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 DivorceNick 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 KeeperJonathan 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 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Why You Don’t Hear from Fairuza Balk Anymore


    • Why Hollywood doesn’t cast Judge Reinhold anymore

      In the ’80s, Judge Reinhold was a box office draw on par with Tom Hanks thanks to roles in classic films like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Beverly Hills Cop. His sharp comedic timing and boyish looks made him the go-to guy for everything from offbeat comedies (Ruthless People) to family fare (the Freaky Friday knock-off Vice Versa). But he’s been missing in action since the ’90s, and what can we say? We miss the guy.

      These days he’s relegated to direct-to-DVD fare and the occasional self-mocking TV appearance—a sad state of affairs that deprives untold generations of Reinhold’s everyman charm. What happened to the actor Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg once said had “tremendous potential as a leading man”? Find out below.

      He had an embarrassing arrest

      Reinhold made headlines in December of 2016 after being arrested at LAX airport for disorderly conduct. The actor had gotten into a verbal altercation with TSA agents, yelling expletives and even removing his shirt after refusing to submit to a backpack check. He later apologized, saying he was “embarrassed” by the incident, which he blamed on an adverse reaction to prescription medication.

      He can’t get past his Beverly Hills Cop role

      After Reinhold’s arrest, most of the headlines referenced his role as Det. Billy Rosewood from the Beverly Hills Cop movies. And it isn’t just the media who can’t let the role go—Reinhold also played Rosewood in the failed Beverly Hills Cop CBS pilot. (He even posed with Brandon T. Jackson, who was cast as Axel Foley’s son in the would-be reboot, at Spike TV’s Eddie Murphy tribute special.)

      The small-screen version of Beverly Hills Cop looked like Reinhold’s ticket back to the big time: Eddie Murphy appeared in the pilot, while The Shield creator Shawn Ryan signed on as the showrunner. But the project died after Eddie turned down CBS’ offer to be a recurring guest star. As he told Playboy, “I’m not gonna do Beverly Hills Cop on TV.” Eddie’s scraps were swept off the table, along with Reinhold’s latest hope of a comeback.

      He’s forever associated with a classic movie scene

      Besides Beverly Hills Cop, there is one more film everyone knows Judge Reinhold from. (Hint: It’s not Vice Versa.) His famous bathroom scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High is considered one of the most awkward moments in movie history. And while everyone remembers Phoebe Cates’ red bikini, they also remember her face when she catches Reinhold’s Brad “waxing poetic” to a fantasy of her character Linda removing said bikini in slow motion.

      With one famous scene, Reinhold’s mug was forever associated with self-coitus interruptus. If you’re going to be typecast, there are better ways of doing it.

      Millennials have no idea who he is

      Appearing in bit parts on TV and in direct-to-DVD fare like Dr. Dolittle: Million Dollar Mutts hasn’t exactly raised Reinhold’s profile in recent years. At best, he’s associated with the ’80s, a decade millennials didn’t even live through. In fact, Rolling Stone put Reinhold on their list of the 50 Things Millennials Have Never Heard Of, writing, “[Reinhold] was every bit as famous as Tom Hanks, until the 1990s hit him like a ton of bricks.” And after all, if you didn’t do anything of note in the ’90s, you might as well not exist to millennials.

      His Judd Apatow/Seth Rogen pilot didn’t take off

      Before Judd Apatow was a “king of comedy” in Hollywood, he had a string of failed projects in the early ’00s. North Hollywood, a critically acclaimed pilot about struggling actors, featured Reinhold playing a role he knew all too well—a washed-up version of himself. Had North Hollywood been picked up by ABC when it was made in 2001, Reinhold would’ve been in good company—the cast included future superstars Amy Poehler, Jason Segel, Seth Rogen, Amy Schumer, and Kevin Hart. What could’ve been an ironic comeback for the Beverly Hills Cop star never got off the ground. Meanwhile, Apatow and everyone else in the cast went on to run Hollywood.

