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 TombstoneAdam 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 WomanPaz 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 MonacoShelley 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 MusicDziga 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 HoodSir 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 , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. We had a Movieline interview with Todd Haynes from very early in his career. Here’s a link for those who may be interested.

    If you check out the Cuba Gooding Jr WTHH article, it may be more robust than you remember from the first reading. One of my goals for the year is to update a lot of the older articles. Back in mid-December I started working on Gooding’s article since he was the first WTHH birthday of the year. I had hoped to unveil a completely updated article today, but sadly I’m only about half way done. Even updating these articles is incredibly time intensive! Later this month, I will repost the article when all the updates are done. Throughout the year, I will be going back and polishing WTHH.

    As for Gooding himself, he seems to have recovered from his direct-to-video low point. It’s been good to see him getting more TV work.

    James Marshall actually figures prominently in the Gooding article. Marshall and Gooding both starred in the forgotten boxing movie Gladiator and had small supporting roles in A Few Good Men. Marshall disappeared soon after, but will be resurfacing in the Twin Peaks reunion which will be covered here at Le Blog because that show I liked is coming back in style.

    Kate Bosworth was an “It” girl for a hot second. Superman Returns really killed her momentum. She was badly miscast, but I will argue that her character was so poorly written that few actors could have made her sympathetic. Post Wayne’s World, it seemed like Tia Carrere might have a bright future, but she peeked with True Lies.

    I wasn’t a 90210 watcher, but I knew Gabrielle Carteris was much, much older than the character she played. My wife used to watch a lot of Lifetime movies and Carteris was in about half of them.

    Dax Shepard somehow married Kristen Bell. Is anyone else as surprised by this as I am? I did not know Lucy Davis was going to be in Wonder Woman. That works.

    According to my FB feed, today is National Science Fiction Day in honor of Isaac Asimov’s birthday.



      Why Kate Bosworth’s became T’town’s public enemy number one!

      Five years ago Kate Bosworthhad Hollywood at her feet – she was dating Brit heartthrob Orlando Bloom and her movie career was about to go stellar, thanks to her promising box office debut playing a surfer girl in teen hit Blue Crush. Fast forward to 2010 and the 27-year-old is now regarded as one of the most unpopular actresses in Hollywood amongst her peers, and her career has plateaued, thanks to a series of hook-ups with attached men and reports of her bad attitude.

      Ahlan! wonders where it all went wrong…

      The cheat scandals

      When Orlando dumped Kate in 2006 amid rumors that she had cheated on him with model James Rousseau (who she went on to date for three years), it sparked a succession of bad relationship choices which have seen her ping from one famous man to the next with disastrous consequences.

      The actress was said to have made a play for her 21 co-star Jim Sturgess, despite the fact that he had a long-term girlfriend at the time, with a source spilling, “Kate’s been majorly flirting with Jim in-between takes. She’s pretty shameless. She uses any excuse to touch him, stroking his arm and playing with his hair. Jim’s been lapping up the attention, but he’s made it clear he’s attached.”

      And she also stands accused of stealing her current man Alexander Skarsgard from his True Blood co-star Evan Rachel Wood, after pursuing him on the set of their upcoming flick Straw Dogs.

      “Kate made it very obvious she wanted more from their relationship,” said a set insider. “It looked like she couldn’t care less if he was attached or not.”

      Making a play for Chris

      But it was a rumored dalliance with Gwyneth Paltrow’s husband Chris Martin earlier this year that cemented her ‘man-stealer,’ rep after it was claimed she spent two nights with the singer.

      “Chris is totally Kate’s type; she loves the Brits like Orlando and James Rousseau,” said a pal. While an onlooker at a U2 gig the pair attended blabbed, “There was Chris totally making out with Kate in front of other people. At first I thought it might be Gwyneth, but when she came up for air, it was clear the woman was Kate!”

      Out of the girl gang

      Kate is now persona non grata among Hollywood’s in-crowd – a point that was clearly demonstrated at the recent Costume Institute Gala Ball in New York when she was forced to walk the red carpet alone after her former friends Kate Hudson, Stella McCartney and Liv Tyler declared themselves ‘Team Gwynnie’ and refused to be snapped with her.

      And the actress is doing little to get back into favor, developing a diva rep for her nasty attitude. As one Hollywood party goer who met the actress recently spilled, “She was wearing very tight jeans, revealing the fact that her legs were the same size as her pinky.” Adding, “She looked miserable, especially noted from the look of death she was giving to anyone who looked in her direction.”

      Alienating co-stars

      Kate’s bad attitude hasn’t gone unnoticed by her co-stars and it’s widely acknowledged in Hollywood circles that the star is difficult to work with. Kate reportedly clashed with Win A Date With Tad Hamilton co-star Ginnifer Goodwin – who counts power players Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Aniston amongst her close pals – with an insider revealing, “Ginnifer was funny and sexy and charmed the pants of the entire crew. But Kate was the complete opposite – uptight and guarded.”

      As one casting agent noted, “There’s an old saying in Hollywood, ‘Be nice to people on the way up, because you’re sure going to meet them on the way down.’ Kate should really have listened to that advice.”


  2. As a bit of bonus content, here’s a sampling of Roger Miller’s music from the Disney Robin Hood animated film.


  3. Time for me to hunt down a can of Pepsi ONE, because it’s Cuba Gooding Jr.’s birthday!
    Kate Bosworth never really moved the needle for me in any kind of way, but I thought she was fine in 2003’s “Wonderland” (yet I thought Lisa Kudrow left more of an impression on me in that film).
    Taye Diggs, it’s been awhile since I thought about him, but I’ve enjoyed his work in the past.
    Tia Carrere, I remember her best from the “Wayne’s World films and “True Lies”, but I did catch an episode of “Relic Hunter” once and liked her song from the “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm” film, “I’ve Never Even Told You”.
    Gabrielle Carteris, yeah I remember her from 90210 as Andrea: she worked at the school paper and had a crush on Brandon.
    Joanna Pacula: I’m a fan of “Gorky Park”; I need to get that film on DVD.
    Dax Shepperd: I like him in 2006’s “Let’s Go To Prison” (“you gotta move this, come on and move this”). Well, looks like it’s 20 years to life with Technotronic for me again.


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