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November 9: Happy Birthday Ryan Murphy and Hedy Lamarr

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Television writer, producer and director Ryan Murphy turns 51 today.  After working for several years as a journalist, Murphy got his start in television as the co-creator of the quirky teen series Popular, which ultimately failed to live up to its title, being cancelled after only two seasons.  He then created the FX series Nip/Tuck, a medical drama set in a plastic surgery center, which became one of the cable network’s most successful series.

For his third series, Murphy returned to a high school setting, and also drew on his personal experience as a member of the Indiana University show choir, the Singing Hoosiers:

Murphy won the first of his four Emmys for directing the pilot episode of Glee.  His current TV projects include the anthology series American Horror Story and the horror comedy series Scream Queens, both of which he is the co-creator of, along with American Crime Story, for which he is an executive producer.

Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000)—not “Hedley!”—was born in Austria; at 18 she married weapons manufacturer, but soon found the marriage unbearable and fled the country to be able to pursue her acting career.  Louis B. Mayer met her in Paris and persuaded her to come to Hollywood, where her first film was a remake of the French film Pepe le Moko; the American version was called Algiers.

Lamarr was a major star of the 1940s, and one of the decade’s great sex symbols, appearing in films like Boom Town, Ziegfeld Girl, Tortilla Flat and Samson and Delilah.  She was also apparently something of an amateur engineer; with a partner named George Antheil, she developed and patented an early design for a radio-controlled torpedo that could not be defeated by jamming.

Eric Dane, who turns 44, starred on Grey’s Anatomy for several seasons and now stars on TNT’s The Last Ship; he had a cameo in X-Men: The Last Stand as Multiple Man.  Delta Goodrem, who is 32 today, is a major singing star in her home country of Australia, with nine #1 hits.  Canadian actress Gabrielle Miller, who turns 43, was one of the stars of the hit Canadian series Corner Gas, and more recently has been seen on Hallmark’s Good WitchRobert Duncan McNeill, who is 52 today, played Lt. Tom Paris on Star Trek: Voyager, and more recently has gone into television directing and producing; he has worked on several series, most notably ChuckLou Ferrigno, the bodybuilder turned actor who is 65 today, portrayed The Incredible Hulk on CBS’s late-1970s series and has voiced the character in several animated and CGI incarnations since then.  Sandra Denton, better known as Pepa from the female hip-hop trio Salt-n-Pepa, turns 47 today.

For the second time since this series began we have a celebrity couple who share a birthday (although not headliners this time).  Singer Nick Lachey, best known as the lead singer of the boy band 98 Degrees, turns 43 today, while his wife, model Vanessa Minnillo, celebrates her 36th.

Brazilian director and writer Fernando Meirelles, who celebrates his 61st today, was the director of the gritty crime film City of God, one of the most widely acclaimed films of the 21st Century, and also of the well-received John le Carré adaptation The Constant Gardener.  Danish director Bille August, best known for Pelle the Conquerer, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film, turns 68 today.  He is a two-time winner of the Palme d’Or, the highest award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Sports birthdays today include Whitey Herzog, who turns 85.  His success at managing first the Kansas City Royals, and then the St. Louis Cardinals, led to his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Bob Gibson (no relation to the folk singer of the same name), who is 81 today, is another Baseball Hall of Famer who was part of a World Series Winner with the St. Louis Cardinals, in his case as their star pitcher.  Tom Weiskopf, who turns 74, was one of the most successful golfers of the 1970s, winning 16 PGA Tour titles in his career.  Dana Hee, who celebrates her 55th birthday, won the gold medal in lightweight women’s taekwondo at the 1988 Olympics.  She went on to a career as a stuntwoman; at 5-9 with strawberry blonde hair, she made an ideal double for Nicole Kidman in Batman Forever and several other films.  She has also doubled Geena Davis, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Garner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman and several others.

Edna May Oliver (1883-1942) was a character actress on stage and in early film; with her thin, angular face and distinctive voice, she is easily recognizable to anyone who has seen her once.  She played Betsey Trotwood in the 1935 adaptation of David Copperfield, a Best Picture nominee, and was a Best Supporting Actress nominee for Drums Along the MohawkEd Wynn (1886-1966) was a comic actor who was an Oscar nominee for the decidedly non-comedy, The Diary of Anne Frank; more typical of his career was his role as the laughter-loving Uncle Albert in Mary PoppinsMae Marsh (1894-1968) was a famous silent film actress, known for her tragic fate in The Birth of a Nation.  In sound films she was not a big star, but found regular work with John Ford, appearing in at least 8 of his films (including Drums Along the Mohawk).

English director Anthony Asquith (1902-1968) was the son of H. H. Asquith, Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1908-1916.  As a director, Asquith was noted for his adaptations of a number of stage plays—George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, and Terrence Rattigan’s The Winslow Boy and The Browning VersionMarie Dressler (1868-1934) was a film star of the silent and early sound eras who won the Oscar for Best Actress in 1931.  Dorothy Dandridge (1922-1965) was the first African-American to be nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress, for Carmen Jones, and later was a Golden Globe nominee for Porgy and Bess.  She was played by Halle Berry in the 1999 HBO film Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.

