August 3: Happy Birthday Martin Sheen and Max Landis


Today’s birthdays include a few people who are fathers of sons who are notable in their own right, others who are sons or daughters of famous parents, one person who is a little bit of both, and a father-son birthday duo.  For headliners I’ve gone with one father and one son.

Martin Sheen (given name Ramón Estévez) is turning 77 today.  He began acting during the 1960s, combining TV guest roles with working on Broadway.  One of his theater roles was in Frank Gilroy’s The Subject Was Roses; when the play was adapted to film in 1968, Sheen reprised his stage role and was a Golden Globe nominee.  During the 1970s, Sheen was a two-time Emmy nominee for starring in TV movies, and also had at least two memorable film roles, as Kit Carruthers in Badlands and as Capt. Willard in Apocalypse Now.

Sheen has always worked very consistently and, although he’s never been an A-lister, he has remained a familiar face for film and TV audiences for close to fifty years now.  His film work has included a major role in That Championship Season, Robert E. Lee in Gettysburg, Captain Queenan in The Departed, Uncle Ben v. 2.0 in The Amazing Spider-Man, and Judge Frank Johnson in Selma.  His most famous television role was as President Josiah Bartlett on The West Wing, but he also won an Emmy as a guest star on Murphy Brown and currently is a regular on Grace and Frankie.  He has four children who have worked in the entertainment industry, including a son who is a WTHH subject and a second who might well be one someday.

Filmmaker Max Landis, who is 32 today, began his career with a few cameos in films directed by his father John.  His first script sale came for an episode of Masters of Horror which was also directed by his father.  In the past five years, he has written the screenplays for films such as Chronicle, American Ultra, Victor Frankenstein, and David Ayer’s upcoming film Bright.  He made his feature directing debut with Me Him Her in 2015 (he also has a pair of shorts to his credit), and is reported to be directing a remake of his father’s film An American Werewolf in London.  Currently he is an executive producer for Syfy’s Channel Zero, and is the creator and showrunner of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

John C. McGinley, who is 58 today, was a regular in Oliver Stone’s films for a while, but is most likely known for his role as Dr. Perry Cox on Scrubs.  He currently stars as the title character of IFC’s Stan Against EvilStephen Graham, who celebrates his 44th, is known for playing “Combo” Gascoigne in the This Is England films, and gangsters Baby Face Nelson in Public Enemies and Al Capone on Boardwalk EmpireMamie Gummer, the daughter of Meryl Streep, turns 34.  She is known for her TV roles on Emily Owens, M.D. and The Good Wife and was a Drama Desk Award nominee for starring in Lindsey Ferrentino’s Ugly Lies the BoneBrigid Brannagh, who is 45, is best known for starring as Pamela Moran on Army Wives; Angel fans may recall her as the recurring character Virginia Bryce.  Steven Berkoff, who is 80 today, may be recalled for a number of villains he played in 1980s films—as the half-crazed General Orlov in Octopussy, or as Victor Maitland in Beverly Hills Cop, for instance.

Ryan Lochte may have spent much of his swimming career in the giant shadow of Michael Phelps, but the 12-time Olympic medalist, who turns 33, is one of the sport’s all time greats.  He tarnished his reputation, however, with false allegations of being robbed by men with badges during the 2016 Games in Rio.

Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) was one of the most famous English “war poets” during the First World War, remembered for his collection 1914 & Other Poems, which was published in May, 1915.  Publication was posthumous; Brooke had already died—not in battle but of an infected mosquito bite.  Ernie Pyle (1900-1945) was one of the best known war correspondents covering World War 2, a Pulitzer Price winner for his “everyman” journalism.  He will killed by enemy fire in the Okinawa campaign.  Clifford Simak (1904-1988) was an American science fiction author.  He won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards for his short story “Grotto of the Dancing Dear,” and won two additional Hugos in his career.  John S. D. Eisenhower (1922-2013) was the son of General and President Dwight Eisenhower; those who were around in the Nixon years may know that his son David married Nixon’s daughter Julie.  Anyone with a serious interest in military history has doubtless encountered John Eisenhower’s many books on the subject, such as So Far From God (about the Mexican War) or The Bitter Woods (about the Battle of the Bulge in World War 2).

Country and bluegrass musician Randy Scruggs, who turns 64 today, is the son of banjo legend Earl Scruggs.  Successful in his own right, Randy Scruggs is a four-time Grammy winner in the Best Country Instrumental category.

John T. Scopes (1900-1970) had a moment in history when he was the subject of the 1925 Scopes Trial.

On this day one year ago, our headliners were Tony Bennett and Martha Stewart.

Tony Bennett is 91.  Late last summer, the man whose signature song was “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” was honored with the unveiling of a statue of him in front of San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel.  Last fall, Martha Stewart, who is 76, began co-hosting Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party on VH1.

Earlier this year, Tom Brady, who is 40, took the New England Patriots to Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons.  Although the Pats fell behind 28-3, Brady rallied them to tie the game and then win the first overtime game in Super Bowl history.

John Landis, who turns 67, is the father of Max; he has not been active since appearing in his son’s short Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling in 2015.  Mathieu Kassovitz, currently appearing in Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, turns 50 today.  James Hetfield and Metallica released their latest album, Hardwired… to Self Destruct, last fall; Hetfield is 54.  Landry Bender’s Disney Channel series, Best Friends Whenever, was canceled earlier this year; however, Bender celebrates her 17th with a new movie, A World Away, in post-production.  Evangeline Lilly, who is 38, will star in the upcoming horror comedy Little Evil and returns to the role of Hope Van Dyne/Wasp in Ant-Man and the Wasp and at least one Avengers film.  Michael Ealy, who is turning 44, has joined the cast of BET’s Being Mary JaneIsaiah Washington continues to appear as Chancellor Jaha on The 100, and turns 54 today.

And since we’ve had a little recent coverage related to Tarzan films, it’s worth revisiting that today was the birth date of Gordon Scott (1926-2007), who played Tarzan in six feature films from 1955-1960.  Two of Scott’s films, Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure and Tarzan the Magnificent, are ranked by many fans of the films as among the best ever, equal to the best of Weissmuller’s.

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 August 3, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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