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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 24, 1969

Welcome to another thrilling installment of the Tuesday Timeline!

It is Tuesday, July 24, 2012, and we're going to take a look at all of the exciting events that have taken place on this date. Today we're going to feature a woman who happens to be celebrating a birthday today, and we'll be discussing her life, her career, and her many romantic dalliances over the years. Won't that be exciting?

Of course, we should really talk about some of the other happenings that have taken place on this date. And, since today we're featuring someone who is celebrating a birthday today, let's take a look at some other famous people who have a July 24 birthday. Celebrating a birthday today are John Aniston, Doug Sanders, Ruth Buzzi, Mark Goddard, Walt Bellamy, Dan Hedaya, Chris Sarandon, Robert Hays, Michael Richards, Arliss Ryan, Lynda Carter, Gus Van Sant, Pat Finn, Pam Tillis, Paul Geary, Karl Malone, Barry Bonds, Kadeem Hardison, Kristen Chenowith, Laura Leighton, Rick Fox, John Partridge, Eric Szmanda, Torrie Wilson, Rose Byrne, Summer Glau, Anna Paquin, Mara Wilson, Daveigh Chase, and Bindi Irwin.

And, here are some of the historical events that have taken place on July 24.

1148 – Louis VII of France lays siege to Damascus during Second Crusade

1411 – Battle of Harlaw takes place in Scotland

1487 – The townspeople of Leeuwarden, Netherlands strike against ban of foreign beer

1534 – French explorer Jacques Cartier plants a cross on Gaspe peninsula and takes possession of the land in the name of Francis I

1567 – Mary, Queen of Scots, abdicates throne, her son James VI takes over at the tender age of one year old

1823 – Slavery is abolished in Chile

1847 – Brigham Young leads 148 Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley, which leads to the founding of Salt Lake City, Utah

1901 – American writer O. Henry is released from prison after serving three years for embezzlement from a bank

1911 – Hiram Bingham III rediscovers Machu Picchu

1915 – The S.S. Eastland capsizes in the Chicago River, killing over eight hundred people

1923 – The Treaty of Lausanne is signed in Switzerland

1927 – The Menin Gate war memorial is unveiled at Ypres

1929 – The Kellogg-Briand pact goes into effect, almost a year after being signed

1935 – Temperatures reach 109 in Chicago, and 104 in Milwaukee during the dust bowl heat wave

1937 – The state of Alabama drops rape charges against the “Scottsboro Boys”

1943 – World War II's Operation Gomorrah begins; by the end of it all, 30,000 are left dead, and almost 300,000 structures are destroyed

1950 – Cape Canaveral Air Force Station begins operations

1959 – U.S. Vice-President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev have a “Kitchen Debate” in Moscow

1967 – In Montreal, Quebec, French President Charles de Gaulle makes the statement “Vive le Quebec libre!” (which loosely translated meant “Long live free Quebec”) angers Canadian government and English-speaking Canadians after they interpreted it as a statement supporting Quebec independence

1974 – Richard Nixon is ordered to surrender subpoenaed White House tapes during the height of the Watergate scandal

1980 – Actor Peter Sellers passes away at the age of 54

1982 – Heavy rains washes out a bridge in Nagasaki, Japan, killing 299

1983 – George Brett ends up having a game-winning home run nullified as a result of the “Pine Tar Incident”

1998 – Russell Eugene Weston Jr. bursts into U.S. Capitol and kills two police officers

2002 – James Traficant is expelled from the U.S. House of Representatives in a vote of 420-1

2005 – Cyclist Lance Armstrong wins his seventh consecutive Tour de France

That's quite an eclectic list of happenings for today, wouldn't you say?

So, where are we going to go back in time today?

Well, we're going back to July 24, 1969. It was four days after man first walked on the moon, and it was the same day that Apollo 11 landed back on Earth safely. And, keeping on with the space theme (albeit loosely), a star just happened to be born on this date 43 years ago.

Some of you may know her as Jennifer, others may know her as Jenny from the block, and some may just simply call her J.Lo.

Whatever the case, today's blog subject is 43-year-old singer/actress Jennifer Lopez.

