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March 14: Happy Birthday Michael Caine and Quincy Jones

0314CaineJones

Our two headliners today were both born on this date in 1933 and are celebrating their 84th birthdays.  In 2013, there was some kind of big joint 80th birthday celebration for the two where at least a few photographs were taken, such as this one where they are seen with, if I am not mistaken, Whoopi Goldberg and Stevie Wonder.

Sir Michael Caine is one of three actors to have been nominated for an acting Oscar in five different decades (the others are named Nicholson and Olivier).  He began acting in British film and television in the fifties, but did not really attract a lot of notice until 1964’s Zulu, which he followed with starring roles in The Ipcress File (and two sequels), Alfie (Oscar nomination #1), Gambit (his first American film), and The Italian Job.  That’s just naming a few—Caine has always worked a lot.

After that first Oscar nomination for Alfie, Caine was subsequently nominated for the 1972 film Sleuth, for Educating Rita, for Woody Allen’s Hannah and her Sisters (his first win), for The Cider House Rules (second win), and most recently for The Quiet American.  Many here probably know him as Alfred Pennyworth from the Dark Knight Trilogy, or his other films with Christopher Nolan.  Others may think of Get Carter, or Secondhand Lions, or something else from his extremely diverse filmography.  Personally, I will always remember him as Peachy Carnahan in The Man Who Would Be King:

No one has been nominated for more Grammys than Quincy Jones, while his 27 Grammy wins are tied for second all-time, and for first among living artists, with bluegrass legend Alison Krauss.  His career is even harder than Michael Caine’s to encompass in a couple of paragraphs.  He began as a jazz instrumentalist, playing in Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie’s bands, and also developed a talent for arranging; his first Grammy was for Best Instrumental Arrangement, for “I Can’t Stop Loving You” for Count Basie.  His first Grammy as a performer was for his 1969 album Walking in Space, in which he tried to fuse his big band roots with some of the more modern elements of jazz.

Along with his performing career, Jones has been most important as a producer and a film composer.  Jones has produced albums for jazz greats such as Dizzie Gillespie and Sarah Vaughan.  But he has also ventured beyond jazz as a producer.  He did a number of albums and singles with sixties pop star Lesley Gore, one with Frank Sinatra, and a few with Michael Jackson, including one that sold rather well titled Thriller.  His first film score was for Sidney Lumet’s The Pawnbroker in 1964, and he was very busy with film work for the next 7-8 years; one of his scores was for The Italian Job, starring Michael Caine.  He is also one of the only two people not named John Williams to score a Steven Spielberg film (The Color Purple).

Jones’ daughter Rashida was a birthday article headliner a few weeks ago.

Comedian and actor Billy Crystal turns 69.  He first made his name as Jodie Dallas on ABC’s Soap, one of the first openly gay regular characters on American television.  His notable films have included The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, City Slickers, and Analyze This; he also directed the HBO movie 61*.  He has hosted the Oscars nine times, and won several Emmys doing so.  He also won a Tony for his one-man play 700 Sundays.

Kevin Williamson, who turns 52 today, is best known as the writer of Scream and two of its sequels, as well as I Know What You Did Last Summer, and as the creator of TV series like Dawson’s Creek and The Vampire DiariesElise Neal, who is turning 51, has appeared in films like Scream 2 and Hustle & FlowDaniel Gillies, who is turning 41, has starred on the Canadian series Saving Hope and currently is a regular on the Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals (and has the good fortune to be married to Rachael Leigh Cook). Corey Stoll, who shares a birthday with Gillies, was a Golden Globe nominee on House of Cards, played Darren Cross in Ant-Man, and stars on FX’s The Strain.  Indian actor Aamir Khan, who is turing 52, is an eight-time Filmfare Award winner, and produced and starred in the 2001 film Lagaan, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.

Jamie Bell, who celebrates his 31st, made a splash with his BAFTA Award winning debut in the title role of Billy Elliott, starred in the critically acclaimed Hallam Foe, and had a major role in Snowpiercer.  Chris Klein, who turns 38, made his debut as Paul Metzler in Election, and played Chris “Oz” Ostreicher in the American Pie films.  Ansel Elgort, who stars in the Divergent films (as Caleb Prior) and in The Fault in Our Stars, turns 23 today.

German director Wolfgang Petersen, who is 76 today, has had a number of major hits in Hollywood, including In the Line of Fire and Air Force One, but his best work may still be the German-language World War 2 submarine epic Das BootBertrand Blier, who is turning 78, has worked in French film for over five decades.  He directed the 1978 film Get Out Your Handkerchiefs, which won Best Foreign Language Film, and has also won multiple Cesar Awards.

Stephen Curry, who turns 29, heads our sports birthday list today.  He won the NBA MVP award in 2015 as he led the Golden State Warriors to the league championship, and repeated the honor last season when the Warriors won an NBA record 73 games during the regular season.  Someday, Curry may join Wes Unseld, who is 71 today, in the Basketball Hall of Fame.  Despite standing “only” 6-7, Unseld was an outstanding center, winning an MVP award in 1969 and leading the Washington Bullets to the 1978 NBA title.  Baseball Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett’s career was shortened by a loss of vision in one eye, but in 12 seasons he made 10 All-Star teams and led the Minnesota Twins to two World Series crowns.  Puckett turns 57 today.  Gymnast Simone Biles, who turns 20, won four gold medals last summer at the Rio Olympics—in the women’s team competition, the women’s individual all-around, the vault, and the floor exercise.

