September 7: Happy Birthday Chrissie Hynde and Buddy Holly
On a light day for birthdays our headliners are a pair of musicians, one still alive and working, one dead in one of the most famous tragedies of the history of the entertainment world.
Chrissie Hynde celebrates her 65th birthday today. The Akron-born Hynde spent years trying to get into rock music, moving to England to do so, before finally succeeding when she founded The Pretenders in 1978. The punk oriented pop-rock group had a number of successful albums and singles in the decade or so after they formed; this one was their biggest hit in the US:
Since the 1980s ended The Pretenders have been less successful, but they still perform as a group (albeit with several changes of personnel through the years—Hynde has always been the one constant). Hynde also recorded singles with other bands during the ’80s, including “I Got You Babe,” a #1 hit in Britain for UB40. After over three decades of fronting The Pretenders, Hynde released her first solo album, Stockholm, in 2014.
Buddy Holly (1936-1959; born Charles Hardin Holley) had a huge impact on popular music despite a career of only a few years. Holly started a band right out of high school in Lubbock, TX, even opening for Elvis Presley at a few venues. After a few false starts he connected with producer Norman Petty, and recorded several tracks, including a single released in May of 1957, that was titled after John Wayne’s catchphrase in the film The Searchers:
“That’ll Be The Day” was Holly’s biggest hit, but he had several other charted singles in the next 18 months or so, such as “Peggy Sue” and “Oh, Boy!” He toured in the US and internationally. And then came February 1959, and “the day the music died,” when Holly, along with Ritchie Valens, J. P. Richardson and pilot Roger Peterson, died in a small plane crash outside Mason City, IA.
Susan Blakely, who turns 68 today, won a Golden Globe for the mid-1970s TV miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man and still appears occasionally in films and TV. Gloria Gaynor, who is 67 today, had several disco-era hits, including the #1 single “I Will Survive.” Corbin Bernsen starred as Arnie Becker on L. A. Law and more recently as Henry Spencer on Psych. He is 62 today. Julie Kavner, who celebrates her 66th, won an Emmy for playing Brenda Morgenstern on Rhoda in the 1970s and is the longtime voice of Marge Simpson.
Toby Jones, who is 50 today, has played Truman Capote, in the film Infamous, voiced Dobby the house elf in several Harry Potter films, and was Emmy and Golden Globe nominated for playing Alfred Hitchcock in The Rule. Shannon Elizabeth, celebrating her 43rd birthday, first became known as the foreign exchange student Nadia in American Pie. She has combined her subsequent acting career with a “second career” in professional poker. Tom Everett Scott, who turns 46, starred in That Thing You Do and maintains a steady film and television career. Leslie Jones, who turns 49, is a comic and a current Saturday Night Live cast member and appears in the new Ghostbusters film. Evan Rachel Wood, who turns 29, has been successfully transitioning from a child performer to adult roles. She has Golden Globe nominations for the coming of age film Thirteen and the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce, and an Emmy nomination for the latter.
Pianist and singer Michael Feinstein, who is 60 today, got one of his first jobs when Ira Gershwin needed someone to organize and catalog his extensive collection of phonograph records and sheet music. It took six years and at the end, Feinstein was hooked on the repertoire of tunes from musicals, film, jazz and other sources that is sometimes called the Great American Songbook—which he has spent his career performing and interpreting. Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu turns 51, has been a star at the world’s leading opera houses for the last 25 years. During the years of her marriage to French tenor Roberto Alagna, they were more or less the First Couple of the opera world:
Albert Basserman (1867-1952) was a great German stage actor who also moved into film. In 1933, he and his wife Elsa, who was Jewish, moved to Switzerland when the Nazis took power, and although Basserman’s English was not good, he made a few English-language films in the 1940s, winning an Oscar nomination for Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent. Actor Peter Lawford (1923-1984) was often better known for his off-screen activities, as a member of the Rat Pack and as John F. Kennedy’s brother-in-law. Director and writer Elia Kazan (1909-2003) was a two-time winner of the Oscar for Best Director, for Gentleman’s Agreement and On the Waterfront, and also won three Tonys as a stage director. Laura Ashley (1925-1985) was one of the most prominent fashion designers of the 20th Century. Sir Anthony Quayle (1913-1989) was one of the leading Shakespearians of his time; his film career included an Oscar nomination for Anne of the Thousand Days. Folk singer Ronnie Gilbert (1926-2015) was one of the founding members of the Weavers; she remained an active performer until she was well past 80 years of age.
Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603) has been portrayed in film by over twenty actresses, including Bette Davis, Flora Robson, Jean Simmons, Glenda Jackson, Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench. At the 71st Academy Awards, both Blanchett (for Elizabeth, as Best Actress) and Dench (for Shakespeare in Love, as Best Supporting Actress) were nominated for Oscars for playing Elizabeth I (Dench won).
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 September 7, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Anthony Quayle, Buddy Holly, Chrissie Hynde, Elia Kazan, Julie Kavner, Queen Elizabeth I, Shannon Elizabeth, Toby Jones. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.