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June 20: Happy Birthday Nicole Kidman and Errol Flynn

0620KidmanFlynn

To get in the proper spirit for today, let’s send a hearty “G’Day, mate!” to all our readers.

Today is Nicole Kidman’s 50th birthday.  Her WTHH article has lots of detail about her career.  She did a lot of film and television work in her native Australia in the 1980s.  Her performance in Dead Calm began to put her on Hollywood’s radar, and her relationship with, and marriage to, Tom Cruise undoubtedly helped jump start her career as well.  But she quickly established her merits as a actress.  Her critically praised performance in Billy Bathgate brought her some accolades, and she won her first Golden Globe for Gus Van Sant’s To Die For.

Kidman is a four-time Oscar nominee, with a win for Best Actress for The Hours, for which she also won BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards.  It’s been quite a while since she’s had a box office hit—although last year’s Lion was pretty clearly a financial success, making over $50 million domestically on a $12 million production budget, and the Oscar nomination she received for the film didn’t hurt her.  Her recent big starring projects, such as Grace of Monaco and Queen of the Desert, have done poorly.  But she’s still definitely in demand as an actress, albeit more for major supporting/character roles.  Her latest film, Sofia Coppola’s remake of The Beguiled, opens later this month.

Errol Flynn (1909-1959) was one of the two biggest figures in film history to come from the Australian province of Tasmania.  (Surely all know who the other one is).  His first film role was as Fletcher Christian in an Australian movie, In the Wake of the Bounty.  He then worked for a short time in England, where Irving Asher, who headed Warner Brothers operations there, persuaded the studio to sign Flynn and bring him to Hollywood.

After Flynn did a couple of supporting parts, Warner’s was ready to unleash him, which they did in the 1935 swashbuckler Captain Blood, where he worked for the first time with two very important people in his career, director Michael Curtiz and actress Olivia de Havilland.  By the late thirties he was one of Warner’s top stars, along with James Cagney and Bette Davis.  He wasn’t particularly suited for comedy; his staples were action and costume drama.  Naturally, a film that combined both could become his most famous role.

Flynn made almost all of his most memorable films with one of two directors, either Curtiz, who directed such films as The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, and The Sea Hawk, or Raoul Walsh, his director for films like They Died With Their Boots On, Desperate Journey, and Gentleman Jim.  Around 1943, Flynn’s stardom began to fade.  He was charged with statutory rape and although his early 1943 trial resulted in a acquittal, it damaged his reputation.  He continued to work until his death in 1959, when his years of high living caught up with him, but with diminishing success.

John Goodman turns 65 today.  He is a eleven-time Emmy nominee (seven of them for Roseanne as Dan Conner), with a win for Outstanding Guest Actor on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.  His film career includes starring as Babe Ruth in The Babe, several films with the Coen Brothers such as Barton Fink and The Big Lebowski, and prominent roles in recent films like 10 Cloverfield Lane, Patriots Day, and Kong: Skull Island.  On Broadway, he was a Drama Desk Award nominee for Big River as Pap Finn.

Danny Aiello, who is 84, was an Oscar nominee as Sal Fragione in Do the Right Thing and has a long list of impressive film credits, including The Purple Rose of Cairo and Moonstruck.  In the latter film he appeared with Olympia Dukakis, who won Best Supporting Actress as Rose Castorini.  Dukakis is celebrating her 86th today.  Also turning 86 is James Tolkan, who was fond of the term “slackers” as Principal Strickland in the Back to the Future films.

Director Stephen Frears has been nominated for the Oscar for Best Director twice, for The Grifters and The Queen.  Frears, who turn 76, is also known for films such as My Beautiful Laundrette and High FidelityRobert Rodriguez, who turns 49, is known for producing, directing and writing a body of films that include the El Mariachi trilogy, From Dusk Till Dawn, the Spy Kids films, and Sin City and Machete and their sequels.

