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Friday, February 5, 2021

Famous and 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!

Image Source: Wikipedia

February 12 - Arsenio Hall, comedian

The son of a Baptist minister, Arsenio Hall was born in Ohio and attended Kent State University. Hall moved to Chicago, and then Los Angeles, in pursuit of a career in comedy.

Hall had a smattering of success, appearing on two episodes of Soul Train before becoming the announcer for Alan Thicke on Thicke of the Night, a talk show that didn’t last long. In fall of 1987, Hall was chosen to host The Late Show for a time and proved so popular that he eventually got his own program. The Arsenio Hall Show had a five-year run from 1989 to 1994, then another stint from 2013 to 2014.

In 2012, Hall appeared on the fifth season of The Apprentice and won more than $250,000 for the charity of his choice, the Magic Johnson Foundation, which advances economic and social equality. Hall has had other notable appearances on The Jay Leno Show, Lopez Tonight, Real Time with Bill Maher and Piers Morgan Tonight.

Hall filed a $5 million dollar defamation suit against Irish singer/songwriter SinĂ©ad O'Connor in 2016 after she accused him of spiking her drink during a party at Eddie Murphy’s house and of supplying singer Prince with drugs. O’Connor walked back her accusations and Hall dropped the suit. He is father to one son born in 1998.

Image Source: Wikipedia

February 14 - Dave Dravecky, baseball player, speaker, author

Dave Dravecky had a lot going for him when he started pitching for the San Diego Padres in 1982. A lefty, Dravecky represented his team at the All-Star game in his second season, in which he won 14 games. His career looked solid; he excelled as a relief pitcher and a starter and was instrumental in a pennant win for the Padres in 1984.

Dravecky’s strong Christian values and beliefs led him to support the John Birch Society, a far-right political organization. He recruited two fellow team pitchers to promote the society. The three handed out Birch literature at the June 1984 Del Mar, California, fair. The trio made quite a stir in the press, and after a 60-55 win-loss record following six seasons, the Associated Press wrote that the pitcher was better-known for his John Birch Society affiliation than for his work on the mound.

In July 1987, Dravecky was acquired by the San Francisco Giants in their pennant drive. While most of his new teammates partied in their off time, Dravecky and three others would gather for bible study in their hotel room, earning them the “God Squad” moniker. Dravecky went 7-5 during the stretch, then pitched a shutout in Game 2 against the St. Louis Cardinals, who won in seven games. 

The next season, a tumor appeared in Dravecky’s pitching arm. Doctors had to remove half of his deltoid muscle and freeze the upper arm bone in an attempt to obliterate the cancer. They warned him not to play until 1990, but by July 1989 he was pitching in the minors. On August 10 he returned to the major leagues and won his first start. A few days later, his second start was going well, but he felt tingling in his left arm. He allowed a home run, then hit the next batter. The third batter of the inning stepped up to the plate, and as Dravecky pitched the entire stadium could hear his humerus bone break.

His cancer had returned, and after two attempts to save the arm, it was amputated with the shoulder. Dravecky, who had written Comeback after his first bout with cancer, published When You Can’t Come Back after the amputation, in 1992. He became a motivational speaker and wrote a Christian motivational book, Called Up, in 2004.

Image Source: Wikipedia

February 19 - Roderick MacKinnon, biologist and Nobel laureate

Born in Massachusetts, Roderick MacKinnon earned a bachelor’s in biochemistry from Brandeis University, where he studied calcium transport through the membrane of cells. He received a medical degree from Tufts University before training in internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. In 1989, he became an assistant professor at Harvard University.

At Harvard, MacKinnon used a toxin derived from scorpion venom to study its interaction with the potassium channel. In 1996, he switched to Rockefeller University and began to study the potassium channel, which are crucial to the nervous system and heart. Oddly, they permit larger potassium ions to pass through but stop smaller sodium ions. In 1998, MacKinnon and his colleagues discovered the three-dimensional structure of the channel which had hitherto eluded scientists for decades. In 2003, MacKinnon was awarded a Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Image Source: Wikipedia

February 19 - Jeffrey Immelt, former chairman of General Electric

Born in Cincinnati, Jeffrey Immelt played offensive tackle in college and graduated with honors from Dartmouth College, where he was president of his fraternity. He went on to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1982.

Immelt started at General Electric (GE) after business school, tackling positions in plastics, appliances and healthcare divisions of the huge company. He beat out some tough competition to inherit the CEO position from the legendary Jack Welch, who had benefitted by the strong economy of the Clinton years. In contrast, Immelt took the role four days before 9/11, when two employees were killed in the terrorist attacks and the company’s insurance division suffered a $600 million setback. 

Welch had preferred internal growth, but Immelt spun off several businesses while increasing core operations in overseas markets, focusing on China and Europe. Immelt’s compensation, which varied over the years from more than $5 million to over $20 million, coincided with the stock value of GE plummeting 30% while the S&P rose nearly 134%. When it was revealed that Immelt had an empty private jet always follow his own private jet, just in case it got delayed, the board of directors was none too happy. 

Immelt was asked to step down in October 2017. He has since served on several boards and in an advisory capacity to Built Robotics. He led GE to record corporate philanthropy and is an active donor in private. He advocates for diversity in the workplace, and has earned many honors, including “World’s Best CEO” from Barron’s on three separate occasions. 


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