As part of my continual celebration of 1953, these people turn 70 in June 2023, or in one case, would have. I’m omitting a couple of musicians, who I will note separately.
Diana Canova (1st) played Corinne on the comedy series Soap, one of my favorite characters. This is how she got the part.
Cornel West (2nd) is the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Professor of Philosophy & Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary. He has written 20 books, including Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. For a time, the outspoken philosopher was nearly ubiquitous, appearing in everything from the Matrix movies to documentaries and talk shows.
Kathleen Kennedy (5th) is the head of Lucasfilm. The first film she produced was E.T. She “has participated in making over 60 films that have earned over $11 billion worldwide, including five of the fifty highest-grossing films in motion picture history.”
John Edwards (10th) was a one-term US Senator from North Carolina who ran for President in 2004 and 2008. He was on the ticket with John Kerry in 2004 when W/Cheney soundly defeated them. In November 2004, his wife Elizabeth announced she was being treated for breast cancer; she died in December 2010. Rumors of John Edwards’ affair with a former campaign worker began in October 2007. He admitted the affair in August 2008 and acknowledged fathering her child in January 2010.
To infinity…and beyond!
Tim Allen (13th) starred in the sitcom Home Improvement (1991-1999), which I seldom watched, and Last Man Standing (2011-2021), which I never saw. But he was the voice of Buzz Lightyear in the four Toy Story films, all of which I saw.
Xi Jinping (15th) has been the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party since 2012 and president of the People’s Republic of China since 2013. He is considered the strongest Chinese leader since Mao. You might want to check out the articles about him in The Guardian.
Valerie Mahaffey (16th) I know best from two television series. One was the underrated sitcom The Powers That Be, created by Norman Lear. She played Caitlyn, the daughter of US Senator William Powers (John Forsythe) and his wife Margaret (Holland Taylor). Caitlyn is unhappily married to Congressman Theodore Van Horne (David Hyde Pierce). The other series was Northern Exposure, where she played the hypochondriac and very wealthy Eve in five episodes; Mahaffey won an Emmy for the role.
Benazir Bhutto (21st) was Pakistan’s 11th and 13th prime minister (1988-1990, 1993-1996). “She was the first woman elected to head a democratic government in a Muslim-majority country.” She was assassinated in 2007 by a 15-year-old suicide bomber. Her legacy is mixed; this assessment seems pretty fair.