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February 13: Happy Birthday Stockard Channing and Peter Gabriel

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Screen and stage star Stockard Channing, who is 73 today, has received over twenty nominations for major acting awards (Emmy, Tony, Oscar, Golden Globe) in her career.  She began working in theater in the late sixties and made her Broadway debut in 1971.  She also began working in film at about that time, receiving a Golden Globe nomination for Best Acting Debut for The Fortune, and becoming well-known when she played Betty Rizzo in the film version of the musical Grease.

Following Grease, Channing starred in two short-lived TV series.  During the eighties, her theater career bloomed; she won a Tony for starring in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and was nominated for two more, including one for John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation.  When the play was adapted to film in 1993, Channing reprised her role of Ouisa Kittredge and received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.

In the last 20 years plus, Channing has appeared in films such as To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, Moll Flanders, and The Business of Strangers.  Her stage work has ranged from Pal Joey to The Lion in Winter (both of which brought her Tony nominations).  On television, she was a six-time Emmy nominee as Abbey Bartlett on The West Wing, winning Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2002, the same year she won another Emmy for The Matthew Shepard Story.  And there’s even more, but I don’t have the space. 🙂

Peter Gabriel is celebrating his 67th today.  In 1967, he and several friends from boarding school formed the band Genesis, of which Gabriel was the lead singer for several years.  He left the band to begin a solo career in 1975.  He released four studio albums from 1977-82, all simply labeled “Peter Gabriel” without titles; fans often refer them as I, II, III and IV, numbered by the order of release.  Of them, Peter Gabriel III was the greatest success, reaching #1 on the British charts and #22 in the US and containing one of his most successful singles.

In the late eighties, Gabriel had his greatest commercial successes with the albums So and Us, both of which reached #2 in the US.  He had hit singles such as “Sledgehammer,” “In Your Eyes,” and “Steam.”  He has won six Grammys, including three in the Music Video categories and two for his contributions to the scores for The Last Temptation of Christ and WALL-E.

Mena Suvari is turning 38 today.  She remains best known for her big 1999 roles in the similarly titled, but very different, American Beauty and American Pie.  Her WTHH article has lots of detail on her career.  Kelly Hu, who turns 49, played Lady Deathstrike in X-Men 2, was a regular on Nash Bridges for two seasons, and voiced Stacy Hirano on Phineas and FerbDaniel Portman, the young Scottish actor who plays Podrick Payne on Game of Thrones, turns 25 today.

Kim Novak, who is 84 today, was an “it girl” in film for a few years in the late fifties, based on her starring roles in films like Picnic, Pal Joey, and Vertigo.  But by the mid-sixties, Novak had become disenchanted with the film industry, and while she did not quit working all at once, she gradually transitioned to being completely retired.  Jerry Springer, the longtime host of the controversial TV talk show that bears his name, turns 73.  George Segal, who turns 84, was an Oscar nominee for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? fifty years ago.  These days he is likely to be known for his television roles on Just Shoot Me! and The Goldbergs.

Swedish actress and director Pernilla August, who turns 59, has won Guldbagge Awards (Swedish Oscars) for both acting and directing, and appeared in two of the Star Wars prequels as Shmi Skywalker.  Matt Salinger, who turns 57, is known for starring in the 1990 film Captain America (possibly known to our Marvel fans) and for being the son of novelist J. D. Salinger.  Neal McDonough, who is turning 51, has played Dum Dum Dugan in Captain America: The First Avenger and a few other times in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Damien Darhk on Arrow and other shows in the Arrowverse.  Jonathan Hensleigh, who is 58 today, has written and directed three films, including The Punisher and Kill the Irishman, and also had writing credits on films like Armageddon and Die Hard With a VengeanceMichele Greene, who celebrates her 55th, was an Emmy nominee for the role of Abby Perkins on L.A. Law, and she and Amanda Donohue shared primetime American television’s first lesbian kiss during the show’s run.

Our big sports birthday is Mike Krzyzewski.  “Coack K,” who turns 70, is one of the most successful college basketball coaches ever, and has led the Duke Blue Devils to five NCAA championships.  Former NFL star Randy Moss is 40 today.  During his career he was one of the most talented wide receivers in the game, but his undeniable on-field abilities were sometimes obscured by his repeated off-the-field problems.

