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Monday, July 3, 2023

Famous & 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!

Image Source: Wikipedia

July 8 - Kevin Bacon, actor 

The Guardian dubs Kevin Bacon among the best actors never to have been nominated for an Academy Award. The prolific New Yorker has, however, gotten a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, among many others, for his portrayals of leading men and character roles. 

Beginning with an appearance in National Lampoon’s Animal House (which didn’t lead to fame), Bacon has gone on to roles in A Few Good Men, Apollo 13, The Woodsman, Losing Chase, and countless other films. His television career has been just as prolific, including a starring and much-lauded role as Lt. Col. Michael Strobi in Taking Chance

Having left home at the age of 17 to begin an acting career, Bacon says  "The message I got was 'The arts are it. Business is the devil's work. Art and creative expression are next to godliness.' Combine that with an immense ego and you wind up with an actor." However, Bacon put in time waiting tables before finally getting noticed in the 1982 film Diner. By 1991, the actor realized that "the only way I was going to be able to work on 'A' projects with really 'A' directors was if I wasn't the guy who was starring," and he switched to largely character roles.

Bacon has long been into making music with brother Michael as The Bacon Brothers, a band that has produced seven albums. He has been married to actress Kyra Sedgwick since 1988, and they co-starred in Pyrates, Murder in the First, The Woodsman, and Loverboy. The couple has two children, Travis and Sosie Ruth. 

Image Source: Wikipedia

July 16 - Michael Flatley, dancer and choreographer

Whose feet were once insured for $57.6 million? That’s right, Riverdance creator and star Michael Flatley, the man who took Irish dancing mainstream, having played to more than 60 million people in 60 countries over his career.

Flatley was a gifted teen, being the first American to win, at age 17, a World Irish Dance title. (It’s true his parents were Irish immigrants, his mom loved to step dance, and her mom was a champion dancer.)  But then the same year he also walked away with first prize in the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil concert flute competition. And lest we forget, he nearly became a pro boxer in the 70s after winning the middleweight division of the Chicago Golden Gloves boxing tournament. Whew!

In the late 70s and throughout the 80s, Flatley toured as an Irish musician. His big break came when he was asked to come up with a performance for intermission at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. The contest was held in Ireland, and he performed a 7-minute show titled “Riverdance” that caused a sensation. However, his tenure with the touring show didn’t last a year. "I just wanted control over the work that I had created myself,” Flatley states. “That's all. I don't think that that's too much to ask. I felt like I built it, and they took it, and that's the end of it... and it hurt."

Undeterred, he went on to create and perform in Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames, both wildly successful. At one time, he held the Guinness World Record for tap dancing 35 times in a single second. His dancing incorporated moves from jazz and other dance traditions, adding upper body movements to intricate footwork. Unfortunately, the hard work took its toll on his feet and legs, and he was forced to limit his dancing from about 2016. 

Worth a cool €301 million in 2019, Flatley has branched out into filmmaking, painting, and business. He supports vulnerable children and the homeless, and advocates for cancer research. Recently, he has provided humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Image Source: Wikipedia

July 27 - Christopher Dean, ice dancer

Who can forget the mesmerizing performance of Torvill and Dean at the 1984 Winter Olympics? The duo danced on ice to Ravel’s  "BolĂ©ro," starting down on their knees, swaying to the music. The free program became famous after the partners were awarded nine perfect 6.0 scores for artistic impression (and another three for technical merit); the only time the feat has ever been achieved. 

After taking home the gold medal, the pair turned professional. They needed the money after they had each quit their job, in Dean’s case as a policeman, to concentrate on skating. Rules at the time forbade them from further Olympic competition. When the same rules were changed in 1993, Torvill and Dean came back at the 1994 Olympics at rather ripe old ages for ice dancers and still were able to claim the bronze medal. 

A football player before switching to ice dancing, Dean became a savvy choreographer and worked as late as 2018 helping Savchenko and Massot claim the gold medal in pair skating at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. 

Image Source: Wikipedia

July 31 - Mark Cuban, businessman

Best known as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, Mark Cuban has also made his mark as a key investor on the hit ABC show “Shark Tank” which highlights up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Worth about $5.1 billion, Cuban is also a film producer, philanthropist, and writer.

Cuban is not Cuban, but Russian. His paternal grandfather simplified the family name upon entering the United States at Ellis Island. An early businessman, Cuban sold garbage bags to get some shoes he envied at age 12 and moved on to teaching disco and bartending in college. Cuban made his first millions selling a company he started, MicroSolutions. He has since gone on to invest in many startups both in and out of the tech world.

Famous for garnering large fines from the NBA for offensive speech regarding other teams and their players, Cuban says that he matches the fines with donations to charities. That’s an expensive policy, considering he was fined $600,000 in a 2018 incident and again $500,000 in 2020 for “public criticism and detrimental conduct regarding NBA officiating".


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