April 6: Happy Birthday Paul Rudd and Barry Levinson


We have a pretty short list of celebrity birthdays today—a fortunate thing since I didn’t have much time to write the article.

Paul Rudd is celebrating his 48th today.  He made his acting debut in a recurring role on NBC’s Sisters and his feature film debut in Clueless.  For the next two decades, Rudd appeared in a variety of major films.  Occasionally he had lead roles, starring opposite Reese Witherspoon in Overnight Delivery, or in Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things.  But more commonly he would be found in supporting roles in films ranging from The Cider House Rules to the Anchorman films.  He had a recurring role on the last two seasons of Friends as Phoebe’s eventual husband, Mike Hannigan.

Rudd has worked frequently with filmmakers David Wain and Judd Apatow.  For the former he has made films like Wet Hot American Summer and Role Models.  Besides the Anchorman films, he has worked with Apatow on The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and This is 40 (in which he starred with Leslie Mann).  His best-known role to many filmgoers, however, is surely as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, in two installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It’s writer and director Barry Levinson’s 75th birthday.  He began his career as a writer on variety shows such as The Carol Burnett Show and then co-wrote the screenplays for Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie and High Anxiety, and then the Oscar-nominated script for And Justice for All.  He won Best Director for the 1988 hit Rain Man.  He is also known for his four “Baltimore” films, beginning with Diner, for which he received a second Oscar nomination for screenwriting.

Levinson continued his chronicle of the city of his birth with Tin Men, Avalon and Liberty Heights, as well as in the series Homicide: Life on the Streets, on which he was an executive producer.  His other films as a director include The Natural, Good Morning, Vietnam, Bugsy, and Sleepers, and he was an executive producer of HBO’s Oz.

Billy Dee Williams is turning 80.  He is best known for playing Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and also Harvey Dent in Batman.  He also costarred with Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues and Mahogany.  Fans of Cheers will remember John Ratzenberger as Cliff Clavin.  Ratzenberger, who turns 70, is also known for his voice work with Pixar, notably as Hamm the Piggy Bank in the Toy Story films and Mack the truck in the Cars series.  Marilu Henner, who is celebrating her 65th birthday, will be remembered for her regular roles on Taxi and Evening Shade; she also had major roles in films like Hammett and Johnny DangerouslyMichael Rooker, who turns 62, is our second Marvel Cinematic Universe birthday today; he plays Yondu Udonta in the Guardians of the Galaxy films and is also known for starring in the title role of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.

Zach Braff, who is turning 42, starred as J.D. Dorian on Scrubs for its nine season run, receiving Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.  He also wrote, directed and starred in the 2004 indie rom-com Garden State, which was very well-received critically and a surprise financial success.  Candace Cameron Bure, best known for starring as D. J. Tanner on Full House and reprising the role on Fuller House (recently renewed for a third season), celebrates her 41st today.

Charlie McDermott, who turns 27 today, has starred on ABC’s The Middle as Axl Heck since its 2009 premiere and also had a major role in the much-praised indie drama Frozen RiverSofia Boutella, who is turning 35, has played the assassin Gazelle in Kingsman: The Secret Service as well as Jaylah in Star Trek: Beyond, and will appear this summer in the reboot of The MummyPeyton Roi List, who is 19 today, has starred on the Disney Channel’s Jessie and its spinoff Bunk’d as Emma Ross, and in two of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid films.  She should not be confused with the actress of the same name who stars on The CW’s Frequency.

Merle Haggard (1937-2016) was a country singer who had 38 #1 Country hits, including the Grammy-winning “That’s The Way Love Goes.”  He was one of the creators of the “Bakersfield sound” in country music and was also known for hits such as “Okie from Muskogee” and “The Fightin’ Side of Me.”  Composer and conductor Andre Previn, who turns 88 today, has won ten Grammys, as well as four Oscars for scoring film musicals.  He was known for his tenures as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and his five marriages have included actress Mia Farrow and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter.

Novelist Vince Flynn (1966-2013) was best known as the author of the popular Mitch Rapp novels, a series of political/espionage thrillers.  Flynn wrote thirteen Rapp books before his death in 2013; the series has been continued with Kyle Mills as author.  Flynn also served as a consultant on season 5 of 24American Assassin, the eleventh of the Rapp novels to be written but the first in the series’ internal chronology, has been adapted to a film which is currently scheduled for September release.

Dudley Nichols (1895-1960) won an Oscar for screenwriting for The Informer, and was nominated on three additional occasions.  Our sports birthday today is Burt Blyleven, who turns 66.  The Baseball Hall of Famer won 287 games in his pitching career and played for two World Series winners.  Rose Schneiderman (1882-1972), our historical birthday, was an early 20th century labor and feminist activist, known for her activism in the wake of the 1911 Triangle Fire and her efforts to secure women’s right to vote in New York.

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 April 6, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The string of consecutive days with Marvel Cinematic Universe birthdays continues today with Paul Rudd and Michael Rooker. Since we had an Ant-Man clip in the article, here’s a Yondu moment as a bonus:


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