October 6: Happy Birthday Elisabeth Shue and Carole Lombard
Elisabeth Shue, who celebrates her 53rd birthday today, is no stranger here at le Blog. She has a WTHH article, a gallery, and an special birthday page from last fall. After all that coverage, her career is probably familiar to many of our readers, but I will give a quick summing up.
Shue made her acting debut in the early 1980s, and for much of that decade, and the first part of the next, she was a familiar face in the movies; usually her face was that of an ingenue of some kind. She appeared in The Karate Kid, Cocktail, the two Back to the Future sequels, Heart and Souls, and several other films. But for those who were around back then, this was probably the most indelible image we had of Elisabeth Shue:
Shue appeared to be on the verge of major stardom in the wake of her Oscar and Golden Globe nominated performance as Sera in Leaving Las Vegas, a sharp break with her girl-next-door characters. But, as recounted in her WTHH piece, that was not to be. Recently, she was a regular on the final three seasons of CSI, and she has been cast as Joanna Kersey in the upcoming remake of Death Wish.
Carole Lombard (1908-1942) began acting in silent films in her teens, and started getting lead roles early in the sound era. She made a few dramatic films, but her great talent was for comedy. Howard Hawks’ Twentieth Century made her a major star, and she made at least three other comedies that are considered genuine classics: Nothing Sacred, To Be or Not to Be, and the one that is my favorite of all her films:
Lombard starred opposite William Powell in My Man Godfrey—who happened to be her ex-husband (the two remained friends after their divorce). She later married Clark Gable. She died young, in one of Hollywood’s great tragedies. She traveled to her home state of Indiana in early 1942 for a war bond rally, and on her flight home to California, her plane quite literally crashed into a mountain. Sigh…
Former Bond Girl Britt Ekland turns 74 today. She played Mary Goodnight in The Man with the Golden Gun and also had significant roles in Get Carter and The Wicker Man. Jacqueline Obradors, who celebrates her 50th, appeared in Six Days, Seven Nights and Tortilla Soup and was a regular on NYPD Blue for four seasons. Bruno Bichir, who turns 49, is a star of Mexican film and television, who has appeared in occasional American films like Under Fire and John Sayles’ Casa de los Babys. Amy Jo Johnson is 46 today. She was the original Pink Ranger on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and later was a star of Felicity and Flashpoint. She directed an award-winning short called Bent in 2013.
Ioan Gruffudd turns 43 today. He played Reed Richards in 2005’s Fantastic 4 and its sequel, and had maybe his best role as British anti-slavery crusader William Wilberforce in Amazing Grace. This year he voiced Colonel Hathi in Jungle Book. Jeremy Sisto, who celebrates his 42nd, is best known for the roles of Billy Chenowith on Six Feet Under and George Altman on Suburgatory. Olivia Thirlby, who turns 30, played the rookie Judge Cassandra Anderson in Dredd. Matt Vogel, who turns 46, has been a Muppet performer for the last 20 years or so, and currently performs characters like Floyd Pepper, Robin the Frog, Lew Zealand, and Sesame Street’s Count von Count. Australian actress Everlyn Sampi, who is 28 today, has had only a couple of screen roles, but one of them was electrifying: she played Molly Craig in Rabbit-Proof Fence.
Janet Gaynor (1906-1984) was the winner of the first Oscar for Best Actress, which was given, unlike today, for several roles she played in a period of about a year. One of them was a lead part in F. W. Murnau’s silent classic Sunrise. She transitioned ably to the sound era and received a second Best Actress nomination in 1937 for A Star is Born. Mitchell Leisen (1898-1972) began his film career as an art director, and received an Oscar nomination for his work on the 1930 film Dynamite. He began directing a few years later, and interestingly, directed Carole Lombard in three films, Bolero, Hands Across the Table, and Swing High, Swing Low. One of his other films was the 1941 drama Hold Back the Dawn, which was a Best Picture nominee. Feodor Chaliapin, Jr. (1905-1992), the son and namesake of the legendary operatic bass, had about 50 film roles through the years, including significant ones in The Name of the Rose and Moonstruck. Helen Wills (1905-1998) was one of the greatest tennis players of all time, winning 31 Grand Slam events in the 1920s and ’30s.
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 6, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Amy Jo Johnson, Britt Ekland, Carole Lombard, elisabeth shue, Ioan Gruffudd, Janet Gaynor, Jeremy Sisto, Mitchell Leisen. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.