October 22: Happy Birthday Jeff Goldblum and Derek Jacobi


Jeff Goldblum turns 64 today.  He began getting small roles in major films in the mid-1970s, appearing in roles such as Tricycle Guy in Nashville and “the man who lost his mantra” in Annie Hall.  His first significant role came in the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, beginning a career-long association with sci-fi and horror films; what may be his most-remembered lead role was also a sci-fi/horror movie:

Goldblum has occasionally had lead roles, such as in John Landis’s Into the Night, but generally he is in some kind of character part, although often a prominent one.  He has been featured in two of the Jurassic Park films, the two Independence Day films, The Big Chill, Deep Cover, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and many more.

Sir Derek Jacobi celebrates his 78th birthday today.  One of the greatest stage actors of our time, he was renowned for his Shakespeare—he won an Olivier Award for Twelfth Night and a Tony Award for Much Ado About Nothing–for his Chekov (Uncle Vanya), his Sophocles (Oedipus Rex), and much more.  He began appearing in film and television in the mid-1960s, with his first really well-known screen role being the BBC series I, Claudius.

Jacobi has had a varied film career.  He had significant roles in the adaptations of Frederick Forsyth’s thrillers The Day of the Jackal and The Odessa File in the 1970s, and in the ’80s starred in the adaptation of Dickens’s Little Dorrit, one of the longest-running films ever released.  He has occasionally done a bit of slumming (Underworld: Evolution, anyone?), and in the past few years has been seen in The King’s Speech, My Week with Marilyn, and last year’s Cinderella.  And of course, he’s done some Shakespeare, appearing in Kenneth Branagh’s adaptations of Henry V (as the Chorus) and Hamlet (as a very regal Claudius):

Catherine Deneuve, who turns 73 today, has been a major star of French cinema since her starring role in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg in 1964.  Her most famous role, possibly, was in Belle du Jour as a young housewife who moonlights as a high-class prostitute.  She has been nominated for a Cesar Award 14 times, winning twice, and made occasional forays to Hollywood for films like Robert Aldrich’s Hustle.

Christopher Lloyd, like Derek Jacobi, turns 78 today.  He is a three-time Emmy winner, twice for his role on Taxi and once as a guest star on Road to Avonlea.  Film audiences know him for Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, for a Klingon commander in Star Trek III, and most of all as Emmett “Doc” Brown in the Back to the Future movies.

Bob Odenkirk, who is 54 today, has won two Emmys as a writer, for Saturday Night Live and The Ben Stiller Show.  He currently stars (and has received two more Emmy nominations) in AMC’s Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad spinoff centered on his character of Saul Goodman.  Tony Roberts, who turns 77, worked for nearly 50 years on Broadway.  In film, he was in several of Woody Allen’s pictures, notably as Alvy Singer’s best friend Rob in Annie HallJan de Bont, who is 73 today, was a cinematographer on a number of films of the late 1980s and early ’90s, such as Ruthless People, Die Hard and The Hunt for Red October.  He made an impressive directing debut with Speed, but his career fizzled after Speed 2 was one of the most disastrous sequels ever.  Bill Condon, who celebrates his 61st, won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Gods and Monsters, and went on to write and direct the film adaptations of the musicals Chicago and Dreamgirls.  He is the director for the upcoming live action remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Director/producer/writer Spike Jonze, who turns 47, has been Oscar-nominated as a director for Being John Malkovich and as a writer and producer for HerJesse Tyler Ferguson, who celebrates his 41st, is a five-time Emmy nominee for playing Mitchell Pritchett on Modern FamilySaffron Burrows, who turns 44 today, currently stars in the web series Mozart in the Jungle and has been a wide variety of films over the last 20 years.  Italian actress Valeria Golino is a two-time Donatello Award winner in her native country who is known in the US for her roles in Rain Man, the Hot Shots! movies, and others.

Parineeti Chopra, who is 28 today, is an up and coming star of Indian cinema who is a four-time Filmfare award nominee, winning Best Female Debut in 2011.  Also turning 28 is actor Corey Hawkins, who portrayed rapper Dr. Dre in last year’s Straight Outta ComptonJohn Boyd, who plays Special Agent James Aubrey on Bones, celebrates his 35th birthday today.

