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June 2: Happy Birthday Morena Baccarin and Jewel Staite

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Today is going to be Firefly Appreciation Day here.  For any of you non-Browncoats who may not recognize them, our two headliners are at the right in the above picture, joined by Gina Torres and Summer Glau.

Morena Baccarin is turning 38 today.  Her first major role was as the Companion Inara Serra (also sometimes known as “the Ambassador”) on Firefly.  Baccarin was the last member of the show’s main cast to join, as she was a last-minute replacement for Rebecca Gayheart.  She returned to the role of Inara in the feature film Serenity.

After Firefly’s cancellation, Baccarin has appeared as a recurring character on season 10 of Stargate SG-1 and as a regular on ABC’s V.  She was then a regular as Jessica Brody on Homeland for the first three seasons, receiving a Primetime Emmy nomination, and currently plays Leslie Tompkins on Gotham.  She had a supporting part in the 2015 action comedy Spy and a central one in last year’s surprise hit, Deadpool.

Jewel Staite celebrates her 35th birthday today.  Her first regular television role was, fittingly, as a spaceship’s engineer on a Canadian sci-fi series, following which she starred with Ben Foster on the Disney Channel series Flash Forward.  She has since had regular roles on the short-lives series Higher Ground and The L.A. Complex, and on season 5 of Stargate Atlantis.  But her best known role surely remains that of Kaywinnet Lee “Kaylee” Frye on Firefly and Serenity.  There is no power in the ‘verse that can stop her from being cheerful. 🙂

Zachary Quinto, who turns 40, has played Spock in the three Star Trek reboot films and co-starred as Glenn Greenwald in last year’s Snowden.  On television, he played Gabriel “Sylar” Gray on Heroes and was an Emmy nominee for American Horror Story: AsylumKevin Feige, who is 44 today, is the president of Marvel Studios and in that capacity has been the producer of the feature films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Dominic Cooper, who turns 39, currently stars as Jesse Custer on AMC’s Preacher, and is one of two actors who have shared the role of Howard Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Also 39 today is Justin Long, who was a regular on Ed and has been in a wide range of films including Jeepers Creepers, DodgeBall, Live Free or Die Hard, and He’s Just Not That into You.  Celebrating with Long and Cooper is Nikki Cox, who is best known for her starring roles on Unhappily Ever After and Las Vegas.

Amber Marshall, who has starred on the long-running Canadian series Heartland for a decade now, is turning 29 today.  Russian actress Yuliya Snigir, who is celebrating her 34th, has starred in the two-part Russian sci-fi film The Inhabited Island (also know as Dark Planet) and had a major supporting role in A Good Day to Die Hard.

Wentworth Miller is turning 45.  He was a Golden Globe nominee as Michael Scofield on Prison Break, plays Leonard Snart in the Arrowverse, and wrote the screenplay for Stoker.  Also 45 today is Wayne Brady, known for his work on Whose Line Is It Anyway? and as the current host of Let’s Make a Deal.

Liam Cunningham, who plays Davos Seaworth on Game of Thrones, turns 56.  He is also known for films such as The Wind That Shakes the Barley and The GuardDennis Haysbert is 63 today.  He played Presidential candidate and later President David Palmer on 24 and has been in films like Heat, Absolute Power, and Far From HeavenDana Carvey, who is turning 62, is known for his Emmy-winning stint on Saturday Night Live and for playing Garth Algar in the Wayne’s World films (adapted from an SNL sketch).

Joanna Gleason, who is celebrating her 67th, is the daughter of Monty Hall, the original host of Let’s Make a Deal.  She is a very successful stage actress with three Tony nominations, winning Best Actress in a Musical as the Baker’s Wife in the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

Sally Kellerman, who turns 80 today, was an Oscar nominee as Hot Lips Houlihan in M*A*S*H, and also made several other films with Robert Altman, as well as a guest appearance in the Star Trek episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before.”  Stacy Keach, who is 76, appeared with Sally Kellerman in Altman’s Brewster McCloud.  He played Mickey Spillane’s tough guy PI, Mike Hammer, in a number of TV movies and series during the eighties and nineties.  Jerry Mathers, who was once one of America’s best known juveniles as Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver, turns 69.

