July 21: Happy Birthday Jon Lovitz and Robin Williams


Well look at this—I found a picture of today’s headliners together (with Janice Dickinson of America’s Next Top Model fame in between them).

Jon Lovitz is celebrating his 60th today.  He became a member of the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1985, remaining a regular through 1990 and returning on occasion thereafter.  He has starred on the TV comedies Foley Square and Mr. Box Office and was the voice of the lead character, Jay Sherman, on the ABC/Fox animated series The Critic.  He has also had a long list of TV guest roles.  He made his Broadway debut in the cast of Neil Simon’s The Dinner Party in 2001.  And, he has appeared in a variety of feature films, now and then in a lead role, as in High School High, but more commonly in a supporting part, as in A League of Their Own or 3000 Miles to Graceland.

But no matter what, many people will think of him as a pathological liar…

Robin Williams (1951-2014) studied at Juilliard before starting to work as a stand-up comic in San Francisco, where he was credited with leading a “comedy renaissance,” and then in Los Angeles.  A guest appearance on Happy Days led to his starring role on ABC’s Mork & Mindy.  Williams began to emerge as a major film actor in the eighties, starring in Popeye, The World According to Garp, and Moscow on the Hudson.  He received the first of his four Oscar nominations for starring as Vietnam war military deejay Adrian Cronauer.

Williams added two more Best Actor nominations, for Dead Poets Society and The Fisher King, before winning Best Supporting Actor for Good Will Hunting.  He also won Golden Globes for his voice acting in Aladdin and for Mrs. Doubtfire, and four Grammys in the Best Comedy Album category.  Late in his life Williams suffered from what was eventually determined to be Lewy body dementia, possibly a factor in his 2014 suicide.

Justin Bartha, who celebrates his 39th, is known for roles like Riley Poole in the National Treasure films and Doug Billings in the Hangover trilogy.  He also is a regular on the CBS All Access series The Good Fight.  English actress Jaime Murray is 41.  She starred on the BBC series Hustle for four seasons, played the season 2 antagonist Lila West on Dexter, and rejoined her Dexter costar Julie Benz on Syfy’s DefianceDavid Dastmalchian, who is 33 today, made his debut in The Dark Knight, appeared in a two-episode arc on Gotham, and played Kurt, one of Scott Lang’s old crew, in Ant-ManBetty Gilpin, a regular on Netflix’s GLOW who previously played Dr. Carrie Roman on Nurse Jackie, turns 31 today.  Vanessa Lengies, who is 32, starred on American Dreams as Roxanne Bojarski, and more recently has been a regular on series like Hawthorne and Second Chance.

Actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg is turning 46.  The daughter of past headliner Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, she has done most of her film work in French cinema, where she is a two-time Cesar Award winner.  Her 2006 album 5:55 was very successful in Western Europe.  Alysia Reiner, best known for playing Natalie “Fig” Figueroa on Orange is the New Black, is turning 47 today.  Lance Guest, who is 57, starred as Alex Rogan, the title character of The Last Starfighter, and more recently played Johnny Cash on Broadway, in the jukebox musical Million Dollar Quartet.

Norman Jewison, who turns 91 today, worked as a feature film director for over 40 years.  He was a three-time nominee for Best Director, for In the Heat of the Night, Fiddler on the Roof, and MoonstruckSir Jonathan Miller, who is 83, is an English stage director.  He was one of the creative forces behind the comedy revue Beyond the Fringe (along with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore) and is known for his innovative stagings of classic operas like Verdi’s Rigoletto.

Damian Marley, who is turning 39, has sort of gone into the family business, as he followed in his father Bob’s footsteps to become a prominent reggae musician.  Sara Carter (1898-1979) was a member of the pioneering country music group The Carter Family along with her husband A. P. and sister-in-law Maybelle.  Kay Starr (1922-2016) was a jazz and traditional pop singer who had several hits in the early 1950s, including “Wheel of Fortune” and “The Rock and Roll Waltz,” both of which reached #1.  Violinist Isaac Stern (1920-2001) was one of the leading classical musicians of his time, a six-time Grammy winner who recorded most of the standard classical/romantic repertoire.

Michael Connelly, who turns 61, went from a career as a newspaper reporter to becoming one of the leading crime novelists of the last 25 years.  One of the leading fictional chroniclers of Los Angeles, he is best known for his interconnected series featuring LAPD detective Harry Bosch (adapted into the Amazon series Bosch), the first of which was The Black Echo, and attorney Mickey Haller, beginning with The Lincoln Lawyer (adapted into a 2011 film).

