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October 5: Happy Birthday Kate Winslet and Jesse Eisenberg

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Kate Winslet celebrates her 41st today.  She began acting in 1991 in British television.  Her film debut was in 1994, as Juliet Hulme in Heavenly Creatures.  In the next two years she was featured in several literary adaptations: as Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility, as Sue Bridehead in Jude, and as Ophelia in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet.  Then, after lobbying James Cameron intensely for the part, she was cast in a certain disaster movie/romance:

After playing Rose Bukater in Titanic, Winslet could have become a big box office star, but she seems to have deliberately taken a different path—aside from the first two Divergent films she has stayed away from potential blockbusters.  What she had done is collect enough acting awards to fill a very, very long shelf.  She is a seven-time Oscar nominee, winning Best Actress for The Reader, and won an Emmy for the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce.  She is a four-time Golden Globe winner, 3 times for film (The Reader, Revolutionary Road and Steve Jobs) and once for television (Mildred Pierce again).  She even has a Grammy.

When he began acting, Jesse Eisenberg, who turns 33 today, was probably less famous than his younger sister Hallie, the “Pepsi Girl.”  That’s no longer the case, as in the last 7-8 years he has emerged as a major star.  After a regular role in the short-lived series Get Real, Eisenberg made his film debut in 2002 in Roger Dodger, and went on to significant roles in films like The Squid and the Whale and The Education of Charlie Banks.  His breakthrough came in 2009, when he had a lead role in the year’s surprise hit, an action comedy that is sometimes misclassified as a horror film:

The same year as Zombieland, Eisenberg also starred in the similarly-titled, but very different, Adventureland, the first of his three screen pairings with Kristen Stewart.  He had a big 2010, appearing in 4 features and receiving Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor for The Social Network.  Since then he has starred in the two Now You See Me caper films, made two films with Woody Allen (To Rome with Love and Cafe Society), voiced the character of Blu in the two Rio films, and re-teamed with Kristen Stewart for American Ultra and the aforementioned Cafe Society.  And he’s now Lex Luthor in the DC Universe.

Eisenberg is also a talented writer, with several stories published in The New Yorker.  He has written a number of plays, several of which have had Off-Broadway productions and one which has been performed on London’s West End.

Tony and Grammy winner Heather Headley turns 42 today.  She made her Broadway debut in 1997 in the musical adaptation of The Lion King, originating the role of Nala.  She then won a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical for originating the title role in the musical adaptation of Aida in 2000.  Headley has also had a significant recording career, winning a Grammy for her 2009 gospel album Audience Of One.

WTHH subject Karen Allen turns 65.  She is best known as Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark; she was also Katy in Animal House and played lead roles in 1980s films like Starman and ScroogedVic Armstrong, who celebrates his 70th, also worked on Raiders of the Lost Ark—as Harrison Ford’s stunt double.  He was Ford’s regular double for most of the 1980s and also doubled Christopher Reeve in Superman I and II and Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights.  His wife, Wendy Leech, was also a stunt performer; they met during the filming of Superman II.

Scott Weinger, who turns 41, voiced the title role in Aladdin and played Steve Hale, DJ’s boyfriend, on Full House (he has reprised the role on Fuller House).  Parminder Nagra also celebrates her 41st.  She starred in Bend it Like Beckham and played Dr. Neela Rasgotra on ER for six seasons.  Chloe Bruce, who turns 33, is another stunt performer.  She doubled Daisy Ridley in The Force Awakens, Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy and Jaime Alexander in Thor: The Dark WorldJosie Bissett, who is 46 today, is best known as Jane Mancini on Melrose Place, and more recently for her role on The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

Guy Pearce, who turns 49, moves back and forth between Australian cinema and Hollywood.  In his home country, he is known for The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and The Proposition.  His best-known American films include L.A. Confidential, Memento and Prometheus.  He and his partner, Carice van Houten, recently welcomed a son, Monte.

