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July 3: Audra McDonald, 50
En español | This Broadway singing legend has won six Tony Awards, more performance trophies than any other actor, and is the only person to win in all four acting categories. McDonald also has won an Emmy and two Grammys. She plays law partner Liz Reddick on the CBS web series The Good Fight, and recently joined costar Christine Baranski and Meryl Streep in singing “Ladies Who Lunch” from Company for Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday, in a video that went viral.
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PHOTO BY: Zach Pagano/NBC
July 5: Huey Lewis, 70
Anyone alive in the ’80s couldn’t help but hear the catchy tunes of Huey Lewis and the News. The group’s 1983 album Sports is one of best-selling pop releases of all time, with four singles soaring into the top 10, including “Heart and Soul” and “I Want a New Drug.” Though Lewis and the band released a new album this year, Weather, hearing loss associated with Ménière’s disease prevents him from touring. He told AARP in February that “the silver lining to this cloud is, I read a lot more. And I’m able to appreciate the support and love from our fans.”
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July 7: Ringo Starr, 80
After his outsider-like status in 1964’s A Hard Day’s Night, the Beatles’ first film, the band’s drummer soon became the most lovable member of the mop-top foursome. Though not as vocally gifted as Paul, John and George, Ringo still shone on such songs as “Yellow Submarine” and “Octopus’s Garden.” After their 1970 breakup, he had a successful solo career including the No. 1 song “Photograph.” His 20th solo album, What’s My Name, arrived last year, but his tour was delayed to 2021.
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July 13: Patrick Stewart, 80
A member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, this British actor became an intergalactic cultural icon as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994), known for his catchphrase: “Make it so.” Stewart also starred in four film spin-offs between 1994 and 2002, then upped his pop idol status as superhero Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise. This year, he revisited his iconic role in Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access. He told AARP in January that he’s “become obsessed with jigsaw puzzles,” and does at least a half hour of power walking every day.
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July 14: Jane Lynch, 60
This statuesque comedic actress has been in demand since she stood out in such Christopher Guest mock-docs as Best in Show and A Mighty Wind. Lynch won her first Emmy for her dream job on TV’s Glee as the scheming high-school cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester. She was also honored with Emmys (twice) for hosting NBC’s Hollywood Game Night and for her guest appearances as stand-up comic Sophie Lennon on Amazon Prime’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. You can catch her in a recurring role on Netflix’s new comedy Space Force.
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July 17: P.J. Soles, 70
This cult movie actress, who was briefly wed to Dennis Quaid, shot to fame as a scream queen in such horror classics as 1976’s Carrie and 1978’s Halloween. She also starred in 1979’s Rock ’n’ Roll High School, which showcased punk band the Ramones, and popped up in such ’80s comedies as Private Benjamin and Stripes. Her last scare flick? The 2019 release Candy Corn.
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July 18: Richard Branson, 70
The knighted British entrepreneur and billionaire started his business empire with a chain of record stores called Virgin Records in 1972. Branson expanded with a Virgin music label, as well as the Virgin Atlantic airline and, most recently, a spaceflight corporation, Virgin Galactic. Much like many other airlines during the coronavirus pandemic, Virgin Atlantic has been struggling to survive: “This is the most challenging time we have ever faced,” Branson has said.
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July 22: Alex Trebek, 80
The Canadian-born Jeopardy! emcee and six-time Emmy winner began as a newscaster in the early ’60s before graduating to overseeing game shows in his native land and in the U.S., including High Rollers and Classic Concentration. Trebek took over the revival of Jeopardy! in 1984 after original host Art Fleming quit, and became the beloved face of the show (he told AARP recently that if he had to pick a category as a contestant it would be “movies or geography or movies about geography”). He has suffered health issues, most recently stage IV pancreatic cancer in 2019. His memoir, The Answer Is… Reflections on My Life comes out on July 21, the day before his birthday.
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July 30: Christopher Nolan, 50
The British-born filmmaker made a splash with his second film, 2000’s Oscar-nominated Memento, a twisty crime thriller about a man who suffers short-term memory loss as he looks for an attacker who killed his wife. Hollywood soon wooed Nolan, who left his stamp on such brainy blockbusters as The Dark Knight, Inception, Interstellar and Dunkirk. His latest, Tenet — due this summer — is about a pair of spies who manipulate time and try to prevent World War III.