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May 3: Christopher Cross, 70
In 1979, this Texas-born music man won five Grammy awards for his self-titled album debut, including song of the year for his number 1 single “Sailing.” He also shared an Oscar win for “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” from the 1981 comedy Arthur, starring Dudley Moore. Last fall, Cross revealed on CBS Sunday Morning that he had contracted COVID-19 and temporarily lost the use of his legs due to Guillain-Barré syndrome. He admitted that the virus “was the worst illness I have ever had.” On the upside? His appearance on the weekend TV show boosted sales of his music by 1,000 percent.
PHOTO BY: Randy Holmes via Getty Images
May 6: George Clooney, 60
After playing ER heartthrob Doug Ross, Clooney became a big-screen attraction, both as a leading man and behind the camera. Since marrying human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin in 2014 and becoming a dad to twins Ella and Alexander in 2017, his output has slowed some. But last year, he helmed a Netflix post-apocalyptic tale, The Midnight Sky, playing an Arctic-based scientist who tries to save a band of astronauts from a catastrophe. The ER cast reunited in April for a livestreamed Earth Day event, where Clooney joked to viewers that his wife’s recent binge watching of reruns had been a “disastrous thing for me, because I forgot all the terrible things I did as Dr. Ross.”
PHOTO BY: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
May 9: Joy Harjo, 70
The first Native American to be named poet laureate of the United States gave fans of her work a gift in March when she released her first new recording in a decade, I Pray for My Enemies. A collaboration with Latin Grammy-winning producer Barrett Martin, it features her poems spoken and sung while accompanied by music from veteran rockers, including Pearl Jam and R.E.M. The artists have dubbed their creation “funkified spoken word,” while Harjo says the album’s theme addresses “an urgent need to deal with discord, opposition.” She begins her third term as poet laureate in September.
PHOTO BY: Steve Granitz/WireImage
May 13: Dennis Rodman, 60
This flashy pro basketball player was known for his fierce defensive moves and rebounding skills — as well as his outsized persona — while playing for the Chicago Bulls (among other teams). He retired in 2000. Despite Rodman’s court successes, including five NBA championships, he may be just as famous for his reputation as a bad boy, often paying fines for rough game play, dating celebs like Madonna, dabbling in professional wrestling and becoming a reality show regular. His son, Dennis Jr., a sophomore at Washington State University, plays basketball for the Cougars.
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May 14: Sofia Coppola, 50
Born into a clan of filmmakers and actors, Coppola made her big-screen debut as a baby in her father Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 mob drama The Godfather, and later appeared in The Godfather III (1990) as Mary Corleone. She made her own directing debut in the 1999 coming-of-age drama The Virgin Suicides, followed by her best-known feature, 2003’s Lost in Translation, starring Bill Murray. The pair reunited for her most recent title, the wry daughter-father (Rashida Jones and Murray) rendezvous On the Rocks. Up next: She’ll adapt the Edith Wharton novel The Custom of the Country for Apple TV.
PHOTO BY: Jemal Countess/WireImage
May 14: Tim Roth, 60
Roth is one of a number of film actors known for being a member of the “Brit Pack” — Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Daniel Day-Lewis, among others — who ruled the big screen in the late ‘80s, He became a favorite of filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, who cast him as undercover cop Mr. Orange in the 1992 crime drama Reservoir Dogs and as a robber alongside Amanda Plummer in 1994’s Pulp Fiction. He will return to his film role as the Hulk’s enemy Abomination in the 2022 Disney+ TV series She-Hulk, costarring Mark Ruffalo and Tatiana Maslany as the titular superhero.
PHOTO BY: John Shearer/WireImage
May 17: Enya, 60
This Irish singer, songwriter, producer and musician elevated ‘80s-era new age music with her multi-tracked ethereal harmonizing, featured in her 1988 breakout album Watermark. Her hit single “Orinoco Flow” propelled her to worldwide fame and earned her four Grammys, including for best new-age album. She is Ireland’s best-selling solo artist, having sold over 75 million albums around the world.
PHOTO BY: Isabel Infantes/PA Images via Getty Images
May 24: Bob Dylan, 80
Born Robert Allen Zimmerman, this Minnesota-born troubadour behind such classics as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Like a Rolling Stone” won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016 “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” Dylan released his 39th studio album, Rough and Rowdy Ways, last June, earning his first number 1 hit on any of Billboard’s charts (Rock Digital Song Sales) with the single “Murder Most Foul.” Patti Smith will toast Dylan’s 80th birthday at an outdoor festival to be held at a 153-acre campus in Tivoli, New York, in late May.
PHOTO BY: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images
May 29: Melissa Etheridge, 60
This folksy Grammy-winning rocker is known for her distinctive raspy vocals and her breakthrough third album in 1993, Yes I Am, which featured two of her most enduring hits, “I’m the Only” and “Come to My Window.” She’s had her share of challenges: A breast cancer survivor, Etheridge faced the loss of her 21-year-old son Beckett last May due to an opioid overdose. During the pandemic, she’s been streaming live performances to subscribers on her website.
PHOTO BY: Amy Sussman/Getty Images
May 30: Idina Menzel, 50
If you’ve heard the megahit “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen — and you surely have — then you know this Broadway superstar, who voiced the good queen Elsa in 2013’s wildly successful animated movie. Her Tony Award–winning portrayal of the not-so-good witch Elphaba in Broadway’s Wicked had already cemented her status as a stage icon, dubbed the Streisand of her generation. Menzel will costar in the upcoming FBI thriller American Murderer but has no plans to leave Broadway behind. “I will never leave the theater,” she has said. “My heart is there.”
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