Inspired by a former president, Shirley Jones can’t wait to jump into her birthday plans. The Oscar-winning actress and singer says she’ll take her very first skydive on Monday – her 80th birthday.
“That’s something I wanted to do all my life,” Jones said. The inspiration to try comes from former President George H.W. Bush’s jumps on several birthdays, including when he turned 85 in 2009.
“When I saw him do it I thought, ‘Wow, if he can do this, I can,’ ” Jones said.
Jones, who starred in TV’s “The Partridge Family” in the 1970s, gained fame with the 1950s film versions of the Broadway musicals “Oklahoma!” and “Carousel.” She won an Oscar for the 1960 drama “Elmer Gantry.”
She will be jumping in tandem with an instructor in Perris, a popular Southern California skydiving spot.
Her husband, comedian Marty Ingels, was taken aback when she suggested it but has since come around, Jones said. Her children, not so much. She quoted her oldest son, Shaun Cassidy, as saying, “Mom, what’s the matter with you? Why would you want to do this at your age?”
Morgan bows out with plea on guns
CNN host Piers Morgan issued one last plea for U.S. gun control as he wrapped up his show’s three-year run.
Morgan devoted the prime-time show’s final minutes Friday night to the issue that he said has been a “consistent and often very controversial” part of “Piers Morgan Live.”
The British-born host cited gun violence statistics and expressed dismay that mass shootings including those in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., haven’t led to stricter laws.
Morgan blamed politicians that he said had been bullied into “cowardly” silence by a gun lobby led by the National Rifle Association.
Piers concluded with remarks addressed to his critics.
“To those who claim my gun control campaign has been anti-American, well, the reverse is true. I’m so pro-American I want more of you to stay alive,” he said, adding, “Now it’s down to you.”
Morgan is a former U.K. tabloid editor who reinvented himself as a TV personality with stints as a judge on “Britain’s Got Talent” and its U.S. spinoff, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” and as a contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice.”
In 2011, he succeeded longtime CNN host Larry King in the 9 p.m. Eastern time slot, but drew increasingly paltry ratings. He has said that CNN’s audience tired of hearing a Brit weigh in American cultural issues.
The birthday bunch
Game show host Peter Marshall is 88. Actor Richard Dysart is 85. Actor John Astin is 84. Actor-director Warren Beatty is 77. Rock musician Graeme Edge (The Moody Blues) is 73. Rock musician Eric Clapton is 69. Actor Robbie Coltrane is 64. Actor Paul Reiser is 57. Rap artist MC Hammer is 51. Singer Tracy Chapman is 50. Singer Celine Dion is 46. Actor Mark Consuelos is 43. Singer Norah Jones is 35.