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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Famous and 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

August 12 - Fran├žois Hollande, 24th President of France

As a socialist, Hollande served as President of the French Republic from 2012 to 2017. He was able to pass many successful reforms, including giving full rights to the LGBT community to marry and adopt. He also reformed labor laws and credit training programs and withdrew French forces from Afghanistan.

On the military front, Hollande supported intervention in Libya, and sent troops to Mali and the Central African Republic in order to provide stability to the nations. His enthusiasm for Saudi Arabian-led interference in Yemen was not supported and drew condemnation from all political sides. However, Hollande presided over France as it became the world’s most oft-toured country as it showcased open markets, regulatory efficiency and limited government intervention. Paris hosted the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2015 and made a successful bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Alas, a 10 percent unemployment rate and several acts of terrorism led to his fall in popularity. Near the end of his tenure he held the dubious distinction of most unpopular president in the Fifth Republic of France. He therefore decided not to run in 2017.

August 16 - James Cameron, film director and writer

Canadian James Cameron is best known for his work on two seminal films: Titanic and Avatar. But his work on films began much earlier, when he taught himself the art of special effects by reading everything he could at the University of Southern California library. He quit his job as a truck driver after seeing Star Wars in 1977. He soon found work in the entertainment industry, moving from special effects director to director for the sequel to Piranha in 1982.

Although he was unsuccessful in his directorial debut (he managed to get fired), he did have a nightmare when he got food poisoning during shooting in Rome. In the dream, a robot hitman was sent from the future to kill him, and the idea for the wildly successful Terminator series was born.

During the 1980s, Cameron was working on screenplays for The Terminator, Aliens, and the first draft of Rambo: First Blood Part II at the same time. He also wrote the screenplay for the 1989 thriller The Abyss, based on speculations during a high school biology class.

Cameron is an avid environmentalist and vegan. He resides part of the year in California and the other part in New Zealand, where he advocates for and produces plant-based foods. What’s the best thing someone can do to fight climate change? “Stop eating animals,” Cameron says.

August 20 - Al Roker, weatherman

Ever-jovial weatherman Al Roker has become much more: a television personality, actor and author.  He even holds the world record for an uninterrupted live weather report, going 34 hours straight in 2014. In 2018, his 40 years on NBC were celebrated as the Today Show Plaza was officially named the Rokerfeller Plaza to honor him.

Roker was born in Queens, and loved his high school Cartooning & Illustration Club, since he planned to become a cartoonist. However, he majored in communications and began his career in Syracuse, NY before moving to Washington, D.C. for a weathercasting position.

His career got a bump when David Letterman asked him to participate in an elevator race on air. Soon, Roker was forecasting for Weekend Today. He began substituting on the Today show when Willard Scott was out, going full time in 1996. Roker is often shown conducting interviews, and was famously blown off his feet during on-the-spot reporting on Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

Roker also hosts the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with some from some of his colleagues. Starting in 2009, Roker co-wrote several mysteries about a celebrity chef turned sleuth. He’s also published The Morning Show Murders.

The once-girthy Roker is famous for getting a gastric bypass in 2002 after a slew of diet failures. Eight months post-surgery, the weatherman was 100 pounds lighter. In 2010, he ran the ING New York City Marathon.

Click below for the other articles in the August 2019 Senior Spirit


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