January 18: Happy Birthday Mark Rylance and Cary Grant
Mark Rylance, who is celebrating his 57th today, is the newest of England’s long line of “theatrical knights.” He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and began performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1982. During his stage career, he has worked extensively on both the West End and Broadway. He has won two Olivier Awards, as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing and in the lead role in Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem. To go with them, he has three Tonys, one for Jerusalem, one for a revival of Marc Camoletti’s Boeing-Boeing, and one for playing Olivia in an all-male performance of Twelfth Night. He served for 10 years as the artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe.
Rylance’s first major film role was as Ferdinand in Peter Greenaway’s Prospero’s Books, a very loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. He has won two BAFTA Television Awards for Best Actor, for the 2005 TV movie The Government Inspector, and for the 2015 miniseries Wolf Hall, adapted from historical novels by Hilary Mantel, in which he plays the lead role of Thomas Cromwell. The latter role brought him nominations for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe. Last year, Rylance won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Bridge of Spies.
Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant.
~Cary Grant 🙂
Cary Grant (1904-1986) was named by the American Film Institute as the second greatest male star of Hollywood’s Golden Age (behind Humphrey Bogart). He began working in vaudeville in his teens and toured both in England and the US, and also began doing some theater. He signed a contract with Paramount in 1931 and first drew real notice starring opposite Mae West in She Done Him Wrong and I’m No Angel.
Grant’s career hit a few rough patches in the mid-thirties, but as the decade progressed he proved to be an ideal leading man for the screwball comedies of the era. He starred in films like Holiday, The Awful Truth, The Philadelphia Story, and perhaps best of all, a pair of brilliant films directed by Howard Hawks, Bringing Up Baby, followed by His Girl Friday:
At the same time, Grant began moving beyond purely comic films. Gunga Din and, even more so, Only Angels Have Wings (with Hawks again) showed that he could handle lead roles in action-adventure films. Penny Serenade and None but the Lonely Heart, both of which brought him Oscar nominations, demonstrated his aptitude for drama. He remained a major leading man until he retired in the mid-sixties; in addition to his films with Hawks, he worked very successfully with Alfred Hitchcock on films such as Notorious and North by Northwest.
Kevin Costner is today’s WTHH subject birthday; he turns 62. Since the 2011 date of his WTHH article, he has won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries for Hatfields & McCoys. His major films include Man of Steel, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and Criminal. Takeshi Kitano, also known as Beat Takeshi, turns 70 today. Like Costner, he is prominent as both an actor and a director. He has been acting in Japanese film since the late sixties and directed for the first time in 1989. Some of his most important films include Sonatine, Hana-bi, and Zatoichi.
English filmmaker John Boorman turns 84 today. At different times a producer, director and writer, he received Best Picture and Best Director nominations for both Deliverance and Hope and Glory, and added a Best Original Screenplay nomination for the latter. His filmography also includes Point Blank and Excalibur. Paul Freeman, who celebrates his 74th, has worked in film and television for fifty years, and will always be remembered as Indiana Jones’ adversary, Rene Belloq, from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Pro wrestler turned actor Dave Bautista, who has had significant roles in Guardians of the Galaxy and Spectre, is turning 48. Also turning 48 is Jesse L. Martin, who originated the role of Tom Collins in Rent, reprised the role in the film, and is currently a regular as Det. Joe West on The Flash. Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie, turns 55 today. Writer and director David Ayer, who turns 48, has done films such as the gritty police procedural End of Watch, the World War 2 film Fury, and the comic book adaptation Suicide Squad.
Jason Segel, who has starred in films like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Muppets and was a regular on How I Met Your Mother, turns 37 today. Antje Traue, known to many American viewers for playing Faora in Man of Steel, turns 36. She is a rising star of German film. Devin Kelley, who turns 31, is currently a regular on The CW’s Frequency and has had regular roles on The Chicago Code and Resurrection. Singer-actress Samantha Mumba, who starred in films like The Time Machine and Boy Eats Girl, and had a #4 hit with “Gotta Tell You,” turns 34. Zane Holtz, who is 30 today, plays Richie Gecko on From Dusk till Dawn: The Series.
Tennis star Angelique Kerber, currently the top-ranked women’s singles player in the world, turns 29 today. Reaching the #1 ranking capped a terrific 2016 for Kerber, who won her first Grand Slam titles, the Australian Open and the US Open. Hockey great Mark Messier, who is the only player in NHL history to captain two different teams to Stanley Cup victories (the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers), turns 56 today. Curt Flood (1938-1997) was a very good baseball player, but was more famous for his off-the-field activities. Specifically, for his legal challenge to baseball’s reserve clause, which went all the way to the US Supreme Court. Although he lost, the case did spur baseball players to organize to try, and eventually succeed, at ending the reserve clause through other means.
The multi-talented Danny Kaye (1911-1987) did so many things in his career that there’s only time to mention a few high points here. He was a popular singer, with some of his most successful recordings teaming him with the Andrews Sisters. He did vaudeville and acted on Broadway, for instance in the Kurt Weill/Ira Gershwin musical Lady in the Dark. And he did films (often with substantial musical elements), including one of my favorites, The Court Jester.
A. A. Milne (1882-1956) wrote a lot of literature for adults, including 18 plays and 3 novels, but he lives on almost entirely in his children’s literature—two poetry collections, and two collections of short stories about a bear named Winnie the Pooh and his friends. Daniel Webster (1782-1852) was known for his facility with the spoken, rather than written, word. A long-time Senator from Massachusetts in 19th Century America, he was famous for his oratory on the Senate floor and also as an advocate before the Supreme Court of the US.
Our big music birthday today is David Ruffin (1941-1991), best known for his years as a lead singer with The Temptations during their “Classic Five” era, during which he provided lead vocals on hits like “My Girl.” Oliver Hardy (1892-1957) was one of the great names in film comedy, known for the 106 short films and features he made with Stan Laurel between 1921 and 1951.
Sir Thomas Sopwith (1888-1989) was a pioneering aviator who founded the Sopwith Aircraft Company in 1912. The company made over 18,000 military aircraft during World War One, including nearly 6,000 of the famous Sopwith Camel. Sources disagree as to whether one of them was ever piloted by a beagle. Ray Dolby (1933-2013) was an American audio engineer, the inventor of the noise reduction systems for audiotape that collectively go under the label of Dolby NR, and the founder of the Dolby Laboratories.
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 18, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Antje Traue, Cary Grant, Danny Kaye, Dave Bautista, John Boorman, Kevin Costner, Mark Rylance, Oliver Hardy, Takeshi Kitano. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.