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June 18: Happy Birthday Paul McCartney and Roger Ebert

0618McCartneyEbert

Our two headliners today were both born on this date in 1942.

Sir Paul McCartney turns 75 today.  In 1957 he joined a band that had recently been started by John Lennon; within a year or two a guitarist named George Harrison had joined them and by 1960 they were performing as The Beatles.  In 1962, they let drummer Pete Best go and added Ringo Starr, and history was about to be made.

The Beatles remained together, as you probably know, until 1970.  Since then, McCartney has been recording and touring as a solo artist or as a member of Wings.  To the record-setting sales of Beatles records, he has added another 100 million or more post-breakup.  He is a 21-time Grammy winner—12 with the Beatles, 8 as a solo artist or with Wings, and one other collaboration.  He has written or co-written 32 singles that reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Roger Ebert (1942-2013) was probably the best-known film critic in the world for much of the last 40 years or so.  He became the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967, and won a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1975, the first Pulitzer awarded for film criticism.  That same year, he and Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune began co-hosting their first televised film review show, Sneak Previews.  That show was later succeeded by various incarnations of At the Movies.  Ebert was also the author of over a dozen books (not counting collections of his reviews), most of them on film.

Isabella Rossellini, who celebrates her 65th, was famous almost from birth, as the daughter of Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini.  She is known for a variety of films, including White Nights, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, and Death Becomes Her.  She was a Golden Globe nominee for the TV movie Crime of the Century and an Emmy nominee fo a guest appearance on Chicago Hope.

Belgian actress Marie Gillain, who primarily works in French film, is 42 today.  She made her debut in the original French version of My Father the Hero (in the role played by Katherine Heigl in the American remake), for which she received the first of her four Cesar nominations.  She has had major roles in films like the swashbuckler Le Bossu (receiving another Cesar nomination), the French adaptation of Absolutely Fabulous, and the crime thriller Not For, or Against.  She also appeared in Female Agents, where one of her costars was Julie Depardieu, who turns 44 today.  She has won Cesar Awards for the films Little Lili and Un Secret, and is the daughter of Gérard Depardieu.

Richard Madden, who turns 31, is known for playing Robb Stark on Game of Thrones and Prince Kit in the live-action CinderellaMeaghan Rath, also 31 today, has starred on SyFy’s Being Human and Fox’s short-lived Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving LifeWilla Holland, who currently plays Thea Queen/Speedy in the Arrowverse, is turning 26.  Renee Olstead, who is 28, has had regular roles on Still Standing and The Secret Life of the American Teenager.  Also 28 today is Mallory Jansen, who was a regular as Madalena on the short-lived Galavant and now is a recurring character on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Kerry Butler, who celebrates her 46th, is primarily known for her stage work; she played Belle in Beauty and the Beast for over 2 years and was a Tony nominee for starring in Xanadu, a reasonably successful musical adapted from a flop of a movie.  Alana de la Garza, who is turning 41, has been involved in three major police procedural franchises of our time, as Connie Rubirosa on Law & Order, Marisol Delko on CSI: Miami, and Clara Seger on Criminal Minds: Beyond BordersDavid Giuntoli, who is 37, was the star of NBC’s Grimm, which recently concluded its six-season run.

Carol Kane, who currently is a regular on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, is turning 65.  She was a two-time Emmy winner on Taxi, an Oscar nominee for Hester Street, and played Miracle Max’s wife, Valerie, in The Princess BrideBrian Benben, who is 61 today, currently stars on Bravo’s Imposters, and has been a regular on HBO’s Dream On and on Private Practice.  He and Madeleine Stowe have been married for 35 years.  Kim Dickens, who is 52, currently stars as Madison Clark on Fear the Walking Dead, and had regular roles on Deadwood and TremePhilip Jackson, who is turning 69, has worked in British television and film for decades, notably as Chief Inspector Japp on Agatha Christie’s PoirotBarbara Broccoli, who with her half-brother Michael G. Wilson has been running Eon Productions and producing the James Bond films for over 20 years, turns 57 today.

American playwright Philip Barry (1896-1949) was the author of the plays Holiday and The Philadelphia Story, both of which were adapted into films that starred Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant.  E. W. Scripps (1854-1926) was the founder of the newspaper and media company which bears his name, and of the United Press International.  Journalist Tom Wicker (1926-2011) was a reporter and columnist for The New York Times for around 30 years; he covered John Kennedy’s assassination and later made Richard Nixon’s “enemies list.”

Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Brock is turning 78 today.  He spent most of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he was a six-time All-Star and helped the Cards to two World Series victories, and set a number of stolen base records.  Glenn Morris (1912-1974) won the men’s decathlon at the 1936 Olympics, and then became the fourth Olympic medalist to play Tarzan, starring in Tarzan’s Revenge in 1938.

Blake Shelton, who is turning 41, release his eponymous debut country album in 2001.  He was a success from the start, and has had at least one Top Ten Country single every year from 2008 on.  Lyricist Sammy Cahn (1913-1993) wrote over two dozen songs which received Oscar nominations, usually with music by Jimmy Van Heusen or Jule Styne; four of his songs ended up winning Oscars.  He and Style also wrote the ever-popular Christmas tune “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.”

Jeanette MacDonald (1903-1965) found her niche in Hollywood after an indifferent Broadway career.  She is remembered for the musicals she made at Paramount and MGM, many of which paired her with either Maurice Chevalier (Love Me Tonight, The Merry Widow) or Nelson Eddy (Naughty Marietta, Rose Marie); she also was Clark Gable’s leading lady in San Francisco.

