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 ClevelandJohn 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 DayLarry 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 , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. I am not a Swifty, but my kids are. Taylor Swift is pretty consistently their favorite recording artist. I can’t deny her songs are usually catchy. If you had told me back in the In Living Color Days that Jamie Foxx would one day win an Oscar, I’d have laughed at you. Who knew he had so much untapped talent? Certainly not me.

    For the second day in a row, we have a Triple Crown winner. I knew Christopher Plummer first from The Sound of Music like everyone else. I’ve seen him in several other parts since, but the one that sticks out is Star Trek VI because I am a geek. I’d seen Dick Van Dyke in a lot of things growing up, but Mary Poppins is the one I think of first.

    Steve Buscemi is always terrific. Daffy did write-ups of Boardwalk Empire here on the site for several seasons. I first saw Wendie Malick on Dream On and later on Just Shoot Me. John Davidson, I knew from That’s Incredible! The exclamation point was part of the title, not a reflection of my excitement for the show or its hosts.

    Perfect timing for a Richard Zanuck write-up so soon after the Movieline interview with his wife.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Taylor Swift’s chart success is nothing less than staggering. In the ten years since she broke out commercially, Swift currently has had 50 (!) different Top 40 singles to her name. Only a handful of artists like Elton John, The Beatles and Elvis Presley have more Top 40 hits to their name….. and Taylor Swift is just in her late 20’s and still at the peak of her career.

    Just for comparison, Elton John racked up 58 Top 40 hit singles throughout his career, but that was from 1970 to 1998. Taylor Swift has almost caught up to him in just a decade. Incredible.


  3. I’m a big Quentin Tarantino fan, and Django Unchained is one of my favorites. Co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Oscar winner Christoph Waltz arguably gained more accolades. While Jamie Foxx’s lead role isn’t as showy in the film, he absolutely delivers just the same.

    The other film of Foxx’s that I think deserves attention is Collateral. While primarily a Tom Cruise vehicle, Foxx does shine in his supporting role.


    • Yeah, I love “Django Unchained”, and I thought Foxx (along with everyone else) was fantastic there. Same with “Collateral”, which I enjoyed the heck out of.


  4. I would say foxx and cruise are both lead . It was advertised as cruise vehicle since he was bigger name since we are talking about django i know kevin costner turned it down you think his career would be better shape if he was in it


  5. I think that’s always cool when a photo of the two headliners can be used for the articles.
    I don’t know much about Taylor Swift as an artist, but she sure is popular and is very successful.
    I remember Jamie Foxx from way back on “In Living color”, a show I viewed pretty consistently (good stuff), then just sat back as his career ascended from goofy comedies (“Booty Call”, which I find mildly entertaining) to Oscar gold projects like “Ray”. I’d like to add that I really liked his small but fun role in “The Truth About Cats & Dogs”.
    My favorite Christopher Plummer role is as a thieff/killer/sadist 1978’s “Silent Partner”, but I’ve liked him in many roles, including his role of Reverend Whirley in “Dragnet”.
    Dick Van Dyke: to mention another Reverend character, he played one in 1971’s “Cold Turkey”, which I thought was an okay film. I viewed “Mary Popins” long ago and liked it. whicle I noticed that CBS was airing “The Dick Van Dyke Show” in color, which I watched for awhile. The Man’s a legend.
    My best friend watched “Dream On” all the time back in the early 1990’s, so that’s where I first knew about Wendie Malik (later, I realize she was in “Scrooged” as well). I caught “Just Shoot Me!” a few times as well, and I thought she stood out on that show (not because she’s tall either).
    Steve Buscemi, I think he’s an outstanding character actor, but he did the heavy lifting on 1996’s “Trees Lounge” and I’m fond of that film (back when those type of films are all I really viewed).
    John Davidson I know from hosting “Hollywood Squares” in the late 1980’s, which I viewed with my parents (I think Joan Rivers was the center square, and Jim J. Bullock was a fixture as a member of that panel as well. I guess he was that show’s era’s answer to Paul Lynde).


  6. Not to sound crude or perverted but does anyone have better legs than Taylor Swift? They are so long and smooth and toned.

    Taylor’s legs are especially incredible here at the 2015 Brit Awards!!! The combo of fishnets and ankle-high boots look great on her. She basically mixed in supermodel “runway walking” into her theatrics. At least she seems to know or realize to not try to do any intricate or heavy-duty choreography and “play to her strengths”!


  7. Buzzfeed: How Taylor Swift Played The Victim For A Decade And Made Her Entire Career

    Taylor Swift’s embrace of victimhood doesn’t begin and end with Kanye West – it can be traced back to the start of her decade-long career in both her music and her manipulation of the media. But until Kim Kardashian stepped in with proof, it had largely gone unnoticed.

    Last January Kanye West called Taylor Swift to ask whether she’d mind if he wrote a song in which he referenced having sex with her. After hearing the lyrics, she told him that they “didn’t matter” to her. But she had an idea.

    “If people ask me about it,” she said, her voice picking up with excitement, “I think it’d be great for me to be like, ‘Look, he called me about the line before it came out. Joke’s on you guys! We’re fine.’” Swift told West she’d be doing just that on the Grammys red carpet, weeks after the song’s release.

    It was released, however, to the public’s immediate revulsion. The lyrics were described as sexist, misogynistic, and deeply offensive, with many West fans threatening to boycott him. He attempted to explain that Swift was aware of its content, but she didn’t enact her plan. Instead Swift released a statement publicly decrying the song as “misogynistic”, claiming she’d cautioned West against releasing it.

