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April 10: Happy Birthday Babyface and Mandy Moore

0410EdmondsMoore

Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds is turning 58 today.  He was given his professional name by funk artist Bootsy Collins.  In his late teens he began performing, as a member first of the soul band Manchild and then the funk/R&B group the Deele.  He released his first solo album in the mid-eighties, and also began having success as a songwriter for others, writing “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Every Little Step” for Bobby Brown, and winning his first Grammy for “End of the Road,” which was recorded by Boyz II Men.

Edmonds has won a total of eleven Grammys, as a performer, songwriter, and a producer.  He and partner Antonio Reid formed LaFace records in 1989, and launched the recording careers of a number of popular artists, including Toni Braxton and Pink.  His most recent Grammy, for Best R&B Album, was for Love, Marriage & Divorce, a collaboration with Toni Braxton.

Mandy Moore is celebrating her 33rd today.  She was signed to a recording contract at about 14 years of age, and in 1999 she toured with NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, while seeing the release of her first single, “Candy,” and first album, So Real.  Her initial recordings were along the lines of other teen pop stars of the late nineties, but over the years, she has developed her own voice as a singer-songwriter.

Moore began her acting career in her late teens, playing a supporting role in The Princess Diaries and then starring in teen-oriented romances like A Walk to Remember and How to Deal.  She showed a knack for comedy, and for playing against her own “good girl” image, in Saved! and American Dreamz, and took on a more mature romantic role in Dedication.  Her biggest movie at the box office has been Disney’s Tangled, for which she was the voice of Rapunzel, a role she has recently resumed in Tangled: The Series.  Last fall, she began starring as Rebecca Pearson on NBC’s This Is Us.  The series has been successful, recently getting renewed for at least two more seasons, while Moore received a Golden Globe nomination.

Two people with birthdays today both appeared in a certain science fiction film that was released in December of 2015; one was nearing the end of a great career, the other at the beginning of one that looks very promising.

Max von Sydow turns 88 today.  Swedish-born (he is now a French citizen), he first became known, as with many Swedish actors, by working with Ingmar Bergman.  He made eleven films with Bergman, but the best known is likely the first, The Seventh Seal, where his character plays chess with Death.  He has been a two-time Oscar nominee, as well as an Emmy nominee as the Three-eyed Raven on Game of Thrones.  He has also played roles like Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon and Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the non-Eon Productions Bond film Never Say Never Again.

Daisy Ridley is celebrating her 25th birthday.  Her impressive performance as Rey in The Force Awakens, only her second feature film, seems to be opening a lot of doors for her.  She will appear later this year as Mary Debenham in Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, and is involved in an adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit.  She has some other projects that seem to still be in development—not to mention a pair of films involving lightsabers and stuff like that.

Laura Bell Bundy, who turns 36, is a well known name in musical theater circles.  She has originated the roles of Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde on Broadway, and also understudied Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked.  She has released several country albums and played Dr. Jordan Denby on Anger ManagementAlexandra Socha, who is 27 today, made her Broadway debut in the rock musical Spring Awakening at just 17, and eventually replaced Lea Michele in the regular cast.  She has also starred in a Broadway revival of Brighton Beach Memoirs and in a City Center Encores production of Paint Your Wagon, and is a regular on the Amazon series Red Oaks.

Peter MacNicol, who is 63 today, began his career in major feature films, including playing Stingo in Sophie’s Choice.  Since then he has become a television mainstay, with regular roles on Chicago Hope, Ally McBeal (winning an Emmy), and NumbersSteven Seagal, the subject of a WTHH article that will tell you plenty about his career, turns 65.  French actor and director Guillaume Canet is 44 today; he starred in the Oscar-nominated World War I movie Joyeux Noel, and wrote and directed the thriller Tell No One, adapted from Harlan Coben’s novel, winning a Cesar for Best Director.  David Harbour, who stars on Netflix’s Stranger Things, turns 42 today.  Paul Theroux, who turns 76, is known for novels such as The Mosquito Coast, but is even better known for his travel writings, such as The Great Railway Bazaar and Dark Star Safari.  Filmmaker Justin Theroux is his nephew.

Jamie Chung, who turns 34, became known when she appeared on The Real World: San Diego.  With significant roles in feature films like Premium Rush, Sucker Punch, and the Hangover sequels, and her recurring parts on Once Upon a Time and Gotham, she is often said to be the Real World alum with the most successful acting career.  Shay Mitchell, who is celebrating her 30th, is known for starring as Emily Fields on Pretty Little Liars, and for the young adult novel Bliss, which she co-authored with Michaela Blaney.  Chyler Leigh, who is turning 35, stars as Alex Danvers on Supergirl; previously she starred in Not Another Teen Movie and played Lexie Grey on Grey’s Anatomy.

Charlie Hunnam, who celebrates his 37th, starred as Jackson Teller on Sons of Anarchy and was the lead in Pacific Rim; he will play Arthur Pendragon in Guy Ritchie’s upcoming King Arthur: Legend of the SwordMichael Pitt, who starred on the first two seasons of Boardwalk Empire and in films like Murder by Numbers and Funny Games, turns 36 today.  Former child star Haley Joel Osment turns 29; he was an Oscar nominee for The Sixth Sense and also known for A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Secondhand LionsBarkhad Abdi, who is 32 today, was a BAFTA Award winner and Oscar nominee for his debut in Captain Phillips, and will appear later this year in Blade Runner 2049Alex Pettyfer, who is turning 27, has starred in films like Stormbreaker, I Am Number Four, and the 2014 remake of Endless Love.

