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June 7: Happy Birthday Liam Neeson and Tom McCarthy

0607NeesonMcCarthy

Today is Liam Neeson’s 65th birthday.  Neeson worked for a few years as a truck and forklift driver before beginning his acting career at the Lyric Players’ Theatre in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  He began working in films at the end of the seventies, and early in the next decade had supporting roles in two sword-and-sorcery films, Excalibur and Krull.  As the nineties opened he began to get some leading roles, in films like Darkman and Under Suspicion.  But few could have predicted his emergence as a major star in 1993, which came about largely because Steven Spielberg came calling, with a lead role in a film about the Holocaust.  Neeson’s performance as Oskar Schindler brought him an Oscar nomination (and several others) for Best Actor.

Since emerging as a major star, Neeson has kept busy, with roles that have included a Scottish folk hero (Rob Roy MacGregor in Rob Roy), an Irish nationalist leader (Michael Collins), and Alfred Kinsey in Kinsey.  He is often asked to bring a bit of gravitas to major action films—e.g., as Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace or the voice of Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia films—and occasionally to be a threatening villain, such as Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins.  In recent years he has found some success as a graying but formidable action hero—as Bryan Mills in the Taken films, in Unknown and Non-Stop, and trying to fill the big shoes of George Peppard as Hannibal Smith in The A-Team.  He will appear next as Mark Felt, former FBI bigwig and Watergate source “Deep Throat,” in The Silent Man.

Tom McCarthy turns 51 today.  He worked as a stage actor and comedian in the Midwest for a number of years, then began working in film and television in the mid-nineties.  His acting career has included supporting roles in films such as Meet the Parents, Good Night, and Good Luck, and Flags of Our Fathers.  On television, he was a regular on the first season of Boston Public and the final season of The Wire.  However, it became clear that his real talents are as a writer and director when he made his first feature film in 2003.

The Station Agent brought McCarthy a number of accolades, including a BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay.  His second feature, The Visitor, was also well-received, and he shared in an Oscar nomination for the screenplay for Pixar’s Up.  His 2011 film Win Win starred yesterday’s headliner Paul Giamatti, and he was an executive producer and directed two episodes of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why.  His biggest accomplishment to date, however, has been writing and directing the 2015 Best Picture winner, Spotlight (he also won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay).

Director James Ivory turns 89 today.  He and producer Ismail Merchant, along with writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, were the key figures in the durable Merchant-Ivory Productions partnership, who were responsible for films like A Room With a View, Howards End, and Jefferson in Paris.

Ken Osmond, who is not one of “the” Osmonds, turns 74.  He played Eddie Haskell on Leave it to Beaver and later joined the Los Angeles Police Department.  Colleen Camp, who turns 64, is known for roles in films ranging from Peter Bogdanovich’s They All Laughed, to two of the Police Academy films, to Election (as Tracy Flick’s mom).  William Forsythe, who is celebrating his 62nd, is known for a variety of tough guy roles in films like Raising Arizona, Dick Tracy, and Out for Justice, and his recurring role on Boardwalk Empire.

Larisa Oleynik, who is known for starring on The Secret World of Alex Mack, for her recurring role on 3rd Rock from the Sun, and for playing Bianca Stratford in 10 Things I Hate About You, is celebrating her 36th.  Michael Cera, who turns 29, played George Bluth on Arrested Development, and for a few years made some waves in films like Juno, Superbad, and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

Adrienne Frantz, who is 39, is a soap opera veteran who has been a Daytime Emmy winner as Amber Moore on The Bold and the Beautiful.  Also turning 39 is Bill Hader, the actor and comedian who has received a number of Emmy nominations for his work on Saturday Night Live and South Park.  Australian actress Anna Torv, known for her starring roles on Fox’s Fringe and Netflix’s upcoming Mindhunter, is turning 38.  Model turned actress Emily Ratajkowski, who is 26, made her film debut in Gone Girl in 2014 and had her first lead role a year later in We Are Your Friends.  Also turning 26 is English actress Poppy Drayton, who starred as Amberle Elessedil in season 1 of The Shannara Chronicles.

Karl Urban, who is 45 today, landed his first big film role as Éomer in the Lord of the Rings films.  He has starred as the title character in Dredd, played a supporting role in RED, and will appear later this year as Skurge in Thor: Ragnarok.  He is also known for appearing in some recent sci-films as a doctor who really does not enjoy space travel.

NBA great Allen Iverson turns 42.  He is considered one of the greatest shooting guards in the game’s history, he led the NBA in scoring four times and made the Basketball Hall of Fame.  The most-capped player in the storied history of the Brazilian national soccer team is not Pele, Garrincha or Ronaldo, but a defender known as Cafu, who turns 47 today and represented Brazil 142 times in his career.  He appeared for Brazil in the World Cup final matches in 1994, 1998 and 2002, the final time as their captain, and is the only player in World Cup history to appear in three final matches.

The big music birthday today is seven-time Grammy winner Prince (1958-2016).  Known for a long string of hits in the eighties and early nineties, including his hugely successful album Purple Rain and #1 singles like “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Kiss,” Prince sold over 100 million records during his career.

