April 24: Happy Birthday Shirley MacLaine and Barbra Streisand


This was one of those days where the headliners were pretty self-selecting.  They were photographed together at the 57th Golden Globes, where MacLaine presented Streisand with the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

Shirley MacLaine, who is turning 83 today, has worked in film for over sixty years.  She made her debut in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble With Harry, receiving a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year.  She appeared later the same year in the Martin and Lewis film Artists and Models, and received her first Oscar nomination (of six) for starring opposite Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in Some Came Running.  One of her most famous roles then brought her a second Golden Globe, a BAFTA Award and a second Oscar nomination:

After The Apartment, MacLaine was nominated for Best Actress for Irma la Douce and The Turning Point, before winning for Terms of Endearment.  She was also nominated for Best Documentary Feature for producing and co-directing The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir.  A few of her other notable films include the con-artist movie Gambit, the musical adaptation Sweet Charity, the Western Two Mules for Sister Sara, Being There, Guarding Tess, In Her Shoes, and the TV movie Coco Chanel, which brought her an Emmy nomination.  She remains active to this day; her latest movie, The Last Word, premiered earlier this year at Sundanc.

Barbra Streisand is celebrating her 75th birthday today.  She graduated from high school at 16 and immediately began trying to work in entertainment.  She began to get gigs singing at New York City nightclubs, most notably the Blue Angel, and then was cast in her first Broadway role, a supporting part in the musical I Can Get It for You Wholesale.  She received a Tony nomination and widespread acclaim.

A year later, in 1963, she released her first record, The Barbra Streisand Album, which won a pair of Grammys, and in 1964, she was cast in one of her signature roles, Fanny Brice in the musical Funny Girl, receiving a second Tony nomination.  In 1968, she returned to the role in the film adaptation, and received a Best Actress nomination; she and Katharine Hepburn shared the award in the only tie vote in the history of the Best Actress award.

Streisand has sold close to 150 million records in her career, making her one of the best-selling non-rock singers ever.  She won a second Oscar, for Best Original Song for “Evergreen” from A Star is Born, eight Grammys (not counting two special awards), three Emmys, and a special Tony as Star of the Decade for the 1960s, all of which puts her on the short list of EGOT winners.  She also has four Peabody awards.

Aidan Gillen, who turns 49, plays Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish on Game of Thrones and is also known for his roles on Queer as Folk and The WireRory McCann, who is 48 today, plays Sandor Clegane, the Hound, on Game of Thrones, and is known for films like Hot Fuzz and XXX: The Return of Xander CageMelinda Clarke, who is turning 49, has had regular roles on The O.C. and Nikita and is also known for her recurring role as the dominatrix Lady Heather on CSI.

Eric Balfour, who starred on Haven as Duke Crocker, is turning 40 today.  Born the same day as Balfour, Rebecca Mader was a regular on the later seasons of Lost and now plays the Wicked Witch of the West on Once Upon a TimeDerek Luke, who turns 43, made an acclaimed debut in the title role of Antwone Fisher and has appeared in films like Catch a Fire and Captain America: The First Avenger, where he was one of the Howling Commandos.  Also turning 43 is Eric Kripke, a television writer-producer best known as the creator of Supernatural and Timeless.

Austin Nichols, who was a regular on One Tree Hill for three seasons and played Spencer Monroe on The Walking Dead, turns 37 today.  Ryan Newman, who is turning 19, was a regular on Nick at Nite’s See Dad Run and now has a recurring part on Nickelodeon’s The Thundermans.

Djimon Hounsou, who is turning 53, became well known for playing Joseph Cinqué in Amistad and has received Oscar nominations for In America and Blood Diamond.  Also 53 today is Cedric Kyles, better known as Cedric the Entertainer, who is best known for his starring roles on The Steve Harvey Show and The Soul Man.

Michael Parks, who turns 77, is one of those actors who turns up all over the place.  He played Jean Renault on Twin Peaks and appears as Earl McGraw in a number of films by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino.  Michael O’Keefe, who is 62 today, was an Oscar nominee for The Great Santini in 1979 and played Danny Noonan in Caddyshack and one of the title characters of the swashbuckler Nate and HayesEric Bogosian, who is celebrating his 64th, is best known for writing the play Talk Radio and starring and and co-writing Oliver Stone’s film adaptation.  He played the villain in Under Siege 2 and was a regular on Law & Order: Criminal Intent for three seasons.

Director Richard Donner turns 87.  He spent about 15 years doing television work before his first major film, The Omen.  He then made the enormously successful Superman: The Movie, and shot a great deal of Superman II before being fired, a subject that we’ve had quite a bit of discussion of here at le Blog.  His subsequent directing output includes The Goonies, Ladyhawke, and the Lethal Weapon films.

