Hugh Jackman, Jane Krakowski, Neil deGrasse Tyson and others celebrate big ones this month
by Susan Wloszczyna, AARP, October 2018|Comments: 0
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Oct. 5: Neil deGrasse Tyson, 60
En español | “Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.” That statement epitomizes how this engagingly brainy astrophysicist — who hosts the revival of the late Carl Sagan’s TV series Cosmos — uses humor to hook his audience on scientific concepts. A new season will air on Fox and the National Geographic Channel next year.
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Oct. 9: Jackson Browne, 70
When you turned on a radio in the '70s and '80s, there was a good chance you'd hear a song penned by this prolific singer-songwriter, whether one of his own hits ("Doctor My Eyes," "Running on Empty") or by other artists (the Eagles’ "Take It Easy"). An avid activist for many causes, Browne — who put out his 24th album, The Dreamer, last year and still tours — was the first artist to be given a Gandhi Peace Award, which he received in September.
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Oct. 10: Tanya Tucker, 60
“Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on …” Those lyrics were sung by this country-music’s Texas Tornado on her first single at age 13 in 1972. Tucker would soon be a staple on the charts. But she became better known as tabloid fodder in the '80s, when her love life — particularly with the singer Glen Campbell, 22 years her senior — and addiction problems overshadowed her talent. She recorded a tribute song to Campbell, “Forever Loving You,” when he died last year at age 81 after battling Alzheimer’s.
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Oct. 11: Jane Krakowski, 50
Krakowski knows her way around eccentric comic characters, and has five Primetime Emmy nods to prove it. She's best known as Jenna Maroney, a hilariously self-absorbed TV personality and bosom buddy of Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon on NBC’s 30 Rock, whose checkered dating past includes two Backstreet Boys. She was also a self-absorbed socialite who hires Ellie Kemper’s title character as a nanny on Netflix’s The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Next: She plays poet Emily Dickinson’s mom on Dickinson, a new Apple half-hour comedy.
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Oct. 12: Hugh Jackman, 50
This Aussie actor and song-and-dance man was as adept at bringing metal-clawed X-Men superhero Wolverine to life in nine films as he was singing Jean Valjean’s showstoppers in the 2012 film adaptation of Les Miserables, the source of his lone Oscar nomination. Some predict he might have another go at the prize as disgraced presidential candidate Gary Hart in The Front Runner, in theaters Nov. 7.
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Oct. 14: John Dean, 80
Those who were associated with Watergate in the early 1970s are making a comeback as experts on cable news shows, now that political scandals are back in vogue. That includes Dean, the White House Counsel under Richard Nixon, who would be a key witness for the prosecution before serving time for his role in the cover-up. His memoir, Blind Ambition, was turned into a 1979 TV miniseries starring Martin Sheen.
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Oct. 16: Tim Robbins, 60
This 6-foot-5 actor, filmmaker and activist starred in the 1994 prison-break drama The Shawshank Redemption with Morgan Freeman, but his breakout role was a few years earlier in the 1988 baseball comedy Bull Durham: Robbins played reckless rookie pitcher Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh opposite Kevin Costner and now-former partner Susan Sarandon. He appeared with Holly Hunter in the HBO series Here and Now earlier this year.
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Oct. 17: Ziggy Marley, 50
The oldest son of reggae legend Bob Marley, who died at age 36 in 1981 from skin cancer, joined his father onstage as a child. Ziggy — a nickname inspired by David Bowie — formed a group with several of his siblings called Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, and invented his own sound, eventually winning eight Grammys. His seventh solo studio album, Rebellion Rises, came out this year, and he just ended a North American tour.
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Oct. 17: Alan Jackson, 60
Jackson is a new member of both the Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville's Songwriters Hall of Fame, earning those honors by racking up 35 No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. They range from 1991’s honky-tonk ditty "Don’t Rock the Jukebox" to the 9/11 anthem "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)." His view on aging: “If you can last until you're 40 years old, hopefully you'll be mature enough to figure out the rest of the years.”
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Oct. 18: Dawn Wells, 80
If Tina Louise’s Ginger was the shipwrecked sexpot for three seasons in the 1960s on the sitcom Gilligan’s Island, Wells’ sweet Mary Ann was the girl next door. The former Miss Nevada was also in demand as a guest star on various TV series — including Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip, Bonanza, The Wild Wild West, The F.B.I., and ALF. She has done 100 or so theater productions, and boasts over 12,000 followers on Twitter.