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October 8: Happy Birthday Sigourney Weaver and Matt Damon

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Sigourney Weaver celebrates her 67th birthday today.  She made her film debut in a small role in Annie Hall, and was the breakout star of Alien two years later.  In the early 1980s she starred in diverse films, including Ghostbusters (one of her biggest box office hits) and The Year of Living Dangerously.  In 1986 she returned to what has become the role most associated with her, Ellen Ripley in Aliens:

Weaver was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress for Aliens, to this day the only such nomination for a outright action heroine and one of only two for a sci-fi film.  In 1988 Weaver won two Golden Globes, Best Actress-Drama for Gorillas in the Mist and Best Supporting Actress for Working Girl.  She has remained a major star, although slowly she has transitioned to character/supporting roles, and has maintained an active stage career.

Matt Damon turns 46 today.  His film debut was in Mystic Pizza, when he was still a teen, and he began to get more important roles in the early 1990s.  He first drew a lot of notice, though, when he starred in, and co-wrote the screenplay for Good Will Hunting in 1997, winning Best Original Screenplay and being nominated for Best Actor.  Early in the oughts, he became involved in a pair of prominent franchises, playing Linus Caldwell in the Ocean’s Eleven films and the lead role in a series of films which were very loosely based on thrillers by Robert Ludlum, and which became known for their car chase sequences:

The Bourne Identity established Damon as a credible action hero, but over the decade-plus since then he has avoided being typecast.  He has slid between action, drama and comedy, and also between lead roles (the Bourne films, The Informant!, Elysium, The Martian), major supporting or ensemble roles (The Departed, True Grit), and smaller roles that still are significant (Interstellar).  He has two further Oscar nominations, including for Best Actor in The Martian, a role that also won him a Golden Globe.

Chevy Chase celebrates his 73rd birthday.  An original member of the cast of Saturday Night Live, he started getting major film roles in the late 1970s, such as Foul Play, Caddyshack, Fletch and Three Amigos!  He also began a lengthy run as Clark Griswold in the Vacation series.  Recently, he was a regular in the first four seasons of Community.  Abundant detail about his career can be found in his WTHH article.

R. L. Stine, who turns 73 today, is sometimes known as “the Stephen King of children’s literature” for his innumerable horror novels, such as those in the Goosebumps and Fear Street series.  Paul Hogan, who celebrates his 77th, won a Golden Globe for his performance in the title role of Crocodile Dundee and was Oscar-nominated for the screenplay.  Producer and director Edward Zwick turns 64.  As a producer, he shared in the Best Picture Oscar for Shakespeare in Love and was nominated for Traffic.  Among his directing credits are Glory, Legends of the Fall, Blood Diamond and the upcoming Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.

Stephanie Zimbalist, who is 60 today, starred opposite Pierce Brosnan in Remington Steele as Laura Holt.  Nick Bakay, who celebrates his 57th, is known for voicing Salem Saberhagen, Sabrina’s cat on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and for his sportswriting and commentary on ESPN and the NFL Network.  Reed Hastings, who turns 56 today, is the co-founder and CEO of Netflix, and therefore has had a considerable impact on the film and television industry in the past decade.  Gospel singer CeCe Winans, who celebrates her 52nd birthday, has won ten Grammys and is the best-selling female gospel artist in history.

Bruno Mars, who is 31 today, is an R&B and soul singer songwriter.  He has had six #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and has won four Grammys in a career of under a decade.  Nick Cannon, the host of America’s Got Talent and Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘n’ Out who has also had an acting and music career, turns 36.  Emily Proctor, who turns 48 today, starred on CSI: Miami for a decade as Calleigh Duquesne.  Jeremy Davies, who celebrates his 47th, was an Emmy winner for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama for Justified and played Corporal Upham in Saving Private RyanAnne-Marie Duff turns 46 today; she is a four-time BAFTA Award nominee for her work in British television and film.  Molly Quinn, who is 23 today, played Alexis Castle on Castle for the show’s entire run, had a supporting role in We’re the Millers, and voiced Supergirl in Superman: Unbound.

