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October 12: Happy Birthday Hugh Jackman and Luciano Pavarotti

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Hugh Jackman celebrates his 48th birthday today.  Most of us probably think of him as a film actor, but he first became known outside Australia for starring as Curly in the 1998 West End revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, for which he received an Olivier Award nomination.  His first feature film roles were in a pair of Australian films from 1999, Erskineville Kings and Paperback Hero, but it was a year later that he was cast in the role that really made him famous, some guy with retractable claws:

When not playing Wolverine in (so far) six X-Men ensemble films and two solo films about the character, Jackman has starred in films such as Van Helsing, The Prestige, Woody Allen’s Scoop, the epic period film Australia, and receiving his first Oscar nomination as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables.  He has also continued his stage career, starring in the original Broadway cast of the jukebox musical The Boy from Oz, for which he won a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical.  In addition, he won an Emmy for hosting the 58th Tony Awards.

While Jackman has a pretty good singing voice, it is not to be compared with Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007) in his prime.  Pavarotti began his performing career in the early 1960s, and had definitely arrived as a star in the opera world by 1965, when he made his debut at La Scala in Milan in Puccini’s La bohème, starring as Rodolfo opposite his childhood friend, soprano Mirella Freni as Mimi.  In addition to most of the Puccini tenor roles, Pavarotti excelled in the more lyrical Verdi tenor parts as well as in bel canto composers like Bellini and Donizetti:

Pavarotti was one of the biggest stars in the opera world through the 1970s and ’80s.  In 1990, he became even more famous as a result of his association with the World Cup that year.  The BBC selected his recording of “Nessun dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot as the theme for their TV coverage of the Cup, and on the eve of the Cup final, he joined Spanish tenors Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras for the first of the Three Tenors concerts.  The recording of this concert became the best-selling classical album of all time, while a second Three Tenors concert, at the 1994 World Cup, was viewed live by a television audience of an estimated 1.3 billion people worldwide.  Pavarotti continued to perform and record until the mid-2000s, dying of cancer in 2007.

David Threlfall, who starred as Frank Gallagher in the British version of Shameless and played Preserved Killick in Master and Commander, turns 63 today.    Deborah Foreman, best known as the star of the 1980s rom-com Valley Girl, turns 54.  Lin Shaye turns 73 today.  She had prominent roles in several of the Farrelly Brothers’ comedies, including Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary, and has played parapsychologist Elise Rainier in the Insidious series of horror films.  Sam Moore, who is 81 today, was one half of the R&B/soul duo Sam & Dave; their biggest hit was “Soul Man” from 1967.

Martie Erwin (also known by her former married name of Maguire), who is 47 today, is a founding member of the Dixie Chicks and the group’s fiddler.  Novelist and screenwriter Richard Price celebrates his 67th birthday.  He is the author of novels such as The Wanderers and Clockers, and co-wrote the screenplay for Spike Lee’s film of the latter.  He is also the author of screenplays such as The Color of Money (for which he was Oscar-nominated), one part of New York Stories, and Mad Dog and Glory.  Another screenwriter with a birthday today is Jeff Nathanson, who is 51.  He is known for the scripts for Catch Me if You Can and The Terminal, is being credited for the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, and would probably prefer that everyone forget his roles in Speed 2 and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullKirk Cameron, who turns 46, was nominated for two Golden Globes while starring in Growing Pains.  These days he’s mostly known for his religious proselytizing activities.

Israeli actress Daliah Lavi, who is 74 today, starred in a variety of European and American films of the 1960s, including the 1965 adaptation of Conrad’s Lord Jim and the non-canon Bond film Casino Royale from 1967.  Aurore Clément, who is 71 today, has been starring in French film for over 40 years, and can be seen in Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas and in the 2001 extended version of Apocalypse Now. Hiroyuki Sanada, who turns 54, began acting in Japanese cinema as a teenager.  American audiences might know him from Rush Hour 3 (another film written by Jeff Nathanson), from 47 Ronin, or from the sixth season of Lost.

