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May 4: Happy Birthday Will Arnett and Audrey Hepburn

0504ArnettHepburn

Five-time Emmy  nominee Will Arnett is turning 47 today.  He studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and began working regularly in film and television in the mid-nineties.  He first became well known for the role of “Gob” Bluth on Arrested Development, which brought him his first Emmy nomination, for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy.  He has starred on the short-lived series Up All Night and The Millers, and is the co-creator and star of Netflix’s Flaked, which returns for its second season next month.  However, in terms of impact, it’s tough to top his recurring role as Devon Banks on 30 Rock—in nine appearances, he landed four Emmy nominations for Outstanding Guest Actor.

Arnett has had prominent roles in films such as Blades of Glory, Let’s Go to Prison, and Jonah Hex, and played Vern Fenwick in the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot and its sequel.  He will star in the upcoming Show Dogs.  He also does quite a bit of work as a voice actor, including voicing Batman in The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie.

Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) trained as a dancer, worked as a chorus girl on the West End, and had minor roles in films like The Lavender Hill Mob, before her sudden emergence as a star in the early fifties.  She made her Broadway debut in as the title character in Gigi in late 1951, and then starred in the 1954 production of Ondine, winning the Tony for Best Leading Actress in a Play.  Meanwhile, her film career also took off.  She was cast as Princess Ann in Roman Holiday and was a sensation, winning the Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA awards for Best Actress.

Hepburn’s filmography is not long, but it is full of memorable performances.  Some may remember her as Natasha Rostova in War and Peace or Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.  Others may think of her as the title character of Sabrina, or as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, while some may prefer her ventures into thrillers, as Reggie Lampert in Charade, or the blind but not helpless Susy Hendrix in Wait Until Dark.  To her Oscar and Tony honors, she added a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album and an Emmy for the documentary series Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn, which made her part of the small list of EGOT winners.

Veteran character actor Richard Jenkins, who is celebrating his 70th, became well known during the 2000s when he played Nathaniel Fisher on Six Feet Under.  He received a Best Actor nomination for The Visitor, and more recently won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries for HBO’s Olive Kitteridge.  The latter role reunited him with Frances McDormand; the two previously appeared together in the Coen Brothers’ The Man Who Wasn’t There and Burn After Reading.

Ana Gasteyer, who turns 50 today, went from The Groundlings to the cast of Saturday Night Live, where she appeared for six seasons; she was a regular on ABC’s Suburgatory as Sheila Shay.  Canadian actress Emily Perkins, best known as Brigitte Fitzgerald in the Ginger Snaps horror films, turns 40.  Ashley Rickards, who is celebrating her 25th, played the lead on MTV’s Awkward and currently plays the recurring role of Rosa Dillon on The FlashAlexander Gould, who turns 23, was the voice of Nemo in Finding Nemo and starred as Shane Botwin on Showtime’s Weeds.

Pia Zadora, who turns 64 today, will be familiar to readers of our Razzie series, as she capped a decade of “distinction” by winning Worst New Star of the Decade.

Randy Travis, who is turning 58, emerged as a major country star in 1986 with his hit album Storms of Life.  He had a terrific run of #1 Country singles in the next decade, and then became more of a gospel singer.  He has won three Grammys for Best Gospel Album to go with three more in country categories.  Lance Bass, who is best known for his years with the boy band NSYNC, turns 38.

Rory McIlroy, one of the world’s top golfers, turns 28 today.  He has spent 95 weeks ranked #1 in the world since 2012 and has won the PGA twice and the US Open and the British Open once each.  Spanish footballer Cesc Fàbregas is turning 30.  He has helped Spain win the 2010 World Cup and European Cups in 2008 and 2012, and starred in succession for Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea at the club level.

Amos Oz, often described as Israel’s most famous living author, turns 78 today.  His prize-winning autobiographical novel A Tale of Love and Darkness was adapted into a 2015 film by Natalie Portman, while he is also known for novels such as My Michael and A Perfect PeaceRobin Cook, who is 77, is an American physician and writer best known as the author of a number of medical thrillers.  His books have sold over 100 million copies, and his 1977 novel Coma was adapted into a hit movie.

Howard Da Silva (1909-1986) was a distinguished stage and screen actor best known for his musical theater career.  He originated the role of Jud Fry in Oklahoma!, was a Tony nominee as Ben Marino in Fiorello!, and played Ben Franklin in the original Broadway production of 1776 and the film adaptation.  He was also known for roles in films like The Lost Weekend and The Blue Dahlia.

The late Roberta Peters (1930-2017) was one of the leading operatic sopranos of her generation, who made her debut at the Met in 1950 and sang there regularly for 35 years.  A lyric/coloratura soprano, she was famous for her roles in Mozart and Rossini.

John Hanning Speke (1827-1864) was famous as an explorer of Africa, known for being the first European to reach Lake Victoria and for his search for the source of the Nile.  He is played by Iain Glen in the film Mountains of the Moon, which tells the story of Speke and his rivalry with fellow explorer Richard Francis Burton.

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 May 4, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Today can be summed up pretty simply. We have Audrey Hepburn, and we have the people who are in the article so that it isn’t just an article about Audrey Hepburn. 🙂 Okay, that’s a little unfair to a few of them, but still…

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    • LOL. I was getting ready to post a longer comment, but I’ll start off by responding to this one. I haven’t seen enough Audrey Hepburn movies. I have genuinely enjoyed the ones I have watched, but I am missing some of the bigger ones like Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Seen clips, but never the whole thing. Even so, there’s no denying her status as an icon.

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  2. I am a big Arrested Development fan. So obviously, that’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Will Arnett. Also Lego Batman.

    Richard Jenkins is always terrific. I’m very fond of Cabin in the Woods. Let Me In is another one that comes to mind.

    I have never seen a Pia Zadora movie. But I remember as a kid reading about the controversy over her Golden Globe.

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    • I have never seen any of the films Pia Zadora made as an adult, but I can remember watching Santa Claus Conquers the Martians when I was very young.

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      • Before I saw the clip from “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” on this site, the only time I recall Pia Zadora was in the third Naked Gun film, and even then I didn’t really know who she was. Watching that film again, I retroactively know who she is now.

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  3. Will Arnett, I’m a fan of “Let’s go to Prison”. Shake that body…
    Now for an odd transition…
    Audrey Hepburn film & fashion icon, humanitarian, and seemingly a mentally strong person. I’m very fond of “Wait until Dark”, “Funny Face”, “A Nun’s Story”, and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.
    Richard Jenkins, I love his work. Yes, of course he was in “Miami Vice”, but I thought he was great in “The visitor”, which was a film that really shined a light on his career. I also thought he served well in the updated “Fun with Dick and Jane”, and “North Country”, along with a host of smaller but effective parts.
    Ana Gasteyer, I thought she had some good moments on SNL, my favorite is when she played Sally Jesse Raphael (and accidentally got punched for real by Christina Ricci).
    Randy Travis, I remember my mother listening to him in the 1980’s (I have strong recall on the song “Diggin’ Up Bones” . He’s younger than I expected.
    I’ve seen a couple of TV movies based on the books of Robin Cook; one that comes to mind is one that starred Nia Peeples & Doug Savant.

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