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 ParenthoodJerome 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 BaywatchSienna 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 JohnnyErik 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 LadyhawkeKarlheinz 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 , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I don’t think I have seen any of Isabelle Huppert’s movies from start to finish. I have seen bits and pieces of The Bedroom Window and that’s it. I need to track down Elle when my schedule allows for that sort of thing.

    Growing up, Jerry Lewis was always the guy from the telethon. Not being French, I never went back and reevaluated his early movies. I sometimes enjoy broad comedy, but Lewis’ shtick never appealed to me very much. He was good in The King of Comedy though.

    I’m not a Gilmore Girls viewer, but I enjoyed Lauren Graham in Bad Santa. Gore Verbinski showed a lot of promise with The Ring. The first Pirates movie was fun. It’s been downhill ever since. I’m not caught up with his latest. Alan Tudyk is always welcome when he pops up somewhere. He’s also been doing quite a bit of voice acting these days.

    I never watched CHiPs growing up, but Erik Estrada was pretty much unavoidable for a while. I discovered Victor Garber on Alias and I’m watching him now on Legends of Tomorrow.

    It seems especially appropriate to wish a happy birthday to the “Father of the Constitution”, James Madison, in light of current events.


  2. I watch a fair amount of French cinema and in particular I’ve seen quite a few of Claude Chabrol’s films, so I know Isabelle Huppert from several of their collaborations. I haven’t seen Elle either but that Oscar nomination made her a pretty easy choice as a headliner.

    Somewhere on my very long list of “Things to do Some Day” I have an item that says to check out at least one or two of the Martin-Lewis comedies.

    Today there were a lot of fandoms to give shout-outs to. Notably the Browncoats and the Whoniverse community, both of which I’m at least a sometime fellow-traveler of. I’m not a huge Resident Evil fan but my understanding is that at least some fans were very pleased to see Sienna Guillory show up as Jill Valentine because, unlike Alice, she was an actual character from the video games.

    I haven’t seen All the King’s Men, but I know Mercedes McCambridge from Nicholas Ray’s melodrama/Western Johnny Guitar, in which she and Joan Crawford chewed half the scenery to pieces before starting in on each other.


    • I am vaguely familiar with the RE franchise. I have played precisely one RE video game (RE 4) which did not feature Jill Valentine. I enjoyed the game quite a bit despite not being remotely skilled at those kinds of things (which is why I have limited myself to just the one game). I have a brother who was very into the first two RE games at least one of which did feature Jill as a protagonist. I have seen and for the most part enjoyed all of the RE movies except for the most recent one which I am sure I will catch up with in the future. They are not good, but they are fun to watch if you like that sort of thing. And apparently I do. Since I am merely acquainted with the source material, I don’t get especially excited when the movies throw a bone to the fans or disappointed when they go their own way. But I know there are gamers out there who feel very passionately that the movies should stay closer to the games. I’m guessing in 5 years or so, someone will reboot the series with a more faithful adaptation.

      Catching up with French cinema and Martin-Lewis comedies are both worthwhile endeavors. I actually took French in high school for the purpose of being able to watch French films without reading the subtitles. By the end of my senior year, I could do it assuming they didn’t talk too fast. But that was a long time ago. I don’t avoid foreign films, but I don’t watch them nearly as often as I should these days.


      • Well, you played exactly one more Resident Evil game than I have. I don’t know, I’ve played scant few survival horror (I have the HD Collection of Silent Hill 2 & 3, by can’t see to get through them). I watched Resident Evil’s Biohazard game though on a YouTube playthrough, and I thought the scares were genuine & very effective (it was like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” meets “The Crazies” for me).


        • The one I played, RE4, was a transitional game in the series and from what I understand, a high point. The early games were pioneers in the survival horror genre. With RE4, the series started moving into action-shooter territory. RE4 achieved a near perfect mix of fast-paced combat and general creepiness. That balance was lost in the next game which turned into a pretty standard shoot-em-up. The sixth game, from reviews I have read, suffered from trying to be all things to all people. That one is split into three separate stories one of which is all action, one of which is traditional survival horror and the last of which was some kind of mix I think. But from what I understand, one of them were satisfying. The most recent game is supposed to be a return to form while also updating the formula to match the current trends in the genre. But it sounds like it would stress me out too much, so I’ll stick with Legos.


        • Yeah, that’s what I’ve heard about the 5th & 6th Resident Evil games, that they didn’t really please longtime fans of the franchise. I thought watching the playthrough of the Biohazard game was pretty nerve wracking at times, and the YouTuber I watched has already stated that he isn’t playing any survival horror games for awhile (he got so out of sorts once that he swallowed his water wrong on camera), so if you’re not up for tension it isn’t the way to go (Personally, I’ll stick to open world period pieces, mysteries, and cop/crime games).


        • Anything you would recommend?


        • In games overall? If you’ve never played “L.A. Noire”, I’d recommend that, as I feel the clues, 1940’s time period, and the questioning of suspects can be engrossing (plus it has action in spots if all the investigating begins to feel mundane).
          Another more recent game I recommend, but more for a later date, is “Blues and Bullets”, which has an “L.A. Noire” feel to it stylewise, but the gameplay is more multiple question answering and QTE’s; thing with that game is that it’s episodic, and there are still three episodes not to be released.
          For a ghost story mystery game that isn’t jump scare based, I like “Murdered: Soul Suspect”, in which you play a detective that has to solve his own murder; the setting is Salem, Mass., and your character, being a ghost, can pass through some walls (I say some, because there are walls which are consecrated by the town’s residents). There are some ghoulish beings, but the game is relatively short and the challenge isn’t too hearty, and I say it’s worth a play.
          For historical set pieces, I recommend all the Assassin’s creed games except for the first one, which I found tedious, but I think the rest are great (especially III, mostly because I dig the colonial Era of history).


  3. Isabelle Huppert, I know her best from the two films mentions in the article; I really like “The Bedroom Window” and “I Heart Huckabees” was really up my alley.
    Jerry Lewis, I’ve seen some of his work (such as 1960’s The Bellboy”), and I guess it can’t be said that he didn’t do anything with his celebrity.
    Lauren Graham, I find her very likable.
    Kate Nelligan, yeah, I thought her character was memorable in “Frankie and Johnny”, but I liked her best in 1983’s “Without a Trace”, which also starred yesterday’s birthday person Judd Hirsch (David Dukes is in that too, and honestly, for awhile I thought David Dukes the actor was the guy who was in the Klan:-(
    Erik Estrada, I watched reruns of “CHiPs” with my fraternal grandmother when I was a kid; I liked it (not as much as “Sledgehammer!” of course).
    Victor Garber, I’ve seen him in quite a bit or TV & film, but his turn in “Argo” comes to my mind the quickest.
    Ozzie Newsome, he’s my man: yeah, he was great player (he’s a beast in original “Tecmo Bowl” and still pretty good in his final season for “Tecmo Super Bowl”), but he’s done a fabulous job as the General Manager of the Baltimore Ravens (I love the Ravens; 4/4 stars!).
    Nancy Wilson, excellent guitarist; Heart’s style completely changed from the 1970’s to the 1980’s, but it almost had too, and I like both styles (probably prefer 1970’s Heart more though because they had more to say, but I think their 1980’s tunes are very catchy).
    James Madison, I live in an area that has many streets named after presidents, and there is a Madison ave. (no Washington though).


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