Pat Sajak is 67 today. He has hosted Wheel of Fortune since 1981. Vanna White has been hostess since 1982. It is the longest-running syndicated game show in the U.S. (over 5000 episodes!) and also has 60 international versions. Patrick Sajak was born October 26, 1946, in Chicago. Pat and his second wife, Lesly Brown Sajak, have two children. They live in Maryland and California. The show is produced primarily in Culver City, California.
Tim Robbins is 55 today. He is one of my most favorite actors. He’s also a screenwriter, director and musician. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) is on TV very often and I always enjoy seeing him. Timothy Robbins was born October 16, 1958. His mother was an actress and his father was an actor and singer. Tim started acting in New York when he was 12. After several films and TV shows, in 1988, he starred as the pitcher in Bull Durham, with Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon. He was married to Susan Sarandon from 1988 to 2009. They both were active in political campaigns and social issues. He received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Mystic River (2003). Coming up: Welcome to Me (a comedy with Will Ferrell) and Man Under (a thriller with Michelle Pfeiffer). Movie trivia: he is 6 ft. 5 inches, the tallest actor to receive an Academy Award.
Paul Simon is 72 today. As a singer and songwriter, he is one of the world’s most influential musicians. Known as the partner of Art Garfunkel, he also is renowned as a soloist and musician (guitar and other instruments) who popularized Brazilian and South African music. He was born October 13, 1944. Is there anyone who doesn’t know The Sound of Silence, Mrs. Robinson and Bridge Over Troubled Water? Simon has been married three times: Peggy Harper (1969-1975), actress/author Carrie Fisher (1983-1984), and singer Edie Brickell (married in 1992). Do you have a favorite Paul Simon album? Graceland? Still Crazy After All These Years?
Matt Damon is 43 today. He is world renowned and respected as an actor, producer, screenwriter and philanthropist. Until last year, he lived in a waterfront mansion in Miami Beach on the same street as I do, with his wife, Luciana, and four daughters. The house is up for sale. They now live in Los Angeles but frequently visit Miami. He really is a “regular guy.” Matthew Damon was born October 8, 1970 in Boston. He was a student at Harvard from 1988 to 1992, but did not graduate. In 1997, he won an Academy Award for writing Good Will Hunting, in which he costarred with his friend, Ben Affleck. Among his many movies, which is your favorite? The Bourne Trilogy? Coming up: The Monuments Men, with Cate Blanchett, George Clooney, Bill Murray and John Goodman. Should be a big hit!
Hilary Duff is 26 today. She is an actress, author, model, singer/songwriter and also has been successful with clothing, perfume and other products bearing her name. Hilary Duff was born on September 28, 1987, in Houston. She started acting when she was six. She became a teen idol on Lizzie McGuire, a Disney TV series and a film. Her hit records include Metamorphosis, Dignity and With Love. Her books include two best-selling novels, Elexir (2010) and Devoted (2011). She has been in many films and TV shows. Coming up: Flock of Doves, a film. Since 2010, she has been married to Mike Comrie, a former Canadian ice hockey player. They have a son, Luca Cruz Comrie, born in 2012. From 2001 to 2004, Hilary Duff was one of the stars of the Disney Channel series, Lizzie McGuire. She has come a long way from then. She now is a sex symbol, while maintaining a “clean image,” including activity in animal rights and other philanthropies. And she’s only 26!
Barbara Walters is 84 today. She will retire from ABC News in May, and many TV specials and tributes will be appearing during the next few months. Here is my ode to her. Barbara Jill Walters was born September 25, 1929. Her father, Lou Walters, was a Broadway producer and nightclub owner, so Barbara knew many celebrities when she grew up in Miami Beach and New York. She was a publicist before starting at NBC’s Today Show in 1961. She was at NBC for 15 years, notably the first woman as cohost. She has been at ABC since 1976, renowned as the interviewer of VIPs around the world, and, since 1997, executive producer and cohost of The View. On the personal side: Barbara has been married four times (but only to three men). First was businessman Robert Katz (married in 1955, annulled in 1957). Second was theatrical producer Lee Guber (married in 1963, divorced in 1976; they have a daughter). Third was TV tycoon Merv Adelson (married in 1983, divorced in 1984, married in 1986 and divorced in 1992). She also has had many famous dates, as described in her 2008 memoir, Audition. She lives in a full-floor apartment on Fifth Avenue and 75th Street. Since 1983, an annual program on ABC has been Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People. An ABC special surely will be a compilation of some of these interviews, and perhaps ending with the most fascinating of all, an interview of Barbara Walters.
