December 13: Happy Birthday Taylor Swift and Jamie Foxx
Our two headliners for today have been photographed together on more than one occasion; this is from the 2015 Grammys, taken with Jamie’s daughter Annalise.
Taylor Swift is 27 today. The country-pop superstar decided on a music career at a very young age; by the time she reached high school she was living in Nashville, writing her own songs and performing in local venues. She signed her first record contract before she was 17, and her eponymous first album came out in fall of 2006. Taylor Swift spent roughly three years on the Billboard 200 and included five Top 40 hits.
All four of Swift’s subsequent studio albums have reached #1 on the Billboard 200 and sold in the millions; she has sold an estimated 150-170 million records worldwide in just over ten years. She has won ten Grammys, including Album of the Year twice. While her acting career has yet to go anywhere, she’s clearly one of the most important under-30 entertainers of any kind in the world today.
Jamie Foxx is celebrating his 49th today. He and yesterday’s headliner Frank Sinatra are two of only four people to have both won an acting Oscar and had an Number One album on the Billboard 200 (the others are Bing Crosby and Barbra Streisand). Foxx was one of a number of performers to launch an acting career on In Living Color in the early 1990s. His first notable film role was in the 1999 film Any Given Sunday, but his great year as an actor was undoubtedly 2004. He was nominated for two acting Oscars, for Best Supporting Actor for Michael Mann’s Collateral, and for Best Actor for playing Ray Charles in Ray:
Foxx not only won the Oscar, he swept the major Best Actor awards for Ray. Meanwhile, his music career was also highly successful. His album Unpredictable, released in late 2005, quickly reached #1 on the Billboard 200. He has won Grammys in both the Rap and R&B categories.
Christopher Plummer celebrates his 87th birthday today. His acting career began in the early 1950s and is still going after over six decades on stage and screen. When he won Best Supporting Actor for the 2010 film Beginners, he became the oldest Oscar winner in history, and adding it to his wins of Tony and Emmy awards for acting, became a winner of the Triple Crown of Acting. Dick Van Dyke is turning 91 today. He starred in film musicals like Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and has won five Emmys, three for The Dick Van Dyke Show in the mid-1960s. More recently he starred as Dr. Mark Sloan on Diagnosis: Murder and played Cecil Fredricks in Night at the Museum.
English stage actress and singer Marti Webb, who turns 73 today, is best known for her appearances in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musicals, having starred in Evita and Cats and originated the role of the unnamed Girl in Tell Me on a Sunday; she had a hit single in England with “Take That Look Off Your Face” from the latter show. Versatile character actor Steve Buscemi is known for work in an enormous variety of films, including with both the Coen Brothers and Robert Rodriguez; on television he won a Golden Globe for Boardwalk Empire. He is 59 today. Wendie Malick, who celebrates her 66th, starred as Judith Stone on HBO’s Dream On and as Nina van Horn on Just Shoot Me; the latter role brought her two Emmy nominations. More recently she starred on TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland. John Davidson, who is 75 today, has done a good deal of TV and film work, but is probably best known for game shows, in particular as a panelist, and later host, of Hollywood Squares.
Johnny Whitaker, who turns 57 today, was well-known for starring as Jody Davis in Family Affair, and also starred opposite a young Jodie Foster in a pair of early seventies family films, Napoleon and Samantha and Tom Sawyer. His Family Affair costar, Kathy Garver, turns 71; she played older sister Sissy and went on to a lengthy voice acting career. Whitaker and Garver are the only stars of the series still living.
Other music birthdays today include veteran rocker Ted Nugent, who is turning 68. While his greatest commercial success came in the 1970s, he continues to record and perform. Tom DeLonge, who turns 41 today, was the co-founder and longtime lead singer and guitarist for the pop punk band Blink-182. Amy Lee, who celebrates her 35th, is the lead vocalist and co-founder of the Grammy-winning rock band Evanescence, and has recently branched out into composing film scores. Film scoring is what Harry Gregson-Williams, who turns 55, is known for. In particular, he has scored a lot of action and suspense films over the last 20 years—he seems to have been a particular favorite of Tony Scott.
In sports, two Baseball Hall of Famers share today as a birthday. Larry Doby (1923-2003) was the second African-American player to break baseball’s color line and the first in the American League, joining the Cleveland Indians in July, 1947. He was an excellent player—a seven-time All-Star who helped the Indians win 2 American League pennants and a World Series in 1948—although as a center fielder, he was a bit overshadowed as a contemporary of “Willie, Mickey, and the Duke.” Pitcher Ferguson Jenkins, who turns 74 today, won 284 games with five major league teams, with his best years coming during his time with the Chicago Cubs, where he was a three-time All Star and the NL Cy Young Award winner for 1971.
Producer Richard Zanuck (1934-2012) won an Oscar when Driving Miss Daisy won Best Picture; his credits also included Jaws, The Verdict, Cocoon, and the film version of Sweeney Todd. He was the son of famed mogul Daryl F. Zanuck, and his third wife Lili Fini Zanuck was interviewed in one of our recent Movieline posts. Van Heflin (1908-1971) won Best Supporting Actor for the gangster film Johnny Eager. He was usually a supporting player, most famously as Joe Starrett in Shane, but got some good lead roles, as in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (which was the debut film of Kirk Douglas). Robert Prosky (1930-2008) had a long stage career—audiences at the Arena Theater in Washington, DC, were particularly familiar to him—and moved into film beginning in 1981 in Michael Mann’s Thief. American audiences probably would recognize Curd Jürgens (1915-1982) as the villainous Karl Stromberg from The Spy Who Loved Me. He had a distinguished career in German film and stage, and also appeared as a German character in World War II films like The Enemy Below and The Longest Day. Larry Parks (1914-1975) was just getting established as a bit of a star, receiving a Best Actor nomination as Al Jolson in The Jolson Story, when an appearance before the House Committee on Un-American Activities led to his being blacklisted.
Alvin York (1887-1964) was one of America’s most celebrated military heroes of World War One, winning the Medal of Honor for displaying extraordinary heroism during the Meuse-Argonne campaign. In 1941, Gary Cooper starred in Sergeant York, directed by Howard Hawks, which was based on York’s life and wartime exploits; Cooper won his first Oscar for the role.
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 December 13, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Amy Lee, Christopher Plummer, Dick Van Dyke, Jamie Foxx, Richard Zanuck, Taylor Swift, Ted Nugent, Van Heflin, Wendie Malick. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.