Newspaper cartoonist Garry Trudeau is turning 69 today.  He is best known as the creator of the political strip Doonesbury, which other than a hiatus lasting for most of 1983-84, ran daily from 1970 through 2013.  New strips now run on Sundays only.

Edward Herrmann (1943-2014) was a two-time Tony nominee, winning for starring in Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession.  He played Franklin Roosevelt in two TV miniseries in the 1970s as well as the film adaptation of Annie, and also played Nelson Rockefeller in Nixon and William Randolph Hearst in The Cat’s Meow.

C. Aubrey Smith (1863-1948) came to American film after a lengthy career as a cricket player and a stage actor in England.  In Hollywood he carved out a career playing elder statesmen characters, often a bit crotchety, normally English, always with an industrial-strength stiff upper lip.  Examples include Colonel Zapt in The Prisoner of Zenda and General Burroughs in The Four Feathers.

For the second straight day we have a birthday for a regular in the English series Are You Being Served? and Grace & Favour; Mollie Sugden (1922-2009) appeared in both series as Mrs. Slocombe.  English director Karel Reisz (1926-2002) was best known for features like Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) was a pioneer in the field of media theory.  He was known for books like Understanding Media and The Medium is the Message, and made a famous cameo in Annie Hall.

On this date one year ago, Josh Hartnett and Ernest Hemingway were our headliners.

Josh Hartnett is 39.  He is in multiple movies this year, including The Ottoman Lieutenant, which came out in March, and James Franco’s latest directing effort, The Long Home.  He is of course a WTHH subjectJuno Temple, who will be in Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel, is 28 today.  Diane Guerrero, who turns 31, is continuing in her recurring roles on Orange is the New Black and Jane the VirginRory Culkin appears in the indie film Columbus, which premiered at Sundance and will be released in August; Culkin is also 28 today.

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 21, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Jon Lovitz is someone who I have been aware of for quite a while without really following his career closely. I was aware of the “pathological liar” meme, which was making the rounds when I was in grad school, but not an SNL fan so not aware of the source.

    Robin Williams is of course also a WTHH subject.

    Michael Connelly is one of my favorite crime fiction writers. I have read most of the Harry Bosch books and at least three of the Mickey Haller novels (these days the two series sometimes overlap, now that it’s been discovered that Bosch and Haller are half brothers). Connelly has fared pretty well so far in being adapted to screen. While Blood Work was a disappointment, The Lincoln Lawyer is very good, and Bosch has been well-received.

    I read Doonesbury regularly for several years when I was in grad school. A strip that’s run for over 40 years isn’t going to be consistently excellent, but it has had some awfully good moments through the years.

    To catch C. Aubrey Smith at his absolute C. Aubrey Smithiest, watch the 1937 version of The Prisoner of Zenda (which, if you haven’t seen it before, you should anyway).


  2. My comment from last year’s page was buns.
    That photo, I like it; very unexpected to me.
    Jon Lovitz, he he, yeah, I’ve enjoyed some of his stuff: sure, there’s the films mentioned (“A League of Their Own”, him in a crucial but bit part, fun times there, and I get a kick of “High School High” and even 2001’s “Good Advice”), but I loved his impression of broadcaster Marv Albert saying “Yes!” in that SNL skit. Yes!
    Robin Williams, he lives on in his work, and he tackled various characters and themes, so there’s really a lot to get absorbed in. I heard Williams was something of a gamer too.
    Jamie Murray, I know of her best from Season 2 of “Dexter”, playing the Lila West/Tourney (“So tell me, exactly how full of sh*t are you?”), who had a serious psychological issue that I think needs a better definition when it’s applied to real life.
    Betty Gilpin, I do recall her from “Nurse Jackie”.
    Lance guest I know of him best from the second Halloween film, “The Last Starfighter”, and unfortunately “Jaws: The Revenge”.
    Norman Jewison, like I’ve said before, Canada rules; I like quite a few of his films, but especially “…And Justice For All”.
    Garry Trudeau, when I read “Doonesbury” I was probably too young to understand it, but I thought it was pretty good nonetheless. I’ve also never met a “Garry” before, but I have met an “Erich”.
    Edward Herrmann, well, I first became aware of him due to “The lost boys” (love his line about not inviting vampires into your home), then later his Dodge commercials and narration (LOVE narration!!!) for many The History Channel shows. He he, I also kind of like 1993’s “My Boyfriend’s Back” (hey ya, hey ya…).
    Ernest Hemingway, seemed a like an interesting yet tortured artist; I like his short, choppy writing style.


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