March 30: Happy Birthday Warren Beatty and Eric Clapton

Matt Lauer interviews Warren Beatty

Warren Beatty, who is a fourteen-time Oscar nominee, is turning 80 today.  Inspired by the success of his older sister, Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine, he dropped out of Northwestern University to study acting with Stella Adler.  In 1960 he was a Tony nominee for William Inge’s A Loss of Roses, and a year later he made his film debut in Splendor in the Grass, winning a Golden Globe for Best Newcomer and receiving a second Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor (they were the first of eighteen Golden Globe nominations and six wins.

His first Oscar nominations came in 1967, when he produced and starred in a film about a 1930s outlaw couple.  Beatty was nominated for Best Picture as the producer of Bonnie and Clyde and Best Actor for playing Clyde Barrow.

Beatty has been nominated twice for four Oscars on the same film, for acting, directing, producing, and writing, an achievement no one else has matched.  The first time was for the 1978 film Heaven Can Wait, the second was three years later, and brought him his only Oscar, for Best Director for Reds.  His feature appearances since then have been very infrequent, but include Dick Tracy, Bugsy, and Bulworth; last year he made his first feature film in 15 years, playing Howard Hughes in Rules Don’t Apply (which, once again, he wrote, directed and produced).


The man known as “Slowhand” turns 72 today.  Eric Clapton is one of the greatest guitarists in music history and the only person who has received three inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  He began to play guitar in his mid-teens and by the time he turned 18 he was invited to join a recently-formed rock band called the Yardbirds (this led to Hall induction #1).  The band had their first big hit, “For Your Love,” in early 1965, but Clapton soon left over creative differences with the rest of the band.

After a couple of brief tenures with other bands, Clapton joined Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce to form Cream (Hall induction #2).  They stayed together for three years, producing four successful albums and hit singles like “Sunshine of Your Love” and “White Room.”  After working with a couple of other short-lived bands, Clapton embarked on the solo career that resulted in his third Hall of Fame induction.  Picking one song to represent so varied a career is next to impossible, but one must is that it contain some of the man’s legendary guitar work:

Paul Reiser, who turns 60 today, is primarily known as the creator and star of the 1990s sitcom Mad About You.  He received ten Emmy nominations for the series, four in his producer’s role when it was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, six for Outstanding Lead Actor for his role as Paul Buchman.  Also celebrating his 60th is director Michael Lehmann, who is best known for his debut feature, Heathers.  Readers of the Razzie series may recall him as a Worst Director winner for Hudson Hawk, while his other films include The Truth About Cats & Dogs and Because I Said So.

Canadian voice actor Maurice LaMarche, who turns 59, is a two-time Emmy winner for his work on Futurama, but first became known as the voice of a mouse with designs on world conquest:

John Astin, who turns 87 today, starred as Gomez Addams on The Addams Family, and also played the Riddler during the second season of Batman when Frank Gorshin was holding out for better pay.  Scottish character actor Robbie Coltrane, best known for playing Hagrid in the Harry Potter films and Valentin Zukovsky in two James Bond films of the Brosnan era, turns 67.  He also won three BAFTA Awards as Dr. Edward Fitzgerald on the British crime drama Cracker.

Katy Mixon, who turns 36 today, is the star of ABC’s current series American Housewife, and has had lead roles on Eastbound & Down and Mike & MollyIan Ziering, who is 53, played Steve Sanders on Beverly Hills 90210 and plays Fin Shepard in the Sharknado series of TV movies.  Cassie Scerbo, who has also been in two of the Sharknado movies and starred on ABC Family’s Make it or Break It, turns 27 today.  Fans of Buffy and Angel will remember Juliet Landau, who turns 52, for playing the mad vampire Drusilla; more recently she has co-written two issues of the Angel comic book and has done a lot of regional/community theater work.    Mark Consuelos, who celebrates his 46th, is currently a regular on Fox’s Pitch and is known for his lengthy run on All My Children, which is where he met his wife, television host Kelly Ripa.  British television journalist and host Piers Morgan, known in this country as a judge on America’s Got Talent, turns 52.

We have several additional music birthdays today.  The biggest is probably Celine Dion, who is celebrating her 49th birthday.  After making several records in French in the eighties that were moderately successful in her native Canada, she became international success in 1990 with her first English-language album, Unison.  She reached her peak success in the late nineties with the albums Falling into You and Let’s Talk About Love, each of which sold over 30 million copies worldwide (Dion has sold in the neighborhood of 200 million records).  The latter album also included the song that is probably Dion’s most widely heard recording, owing to its use in a certain movie.

