August 15: Happy Birthday Jennifer Lawrence and Ben Affleck


Jennifer Lawrence, who turns 26 today, started her acting career shortly before her 16th birthday in the TV movie Company Town (which I think may have been the pilot for a series that wasn’t picked up).  She moved on from that humble start very quickly, as a regular on the TBS series The Bill Engvall Show and in movies like The Poker House (directed by Lori Petty).  While still a teenager she was cast as the lead in the critically acclaimed drama Winter’s Bone, and received her first Best Actress nomination for the 2010 film.

Over the next two years Lawrence became a household work (or maybe two) when she picked up roles in two highly successful big-budget franchises, first as Mystique in the new X-Men continuity beginning with First Class, then as Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of the Hunger Games films.  The same year as her first appearance as Katniss, she also began what has been, so far, a three film working relationship with writer-director David O. Russell:

Lawrence became the second-youngest Best Actress winner at the Oscars for her role as Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook, and her subsequent films with Russell have brought her Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress (for American Hustle) and Best Actress (for Joy), not to mention Golden Globes for all three films.  Lawrence will be seen later this year in the sci-fi drama Passengers, and has a number of future films in varying stages of development, including one mellifluously named “Untitled Darren Aronofsky Project.” 🙂  Other than overexposure or a sudden inability to select good roles, it’s hard to see anything that will keep Lawrence from being an A-list fixture for years to come.

Ben Affleck, who turns 44 today, also started acting in his teens.  In the 1990s, Affleck appeared in several of Kevin Smith’s films, and had his big breakthrough when he and childhood friend Matt Damon co-wrote and starred in the surprise hit Good Will Hunting.  He then starred in Michael Bay’s Armageddon and Pearl Harbor, while getting critical acclaim for films like Boiler Room and Bounce.  However, his star dimmed around 2003, thanks to a series of critical and commercial failures, although one of them was redeemed a bit by this fun little scene between Affleck and his then-future spouse:

Since his nadir in 2003-05, Affleck has bounced back, with good critical reviews for films like Hollywoodland and The Company Men, while also showing a talent for directing.  Gone
Baby Gone and The Town, his duology of Boston-based crime films, were both well-received, while Argo, as readers will remember, won the Oscar for Best Picture, while Affleck won DGA and Golden Globe Best Director Awards that probably made up for his being snubbed for a Best Director nomination.  More recently, Affleck has joined the DC Universe as the latest Batman, a subject which many readers doubtless have strong opinions on.

Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, the winner of the last two Oscars for Best Director, turns 53 today.  His first film, the tragic hyperlink drama Amores perros, was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film, and all but one of his six features has received at least one Oscar nomination.  His 2014 feature Birdman won Best Picture while last year’s The Revenant was a Best Picture nominee.  Gonzalez Iñárritu is one of only three directors to win the Best Director Oscar in consecutive years (the others were John Ford and Joseph Mankiewicz).

Cinematographer and director Nicolas Roeg remains best known for his 1970s films Walkabout and Don’t Look Now.  The former, a coming of age tale, was a breakthrough role for Jenny Agutter and the debut of the Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil, a mainstay of Australian cinema for over 40 years.  The latter, a thriller/horror classic, is also known for the very steamy love scene between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie.

Tess Harper, who turns 66 today, spent several years in the “minor leagues” of acting—theme park shows, dinner theaters, etc.—before being cast in Tender Mercies as the widow who is romanced by Robert Duvall’s character.  A Golden Globe nomination for that role was followed by an Oscar nomination for Crimes of the Heart.  She has continued to work steadily for the last 30 years in both film and television.

Actress Debra Messing who turns 48 today, was a five-time Emmy nominee for playing Grace Adler in Will & Grace, winning in 2003.  Natasha Henstridge, star of Species, The Whole Nine Yards, and their sequels, celebrates her 42nd birthday.  Anthony Anderson, a two-time Emmy nominee for the ABC series Black-ish, turns 46.  Emily Kinney, who plays Beth Greene on The Walking Dead (I seem to remember a few posts at this blog about that show), celebrates her 31st birthday.  Emmy winner Zeljko Ivanek, known for Damages and Madam Secretary, turns 59 today.  And fans of 1960s and ’70s television will recall Rose Marie, a regular on The Dick Van Dyke Show and longtime panelist on Hollywood Squares, who turns 93 today.