These days, you may know her for a variety of things. You might know her from the various television and movie projects she worked on (and continues to work on) for years. Some of you may know her from the music career that she has embarked on since the late 1990s. Some of you may remember her from the various public relationships that she has had over the years. And, some of you may recall that she served on the judging panel of the singing competition “American Idol” for two seasons.

Oh, and some of you might remember this dress.

Of course, there's a lot more to this lady than her entertainment connections and tabloid gossip. Her life story, as well as what she did to make it big in the world of music and film is really quite inspirational.

Jennifer Lynn Lopez was born in The Bronx, New York, in the Castle Hill neighbourhood of the New York City borough. Her parents were originally from Puerto Rico, and together they had three children, Leslie, Jennifer, and Lynda.

TRIVIA: Jennifer's younger sister Lynda is now a journalist, and won an Emmy Award in 2001.

Jennifer's father, David, worked the night shift at the Guardian Insurance Company, and later became a computer technician for the firm. Her mother, Guadalupe was a homemaker. At the time of Jennifer's birth, the Lopez family was crammed together in a tiny apartment in the Bronx, but by the time Jennifer was old enough to start school, the family was able to move into a two-story house.

Jennifer's love of performing seemed to begin at an early age. At five, Jennifer began to take lessons in both singing and dancing, something that was encouraged by both of her least at that time. Jennifer spent her entire schooling career in the Catholic school system, where she graduated from Preston High School in 1987. While she was in school, Jennifer excelled in athletics, participating in her school's softball team, gymnastics, and track and field.

Around the time of her final year of high school, Jennifer Lopez received her first taste of acting in a motion picture when she heard about an audition for a film that was looking at casting several young girls for roles. The film was 1986's “My Little Girl”, and it ended up being her first acting role, winning the part of Myra. After appearing in the film, Jennifer decided that she liked it enough to want to pursue a career as an actress. She did try to go to college, but dropped out after a semester because she really wanted to pursue her dream. When she told her parents about her dream, they weren't exactly supportive of it, and told her that no Latino ever dropped out of school and became an actress. As a result, Jennifer left the family home to pursue her dream.

After performing in various musicals all around New York City for a few years, Jennifer took on a job in Japan on the television show “Synchronicity”, where she danced, sang, and did the choreography for the dance numbers. And in 1991, Jennifer ended up landing a job as a backup dancer while on tour with the New Kids on the Block, even appearing with them on the American Music Awards when they performed their hit single “Games”. Just weeks later, Jennifer Lopez landed another high-profile gig when she was cast as a “Fly Girl” on the FOX sketch comedy show “In Living Color” after one of the original Fly Girls had left.

For Jennifer, getting that gig was a lucky break. She had entered a contest to become the newest Fly Girl, but she came in second. But after the winner was unable to accept the job, Jennifer received the role. She stayed on the show until 1993, after which she became a backup dancer for Janet Jackson. In fact, if you watch Janet's video for “That's The Way That Love Goes” (which hit the top of the charts in the spring of 1993), you can see Jennifer in the video. Have a look!

Now Jennifer was asked to go on tour with Janet Jackson on her Janet World Tour, but she declined the offer, wishing to pave her own way to stardom. She starred in a direct-to-video film (Lost in the Wild), and starred in the short-lived dramas “Second Chances”, and “Hotel Malibu”. Things started off slowly for Jennifer, but by 1996, she would end up getting her big break.

After appearing in “My Family” and “Jack”, Jennifer Lopez received the role that would change her life forever. In 1996, a movie was being made about the short life of Tejano singer Selena, who was tragically shot to death by the president of her fan club in the spring of 1995, and Lopez was given the role of Selena. Initially, with word that Lopez was cast in the role, many Mexican-Americans were highly critical of the choice, stating that they felt that casting a New York City native born to Puerto Rican parents was not being true to Selena's roots, and they felt that casting a Mexican-American actress would have been better.

But when they saw the movie upon its release in 1997, the same critics were so blown away by Jennifer's performance that they immediately recanted their criticism. Although the songs that were featured in the movie were Selena's own recordings that Lopez lip-synched, critics loved Jennifer Lopez in the role, and they felt that she did a phenomenal job in the role. She was even nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her performance in “Selena”, and it really kick-started her acting career.

