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July 15: Happy Birthday Linda Ronstadt and Diane Kruger

0715RonstadtKruger

Linda Ronstadt becomes the first repeat headliner in this series today as she turns 71.  An eleven-time Grammy winner and one of the must successful solo female vocalists ever, she began her career when she dropped out of Arizona State University and joined an old Arizona acquaintance in Los Angeles, becoming the lead singer of a folk-rock trio, the Stone Poneys.  They had a Top 20 single with “Different Drum” before breaking up, at which point Ronstadt embarked on a solo career.

Ronstadt’s second studio album, Silk Purse, came out in 1970 and included the hit “Long, Long Time,” which brought her her first Grammy nomination.  However, it was with her fifth album, Heart Like a Wheel from 1974, that her career really took off.  She had six straight albums reach #4 or higher on the Billboard 200 and eight Top Ten singles in a stretch of about 6 years, and was widely recognized as the leading female rock star of her time and the first “arena class” female rocker.

Ronstadt is normally thought of as a country rock or pop rock singer, but she has been quoted as saying “Rampant eclecticism is my middle name.”  Few singers have ventured into as diverse a range of music.  In the early 1980s, she was cast as Mabel in Joseph Papp’s revival of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance (receiving a Tony nomination), while at about the same time she recorded three albums of jazz and traditional pop standards.  Then there are her folkie roots and her flirtation with mariachi.

Sadly, Ronstadt’s once-golden voice has gone silent in recent years as she battles Parkinson’s disease.

Diane Kruger is celebrating her 41st birthday.  She worked as a model for about a decade beginning when she was 16.  She is fluent in French and began working in French film in 2001.  In 2004 she made her first Hollywood films, in Wicker Park, National Treasure, and Troy (as Helen).  Since then she has continued to work with some regularity in American (or English-language) film, including the National Treasure sequel, the thriller Unknown, and, in the role of Bridget von Hammersmark, in Inglorious Basterds.

Kruger has also continued working regularly in French film.  She played an opera singer in the World War One film Joyeux Noël, starred in the thriller Pour elle (remade in the US as The Next Three Days), and was Queen Marie Antoinette in Farewell, My Queen.  Although she is German, she did not make her debut in German film until this year, when she starred in In the Fade, and won the Best Actress honor at Cannes.

Musical theater star Laura Benanti turns 39 today.  She is a five-time Tony nominee, winning for the role of Louise in the 2008 revival of Gypsy.  Her Broadway roles have also included Maria in The Sound of Music, Cinderella in Into the Wood, and Amalia in She Loves Me, just to mention a few.  Her extensive TV resume includes starring on NBC’s Go On for its single season and played twin sisters Alura and Astra on Supergirl.

Like Diane Kruger, the Swiss-French actress Irène Jacob has won Best Actress at Cannes, in her case for Krzysztof Kieślowski’s The Double Life of Véronique.  Jacob worked with Kieślowski again when she starred in Three Colors: Red, the finale film in the “Colors” trilogy.  She was nominated for Cesar Awards for both films, and has made a few English-language films such as U. S. Marshals and (as Desdemona) Oliver Parker’s adaptation of Othello.

Aimee Carrero, who stars on Freeform’s Young & Hungry as Sofia Rodriguez, turns 29 today.  Taylor Kinney, who stars on Chicago Fire as Lt. Kelly Severide and crosses over to the other Chicago franchise shows at times, celebrates his 36th.  Travis Fimmel, who turns 38, starred on Vikings as Ragnar Lothbrok and will also star in the upcoming heist film Finding Steve McQueenLana Parrilla, who is 40 today, is best known for starring as Regina Mills/The Evil Queen on Once Upon a Time.

Jan-Michael Vincent, who turns 73, is remembered for starring in 1970s films like Big Wednesday and in the 1980s action series AirwolfTerry O’Quinn, an Emmy winner as John Locke on Lost and one of the stars of Amazon Studios’ The Patriot, turns 65 today.  Lolita Davidovich, who is 56 today, starred opposite Paul Newman in Blaze and had major roles in films like Boiling Point and CobbBrigitte Nielsen, who turns 54, had starring roles in mid-eighties films like Red Sonja, Rocky IV, Cobra, and Beverly Hills Cop II.

Jesse Ventura’s colorful life has included service with the US Navy, a lengthy career in pro wrestling, acting in films like Predator, and a term as Governor of Minnesota.  He is 66 today.

Alex Karras (1935-2012) played in the NFL for over a decade and made four Pro Bowls.  He spent a little time as a pro wrestler, and later went into acting.  He is known for starring on ABC’s Webster, and as Mongo in Blazing Saddles.

Footballer Mario Kempes, who turns 63, was the star of the 1978 World Cup.  He won the Golden Ball as the outstanding player, the Golden Boot as top scorer, and led Argentina to their first World Cup title.

English songwriter and producer Trevor Horn is 68 today (he was also a member of Yes and the Buggles).  He wrote or co-wrote hits like “Video Killed the Radio Star” and “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” and has produced for a wide variety of artists including Paul McCartney, Cher, Seal, Tina Turner, and LeAnn Rimes.  Joe Satriani, a rock guitarist who has fifteen Grammy nominations, almost all for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, is 61.  Dorothy Fields (1905-1974) was a Broadway and film lyricist and librettist who worked with composers like Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, and Cy Coleman.  She and Kern shared an Oscar for “The Way You Look Tonight” from the movie Swing Time.

