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July 12: Happy Birthday Michelle Rodriguez and Topher Grace (But Not Bill Cosby)

Michelle Rodriguez

Probably the most famous birthday boy today is fallen TV legend William Henry Cosby, Jr.  What is it with July anyway?  A few days ago it was O.J. Simpson’s birthday and now today it’s the Coz.  We covered a career low point for the controversial comedian when he won several Golden Raspberry Awards in 1987.  There’s also a Movieline article from 1990 which mentions Cosby as someone with a case of Hollywood Cooties.  Fortunately, there are other birthdays to celebrate today.

Michelle Rodriguez made a splash with her 2000 film debut, Girlfight.  Since then she has been best known for recurring roles in the Fast and Furious and Resident Evil series.  Rodriguez remains both fast and furious as she turns 38.

Topher Grace - Spider-man 3

Topher Grace from That ’70s Show and Spider-man 3 also turns 38 today.  I am going to go on record with a controversial statement.  Grace’s Venom was not the biggest problem with Sam Raimi’s final Spider-man movie.

Richard Simmons sweats his way to being an oldie at 68.  Cheryl Ladd remains angelic at 65.  And Eddie Murphy’s brother, Charlie, turns 57.

Most importantly, today is the birthday of the man credited with inventing peanut butter, George Washington Carver.  I’m going to celebrate later today with a jar and a spoon.  Today also marks the 25th anniversary of the release of John Singleton‘s film debut, Boyz n the Hood.

If today is your birthday, congratulations on sharing your big day with these notable names.  Birthday wishes to everyone celebrating a big day today.  Come back tomorrow for more celebrity birthdays.

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Posted on July 12, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. Today is also the birthday of cult director Monte Hellman (Two-Lane Blacktop, The Shooting, etc.) and Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt (E.T. and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade).

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  2. Lebeau do you think topher grace leaving that 70s show a bad idea. His career currently in the dumps he mostly had flops. since predators his only hit had been bit part in interseller. Take me home tonight ,giant mehcnical man big wedding,the double ,American ultra and the truth all flopped. I have a feeling he will be heading back to leading a sitcom if his career continues this way.

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    • shrug

      I’m indifferent on the subject.

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    • No, not really. It only had a couple more seasons left in the tank. The actors were aging out of their characters and the timeline for the era the show was about was expiring. It was a worse show without him as the central character, but it didn’t end the series prematurely and didn’t really effect his career. He could have stayed in tv if he’d wanted to and can still go back to it. His choice of roles was at fault, and Hollywood just didn’t seem to know how to cast him. He’s not exactly a character actor and not exactly a leading man and not exactly a comic actor specifically. I think he’ll continue to act, in one fashion or another. The reason why Kutcher has his career and Grace his is because Kutcher has a niche and a gimmick and is an easy sell. His pigeonhole fits him comfortably. Grace doesn’t have as much of a specific “brand” and that makes it harder to know what kind of projects to put him to

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      • Thumbs up. Excellent summary.

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      • WHAT WENT WRONG FOR… TOPHER GRACE

        https://ahorizontalmyth.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/what-went-wrong-for-topher-grace/

        Grace was widely perceived as the cast member most likely to break out of That 70’s Show and emerge a movie star, the bashful everyman who could capably anchor many a romantic comedy, receive a reliable amount of backlash due to his lack of range, and cash in several paychecks thanks to his lack of range. The fact that he never displayed anything beyond the suburban forlornness of his everyday-kid Eric Forman character never crossed our minds. He was the closest we had to a sure thing, and hell, he was practically a guarantee amongst a cast filled with his flavor-of-the-week co-stars Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher.

        As expected, Grace was the first main cast member to leave That 70’s Show, departing before the show’s eighth and final season. We all saw this coming. His natural charisma carried the decent sitcom (which regularly but barely overcame its heinous, overblown laugh track), and Topher, intent on Hollywood stardom, began his path of taking whatever Paul Rudd roles Paul Rudd didn’t feel like taking.

