March 16: Happy Birthday Isabelle Huppert and Jerry Lewis
French actress Isabelle Huppert is turning 64 today. She made her debut in 1971 on French television and her film debut a year later. Two of her early successes were in the 1975 film Aloïse, for which she received the first of sixteen Cesar Award nominations (more than any other actress has received), and the 1978 film Violette Nozière, the first of seven collaborations with director Claude Chabrol, for which she received another Cesar nominatoin and the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival.
Huppert has won the Cesar for Best actress twice, and been nominated seven times for a Moliere Award, the French equivalent of a Tony. She has appeared in a small number of American films over the years—Michael Cimino’s infamous bomb Heaven’s Gate, the thriller The Bedroom Window, David O. Russell’s I Heart Huckabees, and a few others. However, she probably more American attention in the past year than ever before thanks to her starring role in Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, for which she won a Golden Globe and her second Cesar, and was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress.
Jerry Lewis is celebrating his 91st birthday. These days he may be recognized as the man who hosted all those muscular dystrophy telethons every Labor Day (for over 40 years). But he had a very substantial career as a comedian and actor. He was an aspiring comic in his late teens when he met a singer named Dean Martin and the two formed a successful comedy act. By 1949, Martin and Lewis were well known enough to be given supporting film roles, and a year later they were headlining a movie for the first time, At War with the Army. The duo made sixteen movies together (not counting a cameo or so). One of the best was the 1956 film Artists and Models, directed by Frank Tashlin:
Martin and Lewis ended their partnership in mid-1956. Lewis continued to be a major film star for another decade, in films like Cinderfella and The Nutty Professor. After the late sixties, his appearances became far fewer, although he did have a major role in Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy. For several years he taught a film course at USC, where he had a pair of students named Lucas and Spielberg who went on to a bit of success. And every year, when Labor Day came around, he had those telethons.
Lewis should not be confused with the singer Jerry Lee Lewis.
Lauren Graham, who turns 50, was nominated for a Golden Globe and two SAG Awards as Lorelei Gilmore on Gilmore Girls and more recently played Sarah Braverman on Parenthood. Jerome Flynn, who is 54 today, starred as Bennet Drake on the first four seasons of the BBC’s Ripper Street and also plays the sellsword Bronn on Game of Thrones. Director Gore Verbinski, known for the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films as well as The Ring and the Oscar-winning animated feature Ringo, turns 53. Rupert Sanders, who turns 46, made his feature directing debut with Snow White and the Huntsman, but the film itself was overshadowed by the tabloid feast generated by Sanders’ affair with Kristen Stewart. Also turning 46 is Alan Tudyk, remembered by all Browncoats as Hoban “Wash” Washburne from Firefly and Serenity; he also has appeared in films such as the remake of 3:10 to Yuma, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, and Rogue One.
Alexandra Daddario, who is 31 today, played Annabeth Chase in the two Percy Jackson films and will be in four films that come out later this year, including playing Summer Quinn in the feature film adaptation of Baywatch. Sienna Guillory, who turns 42, has had major roles in films like The Time Machine and Eragon, but is most likely to be recognized, at least for some, as Jill Valentine from the Resident Evil films, of which she has co-starred in two and cameoed in a third.
Distinguished stage and screen actress Kate Nelligan turns 67. Her Broadway career is highlighted by four Tony nominations, while she was an Oscar nominee for The Prince of Tides and a BAFTA Award winner for Frankie and Johnny. Erik Estrada, who starred as Frank “Ponch” Poncharello on CHiPs for six seasons, turns 68 today. Victor Garber, who is also turning 68, plays Martin Stein on Legends of Tomorrow, and like Kate Nelligan is a four-time Tony nominee. And we give a big “Affirmative” to the 74th birthday celebration of John Leeson, who supplied the voice of K-9 on Doctor Who and also on The Sarah Jane Adventures and other spinoffs.
Bernardo Bertolucci, one of the leading Italian filmmakers of our time, turns 77 today. He is best known for his 1987 film The Last Emperor, which won nine Oscars, two going to Bertolucci personally for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. He is also known for films such as Il Conformista, Last Tango in Paris, 1900, and Stealing Beauty.
Football Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome, who is 61 today, starred at tight end for over a decade with the Cleveland Browns, and then went into management; in 2002 the Baltimore Ravens named Newsome the first African-American general manager in the NFL, a position he still holds. Blake Griffin, the first player selected in the 2009 NBA draft, turns 28 today. He has made five NBA All-Star teams, and although hampered by injuries the last two seasons, remains one of the league’s finest when healthy.
Folksinger and songwriter Patty Griffin (no relation to Blake) is turning 53 today. She is a seven-time Grammy nominee; interestingly, although most of her nominations are in folk categories, her two wins are both for Best Gospel Album. Nancy Wilson, who is celebrating her 63rd, has spent over forty years (minus one sabbatical) as the lead guitarist of Heart. Successful through most of the seventies and eighties, Heart reached their peak with an album named after the band in 1985, which contained four Top Ten singles, including the #1 hit “These Dreams.” In the classical music world, today is “mezzo soprano day,” as it is the birthday of Christa Ludwig and Teresa Berganza. Ludwig, who turns 89, was distinguished in most of the mezzo roles of Wagner and Mozart as well as Adalgisa in Bellini’s Norma. Berganza, who is 82 today, was one of the finest Carmens of the last fifty years and also excelled in the mezzo roles of Rossini and, again, Mozart.
Robert Rossen (1908-1966) and Mercedes McCambridge (1916-2004) were both involved in the 1949 Best Picture winner, All the King’s Men (adapted from Robert Penn Warren’s novel). Rossen was the film’s director, producer and screenwriter, and in addition to the Best Picture Oscar, he was nominated for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. He later directed a second Best Picture nominee, The Hustler. McCambridge won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the role of Sadie Burke, and was later nominated for a second Oscar for Giant. She was also a noted radio performer—none other than Orson Welles called her “the world’s greatest living radio actress” in the 1940s.
Leo McKern (1920-2002) starred in the title role of the British television series Rumpole of the Bailey, and had prominent roles in films like A Man for All Seasons, Ryan’s Daughter, and Ladyhawke. Karlheinz Böhm (1928-2014), the son of the distinguished conductor Karl Böhm, was known in Austria and Germany for starring as Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria in Sissi and a pair of sequels; international audiences knew him as the villain-protagonist of Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom. Fans of Hercules and Xena will probably remember Kevin Smith (1963-2002; not to be confused with the View Askewniverse filmmaker), who played the god of war, Ares, on both series. Henny Youngman (1906-1998) was a comedian known as the “King of the One-liners” and also for punctuating his routines by playing the violin; he appeared as himself in several movies, including Goodfellas.
For the second consecutive day, it is the birth date of a notable US President. James Madison (1751-1836) was the fourth President, in office during the War of 1812. However, his most significant contributions to US history probably came prior to his Presidency. Madison is remembered as the “Father of the Constitution” for his crucial role at the 1787 Constitutional Convention, and also in the subsequent ratification debates and in pushing the Bill of Rights through the 1st Congress.
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 16, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Alan Tudyk, Alexandra Daddario, Bernardo Bertolucci, Isabelle Huppert, Jerry Lewis, John Leeson, Kate Nelligan, Lauren Graham, Mercedes McCambridge, Robert Rossen. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.