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Friday, July 3, 2020

Famous and 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!

Image Source: Wikipedia

July 9 - Jimmy Smits, actor

Brooklyn-born Jimmy Smits may be best known for playing attorney Victor Sifuentes on the legal drama L.A. Law, or you might have caught him on NYPD Blue as Detective Bobby Simone. More recently, he played the part of Matt Santos on the political drama West Wing.

The handsome star was born to working-class parents. His father was from Suriname and his mother was born in Puerto Rico, where Smits spent time as a child. The family was devoutly Roman Catholic, and Smits still returns to Puerto Rico often.

No slouch at academics, Smits earned a bachelor’s from Brooklyn College and a Master of Fine Arts from Cornell University. He appeared in many plays at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, New York. His screen acting career began with a role in Miami Vice (remember that show?!) back in 1984 when he played the part of Sony Crockett’s original partner, shot to death in a sting that backfired. Smits identifies as Puerto Rican and has won the HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors.

After a short marriage to his high school sweetheart that produced two children, Smits has partnered with actress Wanda De Jesus. The couple live in Los Angeles and support a number of charities, including the Red Cross and Stand up to Cancer.

Image Source: Wikipedia

July 13 - Chris White, saxophonist for Dire Straits 

It’s every kid’s dream: start playing an instrument at the age of 13 and wind up touring with a world-famous band. White did exactly that, playing with other famous artists such as Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger over the decades. The saxophone was his instrument of choice as a teen, and he quickly became so skilled that he was playing in the United Kingdom’s National Youth Jazz Orchestra.

White is also competent on flute and tambourine, and can switch from jazz to Celtic rock, country or blues. His one solo album, released in 1991, is Shadowdance. A motorcycle accident two years later prevented him form a planned tour with Pink Floyd. White performed at the Live Aid concert and Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday Concert, both in 1988, as well as the Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium in 2007.

Image Source: Wikipedia

July 17 - Paul Stamets, mycologist and environmentalist 

This American icon has made his name as an expert on, and promoter of, the lowly mushroom. In fact, the character Lieutenant Commander Paul Stamets on the Star Trek: Discovery series on CBS was named after the real-life Stamets.

Holding only a bachelor’s degree from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, Stamets became a logger but learned mycology (the study of fungi) on his own after his late brother stoked an interest in the field. Stamets has written five books on the subject of mushrooms. The latest, penned in 2019, is titled, Fantastic Fungi: How Mushrooms Can Heal, Shift Consciousness & Save the Planet.

In 2014, Stamets garnered the Invention Ambassador Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is currently married and has two children from a previous marriage, one of which bears the name of a hallucinogenic mushroom.

Image Source: Wikipedia

July 18 - Bernd Fasching, painter and sculptor

Austrian Bernd Fasching works and lives in Vienna. He is perhaps best known for a series of pieces he created when he lived and worked in galleries around the world, creating each piece over 12 days and 12 nights while living in the gallery. For this period, he would engage with visitors, using their talks to inspire themes. A soundtrack composed for each location would play during the entire 288 hours for each project, set in Vienna (1987), Amsterdam (1980), Cologne (1991), Zurich (1992), Jerusalem (1994), New York (1997), and returning to Vienna again in 2006. The piece would be created in front of the eyes of gallery visitors, who could return throughout the process to watch the work evolve. 

Image Source: Wikipedia

July 25 - Iman, model, actress and entrepreneur  

Iman (born Zara Mohamed Abdulmajid) was born in Mogadishu, Somalia and lived most of her first four years with her grandparents before heading to boarding school in Egypt. She returned to Somalia in her teen years, then moved to Kenya at the urging of her ambassador father. While studying political science at the University of Nairobi she was “discovered” by an American photographer and moved to the U.S. to start a modeling career.

After debuting in prestigious Vogue magazine, Iman’s image wound up on the covers of every important fashion journal in America, establishing her as a supermodel. Her lanky, tall body and impossibly slim neck, copper skin and exotic air made her the muse of designers such as Halston, Versace, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan. A darling of Yves Saint-Laurent, she was described by him as his “dream woman.”

After dominating the fashion world, Iman took on an acting career as well, including stints hosting Project Runway Canada and The Fashion Show. She also took on film roles, including the thriller No Way Out with Kevin Costner and the comedy The Linguini Incident. After mixing her own makeup for nearly 20 years, Iman founded a cosmetics firm that is still a top foundation brand.

Her philanthropic endeavors are legendary, centering around children and poverty. She is a global advocate for CARE, an ambassador for Save the Children and works for the Children’s Defense Fund, among other roles.

After a pair of marriages that ended in divorce, Iman wed David Bowie in 1992. Their daughter was born in 2000 in New York City, and the pair resided primarily in Manhattan and London. Iman became a widow in 2016 when Bowie succumbed to liver cancer.

Click below for the other articles in the July 2020 Senior Spirit


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