May 22: Happy Birthday Ginnifer Goodwin and Laurence Olivier


Ginnifer Goodwin is turning 39 today.  She made her screen debut in a recurring role on Ed and her feature film debut in Mona Lisa Smile.  She then had the somewhat thankless task of playing Vivian Liberto, Johnny Cash’s first wife, in Walk the Line.  She has starred in Something Borrowed and as a voice actor in Zootopia, been part of the ensemble cast of He’s Just Not That Into You, and had supporting roles in Birds of America and Ramona and Beezus.

However, her best-known work has been on television.  She starred on HBO’s Big Love as one of three wives in a fundamentalist Mormon family.  Subsequently, she has starred for six seasons on ABC’s Once Upon a Time as Mary Margaret Blanchard, also known as Snow White.

Laurence Olivier (1907-1989; Sir Laurence as of 1947, Baron Olivier from 1970 on) ranks among England’s most distinguished actors ever.  His brilliant stage career began while he was attending college, and by the early thirties he had established himself as a major actor.  He began appearing at the Old Vic company in the mid-thirties, and later became a co-director of the company.  His famous Shakespeare roles included the three he played in films—Henry V, Hamlet, and Richard III—as well as Macbeth, Iago, and Shylock.  He was also noted for his starring roles in Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra and John Osborne’s The Entertainer.

In film, Olivier was known for the three Shakespeare adaptations that he starred in and directed, each of which brought him a Best Actor nomination, three of the nine he received in his career.  He won two Oscars for Hamlet, Best Actor and Best Picture.  Among his other noted films were literary adaptations (Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice), historical dramas (Fire Over England, That Hamilton Woman), Hitchcock’s Rebecca, Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, and many more.

German actress Karoline Herfurth celebrates her 33rd.  She is known for her starring roles in German films like Big Girls Don’t Cry, A Year Ago in Winter, and We Are the Night; international audiences might recognize her from Perfume: The Story of a Murderer or The ReaderTao Okamoto, a Japanese model-turned-actress, turns 32.  She made her film debut in The Wolverine (as Mariko Yashida) and more recently appeared in Batman v. SupermanMolly Ephraim, who starred on the just-canceled Last Man Standing as Mandy Baxter, turns 31.  She has appeared on Broadway in Into the Woods and Fiddler on the RoofCamren Bicondova, who plays Selena Kyle on Gotham, turns 18 today.

Barbara Parkins, who is turning 75, is best known for two major roles she played in the sixties, Betty Anderson on ABC’s Peyton Place, and Anne Welles in the film version of Valley of the DollsCheryl Campbell, who is turning 68, won an Olivier Award for starring as Nora Helmer in a revival of A Doll’s House and a BAFTA Television Award for the BBC miniseries Testament of Youth.  Australian actor Gary Sweet, who is 60 today, is best known for his work on Australian television, in series like Police Rescue and House Husbands, and also for his starring role in The Tracker.

Sean Gunn, who turns 43, is known for his regular role on Gilmore Girls and for playing Kraglin, one of the Ravagers, in the Guardians of the Galaxy films (which are directed by his older brother James).  Michael Kelly, who is 49 today, is a two-time Emmy nominee on House of Cards as Doug Stamper and has had major roles in films like Dawn of the Dead and The Adjustment Bureau.  Margaret Quigley, known as Maggie Q, turns 38.  She has had major roles in Mission: Impossible 3, Life Free or Die Hard, and the Divergent films, and starred on television on Nikita and Designated Survivor.

Our sports birthday list is headed by Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic, who turns 30.  Currently ranked #2 in the world in men’s singles, after a long stretch as #1, Djokovic has won 12 Grand Slam singles titles, 4th most in history, and has been especially dominant at the Australian Open, winning six times.  Apolo Ohno, who turns 35, is an eight-time Winter Olympic medalist in short track speed skating, who has also won 21 medals at world championships.  Dancing With the Stars fans may also recall that he and Julianne Hough won Season 4.

Bernie Taupin, the longtime songwriting partner of Elton John, and one of the greatest lyricists in modern popular music, tops our music birthdays today; he celebrates his 67th.  As of this year the two have been working together for fifty years.  Steven Morrissey, who goes professionally by just his last name, turns 58.  He was the lead vocalist for the 1980s alt-rock band the Smiths and since then has been highly successful in the UK as a solo artist.  Johnny Gill, who is 51 today, is known for his work with R&B bands New Edition and Heads of State.

