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PHOTO BY: David Livingston/Getty Images
Oct. 1: Randy Quaid, 70
En español | The actor got his breakout role on the big screen in 1973's The Last Detail as a young Navy sailor who has been found guilty of petty theft but ends up partying with his escort (Jack Nicholson) before heading to prison. Since then, he's appeared in 90 films, ranging from Independence Day to Brokeback Mountain. But he's likely best known as Cousin Eddie in the National Lampoon's Vacation comedies — and as the older brother of fellow actor Dennis Quaid.
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PHOTO BY: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Persona Nutrition
Oct. 2: Kelly Ripa, 50
This former ABC daytime soap opera star played party girl Hayley Vaughan for 12 years on All My Children before Regis Philbin recruited Ripa — whom he described as “a smiling, petite ball of fire” — to be his new cohost on the morning chat show Live! With Regis and Kelly in 2000. Since 2017, she's cohosted with Ryan Seacrest.
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PHOTO BY: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for SiriusXM
Oct. 8: Matt Damon, 50
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-born actor was only 27 when he and childhood pal Ben Affleck (his self-described “life mate") won a best-screenplay Oscar for 1997's Good Will Hunting. Then came big roles in Saving Private Ryan (1998), The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) and blockbusters like the Jason Bourne series that have made him one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood. Damon flew to Ireland in August to resume production on director Ridley Scott's historical thriller The Last Duel, due this month and costarring his buddy Affleck.
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PHOTO BY: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Unbridled Eve
Oct. 10: Nora Roberts, 70
As a mom raising two small sons, Roberts found herself stuck inside during a snowstorm in 1979 and decided to write a romance novel. Since then, the New York Times best seller list regular has penned more than 220 thrillers, romances and fantasy novels and sold 500 million-plus books worldwide, including her upcoming fantasy The Awakening (read our excerpt), which kicks off a new trilogy. Roberts has said of her craft: “It's never easy. It shouldn't be easy. If it was easy, everyone would do it. … It's an art and a science and a skill.”
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PHOTO BY: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images
Oct. 12: Kirk Cameron, 50
This child actor played Mike Seaver on the ABC sitcom Growing Pains for seven seasons in the mid ‘80s and early ‘90s. He became a born-again Christian at the age of 17, and at 30, in 2000, he took on the role of Cameron “Buck” Williams in the religious sci-fi thriller franchise Left Behind. The post-Rapture trilogy is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a remastered two-disc release with new bonus features.
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PHOTO BY: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for iHeartMedia
Oct. 18: Jean-Claude Van Damme, 60
Along with Steven Seagal, Chuck Norris, Sly Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, this Belgian martial artist nicknamed “The Muscles from Brussels” led an action-film renaissance in the late 1980s through the ‘90s. Van Damme starred in Bloodsport, Double Impact, Universal Soldier and Hard Target, and played the villain in 2012's The Expendables 2. Upcoming: A Netflix secret-agent action comedy called The Last Mercenary.
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PHOTO BY: PYMCA/Avalon/Gonzales Photo/Tord Litleskare/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Oct. 21: Manfred Mann, 80
The South African-born musician and vocalist lent his name to his ‘60s British Invasion band that scored such hits as “Do Wah Diddy Diddy,” “Pretty Flamingo” and “Mighty Quinn.” The group split up in 1969, and Mann formed Manfred Mann's Earth Band, which found success with covers of Bruce Springsteen songs — hitting number 1 on the charts in 1977 with the Boss's “Blinded by the Light.” The group had plans to tour in Germany this year, but the coronavirus pandemic forced a postponement.
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PHOTO BY: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images
Oct. 23: Pelé, 80
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, is considered by most to be the greatest pro football (soccer, to Americans) player ever in the history of the sport. In his heyday, the Brazilian forward was for a time the best-paid athlete in the world while averaging one goal per game throughout his career. Lately, there have been reports that his health was deteriorating as he recovered from hip surgery. There were also rumors he was depressed, but Pelé assured CNN that he remains in high spirits.
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PHOTO BY: Steve Granitz/WireImage
Oct. 30: Nia Long, 50
This Brooklyn native had her “first real film role,” as she's called it, in the 1991 groundbreaking drama Boyz n the Hood. In those early years, Long also played Will Smith's girlfriend on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. More recently, she costarred with Omar Epps in the Netflix thriller Fatal Affair, earning her first producer credit. Her next project: a role as Atlanta's mayor in ABC's political drama Paper Gods.
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PHOTO BY: Noam Galai/Getty Images for Children's Health Fund
Oct. 31: Jane Pauley, 70
At age 25, Pauley — who is wed to “Doonesbury" cartoonist Garry Trudeau — replaced the venerable Barbara Walters as host on NBC's Today show. She left that a.m. chat gig in 1989 and reinvented herself in 2016 as host of CBS Sunday Morning. The broadcast veteran has been open about her bipolar disorder diagnosis at age 50 and is a vocal mental health advocate.
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