Henry Rollins, who celebrates his 56th, has had a “little bit of everything” career.  He has been a musician, notably with the punk rock band Black Flag, and has acted in film and television.  He is a veteran radio journalist and host, has written several books, and has given a lot of performances that are somewhere in between speeches and stand-up comedy.

Other music birthdays today include Peter Tork, who turns 75.  Tork was the keyboard and bass player for the Monkees, and played the goofy but adorable member of the foursome on their TV series.  Robbie Williams, a former member of the British boy band Take That, turns 43.  He has had a lot of success as a pop/rock singer in England and the rest of Europe.  Tennessee Ernie Ford (1919-1991) was a country and gospel singer who had hits such as “Mule Train,” “The Shotgun Boogie,” and “Sixteen Tons,” which was a crossover pop hit that reached #1.  Boudleaux Bryant (1920-1987) and his wife Felice were a very successful songwriting team, who penned several of the Everly Brothers’ hits, including “Bye Bye Love” and “Wake Up, Little Susie.”  They also wrote the bluegrass standard “Rocky Top” and the oft-recorded “Love Hurts.”  The Russian bass Feodor Chaliapin (1873-1938) was one of the greatest opera singers of his time.  He was responsible for popularizing Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov and was also known for singing the title role in Arrigo Boito’s Mefistofele.

Retired US Air Force pilot Chuck Yeager, who turns 94, was a test pilot who was the first man to break the sound barrier in level flight; he was made famous by Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff and the 1983 film adaptation, where he was played by Sam Shepard.

Oliver Reed (1938-1999) was a prominent presence, largely in British films, for over 30 years, in roles such as Bill Sikes in Oliver!, Athos in Richard Lester’s The Three Musketeers and its sequels, and Vulcan in Trerry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron MunchausenWilliam Dozier (1908-1991) was an American film and television producer best known for creating and producing the 1960s Batman series (and providing the voiceover narration), and as the co-creator of the character of Barbara Gordon.  The prolific Belgian writer Georges Simenon (1903-1989) is best remembered as the author of a remarkable 76 novels and 28 short stories about fictional detective Jules Maigret.

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 13, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Stockard Channing, I’m glad she received a couple of Emmy wins and a Tony; real solid performer. She was my favorite character in “Grease” and I also liked her in 1979’s “The fish That Saved Pittsburgh” (what a fish!), along with her voice work on “Batman Beyond”.
    Peter Gabriel, I definitely think “In Your Eyes” is a beautiful song, and I mentioned before that his duet with Kate bush on “Don’t Give Up” is equally as wonderful to me. “Sledgehammer” is pretty fun too, especially the music video.

    Like

  2. Mena Suvari was in “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” (here I go again with Pittsburgh today), but I don’t remember her from it. Now 2007’s “Stuck” is probably the last film I saw her in.
    Kelly Hu, she was one of Jason Voorhees victims in the the Manhattan “Friday the 13th” (which was barely in Manhattan), but things picked up for her after that.
    Kim Novak, well, I really like “Picnic” and think “Vertigo” is pretty great.
    Jerry Springer, yeah, I’ve seen his show a few times a good while ago, and I watched 1998’s “Ringmaster” too (it isn’t “Private Parts” for sure), and I guess he was a politician in Cincinnati during the 1970’s (go Big Red Political Machine!).
    George Segal, great to see him in “The Goldbergs”, but I’ve enjoyed him in a lot of other projects in the past (such as his cameo in “To Die For”).
    Randy Moss, I thought he was a jerk a lot of the time, but he was really physically gifted, and he’s even done well on TV. He’ll probably get elected in the Hall of Fame next year, unless the voters screw up again.
    Henry Rollins, I like the Black Flag albums the best when he was involved there, and his acting spots have amused me (especially in 1994’s “The Chase”). That crime back in the day when he and his friend Joe Cole were robbed (with Cole being murdered) still isn’t solved.
    Robbie Williams, I like one song “Rock DJ”.
    Oliver Reed, fitting that he had a role in “Oliver!”. For me, “Tommy” always comes to mind when I think of him.

