Today is Thursday, March 15, the 75th day of 2012. There are 291 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On March 15, 1972, "The Godfather," Francis Ford Coppola's epic gangster movie based on the Mario Puzo novel and starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, premiered in New York.
On this date:
In 44 B.C., Roman dictator Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of nobles that included Brutus and Cassius.
In 1493, Christopher Columbus returned to Spain, concluding his first voyage to the Western Hemisphere.
In 1767, the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson, was born in Waxhaw, S.C.
In 1820, Maine became the 23rd state.
In 1919, members of the American Expeditionary Force from World War I convened in Paris for a three-day meeting to found the American Legion.
In 1944, during World War II, Allied bombers again raided German-held Monte Cassino.
In 1956, the Lerner and Loewe musical play "My Fair Lady," based on Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion," opened on Broadway.
In 1962, a chartered Flying Tiger Line airplane carrying 107 people, most of them U.S. Army personnel, disappeared while en route from Guam to the Philippines. In a speech to Congress, President John F. Kennedy called for legislation protecting consumers' rights. "No Strings," Richard Rodgers' first musical following the death of longtime collaborator Oscar Hammerstein II, opened on Broadway.
In 1964, actress Elizabeth Taylor married actor Richard Burton in Montreal; it was her fifth marriage, his second.
In 1970, Expo '70, promoting "Progress and Harmony for Mankind," opened in Osaka, Japan.
In 1975, Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis died near Paris at age 69.
In 1985, the first Internet domain name, symbolics.com, was registered by the Symbolics Computer Corp. of Massachusetts.
Ten years ago: A Houston jury spared Andrea Yates' life after prosecutors stopped short of demanding the death penalty for the tormented mother who'd drowned her five children in the bathtub. (The 37-year-old Yates was sentenced to life in prison; however, she was later acquitted by reason of insanity in a retrial.) TV pioneer Sylvester "Pat" Weaver, who'd created NBC's "Today" and "Tonight" shows, died in Santa Barbara, Calif., at age 93.
Five years ago: In the Senate, Republicans easily turned back Democratic legislation requiring a troop withdrawal from Iraq to begin within 120 days. Actress Angelina Jolie adopted a 3-year-old boy from an orphanage in Vietnam (Pax Thien was her fourth child with Brad Pitt). The body of 6-year-old Christopher Barrios was found in Brunswick, Ga., a week after he'd gone missing. (A neighbor, David Edenfield, was convicted of aggravated child molestation and murder and was sentenced to death; his wife, Peggy, pleaded guilty in connection with the case and faces a 60-year prison sentence; their son, George, has been deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial.) Former baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn died in Jacksonville, Fla., at age 80.
One year ago: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces overwhelmed rebels in the strategic eastern city of Ajdabiya, hammering them with air strikes, missiles, tanks and artillery. William Melchert-Dinkel, a former nurse accused of seeking out depressed people online and encouraging two to kill themselves, was found guilty by a judge in Faribault, Minn., of aiding the suicides of an English man and Canadian woman. John Baker became the first Alaska Native musher to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race since Jerry Riley did it in 1976.
Today's Birthdays: Musician DJ Fontana is 81. Former astronaut Alan L. Bean is 80. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 79. Actor Judd Hirsch is 77. Rock musician Phil Lesh is 72. Singer Mike Love (The Beach Boys) is 71. Rock singer-musician Sly Stone is 69. Rock singer-musician Howard Scott (War; Lowrider Band) is 66. Rock singer Ry Cooder is 65. Actor Craig Wasson is 58. Rock singer Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) is 57. Actress Park Overall is 55. Movie director Renny Harlin is 53. Model Fabio is 51. Singer Terence Trent D'Arby (AKA Sananda Maitreya) is 50. Rock singer Bret Michaels (Poison) is 49. Rhythm-and-blues singer Rockwell is 48. Rock singer Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray) is 44. Actress Kim Raver is 43. Rock musician Mark Hoppus is 40. Actress Eva Longoria is 37. Rapper-musician will.i.am (Black Eyed Peas) is 37. Rock DJ Joseph Hahn (Linkin Park) is 35. Rapper Young Buck is 31. Actor Sean Biggerstaff is 29. Rock musician Ethan Mentzer is 29. Actress Caitlin Wachs is 23.
Thought for Today: "There are no hopeless situations; there are only men who have grown helpless about them." -- Clare Boothe Luce, American author, diplomat, member of Congress (1903-1987).
Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.