) at Runnymede.

On this date:
In 1520, Pope Leo X threatened to excommunicate Martin Luther if he did not recant his religious beliefs.

In 1775, the Second Continental Congress voted unanimously to appoint George Washington head of the Continental Army.

In 1836, Arkansas became the 25th state.

In 1844, Charles Goodyear received a patent for his process to vulcanize rubber.

In 1849, James Polk, the 11th president of the United States, died in Nashville, Tenn.

In 1864, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton signed an order establishing a military burial ground, which became Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1904, more than 1,000 people died when fire erupted aboard the steamboat General Slocum in New York’s East River.

In 1944, American forces began their successful invasion of Saipan during World War II. Meanwhile, B-29 Superfortresses made their first raids on Japan.

In 1967, California Gov. Ronald Reagan signed a bill liberalizing his state’s abortion law.

In 1978, King Hussein of Jordan married 26-year-old American Lisa Halaby, who became Queen Noor.

Ten years ago: Israel’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal to charge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with fraud in an influence-peddling scandal that had threatened to topple his government.

Five years ago: A jury in Houston convicted accounting firm Arthur Andersen of obstruction of justice, giving a first victory to prosecutors investigating the sudden collapse of energy-trader Enron.

One year ago: The death toll of U.S. servicemen and women in Iraq war reached 2,500. A divided Supreme Court made it easier for police to barge into homes and seize evidence without knocking or waiting. House Democrats voted to strip embattled Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson of his seat on the House Ways and Means Committee. Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates said he would transition from day-to-day responsibilities at the company to concentrate on the charitable work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Today’s Birthdays: Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo is 75. Rock musician Lee Dorman (Iron Butterfly) is 65. Singer Russell Hitchcock (Air Supply) is 58. Rock singer Steve Walsh (Kansas) is 56. Comedian-actor Jim Belushi is 53. Country singer Terri Gibbs is 53. Actress Julie Hagerty is 52. Actress Eileen Davidson is 48. Bluegrass musician Terry Smith is 47. Actress Helen Hunt is 44. Rock musician Scott Rockenfield (Queensryche) is 44. Actress Courteney Cox is 43. Country musician Tony Ardoin is 43. Country musician Michael Britt (Lonestar) is 41. Musician Rob Mitchell is 41. Rock musician Jimmy McD is 39. Actor-rapper Ice Cube is 38. Actress Leah Remini is 37. Actor Jake Busey is 36. Bluegrass singer-musician Jamie Johnson is 35. Rock musician T-Bone Willy (Save Ferris) is 35. Actor Neil Patrick Harris is 34. Rock singer Dryden Mitchell (Alien Ant Farm) is 31. Rock musician Billy Martin (Good Charlotte) is 26.

Thought for Today: “The times are not so bad as they seem; they couldn’t be.” — John Franklin Carter, American commentator and author (1897-1967).