Look Who’s Turning 65
Born Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, the English musician, singer-songwriter and actor was the principal songwriter, lead singer and bassist for the new wave rock band The Police from 1977 to 1984, before launching a solo career. While playing with the Phoenix Jazzmen in Northumberland, England, he adopted the stage name Sting, after his habit of wearing a striped black and yellow sweater. The bandleader thought he looked like a bee.
With The Police, Sting became one of the world's best-selling music artists, including elements of rock, jazz, reggae, classical, new age and worldbeat in his music. Solo and with The Police combined, he has sold over 100 million records. In 2006, Paste ranked him 62nd of the 100 best living songwriters. He has collaborated with other musicians, including "Rise & Fall" with Craig David, "All for Love," with Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart, and "You Will Be My Ain True Love" with Alison Krauss. He also introduced the North African music genre raï to Western audiences with his international hit "Desert Rose" with Cheb Mami.
As a solo musician and a member of The Police, Sting has received 16 Grammy Awards (his first in the category of best rock instrumental in 1980, for "Reggatta de Blanc"), a Golden Globe, an Emmy and three Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Police in 2003. Most recently, Sting did a 19-date joint concert tour of North America last summer with Peter Gabriel. He is set to release a new album in November 2016, titled 57th & 9th.
A longtime human rights activist, Sting has taken part in Amnesty International's human rights concerts since 1981; written politically inspired songs such as “They Dance Alone”; cofounded the Rainforest Foundation Fund; and supported other causes, including Tibet and the Dalai Lama, the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Hurricane Sandy victims. He is married to actress and film producer Trudie Styler, with whom he has four children. Sting owns several homes worldwide, including a 60-acre estate near Salisbury, Wiltshire; a cottage in the Lake District; a flat in London and an 18th-century terrace house in Highgate, all in England. He also owns a New York City flat, a beach house in Malibu and a 600-acre estate in Tuscany, Italy.
Oct. 7—John Cougar Mellencamp
A musician, singer-songwriter, painter and actor, Mellencamp is known for his catchy, populist brand of heartland rock, which emphasizes traditional instrumentation. He rose to superstardom in the 1980s with a plainspoken writing style that, starting in 1982, yielded a string of Top 10 singles, including "Hurts So Good," "Jack & Diane," "Crumblin' Down," "Pink Houses," "Lonely Ol' Night," "Small Town," "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.," "Paper in Fire" and "Cherry Bomb." In addition to amassing 22 Top 40 hits in the United States, he holds the record for the most tracks by a solo artist to hit No. 1 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, with seven, and has been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards, winning one.
Mellencamp was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10, 2008. In 2001, the late Billboard magazine editor-in-chief Timothy White said: “John Mellencamp is arguably the most important roots rocker of his generation. John has made fiddles, hammer dulcimers, autoharps and accordions lead rock instruments on a par with electric guitar, bass and drums, and he also brought what he calls 'a raw Appalachian' lyrical outlook to his songs....This is rock music that tells the truth on both its composer and the culture he's observing.” Johnny Cash called Mellencamp "one of the 10 best songwriters" in music.
Mellencamp is also one of the founding members of Farm Aid, an organization that began in 1985 with a concert in Champaign, Ill., to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. His most recent album was Plain Spoken, in 2014, which received widespread critical acclaim. He has five children from his three marriages.
Oct. 18—Pam Dawber
The actress is best known for her lead television sitcom roles as Mindy McConnell in Mork & Mindy (1978–1982) and Samantha Russell in My Sister Sam (1986–1988). Initially a fashion model, she was chosen to play the foil and eventual love interest for the extraterrestrial Mork from the planet Ork, played by then unknown Robin Williams. Mork & Mindy was extremely popular in its debut season, when it averaged at No. 3 in the Nielsen ratings for the year.
From 1986 to 1988, Dawber had the title role in a TV series, playing Samantha Russell in the CBS sitcom My Sister Sam, co-starring Rebecca Schaeffer. The series was a success in its first season but suffered a massive ratings drop in its second after moving to Saturday night. In July 1989, over a year after the show's cancellation, Schaeffer was shot and killed by an obsessed fan, which devastated Dawber. She and her My Sister Sam co-stars Joel Brooks, David Naughton and Jenny O'Hara reunited to film a public service announcement about violence prevention, and Dawber herself became a gun control advocate. With the birth of her second child, she left the industry for family reasons and acted sporadically during the 1990s. She is married to actor Mark Harmon, and they have two sons. Dawber is a national spokeswoman for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
Oct. 30—Harry Hamlin
The film and television actor is known for his roles as Perseus in the 1981 fantasy film Clash of the Titans, and as Michael Kuzak in the legal drama series L.A. Law. Although he has appeared in several television shows since 1976, his big-screen break was a starring role in the 1981 Greek mythology fantasy epic Clash of the Titans. Afterward, his career faltered somewhat but resumed when he starred on the highly popular NBC legal drama series L.A. Law. Playing principled attorney Michael Kuzak, he remained on the series from 1986 to 1991, during which time he was voted as People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1987. Hamlin left the series at the end of the fifth season and tried to revive his movie career. However, this was unsuccessful and so far he has only starred in B movies and direct-to-video features.
Since then, he appeared in two 1992 episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, starred in the television comedy Bratty Babies (2001), reprised the role of Michael Kuzak in an L.A. Law Reunion television movie (2002), reprised the role of Perseus in the 2007 video game God of War II, starred in the Hallmark movie You Lucky Dog (2010) and appeared in several episodes of season six (1968) of Mad Men as ad executive Jim Cutler.
Since 1997, Hamlin has been married to former Days of Our Lives actress and television host Lisa Rinna. They have two daughters.
FAMOUS & 65 is a featured article in the October 2016 Senior Spirit newsletter.
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