Four-time Grammy winner Lyle Lovett turns 59 today. Though he’s usually classified as a country artist, Lovett is also often compared with more eclectic songwriters such as Randy Newman or Townes van Zandt. He began recording in the mid-1980s and has released several successful albums and singles in a career of some three decades.
In addition to his musical career (and a short-lived marriage to Julia Roberts), Lovett has done a fair amount of film and television acting. He appeared in several of Robert Altman’s films of the 1990s, including The Player and Short Cuts, and also other films like The New Guy and The Open Road, and a number of guest appearances on television.
Emmy and Golden Globe winner Toni Collette turns 44 today. She began working in Australian films such as Spotswood and Muriel’s Wedding (for which she was a Golden Globe nominee). Her first major Hollywood role came in the 1996 film The Pallbearer; a few years after that she was nominated for an Oscar for her role in The Sixth Sense:
Although Collette has never become a top-rank star she has continued to work steadily and earn positive reviews. Some of her notable films have included About a Boy, The Hours, Little Miss Sunshine and The Way, Way Back. She won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for playing the title character in United States of Tara; her stage career has included a Tony nomination for the musical The Wild Party.
Nine-time Oscar winner Dennis Muren turns 70 today. He has worked for some 40 years at Industrial Light & Magic, where he is Creative Director and Visual Effects Supervisor. His Oscars in the area of visual effects include The Empire Strikes Back, E.T., Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Terminator 2, and Jurassic Park.
Penn Badgley, who played Dan Humphrey on Gossip Girl, turns 30 today. Stage actor Anthony Ramos, known for his work in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musicals (In the Heights, Hamilton), turns 25. Logan Marshall-Green turns 40 today; he played Charlie Holloway in Prometheus and stars on Cinemax’s Quarry. Natalia Tena is 32 today. She played Nymphadora Tonks (“it’s Tonks”) in four Harry Potter films, and the wildling Osha in Game of Thrones; in her film debut she appeared with Toni Collette in About a Boy. Jenny McCarthy, former Playmate of the Month turned TV host and actress (and Razzie winner) turns 44.
Barbara Bosson, who turns 70, was a two-time Emmy nominee, for her roles on Hill Street Blues and Murder One; her film roles included Alex Rogan’s mother in The Last Starfighter. Anthony Kiedis, the longtime lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, turns 54 today. Actress Rachel Ticotin is 58 today. She is known for roles in films such as Total Recall (1990 version) and Con Air. Animator and writer Brenda Chapman celebrates her 54th; she was the co-writer and co-director of Best Animated Feature winner Brave. Jeannie Berlin was an Oscar and Golden Globe nominee in 1972’s The Heartbreak Kid (directed by her mother, Elaine May), and recently returned to the screen in films like Inherent Vice and Cafe Society.
Singer-songwriter and record producer Jim Steinman turns 69. His songwriting credits include Bonnie Tyler’s hits “Holding Out for a Hero” and “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” the songs “Nowhere Fast” and “Tonight Is What It Means to be Young” from the movie Streets of Fire, Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” and many more.
Model and Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai turns 43. She is a ten-time Filmfare award nominee with two wins and has appeared in a few Western films like The Last Legion and The Pink Panther 2. A rising Bollywood star, Ileana D’Cruz, turns 29 today; she won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut in 2013.
Baseball fans who are of my generation can remember “Fernandomania,” the awe-inspiring debut of Fernando Valenzuela in the spring and summer of 1981, when the rookie pitcher won his first eight starts, five of them by throwing shutouts, for the Los Angeles Dodgers, en route to a Cy Young Award and a World Series victory. Valenzuela turns 56 today. Another sports birthday is golf great Gary Player, who turns 81. Player is one of only five golfers to win the Career Grand Slam—winning at least once at the US Open, British Open, the Masters and the PGA—and the only non-American among the five.
Laura La Plante (1904-1996) was a major silent film star, said to be Universal’s biggest star in the 1920s. She did everything from Westerns with Tom Mix and Hoot Gibson, to the silent horror classic The Cat and the Canary, to the part-talkie 1929 version of Show Boat. Marcia Wallace (1942-2013) was known for two great comic roles, as receptionist Carol Kester on The Bob Newhart Show, and as the voice of Edna Krabappel on The Simpsons, for which she won an Emmy. Spanish soprano Victoria de los Ángeles (1923-2005) was a favorite in opera houses around the world in the 1940s and ’50s, known for roles like Bizet’s Carmen, Rosina in Rossini’s Barber of Seville, and Puccini heroines like Mimi in La Boheme and the title character in Madama Butterfly. Stephen Crane (1871-1900) was a poet and novelist best remembered for his Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage.
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.