Beckham, DiCaprio and Jamie Oliver: How do I compare to the class of ‘75?

David Beckham who was born in May 1975

David Beckham who was born in May 1975 - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Ever compare yourself to famous people the same age as you? Columnist Nick Richards has

Leonardo DiCaprio, who turned 46 this week

Leonardo DiCaprio, who turned 46 this week - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

My good friend Tom turns 46 tomorrow which reminds me that we first met 40 years ago next January.

Back in the first week of 1981 on a small piece of classroom carpet in a small Norfolk village primary school I said hello to him on my first day, told him my name and told him I was five.

“I’m six,” he said and from that day on he always had the upper hand. Years later I made him best man at my wedding, the following year he made me photographer at his.

We get on fine and it’s all the more amazing to think we spent only five years at school together and could easily have gone our separate ways in the summer of 1986 when we started different schools.

Jamie Oliver is two months younger than Nick

Jamie Oliver is two months younger than Nick - Credit: PA


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But all those years in the early 80s swapping football stickers, hunched over his ZX Spectrum together and playing hours and hours of football in his garden did have some good. Something must have stuck as we bonded then and we’ve spent the last 35 years keeping in touch.

I’m not sure what happened to the rest of my pals from primary school but I’ve always had an interest in the lives of other people born in the school year 1974/75, especially celebrities.

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Am I alone in doing this? Why not have a Google today and see what other people were born in the same year as you?

I’m sure you’ll admire the lives some of them have had, but probably rather have had yours compared to some others.Meanwhile in my fantasy primary school I can hear the register now: “Beckham... Brand... DiCaprio... Oliver... Richards.”

So how does my life compare to some of the class of 74/75? Well, lets have a look.

Jamie Oliver

I can clearly remember first watching The Naked Chef in 1999 with this young up-and-coming Essex chef who is two months younger than me. He’s to blame for forcing ‘New Lads’ into the kitchen at the turn of the century when we suddenly thought we all had to cook to impress our pals and partners. Despite all his TV and books, he’s probably most famous for taking Turkey Twizzlers off school menus. He would have been a nightmare at school when trying to swap fish paste sarnies.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leo turned 46 this week – he’s best known as Jack in Titanic who met a shivering demise in that late 90s blockbuster while fellow 1975er (but the year below me in school) Kate Winslet survived. It was filmed back in 1997 when Leo and I were both 22. I was working nights at Tesco in Twickenham stacking the shelves of the home baking aisle while studying for a degree as he was getting paid $2.5m for his role – and he also reportedly pocketed 1.8% of the films cinema takings.

will.i.am and Justin Hawkins

I share my birthday with very few famous people – footballer Theo Walcott and Nancy Wilson from soft rock band Heart to name but two of the exclusive March 16 club. But, and it’s a good but, I was born the day after will.i.am and the day before East Anglian rocker Justin Hawkins from The Darkness. Neither have been that inspirational to me music wise and at school I only ever played two things – the triangle and glockenspiel. Not much chance of a career in music there.

However, Jack White, formerly of The White Stripes is one of my all-time favourite musicians and he’s also the same age.

Russell Brand

I could argue that I enjoyed my 20s more than Russell, who is three months younger than me and didn’t really find national fame until 2004 when he was 29. Before that he took a lot of drugs and performed gigs as a comedian. And of course he had that incident with Andrew Sachs. Do I envy his fame and career? Not one bit. I’ve always found him a tad creepy and I’ve never really got in to his brand of humour. It would have been interesting marrying Katy Perry though.

David Beckham

I’m six weeks older than England’s most high-profile footballer of all time. I like to think had I tried a little harder at football at school that I too would have been a late-90s pin up and key man for club and country. In my last match for my primary school team in May 1986 my pal Tom scored a hat-trick and in the last second of the last game he crossed the ball for me to head in a goal. We’d have enjoyed playing with an 11-year-old Becks then.

As for Goldenballs and me. Well we both have asthma and that’s where the similarities end. Although we met once, in the summer of 2003. He’d just left Manchester United and joined Real Madrid for £24.5 million.

I’d just purchased a seven-year-old second hand VW Polo for £3,500...

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