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July 24: Happy Birthday Kristin Chenoweth and Rose Byrne

0724ChenowethByrne

I found a picture of our headliners together taken when Rose Bryne and Bobby Cannavale, who have been dating for several years, visited Kristin Chenoweth backstage when she was performing in a revival of On the Twentieth Century.

So, today is Kristin Chenoweth’s birthday.  The tiny soprano with the really big voice is turning 49.  She earned degrees in musical theater and opera performance at Oklahoma City University, and at one point was going to pursue an opera career, but she chose to go into musical theater instead.  She made her Broadway debut in the Kander & Ebb musical Steel Pier, and then won a Tony as Sally Brown in a 1999 revival of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

In 2003 Chenoweth was cast in what is probably her signature role, as Galinda/Glinda in Wicked.  She was nominated for the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical, losing to costar Idina Menzel.  She has subsequently starred in Broadway revivals of The Apple Tree, Promises, Promises, and as mentioned above, On the Twentieth Century (for which she received her third Tony nomination).  She has been in several City Center Encores! productions, and has made a number of concert tours.

Chenoweth has had some prominent supporting roles in film, including The Boy Next Door with Jennifer Lopez, but her big screen career has never really taken off.  She has had more success on television.  Although her 2001 series Kristin was a failure, she had a well-received run on The West Wing as Annabeth Schott, and then won an Emmy as Olive Snook on Pushing Daisies.  Subsequently she has received three more Emmy nominations, two as April Rhodes on Glee, the third for co-hosting the 69th Tony Awards with Alan Cumming.

Australian actress Rose Byrne is celebrating her 38th today.  She worked on several Australian television series in the 1990s and starred opposite Heath Ledger in the 1999 feature Two Hands.  Her first big roles in Hollywood came in 2004, when she appeared in Troy and Wicker Park.  She also had prominent roles in The Dead Girl, 28 Weeks Later, and Danny Boyle’s Sunshine.  In 2007 she was cast in a television role that made her a two-time Emmy and Golden Globe nominee, Ellen Parsons in Damages.

Some of Byrne’s notable film roles in the last few years have included being one of a group of Bridesmaids, playing Moira McTaggart in two X-Men films, Kelly Radner in the Neighbors movies, a high-maintenance crime lord wannabe in Spy, and Grace Farrell in the remake of Annie.  Earlier this year she starred as Rebecca Skloot in the HBO adaptation of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Laura Fraser is turning 41.  The Scottish actress stars in the British crime drama The Loch (it airs on Acorn TV in the US).  She is known for movies like A Knight’s Tale and Nina’s Heavenly Delights and has played the recurring role of Lydia Rodarte-Quayle on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

Chris Sarandon is far less well known than his Oscar-winning ex-wife, but he was an Oscar nominee himself for Dog Day Afternoon.  Many will remember him as Prince Humperdinck in The Princess Bride or the voice of Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas.  He is 75 today.

Ruth Buzzi, a five time Emmy nominee for her time on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, is turning 81.  Dan Hedaya, who is 76, played Cher’s father in Clueless, President Nixon in Dick, and the cuckolded husband in the Coen Brothers’ debut, Blood SimpleRobert Hays, who is celebrating his 70th, played Ted Striker in Airplane! and later voiced Tony Stark in some mid-90s animated Marvel adaptations.  Daveigh Chase, the voice actress for Lilo Pelekai in the Lilo & Stitch franchise, is turning 27.

Several directors share today as a birthday.  Patty Jenkins, the director of Wonder Woman, is 46.  She is also known for directing Charlize Theron’s Oscar-winning performance in MonsterGus Van Sant, who is 65, was a Best Director nominee for Good Will Hunting and Milk and is also known for Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private IdahoDoug Liman, who celebrates his 52nd, made his name with quirky indie films like Swingers and Go, and then moved on to big-budget projects like The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Edge of Tomorrow.

Rick Fox, who is 48 today, played for the LA Lakers as they won three straight NBA titles from 2000-2002.  He has also had an acting career both during and after his basketball days, appearing on series like Oz, One Tree Hill, Mr. Box Office, and Hit the Floor.

John D. MacDonald (1916-1986) was a prolific author of mystery and thriller novels.  He is best known for the 21 books featuring “salvage consultant” Travis McGee and (in most of the books) his economist friend Meyer, longtime denizens of the Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale.  He also wrote the novel The Executioners, which was adapted twice into film under the title Cape Fear.

Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870) is known for his novels such as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers, which have been adapted to film many times.  He is often referred to as “Dumas pere” to distinguish him from his son, another Alexandre.  Lord Dunsany (1878-1957) was the pen name used by Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron Dunsany, a pioneer in 20th century fantasy literature.  He is remembered for the novel The King of Elfland’s Daughter and for his short stories found in collections such as The Gods of Pegāna, The Book of Wonder, and The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories.