In the music world, Shelby Lynne, who turns 48, won a Grammy for Best New Artist for her album I Am Shelby Lynne and has had a number of charted country singles; she played Johnny Cash’s mother in Walk the LineZac Hanson, who turns 31, is the youngest of the three brothers who made up the pop band Hanson, who had a #1, Grammy nominated hit, “MMMBop,” in 1997.  Giovanni Martinelli (1885-1969) was one of opera’s greatest stars in the first half of the 20th century, appearing over 900 times at the Met in a period of over 30 years.

Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was one of the most important of the first generation of Romantic composers.  He was noted for his solo piano compositions, among the most brilliant ever, and as one of the leading exponents of program music and the symphonic poem.  He was the leading piano virtuoso of his time, and his fame as a performer has lead some to describe him as the 19th century equivalent of a rock star.

In sports, Jimmie Foxx (1907-1967), a Baseball Hall of Famer, was the second player in baseball history to hit over 500 career home runs (after Babe Ruth).  Ichiro Suzuki, who celebrates his 43rd, was one of the first Japanese stars to move to the US, becoming a ten-time All-Star while with the Seattle Mariners.  Robinson Canó, who turns 34, is a seven-time All Star, currently with the Mariners after nearly a decade with the New York Yankees.  Skater Brian Boitano, who celebrates his 53rd, is remembered for winning the “Battle of the Brians” at the 1988 Winter Olympics, earning the gold medal ahead of Canada’s Brian Orser.

Annette Funicello (1942-2013) first became famous as one of the original Mousketeers, and then starred opposite Frankie Avalon in several of the “Beach party” films of the 1960s.  Curly Howard (1903-1952) was one of the Three Stooges from 1934-1946, when a stroke forced him to retire from acting.  Constance Bennett (1904-1965) was never as big a star as her sister Joan, but had significant starring roles in films like What Price Hollywood? and Topper.  Journalist John Reed (1887-1920) became famous for his first-hand account of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, Ten Days that Shook the World.  He was played by Warren Beatty in the 1981 movie Reds.

Joan Fontaine (1917-2013; given name Joan de Havilland) was a major star of the 1940s and early ’50s.  She was a three-time Best Actress nominee, winning for Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion in 1941.  She was also known for her often tempestuous relationship with her older sister Olivia de Havilland, also an Oscar-winning actress.  Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923), known as “The Divine Sarah,” was one of the most famous stage actresses of all time.  French by birth, she made her reputation in the works of French dramatists like Racine, Moliere and others.  She later took on several Shakespearean roles, including Cordelia in King Lear, Lady Macbeth, and, in a controversial performance, Hamlet.

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 22, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Catherine Deneuve on Why She Never Had a Hollywood Career

    — On Hollywood

    When I was in “Hustle” by Robert Aldrich I had been warned. He had a reputation for being cranky, very difficult with actors; but he behaved very well with me. My partner [in the film] Burt Reynolds was also very likable, he had a great sense of humor. I also have a good memory of “March or Die,” a big production [directed] by Dick Richards about the Foreign Legion, shot in Spain with Terence Hill and Gene Hackman. I also very much liked “Farewell, My Lovely” by the same director, especially because Robert Mitchum was in it. I adore Mitchum but I realized that he didn’t work. He played tennis instead of preparing difficult scenes. And I noticed that his entourage changed for every movie, which is never a good sign. I only made two movies in Hollywood. They were not smashing successes; nobody made me interesting proposals and I started wanting to go back to France. I am not very Parisian, but I feel very French.


    • She doesn’t mention The Hunger, or Variety did not ask her? It’s indisputably her most famous English speaking role, although she’s not totally intelligible in it.

      After her Oscar nod American studios had renewed interest in her and she was up for The Bridges of Madison County. I would’ve liked to have seen her in that, but with a different male lead because Clint was way too old.


  2. In the mind-nineties, Goldblum had this weird thing going where his presence in the Jurassic Park movies and Independence Day made him one of the top-grossing stars of the time despite not actually being a box office draw himself. Kind of like Samuel L. Jackson today. Both are terrific actors who straddle the line between character work and leads.

    I was introduced to Derek Jacobi through the movies of Kenneth Branagh. In the Movieline article that was reprinted here a month or so ago, there was some discussion of how Branagh had brought a lot of top British stage actors to the screen for support.

