Famous Aries People
The Queen of Soul
Aretha Franklin, 3/25/42-8/16/18, was commonly known as the “Queen of Soul,” and was the one time winner of the Rolling Stones, “Greatest 100 Singers of all time” list. She was the winner of 18 Grammy Awards, and is best known for her song “Respect,” which was written by Otis Redding, but never sung as the anthem she turned it into. Her background includes gospel, jazz, blues, R&B, and rock. In 1987, she was the first female singer inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Franklin had a long time friendship with Cissy Houston, and was Whitney Houston’s Godmother. Aretha Franklin’s Reverend got her involved in the U.S. Civil Rights movement, and introduced her to Martin Luther King. Her example of a successful life was an inspiration to young black girls in the days when they had little opportunity.
More Honors for Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin also received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1979. The National Academy of Arts and Sciences awarded her a Grammy Legend Award in 1991, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. She was the Kennedy Center Honoree in 1994, and President George W. Bush awarded Aretha with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.
When inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012, she was described as "the voice of the Civil Rights Movement", "the voice of Black America", and "a symbol of Black Equality." President Barack Obama had tears in his eyes when Aretha Franklin performed A Natural Woman at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015. In his always great words, "Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the Blues, R&B, Rock and Roll--the way hardship and sorrow were transformed into beauty, vitality and hope." Although she will be very missed, she left us a beautiful legacy of music with which to celebrate her life.
Background Info on Rachel Maddow
Rachel Anne Maddow—April 1, 1973, is a writer and TV anchorperson on MSNBC, where she acts as a political commentator on her nightly Rachel Maddow show, TRMS. She is the first openly gay anchor person to host any prime time news in the U.S.
She is pegged as liberal, but her book, Drift,The Unmooring of American Military Power, released in 2012, researches wars fought in American history, and concludes that the U.S. goes to war too casually now. Much of the U.S. was not in agreement about going to war in Iraq, as the reason for going was a false accusation that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. She surprisingly describes herself as believing in many policies of Ronald Reagan’s administration, among them a lowering of taxes on the middle class, and limits on gun control. Rachel does shoot at a range as a hobby, and is more center left than many would have you believe.
Drift by Rachel Maddow
I learned much about Rachel Maddow from this book. She is not the far left leaning person many think that she is, and a definite Hawk..She discusses how many Presidents go to war now without Congressional approval, and how this makes it harder and harder to avoid wars. I enjoyed the read.
Maddow, Perfectionist and Geek.
Rachel lives in Manhattan and Massachusetts with her partner, artist Susan Mikula. They met in 1999, when Rachel did some yard work at her home. Rachel was working on her doctoral dissertation at the time.
Rachel Maddow is a perfectionist, who has won numerous honors, among them an Emmy for Outstanding News Discussion and Analysis, named in Out Magazine’s 100 gay people who most moved culture, and an honorable mention in the Elie Weisel Foundation for Humanity Prize. In 2009, Maddow had the only cable news show nominated for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information category. In 2/2012, Rachel received the John Steinbeck Award at San Jose University. In 7/2010, Maddow was presented with a Maggie Award for her ongoing reporting about healthcare reform, the murder of Dr. George Tiller, and the anti-abortion movement. She also received the 2012 Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Host.
Her show is fun and informative, because she has a strong, yet vibrant personality, and her guests immediately warm up to her. It is obvious that because of her sexual orientation, she had to always be better than the best to climb the ladder to where she is today. I am sure we can expect to see more exciting things from Rachel Maddow!
Rachel's Intellectual Achievements and Big Break
Rachel grew up in a Catholic family in California, and has always shown a competitive streak. She was an athlete who played volleyball, basketball, and was on the swim team in high school. Maddow attended Stanford University, and got a degree in public policy. She was awarded the John Gardner Fellowship, and also got a Rhodes scholarship. Rachel did her postgraduate study in Lincoln College in Oxford. She was the first openly gay lesbian in America to win a Rhodes scholarship.
