Look Who’s Turning 65
March 17—Kurt Russell
Kurt Russell started his acting career early. His first roles were as a child in television series, including a lead role in the Western series The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (1963–64). In the late 1960s, he signed a 10-year contract with Walt Disney Company, where he became one of the studio's top stars of the 1970s.
As an adult, he starred in Silkwood (1983), for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for best supporting actor. During the 1980s, he starred in several films by director John Carpenter, including anti-hero roles such as an army hero-turned-robber in the futuristic action film Escape from New York and its 1996 sequel Escape from L.A., an Antarctic helicopter pilot in the horror film The Thing (1982) and a truck driver in the kung-fu comedy action film Big Trouble in Little China (1986), all of which have become cult films. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for the television film Elvis (1979), which Carpenter also directed.
In 1993, he starred as Wyatt Earp in the western film Tombstone, and in 1994 in the military science-fiction film Stargate. In the mid-2000s, his portrayal of U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks in Miracle (2004) won critics’ praise. In 2006, he appeared in the disaster-thriller Poseidon and, in 2007, in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof segment from the film Grindhouse. In 2015, Russell starred in the western films Bone Tomahawk and The Hateful Eight. Since 1984, he has been in a relationship with actress/comedian Goldie Hawn.
March 18—Ben Cohen
Ben Cohen is co-founder of the ice cream company Ben & Jerry's. Raised in the town of Merrick on Long Island, Cohen first met and befriended his future business partner Jerry Greenfield in a seventh grade high school gym class in 1963. In his senior year, Cohen found work as an ice cream store clerk before heading off to attend college. Over the next decade, Cohen mixed further education with various menial labor jobs, including a McDonald's cashier, before becoming a craft teacher at a private school for emotionally disturbed adolescents. At the school, he began experimenting with making his own ice cream.
Around 1977, Cohen and Greenfield opened Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream Parlor in Burlington, Vt. In part, their distinctive style of ice cream derived from Cohen’s anosmia—his loss of smell and near-loss of taste—which required him to add larger and larger chunks of chocolate and other sweets to the ice cream to satisfy his need for texture in food. The first store’s popularity resulted in a nationwide business and one of the largest ice cream companies in the United States.
In 1996, Cohen resigned as chief executive officer and has not been actively involved with the company since the Unilever acquisition in 2000, apart from his membership on the advisory board. Instead, he channeled his newfound wealth into various social causes, generally through the Ben & Jerry's Foundation. The foundation receives 7.5 percent of all Ben & Jerry's pretax profits and distributes funds to organizations such as the Committee for a Better New Orleans and Communities for Clean Water.
March 23—Ron Jaworski
Ron Jaworski is a former football quarterback and currently an NFL analyst on ESPN. Starting out with the Los Angeles Rams in 1973, he led the team to a playoff win in 1977. Traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, he became the leader on offense in 1980 and was named the UPI “NFL Player of the Year.” He left the Eagles in 1985 and went to the Kansas City Chiefs in 1989 where, at one point, he and center Mike Webster formed the second oldest starting QB-center combo in NFL history. Following that season, he retired as an NFL player, with the record (since broken) of most consecutive starts by a quarterback.
In 1987, while still an NFL player, Jaworski started his broadcasting career as the sports director on a morning show in Orange County, California, and worked for other shows before becoming part of ESPN's broadcasting team on Monday Night Football in 2006. In 2012, he left that position to become an NFL analyst on other ESPN programs. Jaworski is part owner and team president of the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League and owns and operates several country clubs in New Jersey. In 2010, his first book, The Games That Changed the Game, was published, which highlights seven games in NFL history that greatly changed the strategies and tactics used in NFL football.
March 24—Tommy Hilfiger
Tommy Hilfiger, a fashion designer, is best known for founding the lifestyle clothing brand Tommy Hilfiger Corp. in 1985. He started his career by co-founding a chain of clothing and record stores in upstate New York in the 1970s, for which he designed preppy sportswear for his own eponymous menswear line in the 1980s. The company later expanded into women's clothing and various luxury items, such as perfumes, and went public in 1992. Hilfiger's collections are often influenced by the fashion of music subcultures and marketed in connection with the music industry, with celebrities such as American R&B icon Aaliyahin the 1990s. In 2005, the CBS reality show The Cut featured contestants competing for a design job with Hilfiger. In 2006, he sold his company for $1.6 billion to Apax Partners, and it was sold again in 2010 to Phillips-Van Heusen for $3 billion. Hilfiger remains the company’s principal designer, leading the design teams and overseeing the entire creative process. In 2012, he was awarded the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
In 1997, Hilfiger published his first book, All American: A Style Book, and he has written several since, including Tommy Hilfiger in 2010. In it he wrote: “Maybe it’s the small-town boy in me, but I’ve always loved the prep school look, traditional Ivy League, and the clothes that sailors and jocks wear. I wanted to take these familiar old things and give them a more laid-back attitude, to make them modern and cool. . . . [With Tommy Hilfiger Corporation in 1985], finally, I felt like I was doing work that felt natural, that felt good. The brand we were building felt so honest, so true to who I am, that it didn’t feel like a struggle at all.”
FAMOUS & 65 is a featured article in the March 2016 Senior Spirit newsletter.
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