Celebrity Birthdays, August 4: President Barack Obama, Billy Bob Thornton and Marques Houston

By Marie Blake,

President Barack Obama, actor Billy Bob Thornton and singer Marques Houston are all celebrating their birthdays today.

Barack Obama, 53


image courtesy of INFphoto.com

President Barack Obama turns 53 today. The 44th and current president became the first African American to hold office when he was elected in 2008, defeating Republican nominee John McCain. Obama was re-elected president in November 2012, defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and was sworn in for a second term on Jan. 20, 2013.

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama moved to Los Angeles in 1979 to attend Occidental College. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1983 from Columbia University in New York City. Obama entered Harvard Law School in the Fall of 1988 and graduated with a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991.

On Feb. 10, 2007, Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States. The field narrowed to a duel between Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton after early contests, with the race remaining close throughout the primary process but with Obama gaining a steady lead in pledged delegates. On Aug. 23, Obama announced his selection of Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate. During both the primary process and the general election, Obama's campaign set numerous fundraising records, particularly in the quantity of small donations. On Nov. 4, Obama won the presidency with 365 electoral votes to 173 received by McCain.

In June 1989, Obama met Michelle Robinson. They began dating later that summer, became engaged in 1991, and were married on October 3, 1992. They had their first daughter, Malia Ann, on July 4, 1998, followed by their second daughter, Natasha, on June 10, 2001.

Billy Bob Thornton, 59


image courtesy of INFphoto.com

Actor, screenwriter, director, producer and musician Billy Bob Thornton turns 59 today. Thornton made his first break with co-writing and starring in the 1992 film One False Move and gained international fame after writing, directing, and starring in the independent film Sling Blade in 1996, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

He appeared in several major film roles including U Turn, Primary Colors, Armageddon, A Simple Plan, which earned him his third Oscar nomination, Monster's Ball, The Man Who Wasn't There, Bad Santa, Love Actually, Friday Night Lights, The Alamo and Eagle Eye.

As an influential actor, Thornton is known for his diversity and wide range, appearing in at least one film per year nearly every year since 1991. Thornton has written a variety of films, usually set in the Southern United States and mainly co-written with Tom Epperson, including A Family Thing and The Gift.

Thornton has received President's Award from Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, Special Achievement Award from National Board of Review and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was also nominated for an Emmy Award, four Golden Globes and three Screen Actors Guild Awards. In addition to film work, Thornton began a career as a singer-songwriter. He has released four solo albums and is the vocalist of a blues rock band The Boxmasters.

In 2014, Thornton starred in the anthology series Fargo and received universal acclaim for his performance, earning a nomination for the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie at the Emmy Awards.

Marques Houston, 33


image courtesy of Jean Catuffe/INFphoto.com

R&B singer, songwriter, rapper and actor Marques Houston turns 33 today. Houston became a founding member of the R&B group Immature, known from 1999 as IMx. At this period Houston went by the nickname "Batman." In 2003, Houston began pursuing a solo career. He released his debut album, MH, in October 2003, and it peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard 200 chart. He released his second solo album, Naked, in May 2005, and it peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Houston released his third solo album, Veteran, in March 2007, reaching No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and debuting at No. 1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. He released two more studio albums and is planning on releasing a sixth one soon.

Houston made his acting debut in the animated comedy film Bébé's Kids in 1992. He later appeared in House Party 3 in 1994. His breakthrough role came when he won the part of Roger Evans in the television comedy show Sister, Sister. He went on to play the character Elgin Barrett Eugene Smith III in the 2004 film You Got Served. He portrayed Dumb Donald in the film adaptation of Fat Albert. In 2005 Houston starred in his own television series, Cuts, which despite good ratings, lasted one season. In 2007, Houston starred in the horror film Somebody Help Me. He then starred in the sequel, Somebody Help Me 2 in 2010.

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