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 GirlMischa 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 PeaksNastassja 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 HighSharon 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 , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I am slightly more familiar with John Belushi than I am with Daniel Auteuil. 😉 Belushi was a comic hero of mine as a kid. Not that I was tremendously familiar with his work at the time. I hadn’t seen Animal House. I wasn’t staying up and watching SNL. But I had seen The Blues Brothers and select SNL sketches. I was just familiar enough with Belushi when he died that he was probably the first celebrity death that impacted me. Since then, I caught up with Animal House and all of his best SNL sketches. I’ve sat through 1941 and Neighbors (which are bad) and Continental Divide (which is not so bad). Belushi had probably peaked before he passed in 1982, but even if he never again reached the same highs I’d have liked to have seen what else he could have done had drugs not ended his life early.

    Matthew Lillard was very tied to Freddie Prinze Jr. for a while. Lillard also had a supporting role in The Descendants and we’ll be seeing him soon in a Lego Dimensions article. If you have watched a cartoon in the last 10 years, you have probably heard Phil Lamarr’s voice at some point. As a dad, I’ve heard a lot of his work. My favorite has to be Dracula on Billy and Mandy.

    I knew Ed Helms from The Daily Show. It made a certain amount of sense to see him join The Office with former Daily Show correspondent Steve Carell. The Hangover temporarily made Helms a movie star – or threatened to anyway. Vacation seemed to prove he wasn’t.

    I never watched The O.C., but I remember Mischa Barton from The Sixth Sense. Mary Lou Retton was a big deal when I was a kid in the 80’s. So was Nastassja Kinski, but for different reasons. And we have another Twin Peaks birthday. My understanding is Michael Ontkean chose not to come back for the new episodes which is a shame. Rumor has it his role will be played by Robert Forester who was Lynch’s first choice to play Sheriff Truman. I can live with that.

    Neil Diamond is a not-so-guilty pleasure. When I think of Ernest Borgnine, The Poseidon Adventure. Unfortunately when I think of Sharon Tate, I think of her grisly murder.


  2. Like what Lebeau said, I wish John Belushi would’ve had the chance to have more credits to his name. I actually think “Continental Divide” is pretty good (I heard it’s financial failure really bummed him out severely) and although “Neighbors” is terrible, I feel he makes watching it worthwhile. As a performer, I think he was something of a unicorn.
    Matthew Lillard, he was discussed on here not too long back; I liked the roles he had in his early work like “serial mom”, “Scream”, and “SLC Punk!”.
    Phil Lamarr, I first saw him in “Pulp Fiction”, but I watched a lot of “MadTv”, so I became awfully familiar with him from that show. His last name, with the two R’s, has always really stuck with me too.
    Mary Lou Retton, I remember her from when I was a kid; she was a real big deal, and on the cover of Wheaties.
    Michael Ontkean, his performance in “Slap Shot” and role on “Twin Peaks” automatically comes to mind, and I’ve seen him in other projects over the years.
    Natassja Kinski, wasn’t she roommates with Demi Moore back in the day? I liked “Paris, Texas”, but while I’m a cat person, I could never get into “Cat People”, and “Susan’s Plan” was a bad idea.
    Neil Diamond, I dig a lot of his songs: I guess my favorites would be “Cherry Cherry” (it moves me) and “America” (very motivating to me).
    Ernest Borgnine, I thought he was great in “Marty”, and liked his roles in “Escape From New York” and “Airwolf”, along with his guest role on “The Simpsons”.


    • Sharon Tate and Nastassja Kinski have another connection I’m surprised wasn’t mentioned. It seems to be quite well known that Nastassja was Polanski’s lover off and on starting when she was 15 and he was 42(!). Tess the movie he directed her in is dedicated to Sharon.

      And yes she and Demi were either rooming or living next door to each when they were very young. Here is Nastassja talking about Demi, had only good things to say:


  3. “Wired” (rant)

    Post by Mozenrath on 15 hours ago

    What a loathsome f***ing film. Chiklis does his level best, and for a fairly inexperienced actor, he actually does a fantastic job with what he’s given, but considering what he is given is a cynical, excruciatingly disrespectful film, it only goes so far. It’s like if they made a bio film of George Michael a year or two from now, and the majority of the film was contained in a public restroom. I understand that yes, we should see aspects of his life as a cautionary tale, just as we should anyone whose death comes from circumstances like that, but to try to mask it as being about him when just about the only person in the project who seemed concerned at all with treating John like a 3 dimensional person was the man playing him rings really goddamn hollow to me. It’s manipulative trash expectorated onto celluloid.

    You can handle someone’s excesses, their failures, their misdeeds, all of that, without using kid gloves, but you do not need to strip them of humanity to do so, or reduce them to a one-note caricature. John wasn’t an angel, and you could have tackled things like his misogynistic behavior towards Jane Curtin, for instance, and it’d have been fair game, but that would require the biography or film adaptation to have any shits to give about fleshing John out beyond fat jokes and drug anecdotes.

    Sorry to vent like this, it’s not even like I am a massive Belushi fan, other than enjoying Blues Brothers and all that jazz, but what I do have experience with is quite a lot of addiction in my family tree. I’ve been open about my mother’s meth addiction in the past, or my uncle’s alcoholism, and may have mentioned one of my best friends narrowly avoiding paralysis brought on in past by heroin addiction he fortunately has successfully overcome, and just, thinking about any one of them being summed up in such a narrow, contemptible way like Woodward’s book or even more with the film just makes me seethe. This is no more a bio film than The Self Destruction of Ultimate Warrior would have been if that came out after his death. The book was a slap enough in the face to his family and friends, the film worsening it with a s*** fantasy element. He has to play an angel at pinball to try to win his life back, but loses. Why don’t they just edit it to where Ted lost his various contests against death in the second Bill and Ted and just play that after his death, I’m sure that’d be in great taste. Sorry, Judith, John just sucked d*** at pinball and had to stay dead. Astonishingly poor taste.

    So yeah, how are you? :


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