March 27: Happy Birthday Quentin Tarantino and Mariah Carey
Quentin Tarantino is celebrating his 54th birthday today. A film buff from an early age, he worked at a variety of jobs around Southern California, including, famously, in a video store. He wrote a script for a heist movie and a friend showed it to Harvey Keitel, who liked it and signed onto the movie as a co-producer, as well as becoming one of the stars, enabling Tarantino to raise a budget of somewhat over $1 million for Reservoir Dogs, which came out in 1992 to favorable reviews.
Tarantino did a number of screenplays for other filmmakers in the early nineties, including True Romance and From Dusk Till Dawn. However, he was more focused on the film that would really establish his reputation, one that even more than Reservoir Dogs was full of the traits we now consider “Tarantino style filmmaking”—nonlinear storytelling, clever dialogue full of pop culture references, stylized violence, etc. It was named Pulp Fiction:
Tarantino won the first of his two Oscars, both for Best Original Screenplay, for Pulp Fiction (the second was for Django Unchained). It was a big critical and commercial success, as has been the case with each of his seven films since then, other than Tarantino’s half of Grindhouse, which received mixed reviews and was a box office flop. And of course, he has had a huge influence on filmmaking over the past two decades.
Mariah Carey was born on this date in either 1969 or 1970, depending on which source you accept, so she’s turning 47 or 48. She began writing songs while high school, and when she was about 19, pop singer Brenda K. Starr helped Carey get connected with Columbia Records. Columbia released her self-titled debut album in 1990; it would up containing 4 Number One singles, one of which won her a Grammy for Best Female Pop vocal and was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year:
Carey has had eighteen #1 hits—tied with some guy named Elvis for most by a solo artist—and sold in the neighborhood of 200 million records. She has been nominated for 34 Grammys, winning five. A long list of singers from multiple genres have identified her as a major influence, including, just for example, previous birthday article headliners Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Rihanna.
Two sets of birthdays which this series has paid a lot of attention to are represented today—the James Bond films and the cast of Game of Thrones. Talisa Soto, who played Lupe Lamora in Licence to Kill, turns 50; she also played Princess Kitana in two Mortal Kombat films. Stephen Dillane is 60 today. In addition to playing Stannis Baratheon on Game, he was an Emmy nominee as Thomas Jefferson on the HBO miniseries John Adams and won a Tony for Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing. Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, who has done a lot of Italian film and television in addition to playing Tyene Sand, turns 21. And Julian Glover, who is celebratins his 82nd, is a twofer; he played Aris Kristatos in For Your Eyes Only and Grand Maester Pycelle on Game of Thrones. In addition, he’s been in a Star Wars film (Empire), an Indiana Jones film (Last Crusade), and a Harry Potter film (Chamber of Secrets as a voice actor).
Michael York, who turns 75, did a lot of stage and film work with director Franco Zeffirelli, ranging from Romeo and Juliet to Jesus of Nazareth. He starred in Richard Lester’s The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers as D’Artagnan and played the title character in Logan’s Run. More recently he played Basil Exposition in the Austin Powers films. Austin Pendleton, who is 77 today, began a long stage career as Motel in Fiddler on the Roof (his Broadway debut), and was a Tony nominee for directing a 1981 revival of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes. His film roles have included What’s Up, Doc? and The Muppet Movie.
Nathan Fillion is turning 46. Most of his fans can probably be broken down into those who know him as Capt. Mal Reynolds from Firefly and Serenity, and those who recognize him as the star and title character of ABC’s Castle. Elizabeth Mitchell is 47 today; she was an Emmy nominee as Dr. Juliet Burke on Lost and has starred on short-lived series like V, Revolution, and Dead of Summer. When Pauley Perrette, who turns 48, was in college, she hoped to become a forensic scientist; these days she plays one on TV, as Abby Sciuto on NCIS. Louise Brealey, a British television and stage actress who plays Molly Hooper on Sherlock, turns 38 today.
