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Monday, August 17, 2020

Famous and 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!

Image Source: Wikipedia

August 4 - Billy Bob Thornton, actor

The child of a self-proclaimed psychic and a high school history teacher, Thornton grew up in a shack without plumbing or electricity. But the man had talent that transcended his rough start: he played in bands since he was 10 years old (with considerable success), and was good enough at baseball to try out for the Kansas City Royals (but was injured and never joined the team).

Thornton was late to the acting game, settling in LA in the mid-1980s and supporting himself with jobs in telemarketing, offshore wind farming, and fast food management while trying to gain a toehold in Hollywood. He continued his musical career on drums and as a singer with South African band Jack Hammer. A break came at an industry event where Thornton was working as a waiter; film director Billy Wilder told him to think about screenwriting.

The 1996 indie film Sling Blade was Thornton’s ticket to success. He wrote, directed, and starred in the movie about a mentally handicapped man who is sent to prison for murder. The film won a slew of awards and international kudos, propelling Thornton to fame and performances in such diverse works as Bad Santa and Love Actually.

In spite of his success on the silver screen and as a musician, Thornton may be best known as the former husband of actress Angelina Jolie, with whom he starred while engaged to actress Laura Dern. The love match lasted a mere three years, one as a married couple. In fact, Thornton has been married six times, the last and longest (six years) to makeup effects creator Connie Angland.

Image Source: Wikipedia

August 4 - Alberto Gonzales, US Attorney General

The son of a migrant farm worker father with a second-grade education and a homemaker mother who didn’t go to school past sixth grade, Gonzales became the highest-ranking Hispanic American in executive government when George W. Bush appointed him to serve as  the 80th United States Attorney General. At that time, Gonzales had already served as the Secretary of State of Texas and a Texas Supreme Court Justice.

His tenure was not without controversy, centering on a trio of issues, two relating to the post 9-11 war on terror. The first was warrantless surveillance of US citizens suspected of terrorist leanings, the second encompassed so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” and the last  was the firing of eight US Attorneys deemed to be politically motivated. The last offense led to testimony in front of Congress which was criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike as Gonzales professed an inability to recall important details numerous times. As more and more senators called on him to resign, Gonzales took the cue and left office effective Sept. 17, 2007.

Gonzales reportedly had difficulty finding a job after his resignation, but in 2009 he became diversity recruiter for Texas Tech and taught a political science course. He was featured in the 2008 documentary Taxi to the Dark Side, which garnered an Academy Award.

Image Source: USGA

August 13 - Betsy King, golfer

The 5’6” King ruled women’s golf in the late 80s and early 90s, as she topped the charts at a record total 20 LPGA events, more than any other golfer, man or woman, during that time. She was named Player of the Year three times, among a slew of other titles.

King played on the 1976 national team that also sported future LPGA players Beth Daniel, Sherri Turner, and Cindy Ferro, and scored low amateur at the year’s US Women’s Open. But success eluded her on the LPGA Tour. After joining in 1978, it was six long years until her first win, at the 1984 Women’s Kemper Open.

Her success was not without financial reward, even at a time when female golfers earned considerably less than their male counterparts. King was the first woman to move past both the $5 million and $6 million hurdles in LPGA career earnings. But King remembers the difficulty of going out on a course throughout her career.

"With golf, you never know when it's the best you are ever going to play,” says Betsy King. “In my prime, I thought that I was struggling half the time. You are just brutal in the way you think about yourself."

Image Source: Wikipedia

August 24 - Mike Huckabee, politician and minister 

Huckabee served as governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007 and competed for the Republican presidential nomination in both 2008 and 2016. He very nearly became the vice-presidential pick for candidate John McCain, who ultimately selected the less experienced Sarah Palin.

Huckabee’s first job at the age of 14 was on the air at a radio station, presaging his professional career as host of The Mike Huckabee Show on radio from 2012-2013 and the talk show Huckabee that ran on Fox News 2008-2015. Huckabee is also a best-selling author, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, and a bass guitarist. His daughter, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, recently served as White House Press Secretary for President Donald Trump.

Hurricane Katrina walloped southern states, including Arkansas, where Huckabee garnered considerable praise for his handling of the storm’s aftermath. In 2005, Time dubbed him one of the five best governors in the U.S., writing "Huckabee has approached his state's troubles with energy and innovation" and called him "a mature, consensus-building conservative who earns praise from fellow Evangelicals and, occasionally, liberal Democrats.”

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


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