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June 14: Happy Birthday Diablo Cody and Cy Coleman

0614CodyColeman

Brook Busey-Maurio, better known by her pen name of Diablo Cody, turns 39 today.  She first became known as a blogger, and then for her memoir Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper.  She had a huge success with her first screenplay, Juno, winning an Oscar and BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay and a long list of other screenwriting awards.  She followed up by creating a series about a suburban housewife with DID; Showtime began airing United States of Tara in 2009.

Cody has subsequently written a number of screenplays, including Jennifer’s Body, Young Adult, and Paradise; the latter was also her directing debut.  Her name is associated with a number of film projects, including adaptations of Barbie and Sweet Valley High, and she is the creator and executive producer of the Amazon Prime series One Mississippi.

Cy Coleman (1929-2004) began a successful career as a composer and songwriter during the fifties.  In partnership with Carolyn Leigh, he wrote standards like “Witchcraft” and “The Best is Yet to Come,” both of which were popularized by Frank Sinatra.  He began writing for Broadway at the start of the sixties, but his career in musical theater took off when he teamed with Broadway veteran Dorothy Fields.  Their first collaboration was the 1966 hit Sweet Charity, which received nine Tony nominations.  The title role of Charity Hope Valentine was played by former headliners of these articles, both in the original Broadway production and the 1969 film—Gwen Verdon and Shirley MacLaine, respectively.

Coleman’s subsequent Broadway career brought him three Tonys for Best Original Score, for On the Twentieth Century, City of Angels, and The Will Rogers Follies.  He also won a pair of Emmys for his work on two TV specials Shirley MacLaine did in the seventies, and a Grammy for the original cast album for The Will Rogers Follies.

Lucy Hale, who turns 28, stars as Aria Montgomery on the about-to-be-concluded Pretty Little Liars, and will be in the upcoming horror film Truth or Dare, currently filming.  Daryl Sabara, who is 25 today, will be remembered as Juni Cortez in the Spy Kids films; he also had a recurring role on Weeds and does quite a bit of voice work.  His fraternal twin brother Evan has also had a short acting career.  Torrance Coombs, who celebrates his 34th, is something of a specialist in historical dramas set in England, having been a recurring player on The Tudors and a regular on Reign.  Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton, a regular on Blindspot and a two-time AACTA Award nominee, is turning 40.  Will Patton, who turns 63, has been a reliable supporting player in all kinds of films for over 30 years, and a regular on Falling Skies and Shots Fired.

Steffi Graf, who is celebrating her 48th today, was ranked the #1 women’s tennis player in the world for a total of 377 weeks (equal to over seven years), longer than any other men’s or women’s player ever.  Often considered the best women’s singles player of all time, she won 22 Grand Slam titles in singles from 1987-1999.  At the 1980 Winter Olympics, Eric Heiden, who is turning 59, turned in one of the most dominant performances ever, in any sport, when he won gold medals in all five men’s speed skating events.  Pat Summitt (1952-2016) was the head coach of the women’s basketball team at the University of Tennessee for almost 40 years, until early-onset Alzheimer’s forced her into retirement.  During her career she won 8 NCAA championships and 1098 games, the latter a record for men’s or women’s coaches.

George O’Dowd, better known as Boy George, turns 56.  As the lead singer of Culture Club, he had more than a little to do with their sales of over 50 million records, largely in the early/mid eighties, and with their hits like “Karma Chameleon” and “The War Song.”  The Irish tenor John McCormack (1884-1945) had a distinguished opera career, performing a wide range of roles in the standard repertoire.  He was also one of, if not the, first great “classical crossover” success, having a long string of successes recording all sorts of popular songs like this:

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) wrote around 30 books in her life, one of which was Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which it is safe to say was one of the most influential books in American history.  Polish-American novelist Jerzy Kosiński (1933-1991) is best known as the author of the novel Being There, as well as the co-writer of the screenplay for the 1979 film adaptation.  Laurence Yep, who is 69 today, is the author of several dozen novels, mostly children’s fiction, such as the ten novels of the Golden Mountain series, beginning with DragonwingsMona Simpson, who turns 60, is the author of several novels; her first book, Anywhere But Here, was adapted into a 1999 feature starring Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman.  Harry Turtledove, who is celebrating his 68th birthday, is an extremely prolific author of genre fiction.  He is particularly known for his alternate history series like the “Southern Victory” series positing, as the name implies, an alternate US where the Confederacy was victorious in the Civil War.

