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November 30: Happy Birthday Ridley Scott and Mandy Patinkin

1130scottpatinkin

Sir Ridley Scott, who turns 79 today, paid his dues for many years before emerging as a leading director.  He worked in set and production design in British television in the 1960s, then spent some of the 1970s making commercials—he has kept his hand in the latter area through the years, most famously in the “1984” commercial for Apple, while his features have the kind of visual distinctiveness that befits someone with a design background.

His first feature as a director was a historical drama, The Duellists.  He then moved into science fiction, making a pair of films that for many would still rank as his greatest accomplishments.  Alien, the beginning of a franchise that may have gone on for too many films, was followed by an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel:

Since Blade Runner, Scott’s career has had ups and downs.  High points have included Thelma & Louise (for which he was Oscar-nominated for Best Director), Gladiator (which won Best Picture and brought Scott another Best Director nomination), and The Martian (nominated for Best Picture).

Mandy Patinkin is celebrating his 64th birthday.  He began his career on Broadway, winning a Tony as Ché in the original Broadway cast of Evita.  A few years later he was nominated for another Tony for originating the title role in Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George.  He had significant roles in films like Ragtime and Yentl, receiving a Golden Globe nomination for the latter, but it wasn’t until 1987 that he appeared in the film role that many mainstream viewers know him best for:

Patinkin followed The Princess Bride up with roles in films like Alien Nation and Dick Tracy.  Since then, much of his work has been on television and stage.  He won an Emmy as Dr. Jeffrey Geiger on Chicago Hope, starred on two seasons of Criminal Minds, and has had
Emmy and Golden Globe nominations as Saul Berenson on Homeland.  In 2000 he received his third Tony nomination for starring in the musical The Wild Party.

Ben Stiller turns 51 today.  Stiller won an Emmy for writing for The Ben Stiller Show.  He has starred in a variety of films, including the Meet the Parents and Night at the Museum trilogies, There’s Something About Mary, Mystery Men, and The Royal Tenenbaums.  He wrote, directed and starred in Reality Bites, Zoolander and Tropic ThunderAmy Ryan, who celebrates her 47th, is a two-time Tony nominee for revivals of Uncle Vanya and A Streecar Named Desire (as Stella).  She received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for playing Helene McCready in Gone Baby Gone, and she recently had significant supporting roles in Birdman and Bridge of Spies.

Kaley Cuoco, who turns 31 today, stars as Penny on The Big Bang Theory, currently in its tenth season, and formerly was known for her roles on 8 Simple Rules and CharmedElisha Cuthbert, known for the roles of Kim Bauer on 24 and Alex Kerkovich on Happy Endings, turns 34.  Gael Garcia Bernal celebrates his 38th.  He made his feature debut in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Amores perros and has been in a number of Mexican and international films since then.  He recently won a Golden Globe for starring in the Amazon series Mozart in the JungleRebecca Rittenhouse, who turns 28, stars in ABC’s prime time soap opera Blood & Oil as Cody LeFever.  Adelaide Clemens is 27 today; she is one of the stars of SundanceTV’s critically acclaimed series RectifyJessalyn Gilsig, who turns 45, played Lauren Davis on Boston Public and Terri Schuester on Glee.

Robert Guillaume, who is 89 today, won Emmys for playing the character of Benson on both Soap (Outstanding Supporting Actor) and Benson (Outstanding Lead Actor) and voiced Rafiki in The Lion KingSimonetta Stefanelli, who is 62, was memorable as Michael Corleone’s short-lived first wife, Apollonia Vitelli, in The Godfather.  She made a number of Italian films before retiring to start a fashion store in Rome.

Along with Ridley Scott we have some major names on the production side of things with birthdays today.  David Mamet, who turns 69, is a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright (for Glengarry Glen Ross).  He has written and directed films such as House of Games, Homicide and State and Main, and wrote Oscar-nominated screenplays for The Verdict and Wag the DogMarc Forster, who is 47 today, made his reputation directing films like Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland and The Kite Runner—serious, character-driven dramas.  He then moved into action, directing Quantum of Solace and World War ZDavid Yates, who turns 53, is the director most closely associated with the Harry Potter films, having directed the final four in the series, as well as the just-released Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  He also is known for the British television miniseries State of Play and the Emmy-winning TV movie The Girl in the CaféEmmanuel Lubezki is celebrating his 52nd.  The cinematographer is an eight-time Oscar nominee for Best Cinematography, and has won the last three Oscars in a row, for Gravity, Birdman, and The RevenantStuart Baird, who turns 69, is best known as an editor (although he has done some directing).  He was an Oscar nominee for editing on Superman: The Movie and Gorillas in the Mist.

