November 4: Happy Birthday Matthew McConaughey and Kathy Griffin


Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey celebrates his 47th today.  He began acting in commercials while attending the University of Texas, and shortly after graduating he appeared in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused.  Then, at a time when adaptations of John Grisham were a minor industry in themselves, he starred in the film version of A Time to Kill.  He then appeared in a variety of late 1990s films, including John Sayles’ Lone Star, in Contact opposite Jodie Foster, Spielberg’s Amistad, EDtv, and others.

During the 2000s, McConaughey seemed to be relegated to romantic comedies.  It wasn’t so much that he did only rom-coms, as that several of them, like The Wedding Planner and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, were fairly successful; meanwhile, non rom-coms he starred in, like Sahara or We Are Marshall, were often failures.  In 2011, he decisively broke from any typecasting, in part by returning to his past and playing a pair of lawyers.  He reunited with Richard Linklater to play a prosecutor in Bernie, while in another film that year he played a criminal defense attorney:

Following his portrayal of Mickey Haller in The Lincoln Lawyer, McConaughey went on to play a hit man in Killer Joe, a strip club owner in Magic Mike, and a sleazy stockbroker in The Wolf of Wall Street.  The same year as that last film, he won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a slew of other Best Actor honors for playing AIDS patient Ron Woodruff in Dallas Buyers Club.  Since then, his film work has included Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and this year’s Free State of Jones.  He also received an Emmy nomination for HBO’s True Detective.

Kathy Griffin turns 56 today.  She moved to Los Angeles after graduating from high school to pursue an acting career.  She became a member of the improv and sketch troupe The Groundlings and began to make a name for herself.  She began picking up film and TV roles, including a memorable cameo in Pulp Fiction, and then landed a regular role on NBC’s Suddenly Susan as Vicki Groener.

In the last 15 years Griffin has been a very successful comedian.  She has had a number of stand-up comedy specials, mostly on Bravo.  Her reality series, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, has brought her a pair of Emmy Awards.  Starting in 2008, she was nominated for six straight years for the Grammy for Best Comedy Album, winning in 2013 for the album Calm Down Gurrl:

WTHH subject Ralph Macchio turns 55 today.  The onetime Karate Kid was seen a few years back in the film Hitchcock and more recently appeared Off-Broadway in A Room of My Own.  Also turning 55 is Jeff Probst, the Emmy-winning longtime host of Survivor, who has been delivering the dreaded words “the tribe has spoken” for over 15 years now.  Heather Tom, who celebrates her 41st, is a veteran soap opera actress and a five-time Daytime Emmy winner for her work on The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the BeautifulMarkie Post, who turns 66, was a prime-time regular for over a decade; she had regular roles on The Fall Guy, Night Court and Hearts Afire.  Rapper and record producer Sean Combs, known at different times by several stage names, turns 47.  He is a three-time Grammy winner.  Bollywood actress Tabu (given name Tabassum Hashmi), who turns 45, is a six-time Filmfare Award winner in Hindi cinema who has also appeared in international films like Mira Nair’s Namesake and Ang Lee’s Life of Pi.

Olivia Taylor-Dudley, who stars on Syfy’s Magicians and appeared in the last Paranormal Activity film, turns 31 today.  Jean-Luc Bilodeau, who is 26 today, plays the lead role of Ben Wheeler on Freeform’s Baby DaddyTravis Van Winkle, who celebrates his 34th, is one of the stars of TNT’s action-drama The Last Ship.

Loretta Swit, who celebrates her 79th today, was a two-time Emmy winner for playing Major Margaret Houlihan on MASH.  She and Alan Alda were the only members of the show’s cast to appear in both the premiere and the finale.  She played Chris Cagney in the pilot for Cagney & Lacey, but was unable to commit to the show due to her contractual obligations for MASHDoris Roberts (1925-2016), who passed earlier this year, had a long screen and stage career highlighted by five Emmys.  Her first came for a guest appearance on St. Elsewhere, the other four for playing Marie Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond.

