September 13: Happy Birthday Tyler Perry and Jacqueline Bisset
The multi-talented Tyler Perry, who celebrates his 47th birthday today (according to most sources; some say it’s tomorrow), was inspired to begin his career by an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show on the therapeutic power of writing. He ended up creating the musical I Know I’ve Been Changed, the first of several successful plays. His second play, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, marks the first appearance of the character Madea—a tough-minded elderly black woman played by Perry himself—in his work; Perry adapted the play into a feature film in 2009. The character of Madea, along with a couple of others such as her brother Joe (also played by Perry), appears repeatedly in Perry’s plays as well as the films and television shows he has created:
In recent years, Perry has partnered with none other than Oprah Winfrey, creating and writing television programs for the Oprah Winfrey Network, while also continuing his film and stage production. He has also made several appearances in other films, appearing as the head of Starfleet Academy in Star Trek, playing the title character in Alex Cross, and drawing critical praise for a supporting role in Gone Girl.
Jacqueline Bisset celebrates her 72nd birthday today. She has been in film and television (mostly film) for over 50 years now, working in American, British, French and Italian cinema. Her breakthrough as an actress came in 1968 when she starred in three films, the counterculture film The Sweet Ride, and a pair of crime dramas that paired her with major stars, The Detective (which starred Frank Sinatra) and Bullitt (opposite Steve McQueen). However, for many people (probably too many), the first phrase that her name brings to mind will always be “wet t-shirt.” (warning—the following video is almost certainly NSFW):
While Bisset no longer headlines major movies, she has never lacked for work through the decades. She was nominated for a Cesar Award in 1995 for Claude Chabrol’s La Cérémonie, and won a Golden Globe (she had four previous nominations) for the 2013 British miniseries Dancing on the Edge. In 2010, Bisset was awarded the insignia of the Legion of Honor by the French government.
Barbara Bain, who turns 85 today, starred on Mission: Impossible as Cinnamon Carter, opposite her husband Martin Landau (Juliet Landau from Buffy and Angel is their daughter). Animated filmmaker Don Bluth celebrates his 79th. The former Disney animator struck out on his own in the early 1980s and had major successes with An American Tail and Anastasia. Eileen Fulton, who turns 83, spent roughly fifty years playing the same character, Lisa Grimaldi on As The World Turns.
Frank Marshall, who celebrates his 70th birthday, has been a successful producer for over 40 years. A partial selection from his very long list of producing credits includes the Indiana Jones films, the Back to the Future trilogy, The Color Purple, and Seabiscuit. Fans of the Village People will remember Randy Jones, the cowboy, who turns 64 today. Three-time Emmy winner Jean Smart turns 65. She starred on Designing Women, won two Emmys for Outstanding Guest Actress on Frasier, and a third for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her work on Samantha Who?
Colin Trevorrow, who turns 40 today, directed and co-wrote Jurassic World and will be directing the as yet untitled Star Wars IX. Ben Savage, who is celebrating his 36th, was part of one of TV’s cutest couples on Boy Meets World and has returned to the role of Cory Matthews in the sequel series Girl Meets World. Singer-songwriter Fiona Apple, who won a Grammy for Best Female Rock Performance for “Criminal” and has released 4 critically acclaimed albums in her career, turns 39. Dave Mustaine, co-founder of the “thrash metal” band Megadeath, turns 55. Robbie Kay, who is 21 today, was featured as Peter Pan in Once Upon a Time and starred in the miniseries Heroes Reborn.
Jesse Lasky (1880-1958) was one of the pioneers on the business side of the film industry, a partner with Adolph Zukor, Cecil B. DeMille and others in creating what evolved into Paramount Pictures. Claudette Colbert (1903-1996) reached the height of her fame as an actress in the 1930s, winning Best Actress for It Happened One Night. Starting into the 1950s she moved more into stage and TV work, winning a Tony in 1959 for The Marriage-Go-Round. Three-time Oscar winner Maurice Jarre (1924-2009) composed the scores all of David Lean’s films from 1962 on, winning his Oscars for Best Original Score for Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and A Passage to India. He also scored two favorites of mine, The Train and The Man Who Would Be King.
James Bond fans will remember Richard Kiel (1939-2014) as the towering, steel-toothed henchman Jaws from The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. Scott Brady (1924-1985) was good as tough guys—on either side of the law—in crime films like He Walked By Night and Westerns like Johnny Guitar. Nell Carter (1948-2003) won a Tony Award for the musical Ain’t Misbehavin’ and an Emmy for a televised performance of the show. She also had two Emmy nominations for the NBC series Gimme a Break!
Composer Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) was one of the leading innovators in music in the 20th century, the creator of the so-called “twelve-tone scale.” American author Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941) was known for his short story collection Winesburg, Ohio, his novel Dark Laughter, and for his influence on younger writers of his time like William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. British novelist Roald Dahl (1916-1990) is remembered for childrens’ novels like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda (both adapted into feature films) and for writing the screenplay for the fifth James Bond film, You Only Live Twice.
Bill Monroe (1911-1996), known as the “Father of Bluegrass,” began performing and recording in the 1930s. He worked with a number of other musicians, eventually calling his band the Blue Grass Boys—the term “bluegrass” music comes from the name of his band. By the end of World War 2 he had a band together that had the sound he wanted: Lester Flatt on guitar, Earl Scruggs on banjo, Chubby Wise on fiddle, and Howard Watts on bass, with Monroe himself on mandolin, and Flatt and Monroe as the main vocalists. The recordings they made with Columbia in 1946 and ’47 are often identified as the first true “bluegrass” recordings.
Over the years, the lineup of the Blue Grass Boys turned over quite a bit. Flatt and Scruggs, for instance, left in 1948 to form the Foggy Mountain Boys. The list of famous bluegrass musicians who were part of the Blue Grass Boys at some point is incredibly long—a very incomplete one, in addition to the original lineup, would include Vassar Clements, Jimmy Martin, Del McCoury, Sonny Osborne, Carter Stanley and Mac Wiseman. Monroe is not only in the Country Music Hall of Fame but also the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as an early influence).
So, I’ll let Bill and the boys have the closing number today:
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 13, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Ben Savage, Bill Monroe, Claudette Colbert, Frank Marshall, Jacqueline Bisset, Jean Smart, Maurice Jarre, Richard Kiel, Tyler Perry. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.