Kelly Clarkson, who turns 35 today, was the winner of the first season of American Idol, and has become one of the most successful alumni of that show.  She has released seven studio albums that have all reached #3 or higher on the Billboard 200, had eleven Top 10 singles, won three Grammys, and sold some 70 million records worldwide.

The classical guitarist John Williams, who is 76 today, is the third person of that name to be featured in these articles.  He has been recording and performing for nearly sixty years.

Carlos Beltran, who turns 40, has been playing major league baseball since 1998.  He has made nine All-Star teams and hit over 400 career home runs.  The recently retired Chipper Jones, who is 45, played his entire career with the Atlanta Braves, starring for their 1995 World Series champions.  He was an eight-time All-Star, won the National League MVP award in 1999, and hit 468 home runs in his career.

Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989) is the only writer ever to have won Pulitzer Prizes in both the Fiction and Poetry categories; he won for his novel All the King’s Men and for the poetry collections Promises and Now and Then.  He was also a leader of the mid-century “New Criticism” movement.  Sue Grafton, who turns 77 today, wrote screenplays for television movies for several years before writing the novel A is for Alibi, the first of her “alphabet novels” featuring private investigator Kinsey Milhone.  The latest in the series is titled simply X, breaking the naming convention Grafton had used, probably because she couldn’t come up with a good X-word.

Jill Ireland (1936-1990) is most likely to be remembered for her guest appearance on Star Trek and the films she made in the seventies with Charles Bronson (her second husband), such as The Mechanic, Breakout, and From Noon till Three.

Anyone who knows World War Two history would recognize several prominent names who were born today.  Henri Philippe Pétain (1856-1951) was a hero of the French Army during the First World War for commanding the defense of Verdun, but in the Second World War he disgraced himself by heading the Vichy government which collaborated with the Nazis.  Erich Raeder (1876-1960) served as the commander-in-chief of the Kriegsmarine, the German navy, during the first half of the war, resigning in early 1943 after a number of disputes with Hitler.  Hugh Dowding (1882-1970, later Baron Dowding) was a key figure in the early years of the Royal Air Force, who served as the commander of the RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain in 1940.  Sir Stafford Cripps (1889-1952) was a Labor party politician who was an important member of Winston Churchill’s wartime coalition government.  He served as Ambassador to the USSR and later as Minister of Aircraft Production.

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 24, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hold the phone! It’s Shirley MacLaine’s birthday and she’s not on IMDb’s homepage?! What’s wrong with this world! 😐


  2. I have not seen as many of Shirley MacLaine’s movies as I probably should have. She was terrific in The Apartment (which I really need to see again some day), and an unlikely but effective Western heroine in Two Mules for Sister Sara, opposite Clint Eastwood. I’ve also seen Being There but it’s been a long time and I don’t remember her performance all that well.

    I first saw Barbra Streisand in What’s Up Doc when I was quite young, so for a long time my image of her was centered around her screwball comic heroine in that film. Only later did I discover her musical talents (or her diva reputation).

    Richard Donner’s directing career, taken as a whole, is a bit of a mixed bag, but there were at least two times in his career when he was nearly perfect in executing a highly entertaining genre film (Superman and Lethal Weapon, of course).


  3. Shirley MacLaine, hasn’t she lived many past lives (I have too; I was once Lenny Bruce. In my new incarnation, I’ve cleaned up my act, but still love those showgirls). For the longest time I had no idea she was Warren Beatty’s sister. I admit, I like “Terms of Endearment”.
    Barbra Streisand, I heard that “A Star is Born” is being remade for a fourth time (one of those remakes I really don’t have a problem with, as it can be updated to coincide with whatever era is at the plate), but with her other films, I’ll stick with “The Owl and the Pussycat” and “Nuts”.
    Melinda Clarke, yeah, I have an old Maxim issue I dug up (sans shovel) touting the girls of the O.C., and she’s included. I thought she was good in 1993’s “Return of the Living Dead 3”, which I thought was a lot better than I expected.
    Derek Luke, I remember him from “Antone fisher”; I like that film.
    Michael O’Keefe, yeah I know of him from “Caddyshack”, (unfortunately) “The Slugger’s Wife”, and he was in “Rosanne” for quite awhile.
    Eric Bogosian, I’m all about “Talk Radio”.
    Richard Donner, sometimes I forget that he directed “The Omen” before he moved on to the two franchises I’m sure most people identify him with.
    Kelly Clarkson, ha, I’ve seen “From Justin to Kelly”. Ah, the power of HBO.
    Jill Ireland, she definitely did extensive work with Charles Bronson; I’m going to go with the 1970 film “Cold Sweat”, when Bronson’s character tells her in the car to be quiet, or he’s going to give her “one of these” (a gun). I also like 1987’s “Assassination”.


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