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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Famous and 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!

Image Source: Wikipedia

December 2 - Dennis Christopher, actor

Born Dennis Carrelli in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dennis Christopher gained fame through a chance encounter with famed filmmaker Frederico Fellini. Fellini was filming in Rome in 1972 when the two met by accident, leading to Fellini casting Christopher as a hippie in his film Roma. Christopher then detoured to fashion design as an assistant to the renowned Halston before earning fame as Dave Stohler in the 1979 film Breaking Away

The role earned the 24-year-old the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer and the Youth in Film Award for Best Juvenile Actor in a Motion Picture, as well as a Golden Globe nomination. After that, the actor was inundated with offers and played in many films such as Chariots of Fire, It, Fade to Black and A Wedding, as well as many roles made for the small screen.

But it was while working with Quentin Tarantino on Django Unchained (2012) that Christopher says his career, and life, improved. He discovered that the screenplay had been rewritten specifically to include him (he plays Leonide Moguy) and that Tarantino told him he had watched every one of the 40 lifetime films Christopher had appeared in the week it was released. Such high esteem continued on set, and Christopher admits that “a lot of my idea of happiness comes from working on this film.”

Image Source: Wikipedia

December 4 - Cassandra Wilson, jazz singer

With her deep contralto vocals, Cassandra Wilson has moved successfully from blues to country with accents of folk music. Wilson took off for the bright lights of NYC in 1982 and never looked back, becoming an integral part of M-Base with Steve Coleman, who expanded her repertoire beyond jazz. She became a songwriter and later a producer while singing and touring with the likes of Henry Threadgill, Miles Davis and Ellis Marsalis. 

It’s no surprise Wilson became a musician; father Herman Fowlkes, Jr., played guitar and bass while teaching music and listening to jazz. Wilson’s mother held a PhD in education and favored Motown hits. She grew up studying piano and added clarinet in middle school before learning guitar on her own. In high school, she added acting to her talents, with a starring role in The Wizard of Oz in a newly desegregated Mississippi school system.

Wilson’s solo career began in 1986, but it really heated up when, in 1993, she signed with Blue Note Records and broke through to vastly larger audiences. Starting at this time, she recorded songs as diverse as Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” to Joni Mitchell’s “Black Crow.”

Image Source: Wikipedia

December 26 - Evan Bayh, politician

A lawyer, lobbyist, and former U.S. Senator, Birch Evans Bayh III was once in contention with Joe Biden to become Barack Obama’s pick for vice president. Wildly popular in his home state of Indiana, Bayh first held public office as the Secretary of State of Indiana in 1986. A short two years later, he was elected Governor. When he was term limited out after two cycles, he briefly taught at Indiana University Bloomington before winning election to Congress as a Senator.

Young Bayh was born into politics; his father, Birch Bayh Jr., was a U.S. Senator for almost two decades before meeting defeat at the hands of future Vice President Dan Quayle. In fact, the younger Bayh grew up attending school in our nation’s capitol before graduating with a B.S. from Indiana University Bloomington. He then went to the University of Virginia School of Law and graduated with his Juris Doctor degree in 1981. 

Bayh, a democrat, had centrist leanings and, along with John McCain, was an early supporter of the Bush administration’s war on Iraq. The senator also helped bail out the banks in the aftermath of the 2008 recession when Fed chair Ben Bernanke warned “the sky would collapse if the banks weren’t rescued.”

Like most members and former members of Congress, Bayh is a multimillionaire. His financial position isn’t hurt by his wife, Susan Bayh, who was a law professor and serves on a number of corporate boards. The couple have twin sons born in 1995.

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


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