Rachel Maddow is also a Dr. of Philosophy in Politics from Oxford. Her first on air experience came as a contest she won, and she hosted WRNX in Holyoke, MA. She got promoted, and remained at the station for two years before moving to Air America, who filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
Maddow became a regular panelist on MSNBC in 2008 during the U.S. Presidential election, and was a frequent guest on Keith Olbermann’s show. When she substituted for Olbermann, the ratings went way up in the age 25-54 demographic, and Olbermann pushed for her to be able to host her own show, which she eventually did. Once The Rachel Maddow Show was on air for one month, the ratings doubled in her time slot. The reviews were great, The LA Times said Rachel “found the right formula”, and the Guardian called her “the star of cable news.”
Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara
Gone with the Wind
Although this is not a "real person", but a movie character, nobody epitomizes an Aries person like Scarlett O’Hara, the heroine and star of Gone With The Wind, played by Vivien Leigh. This is a 1939 epic film about the U.S. Civil War. Scarlett changed from a spoiled, rich girl who grew up on a plantation with slaves, to a brave woman who worked tirelessly in the fields in order to help her family survive and hold on to their family land and home, Tara. Although Scarlett used unscrupulous means to achieve her goals, including stealing her sister’s boyfriend so she could take over his store to make a living, her courage and innovative actions are the signs of a true Aries.
Her tempestuous marriage to the mysterious Rhett Butler was impulsive, but she did love him, and he her. Scarlett realizes too late that she had been selfish and caused pain to many, and lost Rhett when he left her with the shocking (for the times) and famous line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” If you never saw this masterpiece, check it out. One of the best parts is when she makes a beautiful dress out of old drapes, so she can go visit Rhett Butler in jail to try to borrow some money.
Jim Parsons from Big Bang Theory
James Joseph “Jim” Parsons—3/24/1973—plays the part of Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory, a popular sitcom. His character is a genius physicist with absolutely no social skills, which makes for a hilarious situation. He adds all kinds of quirks and obsessive behaviors to Sheldon’s character, and then he is surrounded by other scientific geniuses who also have awkward social skills. His roommate, Johnny Galecki, plays Leonard, equally challenged by women, although he does manage to have an affair and finally marry their neighbor across the hall, Penny, played by Kaley Cuoco.
Jim was born in Houston, TX, and knew he wanted to be an actor from a young age. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Houston, where he had already acted in 17 plays in 3 years. He was a founding member of Infernal Bridegroom Productions, and made regular appearances at the Stages Repertory Theatre. Parsons went to graduate school at the University of San Diego in 1999, and was one of 11 students accepted in a special group for classical theater. He was known for having his own way of seeing and doing things, and told an interviewer he would have pursued a doctorate in acting had that been possible.
Parsons moved to LA with his husband, art director Todd Spiewak. Jim has also done work on Off Broadway and made television appearances in various places, one a Quiznos commercial where he was raised by wolves. He had a reoccurring role on Judging Amy, and appeared on the television series Ed. Parsons says he auditioned for between 15 and 30 TV pilots, but his big break came when he read for the part of Sheldon at The Big Bang Theory. He felt the part was a great fit for him, and it is. He plays the brilliant and somewhat condescending Dr. Cooper quite well, with all kinds of quirks and silly concerns. One would think the character would be annoying, and he sometimes is to the other characters, but his angelic smile and oddball ways just steal the show.
Jim Parsons Excels at Physical Comedy
The other characters all have quirks too. Sheldon has his roommate Leonard, and two other friends, and they mostly sit around the house to play video games and watch SyFi movies. They also have a friend who owns and lives at his comic book store, the only other friend the guys have. In later seasons, Sheldon has a girl who is a friend, Amy, and recently she signed a contract that she will allow herself to be called Sheldon's "girlfriend." He has a "roommate agreement" with Leonard which is about 30 pages long! The way Sheldon interacts with his nerdy friends is genius, and he has great control over his body. He is very tense and gawky, and moves in a very stiff way, which just adds to his character.
TV critic Andrew Dansby compares Parson's physical comedy to that of Buster Keaton’s. Parsons admits shooting a sitcom is more work than he thought it would be. In 2009 he won the TV Critics Association Award, beating out Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, and Neil Patrick Harris. Jim won four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy series. Parsons has also won a Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a TV series. Jim Parsons is one to watch!