Josh Hutcherson, who is 24 today, began acting at about 10 years of age, and is probably best known for playing Peeta Mellark in the Hunger Games films.  Tyler Blackburn, who celebrates his 30th, is seen as Caleb Rivers on Pretty Little Liars and its spinoff series, RavenswoodBrian J. Smith, who turns 35, was in the indie film Hate Crime (along with Lin Shaye), played Lt. Matthew Scott on Stargate Universe, and starred in the Netflix series Sense8.

In sports, skier Bode Miller turns 39 today.  He is the most successful American Alpine skier ever, the winner of six Olympic medals and two Alpine Skiing World Cup overall titles.  Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Cronin (1906-1984) was a star shortstop with the Washington Senators and Boston Red Sox, a successful player-manager with both teams, leading the Senators to the American League title in 1933, and the president of the American League for 14 years.  Tony Kubek, who turns 81, was the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees on three World Series champions, and later had a career of close to 30 years as a sportscaster.  Marion Jones, who is 41 today, went from fame to infamy when she was stripped of the five medals she won at the 2000 Olympics after she admitted to using banned performance-enhancing drugs.

English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was one of the most important composers of the 20th Century.  He composed nine symphonies, and was known for incorporating English folk tunes into his music, especially in the English Folk Song Suite and the Fantasia on Greensleeves.  His other important works include the string orchestra Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, and The Lark Ascending, for violin and orchestra:

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 12, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Hard to believe that Hugh Jackman has now been playing Wolverine for 16 years now (17, once next years’ final Woverine movie releases). By comparison even Christopher Reeve who for me will always be the definitive Superman only played ‘ol Supes for 8 years.

    I feel a bit sorry for whoever will try to replace Jackman as Wolverine down the road. It will probably be almost impossible to fill his shoes.

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    • Jackman makes for a good Wolverine, but I think the role is recastable. Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to be a challenge. Jackman brought a heck of a lot of charisma to the role. But I would be interested to see another take on the character. Maybe someone who could highlight the comic book character’s darker side instead.

      The X-Men franchise as a whole is in a weird place. It’s been going on much longer than any of the other super hero franchises and has had a couple of soft reboots already.

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      • I thought the X-Men series had some life in it yet after First Class and Days of Future Past (which I personally very much enjoyed) but after watching this year’s instantly forgettable Apocalypse I suspect it may be time to finally do an entire reboot from scratch. Especially now that Jackman is officially done as Wolverine too boot.

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        • However, there’s Deadpool to consider.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if the franchise goes off into more diverse solo films which is what the plan was pre-First Class.

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  2. It’s crazy to think that Hugh Jackman was a last minute replacement for Dougray Scott. Scott was unavailable due to his commitment to Mission Impossible 2 which was running long. Can you imagine how hard he must be kicking himself every time Jackman cashes another X-Men check?

    As I said in the Razzie article when Kirk Cameron won for Saving Christmas, he makes me want to punch him in the face. So smug.

    Today is actually very light on celebrity birthdays I am familiar with. I know of Pavarotti, but I won’t pretend to know anything about opera.

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    • This is a very, very light day for celebrity birthdays once you get past Jackman. I’m an opera fan, and I’m delighted to be able to put Pavarotti in the headline, but on a normal day he’d be someone I would probably have as one of the end-of-article people I did a short paragraph on and put a video in. And after the two of them, it is really thin on major celebrities. I suppose that a decade or so ago, when the Dixie Chicks were still all the rage, Martie Erwin/Maguire would have been a potential headliner.

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  3. Well, I’ll always remember Deborah Foreman for her large roles in “Valley Girl” and 1986’s “April Fool’s Day”, plus that bit part in “Real Genius”. I hope she’s still hammering away.
    Lin Shayne, I’ll always remember her as the English lit teacher from “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and not being able to get those damn snakes off the damn plane in “Snakes on a Plane”.
    We know that Hugh Jackman has dominated as Wolverine, but I also liked him in “Swordfish”, although it was a rather mediocre picture (I think it’s kind of like “Hackers” for adults).

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