Other music birthdays include the Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, who turns 27.  She had a big worldwide success with her 2014 debut album The New Classic.  Welsh pop-rock star Sir Tom Jones turns 77.  He is known for signing the theme songs of movies like What’s New Pussycat and Thunderball and for hit singles like “Green, Green Grass of Home” and “Delilah.”  French tenor Roberto Alagna, who turns 54, has been a star at opera houses all over the world for over 25 years, known for his excellence in much of the French and Italian repertoire.  George Szell (1897-1970) was known for his long tenure as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra; he is credited with elevating them from the status of a regional orchestra to one of the world’s finest.

Dean Martin (1917-1995) first became known for his nightclub, radio and film partnership with Jerry Lewis.  Later in life he was a regular presence on NBC hosting The Dean Martin Show and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast.  In between, he had one of his best film roles as Dude in Howard Hawks’ Rio Bravo.  He also had a parallel career as a pop singer, having #1 hits with “Memories are Made of This” and “Everybody Loves Somebody.”

Jessica Tandy (1909-1994) was a three time winner of the Tony for Best Actress in a Play, the first of them for playing Blanche DuBois in the original Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire.  She also won the Oscar for Best Actress for Driving Miss Daisy; among the many times she and her husband of over 50 years, Hume Cronyn, appeared together were the two Cocoon films.

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was a leading French painter and sculptor of the late 19th Century.  He was one of the leading figures in the Primitivist movement in art during that period, known for paintings like Vision of the Sermon and sculptures like Oviri.

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 7, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. There were quite a few major names today that I considered as possible headliners. Both Neeson and McCarthy have some pretty impressive accomplishments. James Ivory was involved in some very successful films as part of a very effective team. Prince is clearly a major figure in music and Tom Jones has had a long career which included some big moments. Dean Martin and Jessica Tandy were also contenders, and there have been some days during the past 10 months when I would have given Karl Urban some strong consideration (although he never quite has made it as a leading man). There was a short span of time when it looked as if Michael Cera might have a pretty big career, too.

    Larisa Oleynik was not someone I considered as a headliner, but I do think she’s quite talented and a very enjoyable presence in films like 10 Things I Hate About You and 100 Girls.

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    • Why Hollywood won’t cast Larisa Oleynik anymore

      http://www.nickiswift.com/42261/hollywood-wont-cast-larisa-oleynik-anymore/

      Many ’90s kids remember Nickelodeon’s The Secret World of Alex Mack (1994-98). The series starred Larisa Oleynik as the title character—an average kid who acquires magical powers after an accident. Oleynik went on to land successful supporting roles in popular ’90s movies such as The Baby-Sitters Club (1995) and 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) but as the decade concluded, so too did her stardom. Why won’t Hollywood cast this former child star anymore? We’ve cracked the code.

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  2. Liam Neeson, I’ve liked a ton of films he’s been in (even his early role as a mute in “Suspect”); I enjoy what he brings to the table.
    Tom McCarthy, I know him from “The Station Agent”; I really like that film (which I’ve stated before), and it seems that he knows what he’s doing as a director overall (“Up”, “Spotlight”).
    Colleen Camp, I liked her best as the healthy food & drink conscious hippie mom from “Valley Girl” and Yvette from “Clue”. I thought there was a certain comedic spark to her, and in her younger days I thought she had a killer body (I especially liked her legs & her Colleen Camps).
    William Forsythe, I watched a decent amount of that rebooted (wasn’t called that then) “The Untouchables” TV series, so that’s where I first knew him, then I discovered “Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead” (boat drinks!) and that he was the computer guy in “Cloak and Dagger”. He’s had a busy career; I like him.
    Michael Cera, I think he’s okay; I liked him in “Juno” and “Youth in Revolt”. He’s a bit unlikely and unconventional, and at times it seems he’s been able to play off those aspects well.
    Anna Torv, I watched a few episodes of “Fringe”; I got a bit of a Cate Blanchett vibe from her.
    Karl Urban, I really liked him in “RED”.
    Allen Iverson, I thought he was a fun player to watch; the guy’s my size (with about an extra 10 lbs. on his end) and he spent his career crashing into 7 footers. He definitely played fearlessly and without regard for his body.
    Prince, I just learned from Trivia Today that when he changed his name to a symbol, he wanted to be called Love Symbol no. 2. If I had known that, I would’ve gladly called him that, as it’s sure better than “The Artist Formally Known As Prince” (I think that artist formally known as…deal is only good for a gag anyway).
    Tom Jones, this may be unusual, but my lasting impression of Mr. Jones is his guest appearance on “The Simpsons”, when Mr. Burns kidnapped him to impress Marge.
    Dean Martin, I like his songs such as “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head”, “That’s Amore”, and “Return to Me”. My father was a Frank Sinatra devotee to no end, so through that I learned early on about Dean Martin. I liked his style.
    Jessica Tandy, I forgot she was in “The birds”; I thought “Cocoon” was good, but I don’t believe “Driving Miss Daisy” hasn’t aged well (hardly her fault), yet I find that “Fried Green Tomatoes” does its job for the intended audience. She surly had a long and distinguished career in general.

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  3. Here’s a little bonus content for today—my favorite scene from my favorite Dean Martin movie.

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  4. Why Michael Cera Doesn’t Get Many Movie Offers Anymore

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