Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Saturday, June 20, the 171st day of 2015. There are 194 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On June 20, 1975, Steven Spielberg’s shark thriller “Jaws,” starring Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss (not to mention a mechanical shark nicknamed “Bruce”) was released by Universal Pictures.

On this date:

In 1782, Congress approved the Great Seal of the United States, featuring the emblem of the bald eagle.

In 1837, Queen Victoria acceded to the British throne following the death of her uncle, King William IV.

In 1863, West Virginia became the 35th state.

In 1893, a jury in New Bedford, Massachusetts, found Lizzie Borden not guilty of the ax murders of her father and stepmother.

In 1921, U.S. Rep. Alice Mary Robertson, R-Okla., became the first woman to preside over a session of the House of Representatives.

In 1943, race-related rioting erupted in Detroit; federal troops were sent in two days later to quell the violence that resulted in more than 30 deaths.

In 1944, during World War II, Japanese naval forces retreated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea after suffering heavy losses to the victorious American fleet.

In 1947, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was shot dead at the Beverly Hills, California, mansion of his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, apparently at the order of mob associates.

In 1967, boxer Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. (Ali’s conviction was ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court).

In 1979, ABC News correspondent Bill Stewart was shot to death in Managua, Nicaragua, by a member of President Anastasio Somoza’s national guard.

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed National Bald Eagle Day.

In 1990, South African black nationalist Nelson Mandela and his wife, Winnie, arrived in New York City for a ticker-tape parade in their honor as they began an eight-city U.S. tour.

Ten years ago: During a joint news conference with European leaders at the White House, President George W. Bush said he was determined to complete the mission of establishing democracy in Iraq because the world would be a better place for it. A suicide car bomber killed at least 15 traffic policemen outside police headquarters in Irbil, Iraq. Kuwait’s first female Cabinet member, Massouma al-Mubarak, took the oath of office over the shouts of Muslim fundamentalist and tribal lawmakers opposed to women in politics.

Five years ago: Juan Manuel Santos, a former defense minister from a political powerful clan who oversaw a major weakening of leftist rebels, won Colombia’s presidency. Edith Shain, who claimed to be the nurse smooched by a sailor in Times Square in a famous Life magazine photograph marking the end of World War II, died in Los Angeles at 91. Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland won the U.S. Open.

One year ago: The Obama administration granted an array of new benefits to same-sex couples, including those living in states where gay marriage was against the law; the new measures ranged from Social Security and veterans benefits to work leave for caring for sick spouses. Defiant before skeptical Republicans, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen refused to apologize during a hearing for lost emails that might have shed light on the tax agency’s targeting of tea party and other groups before the 2010 and 2012 elections.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Martin Landau is 87. Actress Bonnie Bartlett is 86. Actress Olympia Dukakis is 84. Actor James Tolkan is 84. Actor Danny Aiello is 82. Blues musician Lazy Lester is 82. Actor John Mahoney is 75. Movie director Stephen Frears is 74. Singer-songwriter Brian Wilson is 73. Actor John McCook is 71. Singer Anne Murray is 70. TV personality Bob Vila is 69. Musician Andre Watts is 69. Actress Candy Clark is 68. Producer Tina Sinatra is 67. Rhythm-and-blues singer Lionel Richie is 66. Actor John Goodman is 63. Rock musician Michael Anthony is 61. Pop musician John Taylor is 55. Rock musician Mark degli Antoni (de-GLI’-an-toh-nee) is 53. Christian rock musician Jerome Fontamillas (Switchfoot) is 48. Rock musician Murphy Karges (Sugar Ray) is 48. Actress Nicole Kidman is 48. Country/bluegrass singer-musician Dan Tyminski is 48. Movie director Robert Rodriguez is 47. Actor Peter Paige is 46. Actor Josh Lucas is 44. Rock musician Jeordie White (AKA Twiggy Ramirez) is 44. Rock singer Chino Moreno (Deftones) is 42. Country-folk singer-songwriter Amos Lee is 38. Country singer Chuck Wicks is 36. Country musician Chris Thompson (The Eli Young Band) is 35. Christian rock musician Chris Dudley (Underoath) is 32. Rock singer Grace Potter (Grace Potter & the Nocturnals) is 32. Actor Mark Saul is 30. Actress Dreama Walker is 29. Actor Chris Mintz-Plasse (plahs) is 26. Actress Maria Lark is 18.

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