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 DeedJessica 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 GamesTaylor Spreitler, who celebrates her 23rd, played Lennox Scanlon on Melissa & Joey and will be in next year’s Amityville: The AwakeningCat 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 HawkEllie 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 , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Phillip Kaufman had a terrific career. His ’78 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a very rare creature: a remake that is arguably as great as the original classic. That’s one I return to every several years.

    As far as his involvement in Raiders, George Lucas first approached Kaufman a couple years before Spielberg got involved about his idea for Indiana Jones in the mid 70’s. When Lucas said he wanted his archeologist/adventurer Indy to search for religious artifacts Kaufman instantly chimed in with the perfect one to chase after: the Ark of the Covenant. It seems Kaufman spent the better part of a year researching the Ark for a documentary that never got made, but Lucas used Kaufman’s research on the Ark as a foundation for the story that he developed. Kaufman’s early input was instrumental enough that Lucas gave him a story credit when Raiders released even though only Lucas wrote the story and Lawrence Kasdan wrote the screenplay.


  2. I never cared much for Ryan Reynolds before, but Deadpool was much more entertaining than it had any right to be.


  3. Ryan Reynolds was dismissed for quite a while there, but he really got a boost from “Deadpool”.It’s all about the right part.
    I was thinking of Philip Kaufman yesterday when noticing Spike Jonze’s birthday listed, the reason being is that Kaufman has infrequently directed films (the last Kaufman film I’ve viewed was 2004’s “Twisted”, which I rather liked), and wondered if that was how Jonze’s directing career was going to go as well.
    Sam Raimi, yeah, I re-watched 1992’s “Army of Darkness” last week; maybe it’s the weakest of “The Evil Dead” trilogy, but I still think it’s fun.
    “Weird Al”: I still have his “Fat” video that I recorded in 1988, but my favorite song of his is “Amish Paradise” (man, he really ticked off Coolio parodying that song; Coolio should’ve spared his indignation though, since his “Gangsta’s Paradise” was a riff on Stevie Wonder’s “Paradise”. Chill, Coolio).
    Michael Critchton, another writer who’s material will be familiar to people who have never read his books (I have never read his books other than a litle of “The Terminal Man”, but I’ve come to appreciate the 1981 film “Looker”).
    Hey, Doug Flutie is alright; back in 1998 in the Western New York area, Flutie Flakes cereal sold like crazy off store shelves. Since that time I call the man himself Flutie Flakes.


  4. Just a year ago, Ryan Reynolds was a punchline. He came so close to being an A-list movie star. It seemed like a given that he would eventually be one. And then everything he touched started flopping. But I think you have to give him credit for realizing that Deadpool was the role he was born to play. He pretty much willed that movie into existence.

    Emilia Clarke is great on Game of Thrones. Not sure how much heavy lifting the wig is doing though. She was not so great in Terminator: Genisys, but I’m not sure anyone could have done any better. The movie was poorly written and her character was one of the weaker elements.

    There’s a lot of love around here for Philip Kaufman’s Body Snatchers. I recently rewatched it and it’s still terrific. I will throw out some love for The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Henry & June as well.

    I’m a Sam Raimi. He’s not to everyone’s tastes. I discovered Evil Dead 2 at the right time to be completely won over. I think I’m one of the few people who saw and enjoyed Army of Darkness in theaters and I’m currently watching the fun show, Ash Vs Evil Dead, on TV. Raimi’s first two Spider-man movies were solid and some of the better superhero movies at the time. And A Simple Plan and Drag Me to Hell are underrated.

    My oldest loves “Weird Al” Yankovic. When we were listening to Eat It in the 80’s, I would never have guessed that Yankovic would have stayed relevant longer than the artists he was parodying.

    One of my younger brothers played soccer. Pelé was an idol of his as was Sylvester Stallone. So naturally, we had to track down a copy of Victory, the movie they appeared in together. That had to be a let down for him. He was expecting the Rocky of soccer. Kind of like what Over the Top did for arm-wrestling. Instead, he got a Michael Caine movie.


  5. I didn’t really get into soccer until the 1980s, so while I was aware of Pelé while I was growing up, I didn’t really get an appreciation of his talents until he had become more of a “historical” figure.

    Doug Flutie, on the other hand, I was definitely aware of at the time—I can remember that famous “Hail Mary” pass he threw against Miami almost like it was yesterday.

    Ryan Reynolds isn’t my favorite leading man, but he was terrific in Deadpool. I also liked him in Definitely, Maybe, although it’s really Isla Fisher who steals that movie (hence my choice of clip 🙂 ).

    I have to admit that I had never heard of Ellie Greenwich until I was preparing this article. She and Jeff Barry sure did have a knack for writing catchy pop tunes, didn’t they? There’s also some recent birthday article tie-ins in that song list I included. Elisabeth Shue danced to “Then He Kissed Me” in Adventures in Babysitting, “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” was a hit for Manfred Mann, and Olivia Newton-John had a hit with “I Honestly Love You.”


    • My first exposure to Ryan Reynolds was on the TV show, Two Guys and a Girl. I didn’t watch the show with any regularity, but I must have caught episodes here and there. He’s a handsome, charismatic actor. Careers have been built on less. Definitely, Maybe shows what his filmography might have looked like if he had been better at selecting material.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: