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November 10: Happy Birthday Miranda Lambert and Ellen Pompeo

1110lambertpompeo

Miranda Lambert turns 33 today.  The country singer-songwriter signed her first recording contract before she turned 20.  Her first album, Kerosene, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Country charts and featured four songs released as singles.  One of them, the album’s title song, brought Lambert her first Grammy nomination:

Lambert’s four subsequent albums all reached #1 on the Billboard Country charts as well (she has a fifth coming out later this month).  The most recent of them, Platinum, reached #1 on the Billboard 200 as well.  In addition to her solo career, Lambert records as part of a female country supergroup called the Pistol Annies.

Ellen Pompeo celebrates her 47th birthday today.  She began acting in the mid-1990s, appearing in guest roles on shows like Law & Order and making her feature film debut in 1999 in Coming Soon.  She had a major role in the 2002 drama Moonlight Mile and followed that with roles in films like Catch Me If You Can and Daredevil.  But she is best known by far as Dr. Meredith Grey on Grey’s Anatomy:

Taron Egerton turns 27 today; he was seen in the British series The Smoke and starred as Gary “Eggsy” Unwin in Kingsman: The Secret Service and as Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards in Eddie the EagleZoey Deutch starred as Rose Hathaway in the adaptation of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and is in a lengthy list of upcoming films; she is turning 22.  Mackenzie Foy, who celebrates her “sweet sixteen,” had the misfortune to begin her film career as Renesmee Cullen in Breaking Dawn; fortunately she has moved past that and is now known for her impressive performance in Interstellar.  She has reportedly been cast as Clara in a live-action Disney adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s balled The Nutcracker (i.e., as the lead).

German writer-director Roland Emmerich, who turns 61 today, is probably most associated with films involving some kind of disaster: alien invasion disaster (Independence Day), giant monster disaster (the 1998 Godzilla), ecological disaster (The Day after Tomorrow and 2012) or terrorists-take-over-the-White House disaster (White House Down).  Stephen Herek, who turns 58, made a bit of a name directing films like Critters and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, then spent much of the 1990s directing live-action Disney films like the 1993 The Three Musketeers and the remake of 101 Dalmatians.  Musical theater veteran Ann Reinking, who turns 67, has worked on Broadway as an actress, dancer and choreographer.  She starred as Roxie Hart in the 1996 revival of Chicago and also won a Tony for Best Choreography for the same show.  Comedian and actor Sinbad (given name David Adkins), who turns 60, first became known for starring on A Different World, and also had a short-lived series on Fox and a number of comedy specials on HBO during the 1990s.

Hugh Bonneville, who celebrates his 53rd, starred on Downton Abbey as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham.  Actor and comedian Tracey Morgan, who is 48 today, was a regular on Saturday Night Live for several seasons, and was an Emmy nominee for his supporting role on 30 RockIsaac Bruce, who celebrates his 44th, was one of the best wide receivers in the NFL for a decade or more, ending his career with a total of 1024 receptions, the 12th highest total in league history.

Neil Gaiman, who is 56 today, is a very prolific author.  He is known for his novels, such as Stardust, American Gods, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, for his numerous comic book series such as The Sandman, for his children’s books such as The Graveyard Book, and for his short fiction and poetry.  His writing awards include six Hugo Awards, two Nebula Awards, a Newbury Medal and a Carnegie Medal (both for The Graveyard Book), and a British National Book Award (just to name a few).

A long list of prominent names in music born today includes Ennio Morricone, who is 88 today.  The Italian composer has been scoring films for well over fifty years; a tiny handful of his best-known works would include the scores for Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy and Once Upon a Time in the West, Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso, Wolfgang Peterson’s In the Line of Fire, and Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, for which he won his first, long-deserved Oscar for Best Original Score.

Other music birthdays today include Sir Tim Rice, who turns 72.  Among many accomplishments, Rice wrote the lyrics for several of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals, including Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, and collaborated with Elton John on the music for Disney’s The Lion King and the subsequent Broadway adaptation.  Marilyn Bergman, who is 87, has collaborated with her husband Alan on an enormous variety of music, including winning Oscars for Best Original Song for “Windmills of Your Mind” and “The Way We Were.”  Johnny Marks (1909-1985) was a popular songwriter best known for his holiday tunes, especially “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”  Country singer-songwriter Donna Fargo, who is 71, won several awards including a Grammy for her hit “The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA.”

Our sad story for today is Brittany Murphy (1977-2009).  Murphy first became known through her supporting role in Clueless.  While she never got that big breakthrough role to establish herself as a star, she appeared in a very interesting mix of films through the years—Drop Dead Gorgeous, Girl, Interrupted, Don’t Say a Word, 8 Mile, Sin City, The Dead Girl—and often got favorable reviews.  She died at only 32, apparently of pneumonia, although there was quite a bit of litigation related to her death.