    Like

  3. As I was in my mid-teens in 1986, “Sledgehammer” was my introduction to Peter Gabriel. The song itself is catchy as hell (which explains why it went to #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart), but even to this day it is my favorite music video of all time. That iconic music video is just endlessly inventive.

    I bought Peter Gabriel’s album “SO” on vinyl at the tender, impressionable age of 15 and I was immediately blown away at the musical soundscape that he presented. Sledgehammer, Big Time and In Your Eyes were the big hits off the album (and deservedly so, great tunes all) but other songs like “Red Rain”, “Mercy Street” “Don’t Give Up” and “We Do What We’re Told To Do” also made a huge impression on me, especially at such a young age. To this day “So” remains among my favorite albums.

    Like

    • The look she had in the ’50s was too mature for her. Like every other young actress of that era, she looked a zillion times better once the styles changed in the mid-’60s and she let her hair down.

      I laughed out loud when I read a conversation on that site where the OP asked “What has she been doing for the last 25 years” and someone replied, “Not a whole hell of a lot.” It’s too bad what happened to her career.

      Like

      • https://www.datalounge.com/thread/18831019-kim-novak

        I just finished watch “Bell, Book and Candle.” I don’t understand why Kim Novak was considered such a great beauty. I get that the blond hair made her look sexy. But in some angles in that movie, she looks like a man in drag. For example, all through the nightclub scene, her face just looks too masculine. Am I being too harsh?

        —Anonymous (713 views)

        39 replies 15 05/07/2017

        Yes. Watch Vertigo. She’s beautiful in it and gives a pretty impressive performance.

        —Anonymous

        reply 1 05/07/2017

        I prefer her in Bell Book and Candle. She’s so much more… human. Sassy and sexy.

        —Anonymous

        reply 2 05/07/2017

        Yes think your are OP. I saw it this film a few years ago. Never thought she looked harsh. Stunning actress in her mid to late 50s peak.

        —Anonymous

        reply 3 05/07/2017

        Yes, you are. You are also an idiot. Kim Novak? Please, bitch. She was beautiful by anyone’s standards. During her heyday, that is. Not the messed up Rocky Dennis looking travesty she became.

        —Anonymous

        reply 4 05/07/2017

        [R2] You don’t think her performance in Vertigo is human? I get that she’s deliberately wooden in the beginning, but her scenes as Judy in the back half of the film are painfully human, or at least to me.

        —R1

        reply 5 05/07/2017

        I always thought she was the pure definition of “carb-face”

        —Anonymous

        reply 7 05/07/2017

        She has always looked like a truck driver in drag and had an emotional and vocal range from A to B. Her plastic surgery at least made her look interesting.

        —Scotty

        reply 8 05/07/2017

        Agree, op, and she was also a terrible actress (that’s why she is so great in Vertigo, at least in the first part).

        —Anonymous

        reply 9 05/07/2017

        I actually loved her in “Boy’s Night Out”. Her acting was really quite impressive as the scheming, intellectual sociology student who deftly manipulates all of the married men. She was charming and perhaps at her most beautiful IMO. “Vertigo” was also a hugely successful performance, but her role vacillated between intentionally wooden and intentionally “broad-like” in a way that implies a lack of talent on her part. The film is of course a masterpiece, but I wonder how many have found her to be groundbreaking in the role; my guess is that Novak did not gain as much critical acclaim as she might have wished. She could be very stunning in some pictures and look a bit on the hefty end of the spectrum in others. I think that her chin and her arms were always her trouble spots aesthetically. In person, she was likely drop dead gorgeous – but the camera loves some actresses and dislikes others. That said, when she was gorgeous, she was gorgeous.

        —Anonymous

        reply 10 Last Thursday at 11:52 PM

        Novak may not have been the most talented actress, but the unusual combination of beauty and genuine discomfort with that beauty really worked for her in her better films. I love her performance in “Picnic.”

        —Anonymous

        reply 13 Last Friday at 12:41 AM

        I’ve always thought she looked like a tranny. Can’t understand how straight men found her attractive.

        —Anonymous

        reply 14 Last Friday at 12:50 AM

        That’s cause you’re not a straight man, duh. She was beautiful , sultry and with the right role and director turned in fine performances. Her presence in “Vertigo” is part of what earned it the rank of Number One film in a major poll of film critics.