Josh Lucas, who is known for films like Sweet Home Alabama, Glory Road, and Big Sur, turns 46 today.  Christopher Mintz-Plasse made his film debut in Superbad, and is known for his roles in the Kick-Ass and Neighbors films.  He turns 28 today.  Dreama Walker, who is 31, was a regular on CBS’s Doubt, which fell victim to the “Katherine Heigl Jinx” after only two episodes; she was also a regular on Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23Tika Sumpter, who is turning 37, stars on the Oprah Winfrey Network’s The Haves and the Have Nots, and played Michelle Robinson (later Obama) in Southside with You.

Martin Landau is 89 today.  He is a three-time Oscar nominee, winning Best Supporting Actor for Ed Wood.  On television he won a Golden Globe for starring on Mission: Impossible, and is a five-time Emmy nominee.  Hitchcock fans will remember him as one of the villains in North by Northwest.  Veteran character actor John Mahoney, who is 77, was a two-time Emmy and Golden Globe nominee as Martin Crane on Frasier.  Voice actress Tress MacNeille is celebrating her 66th.  She has done over 20 characters on The Simpsons and at least a dozen on Futurama—just for starters.

Brian Wilson, the oldest of the three brothers who were the core of the original Beach Boys lineup, turns 75.  Wilson, often in collaboration with Mike Love, wrote or co-wrote many of the band’s classic hits.  Lionel Richie, who celebrates his 68th, was a member of the Commodores for over a decade, and has been even more successful as a solo artist, with four Grammys, an Oscar for Best Original Song, and around 100 million records sold.  Chet Atkins (1924-2001) was one of the creators of the “Nashville sound” in country music.  He was a legendary guitarist (sort of the Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page of country) who won most of his 14 Grammys in the Best Country Instrumental Performance category, and an important record producer.  One of Atkins’s Grammys was for an instrumental version of “Snowbird,” which previously had been a big hit single for Canadian country/soft rock singer Anne Murray, who is 72 today.  Murray has won four Grammys and a record 24 Juno Awards (the Canadian Grammy equivalent).  Dolores “LaLa” Brooks, who is 70, was the lead singer of the girl group The Crystals for several years in the sixties.  Pianist André Watts is turning 71.  Ever since they day when a 16 year old Watts was asked to replace an ailing Glenn Gould as the soloist at a New York Philharmonic concert, he has been one of the most prominent African-Americans in the world of classical music.  German-born composer Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) spent most of his career working in France.  He is remembered for his opera The Tales of Hoffman, and for his operettas, such as Orpheus in the Underworld with its famous “Infernal Galop.”

Lillian Hellman (1905-1984) was a prominent 20th Century American playwright.  She was a Tony nominee for her play Toys in the Attic and for the book for the musical Candide, and also known for plays such as The Little Foxes and Watch on the Rhine.  She was an Oscar nominee for her screenplay for the film adaptation of the former.  Hellman was also known for her long romantic relationship with Dashiell Hammett and her radical politics.

Audie Murphy (1925-1971) was one of the US Army’s most-decorated combat soldiers in World War 2, winning a Medal of Honor.  He had a number of starring roles in a film career of about 20 years, mostly second-string Westerns but a few more prestigious films like John Huston’s adaptation of The Red Badge of Courage and the 1958 version of The Quiet AmericanGail Patrick (1911-1980) worked in film for several years, appearing in films like My Man Godfrey and Stage Door, and then became a TV producer, where she was best know as the executive producer of Perry Mason.  British director Terence Young (1915-1994) is best know for directing three of the first four James Bond films, including one that is often considered among the best, From Russia With Love.

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 20, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Still to this day there has never been a better depiction of Robin Hood than what Errol portrayed IMO!

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  2. There was a time when Nicole Kidman was one of my favorite actresses. I liked Dead Calm a lot, but she won me over with To Die For. A lot of her movies didn’t work, but I admired that she took chances with her career. She made a lot of choices that other A-list actresses wouldn’t have made. She rarely played it safe.

    I never would have imagined John Goodman would have the long career he has enjoyed. He’s a terrific and versatile character actor. I never know what to expect when I see him in something, but I know he will deliver. Danny Aiello is another strong supporting player who is always a welcome addition to any cast.

