April 17: Happy Birthday Rooney Mara and Sean Bean


Two-time Oscar nominee Rooney Mara turns 32 today.  A descendant of the founders of two NFL teams—New York Giants founder Tim Mara and Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney, Sr.—she began acting while studying at NYU, playing a bit part in a film starring her older sister Kate Mara.  Early in her career she was billed as Tricia Mara (her full name is Patricia Rooney Mara), but she began using Rooney Mara as her screen name around 2009.  She began to be noticed in supporting roles in Youth in Revolt and The Social Network.

Her big breakthrough was being cast as Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher’s adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  While the film was not a big success financially, Mara was a success as Lisbeth, receiving Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress.  In the next few years she appeared in a variety of projects, such as Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects and Spike Jonze’s Her.  In 2015 she starred opposite Cate Blanchett, in the role of Therese Belivet in Carol.

Mara was nominated for another Oscar and several other acting awards for Carol.  Most of them were for Best Supporting Actress, although she is one of the film’s two leads—a fact we had some discussion of here during Oscar season in 2016.  Mara has kept very busy in the past two years, with four films released during 2016 and another four scheduled this year.

Sean Bean is celebrating his 58th birthday.  Some people, if you mention his name, will instantly bring up the number of times he plays a character who dies in a movie or TV show.  He dies as Boromir in The Fellowship of the Ring, as Ned Stark in season 1 of Game of Thrones, and as Alec Trevelyan in Goldeneye.  He dies in big budget action films like The Island, small-scale films like Caravaggio, and TV miniseries like Scarlett.

But, he doesn’t always die. 🙂  He doesn’t die as Odysseus in Troy (if you know your Greek myths, that shouldn’t surprise you).  He doesn’t die in North Country or Flightplan or The Martian or several  other films.  He doesn’t die in the two season run of Legends on TNT.  And he definitely does not die in any of his appearances in the role that put him on the map as an actor, playing Richard Sharpe in a long list of ITV adaptations of Bernard Cornwell’s novels.

So long live Sean Bean.

Australian actor Luke Mitchell, who is 32, had stints on both of his home country’s long-running soap operas, Neighbors and Home and Away, before coming to the US where he played Lincoln Campbell on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; he currently is a regular on Blindspot.  Jennifer Garner, who was a four-time Emmy nominee as Sydney Bristow on Alias, turns 45 today.  She has played Elektra Natchios in Daredevil and Elektra and had major roles in films like Juno and Dallas Buyers ClubAdam McKay, who celebrates his 49th, has worked on several films with Will Ferrell, directing and co-writing movies such as Anchorman and Talladega Nights.  He won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for Best Director for The Big Short.

French actress and director Maïwenn (full name Maïwenn Le Besco) turns 41 today.  She has been nominated for the Cesar for Best Director twice, for Polisse and Mon Roi, and starred in films like Haute Tension (aka Switchblade Romance) and Love is the Perfect Crime.  American viewers might know her for playing the Diva Plavalaguna in The Fifth Element.

Lela Rochon, known for her roles in films like Waiting to Exhale and Why Do Fools Fall in Love, turns 53 today.  Kimberly Elise, who is turning 50, made her film debut in Set it Off and starred opposite Denzel Washington in John Q and The Manchurian CandidateHenry Ian Cusick, who also is 50 today, was an Emmy nominee as Desmond Hume on Lost and currently is a regular on The 100.

Olivia Hussey, who is 66 today, won a Golden Globe as Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli’s adaptation of Romeo and JulietDavid Bradley, the star of FX’s The Strain, turns 75.  He has played Argus Filch in the Harry Potter films and Walder Frey on Game of Thrones, and has won an Olivier Award for playing the Fool in a revival of King Lear.

Victoria Beckham, known as Posh Spice of the Spice Girls and for her marriage to English football superstar David Beckham, turns 43 today.  Alternative rocker Liz Phair, known for albums such as Exile in Guyville and Whip-Smart, is celebrating her 50th.  Don Kirshner (1934-2011) was best known for his work on the production and management side of the music business.  He ran the music publisher Aldon Publishing, helping to launch the careers of performers like Bobby Darin and Neil Diamond, and worked with The Monkees in their early days.

