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July 20: Happy Birthday Judy Greer and Natalie Wood

0720GreerWood

It’s Judy Greer’s 42nd birthday today.  Greer studied theater at DePaul University and began working in film and television soon after her graduation.  In 1999 she had her first two noticeable roles, a memorable cameo in Three Kings (a sex scene with George Clooney) and a major supporting role in the high school black comedy Jawbreaker.  In 2003 she began appearing in one of her best known roles, as Kitty Sanchez on Arrested Development.

During her nearly 20-year career Greer has never become a major star but she has become a regular, recognizable presence on both the big and small screens.  She is known for showing up in supporting roles in romantic comedies, such as The Wedding Planner or 27 Dresses.  Recently she played gym teacher Miss Desjardin in the Carrie remake, Scott Lang’s ex-wife in Ant-Man, and Cornelia in the two latest Planet of the Apes films.  She has received nominations for several voice acting awards for her work on Archer, and starred on the FX comedy Married for its two-season run.

Natalie Wood (1938-1981) began acting as a child.  She had a major role in the 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street, and then hit her teens at the perfect time to star in the definitive teen film of its time, Rebel Without a Cause, and receive her first Oscar nomination.  In the late 1950s she played the older Debbie Edwards in John Ford’s The Searchers (she was the object of the searching), and was the title character in Marjorie Morningstar.  She reached her peak as a star in the early 1960s.  She starred in two major musicals, as Maria in West Side Story and Louise in Gypsy.  And she received Best Actress nominations for her starring roles in Splendor in the Grass and Love with the Proper Stranger.

Wood continued as a major star for a few years, receiving Golden Globe nominations for 1965’s Inside Daisy Clover and for This Property is Condemned a year later.  But at that point, in 1966, Wood deliberately slowed her career down considerably, making only five feature films (not counting a couple of cameos) for the rest of her life.  This was in part because she was getting therapy and partly to focus on her children.  Her death in 1981, of drowning, but in circumstances that have never been fully explained, has become the subject of enormous speculation over the last 35 years.

Josh Holloway, who is 48, has been in films like Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, but is better known as a television star.  He played James “Sawyer” Ford on Lost and headlined CBS’s Intelligence, and currently stars on USA Network’s Colony as Will Bowman.  Dean Winters, who is 53 today, has been a regular on Oz and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and is also known as “Mr. Mayhem” from a series of Allstate Insurance ads.  Frank Whaley, who is turning 54, starred in nineties films like Career Opportunities and Swimming With Sharks, and has written and directed indie films like New York City Serenade and Like Sunday, Like Rain.

Actor and screenwriter John Francis Daley celebrates his 32nd.  He starred on seasons 3-10 of Bones as Lance Sweets, and has collaborated with Jonathan Goldstein on several screenplays, including the Horrible Bosses films, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, and Spider-Man: HomecomingCharlie Korsmo, a prominent child actor of the 1990s in films like Dick Tracy and Hook, turns 39.  He attended MIT and then Yale Law School and is now a law professor.  Joey Bragg, best known for playing Joey Rooney on Liv and Maddie, is turning 21.

Sally Ann Howes is celebrating her 87th today.  Her best known film role was as Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  She has also had a major career in musical theater, highlighted with a Tony nomination for playing Fiona McLaren in a revival of Brigadoon.

Heinie Manush (1901-1971) made baseball’s Hall of Fame after a 17-year career highlighted by a batting title in 1926 and a .330 lifetime batting average.  Tony Oliva, who is turning 79, began his career like a Hall of Famer, making the All-Star team in his first eight seasons, but a series of knee injuries brought his career to an end.  Ray Allen, who is 42 today, made ten All-Star teams in an 18-year NBA career and won a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics to go with playing for 2 NBA champions.  He also was featured in the films He Got Game and Harvard Man.

Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti is turning 30 today.  She has been performing since her early teens, and was the most recent, and youngest ever winner of the Queen’s Medal for Music.

