June 4: Happy Birthday Angelina Jolie and Bruce Dern


Today is Angelina Jolie’s 42nd birthday.  The future Oscar-winner made her screen debut in a small role in the 1982 film Lookin’ to Get Out, playing, appropriately, the daughter of Jon Voight’s character (you all already know they are father and daughter, right?).  Her first major roles were in Cyborg 2 in 1993 and Hackers two years later.  She then made a few indie movies and in 1997 and ’98 had a pair of important television roles, winning back-to-back Golden Globes for TNT’s George Wallace and HBO’s Gia, and receiving Emmy nominations for both.

Jolie then won the Oscar and several other Best Supporting Actress awards for the role of Lisa Rowe in Girl, Interrupted.  She displayed a talent for action roles in the two Lara Croft films in the early 2000s.  During that period she also became a Razzie target for a while, receiving four consecutive Worst Actress nominations, without ever “winning.”  In 2005 she starred in a film that is one of her biggest commercial successes, as well as being the movie that led to “Brangelina.”

In the past decade, Jolie has received critical accolades for her work in A Mighty Heart, The Changeling, and, as a director, for In the Land of Blood and Honey.  She has starred as the title characters of the action thriller Salt and the fantasy Maleficent, her biggest box office hit, and has been a voice actor on the Kung Fu Panda films.  She has also been involved in a wide range of humanitarian projects.

Bruce Dern is turning 81 today; he becomes the second member of his family to appear as a headliner, after his daughter Laura.  He began appearing in films in the sixties, generally in supporting roles, often as villains.  He did a number of Westerns, including The War Wagon, Hang ‘Em High, and The Cowboys.  One of his first lead roles was in Douglas Trumbull’s Silent Running, as a biologist on spaceship who gradually becomes unhinged.

Dern was nominated for a Golden Globe as Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, and received his first Oscar nomination for playing a Vietnam vet with PTSD in Coming Home.  He also gave an acclaimed performance in the 1982 film That Championship Season.  However, the undoubted high point of his career came much more recently, when he became the second-oldest Best Actor nominee in the history of the Oscars, for Alexander Payne’s Nebraska.

Twin sisters Kathryn and Meagan Prescott turn 26 today.  They starred together on two seasons of the English teen drama Skins—playing twin sisters Emily and Katie Fitch.  Kathryn has been the busier of the two since then, playing the title role on MTV’s Finding Carter and major roles in films like The Hive and the upcoming Netflix release DudeOona Chaplin, the daughter of Geraldine Chaplin and granddaughter of Charlie, turns 31.  She is currently a regular on the BBC/FX series Taboo and played Talisa Maegyr on Game of Thrones.

Bond Girl Izabella Scorupco, who played Natalya Simonova in GoldenEye and also appeared in Vertical Limit and Reign of Fire, turns 47 today.  Noah Wyle, who is celebrating his 46th, played John Carter on ER for over a decade, receiving multiple Emmy nominations, and starred as Tom Mason on Falling Skies.  Also 46 is James Callis, who has had a supporting role in the three Bridget Jones films and played Gaius Baltar on the re-imagined Battlestar GalacticaScott Wolf, who is turning 49, first became known as Bailey Salinger on Party of Five, and currently is a regular on NBC’s The Night Shift.

Russell Brand, who turns 42, is a successful English stand-up comic who has won a number of awards, and is also known for his acting roles in films such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek.  Also in Get Him to the Greek was T. J. Miller, who is turning 36; Miller is also known for films such as She’s Out of My League and DeadpoolRobin Lord Taylor, who turns 39, plays Oswald Cobblepot on Gotham.  His costar Sean Pertwee, who plays Alfred Pennyworth, is turning 53.  Josh McDermitt, best known for playing Eugene Porter on The Walking Dead, is also turning 39.  Theo Rossi, who turns 42, was a regular on Sons of Anarchy and now plays Hernan “Shades” Alvarez on Luke CageTim Rozon, who is turning 41, is currently a regular on two series, the Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek and Syfy’s Wynonna Earp.

Keith David, who is 61 today, is a three-time Emmy winner for his voice-over work in the documentaries of Ken Burns, for Unforgivable Blackness, The War, and Jackie Robinson.  He was also “Father” in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and a Tony nominee for the musical Jelly’s Last JamMary Testa, a two-time Tony nominee for revivals of the musicals On the Town and 42nd Street, turns 62 today.  Her most recent Broadway role was as Madame Morrible in Wicked.

Michelle Phillips, the one remaining member of the sixties folk rock band The Mamas & the Papas, known for hits like “California Dreamin'” and “Monday, Monday,” is turning 73 today.  She was also a Golden Globe nominee as Billie Frechette in 1973’s DillingerFreddie Fender (1937-2006) was a Tejano and country-rock singer who had a burst of popularity in the mid-seventies, when he had several #1 country hits, and one, “Before the Next Teardrop Falls,” that reached #1 on the Hot 100.  Operatic baritone Robert Merrill (1917-2004), one in a long line of great American baritones, was a regular in Italian opera repertoire at the Met for decades.  He also did a fair amount of musical theater, notably as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof.  A second operatic birthday today is mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli, who is celebrating her 51st.  Probably the world’s leading lyric and coloratura mezzo for the last three decades, she is renowned for her performances of the operas of Rossini and Mozart.

