This Day in Black History: June 19, 1962

Dancer, singer and television personality Paula Abdul was born in San Fernando, California.

Posted: 06/19/2013 09:00 AM EDT

A pop sensation during the late 1980s and early 1990s, Paula Abdul was born on June 19, 1962, in San Fernando, California. Her innate talent for dance and choreography led her to a highly coveted spot on the Los Angeles Lakers' cheerleading squad.

Abdul's innovative style helped to refresh the Laker Girl look, and many celebrities took note. The young dancer was soon giving Janet Jackson private dance lessons for her music videos and choreographing the MTV Video Awards. Abdul's singing career further launched her into the entertainment industry, where she cemented herself on the charts with her number-one debut album, "Forever Your Girl," in 1988.

Between the international hit "Spellbound" (1991) and the lukewarm "Head Over Heels" (1995), Abdul became a major household name, performing her own records and choreographing for major films like Big, Coming to America, Jerry Maguire and American Beauty. In 1990, Forbes magazine projected that Abdul had earned $23 million in two years alone.

The multi-talented star battled addictions and eating disorders throughout her illustrious career. Her career suffered as a result, until a judging position on American Idol in 2001 revitalized her fame. Abdul served alongside Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson on the reality music competition show until 2009. While her most recent television appearances have garnered controversies, particularly regarding her past addictions, Abdul has had an enviable career that contemporary artists continue to emulate. 

 

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(Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

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