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April 9: Happy Birthday Cynthia Nixon and Kristen Stewart

0409NixonStewart

Cynthia Nixon is celebrating her 51st birthday today.  She began working in television and film in her early teens, and had her first big film role in The Manhattan Project.  Her subsequent film appearances have included The Pelican Brief, Little Manhattan, The Babysitters, and last year as the poet Emily Dickinson in A Quiet Passion.  On television, she has played two First Ladies of the US, Eleanor Roosevelt and Nancy Reagan, and won an Emmy (her second) for Outstanding Guest Actress for an appearance on Law and Order: SVU.

However, Nixon is best known for the role that brought her three Emmy nominations and her first Emmy win, Miranda Hobbes on Sex and the City.

Nixon has also had a substantial theater career.  She made her Broadway debut at 14 as Dinah Lord in a revival of The Philadelphia Story, and  was in the original Broadway production of Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer Prize winning The Heidi Chronicles, and is a three-time Tony nominee, winning Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play for the original production of David Lindsey-Abaire’s Rabbit Hole (also a Pulitzer Prize winner).  She is also a winner of a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album as one of the narrators of the audiobook version of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

Kristen Stewart is turning 27 today.  Stewart began her career as a child actress, appearing in films like The Safety of Objects, Panic Room, and Cold Creek Manor.  As she reached her late teens, she was known for well-received performances in films like Into the Wild and Adventureland, and in 2010 she starred with Dakota Fanning (whose younger sister Elle shares a birthday with Stewart) in The Runaways (Stewart playing Joan Jett, and Fanning Cherie Currie).

In the past few years Stewart has ventured into action-fantasy with Snow White and the Huntsman and appeared in an adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.  She has reunited twice with Adventureland costar Jesse Eisenberg, in American Ultra and last year in Woody Allen’s Cafe Society.  And she achieved a unique first when she starred opposite Juliette Binoche in Clouds of Sils Maria, and became the first American actress to receive a Cesar Award.

And then, of course, you have the “other” part of Stewart’s career.  The part that involves a bunch of movies about sparkly vampires, and the high-profile relationship with costar Robert Pattinson that put Stewart under a tabloid microscope for several years, scrutiny that all but guaranteed a huge flap about her affair with director Rupert Sanders.

Dennis Quaid turns 63 today.  He made his film debut in Breaking Away and starred in 1980s films like The Big Easy and Innerspace.  He was critically acclaimed for his role in Todd Haynes’ Far from Heaven, receiving Golden Glove and SAG Award nominations.  Currently he is a regular on Crackle’s series The Art of More.

Elle Fanning, who turns 19 today, began her career at a very young age, playing younger versions of her sister Dakota’s characters in films like I Am Sam.  She had an extensive career as a child actress in her own right, in films like Phoebe in Wonderland and Super 8, and is now beginning to transition to more adult roles, playing Princess Aurora in Maleficent and the title role in the upcoming Mary Shelley.

Leighton Meester, who celebrates her 31st, starred as Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl.  She has been unable to turn her TV success into film stardom, but made her Broadway debut in 2014 in Of Mice and MenJay Baruchel, who is 35 today, was the star of FXX’s recently-canceled Men Seeking Women and has starred in films like She’s Out of My League and The Sorcerer’s ApprenticeKeshia Knight Pulliam, who played Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show, turns 38; she has recently been a regular on Tyler Perry’s House of PainIsaac Hempstead Wright, who turns 18 today, plays Bran Stark on Game of Thrones.

Filmmaker David Gordon Green, who is turning 42, first made a reputation with well-received dramas like George Washington and All the Real Girls, and later directed comedies like Pineapple Express and Your Highness.  He has worked on HBO series like Eastbound & Down and Vice Principals, and his film Stronger comes out later this year.  Jay Chandrasekhar, who is 49 today, is best known as a member of the comedy troupe Broken Lizard and for starring and directing their films, such as Super Troopers and Club Dread.

Michael Learned, who turns 78 today, will be remembered by anyone who knows their seventies television for playing Olivia Walton, the family matriarch on The Waltons.  She is a four-time Emmy winner, three for The Waltons, the fourth for the CBS drama NurseMarty Krofft, who is 80, was familiar to Saturday morning television audiences of that same decade as the co-creator (with his brother Syd) of shows like H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, and many more.

French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo turns 84 today.  He was one of the most familiar faces of the French New Wave, starring in Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless and A Woman is a Woman.  He also starred in several of Jean-Pierre Melville’s films, such as Le Doulos.  Italian actor Gian Maria Volontè (1933-1994) was born the same day as Belmondo.  He is famous for spaghetti Westerns, especially for playing Ramon Rojo in A Fistful of Dollars and El Indio in For a Few Dollars More; he also worked with Melville, starring in The Red Circle.

