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Thursday, September 9, 2021

Famous & 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!

Image Source: Wikipedia

September 13 - Alain Ducasse, chef

Want to cook like the famous Alain Ducasse? Americans can sign up for the cuisine of the Riviera at his tony cooking school in Paris, mon ami, for a mere $247.98! (Airfare, transportation, and hotel not included). Why? Ducasse made a name for himself when Le Louis XV, where he was head chef, became the first hotel restaurant to merit three Michelin stars, the highest honor possible. He was 33. In 2012, Ducasse held 21 Michelin stars, earning him a second place ranking just ahead of Gordon Ramsay. He was the first chef to own three restaurants in three cities awarded three Michelin stars at the same time.

Check out this Food & Wine article for some at-home versions of his famous dishes. Born in southwestern France, Ducasse grew up on a goose and duck farm, suckling on foie gras and exotic wild mushrooms. At the age of 16 he began his career and quickly garnered success. Perhaps his greatest talent is his ability to pivot from chef to manager and then expand his reach to cooking schools (separate ones for professionals and everybody else) and a portfolio of restaurants around the world. The entrepreneur has also initiated projects such as “Good France”, created “to celebrate the identity, vitality, tradition and diversity of French cuisine and lifestyle.”

Ducasse has furthermore put his stamp on a handful of inns and authored several cookbooks, including the famed Alain Ducasse Culinary Encyclopedia. His foodie empire has thrived, in part due to its founder’s business savvy. The French national became a citizen of Monaco to take advantage of that country’s less onerous tax code. But don’t expect a plate load of butter in Ducasse’s creations; he emphasizes local sourcing for meals focused on sustainability, health, and wellness. Salut!

Image Source: Wikipedia

September 16 - David Copperfield, illusionist

Performing more than 500 sets per year all over the world, you may have seen magician David Copperfield in person. But did you know that he owns a string of islands in the Bahamas, or that he was engaged (for six years!) to supermodel Claudia Schiffer? That he was robbed at gunpoint but used sleight of hand to hide all his cash, ID, and cell phone? Or that he nearly died in 1984 while rehearsing the “Escape From Death” illusion in a tank of water when he got tangled in chains? All true.

Copperfield, born David Kotkin, began performing when he was only 10. At 12, he was the youngest child allowed to join the American Society of Magicians. By the time he was 16, he was teaching a class in magic at prestigious New York University. Two years later, he took the lead role in The Magic Man, the longest-running musical ever in Chicago. He created many of the illusions done in the show.

The famous magician also owns the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts. It contains not only Houdini’s water torture cabinet and metamorphosis trunk, but the world’s largest collection of “Houdiniana” — more than the Houdini Museum in New York. Wait, you’ve never heard of it? That’s because it isn’t open to the public. Tours are only available to “colleagues, fellow magicians, and serious collectors.” It’s accessed via a secret door in Copperfield’s Las Vegas headquarters. Notes Copperfield, "If a scholar or journalist needs a piece of magic history, it's there.”


Image Source: Wikipedia

September 22 - Debby Boone, singer

Remember the 70s? “You Light Up My Life” dominated the Billboard Hot 100 chart for weeks, and singer Debby Boone won the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1978 following its release. While she never commandeered the pop charts with that strength again, Boone went on to a successful career in country and Christian music, touring with several musical theatre productions and co-authoring books for children along with husband Gabriel Ferrer. She also had such honors as taping “Christmas in Washington” with President Ronald Reagan and other luminaries.

Boone was born into a musical family. Her father is singer/actor Pat Boone, and her mother is the daughter of country music legend Red Foley. When she was 14, Boone began touring with her family, first as The Pat Boone Family and then as the Boones or Boone Girls with her two sisters. The sibling group reached the Billboard charts twice, first with a remake of a Supremes song and later with a cover track from ABBA. 

Boone married in 1979 and has four children. Husband Gabriel Ferrer is an ordained Episcopalian priest and is well-connected in Tinseltown: he’s the son of José Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney, brother to actors Miguel and Rafael Ferrer, nephew of journalist Nick Clooney and (drumroll, please) cousin of actor George Clooney. 

Image Source: Wikipedia

September 26 - Linda Hamilton, actress

Terminator fans will forever remember Linda Hamilton in the role of Sarah Connor, one the actress reprised in the movie’s sequels. The actress was also nominated for a pair of Golden Globes and an Emmy Award for playing Catherine Chandler on the small screen in Beauty and the Beast. Most recently, the actress could be seen inhabiting the persona of Mary Elizabeth Bartowski on NBC’s Chuck

Hamilton grew up reading books “voraciously.” Her doctor father died when she was five, and she later acquired a stepfather who was chief of police in Salisbury, Maryland. She switched to studying acting after a couple of years in traditional university, but her acting professor had a dim view of her prospects, once telling her she had no hope of earning a living in the profession. However, she became one of twelve “Promising New Actors of 1982” after an appearance in the big-screen thriller TAG: The Assassination Game.

Hamilton has been married and divorced two times, once to Bruce Abbott and the second time to film director James Cameron. She has two children and has said that both marriages ended due to her depression and a then-untreated bipolar disorder that triggered violent mood swings. She has since gotten therapy for the condition.