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PHOTO BY: Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency/Sipa USA/Sipa via AP Images
May 2: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, 50
Thanks to films like Moana and the Fast & Furious franchise, The Rock, as he’s known, has carved out an acting career that’s almost as massive as his muscular, 6-foot-5 frame. With a worldwide box office count of $12 billion, he’s one of the highest-grossing actors of all time. For a crash course on the story behind The Rock, the NBC sitcom Young Rock traces Johnson’s life from his childhood in 1980s Hawaii to his days as a University of Miami football player to an imagined future where he’s running for U.S. president in 2032.
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PHOTO BY: John Lamparski/Getty Images
May 2: Christine Baranski, 70
A two-time Tony winner and an Emmy champ for her role on Cybill, Baranski has brought her urbane, witty persona to two of television’s most critically acclaimed current shows. She plays the fiercely intelligent attorney Diane Lockhart on the Paramount+ legal drama The Good Fight (a spin-off of The Good Wife) and the old-money socialite Agnes van Rhijn on HBO’s 1880s New York–set The Gilded Age.
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PHOTO BY: Paul Archuleta/Getty Images
May 12: Emilio Estevez, 60
The son of Martin Sheen and a member of the Brat Pack, Emilio Estevez is best known for his roles in iconic 1980s films like The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire. Last year, he returned to one of the most famous roles of his career as ice hockey coach Gordon Bombay in the Disney+ TV adaptation of The Mighty Ducks, and he’s reportedly set to return as Billy the Kid in the upcoming third installment of the Young Guns franchise.
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PHOTO BY: Theo Wargo/Getty Images
May 14: David Byrne, 70
The Scottish-born singer-songwriter became beloved in the late 1970s for his boundary-breaking work with the new wave band Talking Heads. He’s since won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and two Grammys and been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Last year, he added a Special Tony Award to his résumé for his Broadway show American Utopia, which NME magazine said may be “the best live show of all time.” If you didn’t make it to New York to see the musical before it closed in April, check out the Spike Lee–directed concert film version streaming on HBO Max.
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PHOTO BY: Michael Hickey/Getty Images
May 18: George Strait, 70
Known as the King of Country Music, George Strait helped bring the genre back to its traditional roots, eschewing prevailing pop influences in favor of a retro blend of the Bakersfield sound and Texas honky-tonk. He was rewarded handsomely for his efforts, with a record-breaking run of platinum albums and wins at the CMA Awards. In 2014, for the final show in his retirement tour, “The Cowboy Rides Away,” he attracted the largest-ever crowd for an indoor concert in North America, with 104,793 fans. This year, he added his first-ever CMT Award to his mantelpiece, when he won performance of the year for his rendition of “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone” from a TV special honoring Charley Pride.
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PHOTO BY: Duane Prokop/Getty Images
May 20: Busta Rhymes, 50
Known for his lightning-fast delivery on hits like “Gimme Some More,” the Brooklyn-born rapper boasts one of the most recognizable voices in hip-hop — which made him hard to miss when he competed on Season 4 of The Masked Singer: Despite his dragon costume, two of the judges immediately knew it was him. In 2020, the 12-time Grammy nominee released Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God, which featured guest appearances by the likes of Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar, and he announced in January that he has completed his soon-to-be-released 11th studio album.
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PHOTO BY: Larry French/Getty Images for USOC
May 21: Mr. T, 70
The Chicago-born actor and pro wrestler, born Laurence Tureaud, was one of the most instantly recognizable public figures of the 1980s, known as much for his roles (The A-Team, Rocky III) as for his Mandinka tribesman–influenced hairstyle, his gold chains and his memorable catchphrases — especially “I pity the fool!” A 2017 contestant on Dancing With the Stars, Mr. T has emerged as a tapped-in presence on Twitter, commenting on everything from the pandemic to politics.
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PHOTO BY: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
May 29: Laverne Cox, 50
Laverne Cox made a name for herself playing the scene-stealing prison hairdresser Sophia Burset on Orange Is the New Black, but she’s also something of a Hollywood trailblazer: She’s the first transgender person to appear on the cover of Time, to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy in an acting category, or to be transformed into a wax figure by Madame Tussauds. After appearing in the GLAAD Media Award–winning documentary Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen, Cox costarred as real-life fitness instructor Kacy Duke on Shonda Rhimes’ new Netflix miniseries Inventing Anna, about celebrity con artist Anna Delvey.
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PHOTO BY: Andrew Chin/Getty Images
May 31: Corey Hart, 60
Remembered for radio hits like “Sunglasses at Night,” the Canadian pop star was nominated for best new artist at the 1985 Grammy Awards, where he lost to Cyndi Lauper. In 2019, Hart released his latest album, Dreaming Time Again, which hit number three on the Canadian charts, and during the height of the pandemic, he debuted a stripped-down version of “Never Surrender” with updated lyrics that spoke to the resilience of the moment.
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, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Sunset and New York magazine.