Wednesday, Oct. 31, is the 305th day of 2012. There are 61 days left in the year. This is Halloween.
Today’s birthdays: Actress Lee Grant is 85. Former astronaut Michael Collins is 82. Former CBS anchorman Dan Rather is 81. Folk singer Tom Paxton is 75. Actor Ron Rifkin is 73. Actress Sally Kirkland is 71. Actor David Ogden Stiers is 70. Actor Brian Doyle-Murray is 67. Actor Stephen Rea is 66. Olympic gold medal long-distance runner Frank Shorter is 65. Actress Deidre Hall is 64. Talk show host Jane Pauley is 62. Actor Brian Stokes Mitchell is 55. Movie director Peter Jackson is 51. Rock musician Larry Mullen is 51. Actor Dermot Mulroney is 49. Rock musician Mikkey Dee (Motorhead) is 49. Rock singer-musician Johnny Marr is 49. Actor Rob Schneider is 48. Country singer Darryl Worley is 48. Actor-comedian Mike O’Malley is 47. Rap musician Adrock is 46. Songwriter Adam Schlesinger is 45. Rap performer Vanilla Ice (a.k.a. Rob Van Winkle) is 44. Rock singer Linn Berggren (Ace of Base) is 42. Reality TV host Troy Hartman is 41. Gospel singer Smokie Norful is 39. Actress Piper Perabo is 36. Actor Brian Hallisay is 34. Actor Eddie Kaye Thomas is 32. Rock musician Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance) is 31. Actor Scott Clifton is 28. Actress-singer Willow Smith is 12.
In 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Palace church, marking the start of the Protestant Reformation in Germany.
In 1864, Nevada became the 36th state.
In 1941, the Navy destroyer USS Reuben James was torpedoed by a German U-boat off Iceland with the loss of some 100 lives, even though the United States had not yet entered World War II. Work was completed on the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, begun in 1927.
In 1959, a former US Marine showed up at the US Embassy in Moscow to declare he was renouncing his American citizenship so he could live in the Soviet Union. His name: Lee Harvey Oswald.
In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a halt to all US bombing of North Vietnam, saying he hoped for fruitful peace negotiations.
In 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh security guards.
In 1992, Pope John Paul II proclaimed that the Roman Catholic Church had erred in condemning the astronomer Galileo for holding that the Earth was not the center of the universe.
In 1999, EgyptAir Flight 990, bound from New York to Cairo, crashed off the Massachusetts coast, killing all 217 people aboard.
In 2011, the United Nations marked the world’s population surpassing 7 billion.