October 26: Happy Birthday Seth MacFarlane and Keith Urban


Seth MacFarlane turns 43 today.  While a senior at the Rhode Island School of Design, he created an animated short film called The Life of Larry, which led to his being hired by Hanna-Barbera after his graduation. At Hanna-Barbera he worked on several series, including Johnny Bravo and Dexter’s Laboratory.  He also began developing an idea for an animated sitcom, which he was eventually able to sell to Fox.  Its name—Family Guy:

Family Guy is now in its 15th season; it has won six Primetime Emmy awards and three Annie awards.  MacFarlane has gone on to create another animated sitcom, American Dad!, now in its 13th season, and feature films like the enormously successful Ted, the not as successful Ted 2, and the not very successful A Million Ways to Die in the West.

Keith Urban is 49 today.  Following in the tradition of other Australian singers who have been successful in the US, he has been a successful country artist since the late 1990s.  His last 7 albums have all reached #1 or 2 on the US Country chart, with two of them hitting #1 on the Billboard 200.  He has had a long list of Top Ten country singles, and has won the Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance four times, one of them for this:

Jaclyn Smith celebrates her 71st today.  She played Kelly Garrett on Charlie’s Angels for five seasons, the only Angel to stay with the Townsend Agency for the series’ entire run, and then became a successful businesswoman, developing her own lines of clothing, perfumes and more.  Rita Wilson turns 60 today; she had supporting roles in some significant 1990s films like Sleepless in Seattle and Runaway Bride, was the producer of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and is one of several people in today’s article to have a famous spouse.

Dylan McDermott, who turns 55, was a Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee for The Practice, and recently starred on CBS’s Stalker for its single season.  Julian Schnabel, who is 65 today, directed The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (starring Mathieu Amalric) and is also a well-known painter.  Shelley Morrison, who celebrates her 80th, was known to 1960s audiences as Sister Sixto on The Flying Nun, and to more recent viewers as Rosa Salazar on Will & GracePat Sajak, who turns 70, is known as the longtime host of Wheel of Fortune—the daytime version from 1981-89 and the syndicated evening version since 1983.  Cary Elwes, who is 54 today, seemed like a possible star after playing Westley in The Princess Bride; it was not to be, although he did go on to play a Robin Hood who, unlike some, could speak with an English accent.  Tom Cavanagh, who turns 53 today, currently plays Dr. Harrison Wells on The Flash, and starred as Ed Stevens on NBC’s Ed.

Jon Heder, who celebrates his 39th, played the title character in Napoleon Dynamite and currently does a lot of voice acting.  Florence Kasumba, who turns 40, played Ayo in Captain America: Civil War and will reprise the role in Black Panther; she is also slated to be in the cast of Wonder WomanRosemarie DeWitt, who celebrates her 45th, played Charmaine Crane on United States of Tara and the title role in the critically acclaimed Rachel Getting MarriedKelly Rowan, who played Kirsten Cohen on The O. C. and more recently a dual role on Perception, turns 51.

Anthony Rapp, who turns 45, is well-known on Broadway.  He originated the role of Mark Cohen in Rent, played Charlie Brown in the 1999 revival of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and played Lucas in the recent musical If/Then; some might also remember him as next-door neighbor Darryl from Adventures in BabysittingRoger Allam, who is 53 today, is a London stage/musical theater veteran who has won multiple Olivier Awards.  He played Javert in the original London cast of Les Misérables, while his Shakespeare roles have included Brutus in Julius Caesar, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, and Macbeth.  He is also part of the enormous cast of Game of Thrones as Illyrio Mopatis.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton turns 69 today.  The former Senator and Secretary of State leads in most polls as of this writing.  Which means we can perhaps look forward to future Amy Poehler impersonations of her.

Director Don Siegel (1912-1991) began his career with two Oscar-winning shorts, Star in the Night and Hitler Lives, in 1945.  Highlights of his long career directing features include the original version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, several of Clint Eastwood’s films including Dirty Harry and Escape from Alcatraz, and John Wayne’s final film, The ShootistBob Hoskins (1942-2014) made his name in English films like The Long Good Friday and Mona Lisa, winning a Golden Globe and receiving an Oscar nomination for the latter, before going on to star in Who Framed Roger Rabbit as Eddie Valiant.  The short-lived Ted Demme (1963-2002) was known for directing feature films like Beautiful Girls and Blow, and for his documentary about 1970s cinema, A Decade under the Influence, released after his death.  Jackie Coogan (1914-1984) was a child star in silent films, notably Chaplin’s The Kid, and many years later played Uncle Fester on The Addams FamilyMargaret Wycherly (1881-1956) played memorable screen mothers to characters played by Gary Cooper (Mother York in Sergeant York, for which she won an Oscar nomination) and James Cagney (Ma Jarrett in White Heat).  Fred Graham (1908-1979) was a stuntman for several decades, including working regularly as John Wayne’s double for a period of nearly 20 years; he also, like most stunt performers, picked up lots of minor acting parts.