Jackie Evancho, who turns 17, is a classical crossover singer who has been performing and recording since she was about nine.  She finished second on America’s Got Talent in 2010 and since then has had six straight albums reach #1 on Billboard’s Classical chart, with several of them reaching the top 20 of the Billboard 200.  Retired singer-songwriter and musical satirist Tom Lehrer is turning 89 today.  For at least two decades he combined a career as a performer with one as a college instructor in math and music.  Some of his better-known songs include “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” and “The Elements.”  Carl Perkins (1932-1998) was a country rocker known as the “King of Rockabilly.”  He had several charted hits including his #1 single “Blue Suede Shoes.”

Paul Robeson (1898-1976) became famous as a singer and actor in the 1920s with his performances in Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones and as Joe in the musical Show Boat; he later appeared in film adaptations of both in the thirties.  He also starred in the title role of Othello in a West End production, opposite Peggy Ashcroft as Desdemona, and developed a successful career as a singer.  However, his increasingly radical political views led to his being blacklisted for much of the 1950s.

Ward Bond (1903-1960) was best known for starring on NBC’s Wagon Train in the late fifties and as part of John Ford’s legendary Stock Company; he appeared in Ford films such as The Long Voyage Home, Fort Apache, Wagon Master, and The SearchersFrankie Thomas (1921-2006) was a juvenile actor of the mid-thirties in films like A Dog of Flanders and Boys Town, and played Nancy Drew’s boyfriend in several Warner Brothers’ films starring Bonita Granville.  He went on to play Tom Corbett, Space Cadet on television in the early 1950s.  Brandon deWilde (1942-1972) was a famous child actor of the early fifties, known for playing John Henry in the stage adaptation of Carson McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding and even better for his Oscar-nominated role as Joey Starrett in ShaneBrad Dexter (1917-2002) was a durable supporting player for over thirty years, most famous for playing Harry Luck, one of The Magnificent Seven.

Jacques Futrelle (1875-1912) was known for a series of mystery stories featuring a protagonist named Professor Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen, nicknamed “The Thinking Machine.”  The most famous of them is “The Problem of Cell 13.”  Futrelle died in the sinking of the Titanic.  Frank King (1883-1969) was an American newspaper cartoonist, the creator of the long-running strip Gasoline Alley.  It was the first strip with real time continuity, where characters age and sometimes die as time goes on.

Curly Lambeau (1898-1965) was one of the founders of the Green Bay Packers of the NFL.  He played for them for several years and coached the team for three decades, winning six NFL championships.  He was part of the inaugural class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.  Spanish golfer Seve Ballesteros (1957-2011) was one of the leading players on the European tour for nearly 20 years, and won the British Open three times and the Masters twice.  Like golf great Bobby Jones, he also became a prominent golf course designer.

Leopold II, King of the Belgians (1835-1909) was best known, and quite infamous, for creating a colony that he ran as more or less a sole proprietorship, the badly misnamed Congo Free State.  The international effort to end the atrocities taking place there is often considered the first modern, global human rights campaign.  J. William Fulbright (1905-1995) served as a US Senator from Arkansas for nearly 30 years.  He is remembered for his long tenure as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, his opposition to the Vietnam War, his role in creating the Fulbright Fellowship Program, and, less favorably, for his segregationist views and  opposition to the civil rights movement.

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 9, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Cynthia Nixon, yeah, I’ve seen “Sex and the City” before, so there’s that, but I probably remember her best previously from “The Manhattan Project”.
    Kristen Stewart, I always liked “Adventureland”; my kind of film, and I like “Fierce People” too.
    Dennis Quaid, I guess he wasn’t as big of a star as I thought he was, but I still dig “The Big Easy” and “Dreamscape”. Yeah, definitely “Dreamcape”, possibly an Elm Street film for the adults of 1984.
    Curly Lambeau, I like his field, and he was one of the coaching legends in the early years of NFL Football.

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  2. As I was writing this article up, I was struck by a thought. If you take Kristen Stewart’s career and subtract out everything to do with Twilight, what you’re left with is a rather nice, indie-film oriented career, of the Maggie Gyllenhaal sort—plus one PR mishap that would have been much less of an issue if she hadn’t been so in the public eye to begin with. Only now that she’s had nice paydays from the Twilight films, she is free to do more of that, or whatever else she wants to do, for the next 20-30 years.

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  3. Congratulations to Cynthia Nixon, who tonight won her second Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for a revival of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes.

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