        It worked reasonably well In Good Company, a competent romantic comedy starring Dennis Quaid and Scarlett Johansson alongside Grace, in which Grace played a wunderkid busisnessman taking over Quaid’s firm and subsequently falling in love with his daughter. It was a sweet, simple film, and a similar one followed that year — Win a Date With Tad Hamilton. Like Good Company, it received a mixed critical response, neither project elevating Grace’s career status beyond what was projected when he left his sitcom. Christian Science Monitor’s David Sterritt inadvertently summed up both the film and Grace’s career film career to that point by claiming it “isn’t as funny as it wants to be, but it has a sheer pleasantness” to it.

        Grace later emerged in 2007, in the third installment of Sam Raimi’s acclaimed Spider-Man saga. Portraying main antagonist Eddie Brock, a Daily Bugle photographer who would serve as the doppleganger to Tobey McGuire’s Peter Parker, Grace was faced with the unenviable tasks of defying fans’ expectations of the character (Brock was originally much bulkier and less Topher Grace-y than Grace), and carving a distinct voice in a film that had one too many antagonists as it was. Grace was far from bad in the film—if anything, his Tophering of the Venom character made him more entertaining than the black and white villain the comics presented. But while Spidey 3 went on to become the 25th highest grossing film of all-time, it did nothing to elevate Topher’s status as a movie-star. If there was ever a time that Topher wanted to retreat back to That 70’s Show, it was probably then—but it was too late, as the show that made Topher Grace a household name amongst households that recognized the name Topher Grace had ended, without him, a year prior.

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      • Re: Not a movie star !!

        http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0333410/board/thread/227127759?d=227623243#227623243

        He’s not the macho type Hollywood usually looks for, and he has an old-school fresh-faced boy-next-door look that would have been popular in the ’60’s,but it looks like he’s having a decent career as a character actor. So at least he’s still working, which the average actor is just grateful to be doing in show business nowadays.

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  3. You do not have opinion on Topher career right now. I was huge fan of that 70s show and though topher was talented. Plus I feel he is capable of more then Eric foreman. While his that 70s show costar kutcher can only do kelso is only good at that. Topher deserves bigger career then kutcher.

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  4. Cheryl Ladd of “Charlie’s Angels” also has a birthday today, as she was on the Trivia Today list along with Michelle Rodriguez (who I liked in that 2004 film with Ray Liotta & William Dafoe titled “Control”) and George Washington Carver (that site does birthdays in threes).

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  5. Another reason is kutcher knows what roles is his bread and butter he is ok with roles that land in his range . topher however does not want to play eric foreman forever but problem is producers only see him as that. similar to michael j fox people could not accept in adult roles that was far cry from alex p keaton

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    • Well, it seems like they really tried to push him as a lead man in romantic comedies, and that just didn’t work out. They were sucky movies for one, and he just doesn’t have that kind of charisma. He’s never going to be Paul Rudd. I think he should go the indie movie route myself, if he really wants to do drama. There would be a broader range of more complicated roles where fitting him into a type wouldn’t matter. If he likes comedy I think he should go back to tv. He was good on That 70s Show; he was the straight man but at the same time just as funny as the goofier characters.

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      • I like Paul Rudd more than Ashton Kutcher; I agree 100% that it felt like Ashton Kutcher was forced upon us. He seems like a smart, talented guy (from what I understand, he’s great with money and knows a lot about technology), but not really my bag.

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        • Actually, I was talking about Topher Grace; his people tried very hard to break him into the rom-com genre and all his films were either duds or damned with faint praise. I don’t think Grace is right for rom-coms partly because of his looks: pleasant looking but not exactly hot, sorta cute but vaguely nerdy, yet a little too normal to adapt ‘quirky’ as his brand. I could see him playing a young woody Allen. Kutcher, on the other hand, is just a good looking guy who excels at playing lovable dufuses. His TAAHM character was genius, but still an incompetent slacker of a manboy. It was like, ‘what if Kelso had almost the exact personality but was actually a genius? Or if his character from ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?” was super tech savvy? And that’s what gives you walden Schmitt. Kutcher didn’t work out as a rom-com leading man because his character plays out as a goofy man boy in every role. He’s just to juvenile to be sexy. He lacks a certaing gravitas, to borrow a phrase. He’s fine for what he does and pretty useless outside of it.

