February 18: Happy Birthday Molly Ringwald and John Hughes
There were a lot of birthdays to choose from today, including three WTHH birthdays, but the pairing above was just too good to pass up.
Molly Ringwald is turning 49 today. She began her screen career in a guest spot on Diff’rent Strokes which led to her playing the same character on the first season of the spinoff series Facts of Life. She then appeared in Tempest, Paul Mazursky’s update of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, and in the sci-fi film Spacehunter. And then a first-time director named John Hughes cast her as a teenage girl who learns that her family has forgotten about her 16th birthday:
After the success of Sixteen Candles, Ringwald starred in two more successful films written by Hughes, as rich girl Claire Standish in The Breakfast Club, and as “girl from the wrong side of the tracks” Andie Walsh in Pretty in Pink. When people think of her today, they probably think of one or more of that trilogy. Her WTHH article tells you about what came next, which included feature films, TV guest roles, a number of stage roles (including playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret on Broadway), and a regular part in The Secret Life of the American Teenager. This Movieline article is also worth a look. She currently is seen on The CW’s Riverdale.
John Hughes (1950-2009) joined the staff of National Lampoon during the late seventies, and then got into screenwriting. In 1983, he wrote three feature films—the swashbuckler Nate and Hayes, and the comedies Mr. Mom and National Lampoon’s Vacation. The success of the latter two gave Hughes the opportunity to direct. After his first two features, Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, he directed Weird Science and then the film that was his biggest success as a director:
Following Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Hughes’ subsequent directing efforts were not major hits (although Uncle Buck was financially successful), but he had not lost his writing touch. Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful were reasonably successful, as were two sequels in the Vacation series, but it was in 1990 that Hughes wrote his most successful screenplay, for Home Alone, the #1 hit of that year and one of the top-grossing comedies of all time. Home Alone 2 was not quite as successful but still a big hit, but after that Hughes started to fade from the scene.
Two additional WTHH subjects have birthdays today. John Travolta, who turns 63 today, was dubbed the King of the Comeback by lebeau in his WTHH article. You probably already know about the high points of his career, such as his rise to stardom in the late seventies, or his mid-nineties resurgence in films like Pulp Fiction and Get Shorty. But you might not have noticed that he recently won his first Primetime Emmy as a producer of American Crime Story’s first season, on which he also played Robert Shapiro. Matt Dillon, who is turning 53, was a teen star in films like My Bodyguard and Rumble Fish. His adult film roles have ranged from Drugstore Cowboy to To Die For to Wild Things. His WTHH article gives all the details.
Cybill Shepherd, who is 67 today, started her screen career with a bang, starring in The Last Picture Show and then having major roles in The Heartbreak Kid and Taxi Driver. While her film career fizzled out, Shepherd found success on television, winning three Golden Globes as the star of Moonlighting and Cybill. Irish actress Sinéad Cusack, who turns 69, has had a distinguished stage career highlighted by nominations for four Olivier Awards and two Tonys. Her film career includes prominent roles in films like Rocket Gibraltar and Eastern Promises. Greta Scacchi, who won an Emmy for the TV movie Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny, is 57 today. Her notable films include Jefferson in Paris and Looking for Alibrandi, and she received a second Emmy nomination for the miniseries Broken Trail. Czech director Miloš Forman, who turns 85, is a two-time winner of the Oscar for Best Director, for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus. His 1967 Czech film The Fireman’s Ball was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. Hungarian director István Szabó, who celebrates his 79th birthday, directed the 1981 Best Foreign Language Film, Mephisto, and is also known for films like the 1999 epic historical drama Sunshine.
Ike Barinholtz, who celebrates his 40th, was a cast member of MADtv for several years and currently is a regular on The Mindy Project; he also co-wrote last year’s comedy hit Central Intelligence. Susan Egan, who was a Tony nominee for originating the role of Belle in the musical adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, turns 47 today. Laia Costa, who turns 32, is a Spanish actress who has worked in film industries in several countries. She gave a critically acclaimed performance in the 2015 German film Victoria, and appears with Nicholas Hoult in the upcoming film Newness. Mexican actress Vanessa Bauche, who is 44 today, had a major role in the Oscar-nominated Amores Perros, and has been in English-language films like The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and Imitation. Logan Miller, who celebrates his 25th, starred in Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and The Good Neighbor. Malese Jow, who turns 26, first became known for Nickelodeon’s Unfabulous. She plays Linda Park on The Flash and will join the cast of The Shannara Chronicles for the second season.
Music birthdays include Andre Miller, better known as Dr. Dre, who turns 52. A hip-hop artist of some note, he is even more significant as a producer. He was a founder of Death Row Records and then created his own label, Aftermath Entertainment. Three of his six Grammys are on the production side. Yoko Ono, who turns 84, is the widow of John Lennon and an important singer, songwriter and performance artist in her own right.
When Jack Palance (1919-2006) won an Oscar for City Slickers, it capped a long career in film which included two previous Oscar nominations, one for playing the ruthless gunfighter Jack Wilson in Shane. Like Palance, George Kennedy (1925-2016) was often cast as a villain, and also like Palance he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, as Dragline in Cool Hand Luke. Edward Arnold (1890-1956) sometimes played lead roles, as in the biopic Diamond Jim from 1935, but more often slipped into supporting parts, as in his roles in several Frank Capra films. Adolphe Menjou (1890-1963) was nominated for an Oscar for the 1931 version of The Front Page and also gave a notable performance in Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory.
Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957) was one of the most important figures in modern Greek literature. His best known novels include Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ, both adapted into major motion pictures. Wallace Stegner (1909-1993) was a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist (for Angle of Repose), and also known for his environmentalist non-fiction such as Beyond the Hundredth Meridian, his biography of Grand Canyon explorer John Wesley Powell. Len Deighton, who celebrates his 88th birthday, is one of the leading authors of espionage fiction of the last 50 years. He is known for a series of novels, beginning with The IPCRESS File, about an unnamed agent who was given the name “Harry Palmer” in film adaptations, and for three trilogies about SIS agent Bernard Samson. Jean Auel, who is turning 81, is known for the six novels of the Earth’s Children series of prehistoric fiction, beginning with The Clan of the Cave Bear. George Pelecanos, who has written a variety of crime fiction, almost always set in and around Washington, DC, turns 60 today. He has also worked as a television writer and producer, notably for The Wire and Treme. Cartoonist Johnny Hart (1931-2007) was the creator of the newspaper comic strip B.C., and the co-creator of the strip The Wizard of Id.
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 February 18, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Adolphe Menjou, Cybill Shepherd, George Pelecanos, Jack Palance, john hughes, john travolta, Len Deighton, matt dillon, Milos Forman, molly ringwald, Yoko Ono. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.