American actor Sam Wanamaker (1919-1993) spent much of his career in England, where he had a distinguished career in the theater and later in his life spearheaded the effort to restore Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.  He was also known for films like the remake of The Spiral Staircase and Private Benjamin and the TV miniseries HolocaustDorothy McGuire (1916-2001) starred in the original version of The Spiral Staircase, was an Oscar nominee for Gentlemen’s Agreement, and later appeared as the mother in two Disney family classics, Old Yeller and Swiss Family Robinson.

Burl Ives (1909-1995) had a varied career that included included success as a singer and actor.  He was a prominent folk singer, known for his radio show The Wayfaring Stranger and a long list of recordings.  He had an excellent run as a supporting actor in film in the late fifties, winning an Oscar for The Big County, playing Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and playing major roles in other films like East of Eden and Day of the Outlaw.  And he became a permanent part of the Christmas TV season when he voiced Sam the Snowman in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

As everyone already knows, Donald Trump, who turns 71 today, is the 45th President of the US.  For his life story or reporting and commentary on his Presidency, see any of thousands of sources better equipped to handle them than this blog. 🙂  Ernesto “Che” Guevara (1928-1967) was an Argentine physician whose radical politics led him to become an associate of Fidel Castro in the 1950s.  He was a major figure in the early years of Castro’s rule in Cuba, then left to promote revolution in other countries, including Bolivia, where he was captured and executed in 1967.  Robert M. La Follette, Sr. (1855-1925) was one of the leading figures in the Progressive movement of the early 20th century US.  “Fighting Bob” served as a Congressman and as Governor of Wisconsin, but is best known for his nearly 20 years in the US Senate; he regularly is ranked among the greatest Senators in US history.

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 14, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I haven’t seen much of Diablo Cody’s work, but for the most part I have liked what I have seen. Juno was good. I thought Jennifer’s Body was under-rated. It’s a better than average B-horror flick.

    Boy George was huge in pop music when I was a kid. He struggled with addiction for a while and appears to have straightened out his personal life. Good for him. I saw him recently on the Celeb Apprentice which I believe was executive produced by another birthday boy.

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  2. I know Diablo Cody basically for Juno, which was very good. A lot of the rest of her work seems to have been well-received.

    As a musical theater lover I was at least somewhat familiar with Cy Coleman; however, it was only in preparing this article that I realized what a lot of well-known songs he has written.

    Our sports figures today are all people who you could legitimately say was the best ever in their specific specialty.

    Harry Turtledove is on my list of authors who I plan to check out in the future.

    When I was growing up I knew Burl Ives from that “Rudolph” Christmas season special, and from a couple of his albums that my parents had around the house. More recently I’ve also come to appreciate his work as an actor.

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  3. Diablo Cody, I liked “Juno”, and always meant to see “Jennifer’s Body”.
    Will Patton, the character he played in “No Way Out” remains his most memorable to me; probably because he went out in a bang. I’ve seen him in a lot of other films too, like “The client”.
    Steffi Graf, I remember when she was on the cover of a lot of sporting mags back in the day, and also when a then 13 year old Jennifer Capriati beat her in a match.
    Boy George, I watching an interview he did a month or so ago; he was being pretty playful and fun. I like a few Culture Club songs, especially” Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” and “Time (Clock of the Heart)”, plus his solo effort with “The Crying Game”.
    Sam Wanamaker, he had a distinctive name that always caught my attention & a very long career, but I mostly remember his roles from the 1980’s, like “Private Benjamin”, “Raw Deal”, “Superman IV: The Quest for (more money) Peace”, and “Baby Boom”.

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  4. The Real Reason You Don’t Hear from Yasmine Bleeth Anymore

    http://www.nickiswift.com/78589/real-reason-dont-hear-yasmine-bleeth-anymore/

    Even if you didn’t watch “Baywatch”, chances are you totally recognized lifeguard Yasmine Bleeth. But in the decades since her unceremonious exit from the iconic ’90s drama, Bleeth quickly went from posing magazine covers to complete obscurity. What prompted her abrupt exit from Hollywood? Here’s what we know.

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