Swedish director Lasse Hallström, who turns 71 today, is a two-time nominee for Best Director, for My Life as a Dog and The Cider House Rules, and is also known for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? and Chocolat.  Before his fame in feature films, he directed a long list of music videos with ABBA.

For the second straight day, we have a Rolling Stones birthday, as Charlie Watts, their drummer for over 50 years, turns 76 today.  Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934) was one of England’s greatest composers.  His Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 gets played a lot at this time of year, at high school and college graduations.  His most famous compositions include the Enigma Variations and his Cello and Violin Concertos.

Abby Wambach, who is turning 37, starred for over a decade with the US Women’s National Soccer Team and holds the world record for international goals by a men’s or women’s player with a remarkable 184.

Johnny Weissmuller (1904-1984) was one of the greatest swimmers in the world in the 1920s, winning five gold medals at the 1924 and 1928 Olympics, and then went into film, where he became the definitive movie Tarzan, starring as the jungle king in a dozen films.  He then played Alex Raymond’s Jungle Jim in a series of Columbia features and in a short-lived TV series.  Irish actor Milo O’Shea (1926-2013) was a two time Tony nominee on stage and appeared in films such as Barbarella, Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, and The Verdict.

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) established himself as one of the greatest of 19th Century English novelists with works such as The Return of the Native, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, and Jude the Obscure.  From the late 1890s on he concentrated on poetry and was very influential on a number of 20th Century English poets.

We will close with the talented composer and conductor Marvin Hamlisch (1944-2012).  His accomplishments included winning three Oscars, all in the same year, for his work on The Way We Were and The Sting, four Grammys (two of which were also tied to The Way We Were), four Emmys (several of them for his work on broadcasts of Barbra Streisand’s concerts), and a Tony (for his music for A Chorus Line).  Of the handful of winners of an EGOT, he is one of only two (along with Richard Rodgers) to have also won a Pulitzer (also for A Chorus Line).

Here is Hamlisch himself accompanying a recent headliner singing one of his most famous compositions.

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.

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Posted on June 2, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. On a fairly quiet day for celebrity birthdays, choosing headliners was easy once I realized we had two Firefly birthdays. I was hoping to find some good videos representing the two actresses’ characters, but there was a very thin selection of good Kaylee videos and virtually nothing of Inara.

    When Firefly was first announced, Jewel Staite was the one member of the cast I immediately recognized, as I had seen some episodes of Disney’s Flash Forward in the nineties.

    An interesting Johnny Weissmuller story—he went to Cuba sometime in 1958 to play golf, and out on the course was accosted by some of Fidel Castro’s rebel soldiers. He was able to identify himself by doing his famous Tarzan yell.

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  2. The Real Reason We Don’t Hear from Dana Carvey Anymore

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  3. Morena Baccarin, I’ve never seen “Firefly”, but I did view Season 1 of “Homeland”; thought she brought some good stuff to the table as the emotionally torn wife of the Brody character.
    Dennis Haysbert, other than those Allstate commercials (personally, I’m in good hands with Alstott), I know of him best as home run hero and Jobu enthusiast Pedro Cerrano from “Major League”.
    Dana Carvey, he’s one of the first ever “What the Hell Happened To…” guys in my life, when a friend of mine & I had a conversation on what was going on with him. Shortly thereafter, we found out it was health problems.
    Joanna Gleason, I’ve seen her in a bunch of films and television, but I remember her best from “F/X2” (I use Brian Dennehy’s character Leo’s line, “It’s Lions 8, Christian nothing” line somewhat frequently); I thought she was pretty cool there.
    Sally Kellerman, I’m most familiar with her as Thornton Melon’s love interest & university Professor Diane Turner in “Back to School”; the back and forth when he’s asking her out is a favorite of mine (Thornton will call her sometime when she has no class).
    Stacy Keach, I like his Mike Hammer portrayals, plus I enjoy the narration he does for the “American Greed” series.
    Lasse Hallstrom, I’ve enjoyed his films, such as “The shipping News”, “The Cider House Rules”, and “Chocolat”.

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