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April 19: Happy Birthday Tim Curry and James Franco

 

0419CurryFranco

Tim Curry is turning 71 today.  The English actor began a distinguished stage career as part of the original West End cast of the musical Hair in 1968.  He is a three-time Tony nominee—for playing Mozart in the original Broadway production of Amadeus, Alan Swann in the musical adaptation of My Favorite Year, and King Arthur in Spamalot.  He also has received two Olivier Award nominations, for playing The Pirate King in a revival of The Pirates of Penzance, and again for Spamalot.

Another of Curry’s stage roles led to the beginning of his film career: he played Dr. Frank N. Furter in the original London production of The Rocky Horror Show, and then returned to the role in the film adaptation in 1975.  He has played a diverse range of characters on screen through the years, often but not always villainous and/or comic.  He has played Cardinal Richelieu in a version of The Three Musketeers, Wadsworth the butler in Clue, and a Romanian philanthropist in Congo.  He’s even worked with the Muppets.

In the summer of 2012 Curry suffered a stroke which has confined him to a wheelchair but, to judge by accounts of his public appearances since the, has not broken his spirit in any way.

James Franco celebrates his 39th birthday today.  After he dropped out of UCLA to go into acting, his first major role was in the critically-acclaimed but short-lived NBC series Freaks and Geeks.  His first starring film role was in the teen rom-com Whatever It Takes, and in 2001 he won a Golden Globe for starring in a TV biopic of James Dean.  A few of his highlights over the subsequent decade included playing Harry Osborn in three Spider-Man films, playing Robert De Niro’s son in City by the Sea, starring in the World War 2 film The Great Raid, and receiving a Best Actor nomination for 127 Hours.

Franco has a very full filmography over the past few years, sometimes being involved in as many as 10 films in a year.  He has done a handful of big-budget films, such as Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Oz the Great and Powerful.  But he seems much more interested in smaller projects, such as the biopic Lovelace (in which he played Hugh Hefner) or Robert Duvall’s Wild Horses.  He is also doing a lot of directing; he has, for starters, done film adaptations of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury.

Our WTHH birthday today is Ashley Judd, who turns 49.  Known for films like Ruby in Paradise, Heat and Kiss the Girls, the actress has recently played Natalie Prior in the Divergent series.  Hayden Christensen is turning 36.  He was a two-time Razzie winner for the last two Star Wars prequels, but has received critical acclaim for other films like Life as a House and Shattered GlassCatalina Sandino Moreno was born the same day as Christensen.  A best actress nominee for her film debut in Maria Full of Grace, she continues to work regularly in the US although stardom has eluded her.  Kate Hudson, who turns 38, was an Oscar nominee as Penny Lane in Almost Famous and went on to star in films like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Bride WarsTony Plana, who celebrates his 65th, is best known for playing Ignacio Suarez on Ugly BettyGad Elmaleh, who turns 46, is a French actor from Morocco who starred with Audrey Tautou in Priceless and has had small roles in Midnight in Paris and The Adventures of Tintin.

Marion “Suge” Knight, the co-founder of Death Row Records, is turning 51 today.  One of the most important figures in hip-hop in the eighties and nineties, he has been plagued by legal troubles for over a decade.  Dar Williams, who celebrates her 50th, is one of the most prominent folk singers of the political activist type active today.  Soprano Natalie Dessay, who is 52 today, has sung in opera houses worldwide and provided Diane Kruger’s singing voice in Joyeux NoelMurray Perahia, one of the world’s leading pianists for over 40 years, turns 70 today.  He is particularly known for his interpretations of Bach and Mozart.  Jonathan Tunick, who turns 79, is one of the best-known orchestrators and arrangers of music in the world; he has won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony for his work and has worked regularly with Stephen Sondheim for over 40 years.

Recently retired NFL star Troy Polamalu, who is turning 36, played his entire 12-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.  He made eight Pro Bowls and anchored the defense for two Super Bowl champions.  Candace Parker, who is 31 today, is a two-time MVP of the Women’s NBA.  She has made six All-WNBA teams, played for two gold-medal winning Olympic teams, and last year led the LA Sparks to the WNBA championship.  Maria Sharapova, one of the top tennis players in the world for over a decade, turns 30.  She has won five Grand Slam women’s singles titles, including at least one win at each of the four tournaments.

Dudley Moore (1935-2002) made a name in England for his collaborations with Peter Cook on the stage revue Beyond the Fringe and the TV series Not Only…But Also.  He became known globally for starring in 10 and receiving an Oscar nomination for ArthurJayne Mansfield (1933-1967) was probably second only to Marilyn Monroe as a blonde sex symbol in the late fifties and early sixties.  Before she died in an auto accident at 34, she was famous for films like The Girl Can’t Help It and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

George O’Brien (1899-1985) was a silent era film star who is best known for starring in F. W. Murnau’s classic Sunrise, and for making several films with John Ford, including the silent Western The Iron Horse, as well as two of Ford’s “cavalry trilogy,” Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow RibbonHugh O’Brian (1925-2016) is remembered for starring in the title role of the TV Western series The Life and Legend of Wyatt EarpDick Sargent (1930-1994) is known for being “the other Darrin,” the second actor to play Darrin Stephens on Bewitched; he replaced Dick York in the role when a back injury forced York to withdraw from the show.

Roger Sherman (1721-1793) was a signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.  Far more than the “simple cobbler from Connecticut” presented in the musical 1776, Sherman was a very influential figure during the Revolutionary War and at the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

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 19, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Why Hollywood Won’t Cast Hayden Christensen Anymore

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  2. Tim Curry has given many delightful (if often hammy) performances. I have always enjoyed him as Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island, and I was delighted to include his “Professional Pirate” number because it’s not only fun, but it gives an idea of what some of his great stage performances (e.g., as the Pirate King) must have been like.

    James Franco must be one of the busiest people in the film/television industry.

    When I saw Maria Full of Grace over a decade ago, I thought that Catalina Sandino Moreno would become a major star. That hasn’t happened, but she hasn’t disappeared either.

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  3. Tim curry, I’ve liked him in a lot of stuff, but his Wadsworth the butler character in “Clue” has to be my favorite. Heck, I like the entire deal there, even my favorite Go-Go, Jane Wiedlin, makes an appearance as the ” I, am, the singing telegram….” BLAM (cracks me up every time)!
    James Franco, he’s a bit avant-garde, and I like that. I thought he was really good in 2002’s “Sonny”.
    Ashley Judd, good write-up of her on here; she’s been discussed at a pretty healthy rate.
    Hayden Christensen, well, there’s always “Shattered Glass” for me, and I think he was damned if he did, damned if he didn’t with that Star Wars prequel action.
    Kate Hudson, I hadn’t thought of her in a long while until she started with those commercials for comfortable athletic wear; I think she’s had some cool moments though.
    Tony Plana, he’s another one of my “Miami Vice” guys; I especially liked the episode ‘Baseballs of Death’, when he played a foreign general with a taste for hookers (Lisa Marie, more precisely) and Oliver Platt played a guy who sold him weapons, and got shot for his troubles.
    Maria Sharapova, heck of a tennis player, and I think a real stunner.
    Dudley Moore, sure, I like his turn in “Foul Play” and of course “Arthur”, but I kind of like “Micki & Maude” too; maybe it’s due to the age when I first watched it, but I still liked it when I re-watched it years later.
    Dick Sargent, I catch the occasional “Bewitched” episode; I thought he did a good job there.

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