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October 29: Happy Birthday Richard Dreyfuss and Winona Ryder

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Richard Dreyfuss celebrates his 69th birthday today.  He began acting in his late teens and his first major roles were in 1973, as Baby Face Nelson in Dillinger and Curt Henderson in American Graffiti, a role that brought him a Golden Globe nomination.  He then worked on two films with Steven Spielberg, as a shark expert in Jaws and an ordinary guy who experienced Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  The same year as Close Encounters, he also starred in a romance written by Neil Simon:

Dreyfuss won the Oscar for Best Actor and several other top acting awards for The Goodbye Girl.  A few highlights of his subsequent career include starring in Nuts opposite Barbra Streisand and receiving a Golden Globe nomination, playing the Lead Player in an adaptation of Tom Stoppard’s Rosenkrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, and receiving Oscar and Golden Globe nominations as the title character in Mr. Holland’s Opus.  He recently played crooked financier Bernie Madoff on ABC’s miniseries Madoff.

Winona Ryder turns 45 today.  It’s been about 20 years since this was the case, but there was a time when she seemed on top of the movie world.  From an impressive debut in Lucas, to starring in a cult classic teen movie, to Oscar nominations for The Age of Innocence and Little Women, and a Golden Globe for the former film, she was hitting all the marks to be one of the top actresses of her generation, if not the top actress.  If you don’t know what (the hell) happened, we have a handy article to give you all the details.

Most of us who were around for her salad days have, I’m sure, at least one film they will always remember her for.  In my case, that aforementioned cult classic:

Ben Foster turns 36 today.  He made his debut starring opposite Jewel Staite (of Firefly) in a Disney teen show called Flash Forward; he was also on two seasons of Six Feet Under.  His film career has included teenage rom-com (Get Over It), superhero action (X-Men 3), and Westerns (3:10 to Yuma).  This year he has been in The Finest Hours and Hell or High Water.

Kate Jackson, who is 68 today, starred on television’s Charlie’s Angels (receiving two Emmy and three Golden Globe nominations) and Scarecrow and Mrs. KingRalph Bakshi, who turns 78, is known best for his animated features such as Fritz the Cat, Wizards and The Lord of the Rings (actually covering the first half or so of the trilogy).  Dan Castellaneta, who is 59 today, is a voice actor known as the voice of Homer Simpson as well as Grampa Simpson, Krusty the Clown and many other Simpsons characters.  Melba Moore, who turns 71, won a Tony for her part in the musical Purlie and has combined her stage career with one as an R&B singer with multiple Grammy nominations.  Diana Serra Cary, who is 98 today, worked in silent films in the early 1920s, billed as “Baby Peggy.”  Her parents squandered all her earnings, and her case, along with Jackie Coogan’s, led to legislation to protect the earnings of child performers.  Cary went on to become an author, writing a number of books about the early film industry.

Lee Child (given name Jim Grant) turns 62 today.  After nearly 20 years in television production, he turned to writing, and has written 20 novels (with a 21st coming out next month) about a nomadic former US Army MP named Jack Reacher.  Ironically, this creator of a quintessentially American protagonist is English.  The Reacher novel One Shot was adapted into the film Jack Reacher, starring Tom Cruise; the sequel, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, is now in theaters.

Aksel Hennie, who turns 41, is one of Norway’s most distinguished actors, known for films like Max Manus and Headhunters.  US audiences may know him as Tydeus in 2014’s Hercules or as navigator Vogel in The MartianBrendan Fehr, who is 39 today, played Michael Guerin on Roswell and currently stars on NBC’s The Night ShiftGabrielle Union, who turns 43 or 44 depending on which source you believe about her year of birth, stars on BET’s Being Mary Jane and is known for films like Deliver Us from Eva and Breakin’ All the RulesTracee Ellis Ross, who turns 44, starred on Girlfriends for eight seasons and now stars on Black-ish, for which she was Emmy-nominated this year.  Joely Fisher, who is 49 today, was a Golden Globe nominee as Paige Clark on Ellen and later starred on Fox’s ‘Til Death; she is Carrie Fisher’s half-sister.

India Eisley, who is 23 today, played younger sister Ashley on The Secret Life of the American Teenager and was Eve in Underworld: AwakeningJanet Montgomery, the star of WGN America’s Salem, turns 31.  Carlson Young celebrates her 26th; she plays Brooke Maddox on MTV’s Scream.

The opera world remembers Jon Vickers (1926-2015) as one of the finest tenors of the 20th Century.  He was noted for his heroic voice which let him play some of the most demanding of all tenor roles, such as Verdi’s Otello, Britten’s Peter Grimes, and Tristan in Wagner’s Tristan und IsoldeBill Mauldin (1921-2003) was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner as an editorial cartoonist.  He worked as a cartoonist for nearly 50 years but will always be remembered for his World War II cartoons featuring the infantrymen Willie and Joe:

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Fanny Brice (1891-1951), the comedian best known for her radio character Baby Snooks, was portrayed on stage and screen by Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl and Funny Lady.  Armenian-born actor Akim Tamiroff (1899-1972) had a long career as a character actor, and was nominated for an Oscar twice.  Eddie Constantine (1917-1993) was American-born but spent his career working in Europe, most notably playing secret agent Lemmy Caution in several French films.  Writer and producer Don Simpson (1943-1996) was Jerry Bruckheimer’s partner in producing films like Beverly Hills Cop, Top Gun and The Rock.

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.

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Posted on October 29, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I didn’t know Richard Dreyfuss & Winona Ryder shared a birthday. Then again, for a long time I didn’t know Winona Ryder’s real name was Winona Horowitz. Anyway, I’d vouch for both without worrying about losing a finger over it. I like Dreyfuss best in 1987’s “Tin Man” (an honorable mention to his narration in “Stand By Me”; I LOVE narration!) and Ryder in “Heathers” (with “Beetlejuice right there). She was in “Lucas”? I remember Corey Haim, Kerri Green, and a winning Charlie Sheen, but not Winona Ryder.
    More “Charlie’s Angels” birthdays I see, with Kate Jackson after Jaclyn Smith. I thought her Sabrina character was a great leader.
    Don Simpson: I heard he lived life on a highway to the danger zone for real. Well, sometimes full speed is the only way to go.

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  2. I am wondering if dreyfuss drug problem is reason his career never took off to greater lengths

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  3. Jaws is one of my favorite movies of all times and Dreyfuss is great in it. I can’t think of a time when Dreyfuss has ever been bad even though he’s been in some pretty lousy movies. I am obviously fond of Winona Ryder. Heathers is another favorite. I have been actively avoiding spoilers, but I hear she is in Stranger Things. Hopefully that will lead to some more high profile work for her.

    Ben Foster, I know primarily from X-Men which is probably among his least interesting work. We were just talking about Charlie’s Angels the other day and I believe someone named Kate Jackson their favorite. I have watched very few of Ralph Bakshi’s movies, but I am familiar with his style. I suffered through Cool World which was apparently ruined in large part by star Kim Basinger.

    I recently went through my whole history as a Simpsons fan. I won’t repeat that for Dan Castellaneta’s birthday. Happy birthday, Homer.

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