Gig Young (1913-1978) was a longtime second lead and supporting player, and a three-time Oscar nominee for Best Supporting Actor.  He won in 1969 for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?  Cameron Mitchell (1918-1994) was another durable film veteran who never quite became a big star.  He played Happy Loman in both the original Broadway cast and film adaptation of Death of a Salesman, romanced Lauren Bacall in How to Marry a Millionaire, and was mob boss Karl Rojeck in My Favorite Year.  Another hard-working supporting player was Martin Balsam (1919-1996).  He won Best Supporting Actor in 1966 for A Thousand Clowns, and won a Tony for the play You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s RunningArt Carney (1918-2003) won the Oscar for Best Actor for Harry and Tonto, but will likely be most remembered for playing sewer worker Ed Norton on The Honeymooners in the 1950s; he also appeared as guest villain The Archer on Batman in the 1960s.

Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989), one of the most talented and controversial figures in modern art, was best-known for his provocative black-and-white photography.  While Mapplethorpe was controversial, Will Rogers (1879-1935) was beloved.  A man of many talents, Rogers was successful as a journalist, both in print and the then-new medium of radio, and as an actor and humorist both on stage and screen; his death in a 1935 plane crash was considered a tragedy.  Meanwhile, Walter Cronkite (1916-2009) was trusted.  Polls repeatedly named the longtime CBS Evening News anchor “the most trusted man in America” in the 1960s and ’70s; for almost twenty years he would sign off with the words “and that’s the way it is.”

Irish folksinger and songwriter Tommy Makem (1932-2007) was a real-life “Bard of Armagh” who introduced several generations of Americans to traditional Irish music through his banjo-playing and magical baritone voice.  His recording and touring career—working with the Clancy Brothers, with Liam Clancy as a duo, as a solo performer, and in later years with his sons—lasted over forty years.

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 4, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I think Griffin is best noted for her heckler heckling: “I don’t go to your job and knock the dicks out of your mouth!”


  2. I was introduced to Matthew McConaughey through the segment of killer Edward Harold Bell. He was considered just a beefcake for a while there, but his career really ascending. It’s all about choices and opportunity.
    Yeah, Kathy Griffin probably isn’t for everybody (I’m split in the middle), but she has carved out a respectable comedic career for herself; she plays the media like a fiddle,
    Markie Post was another 1980’s babe. I mean, “The Fall Guy” and”Night Court”? Yeah. I like when she wore the feathered mullet too; I thought she really worked it. And Markie? What a cool name (but not on a Wahlberg).
    Remember when Sean Combs dabbling in acting (2001’s “Made” and “Monster’s Ball”)? Seems like a heck of a businessman.
    Art Carney’s a true classic; beyond his Ed Norton character, I enjoyed him in the TV miniseries “Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story” and 1974’s “Harry and Tonto”.


  3. As a fan of Michael Connelly’s novels, I thought Matthew McConaughey was a very good Mickey Haller—he got just about everything right except for his apparent inability to shed his Texas accent.

    There was a time when I caught MASH reruns almost every night; Loretta Swit as Hot Lips was always a treat to watch, especially with how her character developed over the course of the series.

    Tommy Makem, with that wonderful voice of his, was one of the people who got me hooked on Celtic music back when I was in grad school.


  4. I came very close to writing WTHH to Matthew McConaughey a few years back. Glad I didn’t. Who saw the McConaissance coming? I know I didn’t.

    Hey, Ralph Macchio! My youngest loves the new Karate Kid with Will Smith’s kid. I can’t get her interested in the classic. True story, I have never missed an episode of Survivor. Don’t judge! I can feel you judging. Jeff Probst is the best of the TV reality hosts for whatever that is worth.

    Lots of really good actors who are no longer with us. I know Daffy is a Martin Balsam fan.

    I was a senior in high school when Robert Mapplethorpe was the subject of an obscenity trial for an exhibit at Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center. We’ve come a long way since that embarrassment. As a former movie theater manager, I still cringe when I hear Will Rogers’ name. He was most closely associated with me having to ask patrons to donate money after they had already unloaded their wallets at the ticket booth and concession stand.


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