Dame Iris Murdoch (1919-1999) was one of the leading English writers of the 20th century, known for award-winning novels like The Black Prince and The Sea, the Sea.  She also was respected for her writings on moral philosophy.  Walter D. Edmonds (1903-1998) was known for historical fiction such as the novel Drums Along the Mohawk, adapted into a feature film directed by John Ford, and the children’s novel The Matchlock Gun, a Newberry Medal winner.  Clement C. Moore (1779-1863) was a American professor of theology and literature who is the most commonly credited author of the poem “A Visit From Saint Nicholas,” aka “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”  Clive Cussler, who celebrates his 86th, is the author of a long list of successful adventure/thriller novels.  Many of them, such as the Dirk Pitt novels, feature a fictionalized version of the National Underwater and Marine Agency, the real-life non-profit Cussler founded.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, usually known simply as Rembrandt (1606-1669) was one of the greatest visual artists in history—the greatest without qualification of the Dutch Golden Age—a master of painting, drawing and printmaking.  Possibly the most famous of his many, many brilliant works is the oil painting usually known as The Night WatchErnie Barnes (1938-2009) played professional football for several years, but even then his artistic inclinations caused his teammates to nickname him “Big Rembrandt.”  When injuries ended his gridiron career, he took up painting full time and had a distinguished career.

A year ago, Linda Ronstadt was joined as a headliner by Forest Whitaker.

Forest Whitaker, who celebrates his 56th, recently played Saw Gerrera in Rogue One, will be seen with Travis Fimmel in Finding Steve McQueen, and will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Zuri in Black PantherScott Foley, who turns 45, remains a regular on Scandal as it approaches its seventh and final season.

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 July 15, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. So, our first repeat headliner. As a fan of the lovely Linda, I really wanted to do a lengthy write-up on her while she is still around. “When Will I Be Loved” isn’t quite her biggest hit, but when I think of Ronstadt, the sound of her belting out “I’ve been cheated/Been mistreated…” is what pops into my head first.

    Diane Kruger is one of the many “never quite became a big star” types we’ve come across. Inglorious Basterds aside, I find her European films to be more interesting than her Hollywood ones.

    Irene Jacob I know primarily from her work with Kieślowski; Three Colors: Red is a favorite of mine.

    I never got into Lost, but I do know Terry O’Quinn as Howard Hughes in The Rocketeer.

    Alex Karras was not really a great actor, but he did have that one great film role. “Mongo only pawn in game of life.”

    Last but certainly not least, likely future headliner Laura Benanti is another of those musical theater stars who keep showing up in these articles. As I noted, she’s a five-time Tony nominee, with her latest, and first for a lead part, being for She Loves Me, in which she starred opposite past headliner Zachary Levi.

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  2. Linda Ronstadt, I don’t know much about her musical career, so I know her best from her cameo on “The Simpsons”, when Barney becomes a big star with his snowplow business.
    Diane Kruger, I’ve really only seen one film she was in, “Inglorious bastards”. I thought she was good there.
    Irene Jacob, I think of her in that 1997 film with Jason Patric, “Incognito” (I thought it was alright), and I know she was in that 2001 Mike Binder (I found many people don’t care for him) directed film “Londinium”.
    Jan-Michael Vincent, this month that Charge! channel has aired the 1976 film “Vigilante Force” that stars him, along with Kris Kristofferson and Victoria Principal (looking in a way unlike I’ve ever seen her). I remember when Sports Illustrated did a write up for “Big Wednesday, and I forgot he was in “Buffalo ’66”. He appears to be a survivor.
    Terry O’Quinn, I thought he was chilling in “The Stepfather”; I guess most people know of him from “Lost”, but I never watched that show. I liked him in “Black Widow” as well, and it’s too bad that the film switched gears and we didn’t see his character after the midway point (I hope he really took that gun back to Sears though).
    Lolita Davidovich, spicy first name, and played a lot of spicy characters in films such as “Blaze”, “Raising Cain”, and “Intersection”. I really liked her character from “Boiling Point” too, although I thought the film was just okay.
    Bridgette Nielsen, I remember when she was hot (I mean in her career; honestly retrospectively or retroactively she’s never hot the spot for me). I think I like her best in “Cobra”.
    Jesse Ventura, yeah, calling his life colorful is a great way to put it. Other than what we all know about him, I kind of liked that TrueTV show he had awhile back “Conspiracy Theory” (it lacked Mel Gibson, but otherwise I thought it was at least interesting).
    Alex Karras, I first knew about him from “Webster”, and later caught up to films like “Victor/Victoria”. I think he should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, though that honor wouldn’t do him much good now.
    Rembrandt, I like some of his art that I’ve seen.
    Forest Whitaker, I think he’s been a fantastic performer for a long time, going back to when he played a football player made angry in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Later I thought he was great in Clint Eastwood’s “Bird”, and his character really set the table in “The Crying Game”.

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