    I really liked Stephen Frears’ The Grifters. I also enjoyed High Fidelity, but not as much as others I know. Robert Rodriguez is really hit or miss, but I have enjoyed several of his movies.

    I first saw Dreama Walker on Don’t Trust the B-, an underrated sitcom I have stumped for here at the site. I also recall seeing her in a very disturbing drama called Compliance which was sadly based on a true story.

    Martin Landau has been great in lots of roles, but his performance as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood is a personal favorite. John Mahoney is another wonderful character actor who is best known for Frasier but has done lots of other things.

    I know some music guys who could go on and on about the genius of Brian Wilson. Lionel Richie was a really big deal when I was a kid. As a Bond fan, I tip my non-existent hat to Terence Young for his contribution to one of the greatest series in movie history.

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  3. In writing up Nicole Kidman, I focused on her film career, leaving out her most recent project, the critically HBO miniseries Big Little Lies. For me, like lebeau, To Die For was the film that really sold me on Kidman’s talent as an actress. As a fan of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, I also really liked Kidman as Marisa Coulter in The Golden Compass; the film overall was ordinary but Kidman absolutely nailed her role.

    Errol Flynn—not a great actor, but one of the great action heroes of all time. Also one of the great cases of a person’s private life not living up to their public image.

    As I said on Laurie Metcalf’s birthday, I was never a big Roseanne viewer, but I’ve enjoyed a lot of John Goodman’s film work, especially with the Coen Brothers.

    Gail Patrick, in addition to being a rare female television producer in the fifties and sixties, was the first woman to have a major leadership role in the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, serving as president of the Hollywood chapter and a national vice-president.

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  4. For a while there in 2011-12 it seemed Nicole Kidman’s career was over (hence the WTHHT article) but she rebounded big time and there’s no doubt she’s staying for the long run.

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  5. Nicole Kidman, I love most of her work, and don’t concern myself with the ancillary stuff. Great page on her here.
    Errol Flynn, I know of his legend (I have a hardcover of “People’s 100 Most Influential People” from 1998, and he’s in there).
    John Goodman, I thought he was perfect for Babe Ruth (just like Tommy Lee Jones was for Ty Cobb), and I’ve enjoyed a murder’s row of his performances: the crooked cop in “The Big Easy”, his character in “Everybody’s All-American”, “Matinee”, “Fallen”, and his various exploits in The Coen Brothers films. then there’s “Roseanne” too.
    Danny Aiello, I found him to be a pretty steady and reliable performer.
    Olympia Dukakis, her career really blossomed in the late 1980’s. She younger than I thought she was, and i had no idea she was in “Death Wish”.
    James tolkan, i just re-watched “Armed and Dangerous”, and he’s briefly in that too, along with a personal favorite of mine (preposterous as it is) 1985’s “Turk 182!”. Yeah, I think he’s pretty memorable in “Back to the Future” and “Top Gun” too.
    Robert Rodriguez,I really like “Planet Terror” and that whole Grindhouse deal Tarrantino and him developed. “From Dusk Till Dawn” brings up bad life memories for me, but I dig “Sin City”.
    Josh Lucas, I think “Glory Road” is pretty good, and I like him in 2003’s “Wonderland” as well.
    Martin Landau, that Bela Lugosi role in “Ed Wood” really upped his profile, although he was in “Crimes and Misdemeanors, he was kind of wasted in a film such as 1987’s “Sweet Revenge” (I thought he was great in 1982’s “Alone in the Dark” though).
    John Mahoney, I thought he was great in “Tin Men” and “Say Anything…” and I enjoy “Frasier”. Excellent character actor.
    Tress MacNeille, I know of her from her extensive voice work on “The Simpsons”.
    “Hello”, Lionel Ritchie. I think he’s a great songwriter and performer; maybe it comes “Easy” to him. Oh, what a feeling…
    Anne Murray, I only know of her because of that one episode of “Family Guy”.

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