July 22: Happy Birthday Albert Brooks and Danny Glover


Albert Brooks, who is turning 70 today, is a man of many talents and achievements.  He has been a successful comedian, who received a Grammy nomination for his 1975 album A Star is Bought.  He has written, directed, and starred in several critically successful films, such as Lost in America, Defending Your Life, and Mother.  He has also given critically praised acting performances in films like Broadcast News (for which he was Oscar-nominated) and Drive.

What many people will recognize Brooks for, though, is his work as a voice actor.  He has appeared (or rather, been heard) in several episodes of The Simpsons, and was the voice of Jacob the Tiger in Dr. Dolittle and The Businessman in The Little Prince.  These roles, however, take a back seat to his work in a pair of Pixar features, where he was the voice of Marlin, a clownfish in search of his son.

Danny Glover was born one year earlier than Albert Brooks.  He began his career working in San Francisco area theater in the 1970s.  He made his film debut in Escape from Alcatraz in 1979, and had his first high-profile role as Moses in 1984’s Places in the Heart.  He then had three big roles in 1985, as a highly bent cop in Witness, a heroic cowboy in Silverado, and as “Mister,” Celie’s husband, in The Color Purple.  Two years later he made his first appearance in his best-known role, and uttered his best-known line of dialogue for the first time.

In 30 years since Lethal Weapon’s release, Glover has never quite been a top-level leading man, but he has been a consistently recognizable name and face.  His extensive filmography includes, just to give a few examples, the Vietnam War film Bat*21, Grand Canyon, Angels in the Outfield, The Royal Tenenbaums, Saw, and Shooter.  He has also had a lot of television work and is a four-time Emmy nominee.

German actress Franka Potente turns 43.  She became well-known for her starring role in Run Lola Run in 1998 and played Marie Kreutz in the first two Bourne pictures.  Although she’s not seen in big-budget films any more she continues to work steadily.

A. J. Cook, who is turning 39, is best known for playing Jennifer “JJ” Jarreau on Criminal MindsClive Standen, who stars on History Channel’s Vikings as Rollo, is turning 36.  Madison Pettis, who turns 19, starred on the Canadian sitcom Life with Boys and the Disney Channel series Cory in the House.  Many will recognize Rhys Ifans, who is 50, for playing Xeno Lovegood in the Harry Potter films or Dr. Curt Conners/The Lizard in The Amazing Spider-ManJoanna Going, who stars on the Audience Network series Kingdom, is turning 54 today.

Terence Stamp, who is celebrating his 79th, has been working in film for over 50 years.  He was an Oscar nominee in his debut in the title role of Billy Budd, and won Best Actor at Cannes for The Collector.  Many will recognize him as General Zod from the first two Superman films, while he also voiced the spirit of Jor-El on SmallvilleLouise Fletcher, who is 83, won the Oscar for Best Actress as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and more recently was Emmy-nominated for guest appearances on Picket Fences and Joan of Arcadia.  Writer and director Paul Schrader is known for his screenplays for Martin Scorsese, particularly Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, and for writing and directing films like American Gigolo and Light of Day.  He is 71.

George Clinton, who is celebrating his 76th, is one of the pioneers of funk music.  The two-time Grammy nominee is known both for his solo career and as the leader of Parliament-Funkadelic.  Late sixties teen idol Bobby Sherman is 74 today.  He had several Top Ten hits like “Little Woman” and “Julie, Do Ya Love Me.”  He retired from the entertainment business in the seventies and became a paramedic.  Rick Davies, who is 73, is best known as the founder, keyboardist and sometimes lead vocalist of the progressive rock band Supertramp.  Emily Saliers, who is one half of the folk rock duo Indigo Girls (along with Amy Ray), is 54.  Eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken is 68 today.  His Oscars have come from his scores for many of the films that make up the Disney Renaissance, such as Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.  He has also won eleven Grammys, as well as a Tony for the score of Newsies.

English director James Whale (1889-1957) was known for directing early classics of horror such as Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and Bride of Frankenstein.  He also directed a well-received adaptation of the musical Show Boat in 1936.  Bryan Forbes (1926-2013) was another English-born director, best known for directing the original version of The Stepford Wives.  Comedian Dan Rowan (1922-1987) was an Emmy winner as one of the headliners of the sketch comedy series Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.

