November 15: Happy Birthday Jonny Lee Miller and Shailene Woodley


Jonny Lee Miller is celebrating his 44th birthday.  His grandfather was actor Bernard Lee, “M” in the first eleven James Bond films.  He had a few roles as a child actor, including an uncredited bit part in an episode of Doctor Who, and began working regularly in his late teens.  In 1995 he starred in the thriller Hackers—and would up married to his costar, Angelina Jolie, for 18 months—and then was one of the leads in Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting a year later.

Miller worked regularly in film through 2006, but without becoming a major star.  Since then he has done more of his work in television, eventually landing the lead role in a CBS series updating Sherlock Holmes to the 21st century, moving him to New York City, and giving him a female sidekick, one Joan Watson:

Elementary is currently in its fifth season.

Shailene Woodley turns 25 today.  Like Miller, she began her acting career at a young age, appearing in a TV movie called Replacing Dad.  She continued to work on television through the 2000s, appearing in a number of guest roles, and as the recurring character of Kaitlin Cooper in the first two seasons of The O. C.  In 2008 she landed her first major role, as the lead character of Amy Juergens on ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager:

Woodley made her feature film debut in 2011 in Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, as the daughter of George Clooney’s character.  Her subsequent film roles have included a pair of teen romance-dramas, The Spectacular Now and The Fault in Our Stars, in the indie drama White Bird in a Blizzard, and as Tris Prior, the lead in the Divergent series, adapted from Veronica Roth’s contributions to young-adult dystopian literature.  Her latest role was in Oliver Stone’s Snowden, where she plays Edward Snowden’s girlfriend, Lindsay Mills.

Sam Waterston, who turns 76 today, was an Oscar nominee for starring in The Killing Fields, and has received multiple Emmy nominations for his roles on the series I’ll Fly Away and Law & OrderEd Asner, who is 87, was a seven-time Emmy winner.  He won five of those for playing the character of Lou Grant on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Lou Grant—interestingly, the former show was a sitcom, the latter a drama.  Yaphet Kotto celebrates his 77th.  His film work includes Across 110th Street, Live and Let Die (as the villain) and Alien; he starred on Homicide: Life on the Street for its entire 7-season run.  Director Roger Donaldson, who turns 71, has a filmography that includes the 1984 remake The Bounty, the political thriller No Way Out, the 1994 remake of The Getaway, the disaster film Dante’s Peak, and the recent espionage thriller The November Man.

Beverly D’Angelo, who turns 65, played Ellen Griswold in the National Lampoon’s Vacation films, and was a Golden Globe nominee for playing Patsy Cline in Coal Miner’s DaughterJames Widdoes, who is turning 63, played Delta House president Robert Hoover in Animal House and has gone on to a lengthy career as a television director and producer.  Kevin Bright, who is 62 today, was one of the Bright/Kauffman/Crane trio who produced the hit series Friends (and several other not-a-hit series as well).  Ray McKinnon, who turns 59 today, won an Oscar for his 2001 short film The Accountant and is the creator and chief writer of the Sundance TV series RectifySean Murray, who celebrates his 39th, has starred as Timothy McGee on NCIS for over a decade.  Yaya DaCosta, who turns 34, stars on NBC’s Chicago Med as April Sexton and played Whitney Houston in a Lifetime channel biopic.

French actress Virginie Ledoyen celebrates her 40th birthday today.  She is a three-time Cesar award nominee and has been working regularly in French film since she was 10.  American audiences may know her from her starring role opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach.  Ledoyen’s compatriot Laura Smet turns 33; she has also been a Cesar nominee and is the daughter of actress Nathalie Baye and singer Johnny Hallyday.

In music, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, known to fans as Frida, turns 71 today.  She had a lot of fans, as she was a member of the wildly successful 1970s pop quartet ABBA, one of the best-selling musical groups in history.  Like Grace Kelly, she also became a princess in real life when she married Prince Reuss of Plauen in 1992.

Other music birthdays include Petula Clark, who had a bunch of major pop hits in the 1960s such as “Downtown,” “I Know a Place,” and “This is My Song.”  Clark turns 84 today.  Clyde McPhatter (1932-1972) was a very popular R&B singer of the 1950s, who had hits like “Money Honey,” and “A Lover’s Question.”  Classical pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim turns 74.  He made notable piano recordings of the sonatas of Beethoven and Mozart, of the piano concertos of Mozart and Brahms, and many chamber music recordings with his wife, cellist Jacqueline du Pre, and with violinists Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman.