Amanda Joy “AJ” Michalka, who turns 26, is half of the pop duo Aly and AJ with her older sister Aly; AJ also is a regular on The Goldbergs as Lainey Lewis.  Hayley Westenra, a classical crossover singer from New Zealand, turns 30.  She was a member of Celtic Woman for about 2 years and has released ten solo albums.  Bunny Wailer (given name Neville Livingston), who turns 70 today, is the one surviving member of Bob Marley and the Wailers and a three-time Grammy winner.

It’s John Madden’s birthday for the second time in three days.  This time, it’s the former NFL coach and longtime sportscaster celebrating; he turns 81.  Another ex-NFLer turned broadcaster was Don Meredith (1938-2010).  Dandy Don was a quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys for nine years, and then spent two lengthy stints as part of the broadcast crew for Monday Night Football.  NFL Hall-of-Famer Mel Blount, who turns 69, was a star cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s, and a part of the terrific Pittsburgh defense that took the Steelers to four Super Bowl victories.

Harry Morgan (1915-2011) was one of those supporting players who seemed to be around forever, appearing in over 100 feature films, while being a fixture in prime time for around 30 years, with regular roles on December Bride, its spinoff Pete and Gladys (a rare lead role), the 1960s Dragnet, M*A*S*H (as Col. Potter), and AfterMASHChuck Connors (1921-1992) had a career in professional sports, playing both basketball and baseball, but is most remembered for starring as Lucas McCain, the title character of television’s The Rifleman.  Egyptian actor Omar Sharif (1932-2015) won two Golden Globes in his Hollywood debut in Lawrence of Arabia, for Best Supporting Actor and New Actor of the Year, and a third a few years later for Doctor ZhivagoDelphine Seyrig (1932-1990) made her name in French film when she starred in Last Year at Marienbad, and may be known to American audiences for her supporting role in The Day of the JackalDavid Angell (1946-2001) was a television writer and producer who won or shared eight Emmys for his work on Cheers and Frasier.  Then, on September 11, 2001, he and his wife boarded American Airlines Flight 11.

Frances Perkins (1880-1965), a sociologist and longtime advocate of worker’s rights, became the first woman named to a Cabinet position in 1933 when Franklin Roosevelt named her Secretary of Labor; she is often considered the best Labor Secretary since the creation of the office.   Lew Wallace (1827-2005) was a Union general during the Civil War, governor of New Mexico Territory during the Lincoln County War that made Billy the Kid notorious, and wrote a book titled Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, which became the best-selling American novel of the 19th Century.  Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911) was an American newspaper publisher known as one of the practitioners of “yellow journalism.”   A bequest he left to Columbia University was used to establish the Columbia School of Journalism and to fund the Pulitzer Prizes.

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 10, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Why Hollywood Won’t Cast Haley Joel Osment Anymore

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  2. I remember when Babyface was topping the charts in the 1990’s, as both singer and songwriter.
    Mandy Moore has always reminded me of Diane Lane in the 1980’s except appearing to have a lot sunnier of a disposition (I have nothing against being sullen though). I’m a fan of “Saved!”.
    Max von Sydow, I consider him a legend; another great Swedish import. How about “A Kiss Before Dying”?
    Peter MacNicol, hey, both Max von Sydow & him were in the 2nd Ghostbusters film. must’ve been a birthday thing. Loved him in “Ally McBeal: his character was so nervous & neurotic.
    Hey, it’s the other John Madden; BOOM! I’ve read his book “One Knee Equals Two Feet”, thought it was a good read, remember his color commentary, and have played many of the Madden games (didn’t play ’17 though).
    Harry Morgan, I liked him in “Dragnet”, then I liked him in “Dragnet”.
    Chuck Connors, yeah, “The Rifleman”. Fascinating that he was a part of those old Celtics teams.
    Joseph Pulitzer, “Yellow Journalism” is Jaws, it bites the big one, getting people all fired up for no good reason. I think both him & William Randolph Heart can stick it where they can’t see daylight. Buy a flashlight, light a candle, and keep it real.

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  3. I meant William Randolph Hearst.

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  4. Actually, I think internet clickbait is today’s Yellow Journalism.

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  5. I’m not terribly familiar with Babyface’s work, but he’s clearly a pretty influential figure both for his own music and as a producer.

    Mandy Moore has been a favorite of mine since I saw Saved! and Dedication many years ago. It’s nice to see her with a good gig on television.

    I thought Daisy Ridley was extremely impressive in The Force Awakens and she is one of the reasons I am looking forward to Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express.

    I really enjoy Guillaume Canet’s film of Tell No One. I’ve also read Coben’s novel; it seemed to me that Canet did a fairly faithful adaptation (other than resetting it in Paris), and even cleaned up a few of the more problematic parts of Coben’s plotting.

    I am just barely old enough to remember watching Harry Morgan on the late sixties version of Dragnet, and I also thought he was a great addition to MASH as Col. Potter.

    I also have memories of Dandy Don Meredith on Monday Night Football, and the way he would needle Howard Cosell.

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