October 2: Happy Birthday Lorraine Bracco and Groucho Marx
Lorraine Bracco turns 62 today. She lived in Europe in the 1970s and began her film career in French and Italian films (she is fluent in both languages). She began appearing in American film and television in the late 1980s, including a supporting role in the thriller Someone to Watch Over Me. Her first really big role, however, came in 1990 in a film adapted from a book called Wiseguy:
Bracco was an Oscar and Golden Globe nominee as Karen Hill in Goodfellas. Bracco then appeared in a variety of film roles through the rest of the 1990s, but the other really big role of her career came in 1999. David Chase, the producer of The Sopranos, wanted her to play another mob wife, but Bracco was more interested, and eventually won, the part of Dr. Jennifer Melfi, Tony Soprano’s shrink. Bracco was nominated for four Emmys and three Golden Globes during her time on The Sopranos. More recently, she had a supporting role on TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles.
Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx (1890-1977) had one of the most recognizable comic personalities of all time—a fast-talking wise guy with a greasepaint mustache, glasses and a stooping walk, usually with a cigar in hand. After a career in vaudeville, Marx and his brothers (Harpo, Chico and sometimes Zeppo) began making movies. A series of films for Paramount culminated in the one that many believe is the Marx Brothers’ masterpiece:
Duck Soup is recognized as a classic today, but it was a relative box office failure and contributed to the Brothers’ departure from Paramount. They moved to MGM, where their first film, A Night at the Opera, was a huge hit. After the Marx’s film career began winding down, Groucho moved on to host You Bet Your Life, a radio quiz show that soon moved to television on NBC, where it ran for 11 years.
Charlie Adler, who turns 60, is a voice actor whose long career has included voicing Buster Bunny on Tiny Toon Adventures and Starscream in the Transformer movies. Terence Winter, who celebrates his 56th, was a writer on The Sopranos for several seasons, wrote the screenplay for The Wolf of Wall Street, and was the creator, executive producer and head writer for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Spanish actress Maribel Verdu, who celebrates her 46th birthday, is a ten-time Goya Award nominee, winning Best Actress twice. American audiences may know her from Y Tu Mamá También or Pan’s Labyrinth. Also turning 46 is actress and television host Kelly Ripa, the host of the syndicated morning talk show Live with Kelly and former costar of Hope & Faith. Avery Brooks, who is 68 today, starred as Hawk on Spenser: For Hire and as Benjamin Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Efren Ramirez, who turns 43, starred as Pedro Sanchez in the surprise 2004 hit Napoleon Dynamite.
Samantha Barks, who turns 26, made her West End debut as Eponine in Les Misérables, and then sang the role in both the 25th Anniversary concert of Les Miz and in the 2012 film version. Tara Lynne Barr, who celebrates her 23rd, is known for the indie comedy Good Bless America and the Hulu series Casual. Brendan Meyer, who is 22 today, starred as child prodigy Adam Young in the Canadian series Mr. Young and played Jake Powell in the web series Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462, as well as one episode of the main series.
In music, singer-songwriter Gillian Welch celebrates her 49th birthday. Welch, who works at the boundaries of folk and bluegrass, has had three albums nominated for Grammys, and also contributed to the Grammy-winning soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou? Her recording and performing partner for around 25 years has been David Rawlings:
Other music birthdays today include Sting (given name Gordon Sumner), who turns 65. As a member of The Police and then as a solo performer, he has won 16 Grammys and had three Oscar nominations for Best Original Song. Tiffany Darwish, often billed simply as Tiffany, turns 45; she had #1 singles in 1987 with “I Think We’re Alone Now” and “Could’ve Been.” Don McLean, who celebrates his 71st, will always be known for one huge hit, the 1971 smash “American Pie,” but he was definitely not a “one hit wonder.” Freddie Jackson, who is 60 today, had a string of #1 R&B hits from about 1985-1990 such as “You Are My Lady” and “Jam Tonight.” Bluegrass fiddler Robert “Chubby” Wise (1915-1996) was part of the classic mid-1940s lineup of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys and later on was a long-time member of Hank Snow’s band.
Bud Abbott (1897-1974) was the straight man in one of the most famous comedy duos ever. He and Lou Costello made dozens of movies together as well as working on stage, radio and television. They may have been most famous for the “Who’s On First” routine:
George “Spanky” McFarland (1928-1993) was one of the core members of the Our Gang cast, appearing in nearly 100 of their short films from 1932-42. Moses Gunn (1929-1993) was a regular player with Joseph Papp’s Shakespeare in the Park festivals, and was an Emmy nominee for playing Kintango in Roots. Indian actress and model Persis Khambatta (1948-1998) will be remembered by Star Trek fans for playing Lt. Ilia in Star Trek: The Motion(less) Picture. Novelist Graham Greene (1904-1991) liked to divide his novels into the “literary” works and the “entertainments.” The former included books such as The Power and the Glory and The Heart of the Matter; the latter, which were often more thoughtful than the typical thriller, included such books as The Third Man and Our Man in Havana. Many of his novels, of both type, were adapted into film.
Richard III of England (1452-1485), possibly the English king with the most infamous reputation, has been portrayed on screen (usually in adaptations of Shakespeare’s play) by actors such as Basil Rathbone, Laurence Olivier, Ian Holm and Ian McKellen. Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), often called Mahatma Gandhi, was the leader of the movement for Indian independence, famous for his philosophy of nonviolence. He was played by Ben Kingsley in the 1982 biopic.
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 2, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Bud Abbott, Don McLean, Gillian Welch, Graham Greene, Groucho Marx, Kelly Ripa, Lorraine Bracco, Maribel Verdu, Samantha Barks, Sting. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.