Aug 22: Happy Birthday Kristen Wiig and Ty Burrell
Our two headliners today appeared together in the film The Skeleton Twins, so they also appear in pictures from the premiere.
Kristen Wiig, who turns 43 today, dropped out of college at 19 to pursue an acting career. She became a member of The Groundlings, a sketch comedy and improv troupe which has an impressive roster of alumni who have gone on to entertainment industry careers. While there, she submitted an audition tape to Saturday Night Live, and was selected to join the show starting in 2005. During her SNL stint, she received five Emmy nominations for work like this:
While working on SNL, Wiig also began to build a film career. By 2009 she had progressed from bit parts to significant supporting roles in films such as Adventureland and Extract. In 2011, she and fellow Groundlings alum Annie Mumolo co-wrote the script for Bridesmaids, which starred Wiig and featured a lot of Groundlings and SNL alums. The film was a major financial success and Wiig and Mumolo got an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay, while Wiig was a Golden Globe nominee for Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy. Wiig’s film career has continued; she can currently be seen in the new Ghostbusters.
Ty Burrell celebrates his 49th birthday today. He grew up near Ashland, Oregon, the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, so perhaps a career in acting came naturally for him, although he got a later start than many film and television stars—his first film and television roles did not come until he was into his thirties. He also made his Broadway debut, in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. His big break came in 2009, when he was cast as realtor Phil Dunphy in Modern Family:
Burrell has been nominated for the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series seven consecutive times for Modern Family, winning twice. He has also shared in several SAG ensemble awards and won an individual SAG award. His recent film roles include Butter and Muppets Most Wanted as well as The Skeleton Twins, and he has done some voice acting as well.
Two very familiar faces from 1970s television are celebrating today. Cindy Williams, who turns 69, had supporting roles in American Graffiti and The Conversation in the early 1970s, before being cast as a 1950s brewery worker, Shirley Feeney, in a guest spot on the hit series Happy Days, and then in a spinoff series. Laverne & Shirley was a hit, the #1 show on television from 1977-79. Meanwhile, over on CBS, Valerie Harper spent most of the decade playing Rhoda Morgenstern—first on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, then in a spinoff series that was, inevitably, titled simply Rhoda. Harper, who turns 77 today, won four Emmys and a Golden Globe in the role.
David Chase, who turns 71, has been a television producer, director and writer since the early 1970s. He worked for several years on The Rockford Files, but his monument will be as the creator of The Sopranos. Richard Armitage, who celebrates his 45th birthday, has had a varied career on stage and screen, but is best known for playing Thorin Oakenshield in the Hobbit trilogy. Korean-American actor Rick Yune, a veteran of the Bond and Fast and the Furious series, was also in the Netflix series Marco Polo. He is 45 today. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, on screens right now as Killer Croc in Suicide Squad, turns 49. Rodrigo Santoro, from Lost and the 300 films, turns 41.
Singer-songwriter and pianist Tori Amos turns 53. A classically trained musician in her years at the prep division of the Peabody Conservatory, she has blended many different genres in her recording career of over three decades, sometimes using classical themes like this:
Today is our fourth Bond Girl Birthday of the month (with more to come), and today it’s probably the most iconic of them all. Honor Blackman turns 91 today. Although her film and television career has spanned seven decades, I suspect that almost everyone who remembers her (except maybe for fans of the British spy series The Avengers) knows her as the woman who introduces herself in Goldfinger with the words “My name is Pussy Galore.”
Baseball Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski turns 77 today. Yaz spent his entire 23-year career with the Boston Red Sox, and shares the record for most seasons with a single team (with Baltimore Orioles great Brooks Robinson). In 1967, he had his greatest season, winning the Triple Crown (leading the league in batting average, home runs and RBIs) and leading the Red Sox to the American league championship.
Looking a bit further afield, today was the birthday of Claude Debussy (1862-1918), one of the first great composers of the modern or post-Romantic era in classical music. He is known for works such as the symphonic poem Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune. Dorothy Parker (1893-1967), one of the first editorial board members of The New Yorker, published several volumes of poetry and short stories, and also co-wrote the screenplays for films like the original version of A Star is Born and Hitchcock’s Saboteur. Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) wrote classics of science fiction like Farenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles. Grammy winner John Lee Hooker (1912-2001) was one of the great names in Mississippi Delta Blues. This was one of his biggest hits:
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 22, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Cindy Williams, David Chase, Honor Blackman, John Lee Hooker, Kristen Wiig, Ray Bradbury, Tori Amos, Ty Burrell, Valerie Harper. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.