July 30: Happy Birthday Christopher Nolan and Richard Linklater


Our two headliners took part in a director’s roundtable discussion sponsored by the Hollywood Reporter a couple of years ago.  Nolan is standing at the left and Linklater at the right, with Morten Tyldum and Angelina Jolie between them, and Bennett Miller and Mike Leigh sitting/kneeling in front.

Christopher Nolan, who is 47 today, was born in England and studied film at University College London, where he was president of the Film Society.  He made a pair of short films during his college years, and a third, Doodlebug, not long after graduating.  He made his first feature on a budget of $6000 that he raised himself.  A tightly paced thriller titled Following, it received very positive reviews, enabling Nolan to then make his first widely-released feature, one which introduced many viewers to the concept of anterograde amnesia.  Memento was a financial and critical success, and brought Nolan an Oscar nomination for screenwriting.

Since Memento, Nolan has directed eight features.  His highest profile work, at least for mainstream audiences, is doubtless the Dark Knight Trilogy.  He has made two successful ventures into science fiction with Inception and Interstellar.  He also directed Insomnia, a remake of a Norwegian thriller, and the period piece/mystery The Prestige.  His latest feature, the World War 2 film Dunkirk, is in theaters right now.

Today is Richard Linklater’s 57th birthday.  Linklater dropped out of college and worked on an oil rig before going into filmmaking.  His early nineties films Slacker and Dazed and Confused were set in the Austin, TX area where he spent some of his youth.  However, with his third film he expanded his horizons a bit (okay, more than a bit), moving the setting to Vienna, and beginning a filmmaking partnership with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy that has continued for three films and close to two decades (so far).

Before Sunrise won the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, while Linklater, Hawke and Delpy shared Oscar nominations for screenwriting for both sequels, Before Sunset and Before Midnight.  Some of Linklater’s other films over the past two decades have had mixed receptions, such as SubUrbia or Fast Food Nation.  Others have been clear successes, such as School of Rock (his biggest commercial success by far) or the highly acclaimed Boyhood, for which Patricia Arquette won Best Supporting Actress.

William Atherton celebrates his 70th; for several years he was Hollywood’s go-to guy if they needed a villain who was a genuine jerk but not truly threatening—e.g., Jerry Hathaway in Real Genius, Walter Peck in GhostbustersJean Reno, a major star of French film, turns 69.  He made several films with Luc Besson, notably The Professional, and played Pierre Niemans in the two Crimson Rivers films.  He also ventured to Hollywood regularly, appearing in Mission: Impossible, the two Pink Panther films of the 2000s, and several more.  Ken Olin, who turns 63, starred on Thirtysomething as Michael Steadman, and more recently was an executive producer, and a frequent director, for Brothers & Sisters.

Martin Starr, who is a regular on HBO’s Silicon Valley, turns 35 today.  Gina Rodriguez, who celebrates her 33rd, is the Golden Globe winning star of The CW’s Jane the Virgin, and is known for films like Deepwater Horizon and Sleeping With the Fishes.  Also 33 today is Gabrielle Christian, best known for her starring role as Spencer Carlin on South of Nowhere.

For a short time, Peter Bogdanovich, who is 78 today, was one of the hottest directors in Hollywood, due to films like The Last Picture Show and What’s Up, Doc.  As this article relates, however, his time on top did not last, and his life was touched by one of Hollywood’s most famous tragedies.

Sid Krofft, who is 88 today, and his younger brother Marty were the creators of a long list of children’s programs.  They nearly owned Saturday morning programming in the early seventies with programs like H.R. Pufnstuf, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, Land of the Lost, and many more.

For over 20 years, Allan “Bud” Selig was a power in baseball.  Selig, who is 83, orchestrated a coup that ousted Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent, and then succeeded to the job himself, holding it until 2015.  Another highly important figure in baseball history was longtime New York Yankees manager Casey Stengel (1880-1975), who in 12 years managing the Yankees took them to the World Series ten times, winning seven of the ten.  Daley Thompson, who turns 59, became one of only three men to win two gold medals in the decathlon at the 1980 and 1984 Summer Olympics; he is one of the all-time greats in the event.  Footballer Jürgen Klinsmann, who is 53 today, was a star for the German national football team for over a decade and helped them win the 1990 World Cup.  More recently he was in the news for his stormy tenure as the US Men’s National Team coach.  Beach volleyball great Misty May-Treanor turns 40; she won three Olympic gold medals teaming with Kerri Walsh-Jennings, and won 112 tournaments in her career.

Our literary birthday today is the English novelist and poet Emily Brontë (1818-1848), remembered primarily for her brilliant novel Wuthering Heights, which has been adapted for film or television over a dozen times.  Our big music birthday is blues guitarist Buddy Guy, who is turning 81.  One of the giants of Chicago blues, he is also known for his influence on some of rock’s greatest guitarists, such as Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Keith Richards.

Last year on this date, we had our first double WTHH subject headline, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Hilary Swank (one of the stars of Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia).

Arnold Schwarzenegger turns 70 today.  He appeared earlier this year in Aftermath, and rumors about a possible The Expendables 4 float around.  Hilary Swank, who is 43, will appear in Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky, which has had some good preliminary reviews and goes into general release next month.  Lisa Kudrow had a supporting role in The Girl on the Train last fall and was seated at Table 19 earlier this year; she is 54 today.  Joey King may be acquiring a “scream queen” reputation as she turns 18, with roles in the recently released Wish Upon and the upcoming Slender ManTerry Crews continues to be a regular on Brooklyn Nine-Nine on his 49th.  Yvonne Strahovski, who celebrates her 35th, had a prominent role on the acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale and is scheduled to appear in next year’s The Predator.

Vivica Fox, who is 53, continues to get work in a variety of TV movies and low-budget features.  Simon Baker, who turns 48, will star in a film adaptation of Breath, by Australian novelist Tim Winton.  Jaime Pressly, who continues to star on CBS’s Mom as it returns this fall for a fifth season, is celebrating her 40th.  Laurence Fishburne, who turns 56, was seen as The Bowery King in John Wick 2 earlier this year, and will appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Bill Foster/Black Goliath in Ant-Man and the Wasp.

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 30, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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