More movies followed. “Anaconda”, “U Turn”, “Out of Sight”, and “Antz” kept Jennifer Lopez busy throughout 1997 and 1998. In addition to that, Jennifer Lopez planned a launch for a fashion line (which became a reality in 2001), which inevitably ended up giving Jennifer her most known nickname, “J.Lo”.

Now, you'd think that would be enough to keep Jennifer Lopez happy, but Jennifer wanted to do more. So when people kept asking her in interviews if she was thinking of pursuing a music career after filming “Selena”, it got her thinking about how she got started in the entertainment business. All the musicals she sang in, and all the dancing she had done had made her happy, and she figured that now that she was a household name, she may as well attempt a singing career as well.

She released a Spanish-language demo shortly after filming for “Selena” was completed, “Vevir Sin Ti”, and sent the song to Sony Music's Work Records, who immediately became interested in signing the star. Tommy Mottola, who headed the company, suggested that Lopez do an English language album, and Jennifer agreed. When Jennifer expressed interest in doing an album that blended Latin music, R&B, and pop, which seemed to scare the record executives, but Jennifer stuck to her guns, wanting to prove herself in the world of music.

Luckily, Jennifer's timing could not have been more perfect, as 1999 was the year of the Latin explosion in the world of pop music. Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, Marc Anthony, and Carlos Santana all had hits that year, and Jennifer's debut single in May 1999 certainly fit the bill.

ARTIST: Jennifer Lopez
SONG: If You Had My Love
ALBUM: On The 6
DATE RELEASED: May 4, 1999

TRIVIA: The name of the album, “On The 6” came from the subway line that she used to ride on when she was a girl growing up in the Bronx.

The album “On The 6” was released in June 1999, and it became a huge success. As you've seen above, the debut single managed to top the charts for five weeks, and stayed in the Top 10 until September 11, 1999. That's quite a long stay, and a great success for a debut single. Over the next few years, she would eventually release six more albums, and would have a number of hit singles including “Waiting For Tonight”, “Love Don't Cost A Thing”, “I'm Real”, “Jenny From The Block”, “Get Right”, and “On The Floor”.

Jennifer Lopez also never gave up her acting career either, as she ended up acting in a wide array of movies. Mind you, some were clunkers (I'm thinking of “Gigli” as a prime example of this), but some were good too. She made such films as “The Cell”, “The Wedding Planner”, “Enough”, “Maid In Manhattan”, “Monster-in-Law”, “The Back-Up Plan”, and recently, “What to Expect When You're Expecting”.

As well, Jennifer Lopez's love life seems to garner a lot of interest (not from me personally, as I don't really care who dates who in the world of Hollywood). But she's had some high profile romances. She's been married three times in her life. Once to Ojani Noa, once to Cris Judd, and once to “You Sang To Me” singer Marc Anthony. It is with the latter that she ended up giving birth to her two children, twins Max and Emme.

I'm sure that her naming her children after the human characters on the PBS show “Dragon Tales” was just a coincidence.

Sadly, all three of those marriages ended in divorce (of course, you probably already knew that about the first two), but she's reportedly dating a man named Casper Smart who is nearly half her age. Hey, more power to her. 

And, of course, we can't forget her relationship with Ben Affleck (affectionately dubbed Bennifer in the media). For a few years, these two were hot and heavy...well, until Ben and Jennifer called it off, and he hooked up with Jennifer Garner (Bennifer 2.0). Oh, and of course there's her relationship with Sean “Puff Daddy P. Diddy Diddy” Combs, which was a lovely affair...until a steady stream of bullets over midtown Manhattan caused the relationship to dissolve. Google Jennifer Lopez and December 27, 1999 for more information on that strange incident if you want to learn more.

Anyway, relationships aside, Jennifer Lopez has worn many hats in her 43 years. She's been a singer, a dancer, an actress, a fashion icon, a mother, a wife, a talent show judge, and an entrepreneur. She very well could be the 21st century version of a renaissance woman.

And she was born 43 years ago today, on July 24, 1969.

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