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  6. He was funny in Giant mechanical man maybe being supporting actor is more his thing.

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  7. true kutcher found his nichee brainless manboy that seem spaced out that suits his acting. I am worried topher will turn out like shelly long whos career dipped big time after leaving her hit show

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  8. One of the things I am doing, as I prepare to take over writing the birthday articles, is making a little list of people who I absolutely do not want to leave out. As I do so, I’ve come up with a few people born on days we’ve already had posts on, so I thought that in the next week or two I’d go back and add them here in comments. For example:

    One of the giants of American musical theater, Oscar Hammerstein II was born on July 12, 1895. He is most famous for his partnership with Richard Rodgers–he was the lyricist, Rodgers the composer. They did nine musicals together, five of which are classics. Before he partnered with Rodgers, Hammerstein worked several times with composer Jerome Kern, most notably on Show Boat, as well as with Sigmund Romberg, Rudolph Friml, and Vincent Youmans. In his career he wrote the lyrics to some 850 songs, many of them unforgettable ones like “Ol’ Man River,” “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man,” “People Will Say We’re in Love,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Something Wonderful,” and many, many more.

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  9. does aNYONE Think topher might end up like shelly long

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    • I don’t think Topher Grace was ever as popular as Shelly Long, who other than “Cheers” did quite well with “Night Shift” and “Outrageous Fortune” (I still defend “The Money Pit” as well). Shelly Long has good comedic timing, while I see Topher Grace as just a guy. I think “That 70’s Show” is as good as it gets for his career.

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      • Shelley Long was in hindsight, arguably a very one-note actress. In just about all of her movies, she basically played the same quirky blonde character and always had the same voice and demeanor. While that type of acting and on-screen persona maybe cute in your 20s and 30s, when you’re pushing 40 (which she was at that time), there aren’t going to be many roles of that kind coming your way.

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    • Shelley Long, while leaving the show wasn’t the smartest move of her career, had every right to make that decision. At least she honored her contract and didn’t pull a Farrah Fawcett.

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    • The “Fetch” Effect: 8 Actors that Hollywood Has Tried, and Failed, to Make Happen

      http://www.pajiba.com/seriously_random_lists/the-fetch-effect-8-actors-that-hollywood-has-tried-and-failed-to-make-happen.php

      Topher Grace: I don’t quite know what went wrong with Topher Grace after he left “That 70’s Show.” He’s likable and winsome, but he doesn’t really have that feature film presence, even though his cameo in Ocean’s 12 suggested that he might become one of those stars someday. It didn’t happen. Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! ($17 million) bombed, In Good Company ($45) performed only modestly, and he was a huge part of the problem in Spider-Man 3. Between 2004 and 2010, he was only in 2 movies released widely; in 2010, he played second-fiddle in a disappointing Predator remake (commercially speaking) before a movie he’d made in 2007, Take Me Home Tonight, was finally released in 2011. It made $6 million. I think Hollywood finally saw the writing on the wall, scrawled in the blood of the botched virgin sacrifice it attempted to make Grace a star.

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  10. but long career has dried up since leaving cheers. topher movie career is dippig big time

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  11. If Sean Bean and Michelle Rodriguez had a child…

    http://officialfan.proboards.com/thread/548873/sean-bean-michelle-rodriguez-child

    Would he/she die twice in every movie he/she’d appear in?

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  12. Topher could have same problem as broderick he is so boyish looking people might not take him seriously in adult roles. plus he would be too old to play teens. TOpher might be ment for the big screen he could do what kucher did and head back to tv. Maybe a netlfix comedy. topher does at least chops for a lead in sitcom Maybe even do drama instead brocaded his range like cranstan going from malcolm in middle to brekaing bad. topher might want to take break from films and head back to tv for a bit. SOme actors just cannot transalte to films . Not a bad thing since tv is no longer seen is a low point in actors career

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