January 2: Happy Birthday Todd Haynes and Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Independent filmmaker Todd Haynes turns 56 today. His first feature film, Poison, was identified as one of the defining films of the New Queer Cinema movement of the 1990s. The best-known of his first five features was Far From Heaven, a melodrama in the style of 1950s director Douglas Sirk, which brought Haynes an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. He has also directed I’m Not There, a not-biopic about Bob Dylan, and the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce, which received an astonishing 21 Primetime Emmy nominations, including three for Haynes himself in his capacities as co-producer, director and writer.
But the Haynes film that many of us will probably be most acquainted with, especially since we had some discussion of it last year around Oscar time, is his recent adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt, a film simply titled Carol:
Cuba Gooding, Jr., who is 49 today, had his first big film role in John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood (alongside Morris Chestnut from yesterday’s article). Much of his subsequent career, including his Oscar-winning performance in Jerry Maguire, other well received films such as What Dreams May Come, and also his less successful ventures, are summarized in his WTHH article. More recently, his career has revived a bit, as he received an Emmy nomination for playing none other than O. J. Simpson in the first season of American Crime Story.
Kate Bosworth, who turns 34, made her debut in The Horse Whisperer in a small role, and had a breakout performance starring in the surfing film Blue Crush. However, since then almost all her roles have been in small-budget indie films or in box office disappointments (e.g., Superman Returns); the heist movie 21 was an exception. Stage and screen actor Taye Diggs, who turns 46, has a musical theater resume highlighted by playing the landlord Benny in the original cast of Rent, a role he reprised in the 2005 film adaptation. His film debut was in How Stella Got Her Groove Back, while his best known television role was Dr. Sam Bennett on Private Practice.
Tia Carrere, who starred on the syndicated series Relic Hunter and had a famous fight scene with Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies, turns 50 today. Renée Elise Goldsberry, who is 46, won a Tony for playing Angelica Schuyler Church in Hamilton, the high point of a stage career that has included both musical theater and Shakespeare. She has also been a two-time Daytime Emmy nominee for her role on One Life to Live. Fans of Beverly Hills, 90210, will probably remember Gabrielle Carteris, who played Andrea Zuckerman; she is currently the president of SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union. Carteris is 56 today. James Marshall, who celebrates his 50th, played one of the defendants in A Few Good Men and is known to Twin Peaks fans for playing James Hurley. Joanna Pacula, who is turning 60, worked in film and theater in her native Poland for a few years, but was out of the country when the communists declared martial law in 1981 and did not return. Her English language film debut in Gorky Park was followed by roles in films like Marked for Death and Tombstone. Adam Elliott is an Australian filmmaker known for his stop-motion, clay animation short films, in particular the Oscar-winning Harvie Krumpet; Elliott turns 45 today.
Dax Shepard, who is turning 42, played Crosby Braverman on Parenthood and is the director and a star (as Jon Baker) of the upcoming movie CHiPs. English actress Lucy Davis, who is 44 today, had significant roles in The Office (British version) and Shaun of the Dead, and will play Etta Candy in Wonder Woman. Paz Vega, who is celebrating her 41st, won a Goya Award for playing the title character of Sex and Lucia and recently played Maria Callas in the French-American biopic Grace of Monaco. Shelley Hennig, who is 30, was a two-time Daytime Emmy nominee for Days of Our Lives and stars on MTV’s Teen Wolf as Malia Tate. Dustin Clare, who plays Gannicus on the Starz series Spartacus, turns 35. Ben Hardy, who played Archangel in X-Men: Apocalypse, is turning 26.
Oscar Micheaux (1884-1951) was probably the first important African-American filmmaker, directing over 40 silent and sound films, many of which are now lost. He also was a writer who published seven novels. Florence Lawrence (1886-1938) was a silent film star. Often identified as the first film actor to be publicly identified, she was known as the “Biograph Girl” because her best known films were released by Biograph Studios. Anna Lee (1913-2004) worked in British films in the 1930s, and then moved to Hollywood, where she was in several of John Ford’s films and played a nun in The Sound of Music. Dziga Vertov (1896-1954) was a Soviet documentarian; his 1929 silent documentary Man with a Movie Camera was ranked the 8th best film ever made in the 2012 Sight & Sound critics’ poll.
American singer Roger Miller (1936-1992) is remembered for mid-1960s hits like “King of the Road” and “England Swings.” He also wrote and performed several songs for the 1973 Disney animated version of Robin Hood. Sir Michael Tippett (1905-1998) was one of the most prominent English composers of the 20th century. His most important works include the oratorio A Child of Our Time and the orchestral piece Fantasia Concertante on a Theme of Corelli.
Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) was one of the “Big Three” of post-World War 2 science fiction writers, along with Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein. A very prolific author, Asimov is most famous for his Foundation series, which eventually grew to seven novels; only somewhat less well known are his Robot and Galactic Empire series. Barry Goldwater (1909-1998) was a five-term Senator from Arizona and the Republican presidential nominee in 1964; his nomination is often considered the beginning of the dominance of conservatives within the Republican Party.
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 January 2, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged cuba gooding jr, Dziga Vertov, Isaac Asimov, Joanna Pacula, Kate Bosworth, Oscar Micheaux, Paz Vega, Taye Diggs, Todd Haynes. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.