September 25: Happy Birthday Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones
Our two headliners today are married, making it very easy to find a photo of the two of them together.
Michael Douglas, son of actor Kirk, turns 72 today. In the 1970s his acting career took off on television’s Streets of San Francisco, but during that decade his greatest fame came as a producer, when One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest won Best Picture for 1975. He produced and co-starred in The China Syndrome, but he did not emerge as a convincing leading man until another film he produced in 1984, involving a map, a fabulous emerald, and Kathleen Turner:
Romancing the Stone made Douglas a major star for the next decade or more, over which his career highlights included winning Best Actor as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street. He received Golden Globe nominations for The War of the Roses, The American President, Wonder Boys, and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. And, of course, he married our other headliner in 2000.
Catherine Zeta-Jones, who is 47 today, began working in British stage productions as a teenager. She moved to the US in the mid-nineties and began getting substantial roles in films such as The Phantom, The Mask of Zorro and Entrapment. Her reputation as an actress was enhanced by her Golden Globe nominated performance in Traffic, and even more so when she was cast as Velma Kelly in the movie version of the musical Chicago:
In the wake of her Oscar-winning turn in Chicago, Zeta-Jones had several lead roles in the next few years, in films such as Intolerable Cruelty, The Terminal, and No Reservations. However, she seems to have decided to slow her pace down since about 2007. She has continued her musical work, appearing in the film of the jukebox musical Rock of Ages, and returning to the stage in a 2009 revival of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, winning a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Desiree Armfeldt (the character who sings “Send in the Clowns”).
Will Smith, who celebrates his 48th birthday today, first became well known as the star of NBC’s The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. In the mid-nineties he moved into feature films, and had big hits as part of an ensemble cast in Independence Day and as a lead in Men in Black. He had a run of a little over a decade as a leading man in major pictures, took some time off from about 2008-11, and returned to film work in 2012. He is a 3-time Oscar nominee, most recently for Concussion, and is currently seen in Suicide Squad.
Pedro Almodóvar is 67 today. He is one of the most prominent filmmakers in Europe, has won nine Goya Awards in his native Spain, while his films have won two Oscars. All About My Mother won Best Foreign Language Film for 1999 while Almodóvar won Best Original Screenplay for the 2002 film Talk to Her. Mark Hamill, who turns 65, is of course best known as Luke Skywalker in four Star Wars films (and counting). As some readers probably know, Hamill has also had a lengthy career as a voice actor, most notably voicing The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series and a number of other animated series and films based on the DC Universe.
Heather Locklear, who celebrates her 55th, was a “special guest star” as Amanda Woodward for most of Melrose Place’s run. Michael Madsen, who turns 59, is known for several Quentin Tarantino films such as Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill, for many other tough guy roles, and as an award-winning poet. Anson Williams, who is 67 today, played Potsie Weber for all eleven seasons of Happy Days. Jason Flemyng is known for Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; he turns 50 today.
Colleen Atwood, who celebrates her 68th birthday, is an eleven-time Oscar nominee for Best Costume Design, winning for Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha and Alice in Wonderland. Aida Turturro, who turns 54, was a two-time Emmy nominee as Janice Soprano on The Sopranos. Clea DuVall, who turns 39, was recently seen in Argo and on Lifetime’s The Lizzy Borden Chronicles. David Benioff, who is 46 today, is the showrunner for HBO’s Game of Thrones, for which he and D. B. Weiss write most of the episodes; his involvement in the series has brought Benioff several Emmys.
The multi-talented Donald Glover was a member of the sketch comedy group Derrick Comedy, who came to the big screen as the stars of 2009’s Mystery Team. Glover has been a writer on 30 Rock, was part of the main cast of NBC’s Community for five seasons, and currently produces and stars in FX’s Atlanta. He has also been nominated for two Grammys for his rap recordings. Glover turns 33 today.
In sports, Scottie Pippen, who turns 51 today, is a Basketball Hall of Famer who starred alongside Michael Jordan on six NBA champions with the Chicago Bulls. Phil Rizzuto (1917-2007) was the shortstop for the New York Yankees for thirteen seasons, during which time they won 7 World Series titles. After retirement he had a long career doing radio and TV broadcasts of the Yankees’ games.
Robert Bresson (1901-1999) was one of the most esteemed directors of all time, especially in his native France. He was known for his very austere filmmaking style, his frequent use of non-professional actors, and the emphasis on spiritual redemption in films such as Pickpocket. Novelist William Faulkner (1897-1962) lived half a world away from Bresson, but his novels such as The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August and others raised him to a similar level of esteem in the literary world. Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was one of the most prominent composers of the 20th Century, with 15 symphonies and many smaller-scale works to his name. Pianist Glenn Gould (1932-1982) was one of the most gifted and idiosyncratic keyboardists of his time, known especially for his interpretations of the keyboard works of J. S. Bach.
Christopher Reeve (1952-2004) was left a quadriplegic by a 1995 riding accident, which left him in a wheelchair for the last nine years of his life, a tragedy which he seems to have faced with a great deal of courage and grace. Before that, of course, he was one of the most perfect cases of casting in film history:
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 25, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Cahtherine Zeta-Jones, Christopher Reeve, David Benioff, Donald Glover, Mark Hamill, Michael Douglas, Pedro Almodovar, Robert Bresson, will smith. Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.