Carl Sagan (1934-1996) was one of the great science popularizers of the 20th Century.  He was the author of a number of books, including Pale Blue Dot, the novel Contact (made into a 1997 film with Jodie Foster), and The Dragons of Eden, which won a Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.  But he was best known for the Emmy-winning PBS series Cosmos, which has been seen by an estimated 500 million people around the world.

Mary Travers (1936-2009) was, of course, the Mary of the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary.  The threesome were one of the most successful folk groups of the 1960s, but also had a foot very firmly planted in the edgy, activist camp where you found Joan Baez, the early Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, et. al.  The trio’s sole #1 hit featured lead vocals by Mary:

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 November 9, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. They say you’re either a Marilyn Monroe or a Grace Kelly fan. I’m neither. I’m a fan of the lesser known pin ups like Hedy Lamarr, Dorothy Lamour, Ava Gardner, Judy Holliday, Lana Turner, and Gloria Grahame. They were all beautiful and good actresses.

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    • I am a Grace Kelly fan, but I can join in the appreciation of the other wonderful ladies you name.

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      • Let’s not forget Jean Peters and Jane Greer. I’m also an Audrey Hepburn fan as well.

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        • Jean Peters and Jane Greer have, in fact, not been forgotten in the birthday articles (see October 15 and September 9, respectively). 🙂 The others are on my list—Gloria Grahame will be coming up later this month.

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  2. Eric Dane used to be a total babe on “Grey’s Anatomy”, but on “The Last Ship”, he looks horrid. When the commercials for “The Last Ship” first aired, I barely recognized him due to his lip injections and grey hair. Yikes!

    I know we don;t normally discuss plastic surgery, but it has been discussed on Daryl Hannah’s WTHH entry. Since it is Eric Dane’s birthday, the floor is open for those discussions.

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    • Plastic surgery is fair game. I don’t get into it too much because frankly I’m not an expert. Sometimes I will see pictures of celebrities (usually actresses) looking like aliens. But then you will see them again and they look okay. Not sure if it’s the picture, healing or corrective surgeries. But if you guys want to delve into that subject, feel free.

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  3. Good morning! How’s everyone feeling today? I’m groggy. Stayed up too late watching election coverage. I just couldn’t go to bed without knowing the results for certain, so I’m operating on about four hours of sleep. Whether you’re happy with the outcome or disappointed, I hope we can all come together and at least enjoy the celeb birthdays!

    While I was snuggled warm in my bed basking in the soft glow of my television, I also had my phone in hand as I switched back and forth between FB and Twitter. Why? I don’t know. I never expected to be a social media junkie, but here we are. Anyway, celebrity birthdays are apparently a pretty big deal on Twitter. In the early morning, I saw birthday wishes for Hedy Lamarr and Lou Ferrigno. Initially, I was confused because they weren’t in yesterday’s write-up but then I remembered it wasn’t 11/08 any more.

    At a young age, I saw a heavily edited TV version of Blazing Saddles and didn’t get the Hedy Lamarr joke at all. But long before I knew who she was, I knew her name from Mel Brooks. The only Ryan Murphy show I have watched with any regularity is American Horror Story. That show has been in a rut for the last several seasons, but season six is an improvement. I watched most of Scream Queens last year and it was wretched.

    Lou Ferrigno, I know from watching The Hulk as a kid. He was also a Razzie winner for Worst New Star in 1984 for Hercules. Nick Lachey is a local boy and does a lot of commercials in the Cincinnati area. I had been wondering who the woman in those commercials with him was. I guess that’s really his wife, Vanessa Minnillo.

    Carl Sagan! Hey, remember science?

    Well, gang, I need some more coffee. Let’s do this again tomorrow.

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  4. Regarding Lou Ferrigno, here’s a fascinating thought: he will most likely be the last live-action Hulk ever. Once ol’ Bruce transforms into the Hulk in modern-day Marvel films he is now a CGI creation, a much larger, more muscularly ripped version of the Hulk than even the most die-hard bodybuilder could ever hope to achieve. Lou Ferrigno will always be the last of the “lets paint a muscular guy up in green paint” era.

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  5. Lou Ferrigno’s Hulk character had me running away from the TV at top speed when he appeared. When I caught up to the show a few years ago, I rather enjoyed the various stories.
    Yeah, I learned of Dorothy Dandridge through the film Halle Berry starred in, and from there learned of her significance as a performer.

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  6. The frequency hopping spread spectrum that Lamarr helped invent is what makes wifi technology possible. I would not be reading your blog right now if it hadn’t been for Hedy Lamarr. Don’t get strung out by the way she looked… smokin’ hot babes can be geniuses too.

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