September 11: Happy Birthday John Hawkes and Harry Connick, Jr.


John Hawkes celebrates his 57th birthday today.  Hawkes began working in film and television in the mid-1980s.  For much of that time he seemed to be stuck in fairly minor parts, even if they sometimes were in major films like The Perfect Storm.  A regular role on HBO’s Deadwood raised his profile, but few could have foreseen the outcome when indie director and writer Debra Granik cast Hawkes in her second feature, Winter’s Bone:

Hawkes received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role as Teardrop Dolly, along with a lot of other critical praise.  He followed up with critically acclaimed work in Martha Marcy May Marlene and The Sessions, receiving a Golden Globe nomination for the latter film.  More recently he starred in the well-received Elmore Leonard adaptation Life of Crime and the ensemble drama Everest.

Singer, pianist and actor Harry Connick, Jr. turns 49 today.  As a musician, Connick’s roots are in jazz but he has moved between multiple genres.  He began releasing albums in 1987; a year or two later, Rob Reiner asked him to record a number of “old standards” from the likes of Rodgers and Hart, the Gershwins, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, etc., for the soundtrack for When Harry Met Sally.  The soundtrack album reached #1 on Billboard’s Traditional Jazz Chart and the top 50 on their Top 200, and won Connick his first Grammy.

Over the years Connick’s albums have consistently sold well—he has had an additional 12 albums reach #1 on the Jazz charts and several that have showed crossover appeal as well—and he has won two additional Grammys.  His film career has been uneven, mostly supporting roles with an occasional lead part.  On Broadway, he was nominated for a Tony for starring opposite Kelli O’Hara in the 2006 revival of The Pajama Game, and he won Emmys for two of his concerts that were broadcast on PBS’s Great Performances.

Director Brian De Palma, who is 76 today, has been working in film for over 50 years.  Among his best known films are the horror classic Carrie, gangster films like Scarface and Carlito’s Way, and the first Mission: Impossible feature.  He is also known for a number of psychological thrillers that are strongly influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, such as Sisters, Obsession, Blow Out and Body Double.

Director and writer Tony Gilroy turns 60.  He was Oscar-nominated for both writing and directing for Michael Clayton, wrote the scripts for the first four Jason Bourne films and directed the fourth, and wrote this year’s upcoming Rogue OneAmy Madigan, who turns 66 today, was Oscar-nominated for Twice in a Lifetime, Emmy-nominated for Roe vs. Wade, and played Kevin Costner’s wife in Field of Dreams.  A few may also remember her from the cult classic Streets of FireVirginia Madsen, who celebrates her 55th, was an Oscar and Golden Globe nominee for Sideways.  She is currently featured in CBS’s American GothicScott Patterson turns 58.  He has been in three of the Saw films and will reprise his role of Luke Danes this fall on Netflix’s Gilmore Girls: A Year in the LifeKristy McNichol, who celebrates her 54th, was one of the biggest teen stars of the late 1970s, winning two Emmy Awards for Family.  She later was featured in the first four seasons of Empty Nest.

Rapper and actor Ludacris (given name Chris Bridges) turns 39.  He has had 4 #1 albums on the Billboard 200 and has won three Grammys.  In film, he is probably best known as Tej Parker from the Fast and the Furious series.  Taraji P. Henson, who turns 46, was Oscar-nominated for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and now stars on Fox’s Empire, which brought her a Golden Globe earlier this year.  Tyler Hoechlin, who played Derek Hale on Teen Wolf for four seasons and has guest starred as some guy named Clark Kent on Supergirl, turns 29.  Also celebrating her 29th is Elizabeth Henstridge, who plays the adorkable Jemma Simmons on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Ariana Richards, who played Lex Murphy in Jurassic Park and Mindy Sterngood in two of the Tremors films, turns 37 today.  Laura Wright, who turns 46, is a Daytime Emmy winner for playing Carly Corinthos on General Hospital.

Star Trek fans will remember Roxann Dawson as B’Elanna Torres on Star Trek: Voyager.  Dawson started directing during her Star Trek years and has directed episodes of about 40 different series.  She is also a published playwright and novelist, and turns 58 today.  Voice actress and singer Elizabeth Daily, who turns 55, started out acting in films in the early 1980s, appearing in Valley Girl and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.  As a singer she had some modest success in the late 1980s.  But for the last 20 years or so she’s been primarily a hard-working voice actress in film, television and video games, voicing Babe in Babe: Pig in the City, Buttercup in Powerpuff Girls, and many more.

