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June 22: Happy Birthday Meryl Streep and Kris Kristofferson

0622StreepKristofferson

It is Meryl Streep’s 68th birthday today.  It has become almost a cliche to describe her as “the best actress of her generation,” but it is also very hard to dispute such a characterization when it is applied to someone with twenty (!) Oscar nominations in acting categories (no one else has ever had more than twelve).  A graduate of Vassar and Yale, Streep made her acting debut in a production of Trelawny of the “Wells,” produced by Joseph Papp (see below) for The Public Theater.

Streep received her first Oscar nomination for only her second feature film, The Deer Hunter, and that same year (1978) gave an Emmy-winning performance in the miniseries Holocaust.  A year later came her first Oscar win, for Best Supporting Actress in Kramer vs. Kramer.  Her first nomination for Best Actress was for The French Lieutenant’s Woman in 1981, and was followed by her first win in that category, a year later, in Sophie’s Choice.

Streep added a third Oscar win, playing none other than British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in 2011’s The Iron Lady.  She has never gone more than five years without being nominated for an Oscar in her entire career.  She has also received thirty Golden Globe nominations, with eight wins (both also records).  She will star as Katherine Graham (see last Friday’s article) in the upcoming film The Papers, directed by Stephen Frears (see Tuesday’s article).

Singer and actor Kris Kristofferson is turning 81 today.  He made his film debut in 1971 and a year later had his first starring role, in Cisco Pike.  He then worked with Sam Peckinpah, playing Billy the Kid in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.  He starred in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and the 1976 remake of A Star is Born, winning a Golden Globe for the latter.  However, as the seventies ended, the failures of Peckinpah’s Convoy and Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate appeared to sink his chances of stardom.  In more recent years he has worked several times with John Sayles, and played Abraham Whistler in the Blade trilogy.

As a singer, Kristofferson had a number of successful albums in the seventies, along with a #1 Country hit.  Along with his solo albums he made several in collaboration with Rita Coolidge (the two were married from 1973-1980).  His greatest success in music, though, has come as a songwriter.  While the stories of his landing a helicopter on Johnny Cash’s lawn to get Cash to listen to his songs are likely urban legends, Cash did have a #1 Country hit with Kristofferson’s “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down.”  He also has written “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” a Top Ten hit for Sammi Smith, “For the Good Times,” a #1 Country hit for Ray Price, and a song that became Janis Joplin’s only #1 hit.

Lindsay Wagner, who shares a birthday with Meryl Streep, is remembered for starring on The Bionic Woman as Jaime Sommers (and winning an Emmy); she also starred in the film The Paper Chase.  First Nations actor Graham Greene is turning 65.  He was an Oscar nominee for Dances with Wolves and has been in films such as Maverick, The Green Mile, and Winter’s TaleKlaus Maria Brandauer, who is 74, co-starred with Meryl Streep in Out of Africa, winning a Golden Globe and receiving an Oscar nomination.  He also played a (non-canonical) Bond villain in Never Say Never Again.

Amy Brenneman, who is 53 today, has received five Emmy nominations for her performances on NYPD Blue and Judging Amy and is known for work in films like Heat, Daylight, and 88 MinutesBruce Campbell, known for his film character of Ash Williams in the Evil Dead series, and as Autolycus (the King of Thieves) on Hercules and Xena, turns 59 today.  Tracy Pollan, who celebrates her 57th, is best known for playing Alex Keaton’s girlfriend Ellen Reed on Family Ties; she also co-starred with Michael J. Fox in Bright Lights, Big City, and the two have been married for nearly 30 years.

German-born director Uwe Boll, who is 52, is known for his adaptations of video games, like the Alone in the Dark and BloodRayne series, and for the better-received Rampage series.  French actress Emmanuelle Seigner, who celebrates her 51st, became known to US audiences for starring in the thriller Frantic with Harrison Ford, and is a three-time Cesar nominee who often works in films directed by her husband, Roman Polanski.

Donald Faison, who is 43 today, has done several features but is best known for his starring TV roles on Scrubs and The ExesPortia Doubleday, who currently stars on Mr. Robot, turns 29.  She is also known for Youth in Revolt and for playing Chris Hargensen in the remake of CarrieJoe Dempsie, who turns 30, plays Gendry on Game of Thrones and has been a regular on British TV on Skins, Southcliffe, and One of Us.