    I have seen very few of Catherine Deneuve’s movies. She was a real stunner. It’s a shame she never had a chance to work with Hitchcock. She seemed custom made to appear as one of his cool blondes. One of Hitchcock’s unmade movies, The Short Night, was intended to star Deneuve along with Walter Matthau, Clint Eastwood and Sean Connery. The project was cancelled due to Hitchcock’s failing health.

    Christopher Lloyd is always going to be Doc Brown to me. He was great on Taxi which was one of the better sitcoms of the time. And I have seen him in other roles like Roger Rabbit and Star Trek III. But Back to the Future was special.

    Better Call Saul is one of the best shows on TV. Can’t wait for next season. Tony Roberts, yeah, he’s always going to be Woody Allen’s friend from Annie Hall. Jan de Bont probably would have had a longer career if he had worried more about the safety of his actors. Then again, he was mauled by a lion while working as a cameraman on Roar, so maybe he didn’t think in those terms.


  3. I can remember my parents watching I, Claudius on public television in the mid-1970s; I was a bit young to be interested in it at the time. A few years later, when PBS was broadcasting the BBC productions of Shakespeare’s complete plays, I caught Jacobi as Richard II and, I think, as Hamlet.

    And, yes, Branagh’s films did give a lot of great Shakespeareans the chance to show what they could do—his cast for Henry V alone had Jacobi, Paul Scofield, Ian Holm (as I noted in his birthday article) and several more.

    I can remember a local TV station showing old Mickey Mouse Club reruns when I was young, which was my first exposure to Annette Funicello. She then went on to be quite a cute little ingenue in those beach party movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I doubt my parents ever watched or even heard of I, Claudius. Dad actually watches a fair amount of PBS, but he has a disdain for fiction and theater. Mom’s favorite show is The Bachelor.

      Dad did like Annette Funicello. I was certainly aware of her from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse reruns although I stopped watching those before I would have appreciated her as a cute ingenue. As a Disney fan, I am certainly aware of her place in pop culture history even if I mostly viewed it from a distance.


    • I watched I, Claudius for the first time last year, and it was amazing. The look is very 70s dated, but the acting and writing made up for it. I loved it so much I started rewatching it as soon as I finished it! I actually named my dog Claudius because of the show. 😀

      I was in English major in college and soon realized this was considered a heretical viewpoint by most of my classmates and professors–I don’t like Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet. My favorite part of it was actually Jacobi’s performance as Claudius. Jacobi’s Hamlet is actually my favorite performance, though the rest of the movie is pretty dated and slow. I should watch his Richard II.


      • *an English major!

        Anytime I mention that online, I always have an embarrassing typo that makes me look like I should hand my degree back. 😥


      • I should probably make an effort to watch I, Claudius. Dated 70’s production values are actually a plus for me.


        • The then-cutting edge aging makeup is my favorite part. 😀

          The behind-the-scenes features on that are pretty funny. Most of the cast was trying to be polite and diplomatic and just talked about how difficult it was to apply and take off, but Brian Blessed was just like, “I HATED WEARING IT BECAUSE IT WAS TERRIBLE!” But with more swearing, I think 🙂


        • Sounds intriguing.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Since Halloween is right around the corner, I’m planning on re-watching the 1986 remake of “The Fly”. Now, there’s another case for me that I can be pleased viewing either that version or the 1958 original.
    I still have a strong memory of Jeff Goldblum playing a thug in the first “Death Wish”, probably because the attack/rape scene in the apartment really has lasted with me. Speaking of evil, I liked Goldblum’s role in the 1990 film “Mister Frost”. Man, that mister really had a broken wing.


  5. Does Catherine Denevue Hate Brigitte Bardot?

    [on Brigitte Bardot] I saw extracts of her book: they were the most horrible things you can possibly read. Imagine writing that you wanted to get rid of your baby son, as she did. Not being a good mother is her problem, but making it public like that… It could have been a very human piece of writing, but in her case it was just harsh and inhuman. I know her a little and she’s a strange human being. She’s very childish. She loves animals, because loving animals is very easy, but emotionally, I think she has a big problem. She’s like someone who never grew up. I don’t consider myself to be a grown-up person but I’m more interested in people than in animals. And I think that if you are involved as much as she is with animals, then there is something strange about your dealings with the human race. She’s like a sauce which has curdled. There is nothing you can do. There is no hope.’


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