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March 15: Happy Birthday Judd Hirsch and David Cronenberg

0315HirschCronenberg

Judd Hirsch is celebrating his 82nd today.  He studied physics at CCNY and worked as an engineer for Westinghouse, before beginning an acting career in New York theater, making his Broadway debut in the role of the Telephone Man in Barefoot in the Park, and in 1976 received a Drama Desk Award for Jules Feiffer’s Knock Knock.  He then received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor for an appearance on Rhoda.

In the late seventies and early eighties Hirsch appeared in two of the roles that he is best known for.  He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor as Dr. Berger in Ordinary People, the psychiatrist who helps Timothy Hutton’s character deal with his brother’s death.  And he starred on Taxi as Alex Rieger, receiving five consecutive Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy, winning twice.

Hirsch has only worked irregularly in film, but he is known for his roles in Running on Empty, Independence Day, and A Beautiful Mind.  He has won two Tonys for Best Actor in a Play, for I’m Not Rappaport and Conversations with My Father.  And he has returned at least semi-regularly to series television, starring on Dear John (for which he won a Golden Globe), on Numb3rs, and on the current CBS series Superior Donuts.

Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg is turning 74.  He began writing and directing films in the late 1960s and began to be noticed with his mid-seventies horror films Shivers and Rabid.  In the early eighties he began to get more substantial budgets (although not enormous ones) and made a sequence of well-received science fiction/horror films—Scanners, Videodrome, and The Dead Zone.

Cronenberg’s explorations of sci-fi and horror continued into the late eighties with The Fly (starring Jeff Goldblum) and Dead Ringers.  Since then, while he has hardly abandoned either genre (e.g., Naked Lunch or eXistenZ), he has branched out into romance (M. Butterfly), crime thrillers (A History of Violence and Eastern Promises), historical drama (A Dangerous Method), and more.

Eva Longoria, who celebrates her 42nd birthday, was a Golden Globe nominee during the eight season run of Desperate Housewives and was an executive producer of Lifetime’s Devious Maids.  Portuguese actor Joaquim de Almeida, who turns 60, has worked in productions all over Europe and the Americas, including American films like Desperado, Clear and Present Danger, and Fast FiveKim Raver, who is 48 today, is known for her regular roles on US television series such as Third Watch, 24, and Grey’s Anatomy.

Kellan Lutz, who is 32 today, played Emmett Cullen in the Twilight films and has gone on to appear in Immortals, The Expendables 3, and as the title character in The Legend of Hercules.  Australian actor Jai Courtney played Jack McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard, Kyle Reese in Terminator: Genesis, and Captain Boomerang in Suicide Squad.  Courtney turns 31 today.  Alia Bhatt, who turns 24, is a rising star in Bollywood who has already collected three Filmfare Award nominations for Best Actress (with a win for the 2016 film Udta Punjab).

Finnish-born director Renny Harlin, who turns 58, had successes with Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger but may also be recognized by our readers as a five-time Razzie nominee for Worst Director, notably for “the biggest box office bomb of all time,” Cutthroat IslandLynda La Plante, who is 74 today, had a respectable career as an actress but is better known as a novelist and a writer for British television, most notably as the creator of the three Prime Suspect series starring Helen Mirren, which brought her two BAFTA Awards and an Emmy nomination.  Greg Nicotero, who is 54 today, is a special makeup effects artist who began his career on George Romero’s Day of the Dead and has won four Primetime Emmys, two for his work on The Walking Dead (for which he has also directed several episodes).

Our music birthdays begin with Ry Cooder, who is turning 70.  The slide guitarist and roots-oriented musician is a six-time Grammy winner.  He is also known for his film work, having scored a number of Walter Hill’s films and Wim Wenders’ Paris, TexasMike Love, one of the founders of the Beach Boys, and a part of virtually every incarnation or reunion of the band, turns 76 today.  Sly Stone, who is 74, was the frontman for the funk-soul band Sly and the Family Stone in the sixties and seventies.  Two musicians known for their “metal” celebrate birthdays: Dee Snider, who is turning 62, is the longtime lead singer of heavy metal band Twisted Sister, while Bret Michaels, the lead singer of the glam metal group Poison, is 54 today.  William Adams, better known as will.i.am, a founder of the hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas, who are six-time Grammy winners, is turning 42.

