June 30: Actress & "Singer" Lizzy Caplan is 29-years-old today.

Elizabeth Anne Caplan was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Caplan attended Alexander Hamilton High School, a public high school on Los Angeles's Westside, as a student at the school's prestigious Academy of Music, a performing arts program.

She decided to pursue drama after she lost interest in playing the piano. She starred in productions of Much Ado About Nothing and You Can't Take It with You.

Caplan began her television acting career in 1999 playing the minor role of Sara on the critically acclaimed series Freaks and Geeks, most memorably as a disco dancer in the episode "Discos and Dragons." Caplan had a series of guest appearances on numerous shows, and was a guest on The Sharon Osbourne Show. She also appeared in Jason Mraz's music video "You and I Both."

In 2001, she played freak of the week Tina Greer in an episode of Smallville, and reprised her role on the show in 2003. She appeared in two episodes of the ABC series Once and Again as Sarah, the ex-girlfriend of Mischa Barton's character, Katie Singer.

Although already an experienced actress, she gained notice in the 2004 movie Mean Girls, where she played the alternative-styled Janis Ian, named for the singer-songwriter. In 2003, she starred in the television series The Pitts, playing Faith Pitt. In the second season of Tru Calling, she played Avery Bishop, a friend of Tru Davies.

Caplan landed a starring role in 2005, playing Marjee Sorelli, the troubled sister in Related, a one-hour dramedy on The WB. The show was canceled after one season. In 2006, Caplan played the starring role of Sara Weller in Wesley Strick's thriller, Love is the Drug. She was named one of “10 Actors to Watch” that year by Daily Variety.

After Related ended, Caplan was cast in the CBS sitcom The Class, which premiered on September 18, 2006, and lasted one season. She played Kat Warbler, one of several elementary-school friends that reunite after 20 years.

Caplan, along with Jason Ritter, presented a People's Choice Award for Favorite Soundtrack From a Movie in January 2007. She appeared with her The Class co-star Heather Goldenhersh on the talk show The View in early 2007.

In 2008, Caplan appeared in the film Cloverfield playing Marlena Diamond, and was nominated for a Saturn award as Best Supporting Actress. She also appeared in the romantic comedy My Best Friend's Girl playing Ami, the roommate of Kate Hudson's character Alexis.

She is the voice of Faith Pitt in the animated version of The Pitts, released in 2009. In 2008, Caplan guest starred on the vampire-themed HBO show True Blood in a multiple-episode story arc as Amy Burley, the drug-addled girlfriend of Sookie Stackhouse's brother, Jason.

Caplan also appeared in the recently cancelled, yet critically acclaimed Starz ensemble comedy Party Down, playing a struggling comedienne who is part of a catering crew.

In 2010, she appeared in 127 Hours, a film directed by Danny Boyle. Based on a true story, Caplan played the sister of hiker Aron Ralston, played by James Franco, who was forced to amputate his own arm after being trapped by a boulder.

Caplan will appear in the new TV comedy New Girl starring Zooey Deschanel.


June 30: Lena Horne was born on this date in 1917...

... she died on May 9, 2010 at the age of 92.

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. Her mother, Edna Scottron, daughter of inventor Samuel R. Scottron, was an actress with a black theatre troupe and traveled extensively. Lena was raised by her grandparents, Cora Calhoun and Edwin Horne.

In 1933, Horne joined the chorus line of the Cotton Club in New York City. In the spring of 1934, she had a featured role in the Cotton Club Parade starring Adelaide Hall who took Lena under her wing. A few years later she joined Noble Sissle's Orchestra, with which she toured and with whom she recorded her first record release, a 78rpm single issued by Decca Records.

After she separated from her first husband, Horne toured with bandleader Charlie Barnet in 1940–41, but disliked the travel and left the band to work at the Café Society in New York. She replaced Dinah Shore as the featured vocalist on NBC's popular jazz series The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street. The show's resident maestros, Henry Levine and Paul Laval, recorded with Horne in June 1941 for RCA Victor. Horne left the show after only six months to headline a nightclub revue on the west coast.

The Essential Lena Horne: The Rca YearsAt the Waldorf Astoria / At the Sands

Horne already had two low-budget movies to her credit: a 1938 musical feature called The Duke is Tops (later reissued with Horne's name above the title as The Bronze Venus); and a 1941 two-reel short subject, Boogie Woogie Dream. Horne was primarily a nightclub performer during this period, and it was during a 1943 club engagement in Hollywood that talent scouts approached Horne to work in pictures. She chose Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and became the first black performer to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio.