Cyndi Lauper is 64 today.  A big pop star of the eighties, she had a big success with her first album, She’s So Unusual, which included four Top Five singles.  More recently, she won a Tony for Best Original Score for the musical Kinky Boots.  Multi-talented musician Todd Rundgren, who is 69, has produced albums for the likes of The Band and Hall & Oates, and has made a lengthy list of recordings both as a solo artist and a member of Utopia.

Erin Brockovich, the environmental activist who work on a case against Pacific Gas & Electric became the subject of a 2000 film starring Julia Roberts, is 57 today.

Baseball Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell (1903-1988) was one of the game’s most dominant pitchers in the 1930s, making nine All-Star games and winning two National League MVP awards.  Champ Bailey, who is 39, is a recently retired NFL star who made 12 Pro Bowls, a record for a cornerback.  Pete Maravich (1947-1988), known as Pistol Pete, was one of the NBA’s best shooting guards of the 1970s before injuries brought his career to an end.  Basketball Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler, who is turning 55, was a ten-time All-Star in his career with Portland and Houston, and an NBA champion with the Rockets in 1995.

Sir H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925) was an English writer of popular adventure novels, particularly in the “Lost World” subgenre.  He is mostly remembered for the Allan Quatermain novels (beginning with King Solomon’s Mines) and the Ayesha series (which began with She: A History of Adventure).  Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970) was a German novelist who was most famous for his anti-war war novel All Quiet on the Western FrontAnne Morrow Lindbergh (1906-2001) was first famous for marrying Charles A. Lindbergh, but went on to become a popular writer, best known for her inspirational essay collection Gift from the SeaDan Brown, who is 53 today, has sold some 200 million books worldwide, thrillers like Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code centered on intricate conspiracy theories that frequently involve secret Christian societies of some sort.

Joseph Papp (1921-1991) was a theatrical producer who is known for establishing New York’s The Public Theater and the affiliated Shakespeare in the Park festival, for his productions of musicals like Hair, A Chorus Line, and The Pirates of Penzance, and for his efforts to preserve the historic Broadway/Times Square Theater District.

Ralph Waite (1928-2014) was best known for playing a pair of television fathers, John Walton, Sr., on The Waltons, and Jackson Gibbs on NCIS.  Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami (1940-2016) was very possibly his country’s most-respected filmmaker.  His films won a wide variety of film festival and film critics’ honors, including a Palme d’Or at Cannes for Taste of CherryFreddie Prinze (1954-1977) is remembered as a star of the seventies sitcom Chico and the Man, and for the shock of his death at 22 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Billy Wilder (1906-2002) was one of the most prominent writer-directors of Hollywood’s Golden Age.  One of many Jewish refugees from Nazism in Hollywood, he made a name for himself as an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for films like Ninotchka and Ball of Fire.  He then was given a chance to direct, and over the next two decades won Oscars for directing, for The Lost Weekend and The Apartment, and writing, for both those films and Sunset Boulevard.  His film output also includes Double Indemnity, Stalag 17, and Some Like it Hot.

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 22, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Big day today.

    Meryl Streep is one of the greats. We talked about the evolution of her career when we were doing the Best Actress bracket game (which is all over the “related” section). I don’t know that I have much more to add other than you have to be impressed by her range and longevity.

    I have enjoyed Kris Kristofferson in many supporting roles, but the first one that comes to mind is Blade because I’m a geek. My childhood memories include Lindsay Wagner running in slow motion as the Bionic Woman. Graham Greene made the most of his post-Dances With Wolves career. Klaus Maria Brandauer made a good Largo.

    Bruce Campbell is great (a friend told me an unflattering story about Campbell, so I’m talking about his onscreen persona). I’m a Sam Raimi fan, so of course I like the Evil Dead movies and I have watched both seasons of the TV show. But he’s been good in a lot of other stuff as well.

    We have a bit of a Family Ties theme this week. I had a decent sized crush on Tracy Pollan when she was on that show. Few Hollywood marriages have endured as well as Pollan and Fox.

    I said my piece on Uwe Boll in the Razzie articles. He’s more of a personality than a film director. Donald Faison was great on Scrubs. Also, Clueless. I enjoy Mr. Robot and Portia Doubleday is one of the reasons why. Cyndi Lauper is a true icon of the 80’s.