English actress Wendy Richard (1943-2009) was best know for a pair of television roles.  She played Shirley Brahms on Are You Being Served? and returned to the role in the spinoff series Grace & Favour.  She also appeared as Pauline Fowler on the British soap EastEnders for over 20 years. Verna Felton (1890-1966) had an extensive radio and television career, especially on The Jack Benny Program, but is most likely to be remembered as a voice actor; she was involved in several Disney features, including voicing the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, and was the voice of Mrs. Slaghoople, Wilma’s mother, on The Flintstones.

Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008) was, along with Tenzing Norgay of Nepal, one of the first two men to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953.  Elliot Richardson (1920-1999) served in four different Cabinet positions in the Nixon and Ford Administrations, but the one people remember him holding is Attorney General, because of his being fired from that office in the Saturday Night Massacre in 1973.  The scientist and Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) was famous for his experiments with peas that enabled him to work out the basic rules of heredity that are the foundation of modern genetics.  Francesco Petrarca, usually known as Petrarch (1304-1374), was a poet who was one of the leading literary figures of the Italian Renaissance, known in particular for developing the sonnet as a literary form.  Finally, today is accepted by many historians as the birth date of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE), who in a little over a decade of military conquest established an empire that stretched from shores of the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River.  And then died.  Richard Burton and Colin Farrell are among the actors who have played him on screen.

On this date in 2016 we featured Diana Rigg and Carlos Santana as headliners.

Dame Diana Rigg, who is 79, will be returning as Olenna Tyrell in season 7 of Game of Thrones and appearing in the upcoming Breathe, directed by Andy Serkis.  Julianne Hough, whose recent activities including playing Sandy in a television version of the musical Grease and hosting the Miss USA pageant (not to mention getting married), is turning 29.  Sandra Oh, who is 46 today, appeared on the third season of American Crime, and starred in the indie movie Catfight with Anne Heche.  Omar Epps is turning 44; he is a regular on the USA Network series Shooter, which just returned for its second season premiere.

Singer-songwriter Chris Cornell (1964-2017) was found dead in his Detroit hotel room in May of this year.  His death was ruled a suicide.

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

  1. Judy Greer is definitely the best part of Archer. Cheryl is hilarious!

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  2. Love Judy Greer.

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  3. Like I said last year, I think Judy Greer is always a welcome sight.
    Something also welcome would’ve been Natalie Wood living longer, but at least there’s always “West Side Story” and “Rebel Without a Cause”.
    Frank Whaley, yeah, I like “Swimming With Sharks”, and that 1999 film he wrote and directed, “Joe the King”, I think is good but also pretty tough to watch.
    Ray Allen, great shooter (really saved the Miami Heat in game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals) and I thought he was good in “He Got Game”.
    Alexander the Great, I heard he was pretty good.
    Chris Cornell, that news about his suicide kind of came out of nowhere; my guess is that he did one last show to go out with the roar of the crowd, and he knew what he was going to do next. My favorite Soundgarden song is (I’m not trying to be funny here either) “The Day I Tried To Live”.

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  4. Judy Greer is in one of my favorite movies, What Planet Are You From? She had a small supporting role.
    Natalie Wood is on the cover of Globe this week. The headline is scandalous.

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  5. It seems like a lot of us like seeing Judy Greer show up on screen. So do I. 🙂

    There’s a lot of sadness in Natalie Wood’s story, but for a little over a decade, as she was maturing from a teen to a young woman, she did some absolutely marvelous work.

    When we read about the tribulations that some child stars have faced as they grow up, it’s nice to also know about someone like Charlie Korsmo, who went on to a very successful adult career.

    When I was around 10 or 11, my parents took us to see a production of The King and I at the LA Music Center, which starred Sally Ann Howes as Anna and Ricardo Montalban as the King. I am pretty sure that was my first time seeing any kind of professional theatrical production.

    I was also around 10 when the Saturday Night Massacre took place. I had no idea exactly what it involved, but I was old enough to have a vague grasp of the events that were going on and that would eventually lead to President Nixon’s resignation.

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