Rapper MC Hammer (given name Stanley Burrell) is turning 55 today.  He had his greatest success in the late eighties and early nineties, when he his most successful records were released, including the album Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em and single “U Can’t Touch This.”  Tracy Chapman, who turns 53, was also most successful in the late eighties, when her eponymous debut album led to three Grammys.  Nine-time Grammy winner Norah Jones, who is celebrating her 38th birthday, won five of her Grammys with her debut album Come Away With Me; she is the daughter of legendary Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar.  Blues great Sonny Boy Williamson (1914-1948) is said to have been the first exponent of the harmonica as a solo blues instrument.  Frankie Laine (1913-2007) was a singer-songwriter and a jazz and traditional pop vocalist who may be most recognized for the movie theme songs he performed, such as Gunfight at the OK Corral and Blazing Saddles.

Jerry Lucas, who turns 77, is our sports birthday today.  He starred in basketball at Ohio State, leading them to the 1960 NCAA title, and then for the US Olympic team that same year, which won the gold medal.  He played over a decade in the NBA, helped the New York Knicks win the 1973 NBA championship, and is in the sport’s Hall of Fame.

Turhan Bey (1922-2012) was a leading man of the forties, largely at Universal, where he was featured in several of their “Easterns”—adventure films set in backlot Middle Eastern locales, such as Arabian Nights and SudanRichard Dysart (1929-2015) was best known for the role of Leland McKenzie, the senior partner of McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak, the fictional law firm of L.A. Law.

Two very major figures in the art world were born on this date.  Francisco Goya (1746-1828), the leading Spanish painter of his time, is considered one of the last of the “Old Masters” of European art (i.e., pre-19th Century), and is known for paintings like The Second of May 1808 and the Los Caprichos series.  The Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) only took up painting in the last decade of his life, but produced over 2000 artworks.  Some of his most famous include Starry Night, Sunflowers, and Bedroom in Arles.

Sean O’Casey (1880-1964) is our literary birthday today.  The Irish playwright is best known for Juno and the Paycock and The Plough and the Stars, plays which focused on the working class of Dublin and how they were affected by events such as the Easter 1916 Rising and the Irish Civil War.

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 30, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Warren Beatty has done some big things in his career, although he’s not one of my very favorite leading men. Bonnie and Clyde is a landmark, Reds is an epic even though it’s uneven, and I have always liked Dick Tracy.

    As with Jimmy Page a couple of months ago, choosing Eric Clapton as a headliner meant changing up the usual headliner photo format, since it would be criminal to post a pic of Clapton without a guitar.

    Juliet Landau is the daughter of Martin Landau and Barbara Bain of Mission: Impossible fame; while she hasn’t had a huge career, as a Buffy fan I felt compelled to include her.

    Jerry Lucas footnote/trivia item. I have a cousin who played basketball in high school, and one of her teammates was Jerry Lucas’s daughter Julie.


  2. MC Hammer is one of those artists who had a tremendous amount of hit songs in a very brief amount of time, that being the early to mid 90’s. His “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em” was a monster hit at the time selling 10 Million copies, which to this day still makes it one of the best-selling rap albums of all time. Success comes and goes, but that’s an achievement worth pausing to applaud.

    Katy Mixon. She’s been in a few different tv shows over the years, but she will always ave a special place in my heart because she played April in Eastbound and Down, one of my favorite tv shows ever.

    Celine Dion. She had a few solid songs in the 90’s, but of course she might as well etch “My Heart Will Go On” onto her tombstone, because that song will follow her forever. Interestingly, that was the top-selling song of 1998. The song was a big a phenomenon as Titanic the film itself.

    Paul RIser first caught my attention in a supporting role in Beverly Hills Cop, which I watched relentlessly as a teen in the 80’s. He also played a great slimy corporate sleaze in Aliens.

    Eric Clapton is a living legend. Tremendous amount of great songs to his name. Whenever I hear Layla on classic radio, I can’t help but think of its use in Goodfellas.


  3. Warren Beatty, he’s so self-absorbed (like Madonna, he he), but I kind of like him anyway. I love him in “Bugsy” (as the artist he is, he seemed to really take tender care there).
    Eric Clapton, well it’s an 80’s thing for me, and I love “It’s In The Way That You Use It”. But wow though, we could go to Cream and still be there with the greatness.
    Celine Dion, I think she’s a great singer. “That’s The Way It Is” is probably my favorite.


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