    And at the Grammys, Swift took to the stage to accept her award for Album of the Year and made a passionate . “To all the young women out there,” Swift warned, “there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success, or take credit for your achievements.” Then, looking directly down the lens of the camera, she said: “Or your fame.” She paused for several seconds, allowing her message to percolate.

    Swift had witnessed the negative reaction to “Famous” and reverted back to a well-practiced posture: that of victim.

    Swift’s speech at the Grammys was arguably the catalyst for West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, stepping in. Three months after the awards ceremony, she told GQ that she believed the speech was a deliberate attempt to “diss” West after he’d done nothing but “follow protocol”.

    She went on to claim that not only had Swift “totally approved” the lyrics in “Famous”, but that there was also video footage to prove it. Swift’s official response to the interview concluded with the line: “Taylor cannot understand why Kanye West and now Kim Kardashian will not leave her alone.”

    Two months after the interview, we saw Kim Kardashian sitting on a plush velvet couch, talking about it with her sister Kourtney as the Keeping Up With the Kardashians cameras rolled. “You know I never talk sh** about anyone publicly, especially in interviews,”

    Kardashian told her sister. “I just felt like I wanted to defend Kanye in it.” Rolling her heavily lined eyes to the ceiling, she sighed, “It was just another way for her to play the victim. It definitely got her a lot of attention last time.”

    As soon as the episode had aired, Kardashian took to Snapchat and posted 22 consecutive clips without context or captions. But neither were needed: It was immediately clear that Kardashian had leaked the footage of the phone call between West and Swift. It’s crucial to note that it took another Caucasian woman – albeit, one with a complex history of proximity to and appropriation of black culture – to expose Swift. West could never have released this audio, because it would have been a continuation of the “threatening” position he’s occupied in their narrative – something Swift mentioned in her statement about the phone call.

    In this statement, she asked to be “excluded from the narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of since 2009.” Doing so harkened back to the moment she and West first met, at the MTV VMAs, where a young Swift clutched her award as West stormed the stage, took the microphone from her, and announced that Beyoncé should’ve won instead.

    But West wasn’t suggesting that Swift was undeserving – he was speaking out against systemic racism in the music industry, which consistently favors white artists. After the incident, West said: “It’s not about Kanye West. It’s not about Taylor Swift. There’s a lot of people in America that feel like they don’t have a platform to stand up and express their closet racism.”

    He went on to say that the MTV judging panel gave Swift the award in a bid to fill the gap of “young white pop star” left by Britney Spears in the wake of her breakdown, adding that he felt the need to “get drunk” in order to cope with “all the lies” in the ceremony.

    The dominant reaction, however, was a reflection of what the world has been conditioned to see: the “threat” of an “angry” black man terrorizing the “innocent” white woman. Even their clothes reflected the racially fueled victim/villain framework that would define the incident: The image of West, wearing dark shades and an entirely black outfit, accosting sweet Swift in her white and silver party dress, remains an iconic one.

    The fallout for West was immediate. Public opinion spiraled so drastically that even the president branded as a “figment of the white imagination”, used to incarcerate and oppress black men. For Swift, it was PR gold. The incident may not have made her famous, as the lyrics in “Famous” claim, but it certainly catapulted her into the mainstream consciousness.
    Despite saying she wants to be “excluded from the narrative”, Swift has reminded the public of this same narrative countless times in jokes and speeches. She even has a framed photograph of the moment in her Nashville home.

    In 2010 Swift wrote the song “Innocent”, in which she forgave West with the lyrics: “32 and still growing up / Who you are is not what you did / You’re still an innocent.” Swift debuted the song with a performance at the MTV VMAs, opening with a literal replaying of her run-in with West from the previous year. But the scene was edited to entirely omit West’s infamous line, and the final shot lingered on her overly pained face.

    It may seem that Swift’s posture of victim-hood is founded on her relationship with West. But it can, in fact, be trace


    • The biggest jerks in music

      Taylor Swift

      Taylor Swift has capitalized on her victimhood since West’s infamous 2009 interruption. The following year, she performed her song “Innocent,” reportedly inspired by West, barefoot at the VMAs. In her personal life, her sob story continues. She claims she wants to keep her personal life private, yet she documents her numerous relationships in her lyrics, leaving clues in her liner notes about each song’s muse. Sometimes she’s undeniably blatant, like when she called out John Mayer in “Dear John” but then called him “presumptuous” for assuming the song was referring to him. Swift has also been rumored to stage photo shoots with her beaus. There’s more: she allegedly dissed Katy Perry with her song “Bad Blood,” picked a fight with Nicki Minaj when the rapper accused the MTV VMAs of being racist in 2015, and may have given and then rescinded permission for West to use her name in his now infamous song, “Famous.”

      Professionally, Swift is savvy to the point of being shark-like. She responded to accusations of copyright infringement from a visual artist with a small sum of money (that her lawyers reportedly demanded be donated to charity) and a slew of harsh counter-accusations alleging the artist was pulling a publicity stunt. Swift’s public crusade against Apple Music’s streaming service ultimately culminated in her performing in their commercials, leading many to believe her previous statements were nothing more than a publicity stunt for the entire campaign.


  8. Keenen Ivory Wayans discusses working with Jamie Foxx – EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG


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