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Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Oct. 20, the 293rd day of 2021. There are 72 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 20, 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee opened hearings into alleged Communist influence and infiltration in the U.S. motion picture industry.

On this date:

In 1714, the coronation of Britain’s King George I took place in Westminster Abbey.

In 1803, the U.S. Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase.

In 1936, Helen Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy, died in Forest Hills, N.Y., at age 70.

In 1967, a jury in Meridian, Mississippi, convicted seven men of violating the civil rights of slain civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner; the seven received prison terms ranging from 3 to 10 years.

In 1968, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.

In 1973, in the so-called “Saturday Night Massacre,” special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox was dismissed and Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William B. Ruckelshaus resigned.

In 1976, 78 people were killed when the Norwegian tanker Frosta rammed the commuter ferry George Prince on the Mississippi River near New Orleans.

In 1977, three members of the rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, were killed along with three others in the crash of a chartered plane near McComb, Mississippi.

In 1987, 10 people were killed when an Air Force jet crashed into a Ramada Inn hotel near Indianapolis International Airport after the pilot, who was trying to make an emergency landing, ejected safely.

In 1990, three members of the rap group 2 Live Crew were acquitted by a jury in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., of violating obscenity laws with an adults-only concert in nearby Hollywood the previous June.

In 1994, actor Burt Lancaster died in Los Angeles at age 80.

In 2018, Saudi Arabia announced that U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL’ khahr-SHOHK’-jee) had been killed in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul; there was immediate international skepticism over the Saudi account that Khashoggi had died during a “fistfight.” (A U.S. intelligence report later concluded that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman had likely approved Khashoggi’s killing by a team of Saudi security and intelligence officials.)

Ten years ago: Moammar Gadhafi, 69, Libya’s dictator for 42 years, was killed as revolutionary fighters overwhelmed his hometown of Sirte (SURT) and captured the last major bastion of resistance two months after his regime fell.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama defended his health care program, long a target of Republicans and recently criticized by some Democrats, saying millions of Americans “now know the financial security of health insurance” because of the Affordable Care Act. The Los Angeles Sparks defeated the defending champion Minnesota Lynx for their first title in 14 years in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals.

One year ago: Two weeks before Election Day, President Donald Trump called on Attorney General William Barr to immediately launch an investigation into unverified claims about Democrat Joe Biden and his son Hunter, effectively demanding that the Justice Department abandon its historic resistance to getting involved in elections. More than 75,000 people in Wisconsin cast ballots on the first day of early in-person voting in the presidential battleground state. (More than 1 million Wisconsin voters had already returned ballots by mail.) The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-3 in the opening game of a World Series played before just 11,388 fans at a neutral site in Arlington, Texas because of the coronavirus pandemic. James Randi, a magician who later challenged spoon benders, mind readers and faith healers with such voracity that he became regarded as the country’s foremost skeptic, died at 92.

Today’s Birthdays: Japan’s Empress Michiko is 87. Rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson is 84. Former actor Rev. Mother Dolores Hart is 83. Actor William “Rusty” Russ is 71. Actor Melanie Mayron is 69. Retired MLB All-Star Keith Hernandez is 68. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., is 66. Movie director Danny Boyle is 65. Former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is 64. Actor Viggo Mortensen is 63. Vice President Kamala Harris is 57. Rock musician Jim Sonefeld (Hootie & The Blowfish) is 57. Rock musician Doug Eldridge (Oleander) is 54. Journalist Sunny Hostin (TV: “The View”) is 53. Political commentator and blogger Michelle Malkin is 51. Actor Kenneth Choi is 50. Rapper Snoop Dogg is 50. Singer Dannii Minogue is 50. Singer Jimi Westbrook (country group Little Big Town) is 50. Country musician Jeff Loberg is 45. Actor/comedian Dan Fogler is 45. Rock musician Jon Natchez (The War on Drugs) is 45. Actor Sam Witwer is 44. Actor John Krasinski is 42. Rock musician Daniel Tichenor (Cage the Elephant) is 42. Actor Katie Featherston is 39. Actor Jennifer Nicole Freeman is 36.