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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Famous & 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!

Image Source: Wikipedia

December 7 - Larry Bird, basketball player, coach and executive

Larry, you only told me one lie. You said there would be another Larry Bird. There will never, ever be another Larry Bird.— Magic Johnson, at Bird’s retirement party

Larry Bird is the only person in NBA history to wear the titles of Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, NBA Finals MVP, All-Star MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year. Bird also was bestowed the NBA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, one he shares with court rival and lifelong friend Magic Johnson. 

Bird was raised in French Lick, Indiana. His mom worked two jobs to support her six offspring. She divorced Bird’s father when Bird was in high school, and Larry’s dad took his own life twelve months later. Bird says that “to this day” growing up poor was a highly motivating factor for him, as he dominated the court from a young age. An introvert, Bird chose the relatively small campus of Indiana State University for college ball, leading the Sycamores to their first NCAA tournament with a 33-0 record his junior year. They lost to Michigan State for the championship, but it would mark the first time Bird squared off against the man who would become his nemesis on court and good friend off it: Magic Johnson.

The pair dominated ‘80s basketball. With Bird on the Celtics and Johnson playing for the Lakers, the rivalry whipped up fan interest and excitement. During that decade, either Boston or Los Angeles appeared in every NBA Finals. 

In 1985 Bird was shoveling asphalt to make a driveway at his mother’s house and hurt his back. The injury never fully healed despite treatments and even a surgery to remove a disc. It would eventually cause Bird to step off the court for good as a player in 1993. However, Bird went on to a successful if short coaching stint, then President of Operations for the Celtics, and today stays on as an advisor.


Image Source: Wikipedia

December 23 - Dave Murray, guitarist and songwriter

Heavy metal band Iron Maiden has featured Dave Murray as lead guitar since 1976; he’s second only to founder Steve Harris in time spent with the band. He formed his first band at 16 after hearing “Voodoo Chile” by Jimi Hendrix on the radio when "everything changed, just like that. Getting into rock music wasn't like a gradual process for me; it was completely sort of extreme, totally black and white. I heard 'Voodoo Chile' on the radio and I thought, 'What is THAT? How do you do THAT?' And I started hanging around the rock music section of the record stores and buying albums, thinking about getting into the big time, wondering what that would be like.” 

Murray grew up poor, his family moving around London. He quickly learned to fight and spent his youth battling skinheads and having “a rowdy couple of years.” After his rock conversion he quit school and played in a couple of local bands. When he auditioned for Iron Maiden it was over the objection of the band’s two guitar players at the time, but when they laid down an ultimatum that it was Murray or them, founder and bassist Harris says there was no contest. "When the others made it plain that it was either them or Dave Murray, there was no choice. There was no way I was gonna let Dave go. Not only was he a nice bloke, he was just the best guitarist I'd ever worked with. He still is.”

Murray isn’t very involved with songwriting, preferring the instrumental aspects of songs. He’s No. 9 on Gibson’s list of the Top 10 Metal Guitarists of All Time. Murray has used Fender Stratocaster guitars to the near exclusion of all other brands. 

He has one daughter with his wife, Tamar, and lives on Maui when he’s not touring. What’s his favorite sport? Not surfing. Surprisingly, Murray prefers to be out on the links at least a couple of times a week.

Image Source: Wikipedia

December 26 - David Sedaris, essayist, humorist

David Sedaris is an American treasure. If you haven’t laughed out loud recently, pick up a copy of his “Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls” or “Me Talk Pretty One Day.” The latter is especially illuminating for anyone who has ever struggled to learn a foreign language. Perhaps you recall when Sedaris read his essay “Santaland Diaries” on National Public Radio in 1992. It was a monster hit then and the humor, wit and even pathos is just as poignant now.

Sedaris’s works are largely autobiographical. He is one of six children; sister Amy is an actor and co-writer on three plays, written under the moniker “The Talent Family.” Sister Tiffany died in 2013, prompting Sedaris to pen “Now We Are Five.” He often deals with themes of his own gayness, and can be self-deprecating, witty and stabbingly excoriating in the same paragraph. 

Sedaris lives in West Sussex, England, with longtime partner Hugh, a set designer and painter with whom he forms “the sort of couple who wouldn’t get married.” One of his passions is strapping on a headlamp and collecting roadside litter, a hobby for which he’s been dubbed “Pig Pen” and acquired a waste vehicle of the same name. Look for him when you’re in Rackham.


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