June 12: Happy Birthday Chick Corea and Frances O’Connor


On one of the lightest days yet for major celebrity birthdays, we headline a very highly-regarded jazz musician and one of the leading actresses in Australia.

Chick Corea turns 76 today.  The jazz keyboardist has won more Grammys than any other jazz performer, with a total of 22.  He has been one of the leading artists in the jazz fusion subgenre since the late sixties, when he participated in some of Miles Davis’s pioneering fusion recordings.  He then formed the fusion group Return to Forever in the early seventies, issuing seven studio albums and a live album in about six years.  They disbanded in 1978 but reunited in the late 2000s and made a world tour starting in 2000.

Since 1986, Corea’s primary ensemble has been the Chick Corea Elektric Band.  He has also collaborated with a wide variety of other jazz performers, most notably vibraphonist Gary Burton, with whom he has won several of his Grammys.

For the second time in three days we have a headliner who played a major role in the 2000 remake of Bedazzled.


Australian actress Frances O’Connor is celebrating her 50th today.  She began working in Australian television in the early nineties, and began her feature film career with a bang—she received an AACTA nomination for Best Actress (Australian Oscar equivalents) in her feature film debut in 1996, for the romantic comedy Love and Other Catastrophes.  She received a second AACTA nomination one year later, for her performances in two films, Kiss or Kill and Thank God She Met Lizzie.  In the late nineties, she was featured in a pair of British literary adaptations, playing Fanny Price in Mansfield Park and the title character in the BBC miniseries Madame Bovary (for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe).

In 2000 she made her Hollywood debut in that remake of Bedazzled, and followed it up with roles in A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Windtalkers.  Later in the 2000s, she was back working in Australian cinema, receiving three more AACTA Best Actress nominations and winning for the 2009 film Blessed.  She also had continued to work in British television, including starring in the first season of The Missing, which brought her a second Golden Globe nomination.

Richard Ayoade, who celebrates his 40th, has won a BAFTA Television Award for playing Maurice Moss on The IT Crowd.  He is also known for writing and directing the feature films Submarine and The DoubleTimothy Busfield, who is turning 60, played Arnold Poindexter in the Revenge of the Nerds films, and was an Emmy winner as Eliot Weston on thirtysomething.  That series was also where he first began directing for television, which he has been doing regularly ever since.

Jason Mewes, who turns 43 today, is best known for his appearances in Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse as the non-silent half of Jay and Silent Bob.  Timothy Simons, who plays Jonah Ryan on Veep, is turning 39 today.  Cathy Tyson, who is turning 52, is best known for her performance in Neil Jordan’s Mona Lisa, for which she was a Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominee.  Tim DeKay, who is celebrating his 54th, is best known for starring as Peter Burke on White Collar.

Dave Franco (brother of James) is 32 today; he played Jack Wilder in the Now You See Me films and is featured in The Disaster Artist, which was well-received at South by Southwest earlier this year.  Our second Australian birthday today is Abbey Lee Kershaw, who is 30.  The model and actress appeared in Mad Max: Fury Road as The Dag and will be seen in an upcoming adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark TowerRick Hoffman, who turns 47, is a regular on Suits, which will return this summer for its seventh season on USA Network.

Jim Nabors, who is known for playing the role of Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show and then on Gomer Pyle, USMC, turns 87 today.  Auto racing fans will probably recall that Nabors also sang the unofficial anthem of Indiana, “Back Home Again in Indiana,” at the Indianapolis 500 annually for over 40 years.

Brad Delp (1951-2007) was the longtime lead vocalist of the hard rock band Boston; with the exception of a hiatus of about six years he was with them from their founding until his death.  Richard M. Sherman is turning 89.  A songwriter who worked as a team with his brother Robert (1925-2012), he is best known for his work for Disney.  The Sherman Brothers wrote the scores for many of Disney’s films of the sixties and seventies, and several songs for attractions in the Disney theme parks, most famously “It’s a Small World.”  They won a pair of Oscars and a pair of Grammys for their work on Mary Poppins.

Priscilla Lane (1915-1995) was the youngest of the four singing and acting Lane Sisters.  She appeared with her sisters Rosemary and Lola in films like Four Daughters, and also played major roles in films like The Roaring Twenties, Hitchcock’s Saboteur, and Arsenic and Old LaceUta Hagen (1919-2004) did periodic film and television work, but because of the blacklist of the fifties she was best known for her stage career; she was a two-time Tony winner and also a noted acting teacher.  Irwin Allen (1916-1991), a producer and director known as the “Master of Disaster,” was the creator of several 1960s sci-fi television series, most famously Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Lost in Space.  He earned his nickname in the seventies when he produced The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno.

Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee (1899-1968), was a photojournalist known for his striking, extremely realistic black and white street photography.  His first collection, titled Naked City, was an inspiration for the 1948 feature The Naked City, and he was a consultant and still photographer for Kubrick’s Dr. StrangeloveDave Berg (1920-2002) was a cartoonist who had a long tenure with Mad magazine, where he was best known as the creator of the feature The Lighter Side of…

Finally today, we have a variety of historical figures.

George H. W. Bush is turning 93 today.  He served as the 41st President of the US from 1989-1993 after a long career of public service, largely in appointed offices such as Ambassador to the UN and Director of Central Intelligence.  Anthony Eden (1897-1977) was Foreign Minister of Great Britain during most of World War 2 and later was Prime Minister in the mid-fifties before he resigned in the wake of the Suez Crisis of 1956.  He has been played on screen several times, notably by Michael Gough and Jeremy Northam.  The late David Rockefeller (1915-2017), grandson of the founder of Standard Oil, was the CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank for over a decade and also managed the Rockefeller family’s extensive business and philanthropic activities for many years.  Anne Frank (1929-1945) died before her sixteenth birthday, but her Diary of a Young Girl has given her an extraordinary level of posthumous fame.  The book was adapted into a 1955 play and a 1959 feature film, in which Anne was played by Susan Strasberg and Millie Perkins, respectively.

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 12, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. As I said in the article, not a lot of big names today. Both of our headliners were names that I was sort of aware of in a general way, but no more than that.

    I was never a thirtysomething watcher, but I do remember Timothy Busfield as the ridiculously nearsighted Poindexter from the Revenge of the Nerds films.

    I have watched 2 or 3 of the View Askewniverse films. I can find them, and Jason Mewes as Jay, funny when I’m in the right mood.

    Between Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book, It’s a Small World, and more, the Sherman Brothers wrote a lot of the soundtrack of my early childhood.

    While I have never seen any of the films that the Lane Sisters made together, I am familiar with Priscilla through The Roaring Twenties and Saboteur.


  2. Anne Frank, I learned from Trivia Today that a few pages were left out of what was published to the world because Anne expressed that she didn’t want her diary published in those pages(I don’t hold it against Otto Frank for going ahead with releasing it though, because what she wrote was worth know). I bet if she had lived to be older, she would’ve been a pioneer woman, although she left her mark with the little time she had.
    Frances O’ Connor, I’m pretty familiar with her from films such as “Bedazzled”, “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “Iron Jawed Angels”.
    Timothy Busfield, I like that horror film he was in with Kathleen Quinlan, 1991’s “Strays” (I heart cats, but that film makes me unsettled, in a good way).
    Jason Mewes, snootchie bootchies! Hey, I like “Clerks: The Animated Series” and think it would’ve rocked if it would’ve been broadcast on a premium channel, not ABC, who seemed to greenlight it just for shoots & tickles.
    Cathy Tyson, yeah, I’m all about “Mona Lisa”; she’s only 52? Holy crap on a cracker (yuck!), that film is 31 years old!


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