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October 30: Happy Birthday Henry Winkler and Kevin Pollak

1030winklerpollak

Aayyyy!, the Fonz is 71 today—or at least Henry Winkler is.  After graduating from college, Winkler worked for several years doing commercials.  He was cast in the 1974 film The Lords of Flatbush alongside another then-unknown, Sylvester Stallone, and at about the same time was cast in a supporting part in a TV series set in Milwaukee in the 1950s:

Winkler won two Golden Globes and was a three-time Emmy nominee as Arthur Fonzarelli on Happy Days.  During and after his time on the show he did a few movies, but never became a major film star.  His most notable film roles included Chuck Lumley in Night Shift, Principal Himbry in Scream, and Coach Klein in The Waterboy.  More recently he had a regular role on The WB’s Children’s Hospital.

Kevin Pollak turns 59 today.  He has had an extensive career in stand-up comedy, including specials on HBO and Showtime, and since 2009 has hosted a weekly internet chat show called simply Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show.  In film, he has done a number of interesting and significant supporting parts, of which the most memorable is probably Todd Hockney in The Usual Suspects:

Harry Hamlin, who starred on L.A. Law for five seasons and was a three-time Golden Globe nominee, turns 65 today.  Juliet Stevenson, who celebrates her 60th, is a BAFTA Award winner for the film Truly, Madly, Deeply and an Olivier Award winner for starring in Ariel Dorfman’s play Death and the MaidenJessica Hynes, who turns 44, is well-known in British television, especially as the co-creator, writer and star (with Simon Pegg in each case) of the comedy series Spaced (she worked under the name Jessica Stevenson until 2007)  Steve Kazee, who turns 41, is best known for his stage work, where he won a Tony and a Grammy (for the cast album) for the musical Once.

Matthew Morrison, who celebrates his 38th, was a Tony nominee for the musical The Light in the Piazza and starred on Glee as Will Schuester.  Janel Parrish, who plays Mona Vanderwaal on Pretty Little Liars, turns 28 today.  Sarah Carter, who is 36 today, starred on the TNT sci-fi series Falling Skies for its five season run.

Grace Slick, who turns 77, was a major figure in 1960s psychedelic rock and had a long tenure with Jefferson Airplane and their successor bands Jefferson Starship and Starship, for whom she was a vocalist and songwriter.  Gavin Rossdale, who turns 51, is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the British alt-rock/grunge band Bush, who had major hit albums in the 1990s with Sixteen Stone and Razorblade SuitcaseVanessa White, a member of the popular British-Irish girl group The Saturdays, turns 27 today.

Talented and controversial Argentine footballer Diego Maradona turns 56 today.  In leading Argentina to the 1986 World Cup he scored goals against England and Belgium that are considered among the most amazing ever—along with another against England, the so-called “Hand of God” goal, which is one of the most amazing cases of cheating in international sports.  Cuban-American gymnast Danell Levya, a three-time Olympic medalist and five-time world championship medalist, turns 25 today.  Another outstanding gymnast is Nastia Liukin, who turns 27.  She won the women’s all-around gold medal at the 2008 Olympics, one of her five medals there to go with nine world championships medals.    Bill Terry (1898-1989), longtime first baseman of the New York Giants, was a Baseball Hall of Famer and the last National League player to bat over .400 for a full season, in 1930.

Today was/is the birthday of some significant French contributors to world film.  Director Louis Malle (1932-1995) made the Oscar-winning documentary Le Monde du silence with Jacques Cousteau as well as two films nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, Lacombe, Lucien and Au revoir les enfants.  He also made a few films in Hollywood such as Atlantic City and My Dinner with AndreClaude Lelouch, who turns 79 today, won two Oscars for Un homme et une femme, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Writing, and has made a number of other well-regarded films during a writing and directing career that is still going.  Clémence Poésy, who celebrates her 34th, began her career in French television, but has done a great deal of English-language film and television.  She has been in notable films such as In Bruges and 127 Hours, but most people probably know her best as Fleur Delacoeur in three of the Harry Potter films (note—October 30 is the most common of several reported birth dates for Poésy).