Fan Bingbing is 32 today. I love that name; it’s the English pronunciation of her Cantonese name. She was born September 16, 1981 in Quingdao, China. You may never have heard of that city, though it has a population of about 9 million. After graduating from the Shanghai Theatre Academy, she starred in many TV series and films in China. She also has record as a singer. By Eastern and Western standards, Fan Bingbing has become an international fashion icon, primarily for the elegant dresses that she has worn at red carpet events, such as the Cannes Film Festivals from 2010 to 2013. She currently models for Louis Vuitton.
Tommy Lee Jones is 67 today. In 1998, he received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as the U.S. Marshal in The Fugitive. He also has received four Academy Award nominations. I predict that his upcoming film, The Homesman, will be a winner. Tommy Lee Jones was born September 15, 1956, in San Saba, Texas, and now lives in a small town near San Antonio. When he was a student (on a scholarship) at Harvard University, one of his roommates was Al Gore. Jones was on the Harvard football team and graduated cum laude (at Harvard!) with a B.A. in English. He moved to New York and started acting. Among his notable films are Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980, he was the husband of country music singer Loretta Lynn), No Country for Old Men (2007, he was the Sheriff) and Lincoln (2012, he was an abolitionist Republican congressman). Among his notable TV shows are The Executioner’s Song (1982, he starred as prisoner Gary Gilmore) and Lonesome Dove (1989, he was a Texas Ranger). Jones has been married three times and divorced twice. Since 2001, he has been married to Dawn Laurell. He owns a 7000-acre cattle ranch in Texas. He speaks Spanish fluently, in a deep voice that is familiar to his fans. Coming up: The Homesman, directed by Tommy Lee Jones and starring John Lythgow, Hillary Swank and Meryl Streep.
Melissa Leo is 53 today. She has been in more than 90 films and TV shows. Whenever I see her name in the credits, whether as the star or in a supporting role, I know it will be a great performance. She currently is one of the stars of Treme (HBO, 2010-2013, she is Toni Bernette, a civil rights lawyer). Melissa Leo was born in Manhattan on September 14, 1960. Her notable TV shows include Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-1997, Det. Sgt. Kay Howard) and Mildred Pierce (2011, HBO miniseries). Her notable films include Frozen River (she starred as the wife of a compulsive gambler) and The Fighter (2010, Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, she was the mother of the two fighters and their seven sisters). She currently is on a roll. Coming up: Prisoners (starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal), The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (starring Robin Williams), I Fought the Law (she is the star) and The Equalizer (starring Denzel Washington). Melissa Leo has never been married. She has two sons, one from her relationship with actor John Heard and the other adopted. She lives in a house in Stone Ridge, north of NYC.
Fiona Apple is 36 today. A singer/songwriter/pianist, she’s had several personal problems, as reported by the gossip media. Fiona Apple Maggert was born on September 13, 1977, in NYC. Her talented family includes her mother, singer Diane McAfee; her father, Brandon Maggert; her grandmother, actress/singer Millicent Green; her grandfather, singer John McAfee, and her older sister, singer Maude Maggert. Fiona’s first album, Tidal, was a big hit. It included the song Criminal (Grammy Award), with a video of the scantily-clad singer. After releasing her second album, When the Pawn, in 1999, Fiona performed in concerts, notably at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC, where 3000 people saw her walk off the stage, disturbed by the sound quality. Her third album, Extraordinary Machine, was a hit in 2005. Fiona likes long titles – Her fourth album, The Idler Wheel (plus 20 other words) was released in 2012. Fiona was arrested in 2012 in Texas, and charged with possession of hash. Fiona has struggled with anorexia and self-harm for many years. On September 26, 2012, Radar published a photo of an emaciated Fiona, with her weight estimated at 90 pounds. She is 5 feet 2. Fiona has been in psychotherapy intermittently since her childhood and allegedly has bipolar and other disorders. We wish Fiona Apple good health and happiness!