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April 30: Happy Birthday Kirsten Dunst and Gal Gadot

0430DunstGadot

Our two headliners each appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on the same day a little over a year ago, but sadly no one got them both in front of a camera at the same time.

Kirsten Dunst is celebrating her 35th birthday.  She made her first appearance on the big screen at just six, in New York Stories, and at twelve was nominated for a Golden Globe as the child vampire Claudia in Interview with the Vampire.  She appeared in several films over the rest of the decade, and as the 1990s transitioned to the 2000s, she was doing some of the teen-oriented films you’d have expected of an actress of her age (Bring it On, Get Over It), but also some “teen” films that were very atypical, such as The Virgin Suicides, along with this:

In 2001, Dunst, still in her late teens, starred in her first adult role as Marion Davies in The Cat’s Meow.  A year later, she made her first appearance as Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man, and was launched on a few years of stardom, with major roles in films like Mona Lisa Smile, Elizabethtown, and Marie Antoinette.  How and why that did not last is one of the subjects of her WTHH article.  In the past few years, Dunst has starred in The Two Faces of January and played a supporting part in Hidden Figures, and has been an Emmy and Golden Globe nominee for season 2 of Fargo.

Israeli model turned actress Gal Gadot is turning 32.  She began working as a model after completing her Israeli military service, and in 2009 was cast in her first major film role, Gisele Yashar in Fast & Furious, a role she reprised in the next two films in the series.  In 2016 she appeared in a small role in Triple 9, and in larger ones in the thriller Criminal and the action comedy Keeping Up With the Joneses.  However, her most heralded film role of last year was her first appearance in the DC Extended Universe.  She will reprise that role in two films to be released later this year.

Eight-time Emmy winner Cloris Leachman is most famous for the role that brought her two of those Emmys, Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spinoff, Phyllis.  Leachman, also an Oscar winner for The Last Picture Show, turns 91 today.

We have two birthdays among the cast of The Big Bang Theory today: Johnny Galecki, who plays Leonard Hofstadter, turns 42, while Kunal Nayyar, who plays Raj Koothrappali, is 36.  Sam Heughan, who stars as Jamie Fraser on Outlander, is turning 37.

Dianna Agron, who celebrates her 31st, is best known for playing Quinn Fabray on Glee.  Cuban actress Ana de Armas, who is 29, worked in Spanish television and film for several years, then became known for films like the erotic thriller Knock Knock; she will appear later this year in Blade Runner 2049Rose Rollins, who turns 39, played Tasha Williams on the final three seasons of The L Word and now is a regular on The Catch.

Adrian Pasdar, who is 52 today, starred in Near Dark and Just Like a Woman, played Nathan Petrelli on Heroes, and has voiced Iron Man in a variety of animated Marvel adaptations.  Burt Young, a busy character actor of the seventies and eighties, turns 77.  He was an Oscar nominee as Paulie Pennino in Rocky, and later a Razzie nominee for the same character in Rocky IV.

Maverick Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier, who turns 61, has won film awards all over Europe.  Some of his better-known films include Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, and Melancholia (which starred Kirsten Dunst).  French writer and director Jacques Audiard, who is 65, has won several Cesar Awards for both writing and directing.  He is known for films such as Read My Lips, The Beat That My Heart Skipped, A Prophet, and Rust and BoneDame Jane Campion, who is turning 63, is the only female filmmaker to have won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, for The Piano.  She also was nominated for Best Director  and won Best Original Screenplay for the same film.

Basketball Hall of Famer Isaiah Thomas turns 56.  He starred for Indiana University’s 1981 NCAA Champions and then played his entire NBA career with the Detroit Pistons, making 12 All-Star teams and leading them to NBA titles in 1989 and 1990.

Author Annie Dillard, who turns 72, is known for several novels and for her Pulitzer Prize winning nonfiction narrative Pilgrim at Tinker CreekLarry Niven, who is 79, won Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards for his 1970 sci-fi novel Ringworld, and is also known for The Mote in God’s Eye (coauthored with Jerry Pournelle) and his rational fantasy series The Magic Goes Away.

Johnny Horton (1925-1960) was a country/rockabilly singer known for his “historical ballads” like the #1 hit “The Battle of New Orleans” and “Sink the Bismarck.”  He died tragically, in a late 1960 auto accident.  Mimi Fariña (1945-2001) was a folksinger, the younger sister of Joan Baez.  She made several mid-sixties albums with her husband, folkie Richard Fariña (1937-1966) and later was known for her charity co-operative, Bread and Roses.  Conductor Robert Shaw (1916-1999, no relation to the British actor) was known for founding and leading the Robert Shaw Chorale and for his lengthy tenure as music director of the Atlanta Symphony.

Jill Clayburgh (1944-2010) was nominated for Best Actress in two consecutive years in the late seventies, for An Unmarried Woman and Starting OverEve Arden (1908-1990) was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in Mildred Pierce, won an Emmy for starring on TV as Our Miss Brooks, and played Principal McGee in Grease.

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 30, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Kirsten Dunst, I like quite a bit of her work, especially “Melancholia”.
    Cloris Leachman, I really liked that episode of “Thriller” that she was in back in the day, and as a kid I remember the Howie Mandel vehicle “Walk like a Man”. Yep, more fond of that “Thriller” episode.
    Adrian Pasdar, yeah, I really liked him in “Near Dark”; I thought he gave good info on the DVD bonus features for the film too.
    Isaiah Thomas, one of my all-time favorite basketball players (in 23 days, it’s the birthday of my #1 favorite). Loved how he treated losing like it was an illness.
    Jill Clayburgh, I thought she was one of the finest actresses of the 1970’s.

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  2. I have enjoyed quite a lot of Kirsten Dunst’s work through the years. She and Michelle Williams are terrific together in Dick (someone should get smart and write a script that gets those two actresses back together again). She is really impressive in The Cat’s Meow–a wonderful, emotionally complex performance.

    Gal Gadot has a chance to have a big year this year, but it’s largely beyond her control, as it depends on the folks in charge of the DCEU having gotten things together so that their films don’t turn out to be more expensive disappointments.

    Cloris Leachman, yet another from that terrific cast of The Last Picture Show.

    Larry Niven is another author who I have on my “must get to him” list.

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    • I should’ve acknowledged “Dick”, because I’m a big fan of that film, and I agree, Dunst & Williams made a heck of a tandem there.

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  3. Again, “a day late and…..” Happy Birthday to Kirsten Dunst and Happy Birthday to Gal Gadot. I never would have known w/o Lebeau’s le Blog

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  4. I accidentally skipped over burt Young; I’d mention a certain TV series, but no, I’ll give that a rest…this once, but I will mention his Paulie character from the Rocky series and his character of Lou from “Back to School” (did you know he was the first generation of his family to stand up straight? At least that’s what Thornton Mellon said).

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