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Before He Played Houdini, Adrien Brody Was ‘The Amazing Adrien’

08/31/2014 AT 05:25 PM EDT

As a kid, Adrien Brody adored Harry Houdini and even performed magic as “The Amazing Adrien” when he was just 11 years old.

Now, the actor, 41, is playing the title role in The History Channel’s two-night miniseries, Houdini, which premieres Monday night, and the full-circle moment is not lost on him.

“I idolized Houdini as a kid, and now I get the privilege of playing him,” Brody tells PEOPLE. “He was a big influence in my life, not only as a magician, but the magic leads to an understanding and an appreciation of acting and then a lifetime of devotion to acting – to then go back to play the man that was an inspiration. It’s just wonderful.”

But Brody says “The Amazing Adrien” wouldn’t have expected such synchronicity in his life.

“I was a skeptical little kid,” Brody says. “I couldn’t have dreamt of it.”

The Oscar winner seems to have lost some of that skepticism over the years however, saying Houdini serves as a reminder that the American dream is achievable.

“You can become so much by being passionate, enthusiastic and driven, and Houdini shows the complexity of that path,” he says.

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Adrien Brody in Houdini

Egon Endreyi / A&E

And like Houdini, Brody has been profoundly influenced by his mother. “Her values as an artist are very pure,” he says of his mom, Sylvia Plachy, a photographer. “She’s always really done it her way, and poetically.”

“[My mother] really sees the complexity in the world and also the humor and the tragedy as well. That’s an interesting parallel to my path as an artist.”

Houdini airs Sept. 1 and 2 at 9 p.m. on The History Channel.

p 89EKCgBk8MZdE Before He Played Houdini, Adrien Brody Was The Amazing Adrien
Source: Before He Played Houdini, Adrien Brody Was ‘The Amazing Adrien’

What You Missed On VH1: 2014 Emmy Edition

1869breaking bad2 What You Missed On VH1: 2014 Emmy Edition

Last week on VH1 was all about the Emmys. Read up on the worst dressed red carpet celebrities, hottest arm candy couples, essential Emmy winners streaming on Netflix and more.

  • Who would you invite to the Emmys? Here are the arm candy hotties that graced this year’s red carpet. [VH1]

  • Here’s our Emmy worst dressed list. Agree or disagree? [VH1]
  • Watch Breaking Bad, Sherlock, American Horror Story and other Emmy winners on Netflix tonight. [VH1]
  • True Detective director and Emmy winner Cary Joji Fukunaga became an overnight hot sensation. [VH1]
  • Despite what it may have looked like, Sofia Vergara said her Emmy stunt was not sexist. [VH1]

[Photo: Getty]

Source: What You Missed On VH1: 2014 Emmy Edition

Lance Bass Proposes to Fiancé Michael Turchin with New Engagement Ring

ebcdmichael turchin 435 Lance Bass Proposes to Fiancé Michael Turchin with New Engagement Ring

Michael Turchin and Lance Bass

Lester Cohen/Getty

08/31/2014 AT 05:00 PM EDT

Leave it to Lance Bass to “Pop” the question twice.

The former ‘NSYNC boy-bander proposed to fiancé Michael Turchin again on Sunday, a year after the couple first got engaged.

Bass, 35, gave Turchin a beautiful gold and black ring in honor of the happy occasion.

“Who gets proposed to a second time on the first anniversary of the first proposal?? This guy!!!” Turchin captioned an Instagram of the sparkler.

Now a LGBT rights activist and host of his own SiriusXM radio show, Bass told PEOPLE in June that he and Turchin weren’t rushing down the aisle.

“I literally called Michael last night and said, ‘Babe, we have to plan something. I’m tired of telling everyone we haven’t done anything yet!’ ” he said.

A source tells PEOPLE the couple now plans to marry in early 2015.

p 89EKCgBk8MZdE Lance Bass Proposes to Fiancé Michael Turchin with New Engagement Ring
Source: Lance Bass Proposes to Fiancé Michael Turchin with New Engagement Ring

The Jacksons of Iowa: Seven Generations of Blindness

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Jerry Jackson and his family

Ethan Hill/Redux

08/31/2014 AT 04:00 PM EDT

Jerry Jackson will never forget the last time he glimpsed his granddaughter.

She was not yet 2 when a ray of sunlight came through Jackson’s farmhouse kitchen and hit the little girl’s face, illuminating it for several seconds before blackness descended on him once again.

Jackson holds this and other recollections in his mind like an endlessly repeating home-movie loop.

“I remember what sunflowers look like, the rolling hills, the color of the sky and the trees,” says the 68-year-old, blind for nearly four decades.

“I feel lucky for that. But I miss not seeing my kids and grandkids.”

Those grandchildren are the youthful faces of an Iowa clan that has faced bad genetic luck with astonishing grit and resilience.

As a result of a rare disorder only recently identified, 84 living and deceased members of the Jackson family have gone or are going blind.

p 89EKCgBk8MZdE The Jacksons of Iowa: Seven Generations of Blindness
Source: The Jacksons of Iowa: Seven Generations of Blindness


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