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March 21: Happy Birthday Matthew Broderick and Timothy Dalton

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Matthew Broderick, who is a WTHH subject, turns 55 today.  He began acting in the theater, appearing in an off-Broadway production of Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy, and then won a Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Play in his Broadway debut in Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs (he is the youngest actor ever to win in that category).  He has continued to put together an impressive stage resume, including a second Tony, for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for a 1995 revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

But it’s his film career that Broderick is best known for.  He made his film debut in Max Dugan Returns in 1983, and later that year starred in WarGames.  In 1985 he appeared in Ladyhawke, and a year later he was a Golden Globe nominee for playing a certain teenager from the Chicago suburbs.

Almost all the details about Broderick’s post-Ferris Bueller career, both highs and lows, are in that WTHH article, so in the interest of saving time that I badly need this week I won’t duplicate them here.

Timothy Dalton was born this day in either 1944 or 1946 so he’s celebrating either his 71st or 73rd birthday.  He first became known to international audiences as Philip II of France in The Lion in Winter, but spent most of his first decade-plus working on the stage—he appeared in several of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s productions.  In 1980 he played Prince Barin in Mike Hodges’s campy adaptation of Flash Gordon.  But it was the film role that came his way in 1987 that made him famous:

Opinions, including those of this blog’s readers, have differed about Dalton’s performance as James Bond.  However, it is no surprise that the role did not launch the actor into lasting stardom, as that has been the norm for Bond actors over the years.  Dalton did appear in some interesting movies through the years, such as The Rocketeer, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and Hot Fuzz.  On stage, he played the role of Lord Asriel in a Royal National Theatre adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials (the same role was played by Daniel Craig in the film The Golden Compass).

Gary Oldman is turning 59 today.  He was known in the 1990s for playing lots of villains, in films like True Romance, Léon, and The Fifth Element.  More recently he has been involved in two very successful franchises, as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films and James Gordon in the Dark Knight trilogy, and received a Best Actor nomination as George Smiley in Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy.  This year he will appear as none other than Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

Rosie O’Donnell, who is 55 today, is most likely recognized as an Emmy-winning television host, but has also had a decent acting career, appearing in 1990s films like A League of Their Own, The Flintstones, and Beautiful GirlsJaye Davidson, who turns 49, had a very short acting career, but was involved in one of the biggest twists in film history in The Crying Game.  Independent filmmaker Karyn Kusama, who is also 49 today, is best known for writing, directing and producing the 2000 film Girlfight.

Scott Eastwood (yes, Clint’s son), who is turning 31, has starred in films like Dawn Patrol and The Longest Ride, and had smaller roles in high-profile films such as Fury and Suicide SquadSonequa Martin-Green, known to fans of The Walking Dead as Sasha Williams, turns 32; she will star the new series Star Trek: DiscoverySantino Fontana, who celebrates his 35th, was a Tony nominee for the 2013 Broadway production Cinderella (as the Prince, opposite Laura Osnes as Cinderella), and was the voice of Prince Hans in FrozenSuraj Sharma, who is 24 today, played the teenage Pi Patel in The Life of Pi.

Music birthdays today include Eddie Money (given name Edward Mahoney), who is celebrating his 68th.  He established himself with his 1978 hits “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise,” and remained a regular presence in the Hot 100 for over a decade.  Eddie “Son” House (1902-1988) emerged as a major figure in Delta blues in the 1930s, often working with Charley Patton and Willie Brown (also blues legends).  He had a long career hiatus beginning in the early forties but then made a comeback in the sixties

NFL star Adrian Peterson, who is turning 32, was one of the league’s best running backs from the first day of his career and has made seven Pro Bowls for the Minnesota Vikings; recently, however, off the field legal difficulties have given him more trouble than NFL defenses ever have.  Ayrton Senna (1960-1994) was one of the best Formula One auto racers of all time, winning the Formula One world championship three times, but in a crash at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix he suffered injuries that were fatal within a few hours.

French director Eric Rohmer (1920-2010) was known for his highly intelligent, dialogue-heavy films which he often grouped together into linked cycles like “Six Moral Tales” or “Comedies and Proverbs.”  Russ Meyer (1922-2004) was an almost polar opposite to Rohmer; he specialized in sexploitation, in films like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!W. S. Van Dyke (1889-1943) was different from either of them; he was a craftsman who worked well in the studio system.  Known as “One Take Woody” for his ability to get films done quickly, he was nominated for Best Director for The Thin Man and San Francisco and also directed Johnny Weissmuller’s first Tarzan film.

