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This day in history

July 27, 2011

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► Today is Wednesday, July 27, the 208th day of 2011. There are 157 days left in the year.

► Today’s birthdays: TV producer Norman Lear is 89. Actor Jerry Van Dyke is 80. Sportscaster Irv Cross is 72. Actor John Pleshette is 69. Singer Bobbie Gentry is 67. Actress-director Betty Thomas is 63. Olympic gold medal figure skater Peggy Fleming is 63. Singer Maureen McGovern is 62. Actress Janet Eilber is 60. Actress Roxanne Hart is 57. Country musician Duncan Cameron is 55. Comedian-actress-writer Carol Leifer is 55. Comedian Bill Engvall is 54. Jazz singer Karrin Allyson is 49. Country singer Stacy Dean Campbell is 44. Rock singer Juliana Hatfield is 44. Actor Julian McMahon is 43. Comedian Maya Rudolph is 39. Rock musician Abe Cunningham is 38. Singer-songwriter Pete Yorn is 37. New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is 36. Actor Seamus Dever is 35. Actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers is 34. Singer Cheyenne Kimball is 21.

► In 1789, President Washington signed a measure establishing the Department of Foreign Affairs, forerunner of the Department of State.

► In 1861, Union Major General George B. McClellan took command of the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War. (McClellan later became general in chief of the Union Army as well, but ended up being relieved of his commands by President Lincoln, who was dissatisfied with his performance.)

► In 1866, Cyrus W. Field finished laying out the first successful underwater telegraph cable between North America and Europe (a previous cable in 1858 burned out after a few weeks’ use).

► In 1921, Canadian researcher Frederick Banting and his assistant, Charles Best, succeeded in isolating the hormone insulin at the University of Toronto.

► In 1940, Bugs Bunny made his “official’’ debut in the Warner Bros. animated cartoon “A Wild Hare.’’

► In 1953, the Korean War armistice was signed at Panmunjom, ending three years of fighting.

► In 1960, Vice President Richard M. Nixon was nominated for president on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Chicago.

► In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed the Kerner Commission to assess the causes of urban rioting, the same day black militant H. Rap Brown said in Washington that violence was “as American as cherry pie.’’

► In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee voted 27-11 to adopt the first of three articles of impeachment against President Nixon, charging he had personally engaged in a course of conduct designed to obstruct justice in the Watergate case.

► In 1981, 6-year-old Adam Walsh was abducted from a department store in Hollywood, Fla., and was later murdered. (His father, John Walsh, became a well-known crime victims’ advocate.) Movie director William Wyler (“Ben-Hur’’) died in Los Angeles at 79.

► In 2001, a judge in West Palm Beach, Fla., sentenced 14-year-old Nathaniel Brazill to 28 years in prison for second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of teacher Barry Grunow at Lake Worth Middle School.

► In 2010, BP announced that its much-criticized chief executive, Tony Hayward, would be replaced by Robert Dudley as the company reported a record quarterly loss and set aside $32.2 billion to cover the costs of the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Canadian character actor Maury Chaykin died in Toronto on his 61st birthday.