Kerri Walsh Jennings, currently seeking her fourth straight gold medal in women’s beach volleyball in Rio, turns 38 today.  And a former Olympian, the Princess Royal, Princess Anne—who represented England in the 1976 Olympics in the equestrian events—celebrates her 66th birthday.

Pop singer Joe Jonas turns 27 today.  He has recorded with his brothers (as the Jonas Brothers) and as a solo act, and also starred in the Disney Channel movies Camp Rock and Camp Rock II.  Singer-songwriter Jimmy Webb, who wrote the Cheesetastic Classic contender “MacArthur Park,” celebrates his 70th birthday.  Webb also wrote several of Glen Campbell’s biggest hits, including “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” and “Galveston.”

Julia Child (1912-2004) was the author of the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking (and many others) and host of the TV show The French Chef (and several others).  I have very vague memories of my mom watching Julia Child when I was extremely young.

Ethel Barrymore (1879-1959), known as the “First Lady of the American Theater,” had a stage and screen career that lasted from her teens until she was nearly seventy.  On stage she was a notable Shakespearean, playing Juliet, Ophelia and Portia, while she won an Oscar for None But the Lonely Heart in 1944.  Dame Wendy Hiller (1912-2003), like Barrymore, had a stage and screen career that spanned over six decades.  She was also an Oscar winner, for Separate Tables in 1958; my favorite Hiller performances are as a romantic lead in the Powell/Pressburger classic I Know Where I’m Going, and as a grand dame in Murder on the Orient Express.

Novelist and playwright Edna Ferber (1885-1968) had several works adapted into other media, including Show Boat (basis for the Broadway musical that was also filmed twice), Cimarron (basis for a Best Picture winner) and Giant (adapted into James Dean’s final film).  Swedish novelist Stieg Larsson (1954-2004) wrote the bestselling Millennium Trilogy, adapted into film twice—a Swedish production of the entire trilogy starring Noomi Rapace, and a Hollywood film of the first book only (so far) starring Rooney Mara.

Finally, over 250 years ago today, a fellow named Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was born on Corsica.

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.


Posted on August 15, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Happy Birthday to Ben Affleck! I have been a fan of his for as long as I can remember. I also think he’s a total babe. (What can I say? I’m a girl.)


  2. which actor do u tihnk is stronger ben affleck or kevin costner


  3. Good Stuff, and a real full list here.


  4. for the most part i find affleck bland and lifeless. His only good performance was holylwoodland and good will hunting. He was bad in batman vs superman plus he was so flat in changing lanes. At best hes decent. He did decent job i gone girl. HE was not bad or good he was ok I guess. He did not add much to movie but he did not ruin it either. there are so many actors I could seen in bens part in gone girl. His buddy matt damon has real talent



    As for Jennifer Lawrence, I think her career so far has involved a lot of luck. First, that her start was in a bad sitcom and it was quickly cancelled so she wasn’t trapped in a long TV contract. Second; getting the Hunger Games franchise. So far she is making good role decisions, but I’m still unsure of her range. And I didn’t get the Oscar nomination for Joy at all. She’s a time will tell story to me.


    • The shady side of Jennifer Lawrence

      It seems like actress Jennifer Lawrence can do no wrong. She’s beautiful, she’s likable, she has an Oscar under her belt (and a slew of nominations)—she’s pretty much perfect, right? Wrong. Even J-Law has a shady side. Here are some of her most side-eye worthy attributes, including potential transphobia, mockery of religions and cultures foreign to her own, and fibbing about her pay to make a supposedly empowering feminist statement.


  6. ben current career is stronger then his pre gialia career. He has achieved both commercial and critical success. He speared in movies that are both critical and box office hits like gone girl


  7. was smoking aces a box office hit Wikipedia says it was but it seems more modest


    • I think it’s monetary gains were modest in relative to its budget (some might call it a sleeper hit), and I’ve seen the film; I thought it was alright, but it didn’t capture my imagination either (nothing the film did or didn’t do, it’s just how I felt about it).


  8. i did not care for the film either. sometimes when a film is modest hit Wikipedia does not state the modest hit. like for example Wikipedia calls open range and mr brooks hit but there modest at best


    • Yeah, from the numbers I’ve seen, it made slightly more overseas than domestic, but the difference isn’t all that dramatic. Honestly, I forgot all about the film until you brought it up; I think another of the feelings I got from the film was that it was trying too hard to be cool (again though, that’s just the vibe I got).


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