Scottish crime fiction author Val McDermid, who turns 62, is one of the leading authors of “Tartan noir” fiction, along with Ian Rankin.  She is best known for her series featuring psychologist Tony Hill and DCI Carol Jordan (which has been adapted into an ITV series), and other novels like A Place of ExecutionRuth Westheimer, better known as Dr. Ruth, turns 89.  She is the author of dozens of books about sex and sexuality and also known for her career as a TV and radio host.

Rosalind Russell (1907-1976) was a four-time Oscar nominee, a five-time Golden Globe winner, and a Tony-winning stage actress.  Her best known screen and stage roles included Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday, Ruth Sherwood in both the movie My Sister Eileen (receiving her first Oscar nomination) and in the musical adaptation, Wonderful Town (winning a Tony), Lavinia Mannion in the film adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra (winning a Golden Globe and receiving a second Oscar nomination), and Mame Dennis in both the play Auntie Mame (for which she got another Tony nomination) and the film adaptation (which brought her another Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination).

John Drew Barrymore (1932-2004) was the son of one past headliner in this series and the father of another.  He had a sporadic film career, but severe substance abuse issues kept him from becoming a major actor.  Dennis Weaver (1924-2006) had two big television roles in his career, as Matt Dillon’s deputy Chester Goode on the first nine seasons of Gunsmoke, and then as Sam McCloud on McCloud in the 1970s; he won an Emmy on Gunsmoke and was nominated twice for McCloudClara Blandick (1876-1962) worked on stage and screen for fifty years, most notably as Aunt Em in The Wizard of Oz.

George III of England (1738-1820), one of that kingdom’s longest-reigning monarchs, was King during the American and French Revolutions.  He suffered from recurring mental illness during his life (an episode of which was the subject of the movie The Madness of King George), which eventually forced his eldest son to become Regent for the last decade of George’s life.

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 June 4, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. So, does anyone else look at the headline photo and get the impression that Dern is sort of ogling Jolie out of the corner of his eye? I wasn’t going for that effect, but when I got the photos stitched together and into the article, all at once it sort of looked that way.

    Izabella Scorupco is a bit overshadowed by Bad Bond Girl Famke Janssen in GoldenEye, but she’s one of my favorite ingenue-style Bond Girls. She’s got some sass and a little bit of moxie in the action sequences.

    Val McDermid is a very good crime fiction author. I really should get back to the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series some day.

    When I was about eleven or twelve, I had the enormous pleasure to hear Robert Merrill sing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof at the LA Music Center. He had a marvelous voice and by all accounts was a very likable man with a good sense of humor; I once came across a charming little dialogue exchange in which Merrill acquaints his son David with a basic fact of opera:

    David Merrill: “You’re the rat again, aren’t you, Daddy?”
    Robert Merrill: “The baritone is always the rat, my boy.”

    Finally, Rosalind Russell. Her performance in His Girl Friday is an absolute must-see.


  2. Angelina Jolie, I think the newest film I viewed her in was “Salt”; I rather liked it. I can understand why she decided against the sequel (I think its called “Salt 2: More Anchovies”).
    Bruce Dern, I’ve liked him in a bunch of things: the basketball coach in 1971’s “Drive, He Said”, the war veteran in “Coming Home” and the blinded gambler in 1987’s “The big Town” are probably my favorites.
    Keith David, yeah, I like his voice work for sure, but there’s also his role in “They Live” and the time he was Vice President Keith David in the video game “Saints Row IV” (when we discover his nightmare is reliving that fight scene from “They Live” over and over).
    Michelle Phillips, I first knew about her from her appearances in “Beverly Hills, 90210”. I haven’t listened to The Mamas and the Papas much, but I do like “California Dreamin” (played in the 1986 film “Quiet Cool” and it bookends season 2 of “Californication”).
    Dennis Weaver, I’ve never seen “Duel”, but I probably should.


  3. I love Angelina Jolie’s 90s work. After her Oscar win she focused on more commercial movies, which in any earlier era would’ve been fine, but this was when the female action hero craze was starting. Charlize Theron and Halle Berry are also victims of this trend. It’s a rather preposterous notion. There are some distinct exceptions. I’d count Uma Thurman in the Kill Bill films, Linda Hamilton in T2 and Jolie’s Salt among them. But in general it just comes across as silly.

    We’re constantly bombarded with photos of nobodies in this day & age but Jolie is the last real star. I definately think she is the very last one there will ever be.


    • Angelina Jolie: Master Manipulator?

      Does Angelina Jolie really believe that anyone is buying this?
      By Maureen Callahan


      Angelina manipulates the media.

      Leaked all unsavory stories of Brad to make herself look good. (Questionable)

      Is reinventing her image for the fourth time. First she was wild and edgy. Second she was a humanitarian. Third she was half of a power couple. And now she’s a divorced single mother weary and ready for a fresh start.

      Her directing attempts are flopping.

      She is out of touch with reality.

      Hasn’t bought furniture and explains it as being so focused on other things.

      Trying to create image of weary homebody now that picks up dog poop.

      Bought $25 million home not for glamour but because she needed a place asap.


  4. Ruth Westheimer, I recently learned from Trivia Today that she was once a sniper; I found that pretty interesting.


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