August 16: Happy Birthday Madonna and Steve Carell
Madonna (full name Madonna Louise Ciccone) turns 58 today. As it would be virtually impossible to do complete justice to her career in a few paragraphs, I’m going to fall back on the Inigo Montoya approach: “let me sum up.” The “Queen of Pop” is often ranked as the most successful female musical artist of all time, and was one of the very first musicians to use music videos to reach audiences and enhance her recordings.
1984’s “Like a Virgin” began a long streak of hits, with about a dozen over the years that reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list. While in relative terms she’s slowed down in the past decade or so, her albums still sell extremely well. Out of all of those hits, this one was selected in a Rolling Stone reader’s poll as her best of all time:
Madonna never became a film superstar, but her filmography has some interesting entries—the title role in Desperately Seeking Susan (although Rosanna Arquette is the lead), Breathless Mahoney in Dick Tracy, and the lead in the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita. She has also had a bit of a career as a businesswoman, in particular in the field of fashion, where she is the creator of the fashion lines Material Girl and Truth or Dare by Madonna.
Steve Carell celebrates his 54th birthday today. He got into acting in the 1990s, beginning to make a name for himself on the short-lived Dana Carvey Show, and later on during a six-year stint with The Daily Show. He also had significant supporting roles in films like Bruce Almighty and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
Carell’s breakthrough came in 2005 when he landed the lead roles in the NBC comedy series The Office—a role which brought him five Golden Globe nominations, with one win—and in Judd Apatow’s debut film as a director, a major hit for which Carell co-wrote the screenplay:
The 40 Year Old Virgin began a run of close to a decade as a leading man for Carell. He headlined films such as Evan Almighty, Dan in Real Life, Get Smart, Date Night and Crazy, Stupid, Love. More recently, he seems to be transitioning to doing more ensemble films and character roles, as in his roles in The Big Short and Cafe Society.
Director James Cameron, who turns 62 today, has long been synonymous with big budgets and (sometimes) even bigger numbers at the box office. It’s ironic, therefore, that he got his start working for independent filmmaker Roger Corman, who was known for making films on very tight budgets. Cameron, for example, was the art director on the Corman-produced Battle Beyond the Stars. His first major feature was The Terminator, made on a budget of about $6 million—not peanuts but a far cry from the over $30 million for Return of the Jedi one year before. Since then he’s made only six additional features (not counting a couple of special projects), all but one of them hits, two of them record-breaking.
Australian director Bruce Beresford turns 76 today. His filmography includes critical successes like Tender Mercies, Crimes of the Heart and Driving Miss Daisy. He recently directed Part 4 of the remake of the TV miniseries Roots, as well as the upcoming drama Mr. Church. Actress Angela Bassett, who celebrates her 58th birthday today, is best known for her Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning turn as Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It. Her recent work includes a supporting role in the action thrillers Olympus Has Fallen and its sequel London Has Fallen, and work on the FX horror anthology series American Horror Story.
Julie Newmar is best remembered by many as the “Original Catwoman” from the Batman TV series, and maybe for the cult favorite To Wong Fu, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar (in which she had a cameo). She also appeared in several film musicals and won a Tony Award for the 1958 play The Marriage-Go-Round. She celebrates her 83rd birthday today.
Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee Lesley Ann Warren turns 70. She has been a film and TV mainstay for five decades. Longtime daytime television host Kathie Lee Gifford, of Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee and later Today, celebrates her 63rd.
Harry Potter fans will want it known that Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood in the final four films, turns 25 today. Pop singer Vanessa Carlton turns 36 today, while Dixie Chicks co-founder Emily Strayer (formerly Robison) celebrates her 44th. Laura Innes, who played Dr. Kerry Weaver on ER, turns 59. Cristin Milioti, a Grammy winner and Tony nominee for the stage musical Once, turns 31 today; she was also in The Wolf of Wall Street and How I Met Your Mother. Actor, director and producer Bob Balaban, who has Oscar, Emmy, and Tony nominations to his name, turns 73.
Fu Mingxia, a four time Olympic gold medalist in diving, turns 38 today. Another former Olympian, baseball All-Star Yu Darvish, celebrates his 30th.
Robert Culp (1930-2010) was a television regular for several decades, starring in the shows I Spy and The Greatest American Hero and making innumerable guest appearances and TV movies, as well as some feature films. Diana Wynne Jones (1934-2011) was an influential fantasy novelist, known for the Chrestomanci series and the Dalemark Quartet; over the years she wrote everything from picture books to adult fiction. Hugo Gernsback (1884-1967) was a writer himself, but far more important as a publisher; he started Amazing Stories, the first magazine dedicated to science and speculative fiction, and several other sci-fi magazines. The annual awards of the World Science Fiction Society are called the Hugos in his honor.
One final August 16 birthday is that of jazz legend Bill Evans (1929-1980). Evans spent some time as part of Miles Davis’s band, then formed his own trio at the end of the 1950s. His signature tune was “Waltz for Debby”:
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 16, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Angela Bassett, Bill Evans, Bruce Beresford, Evanna Lynch, James Cameron, Julie Newmar, madonna, Steve Carell. Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.