November 17: Happy Birthday Martin Scorsese and Danny DeVito
Martin Scorsese, who turns 74 today, is one of the leading directors of the “New Hollywood” or “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” generation of American filmmakers. He began making short films while studying at New York University, and after graduation he made his first feature, Who’s That Knocking at My Door, his first time working with two long-time collaborators, actor Harvey Keitel and editor Thelma Schoonmaker.
After directing the Roger Corman production Boxcar Bertha, Scorsese and Keitel reunited for the critically acclaimed Mean Streets, which was also Scorsese’s first time working with Robert De Niro. His next film, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, was his first to receive Oscar notice, including a Best Actress honor for Ellen Burstyn. That was followed by Scorsese’s first collaboration with writer Paul Schrader, a film that was his first to receive a Best Picture nomination:
Taxi Driver also began what Scorsese’s admirers would say was a tradition of the Academy passing him over—it, along with films like Raging Bull and Goodfellas, failed to win Best Picture, or bring Scorsese a Best Director Oscar. He finally managed to grasp the brass ring, in both categories, with the 2006 film The Departed, which starred his “new muse,” Leonardo DiCaprio; the two have made five features and a short since 2002.
Danny DeVito is turning 72 today. He began acting in the early 1970s, but didn’t begin to make a name for himself until the end of the decade, winning an Emmy and a Golden Globe for playing dispatcher Louie De Palma on Taxi. He began getting prominent feature roles in the 1980s, such as playing comic villain Ralph in Romancing the Stone, and in 1986 had the role of a man who’d like to be rid of his wife:
The late 1980s saw DeVito directing and starring in Throw Momma from the Train and The War of the Roses. Some of his major roles in the 1990s included The Penguin in Batman Returns, Martin Weir in Get Shorty, Sid Hudgens in L.A. Confidential, and George Shapiro, Andy Kaufman’s agent, in Man on the Moon. In the last decade, he has returned to television, starring on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, who celebrates her 58th today, has had a lengthy stage and screen career, highlighted by being nominated for Best Supporting Actress for The Color Of Money, directed by—Martin Scorsese. French actress Sophie Marceau, who turns 50, has been one of the top leading ladies in French cinema for 30 years; US audiences would know her as an ahistorically mature Isabella of France in Braveheart and a Bad Bond Girl in The World is Not Enough. Leslie Bibb, who starred on the quirky WB teen dramedy Popular (created by Ryan Murphy), turns 42 today; these days she has recurring roles on The Odd Couple and American Housewife. Stuntwoman and actress Zoe Bell, who is 38 today, first became known for doubling Lucy Lawless on Xena: Warrior Princess. Since then she has worked on several of Quentin Tarantino’s films, doing stunts on the Kill Bill films and Inglorious Basterds, acting in a small role in The Hateful Eight, and doing both in Death Proof.
Another star of a Ryan Murphy series, Dylan Walsh of Nip/Tuck, turns 53 today. Tom Ellis, who stars on Fox’s Lucifer as Lucifer Morningstar, celebrates his 38th. David Ramsey, who is 45 today, plays John Diggle, aka Spartan, on Arrow (with a few crossovers to The Flash as well). Director Roland Joffé, who received Oscar nominations for Best Director for The Killing Fields and The Mission, turns 71 today. Producer Lorne Michaels, who celebrates his 72nd, is the creator and longtime executive producer of Saturday Night Live, and also has producing credits on 30 Rock, Late Night and The Tonight Show.
Rachel McAdams, who turns 38 today, was an Oscar nominee earlier this year for her role in Spotlight. Her first major role was in 2004, as one of a clique of Mean Girls. She starred in the R-rated rom-com Wedding Crashers, in Wes Craven’s thriller Red Eye, the romantic drama The Vow, and was part of the cast of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. Currently she can be seen as Christine Palmer in Doctor Strange, and she has also played a character known to anyone familiar with the Sherlock Holmes stories:
Someone to keep an eye on is Kara Hayward, who celebrates her 18th birthday. She made an impressive debut in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, and was a lead in the well-received thriller The Sisterhood of Night.
In music, the man sometimes considered Canada’s greatest songwriter, Gordon Lightfoot, turns 78 today. The folk-rocker has been recording and performing for over 50 years, with his greatest success coming in the 1970s, when he had several singles reach the Top Ten on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, including “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Sundown,” “Carefree Highway,” and a song about a bulk freighter which was caught in a storm on Lake Superior:
Other music birthdays include the short-lived but much-respected Jeff Buckley (1966-1997). Buckley, an eclectic alternate rocker, had made a single album, Grace, and done a lengthy tour to promote it, before he drowned taking a late-night swim in the Mississippi River. Isaac Hanson, the oldest of the three brothers who make up the pop trio Hanson, turns 36. Gene Clark (1944-1991) was a founding member of the 1960s folk-rock band The Byrds, and their main songwriter until he left the band in 1966. Sir Charles Mackerras (1925-2010) was a conductor with long associations with the English National Opera and Welsh National Opera; he was known for his recordings of the operas of Mozart and Leos Janacek, and also of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas.
In sports, birthdays today include Jim Boeheim, who turns 72. Boeheim has been the head coach of Syracuse’s men’s basketball team since 1976, currently the longest tenure among NCAA Division I coaches; he has nearly 1o00 victories in his coaching career. Elvin Hayes, who is 71, is a Basketball Hall-of-Famer. The “Big E” starred in college for the University of Houston and spent the largest part of his NBA career with the Washington Bullets, who he led to the 1978 NBA title. Tom Seaver, born the same day as Jim Boeheim, is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, honoring a career where he won 311 games and three National League Cy Young Awards.
Rock Hudson (1925-1985) was one of the great “heartthrob” stars of the 1950s and ’60s, starring in romantic comedies like Pillow Talk, in Douglas Sirk’s melodramas Magnificent Obsession and All That Heaven Allows, and in action films like Tobruk and Ice Station Zebra. He moved to television to star on McMillan & Wife and later had a recurring role on Dynasty. He was the first prominent public figure to die of AIDS-related complications. Peter Cook (1937-1995) was known for his long comic partnership with Dudley Moore, which encompassed live comedy, television and film. Many people will also recognize him as the Impressive Clergyman from The Princess Bride (“Mawwige”). Lee Strasberg (1901-1982) had some notable acting roles, especially as Hyman Roth in The Godfather Part II, but was most important as a teacher of actors, known for his role in bringing “method” acting to Hollywood and as the longtime director of the Actors Studio. Russian-born actor Mischa Auer (1905-1967) was frequently the man the studios called on for a somewhat exotic character with a foreign accent. He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for My Man Godfrey and played the ballet instructor, Kolenkhov, in You Can’t Take It with You.
For the third time in a seven day period, it’s the birthday of one of the leading generals of World War 2, that of Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery (1887-1976). “Monty” was the leading British field commander in the European theater from 1942 on. Michael Rennie, Ian Richardson and Corin Redgrave are among the actors to portray him on screen.
One final music birthday for today is that of Irish folkie Luke Kelly (1940-1984). A founding member of The Dubliners, he was known for his lovely tenor voice, his banjo playing and his mop of curly red hair:
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 17, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged danny devito, Dylan Walsh, Gordon Lightfoot, Kara Hayward, Leslie Bibb, Luke Kelly, Martin Scorsese, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Peter Cook, Rachel McAdams, Rock Hudson, Sophie Marceau, Zoe Bell. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.