Notable Birthday Salutes Go Out To…

Margaret Thatcher turns 87.

Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness ThatcherLGOMPCFRS, née Roberts (born 13 October 1925) is a British politician, the longest-serving (1979–1990) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of the 20th century, and the only woman ever to have held the post. A Soviet journalist nicknamed her the “Iron Lady”, which became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. As Prime Minister, she implemented Conservative policies that have come to be known as Thatcherism.

Originally a research chemist before becoming a barrister, Thatcher was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Finchley in 1959. Edward Heath appointed her Secretary of State for Education and Science in his 1970 government. In 1975 Thatcher defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election and became Leader of the Opposition, as well as the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom. She became Prime Minister after winning the 1979 general election.

After entering 10 Downing Street, Thatcher introduced a series of political and economic initiatives to reverse what she perceived to be Britain’s precipitous national decline. Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasized deregulation (particularly of the financial sector), flexible labour markets, the privatisation of state-owned companies, and reducing the power and influence of trade unions. Thatcher’s popularity during her first years in office waned amid recession and high unemployment, until economic recovery and the 1982 Falklands War brought a resurgence of support, resulting in her re-election in 1983.

Thatcher was re-elected for a third term in 1987, but her Community Charge (popularly referred to as “poll tax”) was widely unpopular and her views on the European Community were not shared by others in her Cabinet. She resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in November 1990, after Michael Heseltine launched a challenge to her leadership. Thatcher holds a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher, of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire, which entitles her to sit in the House of Lords.

Paul Simon turns 71 today.

Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is an award-winning musician whose talents in composing, performing, and vocal harmony placed him at the forefront of the singer-songwriters on an international scale. Simon’s fame, influence and commercial success began as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, launched in 1964 with musical partner Art Garfunkel. Simon wrote most of the pair’s songs, including three that reached No. 1 on the U.S. singles charts: “The Sound of Silence“, “Mrs. Robinson“, and “Bridge Over Troubled Water“. The duo split up in 1970 at the height of their popularity, and Simon began a successful solo career, recording three highly acclaimed albums over the next five years. In 1986, he released Graceland, an album inspired by South African township music.

Simon has earned 12 Grammys for his solo and collaborative work, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2001, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2006 was selected as one of the “100 People Who Shaped the World” by Time magazine. Among many other honors, Simon was the first recipient of the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2007. In 1986 Simon was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music where he currently serves on the Board of Trustees.

Demond Wilson turns 66 today.

Grady Demond Wilson (born October 13, 1946) is an American actor, author, and pastor. He is best known for his role opposite Redd Foxx as Fred Sanford’s long-suffering son, Lamont Sanford, in the 1970s’ NBC-TV sitcom Sanford and Son. In 1984, Wilson became an ordained minister, fulfilling his childhood vow. Later, in 1995, he founded Restoration House, a center that helps rehabilitate former prison inmates by providing mentoring, spiritual guidance and vocational training.

Sammy Hagar turns 65 today.

Sam Roy “Sammy” Hagar (born October 13, 1947), also known as The Red Rocker, is an American rock vocalist, guitarist, songwriter and musician. Hagar came to prominence in the 1970s with the hard rock band Montrose. He afterwards launched a successful solo career, scoring an enduring hit in 1984 with “I Can’t Drive 55“. From 1985 to 1996, and 2003 to 2005, Hagar was the singer for Van Halen. On March 12, 2007, Hagar was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Van Halen.

Outside of music, he founded the Cabo Wabo Tequila brand and restaurant chain, as well as Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum. He currently resides in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and also has a residence in Mill Valley, California. His present musical project is as lead singer of Chickenfoot.

Marie Osmond turns 56 today.

Olive Marie Osmond (born October 13, 1959) is an American singer, actress, doll designer, and a member of the show business family The Osmonds. Although she was never part of her family’s singing group, she gained success as a solo country music artist in the 1970s and 1980s. Her best known song is a cover of the country pop ballad “Paper Roses.” In 1976, she and her singer brother Donny Osmond began hosting the TV variety show Donny & Marie.

Kelly Preston turns 50 today.

Kelly Preston (born October 13, 1962) is an American actress and former model. She is married to John Travolta. She is a spokeswoman for Neutrogena since 2005 and appears in print and television advertisements and is currently set to play Victoria Gotti in the upcoming John Gotti biopic Gotti: In The Shadow of my Father.

Nancy Kerrigan turns 43 today.

Nancy Ann Kerrigan (born October 13, 1969) is a two-time American Olympic figure skating medalist and 1993 U.S. champion.

Kerrigan gained considerable fame beyond the skating world when, on January 6, 1994, she was clubbed in the right knee with a police baton by Shane Stant at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Cobo Arena in Detroit, an assault planned by rival Tonya Harding‘s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and friend Shawn Eckardt. Kerrigan recovered quickly from her knee injury and resumed her intensive training.

Sacha Baron Cohen turns 41 today.

Sacha Noam Baron Cohen (born 13 October 1971) is an English stand-up comedian, writer, actor, and voice actor. A graduate of Cambridge University, Baron Cohen is most widely known for writing and playing four unorthodox fictional characters: Ali GBoratBrüno, and Admiral General Aladeen. In his routines, Baron Cohen’s characters interact with unsuspecting people who do not realize they are being set up for comic situations and self-revealing ridicule.

Baron Cohen was named Best Newcomer at the 1999 British Comedy Awards for The 11 O’Clock Show, and since then, his work has been further recognized with two BAFTA Awards for Da Ali G Show, several Emmy nominations, a nomination for an Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay, and a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his work in the feature film Borat. After the release of Borat, Baron Cohen stated that because the public had become too familiar with the characters, he would retire Borat and Ali G. Similarly, after the release of Brüno, Baron Cohen stated he would also retire the title character.

Ashanti turns 32 today.

Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas (October 13, 1980) is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. She rose to fame in the early 2000s. Ashanti is most famous for her eponymous debut album, which featured the hit song “Foolish“, and sold over 503,000 copies in its first week of release throughout the U.S. in April 2002. The album set a Soundscan record as the biggest opening week sales for a new female artist, outselling debuts by Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill. In the same week, she became the first female performer to simultaneously hold the top two places on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with “Foolish”, and “What’s Luv?” (with Fat Joe).

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