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July 23: Happy Birthday Alison Krauss and Ronny Cox

0723KraussCox

No singer and no female artist has ever won more Grammys than Alison Krauss, who is turning 46 today; among living artists, only Quincy Jones equals her total Grammy count of 27.  She began studying violin at five and was 13 when she won her first fiddling competition.  She was featured on an album made by her brother Viktor a year later, and her first official solo album, Too Late to Cry, came out in 1987, when she was sixteen.  That was followed by her first album with her longtime band, Union Station, Two Highways.  Her first Grammy came in 1991 for her album I’ve Got That Old Feeling.

Krauss normally alternates between albums where she is billed with Union Station and “solo” albums.  She has also done a wide variety of other collaborations.  She has performed for a long list of film soundtracks; most notably, she, and Dan Tyminski of Union Station, are all over the soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou?  She has had a seemingly improbable, but very productive (and Grammy-winning) collaboration with Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin.  Her latest studio album, Windy City, came out earlier this year.

Ronny Cox is celebrating his 79th birthday.  Many people may remember Cox for his villains in a pair of Paul Verhoeven’s films, Robocop and Total Recall, or his role as Andrew Bogomil in two Beverly Hills Cop films.  Star Trek fans will possibly recall him as Captain Edward Jellico on The Next Generation, while Stargate SG-1 followers might known him as Robert Kinsey.  One of his most famous roles was his big screen debut in 1972 as Drew Balinger in Deliverance.

While Cox still works in film and television, these days he is more focused on music.  He has recorded several country/folk albums and tours with some regularity.  He also wrote a book a few years ago, titled Dueling Banjos: The Deliverance of Drew, about his experiences making that movie.

Canadian filmmaker Shawn Levy turns 49 today.  He was a producer of the Best Picture nominee Arrival and is an executive producer of Netflix’s Stranger Things.  As a director he is primarily known for comedies such as the Night at the Museum trilogy, Big Fat Liar, and Date Night.

Actress and comedian Edie McClurg, who is 66, will be remembered by many as Grace, Ed Rooney’s secretary in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, who blithely informed Ed that Ferris “makes you look like an ass,” and that with his bad knee, Ed shouldn’t try to throw anybody.  Eriq La Salle, a three-time Emmy nominee as Dr. Peter Benton on ER, is turning 55 today.  Marlon Wayans, who is 45, has been involved in a number of Wayans Brothers projects as well as films like Requiem for a Dream and G.I. Joe: The Rise of CobraKathryn Hahn is turning 44.  She is a current Emmy nominee for Transparent, starred on Crossing Jordan for six seasons, and has had roles in recent films like Captain Fantastic and Bad MomsTom Mison, who is 35 today, is best known for starring as Ichabod Crane on Sleepy HollowLili Simmons, who starred in Bone Tomahawk and was a regular on Cinemax’s Banshee, is celebrating her 24th.

Martin Gore, a founding member of the band Depeche Mode and their primary songwriter, turns 56 today.  He is the writer of most of the band’s most famous hits, such as “People are People” and “Personal Jesus.”  Singer Michelle Williams (not to be confused with the Oscar-nominated actress), who is 37, was a member of Destiny’s Child during their most successful years.  She has had only mixed success as a solo recording artist, but has found a second career in musical theater.

Fans of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers have a pair of birthdays to celebrate today.  Harold “Pee Wee” Reese (1918-1999) was the Dodgers’ shortstop for almost all of the forties and fifties, minus his World War 2 service.  In addition to being an excellent player, who eventually made the Hall of Fame, he played an admirable role in supporting Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color line in 1947.  Pitcher Don Drysdale (1936-1993)  starred for three World Series winners and made nine All-Star Games on his way to the Hall of Fame.  He went on to a notable career as a sports broadcaster.  Basketball Hall of Famer Gary Payton turns 49.  He was a nine-time NBA All-Star during his years with the Seattle Supersonics and later helped the Miami Heat to the 2006 NBA title.

Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) was one of the greats of hardboiled fiction and the creator of one of the classic fictional detectives, Philip Marlowe.  He introduced Marlowe in the 1939 novel The Big Sleep (although he later rewrote some of his older stories to make Marlowe the protagonist).  He wrote six more complete Marlowe novels before his death, including Farewell, My Lovely and The Long Goodbye, as well as several short stories.  Chandler is considered one of the great fictional chroniclers of Los Angeles.

Emil Jannings (1884-1950) was the winner of the first Best Actor Oscar in 1929, given for his performances in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh.  He is also remembered for starring in The Last Laugh and The Blue AngelHank Worden (1901-1992) was known for being a regular supporting player for decades, most often in Westerns; he appeared in Red River and a dozen of John Ford’s films.  Cinematographer Bruce Surtees (1937-2012) was an Oscar nominee for Lenny and worked on most of Clint Eastwood’s films from the late sixties to the mid eighties.  Bert Convy (1933-1991) was best known for hosting game shows such as Tattletales and Super Password.  Before that he appeared several times on Broadway, where he originated the role of Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof.

Alan Brooke (1883-1963), or to give his full title, Field Marshal the Viscount Alanbrooke, was an English general during World War 2.  As Chief of the Imperial General Staff for much of the war, he was one of the top strategic planners on the Allied side.

Last year’s July 23 headliners were Daniel Radcliffe and Woody Harrelson.

Daniel Radcliffe is celebrating his 28th.  Since we last checked in on him he starred in Imperium, and he is scheduled to appear in the upcoming release JungleWoody Harrelson, who is 56, is currently in theaters as The Colonel in War for the Planet of the Apes, and will play Lyndon Johnson in LBJ, which is scheduled for an October release.  Paul Wesley, who is turning 35, has played Stefan Salvatore for the final time as The Vampire Diaries has ended its eighth and final season.  Saul “Slash” Hudson returned to Guns N’Roses last year for their Not In This Lifetime… tour; he is 52 today.  Charisma Carpenter has a number of projects in progress, including a movie titled The Griddle House which also lists Amber Benson and Clare Kramer in the cast.  Carpenter is 47 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.

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Posted on July 23, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. We have had some really big birthdays from the world of bluegrass music this month, but today we have the biggest. If there is a First Lady of bluegrass, her name is Alison Krauss. Here’s a little bonus content from Alison and Union Station (featuring Dan Tyminski, aka “George Clooney’s singing voice”).

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  2. Ronny Cox, like I said last year, I’ll take him as either a good guy (“Vision Quest”, “Beverly Hills Cops”) or a bad guy (“Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story”, “Total Recall”, a serial killer nicknamed The Tooth Fairy Killer in Season 6 of “Dexter”).
    Edie McClurg, yeah I loved her dialogue about about what the factions of students think of Ferris Bueller in that film (“…They all think he’s a righteous dude”), Steve Martin drops the F-bombs on her character in “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”, she was Mrs. Poole in “Valerie”, and my favorite, playing a swinger in “Eating Raoul”.
    Marlon Wayans, I think “Requiem for a Dream” is some dark stuff, but “Scary movie” isn’t very scary. I enjoyed 1992’s “Mo’ Money” as well.
    Kathryn Hahn, she’s always kind of reminded me of Ana Gasteyer, but I do remember her from “Crossing Jordan”, but I probably liked her best in 2011’s “Our Idiot Brother”.
    Harold “Pee Wee” Reese, didn’t he also put his arm around Jackie Robinson when around team was giving him static? I think that was an awesome gesture, if that’s how it went down.
    Raymond Chandler, I’ve never read his books, but I’ve seen quite a few of his works that were adapted to screen.
    Woody Harrelson, I’ve liked many of his performances, but I probably like “White Men Can’t Jump” the best, though I thought he made a fine Larry Flynt in “The People vs. Larry Flynt”.

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    • I first got acquainted with Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe through several of the film adaptations, but then went back and read some of the books as well. They’re worth checking out. Like Michael Connelly from Friday’s article, Chandler is one of the great fictional chroniclers of Los Angeles.

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  3. Dick Powell will always be the best Marlowe.

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