TODAY IN HISTORY
Today is Friday, April 26, the 116th day of 2013. There are 249 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 26, 1865, John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, was surrounded by federal troops near Port Royal, Va., and killed. (Just before dying, Booth looked at his hands and gasped, “Useless, useless.”)
On this date:
In 1607, English colonists went ashore at present-day Cape Henry, Va., on an expedition to establish the first permanent English settlement in the Western Hemisphere.
In 1785, American naturalist, hunter and artist John James Audubon was born in present-day Haiti.
In 1913, Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old worker at a Georgia pencil factory, was strangled; Leo Frank, the factory superintendent, was convicted of her murder and sentenced to death. (Frank’s death sentence was commuted, but he was lynched by an anti-Semitic mob in 1915.)
In 1923, Britain’s Prince Albert, Duke of York (the future King George VI), married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon at Westminster Abbey.
In 1933, Nazi Germany’s infamous secret police, the Gestapo, was created.
In 1937, German and Italian warplanes raided the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War; estimates of the number of people killed vary from the hundreds to the thousands.
In 1945, Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, the head of France’s Vichy government during World War II, was arrested.
In 1952, the destroyer-minesweeper USS Hobson sank in the central Atlantic after colliding with the aircraft carrier USS Wasp with the loss of 176 crew members.
In 1968, the United States exploded beneath the Nevada desert a 1.3 megaton nuclear device called “Boxcar.”
In 1973, the Chicago Board Options Exchange held its first day of trading.
In 1986, a major nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union).
In 1993, Conan O’Brien was named to succeed David Letterman as host of NBC’s “Late Night” program.
Ten years ago: A Soyuz rocket carrying American astronaut Edward Lu and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko blasted off for the international space station. Actor Charlton Heston, diagnosed with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, made his last appearance as president of the National Rifle Association during a convention in Orlando, Fla., where he briefly thanked the membership.
Five years ago: Police in Austria arrested Josef Fritzl, freeing his daughter Elisabeth and her six surviving children, whom he had fathered while holding her captive in a cellar for 24 years. (Fritzl was later sentenced to life in a psychiatric ward.) Yossi Harel, the ship commander whose attempt to bring Holocaust survivors to Palestine aboard the Exodus 1947 built support for Israel’s founding, died in Tel Aviv at age 90. Avant-garde composer Henry Brant died in Santa Barbara, Calif., at age 94.
Today’s Birthdays: Movie composer Francis Lai (“Love Story”) is 81. Actress-comedian Carol Burnett is 80. Rhythm-and-blues singer Maurice Williams is 75. Songwriter-musician Duane Eddy is 75. Singer Bobby Rydell is 71. Rock musician Gary Wright is 70. Actress Nancy Lenehan is 60. Actor Giancarlo Esposito is 55. Rock musician Roger Taylor (Duran Duran) is 53.
Actress Joan Chen is 52. Rock musician Chris Mars is 52. Actor-singer Michael Damian is 51. Actor Jet Li is 50. Rock musician Jimmy Stafford (Train) is 49. Actor-comedian Kevin James is 48. United States Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey is 47. Actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste is 46. Country musician Joe Caverlee (Yankee Grey) is 45. Rapper T-Boz (TLC) is 43. Country musician Jay DeMarcus (Rascal Flatts) is 42. Country musician Michael Jeffers (Pinmonkey) is 41. Rock musician Jose Pasillas (Incubus) is 37. Actor Jason Earles is 36.
Actor Leonard Earl Howze is 36. Actor Tom Welling is 36. Actor Pablo Schreiber is 35. Actor Nyambi Nyambi is 34. Actress Jordana Brewster is 33. Actress Stana Katic is 33. Actor Channing Tatum is 33. Actor Aaron Weeks is 27.