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Milestone Birthdays in January

Steve Harvey, R. Kelly and others celebrate this month

  • Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

    January 8

    Shirley Bassey, 80: The Welsh Nigerian songbird belted out the most memorable James Bond theme song ever: “Goldfinger,” from the 1964 film of the same name. She had a Midas touch of her own, capping her golden career when she was bestowed the noble title of Dame Shirley Bassey in 2000 and later serenaded Queen Elizabeth II at her 90th birthday party in 2016. “You don’t get older,” Bassey says. “You get better.”  

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  • Noam Galai/Getty Images

    January 8

    R. Kelly, 50: Ever since he broke out with the sexy “Bump n’ Grind” in 1994 and the uplifting “I Believe I Can Fly” in 1996, the prolific singer-songwriter has had a profound influence on hip-hop and R&B. (His talents have also brought him three Grammys.) You want versatile? Kelly has worked with everyone from Michael Jackson and Jay-Z to Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. And the King of Pop-Soul continues to surprise: His latest, 12 Nights of Christmas, is a romantic holiday album.

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  • Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

    January 9

    Dave Matthews, 50: Born in South Africa, this American singer and musician crafted his unique blend of jazz, folk and world music while working as a bartender in Charlottesville, Va., in the 1990s. His namesake jam band scored its first big hit with 1994’s “What Would You Say,” while his second studio album, Crash (1996), remains his most popular, with 7 million copies sold. Did you know Matthews has appeared in three Adam Sandler comedies?

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  • Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

    January 12

    John Lasseter, 60: The toon titan helped ignite the digital revolution of the film industry when he cofounded Pixar in 1986, then went on to direct the first feature-length computer-animated movie, 1995’s Toy Story. Lasseter — who now oversees animation at both Pixar and Disney (where he got his start) — is hard at work on Toy Story 4, due in 2019. What inspires the Hawaiian-shirted visionary behind Woody and Buzz Lightyear? “I try to make pictures I would want to see.”

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  • Tara Ziemba/Getty Images

    January 15

    Margaret O'Brien, 80: The precocious child star of the 1940s made her big-screen debut — at age 4 — in Babes on Broadway (1941), costarring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. Her best-known role is that of Tootie, Garland’s strong-willed little sis, in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). The film earned O’Brien a special juvenile Oscar. Later on she would appear in guest spots on popular TV series such as Adam-12; Marcus Welby, M.D.; and Murder, She Wrote.

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  • Quantrell D. Colbert/ABC/Getty Images

    January 17

    Steve Harvey, 60: Name a multitalented king of comedy. Survey says: This Emmy-winning host of the daytime game show Family Feud. As the comic himself points out, “There’s a lot more to me than just funny.” No arguments there: Harvey is a stand-up performer, a best-selling self-help author and the host of both a morning radio show and a daytime TV talk show. Despite last year’s famous flub in which he named the wrong winner, Harvey returns as emcee of the Miss Universe Pageant on Jan. 30.

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  • Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

    January 17

    Katie Couric, 60: The TV journalist who became known as America’s Sweetheart while coanchoring NBC’s Today show from 1991 to 2006 has worked for each of the Big Three networks. When she moved to CBS to headline the evening news and contribute to 60 Minutes, Couric’s $15 million salary made her the highest-paid journalist in the world. Of late, she’s been serving as global news editor for Yahoo News and putting in news-related appearances on ABC.

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  • Danny Martindale/FilmMagic/Getty Images

    January 30

    Vanessa Redgrave, 80: Scion of an English acting dynasty that includes father Michael and sister Lynn, the six-time Oscar nominee found fame pushing boundaries in the 1966 films Blow-Up and Morgan! On winning an Academy Award for best supporting actress in Julia (1977), she caused a ruckus with her pro-Palestinian acceptance speech. Rarely a year goes by without Redgrave appearing in a new movie — most recently, and notably, as Steve Carell’s mother in 2014’s Foxcatcher.

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  • Andrew Woolley/Four Seam Images/AP

    January 31

    Nolan Ryan, 70: During 27 seasons in the Big Show (he retired in 1993), the “Ryan Express” left batters flat-footed, with his pitches routinely clocked at more than 100 mph. He still holds the record for lifetime strikeouts (5,714) and no-hitters (seven). On the mound, Ryan never hesitated to borrow a trick from Bull Durham: “It helps if the hitter thinks you’re a little crazy.”

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