Today in History

Published 12:01 am Thursday, November 23, 2017

Today is Thursday, Nov. 23, the 327th day of 2017. There are 38 days left in the year. This is Thanksgiving Day.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Nov. 23, 1942, during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure establishing the U.S. Women’s Coast Guard Reserve, or SPARS (an abbreviation of the U.S. Coast Guard motto “Semper Paratus” — “Always Ready”).

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On this date:

In 1765, Frederick County, Maryland, became the first colonial American entity to repudiate the British Stamp Act.

In 1804, the 14th president of the United States, Franklin Pierce (puhrs), was born in Hillsboro, New Hampshire.

In 1889, the first jukebox made its debut in San Francisco, at the Palais Royale Saloon. (The coin-operated device consisted of four listening tubes attached to an Edison phonograph.)

In 1903, Enrico Caruso made his American debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, appearing in “Rigoletto.”

In 1910, American-born physician Hawley Harvey Crippen was hanged at Pentonville Prison in London for murdering his wife, Cora. (Crippen’s mistress, Ethel Le Neve, was acquitted in a separate trial of being an accessory.)

In 1936, Life, the photojournalism magazine created by Henry R. Luce (loos), was first published.

In 1945, most U.S. wartime rationing of foods, including meat and butter, was set to expire by day’s end.

In 1959, the musical “Fiorello!,” starring Tom Bosley as legendary New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, opened on Broadway.

In 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed Nov. 25 a day of national mourning following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

In 1971, the People’s Republic of China was seated in the U.N. Security Council.

In 1980, some 2,600 people were killed by a series of earthquakes that devastated southern Italy.

In 1996, a commandeered Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 crashed into the water off the Comoros Islands, killing 125 of the 175 people on board, including all three hijackers.

Ten years ago: A Canadian cruise ship, the MS Explorer, struck submerged ice off Antarctica and began taking on water, but all 154 passengers and crew took to lifeboats and were plucked to safety by a passing cruise ship. Robert Vesco, the American fugitive who cooked up moneymaking schemes that allegedly involved everyone from Colombian drug lords to the families of U.S. presidents, reportedly died in Cuba at age 71.

Five years ago: Supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi clashed in the streets of Cairo and other major cities in the worst violence since Morsi took office nearly five months earlier. Actor Larry Hagman, best known for playing the scheming oil baron J.R. Ewing on TV’s “Dallas,” died in Dallas at the age of 81.

One year ago: President-elect Donald Trump selected two Republican women who’d had unflattering things to say about him during the campaign: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and charter school advocate Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of Education. Two juveniles set a fire in Great Smoky Mountains National Park; the fire spread into the Gatlinburg, Tennessee, area, merging with others, contributing to 14 deaths and up to $2 billion of damage. Ralph Branca, the Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher who gave up Bobby Thomson’s famed “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” in 1951, died in Rye Brook, New York, at age 90. Actor Andrew Sachs, who played Manuel the waiter in the British TV comedy “Fawlty Towers,” died in London at age 86.

Today’s Birthdays: Former Labor Secretary William E. Brock is 87. Actress Elmarie Wendel is 89. Actor Franco Nero is 76. Actress Susan Anspach is 75. Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas is 73. Actor-comedy writer Bruce Vilanch is 70. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is 67. Singer Bruce Hornsby is 63. Former Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is 62. Actor Maxwell Caulfield is 58. Actor John Henton is 57. TV personality Robin Roberts (“Good Morning America”) is 57. Rock singer-musician Ken Block (Sister Hazel) is 51. Rock musician Charlie Grover is 51. Actress Salli Richardson-Whitfield is 50. Actor Oded Fehr (OH’-dehd fayr) is 47. Rapper-actor Kurupt (Tha Dogg Pound) is 45. Actor Page Kennedy is 41. Actress Kelly Brook is 38. Actor Lucas Grabeel (GRAY’-beel) is 33. TV personality Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi is 30. Actress-singer Miley Cyrus is 25. Actor Austin Majors is 22. Actress Olivia Keville (TV: “Splitting Up Together”) is 15.