Richard Boone (1917-1981) was particularly known for his work in Westerns; he starred as Paladin on CBS’s Have Gun—Will Travel and in films like The Tall T, Hombre, Big Jake and The Shootist.  E. G. Marshall (1914-1998) had a long film and television career, largely in character roles.  One of them was Juror #4 in Twelve Angry MenKeye Luke (1904-1991) was the first Chinese-American contract player at RKO, Universal, and MGM at different points in his career.  He was known for playing Lee Chan, Charlie Chan’s Number One Son, and later Master Po on Kung Fu.  Hungarian actress Eva Bartok (1927-1998) worked all over Europe, frequently in British or Italian films, but also made a handful of Hollywood pictures like The Crimson Pirate (with Burt Lancaster) and Ten Thousand Bedrooms.

Robert Stewart, Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822) was a British statesman best known for his decade of service as Foreign Secretary; during that time he was one of the chief architects of the post-Napoleonic Wars order in Europe.  Red Adair (1915-2004) was quite possibly the most famous firefighter in history; the fires he was famous for fighting were oil well fires.  The movie Hellfighters, starring John Wayne, was loosely based on Adair’s life and exploits.  The Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna (1901-1918), the youngest daughter of Nicholas II of Russia, was the object of considerable speculation and theorizing for decades until forensic evidence showed conclusively that she did die in 1918 with her parents and siblings.

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 18, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. daffystardust

    I recently sat down and watched the documentary Life Itself, which is about the life and times of Roger Ebert. The portions featuring him in late life were difficult to watch at times, but it was overall very interesting examination of the guy, revealing both his personal and professional lives in expected and unexpected ways. As someone who lived in Chicago for two+ years during my mid 20s I developed an attachment to Ebert as a writer more than as a TV critic. The documentary made particular mention of one of his qualities which led me to err his way over Siskel once I made the move there: I realized that Ebert just plain wrote more articles than Siskel ever did. In a single week it wasn’t unusual for Ebert to publish three or four film reviews in addition to one or two feature articles. Meanwhile you would typically get just one or two reviews from Siskel…and the length and quality of the works would not explain that disparity away. Ebert simply gave the daily reader more for his money (as did his paper, The Sun-Times). Those guys are very responsible for the state of film criticism today, mostly for the good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said; I wasn’t aware that he was more prolific with his writings & reviews than Siskel, thanks for the info. I liked them both on TV, but I liked Ebert more because he seemed slightly more open-minded.

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  2. What a surprise that one of the auto-links for today’s article is to John Lennon’s birthday. Lennon and McCartney clearly rank among the greatest songwriting teams ever, and McCartney has had the most successful post-1970 career of the Fab Four.

    Roger Ebert wasn’t the first film critic I was aware of—growing up in Southern California, I had exposure to the LA Times’s film writers—but he’s probably the one I’ve paid the most attention to over the years. A very good writer, and one of the sources I’ve turned to repeatedly through the ears when I’ve wanted to extend the range of films I watch.

    Marie Gillain has been one of my favorite European actresses for quite some time now; she was a delightful heroine in Le Bossu who got in on the swashbuckling quite a bit more than the norm for classic swashbucklers.

    McCartney was not the only big name in songwriting born today; Sammy Cahn was no slouch in that department. Frank Sinatra, who recorded a long list of Cahn’s songs, would probably have attested to that.

    Like

  3. Paul McCartney, I used to know people who were wild about The Beatles, so I let them have at it, comfortable with some of the songs I liked (such as “Hey Jude”). Unlike that guest character on “The Simpsons”, I never got my Wings, but I liked that duet he did with Michael Jackson, “Say Say Say”.
    Roger Ebert, I definitely learned about what to look for in certain films, and of certain films in general, due to the show Siskel & him had. I still read some of his archived reviews, as well as check out siskelandebert.org.
    Isabella Rossellini, yeah I really didn’t know of her family’s rich entertainment history when I first viewed her work in films like “White nights” & “Blue Velvet”, but then again I didn’t know for a long time that she was once married to Martin Scorsese (he seems pretty intense; I like that) either. I also like the film “Fearless” and her guest spot on “The Simpsons”, in which she plays an art promoter selling Homer'[s, um, pieces as “Outsider Art”; that episode has really stuck with me.
    Alana de la Garza, I viewed episodes of “Forever” mostly because of her & Judd Hirsch. I find her absolutely gorgeous, and, as a comment on the IMDB boards once said, “Alana de la Garza, hubba hubba”.
    Carol Kane, I think she’s brought a unique style and played some interesting characters, even in films most people probably don’t care about nowadays, like “Scrooged” and 1989’s “Flashback”. I’ve seen some of the films when she was first starting out too, like “Carnal Knowledge”, “The Last Detail” and “Dog Day Afternoon” (ah, films of the 1970’s…).
    Kim Dickins, I kind of like “Hollow Man” actually (that wasn’t well-received I guess), but I liked her in 2001’s “Things Behind the Sun” too (the film I associate most with her for some reason), and she had roles in “The house of Sand and Fog” and “Gone girl” too.
    E.G. Marshall, he had a long life and a long career, but I know best of his 1980’s work, like “Superman II”, “Creepshow”, “My Chauffeur”, and “Power”.
    Keye Luke, he’s someone else who had a long life & career, but I know best from his 1980’s work like the grandfather from “Gremlins” and Opium giant General Lao Li in ‘The Golden Triangle’ episodes of “Miami vice” (“I will commit no crimes in your city, Castillo”).

    Like

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