January 24: Happy Birthday Daniel Auteuil and John Belushi
Daniel Auteuil, one of the leading stars of French cinema for nearly 40 years, is turning 67 today. He is a twelve-time nominee for the Cesar Award for Best Actor, winning twice. He first won for the 1986 duology of Jean de Florette and Manon des sources; he played the central role of Ugolin Soubeyran in both films. He was then honored a second time for the 1999 romantic drama Girl on the Bridge, where he played the knife-thrower Gabor, who tries to save a suicidal young woman.
A few of Auteuil’s other notable film roles have included playing Henri of Navarre, the future Henri IV of France, in La Reine Margot, and the heroic swordmaster Lagardère in the romantic swashbuckler Le Bossu. He has also won a pair of European Film Awards for Best Actor, for the romantic drama A Heart in Winter and the psychological thriller Caché.
John Belushi (1949-1982), somewhat like our recent headliner Janis Joplin, had a very meteoric career, short but heavy on impact. He joined the Chicago-based comedy troupe Second City in the early 1970s, and in 1975 became one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live. It was on SNL that he and Dan Aykroyd developed a set of musical sketches centered around Jake and Elwood Blues, who then moved to the big screen in 1980 for the second of Belushi’s two most remembered movies, The Blues Brothers. The first of the two, from 2 years earlier, was Animal House:
And then, just like that meteor, he was gone, dead at 33 of drug intoxication when someone gave him a “speedball,” a mix of cocaine and heroin.
Matthew Lillard, who turns 47, had a major role in Scream and then played Shaggy in the two live-action Scooby-Doo films, and went on to voice the character for a wide variety if films and television productions. Phil Lamarr, who is 50, is also best known as a voice actor, with a very long filmography that includes work on Futurama, Samurai Jack, Family Guy, and much more. He also appeared on MadTV for its first five seasons. Ed Helms, who celebrates his 43rd, played Andy Bernard on the US version of The Office and Stuart Price in the Hangover films. Carrie Coon, who is turning 36, was a Tony nominee for a revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, currently stars on HBO’s The Leftovers, and had a major supporting role in Gone Girl. Mischa Barton, who appeared in films like Skipped Parts and Lost and Delirious and starred on The O.C. as Marissa Cooper, before becoming better known for her various legal and medical issues, turns 31. Mary Lou Retton, our sports birthday for today, was the first American to win the women’s all around gold medal in Olympic gymnastics in 1984. She is 49 today.
Michael Ontkean, who turns 71 today, starred on ABC’s The Rookies in the early seventies and played Sheriff Harry S. Truman on Twin Peaks. Nastassja Kinski, who is celebrating her 56th, won a Golden Globe for the 1979 film Tess, and starred in films like Cat People and Paris, Texas.
Besides Daniel Auteuil, we have three additional birthdays from French film today. Julie Dreyfus, known to American audiences from her roles in Kill Bill, Vol 1, and Inglorious Basterds, turns 51 today. Karin Viard, who is known for films such as Delicatessen, La Séparation (where she appeared with Auteuil), and her Cesar-winning performances in L’Emploi du temps and Summer Things, was born the same day as Dreyfus. Michel Serrault (1928-2007), who worked in French film for over 50 years, was known for his lead roles in La Cage aux Folles (which brought him his first of three Cesar awards) and its sequels.
Neil Diamond, who turns 76, has sold in the neighborhood of 100 million records in his career. The pop-rock singer-songwriter got his start working at the famous Brill Building in the early sixties, and wrote several songs for The Monkees. He had his first charted single, “Solitary Man,” in 1966, and was a regular presence in the Hot 100 through the early eighties. As recently as 2014, his album Melody Road reached #3 on the Billboard 200. If you are a part of Red Sox Nation, you undoubtedly know at least one of his biggest hits:
Ray Stevens, who is 78 today, won a pair of Grammys in the seventies for his recordings of “Everything is Beautiful,” which he wrote, and “Misty,” written by Erroll Garner. Warren Zevon (1947-2003) had a major hit in 1978 with “Werewolves of London,” and also wrote hits for other performers, such as Linda Ronstadt’s “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” and “Hasten Down the Wind.”
Ernest Borgnine (1917-2012) won an Oscar for Best Actor for Marty, and had major roles in films like From Here to Eternity, The Wild Bunch, and The Poseidon Adventure. On television he starred on McHale’s Navy and Airwolf and was nominated for an Emmy on ER. Director Henry King (1886-1982) won the very first Golden Globe for Best Director for The Song of Bernadette, and directed films like Jesse James, The Black Swan, and Twelve O’Clock High. Sharon Tate (1943-1969) was a Golden Globe nominee for Valley of the Dolls, but was more famous as a murder victim, one of the people killed in the Manson Family’s 1969 rampage.
We’ll end today with a king, an emperor, and a pair of novelists. King Frederick II of Prussia, often known as Frederick the Great (1712-1786), is considered to have been one of the greatest military commanders of all time. His successes in the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years’ War established Prussia as one of Europe’s great powers. The Roman emperor Hadrian (76-138) quite literally left his mark on the world, in the form of Hadrian’s Wall, a fortification protecting Roman Britain from the Picts to the north. A significant part of the wall still stands today (the Romans built things to last). American novelist Edith Wharton (1862-1937) is remembered for authoring works like the Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Age of Innocence and the short novel Ethan Frome. Austrian writer Vicki Baum (1888-1960) wrote the novel Menschen im Hotel, the source for the classic 1932 movie Grand Hotel and the 1989 musical of the same title.
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 24, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Carrie Coon, Daniel Auteuil, Ernest Borgnine, John Belushi, Karen Viard, Mary Lou Retton, Matthew Lillard, Mischa Barton, Neil Diamond. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.