Armenian-American director Rouben Mamoulian (1897-1987) worked extensively on Broadway and in Hollywood.  On stage, he directed the original productions of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! and Carousel.  He directed the first three-strip Technicolor film, Becky Sharp, in 1935, and two of Tyrone Power’s biggest films, The Mark of Zorro and Blood and Sand.

Kirk Alyn (1910-1999) was the first actor to portray a live-action Superman, in a pair of Columbia serials from 1948 and 1950.  He starred in a number of serials and B-features of that era and had a cameo in Superman: The Movie as Lois Lane’s father.

Frank Herbert (1920-1986) was one of the most influential science fiction authors of the 20th century.  His greatest novel, Dune, is the first major sci-fi novel with an ecological orientation and a masterpiece of storytelling and world-building.  That is not to mention that the tale of efforts to bring Dune to film is an epic in itself.  Eddie Rickenbacker (1890-1973) first became famous as a race car driver, competing in several early runnings of the Indianapolis 500.  During World War I he trained as a pilot, becoming the leading American ace of the war and winning the Medal of Honor.  After the war, he ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for over 15 years, while also serving as CEO of Eastern Airlines.

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

  1. Sigourney’s Oscar nomination for Aliens was very well deserved, but it does amaze me a bit even today that the Academy voters were hip enough to recognize it in the mid 80’s.

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  2. We were just talking about Sigourney Weaver. Her involvement in either the Alien or Ghostbusters franchises would be enough to earn a certain level of cinematic immortality. Not a lot of actresses could have pulled off both. These days, he status as a genre icons lands her all kinds of cool roles like in Avatar, Cabin in the Woods and Finding Dory.

    I like Matt Damon all right. He seems like a cool guy. He’s not an actor I follow necessarily, but he’s always good in whatever he does even when it’s a stinker like We Bought a Zoo. I thought he was pretty great in The Talented Mr. Ripley.

    Chevy Chase was the coolest guy in America circa 1980. I have been critical of his behavior in the past, but I hope he’s healthy in his golden years.

    Paul Hogan was someone I wanted to do a WTHH article on this year to tie into the 30th anniversary of Crocodile Dundee. Probably not going to get to it this year though.

    I read Dune in middle school when the movie came out. I eventually read all the sequels. Then, long after Frank Herbert’s death, his son wrote some new books based on his father’s notes. Mindy went to buy me one as a present, but couldn’t remember the name of the book or the author. She told the bookseller she needed a “sci-fi book by some guy’s son.” Somehow, the sales associate came back with the right book based on that description.

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    • I agree with the comments about Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley; he was very good as Tom Ripley and the film did a pretty nice job capturing the spirit of Highsmith’s novel.

      I read the Dune novels for the first time around 1980 or so—except for the last two, which hadn’t come out yet—and have always liked them. I tried to get into one or two of Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson’s “continuations” of the series, but simply couldn’t get involved in them at all.

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  3. Speaking of Sigourney Weaver, I think I need to revisit “Gorillas in the mist”, which I haven’t viewed since I believe 7th grade Social Studies. Other than the obvious projects she’s participated in like the Ghostbusters & Alien franchises, I enjoyed 1981’s “Eyewitness” (although most people feel lukewarm about that film) and get a real hoot out of 1999’s “Galaxy Quest”.
    I the first I viewed Matt Damon was in the 1992 film “School Ties”. Like Lebeau, I also enjoyed his performance in “The Talented Mr. Ripley”: smart, vulnerable, but also very creepy.
    Chevy Chase was the man when I was a kid; I was really sold on “Fletch”, which was a Chevy Chase vehicle if there ever was one. I liked the European Vacation film too, although it’s kinda considered Eurotrash. “The Three Amigos!” was a favorite of mine back then too, but I lost Chase (gave up Chase?) sometime after 1988’s “Funny Farm”, which I’m fond of too.
    Nick Bakay, yeah, he’s from Buffalo: I remember his snarky comments when discussing Pro Football teams and their success or failure on covering point spreads when he worked for ESPN.

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  4. Matt is much better actor then ben . I think he would been better batman. MAtt picks better roles too. I know he may not get much attention as his two buddies clooney and pitt but i think matt is better actor then those 2 plus his box office is more consitant then those 2. In 2007 matt was dubbed the best investment in terms of box office

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  5. Whatever Happened to Paul Hogan?

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