Look Who’s Turning 65
May 8—Philip Bailey
The R&B, soul, gospel and funk singer, songwriter, percussionist and actor is best known as an original member, and one of the two lead singers (along with group founder Maurice White), of the band Earth, Wind & Fire, considered one of the most successful bands of the 20th century. Noted for his four-octave vocal range and distinctive falsetto register, Bailey has won seven Grammy Awards. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame as a member of Earth, Wind & Fire.
Bailey’s popular Earth, Wind & Fire songs include "Devotion," "Head to the Sky," "Reasons," "Fantasy," "I'll Write A Song For You," "Imagination," "I've Had Enough" and "Guiding Lights." He also shared lead vocals with White on "Shining Star," "Getaway," "September," "Sing A Song," "Serpentine Fire" and "Saturday Night." His solo album, Chinese Wall (1985), received a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male. It included the global hit, "Easy Lover", a duet with Phil Collins, which won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Overall Performance in a Video in 1985 and was Grammy nominated for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals.
Bailey has also released two gospel albums: The Wonders of His Love (1984) and Triumph (1986)—the latter earning him a Grammy for Best Gospel Performance, Male—and two jazz albums: Dreams (1999) and Soul on Jazz (2002).
May 16—Pierce Brosnan
Born in Ireland and raised in London, the actor started out in theater, before appearing in film and TV shows. In 1982, Brosnan moved to Southern California and rose to popularity in the United States playing the title role in the NBC romantic detective series Remington Steele (1982–87). After that, he appeared in the Cold War spy film The Fourth Protocol (1987) and the comedy Mrs. Doubtfire (1993). In 1994, he became the fifth actor to portray secret agent James Bond in the Eon Productions film series, starring in four films from 1995 to 2002 (GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day). He lent his likeness and voice in the video games James Bond 007: Nightfire and James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing. During this period, he also took the lead in other films, including the epic disaster adventure film Dante's Peak (1997) and the remake of the heist film The Thomas Crown Affair (1999). After leaving the role of Bond, he has starred in the dark comedy The Matador (2005), for which was nominated for a Golden Globe, the musical/romantic comedy Mamma Mia! (2008), which won a National Movie Award, and the Roman Polanski-directed political thriller The Ghost Writer (2010).
In 1996, along with Beau St. Clair, Brosnan formed Irish DreamTime, a Los Angeles-based production company that produced The Thomas Crown Affair, which had both critical and box office success. In later years, he has become known for his charitable work and environmental activism. Brosnan became an American citizen in 2004.
May 21—Alan "Al" Franken
A comedian, writer and actor, Franken ran for and won the seat of U.S. senator from Minnesota in 2009. In the 1970s and 1980s, he was well known as a writer and performer on the television comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL). He first developed an interest in improvisational theatre in high school and was hired as a writer, with his writing partner Tom Davis, for SNL’s inception in 1975. He worked on the show as a writer and performer until 1980 and returned from 1985 to 1995. Franken received seven Emmy nominations and three awards for his television writing and producing while creating such characters as self-help guru Stuart Smalley.
After leaving SNL, he wrote and acted in movies and television shows. He also hosted a nationally syndicated, political radio talk show, which he said was meant to counter what Franken perceived to be the dominance of conservative syndicated commentary on the radio. He has written six books, four of which are political satires critical of conservative politics, including Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. After several decades as a comedic actor and writer, he became a prominent liberal political activist. In 2008, he narrowly defeated incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman. He was easily re-elected to a second term in office in 2014.
FAMOUS & 65 is a featured article in the May 2016 Senior Spirit newsletter.
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