L.L. Cool J, Frank Langella, Ellen DeGeneres and other stars celebrate big ones this month
by Susan Wloszczyna, AARP, December 15, 2017|Comments: 0
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Jan 1: Frank Langella, 80
En español | A leading man in film and theater, Langella has played a legendary vampire in Dracula and a disgraced president in Frost/Nixon — both in film and on Broadway. The four-time Tony winner also penned one of the juiciest tell-all memoirs of all time: 2012's Dropped Names. Later this year he's scheduled to star in the comedy Lapham Rising
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Jan 2: Cuba Gooding Jr., 50
Known for his Oscar-winning role as a brash NFL wide receiver in 1996’s Jerry Maguire and his star performance in last year’s real-life-based drama American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, Gooding is now set to play a former boxing champion in the upcoming film Louisiana Caviar. Entertainment runs in the family: His dad Cuba Gooding Sr. sang lead in the Main Ingredient, the 1970s soul group known for “Everybody Plays the Fool.”
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Jan 7: Kenny Loggins, 70
The singer-songwriter wrote hits for the Nitty Gritty Band and country star Anne Murray ("Danny’s Song"), then joined Jim Messina as a rock-pop duo in the 1970s. In the '80s, he was king of movie soundtracks, with biggies like Caddyshack’s “I’m Alright,” the title track from Footloose and “Danger Zone” from Top Gun. He now performs in a country trio, the Blue Sky Riders.
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Jan 12: Christiane Amanpour, 60
The highly regarded British-Iranian TV journalist and 11-time Emmy winner was chosen by PBS to fill the slot of former late-night talk show host Charlie Rose, whose longtime program was canceled after he was accused of sexual harassment. The new Amanpour show on PBS focuses on global affairs.
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Jan 14: L.L. Cool J, 50
This rap pioneer — born James Todd Smith in Queens, N.Y. — might be better known these days as undercover agent Sam Hanna after headlining nine seasons of the venerable drama NCIS: Los Angeles. But last month it was his slick rhyming skills that helped him become the first hip-hop artist to receive a Kennedy Center Honor, not to mention the youngest recipient since Stevie Wonder.
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Jan 14: Carl Weathers, 70
Though he may always be best known as boxer Rocky Balboa’s most famous opponent, Apollo Creed, Weathers, 69, has aced a wide range of movie and TV roles throughout his nearly 50-year career — including some great comic bits in Arrested Development and Happy Gilmore. Last spring he starred as Mark Jefferies, a state’s attorney in the NBC series Chicago Justice.
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Jan 24: Mary Lou Retton, 60
The 4-foot-9 dynamo wowed the world during the 1984 Summer Olympics when she became the first American woman gymnast to win the gold medal in the individual all-around competition. She was also the first female sports star to appear on the front of a Wheaties cereal box. The mother of four girls, Retton inspired generations of future tumblers — including her second-oldest daughter, McKenna Kelley, 20, a Lousiana State University gymnast.
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Jan. 26: Ellen DeGeneres, 60
The beloved comedian and daytime TV talk-show host is kicking off a new comedy game show this month on NBC. It's called Ellen’s Game of Games, and players are challenged to wacky competitions (blindfolded musical chairs, for one) and trivia contests. DeGeneres, who came out as gay in 1997, is married to the actress Portia de Rossi.
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Jan. 27: Mikhail Baryshnikov, 70
One of the greatest male ballet dancers ever, this child of Russian parents defected to Canada in 1974 and became a U.S. citizen in 1986. Hollywood came calling, and he starred as a seductive dancer in 1977’s The Turning Point and was paired with tapper Gregory Hines in 1985’s White Knights. He’s now artistic director at Manhattan’s Baryshnikov Arts
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