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Brandy: Fairy-tale Princess
Brandy Norwood has become the belle of her own ball, gaining fame as a chart-topping singer and the star of the sitcom ""Moesha,"" and finding her own Prince Charming.
As a little girl growing up in Mississippi, Brandy dreamed of stardom. By the time she was four years old, she had begun singing in her father's church choir. Encouraged by Brandy's undeniable talents, her dad began schooling her in a variety of musical styles and taking her to see concerts. She particularly enjoyed seeing Whitney Houston, whom she admired as a role model. When Brandy's father got a job in California, he began taking her and her brother, Ray J., on auditions. Ray got some parts, but Brandy didn't. At age 13, Brandy enrolled in Hollywood High School's performing arts program. She finally got her big break in the fall of 1993 when Atlantic Records â€” where she had unsuccessfully auditioned to be part of a girl band â€” offered her a recording contract. Her first album, the self-titlRead More
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Barbara Eden: TV's Genie
She was talented and lucky enough to land the lead role on the hit TV show ""I Dream of Jeannie,"" but in her personal life, Barbara Eden's wishes did not always come true.
As a child, Eden was painfully shy, due in part to a vision problem that forced her to wear an eye patch. Luckily, the girl's adoring mother drew her out of her shell by encouraging her to sing while they washed dishes together. After graduating from high school in 1949, Eden began to study music at a San Francisco college, but when she discovered the joy of acting classes, she found her true calling. In the early '50s, Eden relocated to Los Angeles to try her luck as an actress. After some lean days, Eden landed a recurring part on ""The Johnny Carson Show"" and then the classic comedy ""I Love Lucy."" Lucille Ball encouraged her to develop her natural comedic talents.
In the mid-1950s, Twentieth Century Fox signed Eden to a studio contract, and she appeared in a string of movies opposite such hRead More
Sharon Osbourne: Heavy-Metal Matriarch
London-born Sharon Osbourne (nÃ©e Arden) was the apple of her father's eye. Dad was a music manager who worked with rock icons such as Little Richard and Chuck Berry. At age 15, Osbourne quit school to work full-time for her father as a receptionist. At 23, the ambitious young woman packed her bags for Los Angeles to open another branch of dad's business. One of her first tasks was to collect money from recently fired metal sensation Ozzy Osbourne. When Osbourne found the rock star, he was strung out on alcohol and drugs and knocking on death's door. Sympathetic to his suffering because of her own struggles with alcohol, Osbourne decided to help Ozzy get back on his feet by managing his career.
In 1980, Ozzy released his first solo album, which went platinum. Despite being married, the newly crowned ""Prince of Darkness"" fell in love with his manager, who had turned his flailing career right side up. In 1981, Ozzy divorced his wife; the following yRead More
Elizabeth Taylor: Grand Dame of Hollywood
Elizabeth Taylor was born in London, but her family relocated to Los Angeles when she was young. Taylor's mother, a sometime stage actress, realized that her daughter's luminous face and smoldering violet eyes were just right for Hollywood and began taking the girl to auditions. At the age of nine, Taylor was cast in the film ""There's One Born Every Minute."" Three years later, she appeared in the 1944 movie ""National Velvet"" and became an international star overnight.
Barely an adolescent and already a screen icon, the radiant Taylor had the world's most eligible bachelors at her feet. She married her first husband, hotel heir Nicky Hilton, in 1950, but within a year his violent drinking put an end to the marriage. In 1951, Taylor married actor Michael Wilding, with whom she had two sons. Five years later, she divorced Wilding and married producer Mike Todd, a man twice her age. The couple welcomed the birth of daughter Liza, but their happineRead More
Jennifer Lopez: Do-It-All Diva
Jennifer Lynn Lopez, aka J.Lo, was born into a loving Puerto Rican family in the Bronx, New York. Her mother, a kindergarten teacher, passed on her love of musicals to her three daughters, who used to create productions of their own. The performing bug hit the middle Lopez daughter hard, so much so that the young J.Lo left Baruch College during her first year to pursue her passion full-time. It didn't take long for her auditioning to prove fruitful. In 1990, Lopez earned a spot as a Fly Girl, a dancer on the hit sketch comedy show ""In Living Color."" She packed her bags and moved to Los Angeles.
After two years as a Fly Girl, Lopez yearned for more. She left the show and became a backup dancer for Janet Jackson. She also scored minor roles in TV pilots. But her big break came in 1995, with a role in the movie ""Mi Familia,"" which was about an immigrant Mexican family. Lopez's well-received performance led to steady acting work. The novice then snagged theRead More
Diane Lane: A Star Is Reborn
It was Diane Lane's destiny to crave the spotlight: Her mother was an aspiring nightclub performer, and her father was an acting coach. These starry-eyed parents had dreams of Hollywood fame for their little girl, and at the age of six she was cast in an off-off-Broadway play about ancient Greek mythology. From then on, Lane spent summers traveling without her parents to appear in regional theater productions. At one show, the prepubescent thespian dazzled a Hollywood director, who cast her in 1979's ""A Little Romance,"" opposite the legendary Sir Laurence Olivier. At 14, she graced the cover of Time for a story on young breakout performers. Lane had a lot to live up to, and she certainly tried, working nonstop in movie after movie. Unfortunately, her films floundered at the box office â€” even the much-hyped ""The Cotton Club"" (1984) with heartthrob Richard Gere. After six years in show business and 13 films under her belt, the 18-year-old Lane decided to quiRead More
Suzanne Pleshette: Bold Broad
When Suzanne Pleshette first entered into the world, doctors were forced to take extraordinary steps to save her. Born without a heartbeat, she was given an adrenaline shot to get it started. That spark ignited the little girl who grew up to be a frank, feisty woman who led a glamorous life. Pleshette, the daughter of a ballerina and the head of a fabled New York theater, was destined for a life in entertainment. She enrolled in the ""Fame"" High School of the Performing Arts and went on to study at the legendary Neighborhood Playhouse. The aspiring actress soon began getting parts in plays, and soon won the role of a lifetime, replacing Ann Bancroft in the Broadway production of ""The Miracle Worker."" Pleshette fell for heartthrob Troy Donahue and the couple married in 1964, but the actor's alcoholism led to the dissolution of the marriage just nine months later. The sultry star soon took up with the very married David Janssen of TV's ""The Fugitive,"" but whRead More