Macdonald Carey (1913-1994) starred in films like Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt and the 1949 version of The Great Gatsby, but many may know him for his nearly thirty years as Tom Horton on NBC’s Days of Our Lives, which brought him two Daytime Emmys.  Lawrence Tierney (1919-2002) spent much of his career playing tough guys, ranging from John Dillinger in 1945’s Dillinger, to Joe Cabot in Reservoir DogsGeorge Brent (1904-1979) was a prominent leading man at Warner Brothers in the thirties and forties; Bette Davis in particular liked working with him and he starred in thirteen of her films, such as Jezebel and Dark VictoryWalter Gotell (1924-1997) will be remembered by all James Bond fans as General Gogol, the head of the KGB, in six of the films, and also as the SPECTRE henchman Morzeny in From Russia With Love.  French director Philippe de Broca (1933-2004) was known for swashbucklers like Cartouche and Le Bossu and action comedies like That Man from Rio, and for working regularly with Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Our big historical birthday today is Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), the 7th president of the US, known for his “war” with the Second Bank of the United States, his championing of the rights of the “common man,” and for his vigorous response to the Nullification Crisis of 1832.

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 15, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I think some time around middle school, I started watching reruns of Taxi after I got home from my job stocking shelves. Great sitcom. Anyway, that was my into to Judd Hirsh as well as many of his costars.

    The Dead Zone was probably my first David Cronenberg movie. I have gone back a little at a time and caught up with a lot of his earlier movies. You’re either a fan or you are not. I’m a fan.

    Eva Longoria really didn’t do much beyond Desperate Housewives. At least not much that was on my radar. I guess she didn’t really need to. The name “Kellan Lutz” rang a bell. That’s right. He was a Razzie nominee for Hercules. I liked Jai Courtney when he was on Spartacus. I haven’t liked him in anything since.

    Renny Harlin is arguably a “hack”. But I’ll take Harlin over someone like Michael Bay. some of Harlin’s movies are at least fun to watch. Greg Nicotero is one of the many talented artists practicing their craft on The Walking Dead. Too bad the writers aren’t equal to the make-up team.

    Andrew Jackson? I think I’ve seen his face somewhere.

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  2. Judd Hirsch, I watched that ABC show “Forever” mostly due to the involvement of him & Alana De La Garza (I think she’s gorgeous). I thought he did well as the old guy who was actually the young guy to Ioan Grufudd’s character. I catch “Dear John” on Antenna TV every once in a while, and of course there’s “Taxi”, which I think is an all-time great show.
    Ah, David Cronenberg, I am yet to view 1977’s “Rabid”, but I’ve seen most of everything else he’s directed (I’ll go with “Videodrome” as my favorite, others aren’t far behind that) along with some of his cameos. I feel he’s one of Canada’s filmmaking treasures.
    Joaquim de Almeida, I had a friend who’s father’s girlfriend constantly played “Desperado” for her kids (they really dug it A LOT), so I know him from that film, along with the “Miami Vice” episode ‘Bought and Paid For’, where he played an overprivileged turd. I think he kind of looks like Stephen Rea.
    Renny Harlin, he’s done some films i like (the 4th Elm Street film, the “Die Hard” sequel, “Cliffhanger”, “The Long Liss Goodnight”) and some I didn’t care for (“The Adventures of ford Fairlane”, “Driven”), and another film I thought was okay (“Deep Blue Sea”). The pluses have outweighed the minuses for me.
    Ry Cooder scored “Streets of Fire”, so I’m all good with him.
    Dee Snider, I like Twisted Sister, and in general he seems like a pretty cool guy.
    Lawence Tierney, nice job by Quentin Tarrentino in casting him for Reservoir Dogs”, as I think he fit the character he played perfectly.
    Andrew Jackson, he’s another guy I like to have in my wallet; he’s so money, and he doesn’t even know it.

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  3. Judd Hirsh was nominated for an Emmy 5 times for his starring role in Taxi? That becomes so much more impressive when you realize that Taxi only aired for 5 seasons. I still watch Taxi regularly in reruns, and I recognize it more for its brilliance now than I did when I first watched it as an impressionable youth when it first aired.

    Matter of fact, most of the creative brain behind Taxi went on to create Cheers in the early 80’s, and many of the Cheers regulars appeared in episodes of Taxi beforehand (Ted Danson, Rhea Pearlman, George Wendt, etc.). Fun fact, Danny DeVito, husband to Rhea Pearlman, was originally planned to play Carla’s slimy ex-husband Nick, but his film career unexpectedly took off once he appeared in Romancing the Stone so he became unavailable, with Dan Hedaya taking over.

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