Musical celebrations today include Billy Idol’s 61st birthday.  The British rocker had several hits in the US during the “Second British Invasion” of the 1980s.  Cherie Currie, who turns 57, was the lead vocalist of the all-girl rock band the Runaways in the 1970s; she was played by Dakota Fanning in the 2010 film about the band.  Clay Aiken, the runner-up on season 2 of American Idol, has had one of the better careers among that show’s alumni.  He had five straight top 10 albums from 2003-2010, and on Broadway has played Sir Robin in Monty Python’s Spamalot.  Aiken turns 38 today.  Dick Clark (1929-2012) was not a musician, but as the host of American Bandstand for thirty years he played a big role in introducing young Americans to music, especially rock & roll.

Durable character actor Richard Crenna (1926-2003) worked on a wide variety of films, including Jean-Pierre Melville’s Un Flic, but his best known role is likely Col. Sam Trautman in the first three Rambo films (“God didn’t make Rambo.  I made him.”).  He also won an Emmy for the TV movie The Rape of Richard BeckVirginia Mayo (1920-2005) was a popular leading lady of the 1940s and ’50s.  She starred opposite Bob Hope in The Princess and the Pirate, Joel McCrea in Colorado Territory, James Cagney in White Heat, Burt Lancaster in The Flame and the Arrow, and in several comedies with Danny Kaye.  Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., (1918-2014) was known for starring in a pair of durable crime series, 77 Sunset Strip and The F.B.I., and also did some voice work in the 1990s.  Our sports birthday today is Bill Walsh (1931-2007), probably the most successful coach in the NFL in the 1980s, when he took the San Francisco 49ers to three Super Bowl titles.

Several prominent names in literature were born this day.  Mark Twain (1835-1910) hardly needs introduction; there are probably few who do not know that he was really named Samuel Clemens, or that he wrote one of the greatest American novels, The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnJonathan Swift (1677-1745) was one of the great satirists of all times, known for his brilliant satirical novel Gulliver’s Travels and his famous essay A Modest ProposalSir Philip Sidney (1554-1586) was one of the leading poets of the Elizabethan Age, author of works such as Astrophel and Stella and The Defence of Poetry.

As the author of over a dozen books, Winston Churchill (1874-1965) might well count among our literary figures, but he was much more, he was arguably the most important political figure in 20th century British history.  Albert Finney, Brendan Gleeson, Michael Gambon, and (in next year’s Darkest Hour) Gary Oldman are some of the actors who have taken up the formidable challenge of portraying Churchill on film.

Allan Sherman (1924-1973) was a television producer, the creator of the game show I’ve Got a Secret.  He was also a comedian, specializing in song parodies.  His best known, a #2 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, was the camp song parody “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah.”  He also did a comic take on Petula Clark’s “Downtown,” as well as a song that is appropriate at a time of year when Christmas music is starting to dominate the airwaves, PA systems, etc.

And as if all these names weren’t enough, some sources list today as the birthday of Ryan Murphy and Terrence Malick.

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 30, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Based on Alien and Blade Runner, I was a big Ridley Scott fan going into the 90’s. I liked Thelma and Louise too, so I was a bit surprised when someone said that Ridley Scott’s post 80’s output was terrible. Then I looked at his filmography and once you get past Alien, Blade Runner and Thelma and Louise, there are a lot of mediocre movies with cool visuals. Gladiator was good, but overrated. Matchstick Men was good, but underrated. The Martian was something of a comeback for Scott.

    Mandy Patinkin will always be Inigo Montoya. The Movieline article that shows up in the related articles section is a very interesting look at the frustrations Patinkin had at a point when his movie career was expected to take off, but didn’t. He seems to have found his niche on TV. I wonder if he’s still frustrated. Based on the interviews I have seen, he seems tightly wound.

    I was not a regular viewer of The Ben Stiller Show, but I liked most of what I saw. I was a bigger fan of his directorial debut (Reality Bites) than a lot of people. Maybe more that I should have been. The Cable Guy has aged well considering most people regard it as a failure. I really liked Flirting with Disaster and for a while I thought he was going to be the Indie Movie Guy, but then came Something About Mary. Since then, Stillers made a lot of pretty mediocre movies. But every now and then you get a Zoolander or a Tropic Thunder. I liked the first Meet the Parents, but the sequels sucked! His best movies are still the indies like The Royal Tenenbaums and Greenberg.

    What I know Amy Ryan for is being Micheal Scott’s soulmate on The Office. I do not like The Big Bang Theory, but you can’t avoid Kaley Cuoco. She seems like she’s all over pop culture even if I haven’t seen much of her work. She was a recent Razzie winner for Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip and The Wedding Ringer. Similarly, I never got into 24, so I haven’t seen much of Elisha Cuthbert beyond her “It Girl” presence in the media and commercials for The Girl Next Door. I watched a bit of Captivity (the trailer and a couple clips) for the Razzie article and I’m pretty sure I figured out that movie’s twist ending based on that.

    You named the three things I know Robert Guillaume from; Soap, Benson and The Lion King. Hard to believe he’s 89. Quite a few filmmakers share birthdays with Ridley Scott, though most of them aren’t as well known. David Mamet is better known as a writer than a director.