        —Anonymous

        reply 15 Last Friday at 1:22 AM

        I was going to post that BI myself, [R12].

        It’s really juicy, but I honestly find it hard to believe that that story is true, much less that Kim Novak is the subject. I mean, were there ever stories about her liking “inappropriate” men? That’s the kind of thing that gets around, even if the lesbianism and the secret baby were kept under wraps.

        And what are the chances that a mixed-race child of Sammy Davis Jr. and Kim Novak would make is as a “well known actress” on her own (after all, her parents weren’t able to pave the way for her without outing themselves)?

        —Anonymous

        reply 16 Last Friday at 1:41 AM

        In general, I can’t stand her.

        However, check out her performance in “The Middle of the Night.” It’s a Paddy Chayefsky May-December romance starring her and Frederick March.

        A great movie with wonderful performances.

        —Anonymous

        reply 17 Last Friday at 2:23 AM

        I agree with the OP, I don’t think she was a great beauty. A very attractive woman and a sensual presence, yes, but her face was far from perfect.

        A rather inconsistent actress, too. Great in “Vertigo” and other roles, not great in others, and a camp mess in “Lylah Clare”.

        —Anonymous

        reply 18 Last Friday at 3:30 AM

        I heard a rumor that she was intersex, which would explain why she appears masculine at times. I don’t know if that would fit in with that BI though. Can intersex ‘women’ fall pregnant and give birth? I don’t understand the different types of intersex people.

        —Anonymous

        reply 20 Last Friday at 4:46 AM

        I have read her described as “bovine” and wonder if she had a weight problem. It’s hard to believe that she was brought to Columbia to replace Rita Hayworth because she was so different, but I guess by the 1950s times and tastes had changed. Personally she ruins Vertigo for me because I would have loved to see what Vera Miles would have done with it. And she is laughably bad in the Jeanne Eagels film, as if anyone could swallow her as a great stage actress.

        —Anonymous

        reply 21 Last Friday at 8:31 AM

        She is terrible too in the 1964 remake of OF HUMAN BONDAGE with dreadful Laurence Harvey. He and Kim seem to be competing to give the worst performance. I love her though in BELL BOOK AND CANDLE when she is at her zenith, the lavender look suits her, and also STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET in 1960.

        Sammy must have wanted to marry a blonde – after he was warned off Kim, he settled for Swiss Mai Britt …..

        at least Kim is a 50s blonde who is still here,

        —Anonymous

        reply 22 Last Friday at 8:48 AM

        [R11], I agree, for me, Kim was her MOST beautiful in that little known but engrossing film, even more beautiful than she ever was in Vertigo. She was absolutely stunning in it.

        —Anonymous

        reply 24 17 hours ago

        Kim seemed alive and sexy in The Adventures of Moll Flanders with British B-list hunk Richard Johnson (I think they had a fling or got married or something.)

        Most of the time she seems phlegmatic or Valiumed-out. She was awful in Vertigo but then it’s hard to find a woman who works well with Jimmy Stewart. Can’t think of one besides Marlene Dietrich in Destry Rides Again when he was 20-something – they had an real-life affair and she aborted his baby!

        —Anonymous

        reply 28 13 hours ago

        Sometimes she photographed as hefty, but she wasn’t fat. She was just… big. Not slight or willowy like most actresses, but with broad hips and shoulders and a solid jaw and short neck.

        In her youth, she probably looked better out of clothes than in them, she just didn’t have that model’s build.

        —Anonymous

        reply 32 10 hours ago

        I agree with whoever said that in Bell, Book & Candle, she sort of have a horsey face.

        —Anonymous

        reply 33 10 hours ago

        Check her out in her Mystery Guest appearance on What’s My Line? in the mid-1950s at the height of her fame. Even with primitive TV studio lighting she is ethereally beautiful.

        Sorry, I am too lame to know how to provide the needed link!

        —Anonymous

        reply 34 10 hours ago

        Like

    • Novak still has complete control of her faculties and looks younger than she is.

      Fans still hope she’ll act again, but she hasn’t been a star in decades and has no clout. She can’t just return out of nowhere and get a movie like Jane Fonda or Goldie Hawn. The only way it will happen is if an important director wants her.

      Like

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