In November 1944 she was featured in an episode of the popular radio series, Suspense, as a fictional nightclub singer, with a large speaking role along with her singing. In 1945 and 1946 she sang with Billy Eckstine's Orchestra.

She made her debut with MGM in Panama Hattie in 1942, and the following year, performed the title song of Stormy Weather based loosely on the life of Adelaide Hall. 

Published in the Feb.1944 issue of Esquire
She appeared in a number of MGM musicals, most notably Cabin in the Sky, but was never featured in a leading role because of her race and the fact that films featuring her had to be re-edited for showing in states where theaters could not show films with black performers.

As a result, most of Horne's film appearances were stand-alone sequences that had no bearing on the rest of the film, so editing caused no disruption to the storyline. Cabin in the Sky was a notable exception since it was an all-black musical; although one number was cut because it was considered too suggestive by the censors.

"Ain't it the Truth" was the song (and scene) cut before the release of the film Cabin in the Sky. It featured Horne singing "Ain't it the Truth," while taking a bubble bath - considered too "risqué" by the film's executives. This scene and song are featured in the film That's Entertainment! III (1994) which also featured commentary from Horne on why the scene was deleted prior to the film's release.

She was blacklisted during the 1950s for her political views. By the mid-1950s, Horne was disenchanted with Hollywood and increasingly focused on her nightclub career.

She only made two major appearances in MGM films during the decade, 1950's Duchess of Idaho, and the 1956 musical Meet Me in Las Vegas. She returned to the screen three more times, playing chanteuse Claire Quintana in the 1969 film Death of a Gunfighter, Glinda in The Wiz (film), and co-hosting the 1994 MGM retrospective That's Entertainment! III, in which she was candid about her treatment by the studio.

Returning to her roots as a nightclub performer, Horne took part in the March on Washington in August 1963, and continued to work as a performer, both in nightclubs and on television, while releasing well-received record albums.

Lena Horne announced her retirement in March 1980, but the next year starred in a one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, which ran for more than three hundred performances on Broadway and earned her numerous awards and accolades. She continued recording and performing sporadically into the 1990s, disappearing from the public eye in 2000.

In January 2005, Blue Note Records, her label for more than a decade, put out a collection of rare and unreleased recordings by Horne made during her time on Blue Note. Remixed by her longtime producer Rodney Jones, the record includes versions of such signature songs as "Something to Live For," "Chelsea Bridge," and "Stormy Weather." The album, originally titled Soul but renamed Seasons of a Life, was released on January 24, 2006.

The 83rd Academy Awards presented a tribute to Horne by actress Halle Berry at the ceremony held February 27, 2011.


June 29: Nicole Scherzinger, Pussycat Dolls, "Don't 'Cha,"" "Dancing with the Stars," is 32 today.

Born Nicole Prescovia Elikolani Valiente Scherzinger in Honolulu,  Hawaii, and growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, Nicole has a long resume for performing. She is a singer, songwriter, dancer and occasional actress who is best known as the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls, a judge on "Sing Off" and a winner on "Dancing with the Stars."
Scherzinger began performing in Louisville, attending the Youth Performing Arts School at duPont Manual High School and performing with Actors Theatre of Louisville. As a teenager, Scherzinger was the first runner-up at the 1996 Kentucky State Fair's Coca-Cola Talent Classic contest. Nicole majored in acting and musical theatre at Wright State University, where she played Velma Kelly in Chicago and Julie La Verne in Show Boat. She put her studies on hold in 1999 to sing backup vocals for the rock band Days of the New.
In 2001, Scherzinger competed in the premiere season of The WB's television show Popstars, on which she earned a spot in the all-girl pop group Eden's Crush. She became one of the main vocalists for the group. Their 2001 US single "Get Over Yourself (Goodbye)" peaked at number one in sales and hit the top ten on Billboard Hot 100.

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PcdCome to MeDoll Domination

Eden's Crush

After Eden's Crush disbanded, Scherzinger made a few promotional solo appearances under the stage name of Nicole Kea, including covering "Breakfast in Bed" for the soundtrack to 50 First Dates in 2003.
She then worked with Yoshiki of Japanese rock band X Japan on his Violet UK project. She sang the English version of "I'll Be Your Love" live with the Tokyo Symphonic Orchestra. The track also appeared on the 2003 album Exposition of Global Harmony.

In May 2003, she joined the Pussycat Dolls and became the lead vocalist during the transition to a popular music group.  Other members of The Pussycat Dolls are Carmit Bachar, Melody Thornton, Ashley Roberts, Jessica Sutta and Kimberly Wyatt.
The Pussycat Dolls 2006 debut album PCD went double-platinum in America and sold over 9 million copies worldwide, with several Top 10 hit songs, including "Don't Cha," "Buttons," and "Stickwitu."

Following the success of PCD, Scherzinger recorded a series of duets and guest vocal appearances with artists such as P.Diddy, 50 Cent, Timbaland, Vittorio and several others. She also released two solo singles and videos before recording the second Pussycat Dolls Album Doll Domination, which has sold over 5 million copies, and contains hits like "When I Grow Up," and "I Hate This Part."

In 2009, Nicole wrote and recorded an adaptation of the AR Rahman Song "Jai Ho" from the film "Slumdog Millionaire." The song went #1 in 17 countries.

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Baby Love Whatever UPopstars


Scherzinger is currently writing and recording new songs for release in 2010, while pursuing her love for acting and musical theater. She was the winner of "Dancing with the Stars" in May 2010. She also starred in "Rent" as Maureen at the Hollywood Bowl, directed by Neil Patrick Harris (and also starring High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens as drug-addled, HIV-positive stripper Mimi. )
Over the past five years Scherzinger was ranked Maxim's Hot 100 in 2006 and 2007 she ranked at twenty-two and twenty-one respectively. In 2008 she ranked at number nineteen along with the Pussycat Dolls. In 2009, she ranked at number forty-nine, and in 2010 landed at number twenty-four.


June 28: "Promise Me" singer-songwriter Beverley Craven is 48-years-old today.

British singer-songwriter Beverley Craven is best known for her 1991 UK Top 5 hit single "Promise Me.” Her most recent album, Close To Home, was released in 2009. Craven has sold over 4 million records in her career.

Craven was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. When she was two, her family returned to Hertfordshire. She began taking piano lessons at the age of seven encouraged by her mother who was a classical violinist. She was also an accomplished swimmer during her teens and competed in several local and national swimming competitions around the UK.

When she was a teenager, Craven started buying records by singer-songwriters such as Elton John, Judi Tzuke, Stevie Wonder and Kate Bush, all of whom influenced her music.

At 18 she left school and her home and worked in a number of odd jobs. When she was 22, Craven decided to strike out on her own as a piano-playing singer and songwriter.

Following a brief stint touring with soul singer Bobby Womack, she recorded her first set of demos and attracted the attention of Go West’s manager, John Glover. He secured a major music publishing deal for her with Warner Brothers. A development contract with Epic records followed.

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The Very Best Of Beverley Craven

In November 1988 she was sent to Los Angeles to work with established songwriters and played in bars and restaurants. She made her first attempt to record her debut album with Stewart Levine of Simply Red fame, but the record never materialized. She went on to record with Paul Samwell-Smith, whose other production credits included Cat Stevens, Carly Simon and All About Eve.

The album, Beverley Craven was eventually released in July 1990 and, although it initially failed attract attention in the United Kingdom it found acceptance in Europe.

It was not until April 1991 that she found success in her homeland. A re-released "Promise Me" was heavily promoted and eventually peaked at #3 in the UK singles chart, becoming her biggest hit. This success helped her debut album also chart at #3 in the UK, staying charted for over a year in the UK and eventually going double platinum in that country. The album sold more than 1.2 million copies worldwide. Other singles released to promote the album, including "Holding On" and "Woman To Woman" were less successful.

In 1992 she released a videotape titled Memories, recorded live at the Birmingham Symphony Hall. Later in February 1992, Craven performed at the Brit Awards show - following her nomination in three categories - winning the Best British Newcomer Award. She was eight months pregnant when she sang at the Brits and she gave birth to her first child, Mollie, less than a month later.

Craven spent much of 1992 as a new mother and recorded her second album. Love Scenes, again produced by Paul Samwell-Smith, was eventually released in September 1993. It peaked at #4 on the United Kingdom charts, but overall was much less successful than her debut, spending only 13 weeks on the charts.

It did contain three singles, "Love Scenes," "Mollie's Song" - written for her daughter - and a cover of Abba's "The Winner Takes It All." These singles only became minor hits, with only the title track reaching the UK top 40.

In 1993 she embarked on a twelve-date concert tour, and the following Christmas played a sell-out show at the Royal Albert Hall.

