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Thursday, November 2, 2023

Famous & 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!

Jim Steinmeyer (left); Image Source: Wikipedia

November 1  Jim Steinmeyer, inventor and designer of magical illusions 

Did you think the big Vegas acts (David Copperfield, Siegfried and Roy) and the many, many other talented and well known magicians on stage and television developed all of their own material? Alas, no, dear reader. Like you and me, they pay someone else for the goods from time to time. And that someone is often Jim Steinmeyer. 

Steinmeyer is also the bomb at theatrical special effects. He was behind illusions for Disney stage productions of “Mary Poppins”, “Aladdin” and “Beauty and the Beast”. He holds four US patents for his illusions, and also worked with Doug Henning and Lance Burton. If you want to know more about the history of magic, you can check out bestseller “Hiding the Elephant”, written by none other than Steinmeyer himself. If you prefer the internet, look up his 1998 TED talk on YouTube. 

Have you ever seen the origami illusion? This illusion has been performed by Henning and Copperfield, and imitated any number of times. The magician’s assistant steps into an origami box lying on a thin table that is backed by a mirror. The box appears to fold up into a one-foot square, which is pierced by three swords. It is then unfolded, to reveal the unharmed assistant. The creator? Steinmeyer, of course. Other tricks he invented include Interlude, Modern Art, Osmosis, and the Lady in the Puzzle. A prolific writer, he has penned more than ten books on illusionists and illusions. 

Image Source: Wikipedia

November 19  Charlie Kaufman, screenwriter

Remember the old saw, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”? That’s exactly what native New Yorker and celebrated screenwriter Charlie Kaufman did, many times over. The writer of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Being John Malkovich“ got rejected repeatedly, and was reduced to handling calls about missing newspapers during the late 1980s to put food on his family’s table. 

Roger Ebert, the famous film critic, once dubbed Kaufman’s 2009 film “Synecdoche, New York“ “the best movie of the decade.” Three of the writer’s film scripts are listed on the Writer’s Guild of America choices for the top 101 screenplays ever written. Not bad for a shy kid who had a hard time speaking up. Other gems written by him include “Adaptation », « Anomalisa », and “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”. Kaufman recently released his first novel, “Antkind”.

In spite of holding a degree from New York University, Kaufman struggled to get work for years, submitting scripts for a host of TV shows before finally getting hired for a Comedy Central series called “Across America”. When that fizzled out, he wrote two episodes for “Get A Life” before the show was given the axe. Kaufman finally won some notoriety in the 90s when Spike Jonze agreed to direct “Being John Malkovich”. The film won an Academy Award and a BAFTA, and Kaufman had his foot in the door.

His themes explore universal subjects: mortality, identity crisis and the meaning of life. If you haven’t already seen his work, it’s time to check out “Anomalisa” on Netflix.

Image Source: Wikipedia

November 22  Jamie Lee Curtis, actor

Scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis is actually a talented actor who has nailed a wide range of roles, but she may be best known for her performances in horror, including the character of Laurie Strode in 1978’s “Halloween” and six of the movie’s sequels. The daughter of Janet Leigh, she was originally given the role because of her mother’s notoriety playing the woman in the iconic shower scene of the Hitchcock suspense film “Psycho”.

Curtis went on to roles in “The Fog”, “Prom Night”, “Terror Train” and “Roadgames”. But if you were never into scary movies, you might have seen the actor in “Trading Places” or “A Fish Called Wanda” and thought she was great at drama or comedy. It’s even possible you don’t know Curtis as an actor at all, but as the author of a slew of children’s books aimed primarily at the preschool set. 

The whip-smart Curtis (she was in law school when she decided to drop out and begin acting) didn’t always receive accolades for her performances, but several of her films, including “Perfect” with John Travolta, have generated a cult following over the years. In fact, no less a legend than Quentin Tarantino said the movie was “greatly underappreciated.” 

Curtis appeared with an enviable share of leading men such as Mel Gibson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and has also worked with some amazing leading ladies, like Bette Davis. Sigourney Weaver is a close friend, but Curtis admits she’s never watched her complete performance in Aliens because she is “too scared” by the film. She is married to British-American filmmaker Christopher Guest.

In 2021, the actor was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Venice Film Festival and remarked, “I feel so alive, like I'm this 14-year-old person just beginning their life. That's how I wake up every day with that sort of joy and purpose. I'm just beginning my work.”


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors