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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Milestone Birthdays in 2012

Milestone Birthdays in 2012
Milestone Birthdays in 2012 - Whether they're hitting that mid-life marker or enjoying their first drink, these big names have some significant celebrating to do this year.

Madeleine Albright

The former secretary of state turns 75 this year and is still active in the diplomatic world.
Born: 15 May 1937
Birthplace: Prague, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic)
Best Known As: U.S. Secretary of State, 1997-2001
Name at birth: Marie Jana Körbelova

Madeleine Albright was the first woman ever to hold the post of U.S. Secretary of State. Her father was Josef Körbel, a member of the Czech diplomatic corps; the family escaped the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939, and Albright lived in Belgrade, London and Prague before her family settled in Colorado. She earned a political science degree from Wellesley College in 1959, and was later awarded a master's (1968) and doctorate (1976) in public law and government from Columbia University. In 1978 she joined the staff of the National Security Council (under President Jimmy Carter) and began establishing herself as an expert in foreign affairs. President Bill Clinton named her the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1993 and then, in late 1996, named her Secretary of State. She was confirmed in 1997, becoming the first woman ever to hold that post, and served throughout Clinton's second term. Her books include the memoir Madam Secretary (2003), The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs (2006), and Memo to the President Elect (2008).

Albright was succeeded by Colin Powell, the first African-American to be Secretary of State. He in turn was succeeded by Condoleezza Rice, the first African-American woman to be Secretary of State. Warren Christopher was Secretary of State during Clinton's first term, from 1993-96... She married Joseph Albright in 1959; they had three daughters -- twins Alice and Anna (b. 1961) and Katherine (b. 1967) -- and were divorced in 1982... In Madame Secretary, Albright comments on her first name: "I was christened Marie Jana... My grandmother nicknamed me Madla after a character in a popular show, Madla in the Brick Factory." That nickname eventually developed into the name Madeleine... In the Czech language, female children add "ova" to their family name -- hence her birth name of Körbelova, though the family name was Körbel. The family dropped the umlaut from "Korbel" while living in England during World War II.

Justin Bieber

This year, the teenybopper turns the manly age of 18.

Born: 1 March 1994
Birthplace: Stratford, Ontario, Canada
Best Known As: The handsome-haired Canadian teen pop star who sang "One Time" and "First Dance"
Canadian teenager Justin Bieber became a pop chart sensation in late 2009, after building a solid fan base on YouTube with videos of himself singing covers of popular R&B songs. He went on to be the teen heartthrob of 2010, famed for his curved-around-the-forehead hairstyle and his throngs of screaming teenaged fans. Justin Bieber's career began with performances at a talent show in his hometown of Stratford, Ontario. He posted videos his mom had taken in 2007, and over the next two years added to his archive while earning the love of internet fans. A record producer from Atlanta, Georgia noticed his videos, and in October of 2008 Bieber signed with Island Records and began working on his first album. My World was released in November of 2009, and by then Bieber already had four singles on the charts, thanks to well-orchestrated advance releases. Mentored by pop star Usher, Bieber released an updated version of the album in 2010 (My World 2.0) and toured the world. His best-known songs include "One Less Lonely Girl," "First Dance" (with Usher), "One Time," and "Baby" (featuring rapper Ludacris).

Felipe Calderon

Mexico's president will end his term in this, his 50th year.

Born: 18 August 1962
Birthplace: Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico
Best Known As: The president of Mexico, 2006-present
Felipe Calderón Hinojosa has been the president of Mexico since 2006. He's the son of the founders of the National Action Party (PAN), and after studying law and economics in Mexico and public administration at Harvard, he went into the family business. During the 1990s he worked in various executive posts in the party, eventually rising to the top spot. His political clout and some legislative experience led to positions in the early 2000s in banking and energy in the cabinet of President Vicente Fox, and in the tight election of 2006 he emerged victorious over Andres Manuel López Obrador, finally taking office in December of 2006 (the election was held in July and contested throughout the fall). His presidency has been marked by a get-tough policy against drug cartels and attempts to strengthen Mexico's relationship with the United States regarding trade and international migration.

Jackie Collins

Collins turns 75 this year, as fans await the release of the newest addition to her juicy romance novel trove.
Jacqueline Jill "Jackie" Collins (born 4 October 1937[1][2][3]) is an English novelist and former actress. She is the younger sister of actress Joan Collins. She has written 28 novels, all of which have appeared on the New York Times bestsellers list. In total, her books have sold over 400 million copies and have been translated into 40 languages  Eight of her novels have been adapted for the screen, either as films or television mini-series.
Bill Cosby

Everyone's favorite TV dad, "Cliff Huxtable," celebrates his 75th year of getting laughs.

Born: 12 July 1937
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Best Known As: Star of the hit 1980s sitcom The Cosby Show
Name at birth: William Henry Cosby, Jr.

Bill Cosby began his career as a stand-up comic and ended up as one of America's most beloved television stars. Bill Cosby begand doing stand-up in the early 1960s while attending Temple University, and his comedy career was kick-started by a 1963 appearance on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. His first comedy album was Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow... Right! in 1964, and Cosby won multiple Grammy Awards for comedy recordings throughout the 1960s. He was particularly known for routines about childhood friends like Fat Albert and Old Weird Harold (both of whom later appeared in the 1970s cartoon series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids). Bill Cosby starred with Robert Culp in the spoofy TV series I Spy from 1965-68, winning three Emmy Awards and becoming one of the few African-American stars on primetime TV. Cosby appeared in many other TV shows (including the PBS educational show The Electric Company) and in movies including Uptown Saturday Night (1974, with Sidney Poitier) and Mother, Juggs and Speed (1976, with Raquel Welch). From 1984-92, Bill Cosby dominated primetime television with The Cosby Show, a family comedy in which he and Phylicia Rashad starred as Cliff and Claire Huxtable. The show was a huge hit and, along with the 1986 book Fatherhood, re-established Bill Cosby as a leading comedian. From 1996-2000 he starred in a similar sitcom, Cosby, again with Rashad playing his wife. He is the author of many books, including the 1986 bestseller Fatherhood. He was given Kennedy Center Honors in 1998 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.

Bill Cosby married the former Camille Hanks on 25 January 1964. They had four daughters and a son together: Erika (born 1965), Erinn (b. 1966), Ennis (b. 1969), Ensa (b. 1973), and Evin (b. 1976). Their son Ennis Cosby was shot to death in January 1997 in a botched robbery after he stopped to change a tire just off a Los Angeles freeway. A Ukrainian immigrant named Mikhail Markhasev was convicted of the crime... Bill Cosby has a bachelor's degree from Temple University (1971), and a master's degree (1972) and Ed.D. (1976) from the University of Massachusetts... In 1997 a woman named Autumn Jackson was arrested after trying to extort $40 million from Bill Cosby, claiming to be his illegitimate daughter. Cosby admitted to an affair with Jackson's mother but denied fathering Jackson. She was convicted of extortion and sentenced to 26 months in jail... Bill Cosby's 1987 movie Leonard, Part 6 is regarded as a famous Hollywood flop... Bill Cosby was a longtime pitchman for Jell-O pudding.




Tom Cruise

Turning 50 hasn't slowed down this action movie A-lister; his latest release gripped the box office in December.

Born: 3 July 1962
Birthplace: Syracuse, New York
Best Known As: Star of the Mission Impossible movie series
Name at birth: Thomas Cruise Mapother IV

Tom Cruise made a strong impression in the teen comedy Risky Business (1983) and then had his first box-office smash as the fighter jock Maverick in Top Gun (1986). Cruise and his cocky grin were propelled higher onto Hollywood's A-list thanks to a string of successful movies: Rain Man (1988, with Dustin Hoffman), The Color of Money (1986, with Paul Newman), A Few Good Men (1992, with Jack Nicholson) and Jerry Maguire (1996, with Cuba Gooding, Jr. saying "Show me the money!"). Cruise has remained one of Hollywood's busiest actors, taking on blockbuster franchises such as Mission: Impossible (Cruise played superspy Ethan Hunt in the original and two sequels in 1996, 2000 and 2006) as well as more diverse dramas such as Magnolia (1999), Vanilla Sky (2001) and the Steven Spielberg movies Minority Report (2002, co-starring Samantha Morton) and War of the Worlds (2005). Cruise began dating actress Katie Holmes in 2005. Dubbed "TomKat" by the tabloids, they had a daughter, Suri, on 18 April 2006, and were married in Italy on 18 November 2006.

Cruise is a prominent member of the Church of Scientology... Cruise proposed to Holmes at the Eiffel Tower after a highly-publicized whirlwind romance. He came in for a ribbing from pundits after he hopped up and down on the talk-show couch of Oprah Winfrey while proclaiming his love for Holmes... Cruise's marriage to Holmes is his third. He and actress Nicole Kidman were married in 1990, separated in 2000, and were divorced in 2001. They met while filming one of Cruise's few duds, Days of Thunder (1990), and appeared together in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut (1999). They adopted two children: Isabella (in 1993) and Connor (in 1995). Cruise also was married to actress Mimi Rogers, a fellow Scientologist, from 1986-1990... Cruise dated actress Penelope Cruz, his co-star in Vanilla Sky, from 2001-2004... Most sources say Cruise's height is 5'7".


Kirsten Dunst

Dunst — who’s turning 30 — has deftly transitioned from teen-flick sweetheart to serious screen star.

Born: 30 April 1982
Birthplace: Point Pleasant, New Jersey
Best Known As: Mary Jane in the Spider-Man film series
Kirsten Dunst is known to mainstream movie audiences as Mary Jane in the 2002 super-hero flick Spider-Man. (She reprised the role in the sequels Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007); all three movies starred Tobey Maguire as the web-spinner.) Dunst was only seven when she made her movie debut in the Woody Allen-directed portion of the trilogy New York Stories (1989). She made her mark as a young up-and-comer by playing the creepy tot Claudia in Interview With the Vampire (1992, with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt). As the century turned she was suddenly grown up in a raft of movies including the drama The Virgin Suicides (2000, directed by Sofia Coppola), the battle-of-the-cheerleaders comedy Bring It On (2000, with Gabrielle Union) and the high school romance Get Over It (2001). Her other films include The Cat's Meow (2002), Mona Lisa Smile (2003, with Julia Roberts) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004, starring Jim Carrey). She had the title role in the 2006 Sofia Coppola film Marie Antoinette.


Jodie Foster

Foster turns 50, having grown up right before moviegoers' eyes. Remember her break-out role?

orn: 19 November 1962
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Best Known As: The star of The Silence of the Lambs
Name at birth: Alicia Christian Foster

Brainy and beautiful, Jodie Foster is a four-time Oscar nominee; she has won twice, for The Accused (1988) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991, with Anthony Hopkins). Foster got a start in movies in 1973 as a winsome Becky Thatcher in the Disney movie Tom Sawyer. She really made her mark as the vulnerable teen prostitute "saved" by Robert DeNiro in the gritty 1976 film Taxi Driver. In the early 1980s she was famous for being the object of obsession of John Hinckley, Jr.; Hinckley shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981 in a crazed attempt to win Foster's favor. (The shooting echoed events in Taxi Driver.) Foster took time off from acting to attend Yale, and she graduated in 1985 with a degree in English Literature. As an adult she has developed into a thoughtful, handsome film actor who mixes thrillers with boutique dramas. Her many films include Bugsy Malone (1976), Sommersby (1993, with Richard Gere), the sci-fi film Contact (1997, with Matthew McConaughey), Anna and the King (1999, with Chow Yun-Fat), the gripping The Panic Room (2002), Spike Lee's Inside Man (2006, with Clive Owen) and Nim's Island (2008, with child star Abigail Breslin). Foster has also dabbled in directing: Little Man Tate (1991) was her feature debut.

Foster once played the Coppertone Girl in an ad for the tanning lotion... Her brother, Buddy Foster, was also a child actor... Foster has two sons: Charles (b. 1998) and Christopher, known as Kit (b. 2001). She has never spoken publicly about the identity of her sons' father or fathers. She reportedly ended a long-term relationship with film producer Cydney Bernard in 2008.


Evander Holyfield

The "Real Deal" will be 50 this year, and he's proving he still has a few tricks up his sleeve.
born Oct. 19, 1962, Atmore, Ala., U.S.) U.S. boxer. Holyfield is the only boxer to win a version of the heavyweight championship four separate times (Muhammad Ali won the heavyweight championship three times). Holyfield's first title win was against James "Buster" Douglas in 1990 and he won the unified title at that time. He lost the title to Riddick Bowe in 1992, recaptured it in 1993, and lost it to Michael Moorer in 1994. When he fought Mike Tyson in 1996, he regained only the WBA (World Boxing Association) portion of the title. In 1997 he won the IBF (International Boxing Federation) heavyweight title from Moorer. In Holyfield's title defense against Tyson in 1997, Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield's ear. Holyfield lost the IBF and WBA titles to the WBC (World Boxing Council) heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis in 1999, but Lewis later was stripped of the WBA portion of his title, and when Holyfield beat John Ruiz in the subsequent WBA title bout in 2000, he became the first man to win a championship in the heavyweight division for the fourth time.
Anthony Kiedis

The ever-youthful rock front man plans to tour his way through his 50th year. See if he's playing a town near you.
Vocalist Anthony Kiedis went from playing Sylvester Stallone's son in the movie F.I.S.T. to becoming one of the most influential artists in the alternative rock boom of the early '90s. As the frontman for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kiedis has inspired a generation of musicians with a hankering for both punk and funk; however, the maturation of Kiedis' songwriting -- from the goofy party music of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' early albums to the group's reflective commercial breakthrough "Under the Bridge" -- is one of rock's biggest surprises. Kiedis was born in Grand Rapids, MI, on November 1, 1962. After his parents divorced, 11-year-old Kiedis moved with his father to Los Angeles. Kiedis spent much of his youth listening to Sly Stone, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and Stevie Wonder, artists who would eventually shape the Red Hot Chili Peppers' sound. During the '80s, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were one of America's most popular cult bands. When guitarist Hillel Slovak died of a drug overdose in 1988, Kiedis started questioning his own indulgence in narcotics. Kiedis participated in Trip on This, an anti-drug video with Jane's Addiction and the Beastie Boys, in 1992. In addition to his work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kiedis has acted as well, appearing in movies such as The Chase, Point Break, and Tough Guys. ~ Michael Sutton, Rovi
Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne goes into his 30th year at the top of his game, with a high-grossing 2011 rap tour under his belt.

Born: 27 September 1982
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana
Best Known As: The Grammy-winning rapper of the Tha Carter series of albums
Name at birth: Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.

Rapper Lil Wayne is known for his next-generation mix of whimsy and menace -- what the Baltimore City Paper called a "gravelly, giggly idiot-savant patter" that turns "standard gangsta tropes into triple-decker punch lines." The hugely successful formula made him one of the biggest rap stars of the 2000s. A prodigy from a tough New Orleans neighborhood, Lil Wayne caught the attention of the Cash Money record label at age 12. He formed The Hot Boys with the rappers B.G., Young Turk and Juvenile in 1997; his first solo album, Tha Block Is Hot (1999), put him on the rap map at the tender age of 16. But he really came into his own with his 2004 album Tha Carter, and its sequels Tha Carter II (2005) and Tha Carter III (2008). He also is known for his open-the-floodgates output of "freestyle" mixed tapes and internet singles in the mid-2000s, as well as his guest appearances on dozens of records by other rappers. Wayne was arrested in Arizona in January of 2008 and charged with possession of marijuana, cocaine and MDMA (or "Ecstacy"), and in 2009 he entered a guilty plea on a felony weapons charge dating to 2007. Tha Carter III (2008) won four Grammy Awards, including best rap album and best rap song for the single "Lollipop." He spent 8 months in jail in New York in 2010, but it didn't slow his career. While incarcerated, Lil Wayne released the album I Am a Human Being and made it to the top of the charts again.

Lil Wayne also goes by the nickname Weezy F. Baby, or just Weezy for short... Tha Carter is a reference to his real name, Dwayne Carter... He has the words "Fear God" tattooed over his right and left eyelids, and teardrops inked beneath the corner of each eye, among his many other tattoos.


MC Hammer

Hammer turns 50 and is embarking on a very different path from his dance-rap roots; read about his search engine launch.


Personal Information

Born Stanley Kirk Burrell March 30, 1963, in Oakland, California; son of a club manager and a police department assistant; married Stephanie; children: Akeiba, Sarah, Stanley Kirk.
Education: Graduated from high school in Oakland; took undergraduate classes in communications.
Military/Wartime Service: Three years in U.S. Navy.

Career

Worked for Oakland Athletics baseball team as bat boy as a young man; Rapper; formed record label, Bust It Records, mid-1980s; released debut single, "Ring Em," mid-1980s; signed with Capitol Records, 1988; released Feel My Power, retitled Let's Get It Started, 1989; Please Hammer Don't Hurt Em, 1990; Too Legit to Quit, 1991; The Funky Headhunters, 1994.

Life's Work

M.C. Hammer was one of rap music's biggest stars in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He did much to bring the music to a general American audience, and roosted atop Billboard magazine's sales charts for an impressive 21 weeks with his 1989 album, Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em. Hammer's career later went into decline, and the financial and legal problems that dogged him testified to how fleeting fame could be in the fast-moving world of hip-hop. By the late 1990s, though, Hammer seemed to have stabilized himself and made himself ready to undertake new projects.

Hammer was born Stanley Kirk Burrell on March 30, 1963 in Oakland, California. His family was poor; the rapper recalled that six children were crammed into a three-bedroom housing project apartment. As a boy he often went to the nearby Oakland Coliseum to watch baseball's Oakland Athletics play, and an interest in music manifested itself in attempts to copy the dance styles of such flamboyant acts of the day as James Brown and the O'Jays. The youngster's energy and flair caught the attention of Athletics owner Charles Finley, who eventually hired the future rapper as a clubhouse helper and bat boy. Athletics players detected a resemblance to the home-run king "Hammerin' Hank" Aaron and bestowed on their new assistant the nickname "Hammer."

Graduating from high school in Oakland, Hammer tried but failed to win a place in a professional baseball organization. Discouraged by his studies in communications at a local college, he resisted the lure of Oakland's drug trade and enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving for three years and learning lessons that he would later apply to the musical organization he would head. Back in Oakland, he took notice of the rap music that was gaining popularity in the city's clubs and on the streets. He began rapping in small venues, and, with bigger plans on his mind, borrowed $20,000 from Athletics players Mike David and Dwayne Murphy to start his own label, Bust It Records, in the middle 1980s.

Hammer released a single, "Ring 'Em," and largely on the strength of tireless street marketing by Hammer and his wife Stephanie--whom Hammer met at a church revival meeting--it achieved considerable popularity at dance clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area. After another single, "Let's Get It Started," Hammer joined with an experienced producer, Felton Pilate, who had worked with the successful vocal group Con Funk Shun. The album that resulted, Feel My Power, likewise had notable success; its sales of 60,000 copies were more than respectable for a release by an unknown independent label. Heartened by his rising prospects, Hammer launched into seven-day-a-week rehearsals with the growing troupe of dancers, musicians, and backup vocalists he had hired.

It was Hammer's stage show, and his infectious stage presence, that led to his big break in 1988--performing in an Oakland club, he impressed a Capitol Records executive who "didn't know who he was, but knew he was somebody," as she was quoted as saying in the New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. "M.C. Hammer," as he was billing himself, took home a $750,000 advance and a multi-album contract, and it did not take long for Capitol to recoup its investment. Let's Get It Started, a revised version of Feel My Power, sold over two million copies.

Hammer used some of the proceeds from the album to install a rolling recording studio in the back of his tour bus, where he recorded much of his sophomore effort, Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em. Released in 1990, this album catapulted M.C. Hammer to the top ranks of the American entertainment business. It sold over ten million copies, took up seemingly permanent residence at the top of the charts, and spawned the hit single "U Can't Touch This." Hammer became a fixture of the television airwaves, appearing in a Pepsi commercial and starring in his new children's animated series, Hammerman. There was even a Hammer doll. Flush with cash, he opened his own music management firm, established a children's foundation, and purchased a top-quality race horse, Lite Light. Early in 1992, Jet estimated that Hammer employed 200 people, with an annual payroll of $6.8 million. He purchased a $20 million mansion in the hills above San Francisco Bay.

Although some critics and hard-core rap aficionados deplored the album, the success of Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em was easy to understand. Hammer's showmanship and elaborate stage choreography, involving fifteen dancers, twelve backup singers, seven live musicians, and two disc jockeys, gave him a powerful visual appeal. Hammer was the first rap artist to put together a choreographed show of this type, and his visual flair attracted heavy airplay for his videos on MTV, a music-video network with a predominantly white viewership that before Hammer had aired little rap music.

On the musical side, Hammer understood the virtues of appealing to something familiar in a genre as new and fast-changing as rap: "U Can't Touch This" was closely based on the Rick James hit "Super Freak" of a decade before. In fact, James sued Hammer for infringement of copyright, but the suit was settled out of court when Hammer agreed to credit James as co-composer, effectively cutting James in on the millions of dollars the record was earning. Some critics complained of a lack of originality in Hammer's practices--Entertainment Weekly described "U Can't Touch This" as "shamelessly copp[ing] its propulsive riff from Rick James' 'Super Freak.'" But Hammer set the pattern, both musically and financially, for practices that became common in hip-hop music later in the 1990s in the hands of such platinum-selling performers as Puff Daddy and Will Smith.

Hammer's young empire began to collapse when his next album, 1991's Too Legit to Quit, failed to match the sales of its predecessor. Although three million copies were sold, the album could not sustain the massive world tour that Hammer had launched, and it was canceled midway through. Sales declined further with The Funky Headhunter, released in 1994, which unsuccessfully attempted to recast Hammer in the streetwise "gangsta rap" mold of the day. Hammer was sued by Pilate and by several of his former backers, and faced charges that performance troupe members endured an abusive, militaristic atmosphere. Also during this time, he signed with the infamous Death Row Records, but has since moved to another record label.

In April of 1996 Hammer hit bottom, filing for bankruptcy in a California court. His mansion was sold for a fraction of its former price. "My priorities were out of order," he told Ebony. "My priorities should have always been God, family, community, and then business," he continued. Instead, he went on, they had been "business, business, and business." Hammer spoke of his renewed commitment to God, and even appeared on gospel music's Stellar Music Awards show in 1997. In the same interview Hammer promised to unveil the "second leg" of his career, and by 1998 there were signs that he was making progress. He had appeared in two cable television movies, had completed a new album, Family Affair, and was said to be writing a book addressing the situation of African American men. Wherever the "second leg" of his career takes him, fans will enjoy the high-powered entertainment M.C. Hammer loves to provide.

Awards

Grammy award (with Rick James and Alonzo Miller), Best Rhythm and Blues Song, 1990 ("U Can't Touch This"); Grammy award for Best Rap Solo, 1990 ("U Can't Touch This"); Grammy for Best Music Video (Long Form), 1990 (Please Hammer Don't Hurt Em: The Movie).

Works

Selective Discography

Let's Get It Started, Capitol (revised version of Feel My Power), 1989.
Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em, Capitol, 1990.
Too Legit to Quit, Capitol, 1991.
The Funky Headhunter, Giant, 1994.
V Inside Out, Giant, 1995.
Further Reading

Books

Romanowski, Patricia, and Holly George-Warren, eds., The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, Fireside, 1995.
Periodicals
Billboard, February 19, 1994, p. 20; January 28, 1995, p. 29.
Ebony, April 1994, p. 22; August 1997, p. 30.
Entertainment Weekly, December 28, 1990; March 18, 1994, p. 102.
Jet, April 6, 1992, p. 60; August 28, 1995, p.38; June 24, 1996, p. 38; September 8, 1997, p. 64.


Kate Middleton

Prince William and his blushing bride both turn 30 this year.

Eventually, when the prince becomes King of England, Kate will be Queen — probably HM Queen Catherine. But, before that happens, she may have a few titles. According to tradition, the Queen gifts royal men with a title after they marry. It is expected that William will receive a dukedom, meaning that Kate will become a duchess. If Prince William were to turn down the title, he and his wife would become HRH Prince and HRH Princess William of Wales. When Charles accedes the throne, it is expected that William would be invested as Prince of Wales, which would make Kate the Princess of Wales. At that time, William would also become the Duke of Cornwall and Kate would be the Duchess of Cornwall. Happy birthday to the soon-to-be Princess Kate, who turns 29 today.


Apolo Anton Ohno

The Olympic star-turned-dancing machine skates into his 30th year.

Born: 22 May 1982
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington
Best Known As: The gold-medal speedskater who won "Dancing With the Stars"
Apolo Anton Ohno is the short-track speedskater whose eight Winter Olympic medals are more than any other American in history. Ohno won his first gold medal in 1500-meter short track speedskating at the 2002 Winter Olympics. (The win was controversial; Ohno moved up to first after apparent winner South Korean Kim Dong-Sung was disqualified.) Ohno also won silver in the 1000 meters at the same Olympics, held in Salt Lake City. Ohno was already something of a star: his youth, mixed ethnic heritage, and signature "soul patch" chin whiskers, combined with the exotic charms of his fast-moving sport, made him a 21st-century favorite with teen fans and the media. Ohno was the overall short track World Cup champion in 2001, 2003, and 2005, and in 2006 he again raced in the Olympics, winning a gold medal (at 500 meters) and two bronze (at 1000 meters and in the 5000-meter team relay) in Torino, Italy. In the 2010 Winter Games at Vancouver, he won a silver medal in the 1500 meters, a bronze in the 1000 meters, and a bronze in the 5,000 meter relay for his sixth, seventh and eighth Olympic medals. Ohno also gained fame by winning the 2007 TV talent contest Dancing With The Stars, competing in ballroom dancing against Heather Mills, Laila Ali (daughter of boxer Muhammad Ali), and others.

Ohno is 5'8" tall, according to the U.S. Olympic Committee... He published his autobiography, A Journey, in 2002... Ohno's father Yuki, a hairstylist, raised him as a single parent... Also according to the Olympic Committee, Ohno "was given his unusual first name by his father, Yuki, who combined the Greek words 'Ap,' translated to 'steering away from,' and 'lo,' translated to 'look out, here he comes.' His middle name, Anton, means 'priceless'"... Ohno is no relation to artist Yoko Ono.

Chuck Palahniuk

A best-selling novelist, Palahniuk turns 50 with his 2011 book release behind him.
Charles Michael "Chuck" Palahniuk born February 21, 1962) is an American transgressional fiction novelist and freelance journalist. He is best known for the award-winning novel Fight Club, which was later made into a feature film. He lives near Portland, Oregon and spends time in Washington near Seattle.
Danica Patrick

Patrick will race her way through 30 with a full driving schedule in the works.

Born: 25 March 1982
Birthplace: Beloit, Wisconsin
Best Known As: The woman driver who finished fourth in the 2005 Indy 500
Danica Patrick placed fourth in the 2005 running of the Indianapolis 500, making her the top-finishing woman ever at the famous auto race. It was Patrick's first Indy 500 appearance and she was named the race's rookie of the year. Patrick began driving karts at age 10, then jumped up to the Formula Vauxhall Winter Series in England in 1998, when she was just 16. By 2002 she had signed a contract with Team Rahal. Her Indy 500 debut, combined with her youth, good looks, and the general paucity of women drivers in auto racing, made her a hit with fans and a sudden media favorite. Patrick is also the first woman ever to lead a lap at the Indy 500; driving for the Rahal Letterman team, she led for 19 laps of the 2005 race. She won rookie of the year that year and finished 12th in circuit points. With high hopes pinned on her for the 2006 season, she finished 9th for the year but failed to win a big race. She jumped from Rahal Letterman Racing in 2007 to join Andretti Green Racing, and in 2008 became the first woman to win an IndyCar race (the Japan Indy 300).

According to her official site, Patrick is 5'2" tall and weighs 100 pounds... She was the second woman to win rookie of the year honors at Indianapolis; Lyn St. James won in 1992... The 2005 Indy 500 was won by Englishman Dan Wheldon... Patrick was born in 1982, five years after Janet Guthrie became the first woman ever to drive in the Indy 500... Women to drive in the Indy 500 before Patrick include Guthrie (1977-79), St. James (1992-97, 2000), and Sarah Fisher (2000-2004). Another female, Desire Wilson, passed the Indy 500 driver's test in 1982 but failed to qualify for the race... On 19 November 2005 she married Paul Hospenthal, a physical therapist and personal trainer.

Richard Petty

The racetrack legend welcomes 75 with a fitting tribute, a signature pair of wheels.

Born: 2 July 1937
Birthplace: Level Cross, North Carolina
Best Known As: Seven-time winner of the Daytona 500
Richard Petty is known to NASCAR fans as "The King" and as the driver of "Ol' 43." He became a record-breaking legend over three decades of auto racing. Petty, the son of driver Lee Petty, drove his first professional race in 1958. In 1959 he was named Rookie of the Year, and over his lengthy career he won 200 NASCAR races. He also won the Daytona 500 seven times and won the Winston Cup championship seven times (a record later equalled by Dale Earnhardt). Over time Petty became a media icon, known almost as much for his cowboy hats and wraparound sunglasses as for his exploits on the track. He retired from driving in 1992, but continued in the sport as the owner of Petty Racing. After retiring, he was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the U.S.'s highest civilian award.

Petty's son Kyle also became a professional auto racer... Richard's grandson Adam Petty (the son of Kyle) was 19 years old when he was killed on 12 May 2000 during a practice run at New Hampshire International Speedway... Richard Petty was the 1996 Republican candidate for secretary of state in North Carolina, but lost to Democrat Elaine Marshall... Petty added his voice to the 2006 Pixar animated film Cars, playing the champion car known as "The King."

Renzo Piano

Italian architect Piano plans to mark turning 75 with the completion of his latest project


Genoa, 14 Sept 1937 . Italian architect and designer. Apart from practical on-site activity with his father, an architect, his training took place in the office of Franco Albini (1958-64) and continued after his graduation from the Politecnico di Milano (1964), when he worked successively with Louis I. Kahn in Philadelphia and Z. S. Makowsky in London (1965-70). His scientific approach and pragmatic rigour was already apparent in the technological research of his first works: geometric structures generated through repetition of standard elements.

Colin Powell

Former Secretary of State Powell will be busy touring the nation at 75

Born: 5 April 1937
Birthplace: New York, New York
Best Known As: U.S. Secretary of State, 2001-2004
Name at birth: Colin Luther Powell

Colin Powell became the first African-American Secretary of State in U.S. history when he took office in 2001. Powell was a career soldier who fought in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He rose through the ranks to become a general, then became national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan. Powell became chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under George Bush the elder, directing U.S. forces during the first Gulf War. Powell retired in 1993 and published his autobiography, My American Journey, in 1995. After years on the lecture circuit, he was chosen by George W. Bush to be Secretary of State in 2001. Powell was often perceived to be a moderate among more conservative voices in the administration. He submitted his resignation to Bush in November of 2004, shortly after Bush won election to a second term. He was succeeded as Secretary of State by Condoleezza Rice, the first African-American woman to hold the job.

Emma Roberts

The family friendly actress will legally be able to enjoy a toast as she turns 21 this year.

Emma Rose Roberts (born February 10, 1991) is an American actress, model and singer. She is the daughter of actor Eric Roberts and niece of Julia Roberts. Roberts became known for her role as Addie Singer in the Nickelodeon television series Unfabulous. She released her debut album, which also served as the show's soundtrack Unfabulous and More. Roberts then pursued a solo singing career by recording two songs for the soundtracks of Ice Princess and Aquamarine (in which Roberts starred as one of the leads). Roberts then began to focus on her acting career, the title character in the 2007 film Nancy Drew, and her voice-over debut in The Flight Before Christmas.

In 2008 and 2009, Roberts was cast in the coming-of-age movies Wild Child, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac and Lymelife. Roberts appeared in the 2009 family film Hotel for Dogs and The Winning Season. In 2010, she appeared in Valentine's Day, which also starred Julia Roberts. Later the same year, she had a leading role in It's Kind of a Funny Story. In 2010, she played the role of Molly in the Joel Schumacher film Twelve. In 2011, she starred as one of the leads, Jill Roberts, in the horror film Scream 4.


Andy Roddick

Roddick will take a break from his tennis schedule to enjoy turning 30.

Born: 30 August 1982
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska
Best Known As: The tennis ace who's married to model Brooklyn Decker
Name at birth: Andrew Stephen Roddick

Andy Roddick is the hunky and cocky tennis pro whose junior titles and media-friendly charisma made him a celebrity when he was still a teenager. Roddick grew up in Texas and Louisiana and began playing tennis professionally in 2000. He won 6 world junior singles titles and 7 doubles titles, and by 2003 he had won the U.S. Open and was rated the world's top player. Known for his hard, fast serve and easy charm in front of the camera, Roddick has appeared many times on television talk shows, hosted Saturday Night Live and was named "Sexiest Athlete" by People magazine in 2003. Sometimes called "A-Rod" or "Kid Roddick," by 2004 he had winnings of more than $7 million and was one of the top players in the world. Slowed by injuries between 2006 and 2008, he made a strong showing at Wimbledon in 2009, losing to Roger Federer in an epic final, 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14.

Roddick married his longtime girlfriend, model Brooklyn Decker, on 17 April 2009... He dated singer Mandy Moore in 2003-04.


Ben Roethlisberger

2011 held game time roadblocks for the quarterback; hopefully, he'll be back in fine form as he turns 30.

Benjamin Todd "Ben" Roethlisberger (pronounced /ˈrɒθlɨsbɜrɡər/; born March 2, 1982), nicknamed Big Ben, is an American football quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Steelers in the first round (11th overall) in the 2004 NFL Draft. He played college football at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio).

Roethlisberger earned the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2004 and his first Pro Bowl selection in 2007. He became the youngest Super Bowl-winning quarterback in NFL history, helping lead the Steelers, in his second professional season, to a 21–10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL at the age of 23. Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a second Super Bowl title in four seasons as they defeated the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, 27–23, after completing a game-winning touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes in the final 35 seconds.

Roethlisberger has been one of the most efficient passers in NFL history. He currently ranks 10th all-time in NFL passer rating (92.9), 5th in yards per attempt (8.06), and 11th in completion percentage (63.24%) among quarterbacks with a minimum of 1,500 career attempts. He has the fourth highest career winning percentage (.710) as a starter in the regular season among quarterbacks with a minimum of 100 starts.

Off the field, Roethlisberger has been involved in high-profile incidents, including a nearly fatal motorcycle accident in 2006 and sexual assault allegations in Lake Tahoe in 2008 and in Milledgeville, Georgia, in 2010. Neither allegation resulted in charges being filed; however, the latter act resulted in Roethlisberger being suspended for six games (reduced to four) under the NFL's personal conduct policy for the start of the 2010 season.

Seth Rogen

Between his hosting duties and talk of a new Disney picture, the funnyman is going to be one busy 30-year-old.

Born: 15 April 1982
Birthplace: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Best Known As: Star of the 2007 movie Knocked Up
Seth Rogen was the young co-star of a critically-acclaimed but short-lived TV series, and now he's the comic movie star of the hits Knocked Up (with Katherine Heigl), Superbad (with Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and Observe and Report (2009). A teenage comedian from Vancouver, B.C., Rogen got his big break in the 1999 Judd Apatow series Freaks and Geeks, along with cast members Linda Cardellini and James Franco. After the show was cancelled Rogen had some small movie roles (including in the 2001 Jake Gyllenhaal movie Donnie Darko) and followed Apatow to the series Undeclared (2001-02). Rogen served as an actor and a writer for the show, and from there he went to the writing staff of Da Ali G Show (2003-04, starring Sacha Baron Cohen). A well-received supporting role in The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005, starring Steve Carell) proved the popularity of his curly-and-burly, guy's guy persona, and Apatow wrote Knocked Up specifically for Rogen. He co-wrote the hit Superbad (2007, starring Jonah Hill and Michael Cera) and became hot property in Hollywood, starring and writing in comedies and doing voiceover work for animated features. His films include The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008, the voice of Hogsqueal), Kung Fu Panda (2008, the voice of Mantis), Pineapple Express (2008, writer), Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008, starring with Elizabeth Banks) and Monsters vs Aliens (2009, the voice of the blob B.O.B.).

Rogen plays a police officer in the 2007 comedy Superbad, a movie he wrote with Evan Goldberg.


Axl Rose

What better way for Rose to celebrate turning 50 than with a Hall of Fame feather in his cap?
W. Axl Rose (born William Bruce Rose; raised as William Bruce Bailey; February 6, 1962) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. He is the lead vocalist and only remaining original member of the hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he enjoyed great success and recognition in the late 1980s and early 1990s, before disappearing from the public eye for several years. In 2001, he resurfaced with a new line-up of Guns N' Roses at Rock in Rio 3, and subsequently played periodic concert tours, before releasing the long-delayed album Chinese Democracy in 2008. Rose has been named one of the greatest singers of all time by various media outlets, including Rolling Stone and NME.
Ed Ruscha

This pop artist turns 75, and his contribution to the L.A. art scene was recently celebrated by another star on our birthday list.

Ruscha, Ed (Edward Ruscha), 1937-, American artist, b. Omaha, Neb. He is closely associated with Los Angeles, where he moved to attend (1956-60) the Chouinard Art Institute. Cooly inventive and extremely influential, Ruscha uses imagery and language familiar from popular media and typically mingles various styles including pop art, surrealism, photorealism, and conceptual art. He became known for his paintings of roadside buildings (e.g., Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas, 1963) and Southern California icons (e.g., the 20th Century Fox logo and Hollywood sign) executed in a hard-edged commercial style and for his painted words isolated from context and floating in deep space. He also produced a number of books, the earliest a series of affectless photographs of such architectural banalities as gas stations, apartment buildings, and parking lots. An accomplished draftsman and printmaker, he often incorporates food, blood, grease, gunpowder, or other unusual materials in his graphic works. Many of his later images feature archetypal American landscapes overlaid with apparently unrelated words and phrases.


Kate Spade

Fashion maven Spade makes 50 look chic with her latest "it" bag.
Kate Brosnahan Spade (born Katherine Noel Brosnahan; December 24, 1962) is the co-founder and namesake of the designer brand, Kate Spade New York (officially rendered in lowercase as kate spade new york).
Jon Stewart

The comedic news commentator is getting the best 50th birthday gift ever — a presidential election year.

Born: 28 November 1962
Birthplace: New York, New York
Best Known As: Host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show
Name at birth: Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz

Jon Stewart has been the host of Comedy Central's comedy and news show The Daily Show with Jon Stewart since 1999. A former stand-up comedian known for his biting sarcasm, Stewart began hosting television shows in 1989, beginning with Short Attention Span Theater. Before Stewart's gig on The Daily Show he hosted You Wrote It, You Watch It (1992) and The Jon Stewart Show (1993-95), and appeared several times in HBO's The Larry Sanders Show (1992-2001). He has also appeared in small roles in the movies, including Half Baked (1998), The Faculty (1998, starring Elijah Wood) and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001).

Darryl Strawberry

Strawberry's outfielder days may be long behind him, but as he turns 50, he has a different focus: his New York eatery.

baseball player

Personal Information

Born Darryl Eugene Strawberry on March 12, 1962, in Los Angeles, CA; son of Henry and Ruby Strawberry; married to Charisse Strawberry; children: Darryl Jr., Diamond Nicole, Jordan, and Jade.
Education: Graduated Crenshaw High School, 1980.

Career

Selected by the New York Mets with the first overall pick, June 3, 1980; promoted to the Mets, 1983; signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers, 1990; released by the Dodgers and signed by the San Francisco Giants, 1994; released by the Giants, February 8, 1995; signed by the New York Yankees, June 19, 1995; signed by the St. Paul Saints, May 3, 1996; signed by the New York Yankees, July 4, 1996; placed on administrative leave from baseball, April 24, 1999.

Life's Work

Darryl Strawberry was born on March 12, 1962 in Los Angeles, CA and would grow up to be one of the most controversial figures in Major League Baseball history. He was the middle child of Henry and Ruby Strawberry's five children. His parents divorced in 1974 when he was 12, and his father moved out of the house. Strawberry grew up two miles from Dodger Stadium and attended Crenshaw High School. He was a shy student, but he loved to play baseball. By his senior year he was the most highly regarded high school player in the country and the New York Mets made him their first pick of the 1980 free-agent draft. In 1981 Strawberry played Class A ball and was promoted to Double A in 1982. He led the Texas League with a .602 slugging percentage hitting .283 with 34 home runs, and 97 runs batted in (RBIs). He was named the Texas League's Most Valuable Player.

A Major-League Sensation

In 1983 he was called up to the Mets. Though he struck out his first three times at bat, the rest of his year was like a dream. Strawberry was named the National League (N. L.) Rookie of the Year by the Sporting News and the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But off the field Strawberry was having trouble dealing with his success. He began to use alcohol and eventually he started to experiment with cocaine and amphetamines. Strawberry had been drinking beer casually since high school but started using drugs upon his arrival with the Mets as a way to fit in. It was easy to drink after the game as the team gave the players complimentary beer and then Strawberry and other Mets would continue the party often all night long. He began to use amphetamines to overcome his hangovers before games. Still his performance on the field was outstanding. He followed up his rookie season in 1984 batting .250 with 26 home runs and 97 RBIs and was named to the N. L. All-Star team.

Before the 1985 season Strawberry signed a six-year $7.2 million contract. He also married Lisa Andrews and the two endured a short and stormy marriage. Strawberry admitted to hitting his wife and to threatening her with a gun in his 1992 autobiography, Darryl. On the field Strawberry hit 29 home runs with 79 RBIs and a .277 average. In 1986 Strawberry and the Mets won the World Series. Though Strawberry put together another solid season, his behavior was becoming more and more erratic. He even charged the mound and started a brawl after a teammate was hit by a pitch. After the World Championship Strawberry received more attention, more adulation, and got into more trouble. By 1987 he was drinking virtually every night and was using more cocaine. Though he reached career highs in batting average (.283), home runs (39), and RBIs (104) he was starting to wear on the Mets organization. He skipped part of spring training and then missed a late-season game claiming he had a virus when he had cut a rap record earlier in the day.

Strawberry seemed to redeem himself in 1988 making the Sporting News N. L. All-Star team and the magazine's N. L. Silver Slugger team. He followed up that year with an embarrassing start to the 1989 campaign. During picture day with all the media present Strawberry and former friend and Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez got into a highly publicized brawl. The incident began the year poorly and it continued that way. Strawberry had the worst season of his career batting just .225, with 29 home runs, and 77 RBIs.

If 1989 was a disappointment, 1990 would be different. In January Strawberry was arrested after a domestic violence complaint by his wife. Strawberry spent a short time in an alcohol rehabilitation center and admitted that he had a problem with alcohol, though he told no one at the center about his drug use. It was crucial he put together a good season in the final year of his contract. And Strawberry delivered. He improved in virtually every offensive category batting .276 with 37 home runs, and 108 RBIs. He was again named to the Sporting News N. L. All-Star team and its N. L. Silver Slugger Team. After the 1990 season it was clear that he was going to move on. In his autobiography he claimed that the Mets was a racist organization. He had always wanted to go back home to Los Angeles and also to play with his boyhood friend Eric Davis. Before the 1991 season he signed a five-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers worth $20.25 million. He left the Mets all-time leader in RBIs (733), home runs (252), and runs scored (662).

