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This day in history

Today is Thursday, March 12, the 72nd day of 2020. There are 294 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Diplomat and civil rights activist Andrew Young is 88. Actress Barbara Feldon is 87. Former broadcast journalist Lloyd Dobyns is 84. Actress-singer Liza Minnelli is 74. Former Massachusetts governor and Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, is 73. Singer-songwriter James Taylor is 72. Little Feat singer-musician Bill Payne is 71. Actor Jon Provost, Timmy in ‘‘Lassie” is 70. Author Carl Hiaasen is 67. Iron Maiden songwriter-bassist Steve Harris is 64. Actress Lesley Manville is 64. Singer Marlon Jackson (The Jackson Five) is 63. Actor Jason Beghe is 60. Actor Courtney B. Vance is 60. Former MLB All-Star Darryl Strawberry is 58. Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, is 52. CNN reporter Jake Tapper is 51. Actor Samm Levine is 38.


In 1864, Ulysses S. Grant assumed command as general-in-chief of the Union armies in the Civil War.

In 1912, the Girl Scouts of the USA had its beginnings as Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah, Ga., founded the first American troop of the Girl Guides.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the first of his 30 radio addresses that came to be known as ‘‘fireside chats,’’ telling Americans what was being done to deal with the nation’s economic crisis.

In 1947, President Truman announced what became known as the ‘‘Truman Doctrine’’ to help Greece and Turkey resist Communism.

In 1955, legendary jazz musician Charlie ‘‘Bird’’ Parker died in New York at age 34.

In 1980, a Chicago jury found John Wayne Gacy Jr. guilty of the murders of 33 men and boys. (The next day, Gacy was sentenced to death; he was executed in May 1994.)

In 1987, the musical play ‘‘Les Miserables’’ opened on Broadway.

In 1993, Janet Reno was sworn in as the first female US attorney general. A three-day blizzard that came to be known as ‘‘The Storm of the Century’’ began inundating the eastern third of the United States. A series of bombings in Mumbai, India, killed 257 people.


In 2003, Elizabeth Smart, the 15-year-old girl who vanished from her bedroom nine months earlier, was found alive in a Salt Lake City suburb with two drifters, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee. (Mitchell is serving a life sentence; Barzee was released from prison in September 2018.)

In 2009, disgraced financier Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty in New York to pulling off perhaps the biggest swindle in Wall Street history.

Last year, prosecutors in Boston said Hollywood stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were charged along with nearly 50 other people in a scheme in which wealthy parents bribed college coaches and other insiders to get their children into some top schools in the country. (Huffman pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy and served 12 days in a federal prison.)