Lewis Stone (1879-1953) had a long career in silent and sound films, most notably as Judge Hardy in MGM’s Andy Hardy series starring Mickey Rooney.  Bill Melendez (1916-2008) was a major figure in the cartoon world, as both an animator and voice actor.  He worked on several early Disney features, but his most important work was on the television specials and feature films about the Peanuts characters; until his death, he directed most of them and provided the voices of Snoopy and Woodstock.  The late Nova Pilbeam (1919-2015) had major roles in two of Alfred Hitchcock’s British films of the 1930s, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Young and Innocent, as well as the historical drama Tudor Rose.

Two men who played major roles in World War 2 Germany were born today.  Claus Schenk, Graf von Stauffenberg (1907-1944) was a German army officer who became the key figure in the “July 20 plot,” the failed attempt by a group of army officers and a few others to assassinate Hitler and stage a coup d’etat.  Stauffenberg has been a character in a number of films, most notably being played by Tom Cruise in the 2008 film ValkyrieErwin Rommel (1891-1944) was one of the most famous German generals of the war, known as the “Desert Fox” for his successes against the British in the North African campaigns.  He was implicated to some degree in the July 2o plot; when the Nazis found out, Hitler gave Rommel the option of taking his own life, in return for his family being spared execution, which Rommel accepted.  Rommel was played by James Mason in a pair of British films in the 1950s, The Desert Fox and The Desert Rats.

J. G. Ballard (1930-2009) was a noted science fiction author of the so-called New Wave, and also the author of the novel Empire of the Sun, adapted to film by Steven Spielberg.  The American Modernist poet Marianne Moore (1887-1972) won the Pulitzer Prize for her Collected Poems in 1952.  Born the same day as Moore, painter Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) was known for her paintings of subjects ranging from enlarged flowers to New York City skyscrapers.  Rick Atkinson, who turns 64 today, is a Pulitzer Prize recipient in both Journalism and History.  The latter was for his book An Army at Dawn, the first in his Liberation Trilogy chronicling the US Army’s experience in the European front in World War 2.

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 15, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I didn’t recognize Jonny Lee Miller’s name, but the face looked familiar. Your write-up connected a few dots I had never connected on my own. I forgot he was in Hackers or that he was married to Angelina Jolie. Shailene Woodley, I knew primarily from The Descendants. Whenever I hear her name, I think about the ridiculous fan reaction when she was cast as Mary Jane in the Spider-man movies.

    Yaphet Kotto is a character actor I always enjoy. I’m not a big fan of Live and Let Die, but Kotto was good as the villain. And of course, he was part of the terrific cast in Alien. Our #1 Vacation fan has moved on, but on her behalf I will wish Beverly D’Angelo a happy birthday. Frida from Abba is really 71?!? Where does the time go?

    I do love me some Abba. But Petula Clark is also good for a pick me up. And couldn’t we all use a pick me up these days?

    LOL. It took me a minute to figure out why WTHH to Penelope Ann Miller was considered a related article. WP, you slay me.


  2. Jonny Lee Miller has had an interesting career, although he probably would not have been a headliner if not for his success with Elementary. Until I wrote this article I had no idea that Bernard Lee was his grandfather.

    Ed Asner’s seven acting Emmys tie him with former costar Mary Tyler Moore for second most; they are one behind Cloris Leachman.

    The recordings Bill Melendez made for the “voices” of Snoopy and Woodstock are still being used even after his death; they were used in last year’s The Peanuts Movie.


  3. I really became aware of Jonny Lee miller during his guest turn in season 5 of “Dexter” (a season in which I’m about to begin viewing again). Yeah, I saw “Hackers” and “Trainspotting” before that, but those film were out of my mind for a long period (in matter of fact, I haven’t seen “Trainspotting” in 20 years). I do like the character of Sherlock Holmes (I have two Playstation 3 Sherlock Holmes games; the Crimes and Punishments one I really like, but the other one is a little less enjoyable for me), but I can’t really get into “Elementary”, even though I’ve tried. I think it’s fine though.
    I’ve never seen a film starring Shailene Woodley (I’m interested in Snowden” though, and maybe I’ll view “The Fault in Our Stars” someday), but I am aware of her, and also of her recent protest, due to receiving daily e-mail from
    Sam Waterston; yeah, “The Killing Fields” really gets to me, especially the ending. I guess most people will remember him from “Law and Order”.
    I’d have to say that my favorite film that Yaphet Kotto stars in is 1978’s “Blue Collar”, also with Richard Pryor & Harvey Keitel; I thought they made a good trio.
    I haven’t seen a lot of “Lou Grant”, but the episodes I have viewed (mostly online) I really liked. I enjoyed a lot of Ed Asner’s voice work too.
    Yeah, I know Anni-Frid Lyngstad as Frida; I really like her song “I Know There’s Something Going On” (with Phil Collins on drums!).
    I definitely know Beverly D’Angelo from the Vacation (all I ever wanted) films, but also for her relationship with Al Pacino (didn’t she have twins at the age of 53 too?).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: