Wilmywood Celebrates Stars Who Give Back

by April Vickery

We all love big name stars for not only the art they create but the energy the productions they are on bring to Wilmington and surrounding areas. This week, we celebrate the birthdays of three actors who are linked in more ways than just having seen the Cape Fear River and Blue Ridge Mountains.

gary_siniseFirst up is Gary Sinise who filmed the Academy Award winning film The Green Mile (1999) in scenic North Carolina. Not only is he the owner of awards in his craft of acting (he has both Emmy and Golden Globe Awards) Mr. Sinise was made an honorary U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer for his efforts in helping veterans. This great man and actor was named an honorary Marine by the Commandant of the Marine Corps as well. He is the National Spokesperson for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial and devotes hours to other veterans’ service organizations. He has done numerous USO tours with his band Lt. Dan Band, named after his character in Forrest Gump. He celebrates his 59th birthday on March 17th.

queen latifahOur next Happy Birthday wish goes another actor with a big heart and music chops. She is Dana Owens. You may know her as non other than Queen Latifah. The rapper turned actor also has, “producer”, “model” and now “talk show host” on her ever growing resume. Queen Latifah graced North Carolina with her talent for the 2008 film Secret Life of Bees in Lumberton and Watha. While she was filming, she was known to stop in at local businesses in Wilmywood where her friendly demeanor showcased the meaning behind her stage name “Latifah” which is said to mean “Delicate” and “Very Kind”. Queen Latifah later shared the screen another Wilmywood love, Katie Holmes in the film Mad Money. Recently, at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, Queen Latifah offiated a simultaneous wedding of 34 couples.
On Tuesday the 18th, she will be 44 years old.

bruce-willisMy final birthday shout out for this week goes to a man who gets better action roles with age. The one and only, Bruce Willis. Luckily for Wilmywood, Mr. Willis gave up work as a security guard and private investigator to and decided to pursue acting. His career choice led him to Wilmington for the 1997 film Jackal.


In the challenge of “Six Degrees of Wilmywood,” Bruce would be the actor everyone would want! He has been in over 60 films and can be linked to other Wilmywood stars like Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta. Much like the other folks in this week’s shout out, he has earned his share of Emmy’s and a Golden Globe, records his own music with The Accelerators Band who performed a USO tour in 2003 and gives back when he can. Bruce once purchased 12,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies from his youngest daughter’s troop to send to troops stationed in the Middle East in 2002. March 19th marks the birthday of this honorable gentleman. He will be celebrating #59.

Happy birthday from Wilmywood!

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