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Today in History — September 26

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

Today is Wednesday, Sept. 26, the 269th day of 2007. There are 96 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
Fifty years ago, on Sept. 26, 1957, the musical play “West Side Story,” a retelling of “Romeo and Juliet” set in modern-day New York and featuring a score by Leonard Bernstein and choreography by Jerome Robbins, opened on Broadway.

On this date:
In 1777, British troops occupied Philadelphia during the American Revolution.

In 1789, Thomas Jefferson was appointed America’s first secretary of state.

In 1892, John Philip Sousa and his newly formed band performed publicly for the first time, at the Stillman Music Hall in Plainfield, N.J.

In 1907, New Zealand went from being a colony to a dominion within the British Empire.

In 1914, the Federal Trade Commission was established.

In 1955, following word that President Eisenhower had suffered a heart attack, the New York Stock Exchange saw its worst price decline since 1929.

In 1960, the first debate between presidential candidates took place as John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon faced off in Chicago before a national TV audience.

In 1981, the twin-engine Boeing 767 made its official debut in Everett, Wash.

In 1986, William H. Rehnquist was sworn in as the 16th chief justice of the United States, while Antonin Scalia joined the Supreme Court as its 103rd member.

In 1991, four men and four women began a two-year stay inside a sealed-off structure in Oracle, Ariz., called Biosphere 2. (They emerged from Biosphere on this date in 1993.)

Ten years ago: An Indonesian Airbus A-300 crashed while approaching Medan Airport in north Sumatra, killing all 234 people aboard.

Five years ago: WorldCom former controller David Myers pleaded guilty to securities fraud, saying he was told by “senior management” to falsify records in what became the largest corporate accounting scandal in U.S. history. (Myers was later sentenced to one year and one day in prison.) Four employees and a customer were shot to death at a bank in Norfolk, Neb. (four suspects were later arrested; three were convicted of first-degree murder while a fourth pleaded guilty). A state-run Senegalese ferry capsized in the Atlantic, killing more than 1,800 people.

One year ago: President Bush ordered release of a declassified version of a government intelligence report that said the war in Iraq had become a “cause celebre” for Islamic extremists. Former Enron chief financial officer Andrew Fastow was sentenced by a federal judge in Houston to six years in prison for his role in the fallen energy company’s bankruptcy. Iva Toguri D’Aquino, who was convicted and later pardoned of being World War II propagandist “Tokyo Rose,” died in Chicago at age 90. Golfer Byron Nelson died in Roanoke, Texas, at age 94.

Today’s Birthdays: Fitness expert Jack LaLanne is 93. Actor Philip Bosco is 77. Country singer David Frizzell is 66. Actor Kent McCord is 65. Television host Anne Robinson is 63. Singer Bryan Ferry is 62. Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman is 61. Singer Lynn Anderson is 60. Singer Olivia Newton-John is 59. Actress Mary Beth Hurt is 59. Actor James Keane is 55. Rock singer-musician Cesar Rosas (Los Lobos) is 53. Country singer Carlene Carter is 52. Actress Linda Hamilton is 51. Country singer Doug Supernaw is 47. Actress Melissa Sue Anderson is 45. Actor Patrick Bristow is 45. Rock musician Al Pitrelli is 45. Singer Tracey Thorn (Everything But The Girl) is 45. TV personality Jillian Barberie is 41. Actor Jim Caviezel is 39. Singer Shawn Stockman (Boyz II Men) is 35. Jazz musician Nicholas Payton is 34. Actor Mark Famiglietti is 28. Singer-actress Christina Milian is 26. Tennis player Serena Williams is 26.

Thought for Today: “Pity the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” — Don Marquis, American journalist-author (1878-1937).