Lyricist Alan Bergman, who turns 91, has shared three Oscars for Best Original Song or Score with his wife Marilyn (and their composers).  The Bergman’s won for “The Windmills of your Mind” from The Thomas Crown Affair (1968 version, shared with Michel Legrand), for “The Way We Were” (shared with Marvin Hamlisch) from the film of the same title, and for the score for Yentl (shared with Bill Conti and Michel Legrand).  As you might guess from some of their film work, they’ve had a long association with Barbra Streisand.

Two sports legends were born today.  German footballer Franz Beckenbauer turns 71 today.  “Der Kaiser” was the captain of the West German side that won the 1974 World Cup, and then managed West Germany to victory in the 1990 Cup.  Paul “Bear” Bryant was head football coach at the University of Alabama for 25 seasons, from 1958-82, and under his leadership Alabama won 6 national championships.

In the literary world, William Sydney Porter, better known by his pen name of O. Henry (1862-1910), was a prolific short story writer.  Among his best known stories are “The Gift of the Magi” and “The Ransom of Red Chief,” both of which have been adapted many times into other media, and also “The Caballero’s Way,” which introduced the character of the Cisco Kid.  D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) was a novelist, poet and essayist who is best known for novels like Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Sons and Lovers, and The Rainbow.  Lawrence has been played in film by Ian McKellen and Kenneth Branagh.

Finally, Herbert Lom (1917-2012) was a Czech-born actor who moved to Britain when the Nazis were threatening to take over his home country.  He had an extensive career in British and American film, but will be best remembered as Chief Inspector Dreyfus, the perpetually frustrated foil to Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies:

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 11, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. To me, John Hawkes will always be Kenny Powers’ brother on the classic comedy series Eastbound and Down. Just a great, great show.


  2. Did I mention that I was in a movie with Harry Connick Jr? I’m just kidding. I know I have brought that up before.

    I have mixed feelings about Brian De Palma. He’s undeniably talented. But most of his movies feel like they are all style and no substance. He went through a pretty long phase where he seemed to be obsessed with aping Alfred Hitchcock only with more onscreen sex and violence. Those movies are entertaining, but ultimately pretty empty.

    Just about every article these days contains at least one person I am seriously considering for WTHH. There are two today.

    I have already spoken about my fondness for the Pink Panther movies, so no surprise Herbert Lom is wrapped up in that. I also remember him from David Cronenberg’s take on The Dead Zone.


    • Watching how Herbert Lom and Burt Kwouk played off of Peter Sellers was always the biggest delight of the Pink Panther films.

      Would one of the WTHH candidates be Kristy McNichol?


      • She’s definitely someone I have considered. One of the obstacles is that most of her career was late 70’s and very early 80’s. Those periods aren’t as well documented online which makes researching them a bit harder. And we all know how much I hate hard work! 😉


  3. I feel Elizabeth Daily played as much of part of the “Scarface” soundtrack with her songs “I’m Hot Tonight” (love that “ow…” sound she makes at the beginning of that one) and “Shake it Up”, as Debbie Harry rush rushing to the yeyo & Georgio Moroder.
    I felt Harry Connick Jr. had a memorable turn as a serial killer in 1995’s “Copycat”. Chris Isaak did a similar trick with having a bit of an acting career on the side along with the singing; I associate those two since they were out and about around the same time.
    When it comes to Virginia Madsen, I’ve always meant to see 1984’s “Electric Dreams”, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve listened to the song of the same title a bunch of times though.
    I still plan on viewing that Brian De Palma documentary someday.
    Kristy McNichol is an interesting case for sure; her adult film career never gained any traction, though I’ve heard some good things about the 1986 film “Dream Lover” (totally different from the 1994 film that starred James Spader & Madchen Amick). She also had a bit part in 1988’s “Two Moon Junction”, starring Sherilyn Fenn (with these names here, I’m really heading into “Twin Peaks” territory; guess it’s time to mention that Kristy McNichol was in the 1984 film “Just the Way You Are” with Michael Ontkean, who also retired from acting like McNichol), but that film wasn’t well received.


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