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August 6: Happy Birthday Michelle Yeoh and Robert Mitchum

0806YeohMitchum

Today is the 55th birthday of the actress ranked #1 when Rotten Tomatoes rated the 25 Best Action Heroines of all time a few years back.  Michelle Yeoh was born in Malaysia to Overseas Chinese parents and was crowned Miss Malaysia in 1983.  She starred in several mid-1980s Hong Kong action films; she was a police inspector in Yes, Madam, and an Indiana Jones-style adventurer (complete with bullwhip) in Magnificent Warriors.  She retired from film for a few years to marry entrepreneur Dickson Poon, but when they divorced, she returned to acting, starring in the cult classic The Heroic Trio and opposite Jackie Chan in the third Police Story film, Supercop.

Well known in Asia for years, Yeoh became famous worldwide when she joined the ranks of Bond Girls as Wai Lin in Tomorrow Never Dies.  She then starred in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as Yu Shu Lien, and was nominated for a number of acting honors including a BAFTA Award.  More recently, she has branched out from action to more dramatic roles in films like Memoirs of a Geisha and Danny Boyle’s Sunshine.  She has become involved in two major franchises in the past year, appearing as Aleta Orgord in a mid-credits scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and being cast as Philippa Georgiou on Star Trek: Discovery.

Robert Mitchum (1917-1997) had a rather rocky youth, being expelled from at least one high school, “riding the rails” as a hobo for a while in the early 1930s, and even spending a bit of time on a chain gang.  In the early 1940s he worked in a community theater group in Long Beach, CA, and as a machinist at Lockheed Aircraft.  He began acting by playing villains in a few B-Westerns, and had a supporting part in Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.  His break came with a major role in the 1945 war film The Story of G.I. Joe, which brought him an Oscar nomination.

Two years later, Mitchum starred in one of the roles that defined his career, as Jeff Baily in the film that may be the quintessential film noir, Out of the Past.

In addition to being one of the classic film noir protagonists, Mitchum got the chance, later in his career, to portray two of America’s heroes of World War 2.  In the huge ensemble cast of The Longest Day, Mitchum was one of the few people who stood out, in the role of Brig. Gen. Norman Cota.  Several years later, in Midway, he had a small part but still made an impression as Admiral William Halsey.  He continued to work in film and television until he was well into his seventies.

Romola Garai is celebrating her 35th birthday.  She is best known for her work on British televsion, which has brought her nominations for two Golden Globes, for the miniseries Emma (in the title role) and The Hour, and for a BAFTA Television Award, for The Crimson Petal and the White.  Her film work includes a number of literary adaptations—Nicholas Nickleby, Vanity Fair, Atonement, etc.

Stepfanie Kramer, well known to 1980s television audiences as DeeDee McCall on Hunter, is turning 61 today.  Olivier Megaton, who is 52, wrote and directed the French crime thriller The Red Siren, and often directs Luc Besson’s productions, such as Colombiana and Taken 2 and 3.  English writer Iain Morris, who is 44, is best known as for co-creating The Inbetweeners with Damon Beesley.  Character actor Jason O’Mara is turning 45.  He might be recognized for playing George Washington on Sons of Liberty, Jeffrey Mace on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., or as the voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman in a number of animated direct-to-video productions.  Kacey Rohl, who played Kerry Campbell on Season 2 of Wayward Pines and has had recurring roles on Hannibal and The Magicians, is turning 26.

Basketball Hall of Famer David Robinson turns 52.  He starred for the US Naval Academy, did two years of naval service, and then made ten NBA All-Star teams and led the San Antonio Spurs to two NBA titles.  Henry Iba (1904-1993) won two NCAA men’s basketball titles as a coach at Oklahoma State, but is more likely to be known as the coach for three US Olympic basketball squads; his teams won gold medals in 1964 and 1968, but lost a highly controversial gold medal game to the USSR in 1972.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) was one of England’s greatest poets, possibly the most popular and quotable of the poets of the Victorian age.  He composed epic works like Idylls of the King and In Memoriam A.H.H., but also was known for shorter poems like “Ulysses,” “Crossing the Bar,” and “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”  Piers Anthony, one of the most prolific authors of fantasy and science fiction of the last fifty years, turns 83.  His biggest project has been the Xanth series of fantasy novels, which is now over 40 books long; he is also known for the Incarnations of Immortality and Apprentice: Adept series.

