October 21: Happy Birthday Carrie Fisher and Dizzy Gillespie
Carrie Fisher celebrates her 60th birthday today. The daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds, she made her Broadway debut in the 1973 revival of the musical Irene and her film debut two years later in the comedy Shampoo. And two years after that, she appeared in the role that made her famous, Princess Leia in Star Wars, as well as in its two sequels:
Aside from Empire and Jedi, Fisher had several significant film role in the 1980s, appearing in The Blues Brothers, The Man with One Red Shoe, Hannah and Her Sisters, and When Harry Met Sally, among others. By the end of the eighties, she was beginning to make the transition from an actress to a writer who acted from time to time, publishing her first novel, the partly-autobiographical Postcards from the Edge, in 1987.
Fisher has written several additional books, as well as a one-woman play called Wishful Drinking. She wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Postcards from the Edge, and was apparently a very busy script doctor during the 1990s. She returned to the role of Princess/General Leia last year in The Force Awakens, and a memoir called The Princess Diarist, based on her diaries from the filming of Star Wars, comes out next month.
Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993) was one of the jazz world’s greatest trumpeters and musical innovators. Gillespie began performing in the late 1930s, playing with several of the leading bandleaders of that era. In 1945 he made a set of recordings with fellow legend-to-be Charlie Parker, and then set up his own band the following year. Some of his most influential compositions were included in that first set of recordings with Parker:
Gillespie was one of the central figures, along with Parker and Thelonious Monk, in the emergence of what is called “bop” or “bebop” jazz music. He was also a pioneer in the “Afro-Cuban” movement that brought African and Latin American influences into jazz. he continued to perform and record until about a year prior to his death.
Also in music, Steven Lee Cropper, who turns 75, is the longtime guitarist for the Stax Records in-house band, Booker T & the M. G.’s, and appeared in The Blues Brothers. Manfred Mann, who turns 76, has founded several band which have taken their name from him, and has had hits like “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” and “Blinded by the Light.” Elvin Bishop, who is 74 today, is a rock and blues musician who has been successful both with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and as a solo performer; his biggest hit was “Fooled Around and Fell In Love.”
Aaron Tveit, who celebrates his 33rd today, dropped out of college at the age of 20 to join the national touring company of Rent. On Broadway, he has appeared in the casts of Hairspray, Wicked, Next to Normal, and in the lead of Catch Me If You Can. His most prominent screen roles have been as Enjolras in Les Misérables and as Mike Warren in USA Network’s Graceland.
Irish actor Andrew Scott, who turns 40, has played villains on Sherlock (winning a BAFTA Award as Jim Moriarty) and in Spectre (Max “C” Denbigh), and is a two-time Olivier Award winner for his stage work. Will Estes, who celebrates his 38th, stars as Jamie Reagan on CBS’s Blue Bloods and previously starred on NBC’s American Dreams. Glen Powell, who plays Chad Radwell on Scream Queens, turns 28. Charlotte Sullivan, who is 33 today, starred on the Canadian police drama Rookie Blue for its six season run. Sasha Roiz, who celebrates his 43rd, plays Sean Renard on NBC’s Grimm. Blanca Suárez, who is turning 28, is a rising star of Spanish cinema who won a Goya Award for Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In. Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman turns 32; he stars on Lifetime’s Unreal.
Ken Watanabe, who turns 57, has won Best Actor at the Japanese Academy Awards twice, for Memories of Tomorrow and Shizumanu Taiyo. In American media, he was an Oscar nominee for The Last Samurai and more recently a Tony nominee for his Broadway debut as the King of Siam in the 2015 revival of The King and I. Catherine Hardwicke is 61 today. She began her career as a production designer, working on films like Tombstone and Tank Girl, and then moved into directing with the indie film Thirteen; more recently she directed the first Twilight film. Everett McGill, who turns 71, had a nice career as a character actor in the 1980s and ’90s, appearing in films like Licence to Kill and My Fellow Americans, and will return to the role of Big Ed Hurley in the Twin Peaks revival.
The New York Times has called Ursula K. Le Guin, who turns 87 today, “America’s greatest living science fiction writer.” In novels like The Left Hand of Darkness and its sequels The Dispossessed and The Telling, Le Guin has brought issues like environmentalism, gender identity and feminism into science fiction. She has done the same in fantasy through books like the Earthsea trilogy and its sequels.
Baseball Hall of Famer Whitey Ford, who is 88 today, had his birthday one day after that of his longtime teammate Mickey Mantle. Ford helped the Yankees win 6 World Series titles during his career and won the Cy Young Award in 1961. Fittingly, he and Mantle entered the Hall of Fame together in 1974. Lavinia Miloșovici, who turns 40, was one of the most successful women’s gymnasts of the 1990s, winning six Olympic medals and 13 at the World Championships.
Canadian actor Robert Clothier (1921-1999) was one of the stars of The Beachcombers, which was one of the longest-running shows in Canadian television history, airing for nearly 2o years. Shammi Kapoor (1931-2011) worked in Indian cinema for over 50 years and was a two-time Filmfare Award winner. Georgia Brown (1933-1992) was an English singer and actress who was nominated for Tonys twice for her musical theater career and for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress on Cheers. American singer-actress Julie Wilson (1924-2015) was sometimes known as the “queen of cabaret,” and had a long Broadway career highlighted by a Tony nomination for the musical Legs Diamond. American journalist Brock Yates (1933-2016), who passed just a couple of weeks ago, was the longtime editor of Car and Driver. He also wrote the screenplays for Smokey and the Bandit II and The Cannonball Run and had a cameo in the latter film.
Conductor Sir Georg Solti (1912-1997) won 32 Grammys during his career, more than any other recording artist. The most famous of his some 250 recordings was the complete studio recording he made from 1958-65 of Wagner’s four opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. Celia Cruz (1925-2013) was no stranger to the Grammys herself. The Cuban-born singer won eight of them, and was one of the most important figures in 20th Century Latin music. Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) was one of the leading British Romantic poets, the author of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and also a literary critic who was a leading Shakespeare scholar.
If you think that a certain someone who is famous for being famous is missing from this post, you’re right. 🙂
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 21, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Aaron Tveit, carrie fisher, Catherine Hardwicke, Celia Cruz, Dizzy Gillespie, Georg Solti, Ken Watanabe, Ursula K Le Guin. Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.