Aug 26: Happy Birthday Melissa McCarthy and Chris Pine


Like August 22 headliner Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy got her start with the sketch and improve troupe the Groundlings.  Her first major roles were on television.  In 2000 she was cast as Sookie St. James, Lorelei Gilmore’s best friend and business partner on Gilmore Girls.  After another “best friend” role on the series Samantha Who?, she was cast as Molly Flynn, one of the lead roles in Mike & Molly:

Mike & Molly just ended its six year run, but not before bringing McCarthy her first Emmy Award.  In the meantime, she has built a solid film career.  In 2011, she was one of several Groundlings alums featured in the cast of Bridesmaids (also touched on in the August 22 article).  She had two substantial successes in 2013 with Identity Thief and The Heat, her 2015 film Spy was another success and brought her a Golden Globe nomination, and this summer McCarthy was one of the new, all-female Ghostbusters team.  We wish her the best on her 46th birthday.

Chris Pine turns 36 today.  He comes from an acting family; his father Robert was a supporting player on CHiPs for six seasons, while his grandmother, Anne Gwynne, was an early “scream queen,” appearing in several horror films of the 1940s.  He made his television debut on ER and his film debut in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.  Other film and TV roles followed, up to the point where Pine was selected to be the captain of a starship:

Pine has since played Captain James T. Kirk in two subsequent Star Trek films, which we have had some discussion of here at le Blog, and has also played the lead in another attempt to revive a Hollywood franchise, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.  Next year, he joins the DC cinema universe as Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman.

At the peak of his career, Macaulay Culkin was sometimes called the most successful child actor since Shirley Temple; however, as often happens, that fame was tenuous.  The Home Alone star does only occasional film, TV and voice work these days.  He celebrates his 36th birthday today.  Although he has little in common with Culkin otherwise, director Barbet Schroeder is likewise relatively inactive today.  The director of Single White Female, Kiss of Death and Murder by Numbers has made only one feature in the past eight years.  He turns 75 today.

For the fifth (and not final) time this month, a Bond Girl celebrates her birthday.  Akiko Wakabayashi was one of two Japanese actresses cast in You Only Live Twice.  She was initially cast in the role of Kissy Suzuki, but she turned out to speak English more fluently than Mie Hama, the other of the two, so she and Hama switched roles—Wakabayashi’s character was renamed Aki.

British stage and film actress Alison Steadman celebrates her 70th birthday.  Her filmography includes several films directed by her ex-husband Mike Leigh, including Life is Sweet and Topsy-Turvy.  Actress and singer Keke Palmer turns 23 today.  She was the title character in the critically-acclaimed Akeelah and the Bee and is currently seen in Scream Queens on Fox.  Dylan O’Brien, who turns 25, stars as Thomas in The Maze Runner films, adapted from James Dashner’s novels.  Dancer turned actress Amanda Schull, who is 38 today, is known for recurring roles on series like One Tree Hill, Pretty Little Liars and Suits and is currently featured in the Syfy series 12 Monkeys.

In the music realm, country musician Brian Kelley turns 31 today.  He is one half of the duo Florida Georgia Line; they have won the CMA award for Duo of the Year for three consecutive years.  Shirley Manson celebrates her 50th birthday; she is the lead vocalist for the alt-rock band Garbage, who have seven Grammy nominations and performed the title song for the 19th James Bond film, The World is Not Enough.  Valerie Simpson, part of the husband-and-wife songwriting team of Ashford & Simpson, turns 70.  The duo wrote several hits for Motown, particularly for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (e.g., “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “You’re All I Need to Get By”).

Mark Snow, who also celebrates his 70th today, has composed the scores for television series like The X-Files, One Tree Hill, Smallville and Ghost Whisperer.  He has been nominated for several Emmys.  Thalía, the Mexican singer-actress known as the “Queen of telenovas” and the “Queen of Latin pop,” turns 45 today.  And jazz saxophonist and composer Branford Marsalis turns 56 today.  The two-time Grammy winner is part of a talent family; his father and three brothers are also well-known jazz musicians (the most famous is his younger brother Wynton).

