Feb. 8 — Kickstart your cake and candles, Vince Neil turns 60!
Born Vincent Neil Wharton (1961) in Glendale, Calif., he was recruited to join this new upstart band called Motley Crue after its drummer, Tommy Lee, saw Neil fronting the band Rock Candy in 1981. After a “decade of decadence” that included legendary partying and countless international diplomacy one gentlemen’s establishment at a time, the band fired Neil. His drinking and other sidelights had simply displaced the band. Neil released his Exposed solo album in 1993.
Breaking news: Ted Koppel (1940) is 81. Not a GenX’er, but the face and voice of Edward James Martin Koppel was on a lot of our TVs growing up as he anchored “Nightline” from 1980–2005.
Nick Nolte (1941) could have taught Vince Neil how to properly party. … Or maybe he did and that was the problem. Regardless, Nolte turns 80 today, having survived the post-production celebrations for films such as “North Dallas Forty” (1979), “48 Hours” (1982), “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” (1986), and more.
Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart (1955) made neon pink spandex look pretty good with the WWF/WWE in the ’80s. As one half of the Hart Foundation tag team with Bret “Hitman” Hart, he began as a shot putter (who held a high school record from 1975–85), made preseason rosters with the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys, and ventured into professional wrestling after his release from the Cowboys. Neidhart had early onset Alzheimer’s at age 63, when on Aug. 13, 2018, he died of a fall while adjusting his thermostat.
I better turn these updates into a novel before John Grisham (1955) does. His law career began in 1981 and fueled his writing career, beginning with The Firm in 1989. He’s written 35 full novels, a number of “children’s legal” stories, and completed several audiobooks.
“Sensational Sherri” Martel (1958) was one of the first ladies of professional wrestling when she joined the AWA in the mid-’80s and moving to the WWF in the later ’80s. Sherry Schrull, whose ring name was Martel, was just 49 when she died of a drug overdose on June 15, 2007.
Gary Coleman (1968) was America’s favorite little guy as a star of “Different Strokes” (1978–86). At just 4-foot-8, he was always undersized due to a kidney disease and the medications he took for it. He kept a chubby-cheeked, childlike countenance for most of his like, which underscored his signature line, “What’chyou talkin’ about?” whenever someone gave him some disturbing news. At age 42 on May 28, 2010, he passed away after a fall at his home.
Flo is 51. Stephanie Courtney (1970) was an improv actor in L.A. and earned roles in a number of lesser-known films before landing “Flo” with Progressive in 2008.
Seth Green (1974), 47, rose to prominence as Scotty, the all-too-pragmatic son of Dr. Evil in the “Austin Powers” franchise. But he’s played and voiced a number roles since, including Chris on “Family Guy.”