Ruth Gordon (1896-1985) had a distinguished screenwriting career in partnership with Garson Kanin; the two received three Oscar nominations from 1947-52.  She then resumed her acting career and gave notable performances in films like Rosemary’s Baby (winning an Oscar) and Harold and Maude (receiving a Golden Globe nomination).  Ruth Hussey (1911-2005) is best known for her Oscar-nominated role in The Philadelphia StoryAnna Wing (1914-2013) had a long career in English film and television, including starring during the first seasons of the long-running soap opera EastEndersEd Lauter (1938-2013) was a very hard-working supporting player with over 200 credits to his name.  Star Trek fans may recall William Campbell (1923-2011) for his two Original Series guest star roles, as Trelane in “The Squire of Gothos” and Koloth in “The Trouble with Tribbles.”  Director Michael Winner (1935-2013) was known for several films he made with Charles Bronson, such as The Mechanic and Death Wish.

John Adams (1735-1826) was one of the most important political leaders in the early US and the 2nd President of the US.  He has been portrayed on screen by actors such as William Daniels, Hal Holbrook, Paul Giamatti and Henry Thomas.  Martha Jefferson (1748-1782), the wife of future president Thomas Jefferson, appears as a character in the musical 1776 and has been played on stage by Betty Buckly and on screen by Blythe Danner.  Admiral William Halsey (1882-1959) was one of the leading American naval commanders of World War 2.  He has been played in film by James Cagney, James Whitmore and Robert Mitchum.  Fred W. Friendly (1915-1998) was a longtime radio and TV news producer and the co-creator, along with Edward R. Murrow, of the Emmy-winning news/documentary show See It Now.  In the movie Good Night, and Good Luck, Friendly was played by George Clooney.

Ezra Pound (1885-1972) was one of the most important poets and critics of the 20th Century, most famous for his huge (but never-finished) and enormously complex The Cantos.

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 30, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. I’m a bit surprised that Henry Winkler never won an Emmy during his 11 years on Happy Days. Such an iconic performance as Fonzie, you’d think he would have nabbed at least one of them somewhere down the line.

    I’ve always been a fan of the comedy Night Shift, one of Ron Howard’s first directorial films and Micheal Keaton’s feature film debut. Keaton of course stole the show in his supporting role, but Henry Winkler impressed me with his understated, put-upon performance. Since Night Shift was only a modest success it did not help break him out of his signature role of Fonzie, and after Happy Days ended he mostly was able to get small roles on the back of his Fonzie fame, i.e. Scream and the Waterboy. A shame, because watching Night Shift you can see he’s not a one-trick pony and can do more.

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  2. Winkler never won emmy for the show because happy days was bit like threes company great ratings but critics where not friendly to the show. Bar none the most successful one of the cast is ron howard winning oscar directing several hits. Winkler 2nd while he never really matched the success of happy days he did appear in hits like sandlers film and scream . I think it was catch 22 for winkler no one wanted to see his in anything but fonzie roles but producers also thought he too old for fonzie type roles too

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    • Happy Days became one of the biggest hits on TV by selling its soul

      http://www.avclub.com/article/ihappy-daysi-became-one-of-the-biggest-hits-on-tv–84232

      Garry Marshall faced a dilemma in the second season of Happy Days. The series, which had initially been an attempt to honestly depict a wistful look back at adolescence (Marshall told the Associated Press in 2004 that it was his “artistic period”), had been a minor Nielsen hit in its first season, but it was sinking like a stone, falling out of the Top 30 and toward certain cancellation. He had one last shot at making the series a success, though it would destroy almost everything he’d set out to create. What he came up with was almost terminally dumb, but it made the show one of the biggest hits in television history, one of the ultimate case stories TV fans can point to when it comes to art versus commerce. Marshall and the show’s other producers took a charming little single-camera comedy about the trials of growing up and made it a loud, kid-friendly, multi-camera comedy more about gimmicks than intelligent storytelling or nuanced characters.