Life in Los Angeles

Strawberry's life appeared to be finally in order. In 1991 he became a born-again Christian and seemed to be living a sober life. He made the N. L. All-Star team and finished the season batting .265 with 28 home runs and 99 RBIs. Though the 1991 season seemed like a turning point in Strawberry's life, it would only be a brief break in the years of uninterrupted turmoil. On the field Strawberry hurt his back which eventually would require disc surgery. His back problems would limit him to just 75 games in the 1992 and 1993 seasons combined. At the end of the 1993 campaign the once Herculean hitter had only managed a .139 average in 100 times at bat. The only thing worse than his professional life was his private life. To cope with his injury and personal problems he resumed drinking alcohol and soon after he turned to cocaine. He had an altercation with a homeless man in September of 1993 and then divorced his wife in October. Later that year Strawberry uttered the infamous comment about his hometown. When informed that people were rioting and looting in Los Angeles he said, "Let it burn". Later Strawberry told Sports Illustrated's Richard Hoffer, "I regret it of course. I was just joking around on the telephone, not knowing how serious it was. I mean, I live here in L.A., grew up here; my children were born here. But it should never have been said anyway. I was wrong. I admit it." Then he was arrested for hitting his soon-to-be wife Charisse Simon. The two still got married in December of 1993. Strawberry also commented on his arrest and his status with the Dodgers in Hoffer's Sports Illustrated article: "I don't care about what happened before, because we weren't married then. All I know is that I love my wife... I'm excited now. I'm going to give Los Angeles a treat. Darryl owes the fans one. I just want to love everybody, be happy and bring the Dodgers a championship."

Strawberry began his season of redemption with the news that he was under investigation for tax fraud. The day before the 1994 season Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda had a direct confrontation with Strawberry telling him he had to produce in 1994. Strawberry's reaction was to walk out. He did not return to Dodger Stadium the next day and missed the opener. Finally Strawberry came back to the Dodgers general manager's office with his lawyer Robert Shapiro and his family. He confessed that he was addicted to drugs. The Dodgers put him on the disabled list, and he entered the Betty Ford clinic. After his time in drug rehabilitation, his career with the Dodgers was over. The team paid him almost $5 million and released him.

He immediately signed with the San Francisco Giants on June 20, 1994. At 32 he was back in the majors on July 7th. Strawberry was making a contribution to the team and staying clean when the strike cut the season short. Just when it seemed events were turned around for the positive, on December ninth Strawberry was charged with tax evasion and income tax conspiracy for hiding $500, 000 in earnings from baseball card shows. The government said Strawberry owed $146,000 in taxes on income he hadn't reported. Strawberry was facing jail time, his legal bills were bankrupting him, and he turned to alcohol, which led him to do a line or two of cocaine. His brief cocaine use caused him to fail a drug test. He was released from the Giants and received a sixty-day suspension from baseball. Suddenly Strawberry was broke, had no income, and was facing a trial. Strawberry was fully prepared to go to jail after pleading guilty to the felony, but the judge gave him three years probation, six months home confinement, 100 hours of community service, and he had to pay $350, 000 in back taxes.

Back to the Big Apple

Strawberry made the most of his next chance at baseball signing with the New York Yankees before the 1995 season. After signing the trouble star Yankee owner George Steinbrenner tried to renegotiate Strawberry's contract to include payments to charity and more extensive drug testing. While the owner and Strawberry's agent argued, the former Mets leader spent 44 days in the minor leagues. Strawberry passed the time living with a Yankee vice president under house arrest in Columbus. On August 4th Strawberry was called up to Yankees. Because the Yankees were clogged with talent, Strawberry played sparingly. But unlike the old days, the newest Yankee was no distraction. Strawberry even met with manager Buck Showalter to assure him that he would not be disruptive to the club. Despite his mounting frustration with the Yankees--a team that followed his every off-field move but then left him out of the line-up--Strawberry continued to stay clean through the 1995 season.

After the season the Yankees had to decide whether to release Strawberry or pay him $1.8 million for the 1996 season. The club sent him to play in Puerto Rico. Strawberry tore up the pitching south of the border, but Yankees released him anyway. Instead of throwing in the towel on his baseball career, Strawberry ended up signing with the St. Paul Saints of the Independent Northern League on May 3rd. Strawberry made the most of his time in Minnesota. He told Ross Newhan of the Los Angeles Times: "To play in that atmosphere brought me back to a totally different place involving what the game is all about... It helped shape my priorities. Gave me an appreciation for my life and family." Strawberry's .435 average with 18 home runs and 39 RBIs in 39 games proved to his old team that he could still play. In July the Yankees called again and Strawberry signed a minor league contract with the club for the rest of the 1996 season with an option for 1997. The day after his signing he agreed to pay his ex-wife Lisa $200, 000 in back child support. The Yankees called him up in time for Strawberry to hit 11 home runs and 36 RBIs in 202 at bats in a World Series-winning season. In 1997 Strawberry battled a knee injury and only played in 11 games all year. Though he came back in 1998 the Yankees had brought in Chili Davis to replace him. After Davis was hurt, Strawberry made the most of his opportunity platooning in left field and as a designated hitter. The Yankees were on their way to the best record in baseball and another World Series victory, when Strawberry was set back again. This time his pain was not self- inflicted. During the second part of the 1998 season Strawberry had been losing weight and having stomach pains. He kept quiet until late September and then had the problem checked out. Strawberry and the rest of the Yankees learned on October 1 in the middle of a playoff series against the Texas Rangers that he had colon cancer. He had surgery soon after his diagnosis to remove a 2. 4 inch tumor from his colon.

Strawberry spent the off-season recovering from his illness and receiving chemotherapy. In 1998 he had one of his best seasons since he played for the New York Mets. His battle with cancer made him an inspiration to his teammates and to many fans. He had been off drugs since his return to Major League baseball in 1995. He had reconstructed his image and was set to report to the Yankees AAA club in Columbus for rehabilitation to start the 1999 season. He had even signed a $2. 5 million contract with the Yankees after his surgery. All these accomplishments came crashing down on him yet again on Wednesday April 15th when he was arrested for possession of .3 grams of cocaine after allegedly soliciting a prostitute, who turned out to be an undercover police officer. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig put Strawberry on administrative leave, which meant he was not able to play or practice with the team. Strawberry claimed that the cocaine did not belong to him, and he was joking with the woman and would not have met her at a hotel. The Yankees kept him off the 40-man roster and some sources believe the team suspended his pay. In the roller coaster ride that has been Strawberry's career as a major league baseball player, this last indiscretion appears to be particularly serious for the 37-year-old outfielder's career.

Awards

Most Valuable Player in the Texas League, 1982 ; National League Rookie of the Year, 1983; holds New York Mets' records for most runs (662), most home runs (252), and most runs batted in (733); selected to the National League All-Star team, 1984-1991.

Natalia Vodianova

The Russian supermodel embraces 30 with a new kind of fashion venture.
Natalia Mikhailovna Vodianova (Russian: Наталья Михайловна Водянова, pronunciation Nataľja Michajlovna Vodjanova, born 28 February 1982) is a Russian model and philanthropist who now permanently resides in the United Kingdom.

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