Craven took a five-year hiatus after giving birth to two more daughters, and it was not until 1999 that she released her third album, Mixed Emotions. Craven recorded the album in her home studio and for the first time produced the record herself. The album peaked at #46 in the UK, spending two weeks on the charts.

The albums lead single, "I Miss You" was only released as a promo single as the label refused to release it commercially. Also in 1999, Craven contributed lead vocals on the song "The Very Last Time,” included on the album The Time Machine, by Alan Parsons. After promotion for her album ended, Craven left Epic Records and retired from the music industry.

In 2004 The Very Best of Beverley Craven compilation album was released, and Craven embarked on a comeback to promote the record, making a handful of live concert appearances. Shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Following treatment, she returned to the stage in 2006.

In March 2009, Craven released her first album in ten years, Close To Home, fully written and produced by herself. She released it on her own record label and sold it initially through her website and at concerts, although later in the year she made it available for purchase on online retailers and on digital outlets. The song "Rainbows," was released as a digital download single, and she filmed a video clip of the song.

Craven released a live DVD, titled Live In Concert in August 2010, as well as a songbook later in the year featuring songs from her four albums.

Craven is now working on an autobiography.


June 27: Country music singer Lorrie Morgan is 52-years-old today.

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Loretta Lynn "Lorrie" Morgan was born in Nashville, Tennessee. Her father, George Morgan, was a country music singer who charted several hit singles between 1949 and his death in 1975. Lorrie charted her first single in 1978, although she did not break into the top of the U.S. country charts until her 1989 single, "Trainwreck of Emotion."

Since then, she has charted more than 25 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts, with three number one hits: "Five Minutes," "What Part of No" and "I Didn't Know My Own Strength."

She has also recorded more than 15 studio albums and sold over 6 million records worldwide.

Morgan made her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry at age 13, performing Fred Spielman and Janice Torre's "Paper Roses." After her father died in 1975, she took over his band at age 16 and began leading the group. In the mid-1970s, she disbanded the group, and in 1977 she joined the Little Roy Wiggins band.

She then became a receptionist and demo singer at Acuff-Rose Music, where she also wrote songs. In the late 1970s, she was the featured vocalist on a morning television show hosted by Ralph Emery, on Nashville's WSM-TV.

Morgan had one minor hit single in 1978; the following year she recorded another minor hit with "I'm Completely Satisfied With You," an electronically dubbed duet with her late father. She began touring Nashville nightclubs and opened for a number of acts, including Jack Greene, Billy Thunderkloud and Jeannie Seely. She toured as a duet partner with George Jones and spent two years as part of the Opryland USA bluegrass show and as a regular singer on TNN's Nashville Now.

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A Moment in Time

In 1984, Morgan scored a minor hit with "Don't Go Changing." That year she became the youngest singer ever to join the Grand Ole Opry. Four years later, she signed with RCA Records, her first major label. Her first album on that label, Leave the Light On, was released in 1989.

In 1990, Morgan had her first number one single, "Five Minutes." Morgan's second album, Something in Red, was released in 1991 and went platinum. Watch Me, her third album, was released on RCA's newest label, BNA Records; it contained the number-one single, "What Part of No." Watch Me also was certified platinum, making Morgan the first female country artist to have three albums in a row to be certified platinum.

In 1994 she was voted "Female Vocalist of the Year" by the fans in TNN's Music City News Awards. She would earn this honor again in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Morgan also appeared on Frank Sinatra's Duets II album, singing a version of "How Do You Keep the Music Playing" intertwined with Sinatra's "My Funny Valentine."

Morgan's Greatest Hits album, which produced her third and, to date, last number-one single in the song "I Didn't Know My Own Strength," was released in 1995. The next year, Morgan was featured on the Beach Boys' now out-of-print album, Stars and Stripes Vol. 1, performing a cover of their 1964 hit, "Don't Worry Baby." The Beach Boys provided the harmonies and backing vocals. Lorrie appeared on the 2006 album She Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool: A Tribute to Barbara Mandrell.

Lorrie's album A Moment in Time was released on October 27, 2009, on the Stroudavarious label. It features 14 covers of traditional country favorites. Lorrie released her new album I Walk Alone on iTunes and Amazon download December 2010.

In 2010 Morgan appeared on Broadway in the show Pure Country. She played Lula, the manager of the lead character Dusty, played by fellow country artist Joe Nichols.