Aug 28: Happy Birthday Shania Twain and LeAnn Rimes


Today is going to be unofficial “Country-Pop Day” here, as our two headliners are both country singers who have made successful crossovers to the pop audience.

Five-time Grammy winner Shania Twain turns 51 today.  She began performing at a young age while growing up in northern Ontario, Canada, and started doing so full time after she got out of high school.  Her career progressed slowly—her first album didn’t come out until she was 28—but with her second album, The Woman in Me, Twain’s career took off.  It was a huge seller, won the Grammy for Best Country Album, and wound up including eight charted singles, four of which reached #1 on the US country charts, including this one:

As big a success as Twain’s second album was, her third, Come On Over, was even bigger.  It became the best-selling country album ever as well as the best-selling studio album by a female artist.  Beginning in 2004, Twain took several years off from touring and performing; eventually, her fans learned that she had developed vocal cord lesions, which, fortunately, were treatable with therapy.  She returned to the concert stage in 2012.

LeAnn Rimes celebrates her 34th birthday today.  Her debut album, Blue came out in July 1996, a few weeks before her 14th birthday.  She released two more albums before she turned 16, You Light Up My Life and Sittin’ On Top of the World, and had a number of hit singles such as this:

Throughout her career, Rimes has navigated back and forth across the boundary between country and pop.  She has at times dabbled with an acting career—making a cameo in the film Coyote Ugly and also providing Piper Perabo’s singing voice in that film—but has largely stuck to music.  While her most recent albums have not sold as well as her 1990s releases, she remains a major figure in country music.

Jack Black turns 47 today.  In the 1990s he had a number of small film roles and made a variety of TV guest appearances.  A significant role in the 2000 film High Fidelity was a breakthrough for him.  Since then he has carved out a nice career as a character actor, oftne in comic roles, a voice actor, and sometimes a leading man in certain types of comedy, such as Shallow Hal or Bernie.  He has also developed a music career as lead singer of the comic rock band Tenacious D; his musical abilities were put to good use in School of Rock, another of his leading roles.

Jason Priestley is 47 today as well.  He starred in Beverly Hills 90210 as Brandon Walsh for a decade.  Rick Rossovich, who celebrates his 59th birthday today, was seen in a number of major 1980s films: he was terminated in a certain 1984 film, was Iceman’s RIO, Slider, in Top Gun, and was coached in romance by Steve Martin in RoxanneCarly Pope, who turns 36, played Sam McPherson on Popular.  Comedian and actress Jennifer Coolidge is 55 today.  She was Jeanine Stifler in the American Pie films and appeared in several of Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries (Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, etc.).

Armie Hammer, who celebrates his 30th birthday today, played the title role in the critical and commercial failure at reviving The Lone Ranger and more recently was Ilya Kuryakin in the film adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.  Scottish actor and singer Billy Boyd turns 48; he was Pippin in the Lord of the Rings films and Barret Bonden in Master and Commander and performs with the band Beecake.  Quvenzhané Wallis, who turns 13, was the youngest Best Actress nominee ever for her film debut in Beasts of the Southern Wild and played the title role in the 2014 remake of Annie.  And yet another country pop singer, Cassadee Pope (no relation to Carly), turns 27; her first solo album, Frame by Frame, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.

Janet Evans, who turns 45, was the star swimmer of the 1988 Summer Olympics.  Evans, who turned 17 during the Games, won the 400 and 800 meter freestyle events and the 400 meter individual medley—this at the last Olympics where women’s swimming in general was dominated by the East German team.

Ben Gazzara (1930-2012) acted and directed on screen and stage for over 50 years.  He was a three-time Golden Globe nominee for the 1960s series Run For Your Life and an Emmy winner for the 2002 TV movie Hysterical Blindness, and was also known for his films with indie film legend John Cassavetes, such as The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.  French-born Charles Boyer (1899-1978) was a four-time nominee for Best Actor.  He was known for romantic dramas like Algiers and Hold Back the Dawn and for the psychological thriller GaslightJames Wong Howe (1899-1976) was a ten-time Oscar nominee for Best Cinematography, winning for The Rose Tattoo and Hud.  The International Cinematographers Guild named him one of the ten most influential cinematographers of all time.  Tenor Richard Tucker (1913-1975) was a regular at the Metropolitan Opera Company from his 1945 debut until his death.  He also appeared in the 1949 film Song of Surrender.

Peggy Ryan (1924-2004) and Donald O’Connor (1925-2003) were teenagers when they appeared in a series of Universal musicals in the early 1940s, modestly budgeted affairs that sometimes also featured the Andrews Sisters and/or other young performers like Gloria Jean.  Ryan’s film career largely ended within a few years after the end of World War II, although, since she ended up living in Hawaii, she came out of retirement to play Jenny Sherman on Hawaii Five-O.

O’Connor went on to other film parts, including a series of films where he was friends with a talking mule named Francis.  Film fans, however, would probably rather remember him for playing Gene Kelly’s sidekick in the most classic of classic Hollywood musicals:

Finally, today is the anniversary of the birth of the great figure in German literature, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).  One of the most accomplished men of his time, Goethe was a poet, playwright, novelist, and philosopher, as well as a lawyer and diplomat.

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 28, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I’m not even a little bit country, but how can you not like Shania Twain? I’m less familiar with LeAnn Rimes, but I know enough to know that on any other day, she’d likely be the biggest country star celebrating a birthday. I can get behind “Country-Pop Day” if these women are the headliners.

    I like Jack Black, but I like him best in small doses. I suspect his kids are about the same age as mine because as my kids were growing up, Black kept appearing in the shows they were watching at the time; Yo Gabba Gabba and iCarly.


  2. Shania Twain was known for the style of music & the sexy outfits (Lorrie Morgan, a country singer who once dated actor/politician Fred Thompson & Pro Football Hall of Fame Quarterback Troy Aikman, is sometimes credited with beginning the phase of flashier country outfits). Those Canadian imports, you can really count on them.
    Speaking of such, Jason Priestley is another Canadian.
    I just thought about Armie Hammer the other day; it seemed Hollywood tried to make him a star, but the audiences didn’t really respond to the two projects he headlined. I like his name, as it’s good for a few “It’s Hammer time!” puns.
    I forgot that Ben Gazarra passed away a few years ago. I liked 1975’s “Capone”, more than some others do, although Gazarra looks nothing like Al Capone (I like Sly Stallone’s description of the film).
    I really like Jack Black in “High Fidelity” and “School of Rock”; in that type of material I think he really shines.


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