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April Milestone Birthdays

Colin Powell, Vince Gill, Iggy Pop have big fetes

  • Emmylou Harris, 70
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    April 2

    Emmylou Harris, 70: Having harmonized with everyone from Bob Dylan and Linda Ronstadt to Neil Young and Dolly Parton, this 13-time Grammy winner is one of the most in-demand duet partners around. (And we love how she rocks that shock of naturally white hair.) “You have to grow up, start paying the rent and have your heart broken,” says the Grand Ole Opry member, “before you understand country.”

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  • Colin Powell, 80
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    April 5

    Colin Powell, 80: Here’s how the numbers add up for this Harlem-born son of Jamaican immigrants: A retired four-star general; 35 years as a professional soldier; the 65th secretary of state, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005; the first African American to hold that position; a two-time recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom; and 3 million copies sold of his 1995 autobiography, My American Journey.

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  • Billy Dee Williams, 80
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    April 6

    Billy Dee Williams, 80: Longtime fans of the smooth-talking actor recall his costarring roles opposite Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues (1972) and Mahogany (1975). Newer devotees know him as Lando Calrissian, the once-shady owner of the Millennium Falcon who eventually joins the Rebel Alliance in the original Star Wars trilogy. Williams good-naturedly voiced an animated version of Lando in The Lego Movie (2014).

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  • Vince Gill, 60
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    April 12

    Vince Gill, 60: Did you know the Oklahoma native and guitar wizard once was invited to join the rock band Dire Straits? But Gill stayed true to country music, and his loyalty paid off: He has won 21 Grammys and sold more than 26 million albums. Performer Amy Grant, his wife since 2000, once zeroed in on a key to their enduring union: “He’s not ever in a hurry — in a conversation or with a kiss.”

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  • David Letterman, 70
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    April 12

    David Letterman, 70: Until his 2015 retirement freed him to grow that Santa Claus beard, the maverick funnyman spent 33 years changing the face of late-night TV, first hosting Late Night With David Letterman on NBC and then Late Show With David Letterman on CBS. During that run, he was nominated for 52 Emmys — and won 12. Without his “Top-10 List” and “Stupid Pet Trick” segments, would we have “Carpool Karaoke” or “Egg Russian Roulette” today?

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  • Evelyn Ashford, 60
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    April 15

    Evelyn Ashford, 60: Dubbed “one of the greatest women’s sprinters in track and field history” by the sport’s National Hall of Fame (she was inducted in 1997), Ashford won five Olympic medals in three games, four of which were gold. As part of the 400-meter relay team at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, she became the oldest American woman (at age 35) to win gold in track and field. “Whatever muscles I have,” she once said, “are the product of my own hard work and nothing else.”

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  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 70
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    April 16

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 70: The 7-foot-2 center, one of the best NBA players of all time, retired in 1989 after 20 seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. He then specialized in film and TV cameos, including Airplane!, Diff’rent Strokes and Everybody Loves Raymond. A gifted writer — don’t miss his 1983 autobiography, Giant Steps — Abdul-Jabbar received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

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  • George Takei, 80
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    April 20

    George Takei, 80: After spending much of World War II in a U.S. internment camp, the L.A. native of Japanese descent found fame as Lt. Sulu on TV’s Star Trek in the 1960s. (He also appeared in all six Star Trek feature films from 1979 to 1991.) An outspoken activist for LGBT rights, the actor has a devoted Twitter following of more than 2.25 million people.

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  • Iggy Pop, 70
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    April 21

    Iggy Pop, 70: The lead singer and songwriter for the Stooges is famed for his ripped physique and onstage antics. His best-known song — Lust for Life, cowritten with David Bowie in 1977 — was originally about heroin; it appeared on the soundtrack for Trainspotting (1996) and was later used (with edited lyrics, of course) in TV ads for Royal Caribbean. Reunited in 2003, the Stooges were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

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  • Jack Nicholson, 80
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    April 22

    Jack Nicholson, 80: He’s been nominated for 12 Oscars and has won three: for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Terms of Endearment (1983) and As Good as It Gets (1997). The Easy Rider may have applied the brakes a bit of late — he last attended the Academy Awards ceremony in 2013 — but fans rejoiced at the news that he will star with Kristen Wiig in a remake of Toni Erdmann, the acclaimed father-daughter comedy from Germany.

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  • Daniel Day-Lewis, 60
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    April 29

    Daniel Day-Lewis, 60: Knighted in 2014, this London-born son of Anglo-Irish poet Cecil Day-Lewis is the only actor ever to win three lead Oscars: He gave immersive performances as a disabled Irish artist in My Left Foot (1989), a greedy oil baron in There Will Be Blood (2007) and the 16th president of the United States in Lincoln (2012). His as-yet-titled next project is set in the fashion world of 1950s London.

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  • Entertainment End-Slide
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