Look Who’s Turning 65
June 3—Jill Biden
The wife of Vice President Joe Biden, Jill Biden has been a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College since 2009. She is thought to be the first second lady to hold a paying job while her husband is vice president. She married Joe Biden in 1977 and became stepmother to his two young sons, Beau and Hunter, whose mother (Joe’s first wife) and baby sister died in a car accident. Joe and Jill Biden have a daughter, Ashley, born in 1981.
After receiving a doctoral degree from the University of Delaware, Biden taught English and reading in high schools for 13 years, and also taught adolescents with emotional disabilities at a psychiatric hospital. From 1993 to 2008, she was an English and writing instructor at Delaware Technical & Community College. Biden is founder and president of the Biden Breast Health Initiative, a nonprofit organization begun in 1993 that provides educational breast-health awareness programs free of charge to schools and other groups in Delaware. In 2007, she helped found Book Buddies, which provides books for low-income children. Biden has been active in Delaware Boots on the Ground, an organization that supports military families.
June 5—Susan "Suze" Orman
The author, financial adviser, motivational speaker and television host became interested in financial matters when she lost her first investment through a representative at Merrill Lynch. Suze Orman then went on to train as an account executive for Merrill Lynch, after which she successfully sued the investment firm for her loss of $50,000. In 1983, she became the vice president of investments at Prudential Bache Securities and left in 1987 to start the Suze Orman Financial Group. Between 1997 and 1999, Orman published three books: The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom (1997), You Earned it Don't Lose it (1999) and The Courage to be Rich (1999). Other books by Orman include The Road to Wealth (2001) and The Laws of Money, the Lessons of Life (2003).
In 2002, The Suze Orman Show began airing on CNBC and ended in March 2015. In January 2012, Orman's 6-episode TV series America's Money Class with Suze Orman premiered on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. She writes a financial advice column for O The Oprah Magazine and has contributed to other publications, including The Philadelphia Inquirer and Your Business at Home Magazine. She is developing a new series, Suze Orman's Money Wars, for Warner Bros. Telepictures Productions.
June 13—Richard Thomas
The actor is best known for his leading role as budding author John-Boy Walton in the popular 1970s CBS drama The Waltons, where he won one Emmy Award and received nominations for another Emmy Award and two Golden Globe Awards. The son of ballet dancers, Richard Thomas got his start at age 7 when he made his Broadway debut in Sunrise at Campobello (1958) playing John Roosevelt, son of future U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His television career started in 1959, in a presentation of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. He then began acting in daytime TV, appearing in soap operas such as The Edge of Night and As the World Turns. Thomas received his first major film roles, appearing in Winning (1969) with Paul Newman and Last Summer (1969). In 1971, he starred in the Universal Pictures Hal Wallis Production Red Sky at Morning, which was a financial failure.
In The Waltons, Thomas played the role of John-Boy continuously until March 17, 1977 and returned to the role in three Waltons TV movies, from 1993 to 1997. In 1972, he played against type as a murderer and rapist in You’ll Like My Mother opposite Patty Duke. He played the lead roles in the 1974 TV movie The Red Badge of Courage and in the 1979 TV movie All Quiet on the Western Front. In 1980, Thomas made his first Broadway appearance in more than 12 years in Lanford Wilson’s Fifth of July and starred or appeared in several plays after that, including the title role in a stage production of Richard II. In 1990, he played the adult version of main character Bill in the TV adaptation of Stephen King's novel It. Thomas has provided voiceovers in Mercedes-Benz, BB&T and Aleve commercials. He has a supporting role in the FX Network Cold War drama The Americans, as an FBI counterintelligence supervisor.
June 16—Roberto Durán Samaniego
The Panamanian former professional boxer is widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. A versatile brawler in the ring, Roberto Durán was nicknamed "Manos de Piedra" ("hands of stone") during his career. He began sparring with experienced boxers when he was only 8 years old and made his professional debut in 1968 at the age of 16. In 2002, Durán was voted by The Ring magazine as the fifth greatest fighter of the last 80 years, while boxing historian Bert Sugar rated him as the eighth greatest fighter of all time. The Associated Press voted him as the No. 1 lightweight of the 20th century. Durán held world titles in four different weight classes: lightweight (1972–79), welterweight (1980), light middleweight (1983–84) and middleweight (1989). He was the second boxer to have fought over a span of five decades. He is most infamous for abruptly forfeiting his welterweight title in the middle of his 1980 rematch with challenger Sugar Ray Leonard.
Durán retired in January 2002 at age 50 (having previously retired in 1998) following a bad car crash in October 2001, with a professional record of 120 fights and 104 wins with 69 knockouts. In 2006, Durán was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in Riverside, Calif., and, in 2007, into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y. Today, he is the brand ambassador for Panama Blue, Panama’s premium bottled water. Durán is also a licensed ultralight aircraft pilot in Panama.
FAMOUS & 65 is a featured article in the June 2016 Senior Spirit newsletter.
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