      His sitcom lasted a month

      Reinhold played the father in The O’Keefes, a WB sitcom about a bunch of wacky homeschooled kids. The show was short-lived, with only five episodes airing in 2003. (It debuted to little fanfare, with EW calling Reinhold “eternally grating” in their TV season preview before the show even premiered.) Tania Raymonde, star of shows like Lost and Goliath, was the only actor to emerge from this forgotten family show unscathed.

      Beverly Hills Cop IV is constantly delayed

      News of a fourth Beverly Hills Cop has been brewing for years, though the project has met with constant roadblocks. (It was even removed from Paramount’s schedule in 2015.) Belgian directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Black) were hired in June of 2016, following Rush Hour helmer Brett Ratner exiting the project. Reinhold has been frequently quoted about the fourth-quel’s many false starts, including one potential take set in London and one script where his character Det. Rosewood is killed off. Seeing as how another Cop outing is Reinhold’s best shot at starring in a surefire Hollywood blockbuster, it’s safe to say he’s still holding out hope that Murphy will “shakedown” the studio and make it happen.

      He failed to capitalize on his Arrested Development cameo

      Reinhold appeared as himself in a fan favorite Arrested Development episode, hosting the fake show Mock Trial with J. Reinhold. (William Hung led the “Hung Jury” band.) Despite earning him cred in the comedy world, this cameo didn’t do much for Reinhold’s career. After starring in The Santa Clause 2, Reinhold made sporadic appearances on TV shows and in direct-to-DVD fare. Unfortunately he didn’t return for the Arrested Development Netflix reboot. Here’s hoping he’s back in the judge’s seat for the next Arrested outing.

      There’s hope for a comeback

      Reinhold will forever be beloved to filmgoers of a certain age, and he earned a lot of goodwill among comedy fans for his Arrested Development appearance—his road to a comeback could come through reminding people how funny he can be. His recent appearance on TBS’ offbeat sitcom The Detour is a step in the right direction.

      He’ll also star in the upcoming movies Grandmothers Murder Club, which features the late Florence Henderson’s final role, and Highly Functional opposite Bruce Campbell. He’s embraced his age as well, going bald for a role as a real-life coach in the 2016 film My Many Sons. And, hey, maybe Eddie Murphy finally find the right script and decide to do another Beverly Hills Cop movie after all. Axel Foley himself could also use a hit film right about now.


  2. One of the lighter days since I started writing the articles. Neither of the headliners is really that big a name but they are both so “of” the eighties that the pairing seemed logical.

    Fairuza Balk never became that big a star either, but Gas Food Lodging is a good indie film that’s worth checking out.

    If you are a fan of Love Actually, definitely check out the short film sequel to see what some of the characters are up to.

    We do have a couple of pretty big music names today—short-lived, but highly influential.


    • I so love the 1980’s (it’s The Power of Love really); yeah, I think “Gas Food Lodging” is a pretty cool film. I generally like Fairuza Balk, plus she voiced Mercedes Cortez in “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City”; hmm, Philip Michael Thomas’ birthday is on the 26th, and I didn’t know those two, so close to Vice, had birthdays so close as well.


  3. Mr. T, I mentioned him the other day, but for a guy that was totally rude to Rocky’s wife, I found him lovable. I viewed that show “Bringing Back…The A-Team”, and it was great to see Mr. T again.
    Judge Reinhold, well, I’ve always liked the Judge too (especially in the animated version of “Clerks”). I kind of like “Vice Versa” too (maybe the business got a bit too fast with those body swapping film in the 1980’s, but I thought that film was the best of the bunch).
    Lisa Edelstein, former club kid, someone who I’ve always found to be extremely attractive. If I was House, I’d want her home too.
    Al Franken, aw yeah, he was built for politics; seems to fit him well. I think he’s good in that good way at it.
    Nick Cassavetes, okay, I love 1986’s “The Wraith”, and he was also silent killers in films such as “Bad Moon Rising” (Linda Hamilton!) and “Quiet Cool” (James Remar!). Like his dad, I’ve liked what he’s done with his directing.
    Raymond Burr, my parents were big on “Ironside” and the Perry Mason action. I think he was pretty solid.


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