November 3: Happy Birthday Roseanne Barr and Charles Bronson
Roseanne Barr celebrates her 64th today. After growing up in Utah, she began working in stand-up comedy in Denver in the early 1980s. She made appearances on The Tonight Show and Late Night with David Letterman and then had her own comedy special on HBO. She then became nationally famous as the star of an ABC comedy about a working class Illinois family:
Roseanne was a big hit, and Barr won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe during the show’s run. She has done occasional film work, such as the black comedy She-Devil, and after Roseanne’s run ended hosted her own talk show. More recently she has been putting substantial time into her political activism, running for President on the Peace & Freedom Party ticket in 2012.
Charles Bronson (1921-2003) began acting in the early 1950s, but didn’t become well known until director John Sturges cast him in two early 1960s films, as Bernardo O’Reilly in The Magnificent Seven and as “Tunnel King” Danny Velinski in The Great Escape. He had another major role in an ensemble cast in The Dirty Dozen, and then got a true lead role in what is probably Sergio Leone’s best film:
Following his role as Harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the West, Bronson worked hard for the next 15 years or so. He made several films with director Michael Winner, including The Mechanic and the Death Wish films. He also starred in several films with actress Jill Ireland, his second wife, including Breakheart Pass and From Noon Till Three.
Italian actress Monica Vitti, who is 85 today, is a five-time Donatello Award winner who is best known for her films with director Michelangelo Antonioni. Swedish actor Dolph Lundgren, who turns 59, played Ivan Drago in Rocky IV and later worked with Sylvester Stallone again as Gunnar Jensen in the Expendables films. Kate Capshaw, who turns 63 today, played Willie Scott in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and went on to marry the film’s director. Lois Smith, who celebrates her 86th, is a two-time Tony nominee for her stage work who has had a long career as a supporting player in film and television. Dennis Miller, who is 63 today, is one of the most prominent stand-up comedians of our time, a Saturday Night Live veteran who has branched out into political and sports commentary and has hosted several cable and syndicated talk shows.
Davis Guggenheim, who turns 53, is best known as a documentarian, having produced and directed the Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth as well as several other prominent documentaries. He and Elisabeth Shue have been married for over 20 years. Born the same day as Guggenheim, Brian Henson is the chairman of The Jim Henson Company; he directed The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island. Independent filmmaker Hal Hartley turns 57. Some of his notable films have included Trust, Amateur and the two-film sequence Henry Fool and Fay Grim. Writer and director Gary Ross, who is 60 today, is a three-time Oscar nominee as a writer, for Big, Dave and Seabiscuit; he directed the latter film as well as Pleasantville and this year’s Free State of Jones. Tom Savini, who is 70 today, is best known for his work as a makeup and special effects artist, particularly in horror films—he has worked with horror directors like George Romero, Tobe Hooper and Dario Argento. He has also acted, particularly in several of Robert Rodriguez’s films.
In music, film composer John Barry (1933-2011) composed the scores for 11 James Bond films. He won the Oscar for Best Original Score four times, for Born Free, The Lion in Winter, Out of Africa and Dances With Wolves, and also won Best Original Song for the title song for Born Free. A few of his other scores included Zulu, Walkabout, The Deep, Body Heat, Peggy Sue Got Married, and Enigma.
Other music birthdays include the Scottish singer Lulu, who is 68, and who sang the title song for The Man With the Golden Gun (composed by John Barry). Adam Ant (born Stuart Goddard), who celebrates his 62nd birthday, was the lead singer of the post-punk group Adam and the Ants before embarking on a solo career. Bert Jansch (1943-2011) was a Scottish folksinger who was a founding member of the folk-rock/folk-jazz band Pentangle.
Photographer Walker Evans (1903-1975) was famous for the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, published in 1941 (with text by James Agee), which documented the desperate conditions faced by American sharecroppers during the 1930s. Andre Malraux (1901-1976) was a French novelist and art theorist most known for his novel Man’s Fate. Journalist James “Scotty” Reston (1909-1995) reported and commented on national and world affairs for over 50 years, mostly for The New York Times, and won two Pulitzer Prizes. Joe Queenan, who turns 66 today, is known to readers of this blog for his Movieline articles, several of which are part of our ongoing series. Novelist Martin Cruz Smith, who is 74 today, became well-known for his novel Gorky Park, about Russian policeman Arkady Renko, who has featured in seven subsequent novels by Smith. Anna Wintour, who turns 67, has been editor of Vogue since 1988 and is often believed to be the inspiration for the character Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada.
There are several sports birthdays today. Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Feller (1918-2010) made his big league debut at only 17 years of age, before he had graduated from high school. “Rapid Robert,” so nicknamed because of his blazing fastball, starred for the Cleveland Indians from 1936-41, served in the Navy for four years during the war, and returned to the Indians in late 1945 to pick up where he left off. He helped the Indians win a World Series victory in 1948.
Other sports birthdays include Phil Simms, the longtime New York Giants quarterback and MVP of Super Bowl XXI, who turns 62. Bronko Nagurski (1908-1990) was a star in the early years of the NFL who also had success as a professional wrestler. Karch Kiraly, who turns 56, won three Olympic gold medals in volleyball, indoors in 1984 and 1988 and on the beach in 1996. Boxer Larry Holmes, the world heavyweight champion for one federation or another from 1978-1985, turns 67 today. Evgeni Plushenko, who celebrates his 34th, is a four-time Olympic medalist in men’s figure skating. Gerd Muller turns 71 today. “Der Bomber” scored 10 goals for West Germany at the 1970 World Cup finals and 4 more in 1974, setting a record that stood until Brazil’s Ronaldo broke it in 2006.
Fittingly, Aneta Corsaut (1933-1995) and Ken Berry, who is 83 today, were born on the same day. Corsaut played Andy Taylor’s longtime girlfriend Helen Crump on The Andy Griffith Show. On the first episode of the spinoff series, Mayberry RFD, which starred Berry, Andy and Helen were married. Berry was also known for his roles on F Troop and Mama’s Family.
While some may remember Jeremy Brett (1933-1995) as Freddie Eynsford-Hill in the film version of My Fair Lady, for most he is known for his decade-long run as Sherlock Holmes in the series of Granada Television adaptations of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories and novels about the famous fictional detective.
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 November 3, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Bob Feller, Charles Bronson, Jeremy Brett, Joe Queenan, John Barry, Monica Vitti, Roseanne Barr, Walker Evans. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.