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April 8: Happy Birthday Patricia Arquette and Robin Wright

0408ArquetteWright

Patricia Arquette, who is celebrating her 49th today, joins her sister Rosanna as a birthday article headliner.  She made her acting debut in 1987 in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.  Over the next few years she appeared in several indie films, before landing her first major film role, starring opposite Christian Slater in True Romance in 1993.  In the next several years she had major roles in a variety of films—Beyond Rangoon, Flirting with Disaster, Lost Highway, Holes—but without really making it as a major leading actress.

Although she had done a few TV movies and guest roles, Arquette had never taken a regular TV role until 2005, when she began starring on Medium on NBC (the show later moved to CBS).  She won an Emmy for the role of Allison DuBois, while being nominated for an additional Emmy and three Golden Globes.  Meanwhile, she had, over a period of about eleven years, been filming Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, which chronicled a boy’s life from the age of six until he heads off to college.  Arquette, playing single mother Olivia Evans, made a clean sweep of the major Best Supporting Actress awards for 2014.

Robin Wright, who is turning 51 today, had her first major film role the same year as Arquette made her debut, playing the title character of The Princess Bride.  She was already known to daytime TV fans, for her Daytime Emmy nominated role on Santa Barbara.  Despite her auspicious debut, her film career progressed a bit slowly.  In 1994, she starred as Jenny Curran in Forrest Gump, receiving Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations.

Wright has had one of those “not quite” film careers—never becoming a genuine A-lister, never becoming irrelevant.  She has regularly gotten lead roles in major films, whether it’s the title role in a loose adaptation of Moll Flanders, or the central role of Mary Suratt in The Conspirator, to name a couple.  She has recently found success in a lead role on Netflix’s House of Cards, receiving five Emmy nominations (four as an actress, one as a producer) and winning a Golden Globe.

Emma Caulfield, who is probably best remembered for playing the vengeance demon Anya on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is turning 44 today.  Mexican actress Ana de la Reguera, after major roles in Mexican films like Nacho Libre and El Traspatio, has begun working in American film and television, with a supporting part in Cowboys & Aliens and, currently, a recurring role on From Dusk till Dawn: The Series.  She is 40 today.  Katee Sackhoff, who is turning 37, played Lt. Kara “Starbuck” Thrace on Battlestar GalacticaTaylor Kitsch, who is 36 today, first became known for his regular role on Friday Night Lights, but then was attached to two expensive failures.  I’m sure that John Carter and Battleship must have seemed like good ideas to someone, though.  Sung Kang, who is 45, first became known for Justin Lin’s Better Luck Tomorrow, and then played Han Lue in four of the Fast and the Furious films.

For the second straight day it’s the birthday of a prominent special effects artist.  Douglas Trumbull, who turns 75, is a three time Oscar nominee in the Best Visual Effects category, for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Blade Runner.  He also directed the critically acclaimed sci-fi film Silent Running.

John Madden, who celebrates his 68th, directed the Best Picture winner for 1998, Shakespeare in Love.  His other directorial efforts include Ethan Frome (which starred Patricia Arquette as Mattie Silver), Mrs. Brown, the Elmore Leonard adaptation Killshot, and last year’s Miss Sloane.  He should not be confused with the former NFL coach and sportscaster of the same name.

John Schneider, who is 57 today, has had a long television career, including starring as Bo Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard, and playing Jonathan Kent on Smallville; he currently plays Jim Cryer on The Haves and the Have Nots.  He has also had a successful career as a country singer.  Dean Norris, who is turning 54, is known for his regular roles on Breaking Bad and Under the DomeJohn Gavin, who turns 86 today, may be best known for roles in two films released in 1960, Sam Loomis in Psycho and Julius Caesar in Spartacus.  Comedian Shecky Greene turns 91.  Along with his comedy career he has appeared in films like Tony Rome and in guest roles on a long list of TV series, such as The Love Boat and The A-Team.

Jazz vocalist Carmen McRae (1922-1994) had a career lasting over fifty years and was a seven-time Grammy nominee in the Best Jazz Vocal Performance category.  Steve Howe, who is turning 70 today, has been the lead guitarist of the rock band Yes for much of their history.  Fred Ebb (1928-2004) was known for his long partnership with John Kander—Kander the composer, Ebb the lyricist—which produced musicals such as Cabaret, Chicago and Kiss of the Spider WomanFranco Corelli (1921-2003) was one of the leading tenors in the world for nearly thirty years, known for his many years at the Met and for partnering soprano Birgit Nilsson when she ventured into Italian opera.  Sir Adrian Boult (1889-1983) was one of England’s most distinguished conductors.  During his long career he was a champion of British composers; he was known as “the man who first made The Planets shine,” for conducting the premiere of his friend Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite.

John Havlicek, who turns 77, is a Basketball Hall of Famer for his brilliant 16 year career with the Boston Celtics.  He made 13 NBA All-Star teams during his career and played for eight NBA champions.  Jim “Catfish” Hunter (1946-1999) was a star pitcher for the Kansas City and Oakland A’s and the New York Yankees.  He won 224 games in his career, played for five World Series winners, and made Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Sonja Henie (1912-1969) was a three-time Olympic gold medalist in ladies’ figure skating, representing Norway, and also won ten straight world championships.  She then was signed by Fox and made a number of feature films, most of them featuring chances for her to pull on her skates and display her talents on the ice.

While many actresses have been tagged “America’s Sweetheart” over the years, the original holder of the title was silent film star Mary Pickford (1892-1979).  She began working in film with D. W. Griffith in 1909, and by 1914 was well known enough that her name appeared above the titles on movie marquees.  She starred in over fifty features, was one of the founders of United Artists, and won the second Best Actress Oscar ever given for her first sound film, Coquette.

Journalist Seymour Hersh is turning 80 today.  He has been one of the leading investigative reporters of the last several decades and is most famous for his reporting on the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize.  Elizabeth “Betty” Ford (1918-2011) became First Lady of the US when her husband, Gerald Ford, succeeded Richard Nixon as President after Nixon’s resignation.  Betty Ford is remembered for her candor in admitting to her difficulties with alcoholism and for founding the substance abuse treatement center which bears her name.

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 April 8, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Quick footnote to today’s article—last night, Steve Howe and the other members of Yes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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  2. I’m a big fan of both of today’s headliners. I’m hoping to get back today for a more detailed comment. But in case I don’t, today is also my youngest daughter’s birthday. Happy 8th, Kara! She’s been celebrating pretty much all week.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Patricia Arquette, I’m a big fan of the 3rd Elm Street film, but “True Romance” and “Lost Highway” stands out to me when it comes to her. She’s had a nice re-emergence, to say the least.
    Robin Wright, I thought her film career remains consistent over the years, and I think she got more attractive with age.
    John Madden, I was thinking of “Killshot” the other day; I like it.
    John Schneider (like John Madden, a name involved in pro football; in this case, it’s as the current Seattle Seahawks general manager), I really liked “The Dukes of Hazzard” as a kid; had a die cast General Lee and everything.
    John Havlicek, I heard he stole the ball, I heard he stole the ball!!! Also, he’s a legendary player for a Celtics franchise that’s full of them, yet he doesn’t get lost in the schuffle.
    Mary Pickford, a few moths ago I learned about her and how she kind of got typecast due to her youthful looks. I think the United Artists creation was pretty cool.

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