Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Saturday, September 19, the 262nd day of 2015. There are 103 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On September 19, 1985, the Mexico City area was struck by a devastating earthquake that killed at least 9,500 people.

On this date:

In 1777, the first Battle of Saratoga was fought during the Revolutionary War; although British forces succeeded in driving out the American troops, the Americans prevailed in a second battle the following month.

In 1796, President George Washington’s farewell address was published.

In 1881, the 20th president of the United States, James A. Garfield, died 2½ months after being shot by Charles Guiteau; Chester Alan Arthur became president.

In 1915, vaudeville performer W.C. Fields made his movie debut as “Pool Sharks,” a one-reel silent comedy, was released.

In 1934, Bruno Hauptmann was arrested in New York and charged with the kidnap-murder of Charles A. Lindbergh Jr.

In 1945, Nazi radio propagandist William Joyce, known as “Lord Haw-Haw,” was convicted of treason and sentenced to death by a British court.

In 1955, President Juan Peron of Argentina was ousted after a revolt by the army and navy.

In 1959, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, visiting Los Angeles, reacted angrily upon being told that, for security reasons, he wouldn’t get to visit Disneyland.

In 1960, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, in New York to visit the United Nations, angrily checked out of the Shelburne Hotel in a dispute with the management; Castro ended up staying at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem.

In 1970, the situation comedy “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” debuted on CBS-TV.

In 1989, a Paris-bound DC-10 belonging to French airline UTA was destroyed by a bomb over Niger, killing all 170 people on board. (A French court later convicted six Libyans in absentia for the bombing; Libya agreed in 2004 to pay $170 million in compensation, although it stopped short of acknowledging responsibility.)

In 1995, The New York Times and The Washington Post published the manifesto of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, which proved instrumental in identifying and capturing him.

Ten years ago: North Korea pledged to drop its nuclear weapons development and rejoin international arms treaties, but its leaders backpedaled the next day, demanding civilian nuclear reactors from the U.S. In a statement aired on a pan-Arab TV station, Al-Qaida deputy Ayman al-Zawahri (AY’-muhn ahl-ZWAH’-ree) said his terror network had carried out the July 7 London bombings that killed 52 people. Former Tyco CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski was sentenced in New York to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison for looting the company of hundreds of millions of dollars; Tyco’s former finance chief, Mark Swartz, received the same sentence. (Both men were later paroled, Swartz in 2013, Kozlowski in 2014.)

Five years ago: The BP oil well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico was declared “effectively dead” by retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government’s point man on the blowout disaster, after it was sealed with a permanent cement plug. On the final day of his four-day visit to Britain, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass to beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman, the 19th century Anglican convert.

One year ago: President Barack Obama signed legislation authorizing the military to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels fighting Islamic State militants in the Middle East. Shortly after President Obama and his daughters left the White House by helicopter, a man with a knife jumped the fence and made it into the presidential residence before being tackled. (Omar Gonzalez, an Army veteran with mental health issues, was later sentenced to 17 months in prison.) A federal jury in Albany, Georgia, convicted the owner of a peanut plant and two others in a salmonella outbreak linked to several deaths that prompted one of the largest U.S. food recalls. (Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell is scheduled to be sentenced on September 21.) Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba debuted as a publicly traded company and swiftly climbed nearly 40 percent in a mammoth IPO.

Today’s Birthdays: Author Roger Angell is 95. Host James Lipton (TV: “Inside the Actors Studio”) is 89. Actress Rosemary Harris is 88. Former Defense Secretary Harold Brown is 88. Actor Adam West is 87. Actor David McCallum is 82. Singer-songwriter Paul Williams is 75. Singer Bill Medley is 75. Singer Sylvia Tyson (Ian and Sylvia) is 75. R&B singer Freda Payne is 73. Golfer Jane Blalock is 70. Singer David Bromberg is 70. Actor Randolph Mantooth is 70. Rock singer-musician Lol Creme (10cc) is 68. Former NFL running back Larry Brown is 68. Actor Jeremy Irons is 67. Actress Twiggy Lawson is 66. TV personality Joan Lunden is 65. Singer-producer Daniel Lanois (lan-WAH’) is 64. Actor Scott Colomby is 63. Musician-producer Nile Rodgers is 63. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player Reggie Williams is 61. Singer-actor Rex Smith is 60. Rock singer Lita Ford is 57. Actor Kevin Hooks is 57. Actress Carolyn McCormick is 56. Celebrity chef Mario Batali is 55. Country singer Jeff Bates is 52. Country singer Trisha Yearwood is 51. Actress-comedian Cheri Oteri is 50. News anchor Soledad O’Brien is 49. Rhythm-and-blues singer Espraronza Griffin (Society of Soul) is 46. Celebrity chef Michael Symon is 46. Actress Sanaa Lathan (suh-NAH’ LAY’-thun) is 44. Actress Stephanie J. Block is 43. Rock singer A. Jay Popoff (Lit) is 42. “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon is 41. TV personality Carter Oosterhouse is 39. Actress-TV host Alison Sweeney is 39. Rock musician Ryan Dusick is 38. Folk-rock singers-musicians Sara and Tegan (TEE’-gan) Quin are 35. Actor Columbus Short is 33. Rapper Eamon is 32. Christian rock musician JD Frazier is 32. Actor Kevin Zegers is 31. Actress Danielle Panabaker is 28.

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