March 9: Happy Birthday Juliette Binoche and Oscar Isaac


Juliette Binoche celebrates her 53rd today.  She began acting in school productions in her teens, and soon began working in French film.  In 1985, she appeared in several films, including her first lead role in Rendez-Vous, which brought her the first of nine Cesar Award nominations for Best Actress.  She made her first English-language film, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, in 1988.

In the nineties Binoche had great success in both French and English-language cinema.  She won a Cesar for Best Actress for starring as Julie Vignon in the first film of Kieslowski’s “Colors” trilogy, Trois Couleurs: Bleu, and then added an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 1996 Best Picture winner, The English Patient.  She began the next decade by receiving her second Oscar nomination, for Best Actress, for Lasse Hallström‘s Chocolat.

Binoche has to be considered one of the most successful international actresses of her generation.  In addition to her Oscar and Cesar wins, she has won two European Film Awards for Best Actress and Best Actress honors at Cannes and several other film festivals.  Her recent English-language films have ranged from the big-budget 2014 Godzilla film to the indie drama Clouds of Sils Maria, while this year she will appear in Rupert Sanders’ Ghost in the Shell.

Oscar Isaac turns 38 today.  The Guatamelan-born actor moved to the US at a very young age and eventually was admitted to the Juilliard acting program.  He worked for a number of years in supporting film roles, before breaking out in 2013 in the title role of the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis.  He received a Golden Globe nomination and several other acting honors.  He has since starred in films such as The Two Faces of January, A Most Violent Year, and Ex Machina, and picked up a second Golden Globe nomination for the HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero.

Most people likely know Isaac, however, from one of two roles—either as En Sabah Nur in X-Men: Apocalypse, or as an ace pilot in the new Star Wars trilogy:

WTHH subject Linda Fiorentino turns 57 or 59 today (sources differ on her year of birth).  She made her film debut in Vision Quest and is known for Men in Black and above all as a femme fatale in The Last Seduction.  More details here.  Italian actress Ornella Muti is turning 62.  She has worked primarily in her home country but her English-language films include playing Princess Aura in 1980’s Flash GordonFinn Carter, who is turning 57, had a relatively short acting career but is likely to be remembered as geologist Rhonda LeBeck from Tremors.  Canadian director, writer and editor Jean-Marc Vallée, who turns 54, is known for critically-acclaimed films such as The Young Victoria and Dallas Buyer’s Club; he received an Oscar nomination for editing on the latter film.

Brittany Snow, who celebrates her 31st, starred on NBC’s American Dreams for three seasons and has been in films such as John Tucker Must Die and the Pitch Perfect series.  Matthew Gray Gubler, who turns 37, has been a regular on Criminal Minds for over a decade.  Emmanuel Lewis, who is 46, is best known for his work as a child actor, playing the title character of the 1980s sitcom WebsterCierra Ramirez, who plays Mariana Adams Foster on The Fosters, turns 22 today.

Julia Mancuso, who is 33 today, has won four Olympic medals in Alpine skiing, including gold in the giant slalom at the 2006 Olympics, a record for an American female skier.

Jazz trumpeter and saxophonist Ornette Coleman (1930-2015), a leader of the “free jazz” movement of the sixties, won a Pulitzer Prize for Music for his 2005 album Sound Grammar.  Another Pulitzer Prize winner for music was American composer Samuel Barber (1910-1981), who won twice, for his opera Vanessa and his Piano Concerto.  He was also known for works like his Knoxville: Summer of 1915, a composition for soprano and orchestra.  Film composer Mark Mancina, who turns 60 today, is known for his work on action films like Speed, Twister, and Training Day, and animated films like Moana.

Raul Julia (1940-1994) was a distinguished stage and screen actor.  On Broadway, he was a four-time Tony nominee for Best Actor in a Musical, including for playing Charley in Where’s Charley and Mack the Knife in The Threepenny Opera.  His film career included Golden Globe nominated performances in Tempest, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and Moon Over Parador, while he received posthumous Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for the TV movie The Burning Season.

Will Geer (1902-1978) is most likely remembered for playing Grandpa Walton on The Waltons; his film career included Winchester ’73, Broken Arrow, Advise and Consent—and a spell on the blacklist due to his political radicalism.  Eddie Foy, Sr. (1856-1928), was known for his work in vaudeville and musical theater, and for taking his seven children on the road with him as a family act, Eddie Foy and the Seven Little Foys.  He was played in films by Bob Hope and by one of his sons, Eddie Foy, Jr.

Mickey Spillane (1918-2006) was a prolific writer best known as the creator of hard-boiled  private detective Mike Hammer, the protagonist of books like I, the Jury and Kiss Me Deadly.  Several Hammer novels have been adapted to film, including one, the 1963 film The Girl Hunters, where Spillane played the character himself.  English author Vita Sackville-West (1892-1962) was best known for novels such as The Edwardians and All Passion Spent.

Bobby Fischer (1943-2008) was considered by some to be the greatest chess player of all time when he won the World Championship in 1972, but spent much of the rest of his life as a paranoid recluse.  Leland Stanford (1824-1893) was one of the “Associates” who made fortunes investing in the Central Pacific Railroad in the 1860s; he later became Governor of California and endowed the university that bears his name.  Yuri Gagarin (1934-1968) is remembered as the first man to fly into space, the pilot of the Soviet spacecraft Vostok 1 in 1961.

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 March 9, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Juliette Binoche, I gotta go with “The Unbearable lightness of Being” (I thought there were some great interpersonal dynamics included in that film) and , to a lesser extent, “Chocolat”.
    Linda Fiorentino, she’s covered pretty well as a “What The Hell Happened” subject. What an odd career though: pretty busy in 1985, then very quiet up until “The Last Seduction”, a recognizable turn in “Men In Black”, then talk of how difficult she was to deal with, then she really disappeared (for what it’s worth, I liked 2002’s “Liberty Stands Still”).
    Brittany Snow, I saw her in the Kathy Bates series “Harry’s Law”, but that show didn’t really take off.
    Raul Julia, I enjoyed many of his roles in such films as “The Morning After”, “Kiss of the Spider Woman” (as a kid, the film wasn’t what I expected from the title, but “Lair of the White Worm” was), “Tequila Sunrise”, “Havana”, and “Presumed Innocent”.
    Bobby Fischer, I guess he was one of those tortured genius types.


  2. I have been a fan of Juliette Binoche since I first saw her in Trois Couleurs: Bleu; she is one of my favorite French actresses (and I watch enough French film for that to be a pretty competitive contest).

    Oscar Isaac has had a very nice run the past 4-5 years. There’s no telling if his stardom will persist but he’s certainly keeping busy.

    I enjoy both Flash Gordon and Tremors so it was nice to be able to recognize a star of each film today.

    I was a very young chess neophyte when Bobby Fischer won the World Championship in 1972; I knew just enough about the game to follow his match with Boris Spassky. Later, I learned about his life, and that even as a young man he had some very eccentric tendencies, but they definitely got more pronounced as he got older.


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