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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 Wednesday, Sept. 21, the 264th day of 2005. There are 101 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Sept. 21, 1938, a hurricane struck parts of New York and New England, causing widespread damage and claiming more than 600 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 1949, the People’s Republic of China was proclaimed by its Communist leaders.

In 1964, Malta gained independence from Britain.

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 1973, the U.S. Senate confirmed Henry Kissinger to be Secretary of State.

In 1976, Orlando Letelier, one-time foreign minister to Chilean President Salvador Allende, was killed when a bomb exploded in his car in Washington, D.C.

In 1981, the Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female justice on the Supreme Court.

In 1989, Hurricane Hugo, packing winds of up to 135 mph, crashed into Charleston, S.C.

Ten years ago: House Republicans unveiled partial details of their plan for Medicare aimed at achieving $270 billion in savings over seven years.

Five years ago: An Iranian appeals court reduced the prison terms for 10 Jews convicted of “cooperating” with Israel, in a case that had drawn international criticism.

One year ago: President Bush, defending his decision to invade Iraq, urged the U.N. General Assembly to stand united with the country’s struggling government. Yusuf Islam, formerly known as singer Cat Stevens, was taken off a London-to-Washington United Airlines flight because his name had shown up on a government “no-fly” list. The death toll in Haiti from deluges caused by Tropical Storm Jeanne topped 700.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Larry Hagman is 74. Poet-songwriter Leonard Cohen is 71. Actor-comedian Henry Gibson is 70. Author-comedian Fannie Flagg is 61. Author Stephen King is 58. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer is 58. Musician Don Felder (The Eagles) is 58. Actor-comedian Bill Murray is 55. Rock musician Philthy Animal is 51. Movie producer-writer Ethan Coen is 48. Actor-comedian Dave Coulier is 46. Actor David James Elliott is 45. Actress Nancy Travis is 44. Actor Rob Morrow is 43. Actress Cheryl Hines is 40. Country singer Faith Hill is 38. Rock musician Tyler Stewart (Barenaked Ladies) is 38. Country singer Ronna Reeves is 37. Actress-talk show host Ricki Lake is 37. Rapper Dave (De La Soul) is 37. Actor Alfonso Ribeiro is 34. Actor Luke Wilson is 34. Actor Paulo Costanzo is 27. TV personality Nicole Richie is 24. Actor Joseph Mazzello is 22. Actors Lorenzo and Nikolas Brino (”7th Heaven”) are 7.

Thought for Today: “I found more joy in sorrow / Than you could find in joy.” — Sara Teasdale, American author and poet (1884-1933).