Peter Yates (1929-2011) first became well know for directing Bullitt in 1968.  His subsequent directing efforts included The Friends of Eddie Coyle, The Deep, Breaking Away, and The Dresser; he received Best Director nominations for the latter two films.  The Salish actor Chief Dan George (1899-1981) was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for the 1970 film Little Big Man and then played a variety of Native American characters, notably Lone Watie in The Outlaw Josie Wales, during the last decade of his life.  Harry Horner (1910-1994) worked as a film and television director, but his greatest accomplishments were as an art director; he won Oscars for The Heiress and The Hustler.

Simon Bolivar (1783-1830), known as El Libertador, was one of the leaders of the early 19th century Latin American Wars of Independence, by which the various territories under Spanish and Portuguese rule established themselves as independent countries.

A year ago, Jennifer Lopez and Lynda Carter were the headliners of the birthday article.

Jennifer Lopez, who turns 48, recently finished the second season of Shades of Blue, and is an executive producer and judge of World of Dance.  She will also star in a television production of the musical Bye Bye Birdie as Rosie Alvarez.  Lynda Carter, who plays the recurring character of President Olivia Marsdin on Supergirl, is 66.

Kadeem Hardison, who is 52, continues to appear on Disney Channel’s K. C. Undercover as Craig Cooper.  Emily Bett Rickards is still starring on Arrow as Felicity Smoak; she is 26 today.  Laura Leighton, who like the rest of the cast of Pretty Little Liars just finished her final season, is 49 today.  Summer Glau, who turns 36, may someday get a role on a TV series that doesn’t get canceled or in a movie that people actually go see; meanwhile she is a mom to daughter Milena.

Elisabeth Moss, who is celebrating her 35th, is currently an Emmy nominee for her starring role on Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale; this is her eighth nomination.  She will also return to another of her Emmy-nominated roles as Robin Griffin in the second season of Top of the Lake (the first aired in 2013).  Anna Paquin, who was born the same day as Moss, passed on the role of Robin Griffin due to her pregnancy at the time.  Paquin will star in the upcoming miniseries Alias Grace, adapted by Sarah Polley from Margaret Atwood’s novel.

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 24, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Happy Birthday to Cheno! She’s been a favorite of mine for years, for that fabulous voice and her terrific knack for comedy. They can’t seem to figure out how to use her in film, but she is one of the biggest names on Broadway (pardon the pun) and has had some nice TV gigs.

    Rose Byrne is another favorite. I still like to go back and watch Two Hands from time to time, she was very good in the ensemble cast of The Dead Girl, and was an absolute riot in Spy.

    John D. MacDonald was a terrific writer, and the Travis McGee books are some of the most enjoyable mystery/suspense fiction I’ve come across.

    Jennifer Lopez has some interesting projects going these days. Summer Glau doesn’t but she gets a free pass into the article as a perma-crush of mine.

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    • My first exposure to Chenoweth was on Pushing Daisies. She recently appeared on American Gods which is another show produced by Bryan Fuller. My kids know Chenoweth from an appearance she made on the Muppets sitcom in which she had a rivalry with Miss Piggy.

      I had seen Rose Byrne in things prior to 2011, but it wasn’t until X-Men/Bridesmaids that I put a name to the face. I always enjoy her performances and I agree that she was very funny in Spy.

      What is Summer Glau up to? Has Joss Whedon lost her number? Obviously she was in Firefly, but she also had a recurring role on Dollhouse. And that Terminator show was better than the last few movies. Last time I saw her was on Arrow. Apparently she became a mom in 2015 and isn’t working much these days.

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      • Summer Glau had a guest role on Castle back in March of 2016, and before that a couple of appearances on Alan Tudyk’s web series, Con Man. Since then, nothing that I can find. Too bad.

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  2. Kristin Chenoweth, I’ve seen her in various guest spots on TV shows and films such as “RV”. She really is very tiny.
    Chris Sarandon, I thought he was good in “Fright Night” and “Dog Day Afternoon”, and I remember he guest starred on “Sisters” too.
    Dan Hedaya, I love his work, especially in films such as “Blood Simple”, 1985’s “Running Scared”, “Clueless”, “To Die for”, and “Dick”.
    Robert Hays, I thought he was great in the two “Airplane!” films, and I’ve seen him here and there in other projects over the years.
    Patty Jenkins, I think “Monster” is pretty greta, and I’m happy on how the whole Wonder Woman deal has turned out.
    Gus Van Sant, he’s a little older than I thought he was, but I like many of his films (“My Own private Idaho”, “To Die for”, “Milk”, “Elephant”, Drugstore Cowboy”, “Good Will hunting”).
    Peter Yates, I like a lot of his films too; “Bullitt”, “The Friends of Eddie Coyle”, “Breaking Away”, “Eyewitness”, “Suspect”, “The house on Carroll Street”, and even “An Innocent Man” (F. MURRAY ABRAHAM!).

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  3. Just wanted to add—how appropriate that Patty Jenkins and Lynda Carter share a birthday!

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