September 22: Happy Birthday Billie Piper and Tatiana Maslany
On a day where there are no earthshaking names celebrating birthdays, our headliners are a pair of relatively young actresses who are both known for their television work in some acclaimed science fiction series.
Billie Piper, who turns 34 today, began her entertainment career as a British teenage pop star. When her first single debuted at #1 on the British charts in 1998, she became the youngest singer ever to achieve that particular success. After a few years in music, Piper decided to switch to acting. At about that time, the BBC decided to revive Doctor Who, with Christopher Eccleston cast as the latest incarnation of the title character, aka the Ninth Doctor. Piper was cast as his companion, Rose Tyler; when Eccleston left the series, Piper continued to play Rose opposite the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant.
Piper played Rose in the first two series of the revived show, and returned to make a number of guest appearances through the years. Many Doctor Who fans rank Rose Tyler as one of the best companions in the entire run of the series. She went on to star in the ITV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl, and more recently was one of the stars of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. She played Fanny Price in a British TV movie adaptation of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park and made her West End debut in a revival of Christopher Hampton’s Treats.
Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany has been acting since her teens. She had a small role in David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises, and appeared in a variety of Canadian films and television series. Her big break came in 2013, when she was cast as Sarah Manning, the lead role in a new sci-fi series called Orphan Black—and also as a host of other characters who are all clones of Sarah.
Maslany has been nominated for two Emmys and a Golden Globe for Orphan Black and won a variety of other acting awards for the show. In recent years, she has also made a guest appearance on Parks and Recreation, and played the younger Maria Altmann (played as an older woman by Helen Mirren) in Woman in Gold. She will star opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in David Gordon Green’s upcoming film Stronger.
As of last Sunday night, Maslany is an Emmy winner, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Orphan Black.
Anna Karina turns 76 today. The French actress had a bewitching screen presence, often best displayed in her films with Jean-Luc Godard, such as Band of Outsiders, Pierrot le Fou and Alphaville. David Coverdale, who turns 65, was the lead singer of Deep Purple in the mid-1970s and then founded the hard rock band Whitesnake. Paul Le Mat, who celebrates his 71st, won Golden Globes in film, for American Graffiti, and in television, for the TV movie The Burning Bed.
Nick Cave, the frontman for the Bad Seeds who is known as rock’s “Prince of Darkness,” turns 59. Scott Baio turns 56. He followed up a successful stint on Happy Days as Chachi Arcola by playing the title character on Charles in Charge. The multi-talented Bonnie Hunt, who is 55, is doing a lot of voice work these days, including Zootopia and next year’s Cars 3.
Mireille Enos, who turns 41, was an Emmy nominee for AMC’s The Killing and currently stars in ABC’s The Catch. Rupert Penry-Jones celebrates his 46th birthday. In his lengthy career on British television, he once played the notorious Soviet spy Donald Maclean, in Cambridge Spies, and then turned around to star in a series about the agency that tries to catch foreign spys, Spooks. He is now seen on FX in The Strain. Lawrence Gilliard, Jr., played Bob Stookey on The Walking Dead and is now featured on HBO’s The Deuce. He turns 45.
Tom Felton, who turns 29, played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, and joins the cast of The Flash as Julian Dorn in its third season. Laura Vandervoort, who is 32 today, played Kara Zor-El, or Supergirl, for over 20 episodes of Smallville, starred on the Canadian series Bitten, and had a recurring role as Indigo on Supergirl. Ukweli Roach, who celebrates his 30th, plays Dr. Robert Borden on NBC’s Blindspot. Daniella Alonso has starred on NBC’s Revolution and TNT’s Animal Kingdom in recent years; she is 38 today.
Shari Belafonte, who turns 62 today, and Debby Boone, who is 60, are both the daughters of very famous singers (Harry and Pat, respectively), who have had respectable careers of their own. Belafonte’s acting career peaked with a starring role on ABC’s Hotel, which ran for five seasons in the 1980s. Boone had a #1 hit and won a Grammy in 1977 with the song “You Light Up My Life.”
Joan Jett, who celebrates her 58th birthday today, was a founding member of The Runaways, where she was the rhythm guitarist and eventual lead singer (after Cherie Currie left). After the breakup of The Runaways, Jett has done most of her rocking with her own band, the Blackhearts. They had a huge hit back during my college days:
Paul Muni (1895-1967) was one of the most respected actors of the early sound era. He played the title character in the original version of Scarface, won Best Actor for The Story of Louis Pasteur, and later won a Tony for starring in Inherit the Wind. Allan “Rocky” Lane (1909-1973) was a B-Western mainstay of the 1940s, starring in several films as Red Ryder, among others. In the early 1960s he was the voice of TV’s talking horse, Mister Ed. Erich von Stroheim (1885-1957) was a silent era director, best-known for his only partially preserved film Greed. In the sound era he had major acting roles in Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion and Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard.
John Houseman (1902-1988) spent much of his life as a producer and director; he worked with Orson Welles on Citizen Kane and was a producer at Paramount for over a decade. Then, when he was past 70, he got the kind of role actors dream of when he was cast as crusty, autocratic Professor Kingsfield in The Paper Chase. After he won an Oscar and a Golden Globe, he reprised the role in a TV series that ran on CBS, and later on Showtime.
Anne of Austria (1601-1666) was born in Spain, and became Queen of France (and later, regent of that country). Which may leave you wondering why she’s known as Anne “of Austria;” I’ll leave you all to figure that out on your own. She is a character in The Three Musketeers and its sequels, which means she is also a character in most film adaptations of those Dumas novels; she has been played by the likes of Gloria Stuart, Angela Lansbury, Geraldine Chaplin, Olivia de Havilland, Gabrielle Anwar, Catherine Deneuve, ex-Bond Girl Carole Bouquet, and Alexandra Dowling, who plays her on the BBC series The Musketeers.
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 22, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Anna Karina, Billy Piper, Joan Jett, John Houseman, Laura Vandervoort, Lawrence Gilliard, Mireille Enos, Paul Muni, Scott Baio, Tatiana Maslany. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.