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Saturday, July 6, 2024

Famous & 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!

Image Source: Wikipedia

July 11 - Suzanne Vega, musician, songwriter  

Perhaps most famous for her song “Luka” written about and from the perspective of an abused child, Vega’s career spans 40 years. Her recording of “Tom’s Diner”, remixed to make a dance track by DNA with Vega singing, also became a Top 10 hit. She’s released a total of nine studio albums. 

Vega grew up in Spanish Harlem and the Upper West Side of New York City, studying modern dance in high school. She then majored in English Lit at Barnard College before finding her niche as a songwriter and singer. She scored her first recording contract in 1984. She immediately found commercial success.

In 2006, she became the first major artist to perform live in “Second Life”, a virtual world on the internet. Vega re-recorded her catalog, in part to retain control of her work, releasing a series of volumes called her “Close Up” series starting in 2010.

One interesting fact: Vega can’t read music. She says she sees the melody as a shape and the chords as colors. If she needs to put complex elements into her songs, such as bridges, she turns it over to the other artists she’s working with.

Image Source: Wikipedia

July 11 - Richie Sambora, rock guitarist, songwriter

As a child, Richie Sambora first started playing the accordion. Lucky for us, he turned to guitar in 1970 and we know him today as lead guitarist for the band Bon Jovi, a career that lasted from 1983 to 2013. Sambora was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, the same year he created RSO with girlfriend Orianthi. 

By the tender age of 19 Sambora owned his own label, Dream Disc Records. His very first pro tour was to open for Joe Cocker in the early 80s. And Sambora auditioned to replace Ace Frehley of Kiss in 1983 … but as history would have it, he was rejected and instead earned a spot in Bon Jovi, writing a pair of songs (“Come Back” and “Burning for Love”) along with the lead singer the day he was hired. 

Sambora entered a treatment facility for alcoholism in 2007. Notably, Sambora’s divorce from Heather Locklear was finalized on April 11 of that year, and his father succumbed to lung cancer just nine days later. Afterward, he professed to be fine, but was arrested for driving drunk in March 2008. Sambora entered rehab again in April 2011 and missed thirteen tour dates, rejoining the band for the European leg of their Bon Jovi Live tour.

A big believer in giving back, Sambora has raised money for a slew of causes including Michael J. Fox’s charity to overcome Parkinson’s disease. He’s donated to both hospitals that treated his father for cancer and fundraised for Stand Up For a Cure to fund full service mobile hospitals that work on the streets of New York City.

Image Source: Wikipedia

July 23 - Carl Phillips, poet

What if you found out your high school Latin teacher won the Pulitzer Prize? Poet Carl Phillips was indeed a teacher for eight years, and is now a Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis when he’s not writing highly lauded prose, including, yes, getting the Pulitzer in 2023 for “Then the War: And Selected Poems”, 2007-2020.

The young Phillips was a military brat and moved a lot until his family settled on Cape Cod for his high school years. He went on to gather degrees from some prestigious universities including Harvard, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Boston University. Phillips has been a finalist for the National Book Award four times. To read the title poem from his latest collection, visit here

Image Source: Wikipedia

July 26 - Kevin Spacey, actor

You may remember Kevin Spacey best from his dramatic role as US president in “House of Cards”. Or maybe you have a fondness for his portrayal of a man in the throes of a midlife crisis in “American Beauty”. Perhaps you were lucky enough to catch him on Broadway in “Lost in Yonkers” (for which he earned a Tony Award) or “Long Day’s Journey into Night”. 

Spacey graduated co-valedictorian at Chatsworth High School in Los Angeles. He starred in the senior production of “The Sound of Music”. It’s also the time when he dropped his last name of Fowler and began going by his first and middle name only. (Much later, he would say that his stepfather was "a white supremacist and a neo-Nazi" who was verbally abusive to him as a child.

No stranger to the theater, Spacey became artistic director of the Old Vic in Waterloo, London in 2003. He managed the theater and directed and performed in shows there for many years. In 2016 Spacey was awarded the Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to theater, arts education and international culture by then-Prince Charles.

However, Spacey suffered an enormous setback in October 2017 when the first of many allegations of sexual misconduct came out against him. In the end, all of the allegations were found false, dropped or he was cleared of them, but only after he’d lost several roles and had his name smeared in the press, both in the US and Great Britain. 


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