American playwright and novelist Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) was a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, for his plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, and the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey.  He also shared credit for the screenplay for Hitchcock’s Shadow of a DoubtKaren Blixen (1885-1962), who often wrote under the pen name Isak Dinesen, is known for her memoir Out of Africa and short story Babette’s Feast, each of which has been adapted into film.  Cynthia Ozick, who turns 89 today, is known for her fiction about the Jewish American community, including her short story collection The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories and the novel Heir to the Glimmering WorldNick Hornby, who is 60 today, is the author of the memoir Fever Pitch (adapted into film twice) and the novels High Fidelity and About a Boy (each adapted into film, the former also into a musical).

William Holden (1918-1981) won the Oscar for Best Actor for starring in Stalag 17, and an Emmy for the 1973 TV movie The Blue Knight.  He broke out as a star in Sunset Boulevard and was a major leading man of the fifties and sixties, starring in films such as Sabrina, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and The Wild BunchAnne Shirley (1918-1993) was born Dawn O’Day and appeared under that name for over a decade, but when she played the title character of Anne of Green Gables (adapted from L. M. Montgomery’s novel), she took the character’s name as a screen name.  She was an Oscar nominee for Stella Dallas, and retired at 27 after her final appearance in the film noir classic Murder, My SweetArthur Lake (1905-1987) is best known for his many appearances as Dagwood Bumstead in adaptations of the Blondie comic strip to film and radio.  Lindsay Anderson (1923-1994) was an English film and stage director known for films such as If… (which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes) and The Whales of August.

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 17, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Lisbeth Salander has been treated very well by the movies. While Noomi Rapace in the Swedish film trilogy is stronger at bringing out Lisbeth’s nonconformist tendencies, Rooney Mara is superior at conveying her inner vulnerability. I also loved Mara’s work in Carol, where she is a little heartbreaker.

    I first became familiar with Sean Bean in Fellowship of the Ring, where he was a terrific Boromir, really bringing the character to life. I have to check out some of the Richard Sharpe dramatizations that he starred in.

    Jennifer Garner seems to have faded from view a little bit. Could she be a WTHH candidate some day?

    William Holden had some great roles through the years; for me he will always be Pike Bishop in The Wild Bunch.

    One of the standard characters of classic film noir was the “nice girl,” who would often attempt to save the protagonist from the machinations of the femme fatale. Of all of film noir’s nice girls, Anne Shirley in Murder, My Sweet was my favorite.


    • Small facepalm here as I obviously first knew Sean Bean from Goldeneye, years before Fellowship of the Ring.


      • No need to punish yourself with your facepalms. My introduction to Sean Bean was in the Harrison Ford vehicle Patriot Games. “But I killed his brother”. When I first saw Bean in Goldeneye I said ‘hey, that’s the guy from Patriot Games!” But Bean made such an impression with me in Goldeneye that ever since then I go ‘hey, that’s the guy from Goldeneye!’


  2. I’m a bit of a Sean Bean fan as he has been in lots of terrific films over the years (Patriot Games, Lord of the Rings, Ronin, National Treasure, etc.) but to this day my favorite film of his is Goldeneye. Sean Bean played the perfect villain for 007 because, in a way, he was just like James Bond except more sinister. Interestingly, Sean Bean was actually up for consideration as James Bond in Goldeneye before the producers were able to secure Pierce Brosnan.


  3. I really like Rooney Mara; I read an interview a few years ago in which she said she was “Slow to warm”. Relating to that myself (there once was a time that I said I probably wouldn’t comment much on this site; yeah, I was WAY off on that call), I have an addition to that: Slow to warm, easy to burn. Anyway, I’ve noticed her work since 2009’s “Tanner Hall” and think she’s a real strong performer, plus I like that Pro Football connection her sister & her have.
    Sean Bean, he sure makes a good bad guy; I think he’s fun to watch.
    Jennifer Garner, I really liked her performer in “Dallas Buyers Club”, but I don’t think there’s too many films that have really utilized her, unless that was by design.
    Olivia Hussey, I’m a big fan of 1974’s “Black Christmas”; her character demonstrated moral and proper behavior, unlike another spelling of her last name (aw heck, it’s only a stage name anyway).
    Liz Phair, I’m very fond of the two albums of hers that jestak2 highlighted. Is it Phair to mention Pfeiffer in the same sentence?
    William Holden, so he was the Best Man at the wedding of Ronald & Nancy Reagan? Cool, but I’d rather watch him in “Breezy” or “Network”.


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