Stephen Vincent Benét (1898-1943) is remembered for his Pulitzer Prize winning epic poem John Brown’s Body, and for classic short stories such as “The Devil and Daniel Webster.”  Tom Robbins, who is 85 today, is known for his “seriocomedy” novels, such as Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.

Two prominent women born on this date both lived past their 100th birthdays.  Rose Kennedy (1890-1995) was the mother of three future US Senators, one of whom became President of the US, the other two of whom ran for President.  She was an active philanthropist, known in particular for her activism on mental health issues.  Licia Albanese (1909-2014) was one of the leading operatic sopranos of the 1940s and ’50s and a regular at the Met for over 25 years.  She was also an active philanthropist as the chair of the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation.

Mildred Loving (1939-2008) and her husband Richard were the plaintiffs in the US Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, in which the court invalidated laws against interracial marriage.  She was played by Ruth Negga in last year’s film about the case, Loving.

One year ago, Selena Gomez and Willem Dafoe were our headliners.

Selena Gomez is celebrating her 25th.  She had to cancel her Revival tour last August due to health issues.  She was an executive producer of the Netflix adaptation of Thirteen Reasons Why, which aired earlier this year.

Willem Dafoe, who turns 62, will appear in the upcoming films Death Note, Justice League, and Murder on the Orient ExpressAlex Trebek continues to host Jeopardy! as he celebrates his 77th.  John Leguizamo is 53; he starred in his one-man show Latin History for Morons, which ran at The Public Theater for two months earlier this year.  Don Henley is still doing periodic concerts as he turns 70.  And James Arnold Taylor, who is turning 48, continues to be a busy voice actor.

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 22, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I think I can recall seeing parts of Broadcast News on cable many years ago, but I don’t have much clear memory of it. My appreciation for Albert Brooks rests on his excellent work in Drive and also Out of Sight, plus that little bitty role as the voice of a clownfish.

    I first encountered Danny Glover in Silverado back during its original release, and not long after that I saw Witness. Later came Lethal Weapon; also, I can definitely recall seeing at least part of Bat*21 on cable back in the late 80s.

    Franka Potente had a terrific role in Run Lola Run and made the most of it, and I found her to be a likable, positive presence in the Bourne movies (up until that point where they, you know, killed her character off).

    I was only able to cover a few fragments of Terence Stamp’s career today; maybe next year I can write it up in more detail.


  2. Albert Brooks, I dig “Lost in America” and think “Broadcast News” is excellent. Our Health classes in High School watched “Defending Your Life”, but I wasn’t all that into it (seems okay though).
    Danny Glover, he should know there’s nothing thin about this birthday list, unlike what went down in the first “Lethal Weapon”. Yeah, his cop character definitely was bent in “Witness”, and I thought he was great in “Silverado”.
    Franka Pontente, I liked “Run Lola run” but haven’t viewed any of the Jason Bourne series.
    A.J. Cook, I first heard of her from “Final Destination 2” (though I never seen much of that film, only parts 1 & 3) but I have viewed quite a few episodes of “Criminal minds”.
    Terence Stamp, I find him to be rather colorful; beyond his Superman work, I liked him in 1984’s “The Hit”, 1987’s “The Sicilian” (I think that film is better than how its rated), and his role in “Young guns”, to me, is what the film is all about.
    Louise Fletcher, I thought the sign language deal she did for her parents after winning an Oscar was great, and I think she deserved it for her Nurse Ratched character. Heck, I kind of like “Flowers in the Attic” too (makes things smell nice).
    Paul Schrader, he’s had quite the full career (I think 1999’s “Bring Out the Dead” is a mostly forgotten good film). I see he’s still at it as both director and screenwriter.


  3. I always thought john Leguizamo was pretty great, and my favorite solo song done by Don Henley is “Dirty Laundry”. Happy days to S.E. Hinton too, as I read “The Outsiders” by choice, and I like some of the film adaptations of her work, such as “Rumble Fish”, “Tex”, and “That Was Then, This Is now”.


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