December 15: Happy Birthday Michelle Dockery and Charlie Cox
The absence of any superstar names from today’s birthday list makes it a good day to highlight a pair of younger faces.
Michelle Dockery celebrates her 35th today. The English actress made her stage debut in Nicholas Wright’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy. She was an Olivier Award nominee for Peter Flannery’s play Burnt by the Sun, and also won accolades for her portrayal of Eliza Doolittle in Peter Hall’s 2007 production of Pygmalion. She has had roles in films like Anna Karenina and Non-Stop, and appears in the upcoming The Sense of an Ending.
But the role she is best known for, the one that has brought Dockery three Primetime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress, is playing Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey:
Charlie Cox turns 34 today. He first became known through supporting roles in the films Dot the i and The Merchant of Venice (as Lorenzo). He went on to star as Tristan Thorn in Stardust and Ian Hamilton in Stone of Destiny, and made a number of TV appearances, including one on Downton Abbey. He was seen in seasons two and three of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Currently, he stars on the Netflix series Daredevil as Matt Murdock; he will also reprise the role in the upcoming series The Defenders.
There was a time when Don Johnson, who turns 67 today, would have been a likely choice for a headliner of this article. Over a period of just over 15 years, Johnson landed a pair of plum television roles, as Sonny Crockett in Miami Vice, and several years later as the title character in Nash Bridges. After Miami Vice went off the air, Johnson had a few major film roles but could not convert his TV success to movie stardom. Since Nash Bridges was cancelled Johnson has had a much lower profile, although he has had recent roles in films like Django Unchained and The Other Woman.
Writer and director John Lee Hancock is turning 60. He is known for sports dramas like The Rookie and The Blind Side, and for historical films like The Alamo and Saving Mr. Banks. Most recently he has directed The Founder, the Ray Kroc biopic, which just opened in limited release.
Helen Slater, who once starred in a movie that was supposed to launch a franchise, turns 53 today. She also starred in films like Ruthless People and City Slickers and has done guest appearances on Smallville and Supergirl. Comedian-actor Tim Conway, who is 83, has been working a long time, and has a nice collection of Emmys, including several for work on The Carol Burnett Show in the 1970s and a more recent one for a guest appearance on 30 Rock. Stage and screen director Julie Taymor is celebrating her 64th. She won multiple Tonys for the musical The Lion King, and is also known for some innovative Shakespeare adaptations for both stage and screen, and for the infamously costly musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Melanie Chartoff, who is 66 today, has had regular or recurring roles on Fridays, Newhart, and Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, and won a Daytime Emmy for voicing Didi Pickles and Grandma Minka on Rugrats and All Grown Up! Michael Shanks, who turns 46, starred on Stargate SG-1 as Dr. Daniel Jackson for ten seasons and currently stars on the Canadian medical drama Saving Hope. Ralph Ineson is known for playing Amycus Carrow in three Harry Potter films and has been seen in the British version of The Office, Game of Thrones and Coronation Street. He is 47 today. Star Trek fans will want us to note that Garrett Wong, who played Ensign Harry Kim on Star Trek: Voyager, turns 48 today.
Rachel Brosnahan, who celebrates her 26th, was an Emmy nominee as Rachel Posner on House of Cards and has appeared in films such as Beautiful Creatures and the upcoming Patriots Day. Camilla Luddington, who is 33 today, plays Jo Wilson on Grey’s Anatomy. Adam Brody, who starred as Seth Cohen on The O. C., turns 37. Stefania Owen, who is 19 today, currently stars on the Hulu series Chance and previously had regular roles on Running Wilde and The Carrie Diaries. Emily Head (daughter of Anthony Head of Buffy fame), turns 28. She is known for her British television work on The Inbetweeners and more recently as a new addition to the cast of the long-running soap opera Emmerdale.
Music birthdays include legendary jazz bandleader Stan Kenton (1911-1979). Kenton was a two-time Grammy winner who maintained a large ensemble at a time when “big band” jazz had largely become a thing of the past. Eddie Palmieri, who turns 80, is also a Grammy-winning bandleader, in categories like Latin Jazz and Salsa. Paul Simonon, who is turning 61, has worked with a number of bands, but most will remember him as the bassist for The Clash. Cindy Birdsong, who celebrates her 77th, was a member of Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles for several years, then left to become Florence Ballard’s replacement with the Supremes.
Jeff Chandler (1918-1961) was a popular leading man of the 1950s who died prematurely of complications from surgery. He was an Oscar nominee for playing the Apache leader Cochise in Broken Arrow in 1950. Some readers will remember Cassandra Harris (1948-1991) for her connections to the James Bond films—she appeared in For Your Eyes Only, and was married to then-future Bond Pierce Brosnan for the last eleven years of her life. Gordon Douglas (1907-1993) worked as a director for nearly 40 years. He began by directing a number of Our Gang shorts—one of them, Bored of Education, won an Oscar—and then did a long list of features, mostly genre films. His filmography includes a pair of well-regarded late 1960s films with Frank Sinatra, Tony Rome and The Detective. Jack Gwillim (1909-2001) was a British naval officer for over 20 years before going into acting. He was often cast as an officer of some sort in war films like Sink the Bismarck and Patton and had a notable stage career as well.
Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923) was a French architect and civil engineer who was known for designing a certain Tower that a few of you may possible have heard of; his company was also responsible for the construction of the Tower.
Our final birthday today is one of the founding fathers of country music. A. P. Carter (1891-1960) formed a band in 1927 along with his wife Sara and sister-in-law Maybelle (a cousin of Sara’s who was married to A. P.’s brother Ezra). The group was called The Carter Family and they were soon signed to a contract with Victor Records. While A.P. may not have been as important to the group musically as Sara and Maybelle, he was their collector of material; he traveled all over Virginia finding new songs for them to record.
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 15, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged A P Carter, Cassandra Harris, Charlie Cox, helen slater, John Lee Hancock, Julie Taymor, Michelle Dockery, Rachel Brosnahan, Stan Kenton. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.