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October 14: Happy Birthday Mia Wasikowska and Roger Moore

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Mia Wasikowska, who celebrates her 27th today, began acting as a teenager in Australian television and film.  She had supporting roles in films like Suburban Mayhem, Rogue and September, and then was introduced to US audiences in HBO’s In Treatment.  After a critically praised performance in the indie drama That Evening Sun, Wasikowska was cast as the title character in Tim Burton’s film based on a classic children’s novel:

Since Alice in Wonderland came out, Wasikowska has kept extremely busy, appearing in over a dozen feature film roles.  She has done adaptations of literary classics (Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre, Sophie Barthes’s Madame Bovary, playing the title roles in each), highly acclaimed indie films (The Kids Are All Right), crime dramas (Lawless), and has worked with directors like Gus van Sant (Restless) and Guillermo del Toro (Crimson Peak).  She returned to the role of Alice Kingsleigh in this year’s Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Sir Roger Moore turns 89 today.  After working in films in the 1950s without much success, Moore made his name in television, in series like Ivanhoe, Maverick (as cousin Beau, a part reportedly turned down by Sean Connery), and most tellingly as the Robin Hood-like detective/adventurer Simon Templar in The Saint.  In the early 1970s, Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman came calling, with a role in a series of films about a certain secret agent:

Moore played James Bond in seven films for Eon Productions, more than any other actor.  His portrayal of Bond is not everyone’s favorite, but there’s no denying it was successful—five of those seven films ranked in the top 10 at the box office for their year of release.  During his years as Bond, Moore made some other interesting films, including the war movie The Wild Geese, a thriller called North Sea Hijack, and the silly but fun The Cannonball Run, where he played Seymour Goldfarb, who thinks he is Roger Moore and drives an Aston Martin DB-5 (with modifications).

Harry Anderson, who starred as Judge Harry Stone on Night Court and as Dave Barry on Dave’s World, turns 64 today.  Lori Petty celebrates her 53rd birthday.  She starred in A League of Their Own and as the title character in Tank Girl and currently has a recurring role on Orange Is the New BlackGreg Evigan, who is 63 today, is known for starring roles on television in B.J. and the Bear, My Two Dads, and TekWarKaty Manning, who turns 70, played Jo Grant on Doctor Who opposite the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, in the early 1970s, and many years later reprised the role on the spinoff series The Sarah Jane AdventuresCarroll Ballard, who is 79 today, directed the Oscar-nominated documentary Harvest and feature films like The Black Stallion and Fly Away Home; he was also the second unit director on Star Wars.  British actor Steve Coogan, who celebrates his 51st, has been working in radio, television and film since the late 1980s.  He had his biggest success with Philomena, which he produced, wrote and starred in—he received Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.

R&B and hip hop singer-songwriter Usher Raymond turns 38 today.  In a career of a little over 20 years, he is an 8-time Grammy winner and has had 4 #1 albums and 9 #1 singles.   Sir Cliff Richard, who turns 76, is said to be the third biggest selling singer ever in the UK, behind Elvis and The Beatles; American audiences might recall his singles “Devil Woman” and “We Don’t Talk Anymore.”  Dan McCafferty, who is turning 70, was the lead vocalist for the Scottish rock band Nazareth from the group’s founding until his retirement in 2013.  Blues musician Chris Thomas King has recorded over a dozen albums, and appeared in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? as Tommy Johnson; he is 54 today.  New wave singer Thomas Dolby turns 58; he had a hit in 1982 with “She Blinded Me With Science.”  And for the second time this week one of the Dixie Chicks celebrates a birthday, as Natalie Maines is turning 42 today.

Appropriately, the birthday of a James Bond is also the birthday of the latest Q, as Ben Whishaw is celebrating his 36th.  Max Theriot, who turns 28, has been featured in films like Nancy Drew and Jumper and currently stars in A&E’s Bates MotelRowan Blanchard, who plays Riley Matthews on Girl Meets World, turns 15 today.  Director Benh Zeitlin, who is 34 today, was nominated for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for his first feature, Beasts of the Southern WildJay Pharoah, who is 29 today, has been a cast member of Saturday Night Live since 2010 and has had a number of small film roles.

Justin Hayward, who celebrates his 70th today, has been a member of the art-rock band The Moody Blues for about fifty years.  Hayward is the group’s lead guitarist and frequent lead vocalist, and wrote several of their biggest hits, including “Question,” “Tuesday Afternoon,” and “Nights in White Satin.”

In sports, Russian gymnast Nikolai Andrianov (1952-2011) won 15 Olympic medals from 1972-1980, the most won by any men’s gymnast in Olympic history.  John Wooden (1910-2010) was nicknamed “The Wizard of Westwood” when he coached the UCLA men’s basketball team to 10 NCAA championships in 12 seasons, including 7 titles in a row from 1967-73.

Allan Jones (1907-1992) was known for his roles in musicals like the 1936 version of Show Boat (as Ravenal) and for appearing in the first two Marx Brothers films at MGM, A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races.  Character actor Robert Webber (1924-1989) had his first major role in 12 Angry Men (as Juror No. 12) and appeared in films like The Dirty Dozen, Midway, The Revenge of the Pink Panther, and Private Benjamin.

Lillian Gish (1893-1993) was one of the biggest stars of the silent film era.  She worked regularly with pioneering director D. W. Griffith, starring in Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation, Intolerance, Broken Blossoms, and Way Down East.  She continued working, although not as regularly, in the sound era; some of her notable films included Duel in the Sun (for which she was an Oscar nominee), The Night of the Hunter, and her final film, made in 1987, The Whales of August, in which she starred opposite Bette Davis.

