Look Who’s Turning 65
Jan. 11—Ben Crenshaw
The retired American professional golfer won 19 events on the PGA Tour, including two major championships: the Masters Tournament in 1984 and 1995. Nicknamed “Gentle Ben,” Crenshaw is widely regarded as one of the best putters in golf history. After he won three NCAA Championships at the University of Texas, from 1971 to 1973, he turned professional in 1973. That year, Crenshaw became the second player in Tour history to win the first event of his career. Following five runner-up finishes in major championships without a victory, including losing a sudden-death playoff for the 1979 PGA Championship, in 1984, he won the Masters.
In the mid-1980s, Crenshaw suffered from Graves' disease (of the thyroid), but he continued to accumulate victories, including an emotional second Masters victory in 1995, which came a week after the death of his mentor, Harvey Penick. In 1999, while he was captain of the United States Ryder Cup team for the matches in Brookline, Mass., the U.S. won 8 ½ of the final day's 12 points to regain the Cup. Since 1986, Crenshaw has been a partner with Bill Coore in Coore & Crenshaw, a golf course design firm. His final and 44th Masters was in 2015.
Jan. 12—Ricky Van Shelton
The country music artist charted more than 20 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts between 1986 and 2006. This figure includes 10 number one hits: "Somebody Lied," "Life Turned Her That Way," 'Don't We All Have the Right," "I'll Leave This World Loving You," "From a Jack to a King" (a cover of the Ned Miller hit), "Living Proof," "I've Cried My Last Tear for You," "Rockin' Years" (a duet with Dolly Parton), "I Am a Simple Man" and "Keep It Between the Lines." Besides these, seven more of his singles have landed in the Top 10 on the same chart. Shelton has also released nine studio albums, of which his first four have been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
He got his start in the mid-80s, playing in clubs around Nashville, where a newspaper columnist heard one of Shelton's demos and arranged an audition with Columbia Records In 1986, CBS offered Shelton a recording contract, and that same year he recorded his first album, Wild-Eyed Dream. His album reached the No. 1 spot on the Top Country Albums chart in 1987, was one of the biggest-selling country albums of the year and made Shelton one of the most successful male vocalists of that year. Over the next seven years, he continued making albums for Columbia, including Loving Proof (1988), a No. 1 Billboard country album; RVS III (1989); and Backroads (1992).
By 1992, Shelton's success was waning, as country music changed and he admitted he was an alcoholic. In 1994, he left Columbia Records and formed his own label, RVS Records, in 1997. That same year, he released his first album in three years titled Making Plans. In 2000, Shelton signed with the Audium label, where he made another album called Fried Green Tomatoes. In May 2006, he retired from touring to spend more time with his family. Shelton is the author of a series of children’s books, including Tales From a Duck Named Quacker.
Jan. 14—Maureen Dowd
The New York Times columnist and a best-selling author started her journalism career in the 1970s and early 1980s working for Time magazine and the Washington Star, where she covered news and sports and wrote feature articles. Dowd joined The New York Times in 1983 and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for her series of columns on the Monica Lewinsky scandal in the Clinton administration.
Dowd's columns are distinguished by an acerbic, often polemical writing style. They frequently display a critical and irreverent attitude toward powerful, mostly political figures such as former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Dowd was named a Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine in 1996, won the Damon Runyon Award for outstanding contributions to journalism in 2000 and became the first Mary Alice Davis Lectureship speaker at the University of Texas at Austin in 2005.
Jan. 20—Paul Stanley
Best known for being the rhythm guitarist and singer for the rock band Kiss, Stanley wrote or co-wrote many of the band's highest-charting hits. Hit Parader ranked him 18th on its list of Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time. A Gibson.com Readers Poll also named him 13th on its list of Top 25 Frontmen. A descendant of Holocaust survivors, Stanley grew up in Manhattan. A misshapen ear from a birth defect caused hearing problems (and abuse from classmates), although he loved to listen to music, including Beethoven. Later, he was inspired by the Beatles’ and the Rolling Stones’ performances on television.
As a young man, Stanley played in several bands before meeting bass player Gene Simmons, with whom he formed the band Kiss, along with Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. Kiss released its self-titled debut album in February 1974. Stanley's persona, "The Starchild," used one star over his right eye. “I always loved stars and always identified with them, so when it came time to put something on my face, I knew it would be a star," he said.
Besides his work with Kiss, Stanley starred in a Toronto production of The Phantom of the Opera, in which he played the role of the Phantom, in 1999. He became part of the ownership group that created the L.A. Kiss Arena Football League team, in Anaheim, Calif., in 2013, and he published his memoir, Face the Music: A Life Exposed, in 2014. Because of his birth defect, he is an ambassador for the charitable organization AboutFace, which provides support and information to people with facial differences.
FAMOUS & 65 is a featured article in the Senior Spirit newsletter.
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