May 16: Happy Birthday Pierce Brosnan and Henry Fonda
Pierce Brosnan celebrates his 64th today. He graduated from the Drama Centre London and worked in English theater for several years. American audiences first became aware of him when he starred as the title character of the detective/romance series Remington Steele. During the show’s run he was also nominated for a Golden Globe for the BBC/Masterpiece Theater miniseries Nancy Astor. When the series ended, he had a few prominent film roles, including an adaptation of Frederick Forsyth’s The Fourth Protocol, but it wasn’t until 1995 that his career-defining part came along.
After his success in Goldeneye, which many of us here at le Blog rank pretty highly, Brosnan returned to the role of James Bond three more times, for the action-packed Tomorrow Never Dies and the less-well-regarded The World is Not Enough and Die Another Day. Like most screen James Bonds, Brosnan has not translated his fame from the role into success outside it. With the exception of Mamma Mia!, where he had a supporting role, he has not appeared in a major box office success outside the Bond films; he did receive a Golden Globe nomination for The Matador and critical praise for The Ghost Writer.
Henry Fonda (1905-1982) began acting in community theater groups in his home state of Nebraska and then in Massachusetts, before moving to New York and making his Broadway debut in 1929. He was signed by Fox in 1935 and by the late 1930s was established as a major leading man, starring as Frank James in Jesse James and The Return of Frank James and opposite Bette Davis in Jezebel. He made the first of several films with John Ford in 1939, Young Mr. Lincoln (as Abe Lincoln) and Drums Along the Mohawk. The Fonda-Ford partnership continued in 1940, as Fonda received his first Oscar nomination as Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath.
In the early forties, Fonda starred in memorable films like Preston Sturges’ brilliant comedy The Lady Eve and the anti-lynching Western The Ox-Bow Incident, before spending about 3 years on active duty in the Navy in World War 2. When he returned from the war, he starred in several films from 1946-48, including playing Wyatt Earp in Ford’s My Darling Clemetine, but then chose to spend several years away from film on Broadway (possibly he was “graylisted” by the studios for his political views), where he starred in, and won a Tony for, Mister Roberts.
When the play was adapted into film in 1955, Fonda returned to the screen in the title role. He then produced and starred in the Best Picture nominee 12 Angry Men. During his final 25 years, a few of his most memorable films included Advise & Consent, The Longest Day, Once Upon a Time in the West, and the film for which he finally won an Oscar, On Golden Pond.
Henry Fonda’s first marriage, a brief one, was to actress Margaret Sullavan (1909-1960) in the early thirties. Sullavan preferred to work on stage but made a few memorable films; she was a Best Actress nominee for Three Comrades, and starred with James Stewart in several films, including The Shop Around the Corner.
Debra Winger, our WTHH subject birthday today, is turning 62. She is a three time Best Actress nominee, and currently is a regular on the Netflix series The Ranch. Brian O’Byrne, who turns 50, is best known as a stage actor; he is a five time Tony nominee who won Best Featured Actor in a Play for Bryony Lavery’s Frozen. He was also an Emmy nominee for HBO’s miniseries Mildred Pierce. Danny Trejo is turning 73. He has made a long list of films with Robert Rodriguez, including six in the role of Isador “Machete” Cortez (two as the title character and four Spy Kids films). He is also known for roles in Heat, Con Air, and Predators. Danish actor Jesper Christensen, who is 69 today, has had a lot of success in the cinema of his home country, while also playing the villainous Mr. White in three of Daniel Craig’s four James Bond films.
Melanie Lynskey, who celebrates her 40th today, made her debut in Heavenly Creatures and has had prominent roles in Ever After, Shattered Glass, Up in the Air, and The Informant!, and was a regular for two seasons on Two and a Half Men. Born the same day as Lynskey, Lynn Collins played Portia in Michael Radford’s 2004 film of The Merchant of Venice, and was Kayla Silverfox in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Dejah Thoris in John Carter.
Tracey Gold, who is 48, is best known for her role as Carol Seaver on Growing Pains, and for her well-documented struggle with an eating disorder during the later seasons of the show. David Boreanaz, who shares a birthday with Gold, played the brooding vampire Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and then became the title character of his own series; he followed that by playing Agent Seeley Booth on Bones.
Megan Fox, who is 31 today, played Mikaela Banes in the first two Transformers films, during which time she got media coverage that at least bordered on overexposure. More recently she has played April O’Neil in two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films. Tori Spelling, best known as Donna Martin on Beverly Hills, 90210, turns 44 today. Joseph Morgan, who is turning 36, played Klaus Mikaelson on The Vampire Diaries and now stars in the same role on the spinoff series The Originals. Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who is celebrating his 27th, made his feature film debut in Love, Actually. He was the voice of Ferb Fletcher on Phineas and Ferb, and played Jojen Reed on Game of Thrones. Miles Heizer, best known for starring on NBC’s Parenthood as Drew Holt, turns 23 today.
Jack Morris, who is 62 today, was one of baseball’s best starting pitchers in the eighties and early nineties. He won over 250 games in his career and played for four World Series winners. Billy Martin (1928-1989) had a good baseball career as a player, and an excellent one as a manager; he was most famous for his five separate stints as manager of the New York Yankees over the years 1975-1988. Olga Korbut, who also turns 62, was a star in women’s gymnastics at the 1972 Olympics, winning three gold medals.
The youngest of a group of musical siblings, Janet Jackson turns 51 today. She has been recording and performing since her teens, and has sold in the neighborhood of 100 million records, while winning five Grammys. Woody Herman (1913-1987) was a jazz saxophonist and clarinetist and a popular bandleader during the thirties and forties, leading ensembles generally known as “the Herd.” Władziu Valentino Liberace, usually known simply as Liberace (1919-1987), was a pianist known for his flamboyant showmanship. At the height of his career, he was said to be the highest-paid entertainer in the world. And yes, he did have a brother George.
Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi (1898-1956) is often considered to be one of the greatest artists ever to work in film. His most highly esteemed films include The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums, The Life of Oharu, Ugetsu, and Sansho the Bailiff. Harry Carey, Jr. (1921-2012) was known for his work in Westerns, especially as one of John Ford’s regulars; he had prominent roles in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Rio Grande, and The Searchers. Yvonne Craig (1937-2015) played Batgirl (and Barbara Gordon) on the 1960s Batman series and also had a memorable guest appearance on Star Trek.
Our historical birthday is William Seward (1801-1872), a leading political figure in the mid-19th Century US. Seward is most famous for his service as Secretary of State under Presidents Lincoln and Andrew Johnson; he was part of the former’s “team of rivals” cabinet, while in Johnson’s term he was responsible for the US’s purchase of Alaska.
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 May 16, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Danny Trejo, Debra Winger, Henry Fonda, Kenji Mizoguchi, Liberace, Margaret Sullavan, megan fox, Melanie Lynskey, pierce brosnan. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.