Margaret Cho, Jon Voight, Bebe Neuwrith and other stars celebrate big ones this month
by Susan Wloszczyna, AARP, December 2018|Comments: 0
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Dec. 1: Candace Bushnell, 60
En español | There wouldn’t be Sex and the City without this author, who inspired Sarah Jessica Parker’s Manhattan-based lifestyle columnist Carrie Bradshaw on the HBO series that debuted 20 years ago. The show that allowed its four main female characters to speak frankly about intimate matters ran for six seasons, spawned two feature films and popularized the cocktail cosmopolitan and pricey Manolo Blahnik pumps.
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Dec. 3: Brendan Fraser, 50
This handsome actor with his buff physique and warm blue eyes was a ubiquitous big-screen presence in the ’90s and early 2000s. Fraser broke out as a caveman in Encino Man, swung on vines in George of the Jungle, was an action hero in The Mummy movies and got serious in Crash. Health woes and an alleged sexual assault slowed him down, but Fraser has staged a bit of a comeback on TV on such shows as FX’s anthology series Trust and as a prison guard on Showtime’s The Affair.
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Dec. 5: Margaret Cho, 50
This uncensored stand-up comic of Korean descent starred in her own one-season ABC sitcom, All-American Girl, appeared in the 1997 action thriller Face/Off with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage and competed for an Emmy when she guest-starred as Kim Jong Il on NBC’s 30 Rock. As someone who has felt marginalized in the past, Cho is big on the concept of acceptance. As she has said, “Just because you are blind and unable to see my beauty doesn’t mean it does not exist.”
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Dec. 12: Connie Francis, 80
The Italian American singer almost pursued a career in medicine until her cover version of the 1923 song "Who’s Sorry Now?" took off in 1958 after it debuted on TV’s American Bandstand. The single would sell more than half a million copies and went to No. 4 on the U.S. charts. She made her movie debut in 1961’s Where the Boys Are and had success with the title song. Despite ups and downs in her life, Francis is a survivor who continues to perform. She published her latest memoir, Among My Souvenirs, last year.
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Dec. 13: Ted Nugent, 70
The onetime lead guitarist of Detroit’s Amboy Dukes, known for their 1968 psychedelic rock hit, "Journey to the Center of the Mind," became a solo act with a backing band in 1975 and recorded such rock anthems as "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Dog Eat Dog." A producer of hunting-related TV shows and author of several books, this outspoken supporter of the Republican Party was invited to the White House in 2017 and was famously part of a photo op with President Trump, fellow musician Kid Rock and Sarah Palin.
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Dec. 16: Liv Ullmann, 80
“Sometimes I get a little tired of it. But you know, what a privilege, to get tired of working with Ingmar Bergman,” the Norwegian actress once said, referring to the relationship off and on screen with acclaimed Swedish auteur Bergman. Besides a daughter, Linn, the partnership produced 10 acclaimed films including Persona (1966), The Passion of Anna (1969), Cries & Whispers (1972) and Autumn Sonata (1978), which costarred Ingrid Bergman. Ullmann competed twice for a best actress Oscar, for 1971’s The Emigrants and 1976’s Face to Face.
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Dec. 21: Samuel L. Jackson, 70
Is there a busier film star than Jackson? He is a one-man franchise magnet, showing up in 11 different Marvel comic-book adventures as Nick Fury, the one-eyed director of S.H.I.E.L.D, and as Jedi warrior Mace Windu in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. As a result, he is considered the highest-grossing box-office star ever, with $5.15 billion total domestically. He just signed up for another potential gold-mine sequel with Ryan Reynolds, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, and appears in Captain Marvel in March.
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Dec. 29: Jon Voight, 80
In a career that spans a half-century, the father of Angelina Jolie has racked up numerous iconic roles on the big screen. In 1969, he had his Oscar-nominated breakout role as a would-be gigolo in Midnight Cowboy. He got three more shots at an Academy Award, including 1985’s action thriller Runaway Train and as broadcaster Howard Cosell in the 2001 biopic Ali, but won for his paraplegic Vietnam veteran in 1978’s Coming Home. These days you can find him as the vicious Irish patriarch on Showtime’s Ray Donovan.
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Dec. 31: Bebe Neuwirth, 60
Most TV watchers know this New Jersey native as Lilith, the icy ex-wife of Kelsey Grammer’s psychiatrist and mother of his son, Frederick, on Cheers and its spin-off sitcom, Frasier. But she got her start in Broadway musicals, making her 1980 debut in A Chorus Line. She won a Tony in a 1986 revival of Sweet Charity and claimed another as Velma Kelly in a 1996 revival of Chicago. More recently, she had recurring roles on two CBS series, Blue Bloods and Madame Secretary, for four seasons starting in 2014.