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October 6: Happy Birthday Elisabeth Shue and Carole Lombard

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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 ManJacqueline 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 BabysAmy 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 BookJeremy Sisto, who celebrates his 42nd, is best known for the roles of Billy Chenowith on Six Feet Under and George Altman on SuburgatoryOlivia Thirlby, who turns 30, played the rookie Judge Cassandra Anderson in DreddMatt 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 BornMitchell 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 MoonstruckHelen 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.

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Posted on October 6, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Is there a lot of Elisabeth Shue love here at Le Blog? You bet there is! Sometimes I look back on long-ago movie crushes and feel a bit embarrassed. But not with Elisabeth Shue. She’s still crush-worthy in her fifties. She’s also a very engaging actress.

    Carole Lombard is old school Tinselton. Her place in movie history is secure. I wonder though how many movie fans today are familiar with her work.

    Britt Ekland made a lovely Bond girl in The Man With the Golden Gun. Pretty lousy Bond movie, unfortunately. And Ekland’s primary function was to fill out her swimsuit. I was going to post a picture of her in her two-piece, but I’m posting this one instead because it kind of encapsulates her performance.

    Jeremy Sisto was one of those young actors in the 90’s everyone thought might be a star. He was kind of a poor man’s Christian Slater who was already a poor Gen X’ers Nicholson. But hey, both Slater and Sisto have aged into some decent roles on TV.

    Kind of a lighter day today which is probably a bit of a relief after some of the jam-packed birthday articles you’ve had the last couple of days. But really, what more do you need than Elisabeth Shue?

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  2. Today was a light one when it comes to celebrity birthdays. Carole Lombard is a legend. While Myrna Loy is always going to be my favorite leading lady from the 1930s, Lombard runs her pretty close. She could be absolutely delightful when she got a good script to work with.

    The ever-adorable Elisabeth Shue is one of my past crushes, too. I loved her in Karate Kid and Adventures in Babysitting.

    Britt Ekland was a gorgeous Bond Girl, but stuck in a pretty awful movie—and the script didn’t do her, personally, any favors, as she was written as one of the ditziest Bond Girls ever.

    I’ve always kind of liked Amy Jo Johnson. I remember that I caught a few of the early Power Rangers episodes for some reason—probably because I’d get home in the afternoons and feel like vegetating in front of the TV for a while—and she was quite a cutie. And, she turned out to be pretty much the one person in the cast who was actually talented.

    And if there’s anyone who has never seen Rabbit-Proof Fence, check it out.

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    • Karate Kid and Adventures in Babysitting were the movies that best highlighted Shue’s adorability. Adventures wasn’t even a very good movie. But she’s just so charming in the lead, that you’re willing to forgive an awful lot. I know she rubs a lot of people the wrong way in Back to the Future 2, but I don’t blame her for that. I also really enjoyed her in the underrated comedy, Soap Dish. Her most praised performance is the one she was nominated for obviously. But she’s still got the stuff. She expertly walks a tightrope in the Piranha remake hitting just the right tone for a kitschy horror-comedy.

      There aren’t a lot of great Bond girl roles. When you’re singled out as one of the ditziest of the bunch, that’s a problem. But Eckland did what she was hired to do. That’s all you can ask.

      I know of Amy Jo Johnson as the only one of the original Rangers to go on to do much of anything. And I agree, she’s a cutie. But I don’t think I have ever seen a single thing she was in.

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      • Unceremonious Ways Sequels Dump the Previous Film’s Love Interest

        https://dejareviewer.com/2016/02/23/unceremonious-ways-sequels-dump-the-previous-films-love-interest/

        Make Her Suddenly Insufferable

        The Karate Kid Part II

        I like The Karate Kid Part II, but it really shortchanged Daniel LaRusso’s girlfriend from the first film. Ali was a sweet girl who Daniel can’t help falling in love with thanks to her charm and wit. But you’d never know it from the start of the second film. Out of nowhere, Ali crashes Daniel’s car and throws him into a fit of frustration. He can’t wait to leave the country and move on to more exotic lovers. They had to quickly explain Ali’s absence from the film and free Daniel up to have an admittedly excellent romance while on his trip to East Asia. But I wish Ali could have bowed out with a little more dignity.

        Knock Her Out

        Back to the Future Part II

        The screenwriters decided to just keep knocking Jennifer out so she wouldn’t burden the story too much with her presence.Elizabeth Shue shows up on this list again. Okay, so Marty McFly never dumped Jennifer Parker in Back to the Future Part II, but the screenwriters certainly did. Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale famously racked their brains over what to do with Jennifer after Doc brought her and Marty to the future at the end of the first Back to the Future film. Out of desperation, they decided to just keep knocking her out so she wouldn’t burden the story too much with her presence. She does have an important part to play in the third film when a message she took from the future gets erased in the present to show that her future isn’t written. But as far as Back to the Future Part II is concerned, she’s just excess baggage.

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  3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BEAUTIFUL AMYJO JOHNSON! & ALL THE BEST WISHES OF EVERYTHING! TO YOU AMY JO JOHNSON! I HOPE THAT YOUR DAY IS A GOOD ONE FOR YOU! & I HOPE THAT ALL YOUR BIRTHDAY WISHES &DREAMS COME TRUE FOR YOU AMYJO!

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  4. In other news, today is the 25th anniversary of Elizabeth Taylor’s final wedding. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbsq2VwnU2s

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  5. A bit of Elisabeth Shue trivia to end the day. Elisabeth is a descendant of William Brewster, one of the leaders of the Pilgrim colonists who settled in Massachusetts in 1620 after traveling to the US on the Mayflower. Other well-known descendants of William Brewster include (this is a very partial list): Roger Baldwin, co-founder of the ACLU; actress Jordana Brewster and her grandfather, Yale University president Kingman Brewster; celebrity chef Julia Child; Katharine Hepburn; Robert Noyce, one of the founders of Intel; journalist Cokie Roberts; and physicist Kip Thorne, a retired Cal Tech professor who was a technical adviser on the film Interstellar.

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  6. Elizabeth Shue definitely has a large presence on this site, so her being a birthday headliner is quite fitting. Plus, this day isn’t as clogged with as many noteworthy birthdays as some lately have, so she didn’t have to fight space with people like Gandhi or musicians.
    I have the original “The Wicker Man” on DVD, and think it’s great, so I know Britt Eckland best from that film, although I’ve seen her name pop up here and there.
    I remember Jeremy Sisto best from “Clueless”, 1997’s “Suicide Kings”, and that he was part of the cast of “Law and Order” when it had it’s final run, which I think is significant, since that series lasted 20 seasons, and it will be on reruns for eternity.

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