December 27: Happy Birthday Gerard Depardieu and Marlene Dietrich
Gérard Depardieu turns 68 today. He has been acting for nearly fifty years, and his extensive filmography includes over 200 film and television credits. He has been nominated for a record 17 Cesar Awards for Best Actor, winning twice. His first Cesar, in 1980, was for Francois Truffaut’s The Last Metro, and kicked off what was probably his most successful period in French film. In the mid-1980s he starred in Claude Berri’s Jean de Florette, and he capped the decade by winning his second Cesar, for the title role in Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, a performance that also brought Depardieu his one Oscar nomination.
Starting in 1990, Depardieu has worked steadily in American film as well. He made his Hollywood debut in Peter Weir’s Green Card and won a Golden Globe for Best Actor. He has played Christopher Columbus in Ridley Scott’s 1492, starred in a remake of his French film My Father the Hero, played Porthos in The Man With the Iron Mask, and more recently appeared in Ang Lee’s Life of Pi.
Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992) began acting in German and Austrian film and theater in the 1920s. Her 1930 film The Blue Angel was co-produced by Paramount, and when it was successful they brought Dietrich to Hollywood to be their “answer” to MGM’s Greta Garbo. Her first Hollywood film, Morocco, brought her an Oscar nomination (her only one), and she had major successes in Shanghai Express, The Song of Songs, and The Scarlet Empress. She hit a dry patch in the mid-1930s, but revived her career when she starred opposite James Stewart in Destry Rides Again in 1939:
While Dietrich never quite recovered her early-1930s level of stardom, she continued making major movies through the early 1960s; notable ones included A Foreign Affair, Rancho Notorious, and Touch of Evil. Beginning in the early 1950s, she also had a very successful career as a cabaret singer, giving concerts all over the world for over two decades. The AFI named her the 9th greatest female star of Golden Age Hollywood.
Emilie de Ravin, who is 35 today, played Claire Littleton on Lost and appeared in Rian Johnson’s debut film, Brick; she is currently a regular on Once Upon a Time. Elizabeth Rodriguez, who celebrates her 36th, was a regular in the first season of Fear the Walking Dead, and plays Aleida Diaz, who is now a regular character on Orange is the New Black after being a recurring role for seasons 1-3. Olivia Cooke is developing a bit of a scream queen rep, with her regular role on A&E’s Bates Motel and major roles in horror films like The Quiet Ones and Ouija. She turns 23 today. Chloe Bridges, who is 25, was a regular on The Carrie Diaries and had a supporting role in The Final Girls. Hayley Williams, lead singer of the rock band Paramore, turns 28; she won a Grammy for Best Rock Song for the Top Ten single “Ain’t It Fun.”
Former Bond Girl Maryam d’Abo turns 56 today; she was Kara Milovy in The Living Daylights. We have a bit of content here about Bond Girls and about the d’Abo family. Ian Gomez, who currently is seen in the recurring role of Snapper Carr on Supergirl, is 52 today. He has had regular roles on shows like Felicity and Cougar Town. Salman Khan, known as “the Tiger of Bollywood” and other nicknames, is 51 today. The two-time Filmfare award winner is one of the most successful actors in Indian cinema. Gaspar Noé, who is turning 53, is an Argentine-born director who lives and works in France. He is known for a quartet of art-house films that have won a lot of film festival awards—Irréversible, which starred Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel, may be the best known. Sarah Vowell, who turns 47, is known for her decade-plus as a contributor to the public radio show This American Life, for her seven books on American cultural history, and for voicing Violet Parr in The Incredibles. Actor and director Joe Mantello is 54 today. He is a two-time Tony winner for directing the play Take Me Out and the musical Assassins. Stage director Marianne Elliott turns 50. She has won an Olivier Award and two Tony Awards for directing.
Tovah Feldshuh, who is 63 today, may be known these days as Deanna Monroe on The Walking Dead, but she has had a long and fairly distinguished career. She received the first of four Tony nominations for playing the title character in the original Broadway production of Yentl, and she is also a two-time Emmy nominee, most recently for her recurring role of Danielle Melnick on Law & Order.
John Amos, best known for starring on the first two seasons of the 1970s sitcom Good Times and for his Emmy-nominated performance as the older Kunta Kinte in Roots, turns 77 today. French actor Michel Piccoli, who turns 92, has worked in European cinema for around 60 years, and with almost every major French director during that period; he has made a few Hollywood films like Atlantic City and Hitchcock’s Topaz. Lenny Kaye, the longtime guitarist with the Patti Smith Group, turns 70 today.
Sydney Greenstreet (1879-1954) spent several decades acting in theater in American and Britain before compiling a memorable film record in the 1940s. His film debut was as Kasper Gutman, the Fat Man, in The Maltese Falcon, where he played opposite Humphrey Bogart and Elisha Cook, Jr., among others. The role brought Greenstreet a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Greenstreet and another of his Maltese Falcon costars, Peter Lorre, made nine films together. Musician and actor Arthur Levant (1906-1972) is best know for his long run on the radio quiz show Information Please, and for his supporting roles in musicals like An American in Paris and The Band Wagon. The late Charmian Carr (1942-2016) had only two films to her credit; however, one of those roles was Liesl von Trapp, the eldest daughter in The Sound of Music, so she remained a little bit famous after leaving the entertainment business for a career as an interior designer. These days, Cliff Arquette (1905-1974) is known for his famous acting descendants, but fans of 1950s radio and television, or of the first decade of Hollywood Squares, remember him as “Charley Weaver.”
Anna Russell (1911-2006) was an English singer, actor and comedian. She had a “straight” theater and opera career, but her fame came from her comedy concerts where she would do routines like “How to Write Your Own Gilbert and Sullivan Opera” and, most famously, her “commentary” on Richard Wagner’s Ring operas.
Yes, I know it’s a long video. Set some time aside and watch it anyway. 🙂
Our final birthday today is Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), a French chemist, microbiologist and benefactor of mankind. He is famous for his development of vaccines for rabies and anthrax, for his research that supported the germ theory of disease, and for his development of the method of pasteurization to kill bacteria in milk, wine and other beverages and prevent them from spoiling.
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 27, 2016, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Anna Russell, Emilie de Ravin, Gerard Depardieu, Hayley Williams, Joe Mantello, John Amos, Marlene Dietrich, maryam d'abo, Sydney Greenstreet. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.