Paul Winfield (1941-2004) was an Oscar nominee for Sounder and a five-time Emmy nominee, winning Outstanding Guest Actor for an appearance on Picket Fences.  He may also be remembered as Captain Terrell in Star Trek II and Lt. Traxler in The Terminator.  Television producer Quinn Martin (1922-1987) had at least one series running in prime time every year from 1959-1980.  Some of the series he was known for were The Fugitive, The F.B.I., The Streets of San Francisco, and Barnaby Jones.

We’ll end the article with two men who have had enormous cultural impact.  It’s been 130 years since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) wrote a short novel titled A Study in Scarlet, and introduced the world to the exploits of one Sherlock Holmes.  That the world of crime fiction has never been the same can be seen in the existence of not one but two ongoing television series which update Holmes to a 21st century setting (Sherlock and Elementary), and in the enormous library of derivative and pastiche literature about Holmes from a list of authors far too long to enumerate here.

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) was one of the greatest composers of opera ever (possibly second only to Mozart), and was, along with Beethoven, one of the two most influential and revolutionary composers of the 19th Century.  He is also one of the classic examples of how someone who is a truly despicable human being can create glorious works of art.  Even if you have never sat through any of his epic-scale operas (be sure to allow several hours), I guarantee that you would recognize some of his musical themes, as for instance in the following:

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 22, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Ginnifer Goodwin I know primarily from Walk the Line. As the main storyline there is the romance of Johnny Cash and June Carter, the role of Cash’s first wife wasn’t going to be the most rounded character, but Goodwin did a nice job with what she had to work with.

    Olivier was another of those slam dunk choices for a headliner. I know him primarily from his Shakespeare films and Spartacus. Maybe not my favorite Shakespearean but a great actor. It’s very fitting that two of the auto-links for today’s article are to the birthdays of John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson.

    I like Karoline Herfurth’s films Big Girls Don’t Cry (a coming-of-age story) and We Are the Night (a vampire movie) quite a lot.

    I can remember when the words “A Quinn Martin Production” would have been known to virtually any regular TV viewer. He and Jack Webb were probably the biggest names in producing crime series in the sixties and seventies.

    If you made a list of the most iconic fictional characters of all time, Sherlock Holmes would probably have to make the top ten.

    While I’m not always in the mood for Wagner when it comes to opera, and as I said the man was detestable on the personal level, he was one of the most influential figures ever in music.


    • I wasn’t familiar with Ginnifer Goodwin until Once Upon a Time which I watched for a season or two. I had seen her in a couple of things, but didn’t put a name to a face until that show.

      Olivier, boy I don’t know. He’s almost the reverse. I knew his name before I had seen any of his work I imagine. I think my first experience would have been watching one of his Shakespeare performances in high school, but I couldn’t say for sure. Oh no, I suppose it was Clash of the Titans. Wow, forgot he played Zeus in that! I remember seeing Rebecca on the big screen during a Hitchcock retrospective. That was fun. Of course here at Le Blog, he came up recently for his marriage to Vivien Leigh and showed up in some of the early Razzie articles for The Jazz Singer and Inchon.


  2. Ginnifer Goodwin, I caught “Big Love” a couple of times, the same for “Once Upon a Time” (guess they’re going in a different direction with that show). I think hat’s a real nice headliner photo of her.
    Laurence Olivier, he’s around one of those people who’s name I’ve heard get thrown around in sayings, like, “He’s not exactly Laurence Olivier” or “Look at him faking, he would make Olivier proud with his acting”, but unfortunately the first film I viewed him in was “The Jazz Singer”, but later caught up to “The divorce of Lady X” ,”Rebecca”, and “The Entertainer”, and those films were much better.
    Maggie Q, I’ve really only seen her in that TV series “Stalker”, and i kind of liked it, but the show wasn’t on for very long. Well, it seems like Dylan McDermott & her got a relationship out of that experience though.
    Johnny gill, I like his song “Rub You the Right Way”, and that was before it was on “Grand theft Auto: San Andreas”; I remember it being played at some school dances (that was me in the corner at those, losing my rhythm).
    Paul Winfield, I enjoyed the heck out of his career (even in floaters such as “Blue City”; 1984’s “Mike’s Murder” and “The Terminator” plus “Presumed Innocent”, that more like it). Plus, until he passed, he did narration for the true crime series “City Confidential”, and I thought he was great with that (Keith David did a good job as well, but I was used to Winfield in that spot).


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