Broncho Billy Anderson (1880-1971) appeared in three different roles in Edwin S. Porter’s historic early film The Great Train Robbery, and went on to be the first great Western film star.  Character actor James Coco (1930-1987) was best known for his association with Neil Simon; he was a Tony nominee for Simon’s play The Last of the Red Hot Lovers and appeared in three films scripted by Simon—Murder By Death, The Cheap Detective, and Only When I Laugh (for which he was an Oscar nominee).  Coco also won an Emmy on St. Elsewhere.  Françoise Dorléac (1942-1967) was just beginning to emerge as an international film star, based on roles in films like Billion Dollar Brain, when she died in an auto accident in the summer of 1967.  Mark Hellinger (1903-1947) had a lengthy career as a journalist, with a syndicated column that ran in over 170 newspapers, and then went into film production.  He was responsible for films such as Roaring Twenties, High Sierra, The Killers, and The Naked City, prior to his death at 44 of heart disease.

Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) was another of the “Mighty Handful” of 19th century Russian nationalist composers; many would say he was the most talented.  He is known for his opera Boris Godunov, his tone poem for orchestra Night on Bare Mountain, and his piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition, later given a brilliant orchestration by Maurice Ravel.

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 21, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. For a little bonus content for today, here are birthday celebrant Santino Fontana and his Cinderella costar Laura Osnes singing a number from another classic Broadway musical.

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  2. I have never been a big Matthew Broderick, but no one else could have played Ferris. These days, I feel that he is best in small doses. Broderick is often effective in supporting roles, rarely in leads.

    Timothy Dalton is, I think, an underrated 007. Both of his movies are solidly good. Neither is great. I have enjoyed seeing some of his post-Bond work.

    Gary Oldman may over-act, but he’s never dull. Didn’t Rosie O’Donnell have a public tiff with someone currently in the news? Maybe I’m misremebering. Sonequa Martin-Green probably didn’t die at the end of last week’s episode of The Walking Dead. It wasn’t the season finale.

    I have only seen one Russ Meyer movie – Beyond the Valley of the Dolls which was written by Roger Ebert. It’s not a good movie, but it’s lots of fun.

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  3. Matthew Broderick was terrific in Election (1999), which is seriously underrated. If you have never seen it then you are really missing out. Great film.

    I’m a Eddie Money fan. Did you know he was a New York City cop before becoming a rock star?

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    • No, I didn’t know that about Eddie Money; that is very surprising to me, especially since a cop becoming a musician isn’t something I’ve heard about too often.

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  4. I am not Matthew Broderick’s biggest fan, but he was unquestionably right for Ferris Bueller, and for Jim McAllister in Election.

    We’ve had lots of discussion of the different Bond actors here through the years; I am also in the camp that thinks highly of Dalton’s Bond. It’s too bad that he never got to make a Bond film with a truly first-class script.

    I have seen more Eric Rohmer films than I have Russ Meyer films, and more films of Woody Van Dyke’s than of the other two combined. They certainly were an unusual trio of directors to be sharing a birthday.

    James Coco was terrific as Milo Perrier, the Hercule Poirot expy in Murder By Death.

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  5. Matthew Broderick, I’ve always heard he was a standout on stage, going back to his performance on “Brighton Beach Memoirs” (ironically, I heard he wasn’t up for the film role portrayed by Jonathan Silverman because he was too old. Now that’s rich). I’m going to have to go back and read his “What the Hell Happened?” entry, it’s my next stop after I finish my comment.
    Timothy Dalton, I liked his James Bond, and like Broderick I understand he’s also had a pretty prolific stage career. I also liked him 1980’s “Flash Gordon”.
    Gary Oldman, I think he’s the greatness; “Sid and Nancy” was enough to sell me, but there’s also “Prick Up Your Ears” (ha, a film about a playwright) and “Murder in the First”, along with his Commissioner Gordon.
    Rosie O’ Donnell, I thought she was fun in “A League of Their Own” and I thought she did well in “Beautiful Girls” though “Another Stakeout” didn’t really do it for me (probably a film that needed a better premise, or no sequel at all).
    Eddie money, my favorite song from him is “Walk on Water”.
    Adrian Peterson, I wonder which NFL team he’ll sign with for the 2017 season.

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