Classical music fans will recognize the name of Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757), who has the distinction of being the third greatest composer born in the year 1685—which isn’t bad when y0u consider that #1 is J. S. Bach and #2 is G. F. Handel.  Giuditta Pasta (1797-1865) was one of the greatest singers of the 19th century, known for roles like the title character in Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma, one of the most challenging soprano roles ever written.

Mahalia Jackson (1911-1972) is often considered the greatest gospel singer ever.  Aside from her musical accomplishments, which were considerable and included four Grammys, she was known for her strong commitment to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s.  Rumors about a biopic about her have been floating around for some time but I couldn’t find any definitive information.


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 26, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. In the right mood (or maybe the wrong one), I occasionally enjoy The Family Guy. But overall, I am not a fan of Seth MacFarlane. Not being a country music fan, I know of Keith Urban through his marriage to Nicole Kidman.

    Raise your hand if Jaclyn Smith was your favorite Angel.

    Rita Wilson was born to play the supportive best friend in romantic comedies. I used to confuse Dylan McDermott with Dermot Mulroney. Pat Sajak has entertained a lot of senior citizens for a lot of years. The “possible future WTHH article” of the day is Cary Elwes.

    With as many superhero shows as the CW has and as big as the casts for these shows are, it’s not surprising we seem to have a CW superhero birthday every day. Tom Cavanagh has a weird role on The Flash where his character is not consistently the same person. It would take too long to explain, you have to watch the show.

    Huh. We have a little something about Jon Heder coming up.

    Kate McKinnon is doing a great job portraying the likely next president on SNL. I assume that however the election goes, Alec Baldwin will be making appearances as Trump for the foreseeable future. Just maybe not every week.


    • Having grown up in the Los Angeles area, I can remember Pat Sajak when he was a weatherman on, I think, the NBC affiliate down there.

      I am something of a country fan—a fan of some kinds of country, at any rate—but I also know Keith Urban for his marriage.

      My favorite Angel was actually Cheryl Ladd. I always like the heroines who have some moxie, and Kris, after all, was the Angel who once wrestled an alligator (in the episode with a young Jamie Lee Curtis as guest star, no less).

      And yes, we are getting some kind of superhero link, if not more than one, almost every day. And if there by chance is a day without one, it will probably be the birthday of someone who is in the cast of Game of Thrones. 🙂


  2. I used to view “Family Guy” a lot more in its early years and up to about 2008, but now I only catch it occasionally. I’ve always seen it as a ramped up “The Simpsons”. I think “Family Guy” has its place, but some of the other Seth MacFarlane projects haven’t really left a mark for me except for “Ted” and “American Dad!”.
    I don’t listen to much country music and only watched “American Idol” for one segment when he was on the panel (for that Jena Irene song “We Are One”), so I too mostly only know about him through his marriage to Nicole Kidman, and those infomercials about learning guitar.
    Of course everybody know Pat Sajak from “Wheel of Fortune”, but I also remember that clip of him as a newscaster from “Airplane II: The Sequel”.
    I just replayed the rest of season one of “Dinner for Five” and in one of the last episodes Denis Leary talked about the passing of Ted Demme and the documentary he was working on at time of death, which was “A decade Under the Influence”. Most of the projects I viewed of his, like “The Ref”, “Beautiful Girls”, & “Blow” I liked.
    Yeah, I think “The Long Good Friday” was an excellent film starred in (I think that was the era of Helen Mirren in her prime too), and he ended up playing quite a few heavies in his career. For the longest time though, I didn’t know he was British (introduced to him through “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”).
    My favorite Angel? Kate Jackson’s Sabrina, because she was the leader. Jacyln Smith’s Kelly Garrett had that great hair flip during the opening credits though.
    Jon Heder was big for a short time there, but at least he still gets work.
    I guess most people know Cary Elwes from either “The Princess Bride” or “Saw”, or both. Yeah, so do I.
    I liked that series “Stalker”, with Dylan McDermott & Maggie Q. I thought it had something, but it didn’t last.
    I know Hillary Clinton from politics, but I don’t remember her in anything else though.


    • HRC bakes some mean cookies. I think the show she has been starring in with that guy from The Apprentice has been running on a bit too long. Hopefully they wrap it up in the next couple of weeks.


      • Amen to that (Jerry Springer vs. Jenny Jones? No thanks!). I wouldn’t mind some of those cookies though, especially if they’re soft and chewy.


    • Yeah, “Family Guy”: recently, my mom (who is the greatness) had to be hospitalized, so to kill time I watched her cable TV. Wow, I caught that episode of “Family Guy” which explained how Joe & Bonnie met, played by Toto’s “Africa”. This whole year, so far, I bless the rains down in Africa (my mother is doing okay. Not 100%, but okay).


  3. Why Hollywood Won’t Cast Rita Wilson Anymore

    Back in the ’90s, Rita Wilson was known for her supporting roles in comedies as much as she was known for being the wife of Tom Hanks. But these days, she’s taken an even bigger supporting role in Hollywood. What’s she been up to in recent years, and more importantly, why don’t we see or hear from her? Let’s find out.


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