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Today in history: May 18

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

Today is Wednesday, May 18, the 138th day of 2005. There are 227 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 18, 1920, Pope John Paul II was born Karol Wojtyla in Wadowice, Poland.

On this date:
In 1642, the Canadian city of Montreal was founded.

In 1804, the French Senate proclaimed Napoleon Bonaparte emperor.

In 1896, the Supreme Court endorsed “separate but equal” racial segregation with its “Plessy v. Ferguson” decision, a ruling that was overturned 58 years later by “Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.”

In 1926, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson vanished while visiting a beach in Venice, Calif.; she reappeared a month later, claiming to have been kidnapped.

In 1933, the Tennessee Valley Authority was created.

In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces finally occupied Monte Cassino in Italy after a four-month struggle that claimed some 20,000 lives.

In 1953, Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier as she piloted a North American F-86 Canadair over Rogers Dry Lake, Calif.

In 1969, astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, Thomas P. Stafford and John W. Young blasted off aboard Apollo 10.

In 1980, the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state exploded, leaving 57 people dead or missing.

In 1980, in the South Korean city of Kwangju, townspeople and students began a nine-day uprising that was finally put down by troops.

Ten years ago: Triumphant Republicans pushed a historic budget through the House that they said would wring an unprecedented $1.4 trillion dollars in savings from federal budgets over the next seven years. Ballet dancer Alexander Godunov was found dead at age 45. Actress Elizabeth Montgomery died in Los Angeles.

Five years ago: Sante Kimes and Kenneth Kimes, mother-and-son grifters, were convicted in New York of murdering Irene Silverman in a plot to steal her elegant townhouse mansion. (The body of the 82-year-old millionaire widow has never been found.)

One year ago: Former New York City fire commissioner Thomas Von Essen and former police chief Bernard Kerik came under harsh criticism from some members of the Sept. 11 commission. Stunning her supporters, Sonia Gandhi announced she would “humbly decline” to be the next prime minister of India. Randy Johnson, at age 40, became the oldest pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game; the lefty retired all 27 batters to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks over the Atlanta Braves 2-0.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Bill Macy is 83. Sportscaster Jack Whitaker is 81. Actor Robert Morse is 74. Actor and television executive Dwayne Hickman is 71. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Brooks Robinson is 68. Bluegrass singer-musician Rodney Dillard (The Dillards) is 63. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Reggie Jackson is 59. Country singer Joe Bonsall (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 57. Actress Candice Azzara is 56. Rock musician Rick Wakeman (Yes) is 56. Actor James Stephens is 54. Country singer George Strait is 53. R&B singer Butch Tavares (Tavares) is 52. Rock singer-musician Page Hamilton is 45. Singer-actress Martika is 36. Comedian-writer Tina Fey (“Saturday Night Live”) is 35. Rapper Special Ed is 31. R&B singer Darryl Allen (Mista) is 25. Actor Matt Long is 25. Actor Spencer Breslin is 13.

Thought for Today: “Don’t hurry, don’t worry. You’re only here for a short visit. So be sure to stop and smell the flowers.” — Walter C. Hagen, American golfer (1892-1969).