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Aug 24: Happy Birthday Rupert Grint and Steve Guttenberg

0824GrintGuttenberg

During his first decade of acting, Rupert Grint appeared in a number of films, including the quirky family film Thunderpants, the coming-of-age story Driving Lessons,  and the romantic crime comedy Wild Target.  However, none of the foregoing is the reason he’s a headliner today, as he turns 28.  In August of 2000, Grint was selected as one of the leads in the first of a series of films based on a set of bestselling juvenile/young adult novels.  About wizards:

Since the end of his eight film run playing Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films, Grint has been keeping busy, although not in any further big-budget films.  He has been in films such as the Norwegian war movie Into the White and last year’s Moonwalkers, about moon landing conpsiracy theories.  He has also begun a stage career; his debut on the West End, in Jez Butterworth’s Mojo, was followed by his Broadway debut, in Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play.

In the 1980s, moviegoers had a hard time not seeing Steve Guttenberg.  Guttenberg, who turns 58 today, had his first major success as one of the leads in the ensemble film Diner, the first of director Barry Levinson’s so-called “Baltimore films.”  Guttenberg then was cast as police cadet Carey Mahoney in the first film in one of three franchises he starred in during the eighties:

In addition to the Police Academy films, Guttenberg played boat captain Jack Bonner in the Cocoon films, and cartoonist Michael Kellam in Three Men and a Baby and its sequel.  His other 1980s films included the Hitchcockian thriller The Bedroom Window, and the sci-fi comedy Short Circuit (which had a sequel but without Guttenberg).  Since the end of the eighties Guttenberg has been less in demand; the WTHH article about him reviews the details.  He was seen recently in the miniseries Sons of Liberty, playing a character named Jack Bonner—whether that was coincidence or a gag I cannot say.

Marlee Matlin celebrates her 51st birthday today.  She won the Oscar for Best Actress for the 1986 film Children of a Lesser God.  This was an historic Oscar moment for two reasons—Matlin was, and still is, both the youngest winner ever of the Best Actress honor and the only deaf performer to ever win an Oscar of any kind.  Matlin has had an active film and TV career since then, including regular or recurring roles on series like The L Word and West Wing, and one lovely appearance on Sesame Street:

Lots of people are celebrating birthdays today.  Anne Archer turns 69; she was an Oscar nominee for Fatal Attraction and starred in two adaptations of Tom Clancy novels, Patriot Games and Clear and Present DangerKevin Dunn, currently playing Ben Cafferty on Veep, turns 60.  Comedian and actor Dave Chappelle, known for films such as Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Con Air and Undercover Brother, celebrates his 43rd birthday.  Chad Michael Murray turns 35; he is known for his roles on One Tree Hill and Agent Carter.

James D’Arcy also appeared in Agent Carter and was Lt. Tom Pullings in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.  He is 41 today.  Voice actress and singer Grey DeLisle turns 43 today—her long list of voice credits is headed by Vicky on The Fairly Oddparents.  Singer and harpist Órla Fallon turns 42 today.  She became well-known as a member of Celtic Woman before beginning a successful solo career.  Alex O’Loughlin, who turns 40, currently plays Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-0 (his birthday is one day after Scott Caan’s; Caan plays opposite him as the recipient of the line “Book ’em, Danno!”).  Director and documentarian Ava DuVernay celebrates her 44th birthday; she is best known for directing the 2014 Best Picture nominee Selma.

English actor Jared Harris celebrates his 55th; he was an Emmy nominee for Mad Men and his many film roles include Professor James Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows.  Helping to foil his schemes in that film was Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes.  Fry, who is 59 today, has been successful as a comedian, actor, author and more.  Ronee Blakley turns 71 today; she was an Oscar nominee for playing country star Barbara Jean (a fictionalized Loretta Lynn) in Robert Altman’s NashvilleBeth Riesgraf, one of the stars of TNT’s Leverage, turns 38 today.

Author Orson Scott Card is best known for the sci-fi novel Ender’s Game (recently adapted into film) and the alternate history/fantasy Alvin Maker series.  He turns 65 today.  Novelist John Green, who is 39 today, is known mostly for his young adult fiction.  Two of his novels, The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, have been adapted recently into feature films.

In the sports world, wrestling promoter Vince McMahon turns 71.  He has worn many official hats over the years, but one way or another he’s been the man running the show at the WWE for over thirty years.  Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr., is 56 today.  He spent 21 seasons with baseball’s Baltimore Orioles, most of them as their starting shortstop, and was a two-time American League MVP.  Former ESPN anchor Craig Kilborn celebrates his 54th birthday—his extensive TV career has also included hosting The Daily Show and The Late Late Show.

Scottish-born actor Don Douglas (1905-1945) had amassed over 100 film credits before his death at just 40 years of age.  Many of his parts were small, but he had substantial parts in the film noir classics Murder, My Sweet and GildaKenny Baker (1934-2016), who died earlier this month, would have been 82 today.  He was well-known as the performer for R2-D2 in six Star Wars films as well as many other appearances of the character in TV specials, the Disney attraction Star Tours, and more.  It was always comforting knowing that R2 was around to save the day:

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 August 24, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. RIP Kenny Baker

    Steve Guttenberg never should have upset the Stonecutters. He could have still be riding high if they continued supporting his career. There are certain WTHH subjects that I feel additional sympathy for. Guttenberg perpetually thinks that a comeback is right around the corner and I think you have to give it up for that kind of optimism.

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  2. For Steve Guttenburg, he starred in “Diner”, which is Baltimore based, but “The Bedroom Window” is also filmed in Baltimore (clearly stated throughout the picture), and even has a Nevermore! bar included (heck, if the Baltimore Ravens pro football team was around at that time, they likely would’ve been referenced too).
    I think what Marlee Matlin has done careerwise is remarkable.

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  3. R.I.P. Kenny Baker.

    My favorite story about Kenny Baker: Lucasfilm approached him to play R2-D2 but he initially refused. At the time Kenny and his good friend Jack Purvis, another diminutive actor, had a successful comedy-and-song show that they performed across England, and Kenny knew that if he left to film a movie for six months then that would leave his friend without an income while he was away. He felt he couldn’t do that to his friend. When Lucasfilm called again asking if he would play R2, Kenny told them the only way he would take the job is if they would also give his friend Jack Purvis a job too. Which they did, Purvis wound up playing a Jawa along with a couple other bit parts throughout Star Wars. That is the mark of a real stand up guy, a decent human being.

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  4. While on the subject of Kenny Baker, here’s a fun Star Wars trivia bit: who was the first actor hired? Well, that would be Kenny Baker. While still in pre-production and even before formal casting had begun they needed to find a diminutive actor that could fit inside the small R2-D2 casing as creating R2-D2 would take extra time, and once Baker was hired the R2 body was molded specifically to his body size and shape for him to fit snuggly inside and move around in. So Kenny Baker was the first actor hired for Star Wars. Sadly his health began deteriorating years ago and he was only able to do one day’s work on Attack of the Clones; his health prevented him from appearing at all in Revenge of the Sith but George Lucas gave him an official film credit, out of respect. For The Force Awakens, he was given a special cast credit as “R2-D2 Creative Consultant”.

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