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Today in history: August 5

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

Today is Friday, Aug. 5, the 217th day of 2005. There are 148 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Aug. 5, 1864, during the Civil War, Union Admiral David G. Farragut is said to have ordered, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” as he led his fleet against Mobile Bay, Ala.

On this date:
In 1884, the cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid on Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor.

In 1914, the first electric traffic lights were installed, in Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1924, the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” by Harold Gray, made its debut.

In 1953, Operation Big Switch was under way as prisoners taken during the Korean conflict were exchanged at Panmunjom.

In 1957, “American Bandstand,” hosted by Dick Clark, made its network debut on ABC.

In 1962, actress Marilyn Monroe, 36, was found dead in her Los Angeles home; her death was ruled a probable suicide from an overdose of sleeping pills.

In 1963, the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union signed a treaty in Moscow banning nuclear tests in the atmosphere, in space and underwater.

In 1980, Hurricane Allen battered the southern peninsula of Haiti, leaving more than 200 dead in its wake.

In 1981, the federal government began firing air traffic controllers who had gone out on strike.

In 1984, actor Richard Burton died at a hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, at the age of 58.

Ten years ago: Secretary of State Warren Christopher arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, to “build a bridge of cooperation.” (Christopher was the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Vietnam since the war and the first ever to go to Hanoi.)

Five years ago: President Clinton vetoed a Republican-sponsored tax cut for married couples, describing it as “the first installment of a fiscally reckless tax strategy.” Actor Sir Alec Guinness died at a southern England hospital at age 86.

One year ago: New York City’s director of ferries pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter in the wreck of a Staten Island ferry. (Patrick Ryan later pleaded guilty to negligent manslaughter.) Two-year-old twins from the Philippines born with the tops of their heads fused together were separated at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. The Georgia men’s basketball team was placed on four years’ probation for rules violations under former coach Jim Harrick.

Today’s Birthdays: Former astronaut Neil A. Armstrong is 75. Country singer Vern Gosdin is 71. Actress Cammie King (“Gone with the Wind”) is 71. Actor John Saxon is 70. Actor Zakes Mokae is 70. Country songwriter Bobby Braddock is 65. Actress Loni Anderson is 59. Actress Erika Slezak is 59. Rock singer Rick Derringer is 58. Actress Holly Palance is 55. Singer Samantha Sang is 52. Actress-singer Maureen McCormick is 49. Rock musician Pat Smear is 46. Actress Tawney Kitaen is 44. Country musician Mark O’Connor is 44. Rapper MCA (The Beastie Boys) is 41. Actor Jonathan Silverman is 39. Country singer Terri Clark is 37. Actor Brendon Ryan Barrett is 19.

Thought for Today: “One can live in the shadow of an idea without grasping it.” — Elizabeth Bowen, Irish author (1899-1973).