Aug 25: Happy Birthday Sean Connery and Blake Lively
Sir Sean Connery, who turns 86 today, got his first credited film role in 1957, and for several years he frequently had supporting parts, as in Disney’s Darby O’Gill and the Little People, or villains, as in Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure, where he met his end at the hands of Gordon Scott as Tarzan. But that changed in 1962, when Connery was cast in the role that, for better or worse, or a little of both, defined his career:
Connery played the role of Ian Fleming’s James Bond in seven films—counting the non-canonical Never Say Never Again—but eventually tired of the role and of being typecast. For much of the 15 years or so after his final Eon Productions Bond film, Connery seemed to struggle to escape the shadow of Bond, even when he starred in excellent films like John Huston’s The Man Who Would Be King. That changed in the late 1980s, when a BAFTA-winning turn in The Name of the Rose, followed by a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Untouchables, established his credibility as an actor who could do more than say “My name is Bond. James Bond.” But while he escaped the shadow of Bond, he seemed unable to escape his Edinburgh accent. 🙂
Blake Lively, who celebrates her 29th birthday today, began her film career while she was still in high school, as one of the four leads in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Other film roles followed, but starting in 2007, Lively was best known for a television role. She was cast as Serena van der Woodsen in The CW’s series adapted from Cecily von Ziegesar’s book series Gossip Girl:
While on Gossip Girl, Lively also continued her feature film career. She received critical acclaim for her performances in films like Elvis and Annabelle, The Town and Savages. She took a little time off after Gossip Girl wrapped its final season, getting married and giving birth to a daughter. She was top-cast in last year’s The Age of Adeline and this year’s The Shallows, stars in Marc Forster’s upcoming All I See Is You, and had a smaller role in Woody Allen’s latest. I would say that the door is still open for her to become a major star.
Director, producer and writer Tim Burton turns 58 today. Burton got his start working as an artist on Ralph Bakshi’s animated The Lord of the Rings, and put himself on the map as a director in the mid-eighties with Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and Beetlejuice, before having a huge commercial success with Batman in 1989. Burton always seems to have a taste for making films with at least a little bit of the offbeat or bizarre to them—Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, etc.
English novelist Frederick Forsyth turns 78 today. He is the author of some of the most popular espionage thrillers of the last 50 years, such as The Day of the Jackal, The Dogs of War, and The Fourth Protocol; many of his books also have a significant political element. Four of his novels have been adapted into feature films while several others have been turned into TV movies or miniseries.
John Badham, who turns 77 today, was the subject of this post, one of our many which are pulled from the Movieline archive. The director of Saturday Night Fever, WarGames and Short Circuit has worked recently on TV series like Supernatural and Arrow. Tom Skerritt, an Emmy winner for Picket Fences, turns 83. He is also known for roles in films like Alien (as Dallas) and Top Gun (as Viper). Regis Philbin, longtime television talk and game show host, celebrates his 85th birthday. He is best known as the host of Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee (later Kelly). And Monty Hall, the longtime host of Let’s Make a Deal, turns 95.
Blair Underwood, who celebrates his 52nd birthday, was a regular on L.A. Law for seven seasons and a Golden Globe nominee. Rachel Bilson, who starred in The O.C. and Hart of Dixie, turns 35. Marti Noxon, who turns 52, is a writer and producer best known for her work on seasons 2-7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which included becoming the showrunner for the final two seasons. Christine McGlade, who is 53 today, was the host of the Canadian series You Can’t Do That on Television, a sketch comedy show featuring teen and preteen actors, for eight years.
Alexander Skarsgård, who turns 40, was recently seen on movie screens as the first live-action, bigscreen Tarzan in nearly 20 years—considerably longer if you discount Tarzan and the Lost City, which disappeared from theaters after only about a week in 1998. Simon McBurney, who celebrates his 59th today, is known to film audiences for roles in movies like Mission Impossible—Rogue Nation, but to theater followers as the founder and artistic director of the award-winning company Complicite. Also seen in Rogue Nation was stage and screen actor Tom Hollander, who turns 49 today.
A number of major names in music celebrate birthdays today. Punk rock pioneer Elvis Costello turns 62 today. Gene Simmons, the co-lead singer and bass guitarist of the hard rock bank Kiss, celebrates his 67th. Billy Ray Cyrus, known for his string of country hits in the early 1990s and for a somewhat famous daughter, turns 55. And Scottish folk-rocker Amy MacDonald celebrates her 29th birthday.
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was a major figure in American music for over 40 years, from the day back in 1943 when he substituted for an ailing Bruno Walter conducting the New York Philharmonic. He went on to become the Phiharmonic’s first American-born music director from 1958-69, and then had a long association with the Vienna Philharmonic (among other orchestras). Almost anyone who follows the classical world would, I think, rank him among the past century’s greatest conductors. As a composer, his greatest achievements were in music for the theater—his operetta Candide and his musicals On the Town, Wonderful Town (both with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green) and West Side Story (lyrics by Stephen Sondheim) are all permanent parts of the repertoire.
Ruby Keeler (1909-1993) made her name in a series of Warner Brothers musicals in the 1930s like 42nd Street (she’s the character at the receiving end of the speech “Sawyer, you’re going out there a youngster, but you have to come back a star!”). She retired from the industry for several decades but made a comeback on stage in 1971 as one of the stars of a revival of the musical No, No, Nanette. Van Johnson (1916-2008) was a mid-level star for MGM in the 1940s and 50s, occasionally a lead in major films, but more often a second-feature lead or a supporting player in major films (e.g., backing Tracy and Hepburn in State of the Union). Johnson also had some musical ability, which stood him in good stead as the guest villain The Minstrel on the Batman TV series.
Another guest villain on that series was Michael Rennie (1909-1971) as the Sandman. Rennie is best known as the alien Klaatu from The Day the Earth Stood Still. Althea Gibson (1927-2003) was sort of the Jackie Robinson of tennis—her victory at the 1956 French Open made her the first African-American, and first person of color, to win a Grand Slam event. She won a total of eleven Grand Slam titles in her career, five in singles and six in doubles.
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 25, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Blake Lively, Elvis Costello, Frederick Forsyth, Leonard Bernstein, Marti Noxon, Rachel Bilson, Sean Connery, Simon McBurney, Tim Burton, Van Johnson. Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.