August 5: Happy Birthday Maureen McCormick and Patrick Ewing
Happy sixtieth birthday to Maureen McCormick aka Marsha Brady. McCormick portrayed the eldest girl with hair of gold (like her mother) from 1969 to 1974 on The Brady Bunch. After the show was cancelled, McCormick reprised her role in umpteen reunions, a variety show and a cartoon spin-off. In 1990, when CBS tried to revive the show as an hour-long drama titled The Bradys, McCormick was the only original cast member who didn’t return. She still pops up from time to time in TV movies or reality shows. Hope she enjoys a sunshine day on her 60th.
Erika Slezak, who for over 40 years played the role of Victoria Lord on One Life to Live, celebrates her 70th birthday today. Slezak is from a distinguished family of entertainers. Her father was character actor and Tony Award winner Walter Slezak, while her grandfather was the great Wagnerian tenor Leo Slezak.
Two-time Oscar nominee Janet McTeer turns 55 today; she is also a Tony and Golden Globe winner with a distinguished stage and screen career. I sometimes think of her as sort of being Helen Mirren without the big budget films; their careers are very similar. British character actor Mark Strong turns 53. Often cast as a villain, for instance in Stardust, Sherlock Holmes and Kick-Ass, he’s also played more sympathetic roles in films like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (as Jim Prideaux) and The Imitation Game (as Stewart Menzies).
In the sports world, New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing turns 54,while Herb Brooks, who coached the US Olympic hockey team to the “Miracle on Ice” gold medal in 1980, was born in 1937.
Back in the film/TV world, Disney Channel stars Olivia Holt and Adam Irigoyen are 19 and Jesse Williams from Grey’s Anatomy turns 35. Loni Anderson, star of WKRP in Cincinnati and Burt Reynolds’ main squeeze for several years, turns 70 today. James Gunn, director and writer of the Guardians of the Galaxy films, celebrates his 46th birthday. And Indian actress Kajol, a five-time winner of the Filmfare Best Actress award (Bollywood equivalent of an Oscar), turns 42
Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, was born on this day in 1930. Joan Hickson, known for her performance as Miss Jane Marple in the 1980s BBC series (considered definitive by many Agatha Christie fans), was born in 1906. And Robert Taylor, star of early 1950s hits like Quo Vadis and Ivanhoe, was born this day in 1911.
Also born this day in 1906 was legendary director John Huston, who achieved the unique accomplishment of directing films where both his father Walter and daughter Anjelica won acting Oscars (in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Prizzi’s Honor, respectively). Other great Huston films included The Maltese Falcon, The Asphalt Jungle, Beat the Devil, and The Man Who Would Be King.
Huston also directed the 1982 film adaptation of Annie, which we covered in the Razzies series. In an interesting coincidence, this day in 1924 was when “Little Orphan Annie” made her debut debut on the funny pages.
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.