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PHOTO BY: Aled Llywelyn/Alamy Stock Photo
Dec. 8: Bill Bryson, 70
The beloved travel and nonfiction writer Bill Bryson once wrote, “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” If you’ve read any of his award-winning books, you know that Bryson takes a similarly inquisitive approach to any topic, whether he’s writing about a foreign country (2000’s In a Sunburned Country) or human anatomy (2019’s The Body: A Guide for Occupants). In October 2020, Bryson announced his retirement, stating that he wanted to spend the rest of his days “indulging [himself], rather than going out and trying to cover new territory.”
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PHOTO BY: Ursula Coyote/Netflix
Dec. 9: Beau Bridges, 80
The son of Lloyd Bridges, this child of Hollywood has been acting since the late 1940s, starring with his little brother, Jeff, in perhaps his most notable role to date, in 1989’s The Fabulous Baker Boys. In recent years, he’s pivoted to television, with Emmy-nominated turns on Desperate Housewives, The Closer, Brothers & Sisters and Masters of Sex, plus small but juicy roles in films like One Night in Miami… and The Descendants. Last year, he costarred in the Comedy Central series Robbie, about a small-town basketball coach (comedian Rory Scovel) living in the shadow of his father (Bridges). You can binge it for free on YouTube.
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PHOTO BY: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
Dec. 11: Rita Moreno, 90
Few women have blazed as many trails in Hollywood as the Puerto Rican triple threat, who brought her singing, dancing, acting and outsized charisma to musical roles, such as The King and I, Singin’ in the Rain and, of course, West Side Story. Her performance as Anita — and especially the show-stopping “America” — earned her an Oscar, the first in a long line of awards that eventually led to her winning the coveted EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony). Recently, she played the Cuban American matriarch Lydia in Netflix’s One Day at a Time remake, and her decades of struggles and triumphs were explored in this year’s acclaimed documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It. Next up, she’s returning to the New York City streets in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of West Side Story, in the newly created role of Valentina.
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PHOTO BY: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images
Dec. 16: Lesley Stahl, 80
The veteran broadcast journalist and 13-time Emmy winner has had a busy half century with CBS News. Stahl started as a producer in 1971, before becoming the moderator of Face the Nation, the host of 48 Hours, a White House correspondent, and a reporter for 60 Minutes. She’s interviewed such world leaders as Margaret Thatcher and Yasser Arafat, and made news herself last year when then-President Donald Trump stormed out of his interview with her because of what he called “tough questions.”
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PHOTO BY: Marcus Ingram/Getty Images
Dec. 18: Angie Stone, 60
Originally part of the hip-hop trio the Sequence, the South Carolina–born Stone is a prolific — and underappreciated — neo-soul powerhouse, who released the gold-selling albums Black Diamond and Mahogany Soul. If you've never heard her music, start with her 2001 single “Wish I Didn’t Miss,” which features a killer sample of the O’Jays’ “Back Stabbers.” For two seasons, the three-time Grammy nominee appeared on the reality show R&B Divas, and in 2019, she released her ninth studio album, Full Circle.
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PHOTO BY: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 3 Presented by Amazon Prime Video
Dec. 24: Ricky Martin, 50
After bursting onto the music scene at age 12 in the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, the San Juan–born King of Latin Pop helped popularize Spanish-language and Latin-tinged music for a generation, with such crossover hits as “Livin’ la Vida Loca.” In 2018, he earned an Emmy nomination for his acting role in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, and last year, he lent his voice to the Netflix holiday musical Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, in which he played a sentient matador doll. This fall, he teamed up with his fellow “Latin explosion” singer Enrique Iglesias as headliners for a 26-show tour.
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PHOTO BY: Samir Hussein/WireImage
Dec. 26: Jared Leto, 50
Jared Leto first started getting teen hearts a-fluttering when he played the prototypical ’90s rebel type, Jordan Catalano, in the TV series My So-Called Life. He brought that bad-boy persona to his future turns as the lead singer of the rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars and as the Joker in DC's Suicide Squad. But Leto has never shied away from bold acting choices: He won an Oscar for his role as a transgender woman with HIV in 2013's Dallas Buyers Club and, following his latest role as designer Paolo Gucci in the new film House of Gucci, Leto will next appear as a scientist who accidentally turns himself into a vampire in Marvel's Morbius. He'll also play WeWork cofounder Adam Neumann in the Hulu series WeCrashed.
Nicholas DeRenzo is a contributing writer who covers entertainment and travel. Previously he was executive editor of United Airlines’ Hemispheres magazine and his work has appeared in the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Sunset and New York magazine.
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