Clive Barker, who turns 64, is a prominent horror writer, who has also been heavily involved in film adaptations of his books and stories, such as Hellraiser (which he directed) and Candyman.  Cinematographer John Seale, who turns 74, won an Oscar for The English Patient and came out of retirement to work on Mad Max: Fury RoadBob Geldof, who turns 65, is a musician who is best-known for his philanthropic activity, especially the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” which raised millions for famine relief in Ethiopia.  Glynis Johns, who is 93 today, played Winifred Banks in Mary Poppins, and won a Tony as the original Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music, who sings what is maybe Stephen Sondheim’s best known song:

John Alton (1901-1996) became the first Hungarian-born Oscar winner when he was awarded Best Color Cinematography for An American in Paris.  His filmography also includes cinematography on several classics of film noir, such as T-Men, He Walked by Night, Raw Deal and The Big ComboLarry Fine (1902-1975) was best-known for his 200-odd shorts and features as one of the Three Stooges.  For the second consecutive day an actor who played Ernst Stavro Blofeld shows up in the birthday list—Donald Pleasence (1919-1995) played Blofeld in You Only Live Twice.  He was also Colin “the Forger” Blythe in The Great Escape.  Australian-born Diane Cilento (1933-2011) was a Tony and Oscar nominee during her career; the latter came for the 1963 Best Picture winner Tom Jones.  She also appeared in notable 1960s films like The Agony and the Ecstasy and Hombre, and was married to Sean Connery for 11 years.  Jeff Conaway (1950-2011) appeared on Broadway as Danny Zuko in Grease for over 2 years of its run and played Kenickie in the film version.  He was a 2-time Golden Globe nominee for Taxi and played Zack Allan on Babylon 5Joshua Logan (1908-1988) was a film and stage director and writer.  He shared the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for 1950 with Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II for co-writing the book for South Pacific and also directed the Broadway production.  Bernie Mac (1957-2008) was a two-time Emmy nominee for The Bernie Mac Show, and played Frank Catton in the Ocean’s Eleven films.

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 October 5, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Kate Winslet is wonderful. I was running an arthouse in the 90’s and had a front row seat during her pre-Titanic career. That movie would not have worked if Winslet and DiCaprio hadn’t sold the clunky romance at its center. When I watched Steve Jobs, I didn’t even recognize Winslet until about halfway through.

    I generally enjoy Jesse Eisenberg even though he makes a lot of crappy movies. In the right role, he’s terrific. He made an acceptable Woody Allen surrogate in Cafe Society. His Lex Luthor is divisive. While I thought it was a terrible take on the character, at least he looked like he was having fun which is more than I can say for anyone else in BVS.

    Karen Allen was such a warm presence in movies like Animal House and Starman. You just wanted to hug her. And then she showed she had some steel in her as Marion in Raiders. It’s a shame we had to trade her in for Kate Capshaw in the sequel. Such a downgrade.

    When I think about Harrison Ford’s stunt double, I am reminded of the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular show at Disney World. They still claim that the lead in that show doubled for Ford despite the fact he wouldn’t have been alive when the movie was made. Or he’d have been in diapers. They use a guy roughly the same age as Ford was in the movie and the actual stuntman is 70. Hmmm… something isn’t adding up here.

    If I were going to pick a future WTHH subject out of this bunch it would be, Guy Pearce. But we already have Karen Allen, so no need. 😉

    Looks like I was wrong in my Stooges guess. Larry. I always forget about Larry.

    Donald Pleasence was always so much fun to watch. Jeff Conaway was just such a tragic case. So much wasted potential.

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  2. Winslet wonderful actress. As for ensidenberg he was miscast as lex luthor. I think nic cage ,bryan cranstan cripson glover or even johnny depp would make a better lex

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  3. Another impressive birthday roster today. I’ve enjoyed Kate Winslet’s work since I saw her in Heavenly Creatures. Jesse Eisenberg has worked for me as an offbeat but effective leading man ever since Zombieland. I haven’t seen Cafe Society myself but I can easily imagine him working as a Woody Allen character.

    Karen Allen returning to Crystal Skull was the one good thing about that movie. She was by far the best heroine in that series.

    Then we also had some Broadway heavyweights, both on stage and off, a pair of Oscar-winning cinematographers, and a pair of stunt performers from some very big action hits.

    And just as August was the month for Bond Girl birthdays, October seems to be the month for Blofelds.

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  4. I never knew Jesse Eisenberg’s sister was the “Pepsi Girl”. Yeah, it’s all coming back to me: the joy of cola commercials, yes? But hey, I like Eisenberg in the two “Zombieland” and Adventureland” (lots of land there; lots for sale?), and thought he did a good job in “The Social Network”.
    I always liked Karen Allen; I felt she’s always brought a lot to the table.
    I feel Donald Pleasance added an element of sophistication to the “Halloween” series (even to the lesser entries), and I thought he was a hoot in 1982’s “Alone in the Dark”.
    Clive Barker never really reached the heights that were predicted of him, but I think at the time of its release “Hellraiser” offered something different (I’ll always remember one quote from the poster art of the film, saying that it makes “A Nightmare on Elm Street” look like “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm””. Ha!).

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