January 3- Victoria Principal is best known for her role as Pamela Barnes Ewing on the CBS nighttime soap opera Dallas (1978–1987), which centered on a wealthy and feuding Texan family. She began her career in TV commercials at age five. In 1972, Principal won her first film role in Paul Newman’s The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, after which she appeared in The Naked Ape (1973) and posed in the nude in Playboy magazine to promote the film. In 1974, she was cast in the disaster film Earthquake. After she left Dallas in 1987, Principal starred in various made-for-television movies such as Mistress, Blind Witness, Naked Lie, Sparks: The Price of Passion, and Don’t Touch My Daughter, a few of which she co-produced. In 1987, she began her own production company, Victoria Principal Productions, producing mostly movies for television. In 1989 she created a self-named line of skin-care products, Principal Secret. In 1995, she was named “Entertainment Business Woman of the Year” by the National Association of Women Business Owners. In January 2011, Principal launched a line of jewelry called Keys & Hearts. She became a best-selling author, writing three books about beauty, skin care and health.
January 16- Debbie Allen is perhaps best known for her character on the 1982–1987 musical-drama television series Fame, where she portrayed dance teacher Lydia Grant and served as the series’ principal choreographer. For her role, Allen was nominated for the Emmy Award for Best Actress four times during the show’s run. She first began receiving critical attention in 1980 for her role of Anita in the Broadway revival of West Side Story which earned her a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award, and in the title role of Bob Fosse’s Sweet Charity, for which she received a second Tony Award nomination in 1986. In 2008 Allen directed the all-African-American Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. She currently teaches young dancers and taught choreography to former Los Angeles Lakers cheerleader-turned-choreographer-and-singer, Paula Abdul. Allen has released two solo albums, 1986’s Sweet Charity and 1989’s Special Look. The younger sister of actress/director/singer Phylicia Rashad, Allen is a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
January 23 – Richard Dean Anderson rose to prominence as the lead actor in the television series MacGyver (1985–1992). Angus MacGyver was an action hero who was notable for using a Swiss Army knife instead of a firearm as his weapon and tool of choice. Anderson later produced two follow-up movies to MacGyver, in 1994. After the cancellation of the TV version of MacGyver, he complained that “MacGyver was seven years of being in virtually every frame that was shot and having absolutely no life at all.” Anderson later appeared in films, including Through the Eyes of a Killer (1992), Pandora’s Clock (1996) and Firehouse (1997). In 1997, he returned to television as the lead actor of the series Stargate SG-1, a spin-off of the 1994 film Stargate. Since 1997, the only film Anderson has starred in is Stargate: Continuum (2008).He has supported Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization trying to stop water pollution and is on the Board of Trustees for Challengers Boys and Girls Club, a youth organization. He also supports various Sclerosis Society nonprofit organizations and the Special Olympics. In recent years, he has helped several environmental organizations around the world.
January 29 – Ann Jillian is known for her role as Cassie Cranston on the 1980s sitcom It’s a Living, which elevated Jillian to sex symbol status. After being canceled, the show become a surprise success in syndication. When Jillian was 35, she made headlines when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, after which she became a vocal advocate for cancer research and prevention. Her treatment, including a double mastectomy, was chronicled in the top-rated 1988 made-for-TV film, The Ann Jillian Story, in which Jillian portrayed herself. She started acting in 1960 in the Disney film Babes in Toyland, and in 1962, in the movie version of Gypsy. TV appearances in the 1960s and 1970s included a regular role on the 1960s sitcom Hazel (1965–66 season). In 1983, Jillian was recognized for her achievements within the entertainment industry as a child actress. In the late 1970s she toured in musical comedies including Sugar Babies on Broadway with Mickey Rooney. TV appearances include portraying Mae West in a 1982 made-for-TV film. She appeared in six of Bob Hope’s TV specials, including entertaining U.S. troops stationed in Beirut (1984) and Saudi Arabia (1991). She displayed her athletic abilities on three Battle of the Network Stars specials and a Circus of the Stars special and appeared in the charity extravaganza Night of 100 Stars. In 1985 the producers of It’s a Living made the relatively unheard-of decision to resume production of the series, by then a couple years off the air, for the USA cable network, and Jillian was contractually obligated to return to the series. Today, she mostly works as a motivational speaker and also performs as a singer in corporate and symphony “pops” circles.