Richard Burton (1925-1984) first became known for his stage work, in a production of Christopher Fry’s The Lady’s Not For Burning.  A performance as Prince Hal in Shakespeare’s Henry IV had critics proclaiming him “the next Olivier.”  That was hard praise to live up to, and while Burton had a career highlighted by seven Oscar nominations, his critics never tired of pointing out that he never won one.  He did win a Tony for starring as King Arthur in Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot.  But by the mid-1960s, his marriage to Elizabeth Taylor—they were the Brangelina of their time—was probably what he was most famous for.  That and the booze—Burton struggled for most of his career with alcoholism.

Roy Scheider (1932-2008) appeared in some of the most famous films of the 1970s.  He was an Oscar nominee for playing Cloudy Russo in The French Connection and again for playing Joe Gideon in All That Jazz.  His best-known performance, however, was as Chief Martin Brody in Jaws, giving the pronouncement “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”  Claude Rains (1889-1967) was a four-time Oscar nominee and one of the most prominent character actors of the 1930s and ’40s.  He starred in The Invisible Man, played Prince John in The Adventures of Robin Hood opposite Errol Flynn, and was the villain Alex Sebastian in Hitchcock’s Notorious.  But like Scheider, he is best remembered as a police chief:

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was one of the most influential figures in world history.  A Catholic monk and scholar, he came to reject several of the Catholic Church’s teachings and his efforts to get the church to modify its policies touched off the Protestant Reformation.  Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) was a German poet, playwright and scholar.  Anyone who studies German literature will encounter Schiller, but the world knows him as the author of the “Ode to Joy,” which Beethoven set to music in the final movement of his Ninth Symphony.

Finally, one last musical birthday, not a big star but a favorite of mine.  Abigail Washburn, who celebrates her 39th birthday, is a singer, songwriter and clawhammer banjo player.  She has recorded as a solo artist, with the all-female old-time string band Uncle Earl, and with her husband, banjo legend Bela Fleck (they are America’s unofficial “first couple” of the banjo).  She is also known for her cultural exchange activities in China and her work on relief efforts after the Sichuan earthquake of 2008.

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 10, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. There were a lot of notables today. I went with the country-pop star and the actress who is topcast in a hit series as headliners, but there were several others who I could have chosen. I gave both Richard Burton and Roy Scheider serious consideration. Ennio Morricone and Tim Rice are both major figures in the music world (and they once collaborated, in fact). Neil Gaiman is a prolific and interesting author. And there have been days when a major Broadway presence like Ann Reinking might have been my choice.

    That’s not to mention that Friedrich Schiller is a literary giant, and Martin Luther is a giant, period.

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  2. I haven’t seen Ellen Pompeo in many parts except for the 2004 film “Art Heist”, but I think she’s pretty.
    Shame about Brittany Murphy, but I enjoyed a lot of her roles; I’ll never tell which ones are my favorite, I won’t say a word.
    I thought Sinbad was kind of funny, yet I recall him best thinking of those Reebok Blacktop shoe commercials he did in the early 1990’s.
    Richard Burton did some fine work; I guess I liked him best in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfe?” (hump the hostess?) and his final role in “1984”.
    I’m glad Tracey Morgan has recovered a little bit from his accident; I think he’s pretty funny.
    Roy Scheider; yeah, he played a lot of parts I liked. For films, I’ll go with “All That Jazz” and “52 Pick-Up”.

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  3. This is one of those days in which I am not overly familiar with either of the headliners beyond their names. I was aware Ellen Pompeo was the lead on Grey’s Anatomy, but I have never actually watched the show. Mackenzie Foy was one half of the Worst Screen Couple at the Razzies in 2012. Taylor Lautner was the other half of the winning couple.

    Roland Emmerich was a one-time Razzie nominee for Worst Director and believe it or not he never won. In 1999, he was nominated for Godzilla and lost to Gus Van Sant for the Psycho remake. I bet Emmerich gets a long delayed second nomination this year for the Independence Day sequel.

    Tracey Morgan was great on 30 Rock. He had that incident a while back that was just icky. But I’m glad he has recovered from his accident all the same. Neil Gaiman is just fantastic. Like everyone else, I was very happy with Ennio Morricone’s Oscar win.

    Our sad story for the day is Brittany Murphy. Hate to see promising talent snuffed out so young. Two of my favorite movies of all times are Jaws and Casablanca, so big ups to Roy Scheider and Claude Rains.

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  4. Why You Never Hear from Sinbad Anymore

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