October 23: Happy Birthday Ryan Reynolds and Emilia Clarke
Ryan Reynolds is turning 40 today. His first acting job was in a Canadian TV series called Hillside (renamed Fifteen in the US). American audiences got to know him in the sitcom Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place (the pizza place was dropped from the show, and the title, after two seasons), where he played one of the leads.
Reynolds first lead role in a film was in National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, a critical flop but a modest financial success given its small budget; the remake of The Amityville Horror was much the same story, with somewhat bigger numbers across the board. He also began to find a niche in romantic comedy:
Reynolds also ventured into the superhero genre, playing some guy named Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but his star potential seemed to crash and burn along with 2011’s Green Lantern and 2013’s R.I.P.D. But he came roaring back this year as the star of the year’s biggest unexpected hit, Deadpool, playing some guy named Wade Wilson, who from what I hear bears a slight resemblance to the character of that name he played in Wolverine.
English actress Emilia Clarke celebrates her 30th birthday today. She grew up in a theatre family—her father was a sound engineer—and attended the Drama Centre London. Within a year of her graduation, and with only a couple of television roles under her belt, she was cast in HBO’s adaptation of a series of medieval fantasy novels:
As Daenerys Targaryen (or Daenerys Stormborn, if you prefer), Clarke is pretty clearly the breakout star from the cast of Game of Thrones. She has received three Primetime Emmy nominations for the show, and is moving into major film roles. She played Sarah Connor in last year’s Terminator: Genisys, and this year starred in the financially successful romantic drama Me Before You.
Director and writer Philip Kaufman turns 80. He directed the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, co-wrote the story for Raiders of the Lost Ark, directed and wrote the Best Picture nominee The Right Stuff, and most recently directed HBO’s Hemingway & Gellhorn, which received 15 Emmy nominations. Director Ang Lee is 62 today. He made his name in Taiwan with three films known as the “Father Knows Best” trilogy, then came to Hollywood, where his first film was a 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. His 2000 film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon brought him the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film, and he subsequently won Best Director for Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi.
Alex Gibney, who is turning 63, is one of the most prominent documentary filmmakers of this century. His Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room was nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, and his Taxi to the Dark Side was the winner in that category. His recent documentaries for HBO, Mea Maxima Culpa and Going Clear, each won three Emmys. Sam Raimi, who turns 57, first became known for the Evil Dead horror film trilogy. During the 1990s he directed films like A Simple Plan and For the Love of the Game, while also serving as a producer for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. He then directed the Spider-Man trilogy from 2002-07.
Kate del Castillo, who celebrates her 44th today, began her acting career in Spanish-language telenovas, and still works in them. She has also built a reputation in the US with films like Under the Same Moon and No Good Deed. Jessica Stroup played Erin Silver on 90210 and will be seen in the upcoming Netflix series Iron Fist; she turns 30 today. Amandla Stenberg turns 18; she appeared in Colombiana as the young Cataleya and as Rue in The Hunger Games. Taylor Spreitler, who celebrates her 23rd, played Lennox Scanlon on Melissa & Joey and will be in next year’s Amityville: The Awakening. Cat Deeley, who turns 40 today, is a four-time Emmy nominee for hosting So You Think You Can Dance.
In music, Dianne Reeves, who is 60 today, is a five-time winner of the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album, most recently for her album Beautiful Life. Country singer Dwight Yoakam was born the same day as Reeves, has a pair of Grammys of his own, and had three straight #1 Country albums in the 1980s. “Weird Al” Yankovic, who turns 57, is a singer specializing in parody and comedy, and, continuing a trend here, has won four Grammys, mostly in the Best Comedy Album or Recording category. Miguel Pimentel, who is 31 today and is often billed simply as Miguel, recently won his first Grammy for Best R&B Song for “Adorn.”
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known throughout the world as Pelé, turns 76 today. Oftne considered the greatest footballer ever, he made his Brazilian national side debut at the age of 16, and a year later was starring for Brazil as they won the 1958 World Cup. He starred for Brazilian club Santos for over 15 years. The 1962 and 1966 world cups were disappointing for Pelé; an injury sidelined him for most of the 1962 Cup as Brazil defended their title, while in 1966 he was on the receiving end of some brutal fouling as Brazil went out in the group stage. But in 1970 he led a Brazil squad often considered the best in World Cup history to the title.
Other sports birthdays include Jim Bunning, who turns 85 today. A star pitcher with the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies, he is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and had a post-baseball career as a Congressman and Senator from Kentucky. Doug Flutie, who is 54 today, was famous for his football exploits at Boston College, where he won the Heisman Trophy as a senior and threw a famous, last-minute “Hail Mary” pass to give BC a win over the University of Miami. The Heisman Trophy is named for John Heisman (1869-1936), an extremely successful college football and baseball coach. Tiffeny Milbrett, who turns 44, was a star of the US Women’s National Soccer Team from 1991-2006, scoring 100 goals during her national team career. Gertrude Ederle (1905-2003) won three medals in swimming at the 1924 Olympics, but is most famous for being the first woman to swim the English Channel in 1926
Coleen Gray (1922-2015) was a “nice girl” in film noir classics like Kiss of Death, Kansas City Confidential and The Killing, and worked on television until the 1980s. Diana Dors (1931-1984) was England’s contribution to the list of “blonde bombshell” actresses of the 1950s. Una O’Connor (1880-1959) had a long career in Irish and English theater, while also appearing in films, including The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Sea Hawk. Ellie Greenwich (1940-2009) is remembered for the pop hits she wrote with her husband, Jeff Barry; a short, very incomplete list would include “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Then He Kissed Me,” “Be My Baby,” “Leader of the Pack,” “Do-Wah-Diddy-Diddy” and “I Honestly Love You.”
Novelist Michael Crichton (1942-2008) wrote well over 20 novels, many of them best termed techno-thrillers, which sold over 150 million copies worldwide. Some of his best-known titles included The Andromeda Strain, The Terminal Man, Jurassic Park, and Disclosure. He also was the creator and executive producer of ER and directed several films. Johnny Carson (1925-2005) was the host of The Tonight Show on NBC for thirty years. During that time he won six Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and became something of an American icon.
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 23, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Alex Gibney, Ang Lee, Dianne Reeves, Dwight Yoakam, Emilia Clarke, Gertrude Ederle, Johnny Carson, Kate del Castillo, Michael Crichton, Philip Kaufman, ryan reynolds, Taylor Spreitler, Weird Al Yankovic. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.