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Shelley Ackerman (October 14, 1953 - February 27, 2020) was an American astrologer, writer, actress and singer. She was a frequent guest and commentator on radio and television news and entertainment shows.
The daughter of a rabbi, Ackerman was born and raised in Manhattan. She attended the East Side Hebrew Institute on the Lower East Side and graduated with honors from the High School of Music and Art at age 16 in 1970.
She began her career at age 17 as a comedic singer (and waitress) at The Improvisation and at age 19 at Catch a Rising Star in New York. She worked at both through the early 1980s, and at the same time performed in NY's major cabaret rooms including: Playboy Club, Continental Baths, Reno Sweeney's, Les Mouches, The Grand Finale, Freddy's Supper Club, Ted Hook's OnStage, and Lox Around the Clock.
She studied with Stella Adler in the early 1980s, and appeared at the 92nd Street Y in New York in the prestigious Lyrics and Lyricists program in 1985, directed by Maurice Levine. It was there that she caught the eye (and ear) of Elly Stone, who remembered her voice in 1987 when she and her husband Eric Blau (who translated Brel's Flemish lyrics into English) were casting for their upcoming 20th anniversary production of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.
She starred in the 1988 production of that show with Karen Akers at Town Hall in New York and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She has also played several minor movie roles, including the films Taking Off (1971), Garbo Talks (1984), The Flamingo Kid (1984), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), and Crossing Delancey (1988), and on the television shows Kate & Allie and Guiding Light. In 1990, she won the Backstage Bistro Award for Best Vocalist in New York City.
Ackerman claims to have been born with the ability to remember birthdates and developed her interest in astrology in her early teens. In 1974 she and her then-boyfriend, Richard Belzer, obtained their first computerized astrological charts from Astroflash, a small booth set up in Grand Central Terminal in New York City that offered the earliest computer-generated horoscopes. Her interest grew through the 1970s and as an amateur astrologer she collected data (birth dates, times, and places) of her fellow performers between shows at both The Improv and Catch a Rising Star.
Her first position as an astrologer was at Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York on July 4 weekend 1992, and she made her first major contribution to the astrological community later that summer by obtaining Bill Clinton's birthtime from his mother Virginia Kelley.
In 1996 she became the head of the New York affiliate of the American Federation of Astrologers. She is also active in the New York chapter of the National Council for Geocosmic Research, and has taught at the New York Theosophical Society (1996-2006). She lectures, teaches, and sees clients across the USA, Europe, and Canada, and has written extensively for Beliefnet.
Ackerman has appeared on many television programs, including:
- The O'Reilly Factor (2000–01)
- World News Now (January 2005)
- Toured with Court TV (2005; to promote Psychic Detectives)
- Access Hollywood in 2005-06, 2008-09
- "Is 07/07/07 a Good Day to Tie the Knot?", WABC-TV Eyewitness News (January 17, 2007)
- MSNBC (February 9, 2007)
- The Today Show (February 10, 2007)
- WTTG FOX5 DC (March 12, 2007)
- CBS Evening News
- The Caroline Rhea Show
- The Ricki Lake Show
- The Camilla Scott Show
- Fox & Friends
She was a weekly contributor to the Doug Stephan talk radio show (1997–99); she appeared and has guest on:
She has appears in print in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, New York Post, Time Out New York, Courier-Post, The Washington Post, USA Today, AOL News, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Time Out.
- Profile, astrodatabank.com; accessed December 1, 2014.
- Celebrity Matchmaker
- "What's Your Astrological Forecast?", msnbc.com; accessed December 1, 2014.
- Shelley Ackerman Interview, myfoxdc.com; accessed December 1, 2014.
- Astrologers Ponder the Pluto Question (includes sound clip)
- May 20, 2008 The Bryant Park Project
- "In 2008, Prudence Makes Perfect!" Archived 2008-01-03 at the Wayback Machine and "Seeing Eye to Eye" Archived 2008-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
- If Jupiter Aligns with Mars, Who will be President?
- "Election Winner in the Stars?", washingtonpost.com, May 17, 2008; accessed December 1, 2014.
- "US Presidential Race at Center of Astrology Convention", usatoday.com; accessed December 1, 2014.
- "President Obama in the Stars, Panel Says", news.aol.com, May 21, 2008; accessed December 1, 2014.
- "7/7/07: Lucky Day! (Or Not)"], philly.com; accessed December 1, 2014.
- Psyched, timeout.com; accessed December 1, 2014.