May 29: Happy Birthday Annette Bening and Bob Hope
Four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening turns 59 today. She spent much of the first decade of her career on the stage, making a number of appearances with theater groups in California and Colorado. She made her Broadway debut in 1987, in the original production of Tina Howe’s Coastal Disturbances, and received a Tony nomination. Her film debut in 1998 was in The Great Outdoors. Two years later she made her film breakthrough as Myra Langtry in The Grifters, receiving her first Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actress.
Bening’s three subsequent Oscar nominations, all for Best Actress, were for American Beauty, Being Julia, and The Kids Are All Right. She received Golden Globes for the latter two films and was a Golden Globe nominee for Bugsy, The American President, Running With Scissors, and last year’s 20th Century Women. Her other film roles have included Queen Elizabeth in Richard III and Sue Barlow in Open Range; she also appeared with her husband, Warren Beatty, in Rules Don’t Apply. She will star as actress Gloria Grahame in the upcoming Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.
Bob Hope (1903-2003) had one of the longest careers of anyone in any part of the entertainment industry. He began busking while in his teens in Cleveland, and by the mid-twenties was a full-time performer on the vaudeville circuit. In the thirties he began working in both radio and film. His film career began to take off with Big Broadcast of 1938; among his best known films were The Cat and the Canary, The Princess and the Pirate, The Paleface, and The Seven Little Foys. The most famous of all, however, were surely the seven “Road to…” pictures he made with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour.
At the start of the fifties, Hope began a television career of over 40 years, primarily consisting of an incredibly long list of “Bob Hope Specials” tailored to a variety of occasions. His first USO show took place in 1941, his last fifty years later during the first Gulf War; a special 1997 act of Congress named him an “honorary veteran” of the armed services. He also hosted the Oscars a record 19 times.
Rupert Everett, who is 58 today, was a Golden Globe nominee for My Best Friend’s Wedding and An Ideal Husband. He is starring in and directing the upcoming Oscar Wilde biopic The Happy Prince. Laverne Cox, who plays Sophia Burset on Orange Is the New Black, is the first openly transgender nominee for an Emmy in an acting nominee. She is celebrating a birthday today, but which I’m not sure as I’ve seen conflicting info about her year of birth.
Ted Levine, who turns 60, is best known for his long run on Monk as Captain Leland Stottlemeyer. Lisa Welchel, who starred as Blair Warner on The Facts of Life for nearly a decade, is celebrating her 54th. Adrian Paul is 58 today; he starred as Duncan MacLeod on Highlander: The Series.
Alessandra Torresani, who is 30 today, starred on the short-lived Syfy series Caprica and plays the recurring role of Claire on The Big Bang Theory. Riley Keough, who is 28, played Capable in Mad Max: Fury Road and starred on the first season of The Girlfriend Experience, receiving a Golden Globe nomination. Maika Monroe, who is 24, has appeared in horror films like It Follows and apocalyptic sci-fi movies like The Fifth Wave and Independence Day: Resurgence.
Carmelo Anthony, who turns 32, led Syracuse to the NCAA Men’s Basketball title in his one year of college, and has been a ten-time All-Star in his NBA career.
Our music birthdays begin with Danny Elfman, who is 64 today. He’s known as both a rocker, the lead singer and songwriter of the new wave band Oingo Boingo, and for his film scores, which include Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Good Will Hunting, Men in Black, Big Fish, and Milk, the last four of which brought him Oscar nominations. Melissa Etheridge, who is 56, has won Grammys in the Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female category for “Ain’t It Heavy” and “Come to My Window,” and an Oscar for Best Original Song for “I Need to Wake Up” from An Inconvenient Truth. Two members of the musical Jackson family celebrate birthdays today. Rebbie, who is 67, the eldest of the ten siblings, is known for her Top Ten R&B hits like “Centipede” and “Plaything.” La Toya, who is six years younger, has had several charted R&B and Dance singles over the years. Melanie Brown, who is 42 today, is best known as Mel B, aka Scary Spice, of the Spice Girls.
Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) is known in classical circles for his opera Die tote Stadt and his Violin Concerto, but better known for his film scores. He won an Oscar for his score for The Adventures of Robin Hood and wrote the Oscar-winning Score for Anthony Adverse (although the Oscar in that case was actually presented to Leo Forbstein, who headed Warner Brothers’ Music Department. Korngold’s other famous scores include Captain Blood, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The Sea Hawk, and King’s Row.
English novelist T. H. White (1906-1964) was best known for his sequence of novels titled collectively The Once and Future King. The first of the novels, The Sword in the Stone, was adapted (rather loosely) into the Disney feature of the same title, while the sequence as a whole was, again rather loosely, the basis for Lerner and Loewe’s musical Camelot.
The late Clifton James (1920-2017) is known to James Bond fans as Sheriff J. W. Pepper in Live and Let Die and The Man With the Golden Gun, but notice should also be taken of his films with John Sayles, like Eight Men Out and Lone Star. Sebastian Shaw (1905-1994) had a long acting career, especially on the English stage, but is almost surely best known for his brief appearance in Return of the Jedi as the unmasked Anakin Skywalker.
Josef von Sternberg (1894-1969) is best remembered for directing the German picture that made Marlene Dietrich a star, The Blue Angel, and for bringing Dietrich to Hollywood to star in films like Morocco and Shanghai Express, each of which he was nominated for Best Director for. Gregg Toland (1904-1948) was a six-time Oscar nominee for cinematography. He won for Wuthering Heights, but is probably most famous for The Long Voyage Home and Citizen Kane, where he made his famous innovations in deep focus cinematography.
The big birthday in history today is John F. Kennedy (1917-1963). Readers presumably need little introduction to “JFK,” the 35th President of the US. As for theories about his assassination, there are plenty of places to learn about and discuss those. Patrick Henry (1736-1799) was one of the most important leaders in the American colonies in the years leading up to the American Revolution, famous for his “give me liberty, or give me death” speech at the Second Virginia Convention of 1775.
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 29, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Annette Bening, Bob Hope, Carmelo Anthony, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Gregg Toland, John F Kennedy, Laverne Cox, Riley Keough, Rupert Everett. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.