Actress Jan Clayton (1917-1983) had two high points to her career.  In 1945, she was cast as Julie Jordan, the female lead in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s new musical Carousel.  After close to a year singing Julie, and winning critical acclaim, she was invited by none other than Oscar Hammerstein II to join the cast of a revival of Show Boat, in the lead role of Magnolia.  The second peak came in 1954, when she was cast as war widow Ellen Miller, the mother in the “Miller Family” era of Lassie, which made up the long-running show’s first three seasons.

Michael Jeter (1952-2003) was a five-time Emmy nominee, including a win for the early nineties CBS series Evening Shade.  He also did a lot of film work, largely in character roles; one of his final roles was in Open Range, where he played Percy, the livery stable owner who allies with Boss (Robert Duvall) and Charley (Kevin Costner).

Scottish novelist John Buchan (1875-1940) was the author of several books, including The Thirty-Nine Steps, which Alfred Hitchcock adapted into one of his best films.  Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986) was an English novelist.  His novel A Single Man was adapted into the recent film of the same title starring Colin Firth.

Moving outside the entertainment world, Ben Bradlee (1921-2014) was the executive editor of the Washington Post for over 20 years; as editor he fought for the right of the paper to publish the Pentagon Papers and supported the investigation of Watergate by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.  Mother Teresa (1910-1997) was a Nobel Peace Prize winner and one of the most prominent humanitarians of the 20th century.  The Albanian-born nun spent most of her adult life serving the poor in India.

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 26, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I was pretty oblivious to McCarthy’s TV career. I only recently realized she was on Mike & Molly. But I have enjoyed her movies. You can usually tell which ones to avoid (the ones directed by her husband) and which will be worth watching.

    Chris Pine is probably the least interesting member of the new Star Trek cast. On some level, I have to give the guy credit for not doing a William Shatner impression. He’s okay as a kind of generic handsome leading man guy. I don’t object to him, but I don’t get excited when I hear he has been cast in a movie either.

    One of today’s birthdays is one of the finalists for the next WTHH article as soon as work will let me get around to writing it.


    • Until I wrote this article I was largely unaware of McCarthy’s TV career as well, since I simply don’t watch much television. I think I was sort of conscious that she had been on Gilmore Girls, but that’s about it.

      And I was struck by how many different genres are represented in today’s birthdays, especially taking into account that Branford Marsalis, like his brother Wynton, has made some forays into classical.


    • Chris Pine Does His Best Shatner Impression In Hysterical Star Trek Beyond Gag Reel

      While Star Trek Beyond is a fairly serious story, that doesn’t mean that the actors didn’t have some degree of fun on the set. A new gag reel that will be part of the Star Trek Beyond Blu-Ray has dropped online and it has some pretty great moments. Among them, Chris Pine channeling his predecessor in the role of Captain Kirk. As professional as the actors all are on the set of a Star Trek movie, the final cut of the film adds effects and music to the experience which help transport you to the fictional world. Without that, you’re just a guy standing on a set spouting Star Trek gibberish. This becomes all the more clear when an actor trips over their lines, and suddenly everybody remembers that


  2. With underperformance of star trek i worry pine leading man career will be over hollywood stops making the star trek film. Jack ryab underopefromed as did most of his leads. into the woods was a hit though i do not ever see him being top leading man


  3. The first time I remembering ever seeing Melissa McCarthy in anything was that scene in 2000’s “Charlie’s Angels”, following Lucy Liu’s Alex character around while Heart’s “Barracuda” (great song; I love Heart) plays on the soundtrack.
    I think Macaulay Culkin had a brief reappearance in the mid-2000’s with films like “Saved!” and “Party Monster” (the story of that Michael Alig guy is pretty demented overall), but that’s about it really.


  4. I hope chris pine career is not over


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