October 1: Happy Birthday Julie Andrews and Brie Larson
Dame Julie Andrews celebrates her 81st birthday today. She had a classical/operatic voice teacher, but went into musical theater, feeling her voice was too light for opera. She made her London professional debut at 12 and her Broadway debut one day before her 19th birthday, in a musical called The Boy Friend. Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe then offered her the part that would make her famous, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.
Concurrent with My Fair Lady’s Broadway run, Andrews appeared on television in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Lerner and Loewe then wrote the part of Queen Guinevere in Camelot for Andrews. She had a brief setback in the early 1960s; when Warner Brothers prepared to film My Fair Lady, Jack Warner decided that Andrews was too unknown to headline a major movie, preferring to cast Audrey Hepburn (and Marni Nixon’s singing voice). Andrews instead made her film debut in a Disney movie about a British nanny:
Andrews won the Oscar for Best Actress for Mary Poppins, along with a Grammy and a Golden Globe. She then starred in the next year’s The Sound of Music; the movie won Best Picture while Andrews won her second consecutive Golden Globe.
In the fifty years since then, Andrews has had highs and lows. Highs included winning an Emmy for The Julie Andrews Hour and another Golden Globe for Victor/Victoria. More recently she has been a regal presence in the Princess Diaries films, presiding over Anne Hathaway’s emergence as a star. A definite downer was the infamous botched vocal cord surgery in the late 1990s that destroyed her singing voice.
Like Julie Andrews, Brie Larson, who turns 27 today, began acting at about the age of 12, in the short-lived series Raising Dad. Her first major film role was in Hoot in 2006, and she then was featured in Showtime’s United States of Tara. Her big breakthrough year was in 2015. She had a major supporting role in the critically acclaimed Trainwreck, but topped that with her starring role in Room:
Larson made a clean sweep of the major acting awards for her performance as Joy Newsome, winning Best Actress at the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the BAFTA Awards and the SAG Awards. She will be seen in two upcoming big-budget films, Kong: Skull Island and the as-yet-untitled Captain Marvel film, and also will star in The Glass Castle, adapted from Jeannette Walls’ memoir of that title.
Randy Quaid turns 66 today. He first drew notice in The Last Detail, playing a sailor being sent to military prison, a role that brought him Oscar and Golden Globe nomination. Some of Quaid’s other notable film roles have been in Midnight Express, Kingpin, Independence Day, and as Cousin Eddie in National Lampoon’s Vacation series. He won a Golden Globe for portraying Lyndon Johnson in a 1987 TV movie.
Sarah Drew, who turns 36, has played Dr. April Kepner on Grey’s Anatomy since the show’s sixth season. Zach Galifianakis, who celebrates his 47th, has won two Emmys for his series Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis; he has played Alan Garner in the Hangover films and had a supporting role in Birdman. Director Tom Hooper, who turns 44, won the Oscar for Best Director for The King’s Speech and an Emmy for directing the Channel 4/HBO miniseries Elizabeth I; most recently he directed The Danish Girl. Stephen Collins, who is 69 today, appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture as Will Decker and starred in the long-running series 7th Heaven, but has lately been tarnished by allegations of child sexual abuse.
Jurnee Smollett-Bell, who is 30 today, has been working in film and television for over 20 years, gaining critical acclaim for films like Eve’s Bayou and The Great Debaters; she currently stars in WGN America’s Underground. Rupert Friend, who celebrates his 35th, is an Emmy and SAG Award nominee for the role of Peter Quinn on Homeland. Danika Yarosh, who is 18 today, starred as Malina Bennett in the miniseries Heroes Reborn, and will appear in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Marielle Heller, who turns 37, wrote and directed the critically acclaimed film The Diary of a Teenage Girl.
James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, the 39th President of the US, turns 92 today.
In sports, Rod Carew, a Baseball Hall of Famer, was selected to Baseball’s All-Star Game a remarkable 18 times; Carew is 71 today. Mark McGwire, who turns 53, was one of the greatest home-run hitters in baseball history, temporarily holding the single season record with 70. However, since his retirement his reputation has suffered from the revelation that he used performance-enhancing drugs. Liberian footballer George Weah, who celebrates his 50th, is one the greatest African players ever, who has gone on to a prominent political career in his home country.
Very fittingly, Stanley Holloway (1890-1982), who played Alfred P. Doolittle in My Fair Lady both on stage and screen, was born the same day as Julie Andrews. Tom Bosley (1927-2010) was known for playing Howard Cunningham on Happy Days and the title character of Father Dowling Mysteries. He also won a Tony for playing Fiorello LaGuardia in the musical Fiorello! James Whitmore (1921-2009) had a stage and screen career that ran for nearly 60 years, and in that time won a Tony, a Golden Globe, an Emmy and a Grammy. Laurence Harvey (1928-1973) was an Oscar nominee for Room at the Top and played the brainwashed Raymond Shaw in The Manchurian Candidate. Richard Harris (1930-2002) capped his long acting career as Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films, and had a Top 10 hit with “MacArthur Park” in 1968. French star Philippe Noiret (1930-2006) won a pair of Cesar Awards for Best Actor and appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Topaz, but is probably best known as the projectionist, Alfredo, in Cinema Paradiso. Dave Arneson (1947-2009) was the co-inventor of the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, which possibly a few people have heard of.
Pianist Roger Williams (1924-2011) was one of the great popularizers of modern music His recording of Joseph Kosma’s “Autumn Leaves” reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1955, the only piano instrumental to ever become a Number 1 hit in the US. A pianist of a different sort was classical legend Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989). He was one of the greatest masters of the Romantic piano repertoire and also of Russian composers like Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff:
George Peppard (1928-1994) seemed on the brink of major stardom when he starred opposite Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but it was not to be (reportedly, one issue was a problem with the bottle). Fans of sci-fi cult classics remember him as Space Cowboy from Battle Beyond the Stars, and his biggest role in his later years was probably on TV as Col. John “Hannibal” Smith in The A-Team, who loved it when a plan came together. Walter Matthau (1920-2000) won an Oscar for Billy Wilder’s The Fortune Cookie, but the role he was best known for was probably slovenly Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple, opposite his frequent costar Jack Lemmon. Some of his other well-known film roles included Hello, Dolly!, Charley Varrick, The Bad News Bears, and I.Q. (as none other than Albert Einstein). Matthau also won a Tony for A Shot in the Dark.
Tony Epper (1938-2012) was a film and television stunt performer who worked in the industry for over 40 years. A big man, at about 6-4, Epper doubled for the tall and athletic Burt Lancaster on several films in the 1960s and ’70s, beginning with The Professionals. Like many stuntmen, Epper also picked up a lot of small acting parts. One of his was as Steve the Tramp in Dick Tracy. Epper was from a family of stunt performers—he ws the son of John Epper, a Swiss immigrant who doubled stars like Gary Cooper. John’s six children all went into stunt work; of the three Epper sons, Tony had the busiest and longest career—but he was not the hardest-working Epper of all.
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 October 1, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Brie Larson, George Peppard, Julie Andrews, Randy Quaid, Tom Bosley, Tom Hooper, Tony Epper, Vladimir Horowitz, Walter Matthau, Zach Galifianakis. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.