Hoot Gibson (1892-1962) was a rodeo champion as a young man, and his riding and other talents let him become a major star of Westerns beginning in the 1920s, and continuing (mostly in B-westerns) until the early 1940s, when he was displaced by singing cowboys like Roy Rogers.  Leo Carrillo (1880-1961) was also known to fans of Westerns, playing Pancho, the sidekick to The Cisco Kid, in several features and then a TV series that ran from 1950-56.  He also served on California’s Beach and Parks Commission for nearly 20 years and has a state beach in California named for him.

Ella Raines (1920-1988) had a short run as a prominent leading lady in the 1940s, starring with John Wayne in Tall in the Saddle and in the film noirs Phantom Lady and Brute ForceSelma Diamond (1920-1985) was a writer for Sid Caesar’s shows in the 1950s.  She had a small role in the film My Favorite Year, about a fictionalized counterpart to Caesar’s show, and starred on the first two seasons of Night Court as Selma Hacker.

Frank Finlay (1926-2016) was an Oscar nominee for playing Iago in Olivier’s 1965 adaptation of Othello.  He was Porthos in Richard Lester’s two-film adaptation of The Three Musketeers, and Inspector Lestrade in two Sherlock Holmes films, A Study in Terror and Murder by DeathPaul Bartel (1938-2000) would most likely be recognized for his involvement in a number of cult movies from the seventies and eighties, either as a director of films like Death Race 2000 and Eating Raoul, or as an actor (Hollywood Boulevard, Amazon Women on the Moon, etc.).

Sir William Slim (1891-1970, later the 1st Viscount Slim) was a leading British general of World War 2, known for his very successful command of the “forgotten” 14th Army in the India-Burma theater; after the war he was made Governor-General of Australia in the fifties.  Another top military commander of World War 2 was American air force General George Kenney (1889-1977), one of the top Allied air commanders in the Pacific theater and a leading tactical innovator.  Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847) was probably the leading Irish nationalist leader of the early 19th century, known for being a leader in the struggle for Catholic emancipation.  Irish music and literature are rich with allusions and references to Daniel O’Connell.  Finally, our Benefactor to Humanity birthday today is Sir Alexander Fleming (1881-1955), the Scottish biologist who was a key figure in the discovery and development of penicillin, an achievement for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

One year ago on August 6, we had M. Night Shyamalan and Vera Farmiga as headliners.

M. Night Shyamalan, who turns 47, had a setback when a revival of Tales from the Crypt which he was to produce for TNT was canceled due to legal issues; however, there is now talk of the series returning to HBO.  He is also preparing a sequel to Split, to be titled GlassVera Farmiga, who is 44 today, starred in Burn Your Maps, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, has several film projects in varying stages of the development pipeline, and starred in the fifth and final season of Bates Motel earlier this year.

Monique Ganderton, who is 37, continues to be a go-to stunt performer for tall, Caucasian actresses; she doubled Charlize Theron twice this year, in The Fate of the Furious and Atomic BlondeGeri Halliwell, who is 45, continues to work on a fourth studio album and participated in the 20th anniversary of the Spice Girls last year.

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 August 6, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Robert Mitchum is a wonderful actor. My favorite movies of his are “Out of the Past”, “Cape Fear”, and “Crossfire”. He’s one of the few actors I can also watch read a book or go grocery shopping and never get tired of him. 😉

    Happy 100th Birthday, Bob! Enjoy this wonderful birthday!

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  2. I like a lot of Michelle Yeoh’s Hong Kong films (it’s a bit weird to see her credited as Michelle “Khan” in a few of them), and Crouching Tiger is terrific, but I first encountered her, and still think of her mostly, as the most kickass Bond Girl of all time (and there’s no one else even close).

    Robert Mitchum is one of my favorite Golden Age leading men; my list of favorite Mitchum performances is very long, but Out of the Past, Night of the Hunter, and Farewell, My Lovely would all rank near the top. I sometimes wish that he had been able to make a really good film with Jane Russell. The two were close friends in real life and had very good onscreen chemistry, but their films together—His Kind of Woman, Macao—were in the good-but-flawed category.

    Like

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