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September 26: Happy Birthday Linda Hamilton and Olivia Newton-John

0926hmaiotonnewtonjohn

Linda Hamilton celebrates her 60th birthday today.  Her first major roles came on a pair of short-lived TV soap operas that come across as flagrant imitations of Dallas—CBS’s Secrets of Midland Heights, followed by ABC’s King’s Crossing.  In 1984, she had a pair of significant film roles.  One was Children of the Corn, a Stephen King adaptation; the other a modestly-budgeted sci-fi thriller involving time travel:

After The Terminator, Hamilton starred in CBS’s Beauty and the Beast, and returned to the role of Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.  Her WTHH article gives plenty of detail on her subsequent career.  Recently she has had recurring roles as Mary Elizabeth Bartowski on Chuck and on Syfy’s Defiance.

Olivia Newton-John turns 68 today.  One of the biggest pop stars of the 1970s, she has sold in the neighborhood of 100 million records worldwide.  She began performing and recording while in her teens in Australia, soon moving to England for better career opportunities.  She released her first solo album in 1971, but it was not until her third album that she had her first major hit in the US:

“Let Me Be There” won a Grammy for Newton-John as Best Female Country Vocalist, and was the first in a string of hits that kept her a regular on the charts through the end of the 1970s.  She starred in the film version of Grease, which was a huge hit, and in Xanadu, which was a bomb, but the soundtrack of which did contain one of her last #1 hits, “Magic.”  She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, but resumed her career after successful treatment, and still tours actively.

A trivia tidbit—Olivia Newton-John’s grandfather was Nobel Prize winning physicist Max Born, one of the architects of the theory of quantum mechanics.

Jim Caviezel turns 48 today.  He may be best remembered for playing the lead role in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.  His other significant film roles include Private Witt in Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line, Edmond Dantès in the 2002 version of The Count of Monte Cristo, and golf legend Bobby Jones in a 2004 biopic.  On television, he had the lead role in CBS’s Person of Interest for its five season run.

Melissa Sue Anderson, who turns 54 today, is best known for playing Mary Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie for eight seasons.  Shawn Stockman, who celebrates his 44th, is a member of the R&B group Boyz II Men, who had several #1 singles in the 1990s.  Singer and actress Christina Milian, recently seen on Fox’s Grandfathered, turns 35 today.  Director David Slade made a name for himself directing Hard Candy and 30 Days of Night, directed the third Twilight film, and recently was an executive producer of NBC’s Hannibal.  He celebrates his 47th birthday today.

Lysette Anthony, who turns 53, made her film debut in the fantasy cult classic Krull, and is currently seen in the British soap opera HollyoaksMartine Beswick, who celebrates her 75th, appeared in two James Bond films, as one of the gypsy girls who have the famous catfight in From Russia With Love, and as Paula Caplan in ThunderballKent McCord turns 74 today.  He starred as Officer Jim Reed on the police procedural Adam-12.

Serena Williams, who celebrates her 35th birthday, is one of the greatest tennis stars of all time.  Her 22 women’s singles titles at Grand Slam events are tied for second all-time, plus she has 14 women’s doubles titles with her sister Venus, and has won 4 Olympic gold medals.

Third-generation country star Carlene Carter, who turns 61 today, is the daughter of June Carter and her first husband Carl Smith.  She has been recording and touring for over thirty-five years, with her greatest success coming in the early nineties, when she had Top Ten country hits like this:

George Raft (1901-1980) was best known for his gangster characters, especially coin-flipping Guino Rinaldo in Scarface and Spats Colombo in Some Like it HotEdmund Gwenn (1877-1959) won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street in the midst of a long stage and screen career.  Julie London (1926-2000) was a popular nightclub singer whose signature song was “Cry Me a River.”  On screen, she starred opposite Gary Cooper in Man of the West and played Nurse Dixie McCall on Emergency!  Jerry Weintraub (1937-2015) was a film and TV producer whose film credits included the Karate Kid films, Robert Altman’s Nashville, and Ocean’s Eleven and its sequels.  He won three Emmys in his television production career.  Donna Douglas (1932-2015) starred as Elly May Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies.

