Joan Jett, Will Smith, Bryant Gumbel and other stars celebrate big ones this month
by Susan Wloszczyna, AARP, September 1, 2018|Comments: 0
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Sept. 2: Terry Bradshaw, 70
“The only way to shut everybody up is to win.” This longtime Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback known as the Blonde Bomber has never been shy about speaking his mind, whether in racking up four Super Bowl wins in the '70s, working as a sports analyst and host for Fox NFL Sunday, or acting in movies (Hooper, Failure to Launch). The Pro Football Hall of Famer was recently ranked 12th among the best quarterbacks of all time by NFL.com.
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Sept. 19: Jeremy Irons, 70
The classically trained English actor excels in film roles with a sinister side, such as his creepy twin gynecologists in Dead Ringers; the real-life Claus von Bülow, accused of attempting to murder his socialite wife, in Reversal of Fortune (the source of his Academy Award); and the voice of traitorous Scar in The Lion King. He will next be seen in HBO’s series adaptation of the graphic superhero novel Watchmen, created by Alan Moore.
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Sept. 21: Ricki Lake, 50
Lake first won over the public in 1988 as Tracy Turnblad, the beehived teen sensation of a '60s TV dance-party show in the cult movie Hairspray, then from 1993 to 2004 was host of a daytime chat-fest. She currently is promoting Weed the People, a documentary that advocates the use of cannabis oil for young cancer patients. She’s dedicated the film to her coproducer ex-husband, who suffered from bipolar disorder and committed suicide in 2017.
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Sept. 22: Andrea Bocelli, 60
"If God would have a singing voice, he must sound a lot like Andrea Bocelli," Celine Dion once said of her duet partner on The Prayer. The blind Italian tenor, beloved worldwide, was discovered by opera singer Luciano Pavarotti in 1992 after he heard him on a demo recording. Bocelli’s albums, which feature both pop and classical music, have sold over 80 million copies worldwide, and he has performed for popes (John Paul II and Benedict XVI) as well as royalty (Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Caroline of Monaco).
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Sept 22: Joan Jett, 60
If you love rock ’n’ roll, you probably are a fan of this leather-clad musician who got her start in her teens as a founding member of all-girl band the Runaways. Jett’s career really took off, however, when she went solo with her backing band, the Blackhearts, in 1979, with top-40 hits like "Bad Reputation" and "I Hate Myself for Loving You." She’ll be touring North America through the end of the year before heading off to Australia.
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Sept. 25: Will Smith, 50
This charismatic rapper and actor bounded into living rooms as the star of NBC’s The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for six seasons in the ’90s. Smith soon graduated to action-hero status in such big-screen blockbusters as Independence Day and Men in Black before being Oscar-nominated in 2001 for his performance as boxer Muhammad Ali in Ali. Next year, he’s the voice of an animated secret agent in Spies in Disguise, plays the Genie in live-action Aladdin and has a dual role in the thriller Gemini Man.
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Sept. 26: Olivia Newton-John, 70
This Aussie pop queen with five No. 1 hits is most famous as Sandy, hopelessly devoted to John Travolta’s Danny in 1978’s high-school musical Grease. Newton-John has had her ups, like the image-changing chart-topper "Physical," and downs, such as her 1992 breast cancer diagnosis. But she and Travolta, who hit it big with the duet "You’re the One That I Want," remain close. As he says, “When you share that kind of meteoric success, and nothing has been able to exceed it, you share a bond.”
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Sept. 27: Shaun Cassidy, 60
This son of actors Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones followed in the footsteps of his older half brother, the late David Cassidy, by breaking out both as a TV star and as a bubblegum-pop singer in 1977. While on the mystery show The Hardy Boys, he reached the top of the charts with a cover of “Da Doo Ron Ron.” But Cassidy switched gears in the mid-’90s, becoming a TV writer and producer for such series as American Gothic, Invasion and Emerald City. He's wisely observed, “I was a teen idol and that has a short shelf life.”
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Sept. 28: Naomi Watts, 50
This British-born actress put herself on the map in David Lynch’s mind-blowing thriller Mulholland Drive in 2001, earning her a reputation for fearlessness. That came in handy while facing off with a great ape in 2005’s remake of King Kong. Watts would be Oscar-nominated for her work in the 2003 dark drama 21 Grams and the 2012 tsunami disaster film The Impossible. Last year, she reunited with Lynch on his Twin Peaks revival and was a twisted shrink on Netflix’s Gypsy.
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Sept. 29: Bryant Gumbel, 70
How beloved is this former Today show cohost? When Gumbel moved on from his a.m. duties in 1997 after 15 years, no less than Prince went on air dressed like him and performed a new song in his honor. The onetime sportscaster has hosted HBO’s monthly Peabody-winning investigative newsmagazine show, Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel — dubbed “flat out TV’s best sports program” by the Los Angeles Times — since 1995. Fun fact: He made a cameo appearance in Seinfeld’s puffy-shirt episode.