July 5: Happy Birthday Edie Falco and Warren Oates
Edie Falco is celebrating her 54th today. After a rather slow first decade of her career, she has emerged as a mainstay of television in the past two decades. She began working in film in the late 1980s, mostly in relatively small parts, although she had prominent roles in the indie crime drama Laws of Gravity and in Abel Ferrera’s The Addiction. She began doing regular television work in the early nineties, with recurring parts on Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order.
In 1997, Falco began appearing in the role of Diane Whittlesey on HBO’s Oz, which technically was a recurring role although she appeared in almost all the episodes of seasons 1-3. She then got her big break when she was cast in one of the lead roles in a new HBO series about a mob family.
Falco won three Primetime Emmys and two Golden Globes in the role of Carmela Soprano. She then went on to star as Jackie Peyton on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, winning a fourth Emmy. She has continued to work periodically in films, usually in smaller projects like John Sayles’ Sunshine State or this year’s Megan Leavey, and she also was a Tony nominee for a 2011 revival of The House of Blue Leaves. This fall she will star in the first season of the anthology series Law & Order True Crime. The first season title is The Menendez Murders (remember them?), and Falco will play attorney Leslie Abramson.
Warren Oates (1928-1982) was something of a discovery of Sam Peckinpah’s. The two met when Oates had a guest part on an episode of The Rifleman directed by Peckinpah. The director cast Oates successively in small parts in his films Ride the High Country and Major Dundee, in the major supporting role of Lyle Gorch in The Wild Bunch, and then as the lead in his 1974 film Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.
Oates also starred in two of Monte Hellman’s cult classics, The Shooting and Two-Lane Blacktop, and had a major supporting role in In the Heat of the Night. In the early seventies Oates starred opposite Peter Fonda in several films, notably Race with the Devil, played Sissy Spacek’s father in Badlands, and starred in the title role of John Milius’s Dillinger, a performance enhanced by Oates’ resemblance to the bank robber.
In the late seventies Oates seemed to be fading from view a bit, as he was starring in unexceptional TV movies like 1977’s The African Queen (not a remake but a purported sequel). But he mounted a mini-comeback, receiving a BAFTA Award nomination for 1941, and then appearing in the role that younger audiences probably know him best for, Sgt. Hulka in Stripes, before his 1982 death of a heart attack.
Kathryn Erbe, who is 52, starred as Alexandra Eames on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and appeared in The Addiction and on Oz with Edie Falco. Pruitt Taylor Vince, known for his roles in films like Heavy, Nurse Betty, and Flypaper, is 57 today. Michael Stuhlbarg, who is celebrating his 49th, starred in the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man and was a regular on Boardwalk Empire. Nine-time Emmy nominee Jenji Kohan is turning 48. She was a writer and producer on Tracey Takes On… and is the creator of Showtime’s Weeds and Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. Claudia Wells, who played Jennifer Parker in Back to the Future, is 51. She was unable to return for the sequels as she was caring for her mother, who had cancer. Danay Garcia, who is 33, is a regular on Fear the Walking Dead and was one previously on Prison Break. Canadian actor François Arnaud, who turns 32 today, starred as Cesare Borgia on The Borgias and will star on NBC’s upcoming series Midnight, Texas.
Shirley Knight, who is 81 today, is a three-time Emmy winner, for guest roles on Thirtysomething and NYPD Blue and for the TV movie Indictment: The McMartin Trial. She has also won a Tony for the play Kennedy’s Children and been a two-time Best Supporting Actress nominee. Katherine Helmond, who turns 89, has won two Golden Globes for her television work, for the roles of Jessica Tate on Soap and Mona Robinson on Who’s The Boss? One of her best known film roles was as Ida Lowry in Brazil.
Bill Watterson, the creator of the newspaper comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, is turning 59. At the peak of its popularity, the strip about a young boy and his stuffed tiger was syndicated in over 2400 newspapers.
Robbie Robertson is 74 today. He is best known for his work with The Band, as the guitarist and primary songwriter, credited with songs like “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “The Weight,” and more. Huey Lewis, the lead vocalist and songwriter (not to mention harmonica player) for Huey Lewis and the News, is 67 today. Robert Diggs, better known as the rapper and actor RZA, is turning 48. He is know for leading the hip hop group Wu Tang Clan and for films like The Man With the Iron Fists and Brick Mansions. Annie Fischer (1914-1995) was one of the greatest classical pianists of the 20th century, known in particular for her complete set of Beethoven’s piano sonatas.
Rich “Goose” Gossage, one of the first relief pitchers to make Baseball’s Hall of Fame, is 66. He was a nine-time All-Star and played on the 1978 World Series winning New York Yankees. Football Hall of Famer James Lofton turns 61. An outstanding wide receiver for over a decade, he made eight Pro Bowls.
Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) was a French director best known for the films La Belle et la Bête/Beauty and the Beast and Orpheus, both considered classics. He was also an accomplished novelist and playwright. Diana Lynn (1926-1971) was a frequent supporting or second lead actress of the forties and early fifties, remembered as Betty Hutton’s younger sister in The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek. Milburn Stone (1904-1980) is remembered by fans of TV Westerns for playing Doc Adams for the whole of Gunsmoke’s 20-season run.
Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) was, whatever else might be said of him, a man of large accomplishments. He was the founder of the De Beers diamond cartel and of the British South Africa Company and the Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, and also endowed the Rhodes Scholarships. David G. Farragut (1801-1870) served in the US Navy for over fifty years, was a leading naval commander of the US Civil War, and was the first US Navy officer to hold the rank of admiral on active duty. P. T. Barnum (1810-1891) was the founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. He is often credited with the claim that “there’s a sucker born every minute,” but there is no hard evidence that he ever actually said this.
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 July 5, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Bill Watterson, Edie Falco, Huey Lewis, Jean Cocteau, Jenji Kohan, Robbie Robertson, Shirley Knight, Warren Oates. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.