July 28: Happy Birthday Sally Struthers and Randall Wallace



So, just one day after Norman Lear’s birthday comes that of one of the stars of his most famous series.

Today is Sally Struthers’ 70th birthday.  She left home at 18 to pursue an acting career and within a few years started getting TV and movie roles.  In 1970 she had stints on The Tim Conway Comedy Hour and The Smothers Brothers Summer Show, and appeared in a supporting part in Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces.  Just one year later came her breakthrough, when Norman Lear cast her as Gloria Bunker Stivic on All in the Family.  Struthers won the Emmy for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Comedy Series for both her first and final seasons on the show.

Struthers appeared in the 1972 heist film The Getaway, but in general was not a major movie actress.  She made a long list of TV guest appearances through the years, along with regular roles on Gloria (an All in the Family spinoff) and the syndicated version of 9 to 5, and a recurring part as Babette Dell on Gilmore Girls.  She has also had a substantial theater career—a little bit of Broadway, and a lot of regional theater and touring productions—and has done some periodic voice acting.

Writer and director Randall Wallace is turning 68.  After working at Opryland for a number of years, he began writing for television in the mid-1980s, for series like Starman, J. J. Starbuck, and Broken Badges.  He was nominated for a screenwriting Oscar in his debut writing for the big screen, Braveheart.  After that, he made his first film as a director, The Man in the Iron Mask, and was a Razzie nominee for his screenplay for Pearl Harbor.  he rebounded from that when he re-teamed with Braveheart star Mel Gibson to make a Vietnam War film adapted from the book We Were Soldiers Once…And Young.

After We Were Soldiers, which was very well received, Wallace has made only two further feature films, directing the sports movie/biopic Secretariat, and writing and directing the religious drama Heaven Is for Real.  He also wrote and directed the TV movie Point of Honor.

Tom Pelphrey, who is 35 today, won two Daytime Emmys on Guiding Light, and currently is seen on Netflix’s Iron Fist as Ward Meachum.  Dustin Milligan, who played Ethan Ward on 90210, is 32 today; he is now a regular on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective AgencyJohn David Washington, who is turning 33, had a very brief NFL career as a running back and now puts that experience to use on HBO’s BallersAlexandra Chando, best know for starring on ABC Family’s The Lying Game as a pair of identical twin sisters, is celebrating her 31st.  Spencer Boldman, who played Adam Davenport on Disney’s Lab Rats, is 25 today.

Linda Kelsey, who was a five time Emmy nominee for playing Billie Newman on Lou Grant, is turning 71 today.  She also starred on NBC’s Day by Day as Kate Harper for its two season run.

Our two sports birthdays today are the only two men to have ever played for an NBA champion, a Euroleague champion, and an Olympic gold medal winner in basketball.  Bill Bradley turns 74.  He was an almost legendary college basketball star at Princeton and was selected for the 1964 Olympic basketball team.  After graduating he attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and also played for Olimpia Milano as they won the European title in 1966, before returning to the US to play for the New York Knicks of the NBA.  Bradley started for the Knicks as they won NBA championships in 1970 and 1973.  He later went into politics, serving three terms in the US Senate.  Argentine basketball star Manu Ginóbili is turning 40.  He played in his home country and then in Italy, where he won the Euroleague title with Kinder Bologna in 2001.  He joined the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA in 2002 and has played on four NBA champions with the Spurs.  He has played for Argentina’s Olympic team four times and led them to the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics.

Joe E. Brown (1891-1973) was a comic actor who, after a vaudeville and Broadway career, moved into movies around the start of the sound era.  He was a popular star of the 1930s at Warner’s, played Captain Andy in the 1951 version of Show Boat, and got to bring Some Like it Hot to a memorable finish as Osgood Fielding III:

Singer and bandleader Rudy Vallée (1901-1986) was one of the first popular singers of the “crooner” style.  He also starred in a classic comedy, The Palm Beach Story, and later was the villainous Lord Marmaduke Ffogg on BatmanAndrew V. McLaglen (1920-2014), the son of actor Victor, made a number of sixties and seventies Westerns with John Wayne or James Stewart, such as McClintock! and Bandolero!, and later directed several films starring Roger Moore, including The Wild Geese and ffolkes (aka North Sea Hijack).  Alexis Arquette (1969-2016), a member of the prominent acting family, was one of the country’s most prominent trans celebrities, known for films such as Jumpin’ at the Boneyard and I Think I Do; Alexis passed last year from HIV-related myocarditis.

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) was a Jesuit priest and an innovative poet who did not become well known until after his death; one of his best known works is The Wreck of the DeutschlandBeatrix Potter (1866-1943) did significant work as a natural scientist, but is more likely to be known for her children’s books such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit.  Renee Zellweger played Potter in a 2006 biopic, Miss PotterNatalie Babbitt (1932-2016) was also a prominent author of children’s literature.  Her most famous book, Tuck Everlasting, has been adapted into two feature films and a Broadway musical.

One year ago, our headliners were Elizabeth Berkley and Lori Loughlin.

WTHH subject Elizabeth Berkley is either 43 or 45, depending on which source you believe about her year of birth.  Her last screen appearance was over a year ago in a guest role on New GirlLori Loughlin has returned to the role of Rebecca Donaldson-Katsopolis on Fuller House; she is turning 53.

Rapper Soulja Boy, who turns 27, has released a number of mixtapes and singles in the last year.  Cartoonist Jim Davis continues to write Garfield as he celebrates his 72nd birthday.  Voice actor Peter Cullen, who is 76, has returned to two of his most famous roles in the past year, Eeyore and Optimus Prime.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929-1994) was the subject of last year’s biopic Jackie, which starred Natalie Portman (who received a Best Actress nomination and a number of other acting honors) in the title role.

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 28, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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