When he first showed up in Los Angeles looking for acting work, Brad Pitt was a college dropout with only $325 in his pocket. He slept on his friend's (future Grammy winner Melissa Etheridge) couch. Though his first credited role was in 1987 on the daytime soap “Another World,” Pitt didn’t gain Hollywood’s attention until his sexy, scene-stealing role in “Thelma and Louise” in 1991. Between those roles, the actor, who turns 60 on December 18, racked up small credits on primetime shows “Dallas” and “21 Jump Street,” where he played a high school student opposite undercover cop Johnny Depp. Next up, the iconic “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” star plays a race car driver in a Formula One film, which he’s also producing.
Nick Lachey was studying sports medicine at college in Ohio and singing doo-wop at a local amusement park when he dropped out to pursue a music career in Los Angeles. There, the singer met the other young musicians who, along with Nick and his younger brother Drew, would form the hit boy band 98 Degrees. Nick, who turns 50 on November 9, became the lead singer and a regular on MTV’s “Total Request Live” before branching out to acting and hosting reality shows. In 2011, when the singer and reality TV star married actress Vanessa Minnillo on Sir Richard Branson’s private island in the Caribbean, it was broadcast on TLC. Ten years later, after Vanessa was cast on “NCIS: Hawai’i,” they moved their family to Honolulu. In addition to horseback riding and surfing with their three kids, the couple co-hosts the Netflix reality shows “Love is Blind” and “The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On”. With Lachey as lead singer, 98 Degrees recently wrapped a 25th anniversary tour.
America’s Top Tyra
Tyra Banks, who turns 50 on December 4, landed a contract with Elite Model Management while attending a Catholic high school in Los Angeles. After graduation, she booked an unprecedented 25 runway shows in Paris, quickly becoming one of the world’s top supermodels. She also found time to play Will Smith’s girlfriend on eight episodes of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and to star in music videos for George Michael, Tina Turner, and Lionel Richie. The first Black woman on the cover of GQ, Sports Illustrated, and the Victoria’s Secret catalog, Banks created “The Tyra Banks Show” and “America’s Next Top Model.” After three seasons hosting “Dancing with the Stars,” Banks recently said she will leave the show to spend more time expanding her ice cream brand, Smize & Dream.
A Stand Up Guy
In the late ‘90s when Seth Meyers was just starting out in comedy, he got a job at Boom Chicago, an American comedy club in Amsterdam (yes, the Netherlands!) to work on his improv and sketch comedy. When Boom Chicago performed in Chicago, Meyers, who turns 50 on December 28, was spotted by “Saturday Night Live” scouts and invited to audition. Meyers spent over a decade at “SNL,” becoming head writer and “Weekend Update” anchor. His younger brother, comedian Josh Meyers, appeared on “MADtv,” which aired directly opposite “SNL.” Meyers met his wife, attorney Alexi Ashe, at the wedding of his “SNL” co-star Chris Kattan (Alexi’s sister worked in the set department at SNL). In his Netflix special “Lobby Baby,” the father of three recounts the story of his wife giving birth in their apartment building lobby. He and his brother recently launched a podcast called “Family Trips with the Meyers Brothers.”
Named after the Hebrew word for “peace” and raised by a single mom in a hippie community outside of Ontario, Canada, Shalom Harlow was discovered as a model at a Cure concert in Toronto at age 15. The supermodel, who turns 50 on December 5, co-hosted MTV’s “House of Style” with Amber Valletta. She’s also graced the runway in shows for Versace, Alexander McQueen, and many more top designers. The former ballet dancer, who has sung with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, has sparkled in a handful of films including “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” “Vanilla Sky,” and “In and Out.” Though she’s slowed down her modeling schedule to focus on her health following a Lyme disease diagnosis, Harlow was among the fashion icons featured on Vogue’s cover tribute to the late designer Karl Lagerfeld.
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