      And it worked.

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  3. Harry Hamlin and Ursula Andress presenting Oscars in 1982

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      • Never saw the movie but no surprise there. Have seen interviews where he says he doesn’t regret it (??) and turned down a multi picture contract with WB early in his career b/c it gave him no approval over what films – would probably have become a big movie star. Instead he is only known for TV, marriage to the annoying Lisa Rinna and being the only guy who knocked up Ursula Andress.

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    • “Making films, like making love, is a truly collaborative art.” – Harry Hamlin

      Isn’t that so true, though? Only us truly brilliant love-making artists will recognize the truth in this statement. I expect many thumbs up from this post.

      Raiders of the Lost Ark is my favorite movie of all time, so I get a kick out of seeing this clip of editor Michael Kahn (who has edited every single Spielberg film since 1979’s “1941”) win the Academy Award for Best Film Editing for Raiders. Because damn, Raiders is an extraordinarily well-edited film. If I were someone who hoped to become a professional film editor I would hold Raiders up as a shining example of what a film editor could truly accomplish in terms of pacing.

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  4. In replaying season one of “Dinner for Five” (In mentioning that series in quite a few posts, I’m starting to feel like Jon Favreau mentioning “Swingers” with frequency on the show, though there’s nothing wrong with either), Kevin Pollack did his Christopher Walken impression. The Only thing I think that is better better is Christopher Walken doing a Christopher Walken.
    Grace Slick, she was on Bill Maher’s “Politically Correct” quite a bit; I’ve always found her interesting beyond the music. I guess she doea a lot of paintings now.
    Harry Hamlin, I remember when he was a big 1980’s sex symbol when appearing on “L.A. Law”.
    I remember Ruth Gordon best from “Harold and Maude” and 1985’s “Maxie”, which also starred Glenn Close & Mandy Patinkin. She seemed like she was really filled with life vigor.
    Heck, I’ve seen Ed Lauter in a lot of projects, from an episode of “Miami Vice” to “Death Wish 3” (that was around the time when that series became awful tired).
    Speaking of the Death Wish series, here’s Michael Winner, who, along with J. Lee Thompson, seemed to be a Charles Bronson favorite when it came to directors to work with. I like Winner’s 1977 “The Sentinel” though.

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  5. The Fonz is 71. Way to make a guy feel old! Happy Days was required viewing when I was a kid, but everyone I knew called the show “Fonzie”. That’s how important Winkler’s character was to the success of that show. He’s also responsible for the phrase “jumping the shark” which he parodied on Arrested Development.

    I had seen Kevin Pollak do stand-up prior to The Usual Suspects. Funny guy. Best William Shatner impression ever. He’s made quite a career for himself as a character actor. I used to watch LA Law regularly. Relatively recently, Harry Hamlin showed up on Mad Men. Prior to any of that, I knew him as Perseus from Clash of the Titans.

    Daffy recently did a piece on Grace Slick and what happened to Jefferson Airplane.

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    • “Jumping the shark” has become such a huge part of pop culture over the years that I bet many people today don’t even know where it comes from. Now, at one point in the mid 70’s Happy Days was actually the #1 tv show of the year, but nonetheless it is amazing to think that a single episode of a tv series could result in a pop cultural phrase that everybody and their mother would know of 40 years later. All because they put The Fonz in a life jacket over his leather jacket while jumping over a shark on jet skis.

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  6. Irpncaly people say it jumped the shark at 5th season but here are the ratings after 5th season they where still good. 6 it was ranked 3 7 season 17 8 season 15 9 season 18 10 season 28 11 season 63 as you can see it was still in top after the supposed jump the shark so ratings where still good some people say the show actually jump the shark after ron howard left

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