February 25: Happy Birthday Rashida Jones and George Harrison
Rashida Jones is turning 41 today. The daughter of music legend Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton made her screen debut in the miniseries The Last Don in 1997, and within a couple of years was cast in her first regular TV role, as school secretary Louisa Fenn on Boston Public. She thought about leaving acting in the mid-2000s, but changed her mind when offered a role on season 3 of The Office. She then was cast as Ann Perkins on Parks and Recreation, and remained as a regular through the middle of its sixth season.
Jones has had major roles in films such as I Love You, Man and Celeste and Jesse Forever, the latter of which she also co-wrote with Will McCormack. She made her directing debut with the music video for Sara Bareilles‘ song “Brave.” She and McCormack are writing the screenplay for Toy Story 4, and she currently stars in the title role of TBS’s Angie Tribeca.
George Harrison (1943-2001) was known as “the quiet Beatle.” He was the Fab Four’s lead guitarist and wrote a number of songs for the band, including “Here Comes the Sun,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and “Something.” He is also credited with being the one who introduced the Beatles to Transcendental Meditation and to Indian music and instruments.
Harrison recorded his first two solo albums before the Beatles’ 1970 break-up, but it was his first post-Beatles album, All Things Must Pass, that put him on the map as a solo performer—it reached #1 in both the US and the UK. He then released The Concert for Bangladesh, a live album of a concert held to raise funds for refugees from the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, which won a Grammy for Album of the Year. His next studio album, Living in the Material World, was another hit and included his #1 single “Give Me Love.” Harrison continued to record and perform until the late nineties and died of cancer in 2001.
Téa Leoni, who celebrates her 51st, currently stars in the title role on CBS’s Madam Secretary. Her best known films include Bad Boys, Deep Impact, and Jurassic Park III. Also turning 51 is Alexis Denisof, who played Wesley Windham-Pryce on Buffy and Angel and The Other in two Marvel Cinematic Universe films; he also starred as Benedick in Joss Whedon’s version of Much Ado About Nothing. Sean Astin, who is 46 today, played Mikey Walsh in The Goonies and the title character in Rudy, and then was Sam Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings; these days he does a great deal of voice work. Lee Evans, the first of two men of that name in this article, is one of the most popular stand-up comics in Great Britain and has had roles in films such as The Fifth Element, There’s Something About Mary, and The Medallion. He turns 53 today. Anson Mount, best known for starring on AMC’s Hell on Wheels, is turning 44. English stage actor Douglas Hodge turns 57. He has received multiple Olivier Award nominations, and won both an Olivier and a Tony for starring in a late 2000s revival of La Cage aux Folles.
Gerran Howell, who is 26 today, plays Jack on NBC’s Emerald City and starred on the British series Young Dracula. Twin brothers James and Oliver Phelps, who turn 31, are known to all Harry Potter fans for playing, respectively, Fred and George Weasley (or is it Gred and Forge?). Also 31 today is Justin Berfield, who played Ross Malloy on Unhappily Ever After and Reese Wilkerson on Malcolm in the Middle. Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, who played the gunfighter Vasquez in last year’s The Magnificent Seven and will appear in Murder on the Orient Express, is 36 today. Shahid Kapoor, a rising Bollywood star who has won three Filmfare Awards, also celebrates his 36th.
Sir Tom Courtenay turns 80 today. He did some notable film work in the sixties, including receiving an Oscar nomination for Doctor Zhivago Since the 1960s he has focused more on the stage, although not exclusively. A high point of his career was starring in, successively, the West End and Broadway productions of Ronald Harwood’s The Dresser, and then the 1983 film adaptation. He was nominated for an Olivier Award, a Tony, and an Oscar for the role of Norman. Karen Grassle, who is turning 75, is known for starring as Caroline Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. Diane Baker, who turns 79, made her film debut as Margot Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank, and her career of over 50 years includes prominent roles in films such as Hitchcock’s Marnie and The Silence of the Lambs. Director and writer Neil Jordan celebrates his 67th. Jordan won an Oscar for screenwriting for The Crying Game and was nominated for Best Director. His other notable films include Mona Lisa, Interview with the Vampire, Michael Collins and The End of the Affair.
Our sports birthdays today begin with two greats of track and field. Australian runner Herb Elliott, who turns 79, was one of the greatest middle distance runners ever, dominating the 1500 meter and one mile runs at every major competition in the late fifties and early sixties, and winning a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics. Our second Lee Evans in this article, who turns 70 today, was one of the greatest quarter-milers ever. At the 1968 Olympics, Evans won the men’s 400 meter dash in a time of 43.86 seconds, a record which stood for nearly 20 years and still ranks Evans as the 10th fastest man in history at that distance. Ron Santo (1940-2010) starred at third base for the Chicago Cubs for over a decade and was elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2012. Bobby Riggs (1918-1995) was one of the world’s top tennis players from about 1939-49; he was later famous for his “Battle of the Sexes” match with Billie Jean King. Steve Carell will play Riggs in the upcoming movie Battle of the Sexes.
Larry Gelbart (1928-2009) was one of many talented writers to work on Sid Caesar’s television show in the fifties. He went on to win an Emmy as the co-creator of M*A*S*H and to write about 40 episodes from the show’s first four seasons. His film screenplays included Oh, God!, Neighbors, and Tootsie (which was Oscar-nominated), and he won two Tonys for Best Book of a Musical, for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and City of Angels.
Jim Backus (1913-1989) had three memorable roles in his long career—as Frank Stark (the father of James Dean’s character) in Rebel Without a Cause, as Thurston Howell III (“a millionaire”) on Gilligan’s Island, and as the voice of the nearsighted cartoon character Mr. Magoo. Gert Fröbe (1913-1988) is best known as possibly the greatest of Bond villains, Auric Goldfinger and also played the comically villainous Baron Bomburst in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Herbert “Zeppo” Marx (1901-1979), the youngest of the Marx Brothers, appeared in their first five films, but then retired from performing to a successful career as an engineer (who held several patents) and a theatrical agent. Christopher George (1931-1983) was a Golden Globe nominee for the late sixties series The Rat Patrol, and co-starred three times opposite John Wayne, in El Dorado, Chisum, and The Train Robbers.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) was a prominent French painter of the Impressionist school, and also the father of the great director Jean Renoir. Anthony Burgess (1917-1993) was an English writer known for his novel A Clockwork Orange and for co-writing the miniseries Jesus of Nazareth. German novelist Karl May (1842-1912) was one of the leading authors of popular fiction in the 19th Century. His books, many of them set in the American West, have sold an estimated 200 million copies worldwide. Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921) was a star in opera houses around the world, and had the good fortune to come along just as recording technology was developed enough to produce acceptable records of a singer’s voice. His records made him one of the first “superstar” celebrities in the modern sense, one who was known to many through some sort of audio or visual media.
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 25, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Douglas Hodge, Enrico Caruso, George Harrison, Gert Frobe, Larry Gelbart, Neil Jordan, Rashida Jones, Sean Astin, Tea Leoni, Tom Courtenay. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.