December 23: Happy Birthday Eddie Vedder and Corey Haim
Today is probably the lightest day for celebrity birthdays since I began contributing to this series back at the beginning of August.
Eddie Vedder is celebrating his 52nd birthday today. Vedder is best known as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of a grunge rock band that started out calling themselves Mookie Blaylock, but quickly took the new name Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam was one of the most successful bands of the 1990s, with six straight studio albums reaching #1 or #2 on the Billboard 200 chart. Their singles did not sell as well, but one did win a Grammy; appropriately, it was for Best Hard Rock Performance:
Vedder has also done some solo work. His first solo album was the soundtrack for the film Into the Wild; the song “Guaranteed” from that album brought Vedder a Golden Globe for Best Original Song. His second solo album, Ukulele Songs, reached #4 on the Billboard 200.
If you followed teen-oriented movies in the late 1980s even a little, you knew who Corey Haim (1971-2010) was. Following his breakout performance in the teen romance Lucas, he went on to star in films such as The Lost Boys, License to Drive, Watchers, and Dream a Little Dream, often with the other half of “the Two Coreys,” Corey Feldman. But even as he was becoming a big teen heartthrob, he was descending into substance abuse that he would battle for most of the rest of his life. The years of drug abuse may not have directly caused his death in 2010, but they pretty clearly sank his career.
Harry Shearer turns 73 today. He is best known for his voice work for The Simpsons—he supplies the voices for over a dozen characters and has won a Primetime Emmy for doing so—and for his projects with Christopher Guest and Michael McKean, which include the movie This is Spinal Tap and also Guest’s mockumentaries. Susan Lucci, who turns 70, is always going to be remembered for her run of over 40 years on daytime television, playing Erica Kane on All My Children. She was nominated for a Daytime Emmy over 20 times, winning in 1999.
Carla Bruni, who celebrates her 49th, is a model-turned-singer and songwriter. Her four albums have sold well in Europe, especially France and Italy; No Promises, the second, sets poems by Emily Dickinson, William Butler Yeats, and other English and American writers to music. Alison Sudol, who turns 32, is an American actress and singer. She currently can be seen in a major role in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. She records as A Fine Frenzy, and her most successful album is an indie rock collection called Bomb in a Birdcage. Jess Harnell is a hard-working voice actor; he is best known as the voice of Wakko Warner on Animaniacs. He turns 53 today. Hungarian-born director Peter Medak turns 79. He has made a number of British and American films, including The Ruling Class, Zorro, the Gay Blade, The Krays, and Romeo is Bleeding.
Sports birthdays include Jim Harbaugh, who turns 53. A star quarterback at the University of Michigan, he played for over a decade in the NFL and then went into coaching. He has been a head coach in both the college and pro ranks and is currently back coaching at his alma mater. Paul Hornung, who is 81 today, won the Heisman Trophy as college football’s outstanding player; he is the only player from a losing team (Notre Dame was 2-8 when he won) to win the Heisman. He then spent a decade starring for the Green Bay Packers, making two Pro Bowls and leading the Pack to 4 NFL championships and victory in the first Super Bowl.
American character actor James Gregory (1911-2002) is remembered for roles like Sen. John Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate, and as Inspector Frank Luger on Barney Miller. Character actor Eric Blore (1887-1959) was kept busy in the 1930s and ’40s. He appeared in several of the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musicals, did a couple of Preston Sturges’ classic comedies, and played Jamison the butler in a series of Columbia programmers about a former jewel thief turned PI called the Lone Wolf. Kane Richmond (1906-1973) was a familiar face to Saturday matinee audiences of the 1930s and ’40s. He starred in several movie serials, such as Spy Smasher and Haunted Harbor, and in programmers like a trio of films for Monogram where he played the pulp detective The Shadow.
John Cromwell (1887-1979) was a successful stage director who also worked for several years in Hollywood. His biggest films as a director include Of Human Bondage with Bette Davis, the swashbuckler classic The Prisoner of Zenda, Hedy Lamarr’s Hollywood debut in Algiers, and a pair of film noir thrillers, Dead Reckoning and The Racket. He was blacklisted for much of the 1950s, made a few pictures when he was removed from the list, and worked in theater for much of the rest of his life.
Jazz musician Chet Baker (1929-1988) was a prominent vocalist and soloist on the trumpet and flugelhorn. His most famous composition may have been “Chetty’s Lullaby.” He was played by Ethan Hawke in a recent biopic titled Born to Be Blue. Author and university professor Norman Maclean (1902-1990) is the author of the short novel A River Runs Through It, adapted into the 1992 film directed by Robert Redford. Rayner Unwin (1925-2000) was a British publisher, chairman of his family firm George Allen & Unwin for many years, but his biggest cultural contribution came at the age of 10, when he gave a favorable review to a novel that persuaded his father Stanley, then in charge of the company, to publish it. The book—The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien.
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 23, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Alison Sudol, Carla Bruni, Chet Baker, Corey Haim, Eddie Vedder, Harry Shearer, John Cromwell, Susan Lucci. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.