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February 9: Happy Birthday Mia Farrow and Carole King

0209farrowking

Mia Farrow turns 72 today.  The daughter of director John Farrow and actress Maureen O’Sullivan, she first became known for starring on the first two seasons of the prime-time soap opera Peyton Place, and then as the star of the horror classic Rosemary’s Baby, for which she was a Golden Globe nominee.  During the seventies she starred in films such as Follow Me!, The Great Gatsby (as Daisy Buchanan), and Death on the Nile.

In 1979, Farrow began a relationship with Woody Allen, and starred or co-starred in all of Allen’s films from 1982-1992.  During her years as Allen’s “muse,” she was nominated for Golden Globes for Broadway Danny Rose, The Purple Rose of Cairo, and Alice, and for BAFTA Awards for The Purple Rose of Cairo and Hannah and Her Sisters.

Since the early 1990s Farrow has scaled back her film career to some degree.  In recent years she has appeared in Luc Besson’s Arthur and the Invisibles, and a pair of sequels.  She has worked on stage throughout her career—she was the first American actress to join the Royal Shakespeare Company in the early 1970s—and recently starred on Broadway in a revival of A. R. Gurney’s Love Letters.  If you’re interested in the parts of her life that are tabloid fodder, surely you can find out about them on your own. 🙂

Singer-songwriter Carole King turns 75 today.  She began learning piano at the age of four and as a teen was friends with Paul Simon and Neil Sedaka.  She dropped out of Queens College when she married Gerry Goffin, and the two began writing songs together.  In 1961, The Shirelles had a #1 hit with King and Goffin’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” the first of a total of 118 songs that King wrote or co-wrote which reached the Hot 100.  A few—just a few—of King and Goffin’s other hits during the 1960s included “Up on the Roof” for The Drifters, “Pleasant Valley Sunday” for The Monkees, “One Fine Day” for The Chiffons, and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” for Aretha Franklin.

By the end of the sixties King and Goffin were divorced and their songwriting partnership ended.  King had made previous efforts to build her own recording career, but she made it big at the beginning of the seventies.  Her 1971 album Tapestry was a huge hit, holding the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 for 15 weeks.  One track, “You’ve Got a Friend,” became a #1 hit for her friend James Taylor, while another was a #1 hit for King herself:

Tapestry and its contents won King four Grammys, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year.  Although she never matched that level of success again, her next five albums all reached at least #6 on the Billboard 200.  She has continued to write, record and tour ever since.  In 2014, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, opened on Broadway; Jessie Mueller won a Tony for her portrayal of King.

Many people surely know Tom Hiddleston, who turns 36, as Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  He is also a talented stage actor who has won an Olivier Award, a two-time Emmy nominee for the AMC/BBC limited series The Night Manager, and has had prominent roles in films like The Deep Blue Sea, Crimson Peak, and I Saw the LightZhang Ziyi, who is 38 today, became known worldwide for her role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  She has starred in several of Zhang Yimou’s films, such as Hero and House of Flying Daggers, and received critical acclaim for films like Memoirs of a Geisha and Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster.

Irish character actor Ciaran Hinds celebrates his 64th today.  He has appeared in a wide variety of films, such as The Weight of Water, Road to Perdition, Munich, and as a voice actor in Frozen.  He played Mance Rayder on Game of Thrones and will appear as Steppenwolf in Justice LeagueJoe Pesci, who is 74, was a busy character actor of the eighties and nineties, known best for his trio of films with Martin Scorsese, Raging Bull (for which he was Oscar-nominated), Goodfellas, and Casino.  He also played comic relief character Leo Getz in the three Lethal Weapon sequels.  Judith Light, who is turning 68, is a two-time Tony winner for the plays Other Desert Cities and The Assembled Parties, and has been an Emmy nominee for Ugly Betty and Transparent.  Country singer and songwriter Travis Tritt turns 54.  He is a two-time Grammy winner and has had five #1 Country singles.

Rose Leslie, known for her roles as Ygritte on Game of Thrones and Gwen Dawson on Downton Abbey, turns 30 today.  Also turning 30 is Michael B. Jordan, who played the Human Torch in the 2015 Fantastic Four reboot and Adonis Creed in CreedAvan Jogia, who celebrates his 25th, is known for starring on ABC’s Twisted and for his role on Nickelodeon’s Victorious.  Model turned actress Amber Valletta, who appeared in films like Hitch and The Spy Next Door, turns 43.  Heidi Moneymaker, who turns 39, is a former competitive gymnast and a stuntwoman who has appeared in a lot of major action films, most notably doubling Scarlett Johansson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Writer and director Rawson Marshall Thurber, who is 42 today, has directed Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, We’re the Millers, and Central IntelligenceCharlie Day, who celebrates his 41st, is the star of, and a writer for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and played Dale Arbus in the Horrible Bosses films.