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  2. Meryl Streep, no surprise there; she has more hardware than a hardware store, and well-deserved. Some of my favorite films she’s done are “Silkwood”, “Ironweed”, “A Cry in the Dark”, “Music of the Heart” (Wes craven? Yeah), “The Hours” and “The Manchurian Candidate” remake. Actually the only films I’ve seen that she’s in that I didn’t like are “Out of Africa” (sleeping pill) and “Death Becomes Her” (it did nothing for me).
    Kris Kristofferson, I just caught “Convoy” the other week; well, I thought it was okay (like the “Convoy” song; it’s on the GTA V soundtrack), but wow, I thought Ali McGraw had a terrible hairdo in it. He was in 1977’s “Semi-Tough” too, and I like that film, along with “Big Top Pee Wee”. I also feel that “Heaven’s Gate” is not nearly as bad as it was made out to be (it isn’t like it cost me millions of dollars or anything, so the financial aspect of it doesn’t really bother me). I once read a Rolling Stone article about his music, but I don’t know much about his music career otherwise.
    Lindsay Wagner, one of my all time favorite Lindsay’s/Lindsey’s, and I wish she had more scenes in “Nighthawks”. I haven’t seen “The Bionic Woman” since I was a kid, but I’d check it out again if I spot it.
    Graham Greene, “Dances with Wolves” was his big break, but I’ve seen him pop up many times in television and film. He’s worked steadily for a long time.
    Amy Brenneman, I remember commercials for “Judging Amy”, and liked her in “Daylight” (which I thought was kinda underrated).
    Bruce Campbell, The Evil Dead films, no doubt; I have all three, and feel that they’re good times (especially part 2). I caught some of the series “Burn Notice” and thought he was a lot of fun there as well.
    Emmanuelle Seigner, I know of her from two Roman Polanski films, “Frantic” and “The Ninth Gate” (which I really like, but many others don’t really feel the same). I’m also aware that she’s also married to Polanski.
    Donald Faison, I know of him from “Clueless”, “Scrubs”, and the 2005 film “King’s Ransom”. I think he’s solid.
    Cyndi Lauper, I own the “She’s So Unusual” album, which I feel is completely excellent from start to finish; my favorite song of hers is “All Through The Night”.
    Todd Rundgren, hello it’s him, he’s been around for a long long time, and thanks to this site I learned about his connection to Liv Tyler.
    Erin Brockovich, I viewed that “American Justice” episode on her & that PG&E deal numerous times (gotta love that Bill Kurtis). Later, I’ve saw her in ads for this one law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg (she knows them AND she trusts them, with great inflection in her voice there; well, that’s all I need to know). I like the film on her.
    Pete Maravich, I learned some about him which watching the ESPN “Sportscentury” episode on him. If I was able to watch him play in the 1970’s, I would’ve been a fan. It’s amazing he played competitive basketball for years while having an undiagnosed heart condition (missing his left coronary artery). It seemed that he had to work hard to find peace within his life; too bad he didn’t get to enjoy a longer life.
    Clyde Drexler, I was so happy that he won a championship in 1995, especially since the houston Rockets are my favorite NBA team. Drexler came up big for them after he arrived via trade, and probably gave the team that push for the second straight title. Great individual player on his own as well.
    Billy Wilder, what a long, extensive career; I LOVE “Double Indemnity”, plus I’m pretty fond of “The Lost Weekend”, while “Sunset Boulevard” both fascinates and terrifies me.

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  3. Meryl Streep was one of the most obvious headliners since I took over writing this series last August. She was a very worthy winner of our Best Actress Bracket Game from earlier this year:

    https://lebeauleblog.com/2017/02/21/best-actress-bracket-game-winner/

    More than anything else, Kris Kristofferson is a great songwriter. I’m also fond of his work with John Sayles, in Lone Star, Silver City, etc.

    After his appearance in Never Say Never Again, Klaus Maria Brandauer crossed paths with Sean Connery a second time in the 1990 adaptation of John le Carré’s The Russia House.

    I have been aware of Joseph Papp for a long time because of his delightful revival of The Pirates of Penzance from the late seventies, which was made into a feature film. He has certainly left his mark on the New York theater scene.

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    • I forgot about Kristofferson in Lone Star. Haven’t seen that one in a long time. I’m not all that familiar with his music which I know is what he’s primarily known for.

      I also forgot that The Russia House included a Never Say Never Again reunion. That’s amusing.

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    • For Kris Kristofferson, I should’ve mentioned “Lone Star” (fantastic film), but I really had “Convoy” rumblin’ through my mind (convoy…).

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