Clapton Plays Layla
Eric Clapton, 3/30/45, is an English guitarist. He is the only three time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and has played as a solo artist, with Cream, The Yardbirds, Derek and the Dominos and Blind Faith. He also played with the Beatles on a few numbers, but that could not be publicized due to contractual agreements of the times. He has been nominated as one of the best guitarists of all time from Rolling Stone magazine.
Clapton was one of George Harrison's best friends. He organized and was the bridge who brought together music from the East (sitar) and West (rock) at George Harrison's Memorial Concert at the Royal Albert Hall one year after George's passing. Clapton has been hailed as one of the most influential guitarists of all time too.
An Aries can never have too many awards! His choices of guitars influence large amounts of sales. There is even a Fender Stratocaster guitar the company made to honor him. Clapton likes to play with effects pedals and has his own distinct sound. He uses a Gibson SG solid body guitar and a Marshall tube amp to create a sound articulate but thick, rather distorted. It comes across as muted compared to bright, twangy sounds other guitarists use. Clapton also loves to use a WahWah pedal. Clapton enjoys playing in his own unique style with other bands, and often plays in benefit concerts.
He has also suffered through many alcohol and drug addictions, and recently during a trip to Antigua, this writer found he had a beautiful home on the island, and also opened a rehab clinic to help others, called, aptly, The Crossroads.
Gloria Steinem, Women's Rights Activist
Gloria Steinem, birthday 3/25/34, is an American journalist, feminist, social and political activist, known primarily for the Women’s Liberation Movement. She epitomizes the Aries originality and pioneering spirit, which lead her years of fighting for women to have equal rights in our society. She was the co-founder of Ms. Magazine, at a time during the 1970’s, when women were keeping their own family last names and either hyphenating them with a husband’s, or not using his name at all, in order to keep their own identities.
She fought vigorously for the Equal Rights Amendment, and helped to remove other discriminatory laws which gave men superior rights in marriage. She fought hard against the laws which allowed women to be paid less than a man for performing the same job in the workplace. She acknowledged that women had sexual needs too, and deserved to have them satisfied by caring men who never thought about this. Gloria Steinem made it clear to men that women also had interests, goals, and dreams about their lives that did NOT always revolve around marriage, housework and childcare.
Sandra Day O'Connor
Liberal on the Supreme Court
Sandra Day O’Connor, 3/26/30, was the first female justice to hold a position on the Supreme Court in the U.S. She served the country from 1981 until she stepped down in 2006 to spend time with her family. In 2001, Ladies Home Journal called her the most important woman in America. She was often the “swing vote” in important judicial decisions, which generally led her to critical responses, as her views became more conservative as she grew older. Her last vote on the court was on a controversial abortion case, Ayotte vs Planned Parenthood of New England. Although she did not always vote liberally, she did help to repeal outdated laws that made abortion a crime, as many more conservative states have been trying to repeal a woman’s right to choose what they can do with their own bodies. She continues to fill in and write opinions on cases as necessary.
Sir Elton John
Sir Elton John, Singer, Composer, and Humanitarian
Elton John, 3/27/47, or Sir Elton John, is an English songwriter, composer, rock singer, and pianist. His career spans forty years, and he is one of the most successful artists of all time. He has been a staunch activist for Aids ever since the disease became more widespread, and supports LGBTQ issues. He has been writing songs with friend Bernie Taupin for over thirty years now.
Elton has lost many dear friends, among them Gianni Versace and Princess Diana. He reworked a song to play at Wembley Stadium in her honor on what would have been her 46th birthday. Elton John has written many touching tunes over the years, and his music is well loved. He now plays Las Vegas shows, as he appeals to a broad audience. He also performed a piano duet with Lady Gaga at the 52nd Grammy Awards. John has won so many awards it is difficult to list them all, but gives generously of his personal belongings to charitable causes. He has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth for all his charity work.
Your Song, by Elton John.
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Jean Bakula