    Billy Idol cranked out a few classic 80’s songs. I saw and enjoyed The Runaways based on poor Cherie Currie. Hopefully she is doing well. I skipped a lot of American Idol, but I was aware of Clay Aiken. I know he’s done a lot of stage work since and I saw him on Celebrity Apprentice, which he took more seriously than he should have.

    Richard Crenna, I knew from Rambo. I later saw him in other things like Body Heat. MArk Twain and Jonathan Swift share a birthday? Good day for satire.

    How odd is it that there is confusion over the birth dates of Ryan Murphy and Terrence Malick and that Nov 30 is a potential shared birthday?

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    • Yeah, I watched a lot of “Benson” with my parents as a kid, so I remember Robert Guillaume from that, then later “Lean on Me” and “Death Warrant”.

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  2. It seems to me that celebrity birthdays are now your primary source of content. I don’t understand why; it’s a rather thin subject matter.

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    • Hey, if someone wants to pay me what I make at my day job to blog full time, there’d be oodles of new content. Since no one has offered, I do the best I can in my spare time. In November, there were fewer Movieline articles to work with because the November 1991 article wasn’t included in the archives. So that cut down on a quick source of content. As I mentioned elsewhere, I haven’t had a lot of time this month for blogging, unfortunately. Some people who were contributing more frequently have also stepped away for a bit. But these things are cyclical. We’ll get more variety of content when schedules lighten up.

      As for the celeb birthdays, while on the surface it is trivial, I think Jestak’s write-ups do a great job of offering up a sampler platter of topics you might be interested in. These frequently lead to interesting discussions.

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      • I don’t look at it as trivial; it gives someone like others & myself an opportunity to mention people that otherwise wouldn’t be mentioned (Winston Churchill? Yeah, how else would he come up?), and possibly open the floor for more comments in the comments section. It’s like the “Law & Order” formula, it’s flawless.
        I’ve never once come across a day in which there was enough hours in it; with life, it is just too easy to run out of time.

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  3. Ridley Scott: if “Alien” and Blade” Runner” wasn’t enough, I dig 2003’s “Matchstick Men”, 1987’s “Someone to Watch Over Me”, and I think “Black Rain”, although probably too long, is good as well.
    I think I tuned in to the first season of “Homeland” due to the presence of Mandy Patinkin (liked the show at first, but after the first season I gave up on it). It was discussed on this site that Patinkin never really had a true breakout film, as it seems Hollywood just hasn’t ever quite GOT him.
    Mark Twain seems like a guy that would’ve been fun to talk to, while Winston Churchill would’ve probably been fun to get drunk with.
    Richard Crenna, hey I loved him in 1967’s “Wait Until Dark”, and of course his Colonel Trautman in the Rambo films (as well as his parody of the role in “Hot Shots! Part Deux”.
    Efrem Zimbalist Jr., what a distinguished chap (lots of them on this list today). Well, he voiced Alfred on “Batman: The Animated Series”, and he was awesome at it!
    No, I love me some Billy Idol (especially the greatest hit disc ‘Vital Idol’: it vital). I guess my two favorite songs are “Catch My Fall” and Dancing With Myself”.
    I honestly remember Dick Clark best from the 25,000 pyramid show in the 1980’s (“I’m Dick Clark, so long”), but I’ve viewed some of “American Bandstand” from YouTube, and he definitely was a key figure in the history of pop culture.

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  4. I liked Ben Stiller’s first big show on FOX, too bad that was cancelled. Looking back, he’s actually been in the game for a long time (he played a character named East Eddie in an episode of “Miami Vice”, I think it was ‘Phil the Shill’).
    Bill Walsh, I really like the offense he designed; if you’re a little short on talent, that offense can get you by.

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  5. Ridley Scott has had a very uneven career, but Alien and Blade Runner are undoubted classics. Gladiator is a good Roman Empire epic in the old Hollywood style, but definitely overrated.

    Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya will always be classic.

    Allan Sherman may not be well known today, but he could be delightfully funny.

    And Winston Churchill was one of those incredible, force of nature personalities that come along every once in a while. Love him or hate him, the man left his mark on the world.

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  6. I’ve been bingewatching The Office lately (currently on Season 5) and it’s only in the past several days that I’ve discovered the wonderful Amy Ryan. She’s a treasure.

    Ridley Scott made the two best films of his career early on with Alien and Blade Runner. I’m also a fan of Black Hawk Down which is one of my favorite war films, it is unbelievably intense.

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  7. craig maybe you can help me settle a debate since u watch season 5 of office. was charles minor a jerk. I do not think he was jim deserved charles treatment he spent more time playing pranks then working

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  8. I find it odd how we were meant ot belive minor was a jerk and michael scott was the hero. Michael scott treats his workers much worse. Minor is tough but fair. A normal wokrplace would not tolerate jim slakcing. plus jim and charles interactions where funny minor should replaced michale in office

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  9. Why Hollywood Won’t Cast Elisha Cuthbert Anymore

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