Brian Donlevy (1901-1972) was a busy character actor during the late thirties and forties.  He was an Oscar nominee for Beau Geste and got a rare lead role as Dan McGinty in The Great McGintyKathryn Grayson (1922-2010) was a classically trained soprano who starred in several MGM musicals of the forties and fifties, including Anchors Aweigh, Show Boat (as Magnolia), and Kiss Me KateCarmen Miranda (1909-1955) was a Brazilian singer and actress who appeared in a number of films of the 1940s, and is remembered for the fruit hats she wore in films such as The Gang’s All Here.

English actor Ronald Colman (1891-1958) was a three-time Oscar nominee, winning Best Actor for A Double Life.  A popular leading man of the thirties and forties, he starred in literary adaptations such as A Tale of Two Cities and Lost Horizon, and in the romantic comedy The Talk of the Town.  Although he wasn’t usually considered an action hero, he also starred in the best film adaptation of The Prisoner of Zenda, which was originally a novel by Anthony Hope (1863-1933).  Hope was a prolific author of popular fiction, especially adventure novels, but it is largely in film adaptations of The Prisoner of Zenda that he is remembered today.

Alice Walker is 73 today.  She won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her best-known novel, The Color Purple (adapted to film by Steven Spielberg).  South African novelist J. M. Coetzee, the 2003 Nobel Prize winner in Literature, turns 77.  He is the author of novels such as Life & Times of Michael K and DisgraceBrendan Behan (1923-1964) was one of Ireland’s greatest 20th century writers, known for plays like The Quare Fellow and An Giall, and his novel Borstal BoyThomas Paine (1737-1809) was a writer and activist who was involved in the American and French Revolutions, and is remembered for his 1776 pamphlet Common Sense, which was extremely influential in popularizing the idea of rebellion among the American colonists.

William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) became famous in 1811 when he won the Battle of Tippecanoe against Tecumseh’s Confederacy and for his role in the War of 1812.  He eventually turned that fame into a successful campaign for office, and was elected the 9th President of the US—and the one with the shortest tenure in the office, only 31 days.

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.

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Posted on February 9, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. My appreciate of Mia Farrow comes largely via the movies she made with Woody Allen. Farrow was very good in a lot of those movies, but it took me a while to stop missing Diane Keaton. You allude to the fact that Farrow’s relationship with Allen ended badly. We’re still dealing with the fallout of that in the form of tabloid news. Outside of Woody Allen movies, the first role to come to mind when I think of Farrow is of course Rosemary’s Baby. That film’s director made some tabloid headlines as well I believe.

    Growing up in the 70’s, I did hear a lot of Carole King as a kid.

    Tom Hiddleston as Loki is hands-down the best villain in the Marvel cinematic universe.

    Most of us probably think of Joe Pesci from Goodfellas. He helped lighten the Lethal Weapon franchise which I believe was key to its longevity. And of course he got to be the leading man in My Cousin Vinny.

    I watched Judith Light for years on Who’s The Boss. Rose Leslie was terrific on Game of Thrones. Too bad how her story ended, but I guess that’s how the show works. Michael B. Jordan is an immensely likable actor. Too bad about Fantastic Four.

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  2. I have enjoyed several of Mia Farrow’s films with Woody Allen. I also like her performance in Death on the Nile as Jackie de Bellefort.

    Rose Leslie is a lovely young lady and I am hoping there will be something at least medium-big in her future.

    Brian Donlevy was one of those reliable supporting players who kept the industry going in the studio era. Another of his films that I like is the 1942 version of The Glass Key with Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake.

    It was an interesting coincidence for Ronald Colman and Anthony Hope to have the same birthday. The 1937 version of The Prisoner of Zenda is one of the greatest romantic swashbucklers ever. Colman is great in the dual lead role, Madeleine Carroll is radiant as his princess, plus you have C. Aubrey Smith at his C. Aubrey Smithiest, a young David Niven, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., nearly stealing the whole movie as Rupert of Hentzau.

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  3. I don’t know about Mia Farrow’s Broadway work, but I’m sure it was top notch; I thought she was outstanding in “The Great Gatsby”.
    Carole King, I really like the song “One Fine Day”; it’s been covered a lot, but I see that as her song. It’s such a cheerful song. On the opposite side of the ledger, there’s “It’s Too Late”, and I can relate to those three words.
    George Carlin once joked that he doesn’t pray to God, he prays to Joe Pesci, since he looks like a guy who could get things done. Well, I guess he never saw “The Super”. Anyway, my favorite Pesci film that isn’t ensemble is 1994’s “With Honors”, since I found his character relatable (you could say the film itself is a bad “Good Will hunting”).
    Judith Light, oh, I remember “Who’s The boss?”, and she’s done some strong dramatic work on TV overall.
    Michael B. Jordan, the scoring champ of Hollywood. I think he’s solid (I actually remember him from 2001’s “Hardball”), but I had no idea he was 30.
    Too bad about William Henry Harrison, talk about a short stint in Presidential office. Then again, it was his fault; don’t make such a long freaking speech in cold weather!

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  4. The Real Reason We Don’t Hear from Joe Pesci Anymore

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    • I learned awhile ago that Joe Pesci retired from acting in 1999, but has on occasion made film reappearances (I thought 2010’s “Love Ranch” was decent, and follows the true story relatively well).

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