December Milestone Birthdays

Kate Spade, Little Richard, Ralph Fiennes and other celebrities will light the candles as they turn the big 5-0, 60, 70 or 80

50 – Wendell Pierce (Dec. 8)

The New Orleans native made his name as Officer Bunk Moreland on HBO'sThe Wire, then solidified his actor cred as a trombone player on HBO'sTreme. He has a small part in the latest Twilight movie, which he said he took to impress his teenage nieces and nephews.

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50 – Tracy Austin (Dec. 12)

At 16, Austin famously trounced Billie Jean King at Wimbledon in 1979 and won the U.S. Open championship twice. These days she plays for kicks with other pros, recently tweeting: "Played an exhibition tonight w Martina, Johnny Mac & Courier. So much fun!"


50 – Ralph Fiennes (Dec. 22)

This highbrow Brit with the weirdly pronounced name ("Rafe Fines") has an outstanding résumé, including roles in Schindler's List and The English Patient. Now he's in the latest James Bond flick, Skyfall, as a steely intelligence official who rattles the usually unrattleable M (Judi Dench).

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50 – Felicity Huffman (Dec. 9)

The respected actress won an Emmy for her role as one of the Desperate Housewives and a Golden Globe for her portrayal of a transgender woman in Transamerica. She recently launched a website called What the Flicka? — "shortcuts, tricks, and hard-earned advice from one girl to another!"

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50 – Kate Spade (Dec. 24)

Within a few years in the 1990s, the Kansas City, Mo.-born Spade went from a job as accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine to a fashion maven whose name became synonymous with "simple stylish handbag." She sold her company in 2006 for more than $100 million.

Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo

50 – Janine Turner (Dec. 6)

The perky brunette made famous for her role as pilot Maggie O'Connell on Northern Exposure is now a perky blonde conservative activist who promotes the Constitution. Fox News' Chris Wallace recently called her "a modern Paul Revere … spreading the word about our founding principles."

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60 – Susan Dey (Dec. 10)

She was The Partridge Family's super-thin oldest daughter, Laurie (Dey later admitted to an eating disorder during the show's run, reportedly whittling to 92 pounds at one point). In the '80s she won a Golden Globe as Grace Van Owen on L.A. Law.


60 – Cathy Rigby (Dec. 12)

Often described as "spunky," the Olympic gymnast (1968 and 1972) went on to yet more fame in musical theater. She's now reprising her iconic role as "the boy who wouldn't grow up" in "Cathy Rigby Is Peter Pan"— aerial backflips, fairy dust and all — on a nationwide tour through April 2013.

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70 – Michael Nesmith (Dec. 30)

Nesmith learned of a new TV comedy called The Monkees from an ad seeking "four insane boys." He became one, and the faux band was a real phenomenon in the 1960s. Davy Jones died last year, but the remaining Monkees are now wrapping up a 12-date tour.

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70 – Andy Summers (Dec. 31)

The legendary guitarist is the subject of a 2012 documentary, Can't Stand Losing You. It's based on his memoir, One Train Later, about his rise from the English music scene to mega-stardom with the Police. He's now with a new band called Circa Zero.

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80 – Ellen Burstyn (Dec. 7)

A star in classics such as Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore and The Exorcist, Burstyn was amused to receive an Emmy nomination for a 14-second performance (in HBO's Mrs. Harris) in 2006. "Ultimately," she said, "I want to be nominated for a picture in which I don't even appear."

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80 – Little Richard (Dec. 5)

A hugely influential and wildly flamboyant musician known for his hits "Good Golly, Miss Molly" and "Tutti Frutti," Little Richard is still rocking. Last June he told an appreciative audience in Washington, D.C., "I am the architect of rock 'n' roll!"

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