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), known as “Ike,” was the commander of Allied forces in Western Europe in World War II and the 34th President of the US.  Arguably the first president of the television age, he won a special Emmy Award in 1956.  He has been played onscreen by a number of actors, including Robert Duvall and Michael Moriarty.

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 14, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Roger Moore was “my” James Bond in that he was in the role when I was growing up. He’s not one of my favorite 007’s, but he did star in some of my favorite entries in the franchise. The Spy Who Loved Me is just terrific and I enjoy For Your Eyes Only a lot.

    I watched a lot of Night Court as a kid. It was a silly topper to the Must See comedy line-up. I don’t know that I would have watched it in another time slot, but as it stands watch it I did. I also watched BJ and the Bear and My Two Dads.

    Lori Petty used to annoy the living crap out of me. I don’t know why. Something about her voice, I like her on Orange is the New Black though.

    I have been watching a series of presidential profiles on PBS. They haven’t gotten to Dwight D. Eisenhower yet, but he made appearances in the profile on Nixon. I’m looking forward to the entry on Ike.

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  2. Mia Wasikowska is one of the best actresses working today. She’s also got pretty strong taste in scripts. Stoker is an underseen gem. Jane Eyre was a perfect adaptation. I wish more people had seen The Double, which I loved. Only Lovers Left Alive was great, and she was strong in Lawless, Tracks, Madame Bovary, and Maps to the Stars even though the films themselves were a mixed bag. And I loved Gus Van Sant’s Restless, as maudlin/sappy as it was… and I may have a bit of a crush on her. If anyone remembers those Oscars series of short videos where she smashed mirrors with a hammer…wowza

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  3. Sean Connery may be the “quintessential” Bond but having been born in the early 70’s, Roger Moore was my Bond. The very first Bond film that I ever saw was 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me on the big screen. Anybody who’s a Bond film even in the slightest never forgets their first Bond film, and luckily it is regarded as one of the better in the Bond series.

    For Your Eyes Only is another of my favorite Bond films. Moonraker, well….. it may be cheesy but my 7 year old self loved the heck out of it at the time. I’m almost afraid to watch it now all these years later as it probably won’t hold up very well.

    Jestak you do bring up a very valid point in your write-up. 5 of the 7 Roger Moore Bond films finished within the Top 10 box office hits of their respective years. Say what you will about Moore’s interpretation of Bond, but his film connected strongly with the mainstream movie-going public for over a decade.

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    • Moore was the right Bond for the 70’s/early 80’s.

      For the record, my first on screen Bond was The Living Daylights. I guess it could have been worse. It could have been A View to a Kill. I was forbidden to see Bond movies in the theater until I was able to drive myself. I know I have told the infamous Smurfs and the Magic Flute story around here more than once. And no, I’m never going to let that go.

      I had seen the Connery Bonds on TV. I’m pretty sure my first exposure to Moore beyond commercials or movie posters was when he appeared on the Muppet Show.

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    • Probably the single greatest moment during Roger Moore’s tenure as James Bond. The most bad-ass and coldblooded thing his Bond ever did:

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  4. To say just one more thing about Roger Moore: Bond actors through the years have usually struggled to break free of being typecast as James Bond; very few have had box office successes outside of the iconic series. Even Sean Connery himself struggled for many years to find a box office hit on his own before finally crafting a comeback in the late 80’s.

    Roger Moore starred in quite a number of films during his peak Bond era (Sunday Lovers, That Lucky Touch, The Sea Wolves, Street People, Ffolkes) but interestingly the only real box office success that Moore had outside of Bond was 1981’s smash hit Cannonball Run. Fun fact, it opened just one week after For Your Eyes Only in June of 1981, and both films were huge hits finishing among the Top 10 box office hits of the year (For Your Eyes Only the 8th biggest hit of 1981, and Cannonball Run as the 6th).

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    • Ffolkes is the alternate title for North Sea Hijack, which I mentioned in the article. It’s pretty good if you can get used to a bearded Roger Moore.

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  5. Truthfully, the only reason why the name Lori Petty means anything to me is because of the movie Point Break.

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  6. Here’s an interesting way to think about Roger Moore: more men have been on the Moon than have played James Bond.

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  7. Roger Moore isn’t my favorite Bond, James Bond, but he was a fun Bond. I get the impression from viewing Moore in other films that he has a good sense of humor about life.
    Since I didn’t view “Point Break” until later (heck, I viewed “Strange Days” before “Point Break”), I first saw Lori Petty in “A League of Their Own”, and recall “Tank Girl” ( very good soundtrack, decent film to me). Also, she guest starred in “Miami Vice”, as a character who went to foxy boxing and was kind of kinky in the episode “Love at First Sight” (that was during the Sheena Easton episode strands).
    I’ve been catching up to a lot of “Night Court” on the Laff channel lately; I remember how popular the show was when I was a kid, and I really like it. I also remember Harry Anderson as part of the ensemble cast of the “IT” TV Movie.
    Thomas Dolby, yeah, I really dig some of his stuff. “She Blinded Me with Science” I like, but my favorite is “Hyperactive!”. !!!
    When I was growing up, most of the streets I lived by were named after presidents, and the closest was Eisenhower, which has a very steep hill (so does Kennedy and Madison).

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