Holliday Grainger, who is celebrating her 29th, has played Lucrezia Borgia, on the BBC/Showtime series The Borgias, and Bonnie Parker, on the A&E miniseries Bonnie & Clyde. Also turning 29 is Disney Channel veteran Brenda Song, best known as London Tipton from The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and The Suite Life on Deck. She is now a regular on CBS’s Pure Genius. Sophie Nélisse, best known for her roles in films like Monsieur Lazhar and The Book Thief, is turning 17.
Other music birthdays include Fergie (born Stacey Ferguson, now Stacey Duhamel), who is 42 today. She is known for her work with two groups, Wild Orchid and The Black Eyed Peas, as well as for her solo album The Dutchess (which takes its name from the fact that she shares a nickname with Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York). Kimbra, the somewhat eclectic New Zealand pop star, turns 27. Her debut album Vows reached #14 on the Billboard 200 and she shared a pair of Grammys for her collaboration with Gotye on “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Jazz legend Sarah Vaughan (1924-1990), known as “The Divine One,” had a career that lasted from her late teens until a few months prior to her death. She won four Grammys and had a number of hits, especially in the forties and fifties, that crossed over to chart on the Hot 100.
In the classical music world, Vincent d’Indy (1851-1931) is known for his orchestral works Symphony on a French Mountain Air and Istar; he was also a noted teacher of composers, with a list of pupils including several symphonic composers, and also Cole Porter. From his name, you might think that Ferde Grofé (1892-1972) was French like d’Indy; in fact he was American. His best known composition, the Grand Canyon Suite, was used by Walt Disney as the score of a 1958 short film titled Grand Canyon; parts of it were also used in the Grand Canyon segment of the Disneyland Railroad ride. Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007) was one of the greatest cellists of the 20th Century and a noted conductor as well. He was born and began his career in the Soviet Union, but his support of political dissidents like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn led to his being exiled from his homeland until the fall of the USSR in 1990. Opera singer Maria Ewing, who is 67 today, has sung both soprano and mezzo-soprano roles during her career; she is noted for several Mozart roles, Bizet’s Carmen, and Richard Strauss’s Salome. She was married for several years to theatrical director Sir Peter Hall; actress Rebecca Hall is their daughter.
Screenwriter Sidney Buchman (1902-1975) was a four-time Oscar nominee; he won for the 1941 film Here Comes Mr. Jordan and was nominated for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Talk of the Town, and Jolson Sings Again. Budd Schulberg (1914-2009) was also an Oscar winner for screenwriting, for On the Waterfront, and was also the author of a famous fictional portrayal of the film industry, his 1941 novel What Makes Sammy Run? David Janssen (1931-1980) starred in several TV series and had a number of film roles, but by far the most famous was Dr. Richard Kimble on The Fugitive in the mid-sixties. Anne Ramsey (1929-1988) will be remembered for two 1980s roles, as Mama Fratelli in The Goonies and as Momma Lift in Throw Momma from the Train, for which she was an Oscar nominee. Maria Schneider (1952-2011) had a long career in French film, and twice co-starred with major Hollywood actors—Marlon Brando in Last Tango in Paris and Jack Nicholson in The Passenger. Richard Denning (1914-1998) starred in 1950s sci-fi films like Creature from the Black Lagoon and Day the World Ended, and on television as a pair of fictional private detectives on Mr. and Mrs. North and Michael Shayne.
Wilhelm Röntgen (1845-1923) was an engineer and physicist who was the first winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded for his achievements in both producing and detecting X-rays. German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) was, along with Frank Lloyd Wright and others, a leading pioneer of modernist architecture.
Gloria Swanson (1899-1983) was a major star of silent films. She was known for her costume dramas, worked frequently with Cecil B. DeMille, and was nominated for Best Actress at the very first Academy Awards. Her star faded quickly at the start of the sound era, until she was cast in Sunset Boulevard, as Norma Desmond (a former silent film star who had made many pictures with Cecil B. DeMille), and became an Oscar nominee again.
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 27, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Gloria Swanson, Julian Glover, Maria Schneider, Mariah Carey, Michael York, Nathan Fillion, Quentin Tarantino, Sarah Vaughan, Stephen Dillane, Talisa Soto. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.