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Today in History — September 21

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

Today is Friday, Sept. 21, the 264th day of 2007. There are 101 days left in the year. The Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, begins at sunset.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Sept. 21, 1938, a hurricane struck parts of New York and New England, causing widespread damage and claiming some 700 lives.

On this date:
In 1792, the French National Convention voted to abolish the monarchy.

In 1897, the New York Sun ran its famous editorial that declared, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

In 1937, “The Hobbit,” by J.R.R. Tolkien, was first published.

In 1948, Milton Berle made his debut as permanent host of “The Texaco Star Theater” on NBC-TV

In 1957, Norway’s King Haakon VII died in Oslo at age 85.

In 1957, “Perry Mason,” starring Raymond Burr, premiered on CBS-TV.

In 1970, “NFL Monday Night Football” made its debut on ABC-TV as the Cleveland Browns defeated the visiting New York Jets, 31-21.

In 1982, Amin Gemayel, brother of Lebanon’s assassinated president-elect, Bashir Gemayel, was himself elected president.

In 1982, National Football League players began a 57-day strike, their first regular-season walkout ever.

In 1987, NFL players went on a 24-day strike, mainly over the issue of free agency.

Ten years ago: Saying their persistent demands for a special investigation had been vindicated, senior Republicans insisted Attorney General Janet Reno seek appointment of an independent counsel to look into White House fund-raising activities, a day after the Justice Department revealed it had begun a preliminary review.

Five years ago: A defiant Iraq said it would not abide by a U.N. resolution imposing new conditions in the weapons inspections issue or threatening war. Israel planted its flag in Yasser Arafat’s West Bank compound and threatened to blow up his offices in an effort to make the Palestinian leader surrender militants or leave into exile. Angelo Buono, Jr., whose gruesome killing of young Los Angeles women in the 1970s earned him the nickname “Hillside Strangler,” died in a California prison; he was 67. Miss Illinois Erika Harold was crowned Miss America at the pageant in Atlantic City, N.J.

One year ago: The White House and rebellious Senate Republicans announced agreement on rules for the interrogation and trial of suspects in the war on terror. Space shuttle Atlantis and its six astronauts safely returned from a 12-day mission to install a big new piece of the international space station. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it would recommend all Americans ages 13 to 64 be routinely tested for HIV.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Karl Slover is 89. Actor Larry Hagman is 76. Poet-songwriter Leonard Cohen is 73. Actor-comedian Henry Gibson is 72. Author-comedian Fannie Flagg is 63. Author Stephen King is 60. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer is 60. Musician Don Felder (The Eagles) is 60. Actor-comedian Bill Murray is 57. Rock musician Philthy Animal is 53. Movie producer-writer Ethan Coen is 50. Actor-comedian Dave Coulier is 48. Actor David James Elliott is 47. Actress Nancy Travis is 46. Actor Rob Morrow is 45. Actress Cheryl Hines is 42. Country singer Faith Hill is 40. Rock musician Tyler Stewart (Barenaked Ladies) is 40. Country singer Ronna Reeves is 39. Actress-talk show host Ricki Lake is 39. Rapper Dave (De La Soul) is 39. Actor James Lesure is 36. Actor Alfonso Ribeiro is 36. Actor Luke Wilson is 36. Actor Paulo Costanzo is 29. TV personality Nicole Richie is 26. Actress Maggie Grace is 24. Actor Joseph Mazzello is 24. Actors Lorenzo and Nikolas Brino (”7th Heaven”) are 9.

Thought for Today: “I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.” — Albert Einstein, German-born physicist (1889-1955).