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April 20: Happy Birthday Jessica Lange and Harold Lloyd

0420LangeLloyd

Six-time Oscar nominee Jessica Lange is celebrating her 68th birthday today.  Lange spent several years traveling and working as a model after graduating from college, and made her screen debut in 1976 in Dino De Laurentis’s remake of King Kong, winning a Golden Globe as New Star of the Year.  She then starred in Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz and the crime comedy How to Beat the High Co$t of Living, before having a terrific year in 1982, when she was nominated for Best Actress as Frances Farmer in Frances, and won Best Supporting Actress for Tootsie:

Lange went on to receive three more Best Actress nominations in the eighties, for Country, as Patsy Cline in the biopic Sweet Dreams, and for Costa-Gavras’s Music Box, before winning Best Actress for the 1994 film Blue Sky.  She made her Broadway debut in 1992 in A Streetcar Named Desire, and won a Tony for a 2016 revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night.  She is a three-time Emmy winner, for the HBO movie Grey Gardens, and for the first and third seasons of American Horror Story.  She currently stars as Joan Crawford on FX’s Feud, opposite Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis.

Harold Lloyd (1893-1971) is often ranked with Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton as one of the three greatest comedians of silent film, especially of the 1920s.  He began making uncredited film appearances as early as 1913, but it was two years later that he began starring in shorts produced by Hal Roach (latter known for the Our Gang shorts), and over the rest of that decade he gradually developed the “glasses” character which he portrayed in most of his films.

In the 1920s, like Chaplin and Keaton, Lloyd moved to making feature-length comedies.  Several of these, such as Safety Last!, Girl Shy, The Freshman, and The Kid Brother, are considered classics.

Ryan O’Neal, a prominent leading man during the seventies, turns 76 today.  He was an Oscar nominee in Love Story and later a surprisingly good tough guy in Walter Hill’s The Driver.  He starred in two films for Peter Bogdanovich, What’s Up Doc and Paper Moon, and then played a character based on Bogdanovich in Irreconcilable Differences.  Recently he has appeared in a recurring role on Bones as Max Keenan.

Andy Serkis, who celebrates his 53rd, has acted in films such as Topsy-Turvy, The Prestige, and Burke and Hare, and plays Ulysses Klaue in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  However, he is best known for his performance capture roles as King Kong in the 2005 film, Supreme Leader Snoke in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and most famously in the Lord of the Rings films as Smeagol/Gollum.

Fans of three science fiction franchises have birthdays to celebrate today.  Louise Jameson, who turns 66 today, is remembered by Doctor Who fans as the very fanservice-y Leela of the Sevateem, companion to the Fourth Doctor.  Veronica Cartwright, who is 68, is remembered for a pair of late seventies sci-fi/horror films, as Nancy Bellicec in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and bundle-of-nerves navigator Lambert in Alien.  And George Takei, known to Star Trek fans as Lieutenant (eventually Captain) Hikaru Sulu, celebrates his 80th.

Crispin Glover, who is 53 today, is known for playing George McFly in Back to the Future and the Creepy Thin Man in the Charlie’s Angels films.  Shemar Moore, who is celebrating his 47th, was a Daytime Emmy winner on The Young and the Restless and starred as Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds for eleven seasons.  Joey Lawrence, the oldest of the three acting brothers, turns 41.  He has starred on Blossom, Brotherly Love, and Melissa & Joey.

Clayne Crawford, who is 39 today, stars as Martin Riggs on Fox’s Lethal Weapon, which was recently renewed for a second season.  Billy Magnussen, who turns 32, made his Broadway debut in 2007 and was a Tony nominee for Christopher Durang’s Vania and Sonia and Masha and Spike.  On film, he played Rapunzel’s Prince in the film adaptation of Sondheim’s Into the WoodsCarlos Valdes, who plays Cisco Roman/Vibe on The Flash (with crossovers to other Arrowverse series), turns 29 today.

Peter S. Beagle, who is 78 today, wrote the classic fantasy novel The Last Unicorn, and also the screenplay for Ralph Bakshi’s animated adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.

Eight-time Grammy winner Luther Vandross (1951-2005) was one of the most successful R&B singers of his time.  He had hits such as “Here and Now” and “Power of Love/Love Power” and his Grammy wins included being honored four times for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.  Stephen Marley, who turns 45 today, is the son of reggae legend Bob Marley and has had considerable success of his own; he is also an eight-time Grammy winner.  Lionel Hampton (1908-2002), one of the greatest artists on the vibraphone in jazz history, led the Lionel Hampton Orchestra for many years and also worked with a legion of jazz greats such as Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker and Quincy Jones.  Conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner, who is turning 74 today, has been one of the great champions of period instrument recording, known in particular for his conducting of the choral works of J. S. Bach and the oratorios of Handel.

Bruce Cabot (1904-1972) was the romantic lead Jack Driscoll in the 1933 version of King Kong, the main villain in Errol Flynn’s Dodge City, and later appeared in several films with John Wayne, before making his final film appearance in Diamonds Are ForeverNina Foch (1924-2008) was a prominent actress of the fifties, receiving an Oscar nomination for Executive Suite, while also playing prominent roles in An American in Paris, The Ten Commandments, and SpartacusDuncan Renaldo (1904-1980) was best known for playing the Cisco Kid, the western hero created by O. Henry, in several B-movies of the 1940s, and then on a syndicated television series that ran from 1950-56, the first series to be filmed in color.

Finally, from the Hall of Extremly Evil Infamy, today was the birth date of Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), about whom nothing good can be said.

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 20, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. In addition to the Star Trek/Doctor Who/Alien birthdays I noted in the article, today we have the birthdays of people involved in three different King Kong movies.

    I have only seen a fairly small portion of Jessica Lange’s filmography. Tootsie and Rob Roy I know I’ve watched, and I have memories of seeing How to Beat the High Cost of Living many years ago. She has never been, even early in her career, one of these “make five movies in a year” types. In the decade of the eighties, she made exactly ten feature films, and the same for the nineties.

    These days, Harold Lloyd is usually not considered to be on the same level, artistically, as Chaplin or Keaton, and I probably would agree with that assessment, but I find several of this films to be entertaining and to hold up pretty well today.

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  2. Jessica Lange, I’ve always enjoyed the level of hysteria she can reach in certain roles; I think she’s one of those performers that could’ve fit into any era. I forget “King Kong” (I’m not big into the whole King King concept anyways, unless it’s Denzel Washington playing a character that references King Kong) but am never too far away from thinking about “Frances”, which I think was a real tour de force for Lange.
    Ryan O’Neal, I think “Paper moon” is really good, and 2003’s “Malibu’s most Wanted” is a guilty pleasure of mine.
    Veronica Cartwright & George Takei were both in that “Miami Vice” episode that guest starred Melanie Griffith, ‘By Hooker by Crook’, though they didn’t share any scenes.
    Crispin Glover, he’s kind of a character; I thought he was great as George McFly and even did well a a doomed teenager in the 4th Friday the 13th film (supposed to be the last film; yeah, sure). I thought he was perfectly cast in that “Willard” remake too (where’s “Ben” though?).
    Shemar Moore, he’s known more for TV than film, but I liked 1998’s “Butter” (it has Ernie Hudson in it too!). Overall, I like his action.
    Whoa, this was joey Lawrence’s birthday too?
    Adolf Hitler, I love killing Nazis in video games such as “The Saboteur” and “Wolfenstein: The New Order”. Long live the resistance!

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