Other music birthdays today include Taylor Hanson, the middle brother of the trio who make up the pop-rock band Hanson; he turns 34 today.  Rick Dees, who is 67 today, had a #1 hit in 1976 with the novelty song “Disco Duck,” but is far more important as the host of the syndicated radio program Weekly Top 40, which has been airing since 1983.  Jerry Jeff Walker and Michael Martin Murphey are both prominent outlaw country musicians.  Walker, who is 75, is the composer of “Mr. Bojangles,” while Murphey, who turns 72, wrote the state ballad of New Mexico, “The Land of Enchantment.”  Lee Hays (1914-1981) was the bass singer for The Weavers and co-wrote the popular folk tunes “If I Had a Hammer” and “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine.”  Georg Telemann (1681-1767) was one of the three or four most important composers of the Baroque era, and left behind an incredible variety of vocal, orchestral, and instrumental music.  Johann Strauss I (1804-1849), on the other hand, is remembered for a single composition, the “Radetzky March,” and as the father of a more talented son, Johann Strauss II, the “Waltz King.”

The name of Horton Foote (1916-2009) may be recognized for his Oscar-winning screenplays for To Kill a Mockingbird and Tender Mercies, but he was primarily a playwright, known for his Pulitzer Prize winning drama The Young Man From Atlanta and the multi-play cycle The Orphans Home CycleTad Williams, the fantasy and science fiction author best known for his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy of epic fantasy novels, turns 60 today.

Finally today we have a pair of great scientists, one of them legendary, and a pair of explorers of the cosmos.  If you want to talk about careers hard to summarize briefly, how about Albert Einstein (1879-1955).  He is best known, surely, for his theories of special and general relativity, but interestingly, when he won the Nobel Prize in Physics, it was not for either of these enormous contributions to modern science.  Another Nobel Laureate in science was Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915; he should not be confused with the American environmental scientist).  Ehrlich made a number of major contributions to the development of modern medicine, especially in the area of immunology.  Frank Borman, who turns 89 today, and Eugene Cernan (1934-2017) were astronauts in the Gemini and Apollo programs.  Borman and Jim Lovell were the crew of Gemini 7, which set what was at the time a record with their 14 day voyage into Earth orbit.  Borman and Lovell, along with Bill Anders, were the crew of Apollo 8, the first manned flight to orbit the moon.  Cernan made three voyages into space, with the final one being as the commander of Apollo 17, the last manned flight to the moon.

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 March 14, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Someone is going to be really disappointed when they try to comment on Michael Caine’s birthday. And no, he was never A-list.

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  2. That picture is quite a find! Who knew Michael Caine and Quincy Jones not only shared a birthday but that they had a star-studded 80th celebration together? Not I. Very cool.

    I have always liked Michael Caine. Not quite sure when I first became aware of him. I think the first movie I saw him in would have been Deathtrap with Christopher Reeve. It was on HBO a lot when I was a kid and it had Superman in it. As it turns out, I just saw a good chunk of Deathtrap on cable very recently and it still holds up. Since then, I have seen Caine in I don’t know how many movies and he is always good. Even in Jaws: the Revenge.

    I came up when Thriller was a big deal. I first heard of Quincy Jones in relation to that album and We Are the World. There was a funny recurring gag on Arrested Development in which a character was obsessed with Jones.

    I was sort of aware of Billy Crystal from his Soap days, but I became a fan when he was on SNL. Moviewise, When Harry Met Sally was his best vehicle. I actually saw a couple of his directorial efforts including Memories of Me. Anyone else see that one in theaters? I didn’t think so. 50 years from now, he will probably be best remembered from Monsters Inc.

    Kevin Williamson is one lucky son of a gun, doncha think? Really, his entire career is based on one decent script which just happened to be helmed by one of the best horror directors in the business with a cast of attractive up and comers. Credit where it’s due, Williamson did find a clever way to reinvent the slasher genre, but dang! He sure did get a lot of mileage out of Scream.

    Rick Dees! HA!

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  3. Michael Caine, I’ve liked so many of his roles (the original “Get carter” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” worked particularly well for me) and I thought he was a great Alfred in the Nolan Batman films.
    Quincey Jones, after awhile I came to expect his name attached to many projects, be it music, film, or TV. Like Michael Caine, he’s had a really busy career.
    Billy Crystal, I first recall him from HBO Comic Relief series and “Running Scared” (which I’ve always been fond of). I think “Throw Momma from the Train” is a good watch too, while “When Harry Met Sally…” and “City Slickers” have some fine moments to me as well.
    Kevin Williamson, well, there’s “Scream” and “Dawson’s Creek”, but I don’t really know about films like “Teaching Mrs. Tingle” or “Curses”, as I couldn’t really get into those two.
    Chris Klein, I haven’t thought about him in quite some time, seemed like after that disterous “Rollerball” remake his presence became pretty quiet. I’m not sure if it was ever in the cards for him to be a star though.
    Wolfgang Petersen, I remember “Enemy mine” being on HBO a lot when I was a kid, and I had a friend who was a fan of “Das Boot” (although I’ve only seen bits of it). “The Neverending Story” was a big thing when I was a kid, but I never watched it outside of school. I’d say my favorite film of his is 1991’s “Shattered”, which is mentioned on Tom Berenger’s page on here.

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  4. Albert Einstein, he was the featured subject on Trivia today; I never knew his brain was stolen by the person who did his autopsy. Well, doesn’t that just sound typical.

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