May 21: Happy Birthday Mr. T and Judge Reinhold
On a day with few really big names, our headliners are two people who had fairly high profiles during the 1980s.
Lawrence Tureaud, much better known as Mr. T, is turning 65 today. A former soldier, he had worked as a bouncer and a bodyguard, and was noticed by Sylvester Stallone while taking part in a “toughest bouncer” contest; Stallone recruited him to appear in Rocky III, where he played Rocky’s rival, Clubber Lang. Mr. T then starred in the film D. C. Cab, and later in the eighties was one of the leads on the Canadian-produced series T. and T. During the decade he also had a short career in professional wrestling. But he was best known for another television role, as a former Special Forces sergeant with a distinctive hairstyle, a fear of flying, and a really bad attitude.
Judge Reinhold, who turns 60 today, made his first screen appearance in an episode of Wonder Woman. He had a small role in Stripes and then was one of the main cast, along with several other later-famous names, in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. During the eighties he starred in films such as Off Beat, Ruthless People, and Vice Versa. His best known role, however, was as a sidekick to Eddie Murphy in a series of action comedies set in an affluent Southern California city.
Since 1990 Reinhold has had a much lower profile, other than returning as Billy Rosewood in Beverly Hills Cop III (a fourth film has been rumored for years) and playing Neil Miller in the Santa Clause films. He also received an Emmy nomination for a guest appearance on Seinfeld.
Lisa Edelstein, who turns 51 today, starred as Dr. Lisa Curry on House for seven seasons, and currently is the lead on Bravo’s Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. Nick Cassavetes, who is turning 58, has appeared in films like Face/Off, but is better known for his directing projects, which include films like John Q, The Notebook, and My Sister’s Keeper. Jonathan Hyde, who currently stars on FX’s The Strain, turns 69; he is also known for roles in films like Jumanji and The Mummy.
Fairuza Balk, who celebrates her 43rd, starred in Return to Oz as a child actress and appeared in nineties films like Gas Food Lodging, The Craft, and The Waterboy. She still acts and also is a multimedia artist. Sarah Ramos, who is turning 26, is known for her regular roles on American Dreams as Patty Pryor and on Parenthood as Haddie Braverman. Olivia Olson, who is 25, made her debut singing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” in Love Actually and reprised her role of Joanna Anderson in the short-film sequel, Red Nose Day Actually. She and Love Actually costar Thomas Sangster also reunited as voice actors on Phineas and Ferb.
Al Franken is celebrating his 66th. He was recruited as a writer for the first season of Saturday Night Live in 1975 and remained with the show for most, but not all, of the next 20 years, winning five Emmys, mostly for writing. He later went into politics and is currently a US Senator from Minnesota.
Fats Waller (1904-1943) was one of the great pioneers of jazz piano. IN addition to being a pathbreaking performer, he composed a number of jazz standards, most famously “Ain’t Misbehavin'” and “Honeysuckle Rose.” Christopher Wallace, best known as rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (1972-1997), was probably most famous after his death in a drive-by shooting in early 1997, as his posthumous album Life After Death reached #1 and received three Grammy nominations.
Russian-born director Anatole Litvak (1902-1974), who came to the US after having to flee both the Communists and the Nazis at different points in his life, worked with recent headliner Frank Capra on the Why We Fight series during World War Two. He also directed films such as Confessions of a Nazi Spy and Anastasia, the latter of which brought Ingrid Bergman her second Oscar for Best Actress. Actor and director Robert Montgomery (1904-1981) received a Best Actor nomination for Night Must Fall and a second time for Here Comes Mr. Jordan. He began directing by filling in for John Ford for some scenes of They Were Expendable, and later directed himself in Lady in the Lake, an adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s novel, notable for its use of a subjective camera for almost the entire film. Elizabeth Montgomery, star of television’s Bewitched, was his daughter.
Raymond Burr (1917-1993) had a long list of film credits, ranging from Rear Window to Godzilla, but is best remembered for his two long-running television roles, as the title characters of Perry Mason and Ironside, which between them brought him eight Emmy nominations and two wins. The late Richard Hatch (1945-2017) starred on the final season of The Streets of San Francisco, and then played Captain Apollo on the original Battlestar Galactica. He also played the recurring character of Tom Zarek on the re-imagined series in the 2000s. Lola Lane (1906-1981) was best known for starring with her younger sisters Rosemary and Priscilla in films like Four Daughters and Daughters Courageous.
Harold Robbins (1916-1997) was one of the biggest-selling authors of all time. His novels, such as The Dream Merchants and The Carpetbaggers, have reportedly sold over 750 million copies worldwide. Poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744) was the author of works like An Essay on Criticism and The Rape of the Lock and a famous translation of Homer, and is one of the most-quoted authors in English not named Shakespeare.
Philip II of Spain (1527-1598) was one of the world’s most powerful monarchs in the 16th century; during his reign Spain reached the height of its status as a world power. Remembered in England as the king who sent the Spanish Armada against them, he has been played in film by actors such as Raymond Massey, Montagu Love, Paul Scofield, Fernando Rey, and Jordi Molla. Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989) was a Russian nuclear physicist who played a large role in the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons program, but was even better known as a political dissident, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975. Jason Robards played him in a TV movie in the eighties.
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 21, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays, Uncategorized and tagged Fairuza Balk, Fats Waller, Judge Reinhold, Mr. T, Nick Cassavetes, Notorious B.I.G., Raymond Burr, Robert Montgomery. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.