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Today in History — August 19

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

Today is Sunday, Aug. 19, the 231st day of 2007. There are 134 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Aug. 19, 1812, the USS Constitution defeated the British frigate Guerriere off Nova Scotia during the War of 1812.

On this date:

In 1807, Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat arrived in Albany, two days after leaving New York.

In 1929, the radio comedy program “Amos ’n’ Andy,” starring Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, made its coast-to-coast debut on the NBC Blue Network.

In 1934, a plebiscite in Germany approved the vesting of sole executive power in Adolf Hitler.

In 1942, about 6,000 Canadian and British soldiers launched a disastrous raid against the Germans at Dieppe, France, suffering more than 50 percent casualties.

In 1955, severe flooding in the northeastern U.S. claimed some 200 lives.

In 1960, a tribunal in Moscow convicted American U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers of espionage.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford won the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Kansas City, Mo.

In 1977, comedian Groucho Marx died in Los Angeles at age 86.

In 1982, Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the second woman to be launched into space.

In 1991, Soviet hard-liners announced to a shocked world that President Mikhail S. Gorbachev had been removed from power. (The coup collapsed two days later.)

Ten years ago: Carl Drega, a 67-year-old resident of Colebrook, N.H., shot and killed a part-time judge, two state troopers and a newspaper editor before being killed in a gun battle with police.

Five years ago: A Russian military helicopter crashed after being shot down by rebels in Chechnya, killing 127 people. An ailing and aging John Paul II bid a tearful farewell as he concluded a four-day visit to the Krakow region of Poland (it turned out to be his last visit to his homeland).

One year ago: Israeli commandos raided a Hezbollah stronghold deep in Lebanon. (Israel said the raid was launched to stop arms smuggling from Iran and Syria to the militant Shiite fighters; Lebanon called the operation a “flagrant violation” of a U.N. truce.)

Today’s Birthdays: Actor L.Q. Jones is 80. Author Frank McCourt is 77. Actress Debra Paget is 74. Tennis coach Renee Richards is

73. Actress Diana Muldaur is 69. Rock musician Ginger Baker (Cream, Blind Faith) is 68. Singer Johnny Nash is 67. Actress Jill St. John is 67. Actor and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson is 65. Singer Billy J. Kramer is 64. Country singer-songwriter Eddy Raven is 63. Rock singer Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) is 62. Former President Clinton is

61. Tipper Gore, wife of former Vice President Al Gore, is 59. Actor Gerald McRaney is 59. Rock musician John Deacon (Queen) is

56. Actor Jonathan Frakes is 55. Actor Peter Gallagher is 52. Actor Adam Arkin is 51. Singer-songwriter Gary Chapman is 50. Actor Martin Donovan is 50. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ivan Neville is 48. Actor Eric Lutes is 45. Actor John Stamos is 44. Actress Kyra Sedgwick is 42. Actor Kevin Dillon is 42. Country singer Lee Ann Womack is 41. TV reporter Tabitha Soren is 40. Country singer-songwriter Mark McGuinn is 39. Actor Matthew Perry is 38. Country singer Clay Walker is 38. Rapper Fat Joe is 37. Tennis player Mary Joe Fernandez is 36. Actress Tracie Thoms is 32. Country singer Rissi Palmer is 26. Actress Erika Christensen is 25. Country singer Karli Osborn (SHeDAISY) is 23. Actor J. Evan Bonifant is 22. Rapper Romeo is 18.

Thought for Today: “Cheer up! The worst is yet to come!” — Philander Chase Johnson, American author (1866-1939).