In the music world, Marty Robbins (1925-1982) had fifteen singles which were #1 country hits during his career, one of which, “El Paso,” reached #1 on the Hot 100.  Lynn Anderson (1937-2015) had a dozen or so #1 country hits of her own, including the crossover hit “(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden,” her signature song.  A singer of a very different sort was the classical tenor Fritz Wunderlich (1930-1966), who had one of the most beautiful voices of the 20th century.  Before his death at 35 in a tragic accident, he made famous recordings in opera (Tamino in Mozart’s The Magic Flute), oratorio (Haydn’s The Creation), and of the lieder of Schubert and Schumann.

George Gershwin (1898-1937) was one of the most brilliant of all American composers.  His greatest works included his orchestral compositions such as Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris, the musicals he wrote with his brother Ira, such as Of Thee I Sing, and his opera Porgy and Bess:

Poet and playwright T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) was one of the great literary figures of the 20th Century.  His best-known play is probably Murder in the Cathedral.  Among his poems, the most highly-regarded include The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and The Waste Land.  Also noteworthy is Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the basis for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats.

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.

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Posted on September 26, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Nothing but respect for Linda Hamilton. She’s one of the original female action heroes. Olivia Newton John is probably best known for Grease, but I always remember her during her “Let’s Get Physical” days. I remember my parents’ best friends who also lived a couple houses over being really, really into that video.

    Jim Caviezel, from what I have read, has been really bitter about the course of his career post Passion of the Christ. Apparently he didn’t get the memo that playing Jesus is almost always a bad career move.

    Holy cow. I had forgotten all about Lysette Anthony. I wanted to see Krull so bad when it came out. Finally saw it on cable and it was awful. Even as a kid, it was bad. But she sure was a pretty damsel in distress.

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    • Krull isn’t very good, but the James Horner score is epic and there’s some great location photography. I have a couple of DVDs in my collection which have an option where you can watch the movie with the score only, no dialogue—I sometimes wish Krull had that option.

      There are also a few interesting faces in the cast. The outlaw band is headed by Alun Armstrong, best known for his musical theater work—he’s probably the definitive Thenardier in Les Miz. Two of his followers are a young-ish Robbie Coltrane and a young Liam Neeson.

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  2. Linda Hamilton, no doubt!
    Serena Williams’ birthday was highlighted on Trivia Today (as was Olivia Newton-John, and that’s it). I don’t watch much tennis, but I know Serena Williams is, um, very full-bodied.
    Melissa Sue Anderson starred in the 1981 horror/mystery film “Happy Birthday to Me”, I guess in a way to break out of the goodie goodie role she was known for. I actually think “Happy Birthday to Me” is actually pretty good, as it’s more of a tense mystery with slasher murders than a straight up slasher. Hey, Glenn Ford’s in it too; they call it a cameo, but his role is pretty significant.
    As for Jim Caviezel, I guess he’s strong with faith, so playing Jesus Christ was right in his wheelhouse.Mel Gibson was right though, it probably has affected Caviezel’s career, although “Person of Interest” had its fanbase.

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  3. Linda would’ve been a much better choice to play Charly/Samantha Caine in The Long Kiss Goodnight (instead of Geena Davis). But she had zero clout even with T2 under her belt.

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    • I rather think that it was a foregone conclusion that the star of The Long Kiss Goodnight was going to be someone who had the qualification of being married to Renny Harlin. 🙂

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      • LH was live-ins with James Cameron at that time! Being the spouse or significant other of an important director can get you roles, sure, but the sole lead in two big budget action movies whose success lies on your shoulders? I don’t think so.

        Davis was obviously a bigger name than Hamilton, but like Hamilton, the only hit movies she had (not counting small roles in Tootsie and Fletch) were due to their concept appeal and good word of mouth, incidental to the lead actors’ market value or lack thereof. I just don’t get how at 40 she was suddenly handed these two huge vehicles.

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        • The point I was making was that Renny Harlin was the producer and director of The Long Kiss Goodnight, and he deliberately cast Geena Davis, his wife, in the lead role. The same was true of the previous year’s Cutthroat Island.

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        • I got that. What mystifies me is how any studio could accept the premise that casting her would be a good idea.

          Too bad Cameron didn’t do Linda any career favors while he was with and married to her. I see her as one of the greatest what-could-have-beens.

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