August 7: Happy Birthday Michael Shannon and Rodney Crowell


Two-time Oscar nominee Michael Shannon turns 43 today.  He spent much of his youth in the Chicago area and has strong ties to the theater community in that area, as a founder of A Red Orchid Theatre and a regular with Steppenwolf.  He made his film debut in Groundhog Day, but it wasn’t until a decade later, in the early 2000s, that he began to get significant roles in films such as 8 Mile and Grand Theft Parsons.

In 2006 Shannon had a small but critical supporting role in World Trade Center and starred in Bug, adapted from a play written by his Steppenwolf colleague Tracy Letts.  Two years later, his major supporting role as John Givings, Jr., in Revolutionary Road brought him his first Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actor.

Shannon received his second Oscar nomination for last year’s Nocturnal Animals.  He has also received widespread critical acclaim for his roles in Take Shelter and 99 Homes, receiving a Golden Globe nomination for the latter.  He has had important roles in well-received indie films such as The Missing Person and Premium Rush, and ventured into the world of big-budget action films as General Zod in Man of Steel.  He was a regular on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, and has also maintained his stage career, receiving a Tony nomination for a 2016 revival of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, as Jamie Tyrone.  He stars as George Westinghouse in the upcoming film The Current War.

Country star and Grammy winner Rodney Crowell turns 67 today.  He played in garage rock bands as a teenager in Houston and in the early 1970s moved to Nashville.  His first break came a couple of years later.  Emmylou Harris recorded one of his songs on her debut album, and invited him to join the Hot Band, her backing ensemble.  In the next several years, Crowell had songs recorded by the likes of Jerry Reed and Waylon Jennings in addition to Harris.

Crowell began releasing his own records in the late seventies, but his commercial peak didn’t come until the late eighties with his Diamonds and Dirt album, which contained five #1 Country singles.  Crowell was married to Rosanne Cash at the time, and the first of those #1 hits was a duet with her.

Crowell won his first Grammy, for Best Country Song, for another single from the same album, “After All This Time.”  He won a second Grammy when he resumed his collaboration with Emmylou Harris a few years ago for the album Old Yellow Moon.

Actress and writer/producer Brit Marling is 35 today.  She is known for indie films like Sound of My Voice and Another Earth, and is the co-creator and star of the Netflix series The OAHarold Perrineau, who is turning 54, is known for his roles on Oz and Lost, and is now a regular on TNT’s Claws.  He has appeared in high-profile films like 28 Weeks Later and Zero Dark Thirty as well as indie movies like The Killing Jar and Sexy Evil GeniusEric Johnson, who is 38, starred on Syfy’s short-lived Flash Gordon and on Rookie Blue, and plays Jack Hyde in Fifty Shades Darker.

Novelist and journalist Jerry Pournelle turns 84.  He is known for military science fiction such as the Janissaries series, and for his collaborations with Larry Niven such as The Mote in God’s EyeBetsy Byars, the author of several dozen juvenile novels, is 89.  Her best known books include the Newberry-winning Summer of the Swans, The Pinballs, and The Night Swimmers.

Felice Bryant (1925-2003) and her husband Boudleaux were one of the most talented and productive songwriting teams of the fifties and sixties.  They wrote several of the Everly Brothers’ biggest hits, like “Bye Bye, Love,” and “Wake Up, Little Susie,” as well as the bluegrass standard “Rocky Top.”

Our sports birthdays begin with a pair of famous names in the marathon.  Abebe Bikila (1932-1973) became the first great name in Ethiopian distance running when he won the marathon at the 1960 Olympics (running barefoot), and then repeated his triumph four years later.  Alberto Salazar, who turns 59, never won at the Olympics, but is famous for winning the “Duel in the Sun” at the 1982 Boston Marathon.  Sidney Crosby, one of the leading stars of the NHL today, is 30; he has won the Hart Trophy as the MVP twice and led Pittsburgh to three Stanley Cups.  Football Hall of Famer Alan Page turns 72.  He starred at defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings for over a decade, finished his career with Chicago, and then served for over 20 years on the Supreme Court of Minnesota.  One of the few memorable moments at the controversial, and later tragic Munich Olympics of 1972 was the incredible victory of Dave Wottle in the men’s 800 meter run.  Wottle is 67 today.

We have quite a potpourri of historical birthdays today.  Nathanael Greene (1742-1786) was probably the most important military leader of the American Revolution other than George Washington; he commanded American forces in the South in the crucial campaigns of 1780-81.  A long list of counties and cities around the US are named for him.  Margaretha MacLeod, better known as Mata Hari (1876-1917) became famous as an exotic dancer in Paris in the early 1900s, and later infamous when she was charged by the French with being a German spy and executed (how much actual spying she did is still debated).  Louis Leakey (1903-1972) was one of the most famous anthropologists of the 20th century.  He and his wife Mary, through their excavations at Kenya’s Olduvai Gorge, contributed immensely to advancing scientific understanding of human evolution.  Ralph Bunche (1903 or 1904-1971) was an American political scientist and diplomat who became the first African-American winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and was a leader in the foundation and early years of the UN.

Finally, two people who are making current history.  Robert Mueller, who turns 73, served as the sixth director of the FBI from 2001-2013.  More recently, he was appointed as the special counsel to investigate Russian interference with the US election of 2016.  Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia and of the web hosting company Wikia, is turning 51 today.

Last year’s headliners on this date were Charlize Theron and David Duchovny.

Charlize Theron, who turns 42, played a master villain in The Fate of the Furious earlier this year, and can be seen in theaters currently as an Atomic Blonde.  She is also an executive producer of the upcoming Netflix series MindhunterDavid Duchovny, who is 57, has returned to the role of Denise Bryson in the Twin Peaks continuation.

Karen Olivo, who is 41 today, has been starring as Angelica Schuyler Church in the Chicago production of Hamilton; Olivo likes to alternate periods of teaching with her performing career and recently announced via Twitter that she is leaving the production (after close to a year) to do just that.  Abbie Cornish, who is celebrating her 35th, will star in the upcoming film 6 Days, based on the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege in London; she plays BBC journalist Kate Adie.

Tobin Bell, who is 75, is reportedly returning to the role of John Kramer in the upcoming Jigsaw.  Francesca Eastwood starred in M.F.A., which premiered at South by Southwest earlier this year; she is 24 today.  John Glover, who turns 73, starred in a Broadway revival of The Cherry Orchard last fall.  David Mann, seen earlier this year on Season 3 of Mann & Wife, is 51.

Mike Trout, who turns 26, won his second American League MVP award at the end of the 2016 season.  Earlier this year, he went on the disabled list for the first time with a thumb injury, but he continues to be ranked among the best players in baseball.


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 7, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Michael Shannon isn’t a big star but I think you’d have to say he’s one of the most respected actors of his generation. He’s done a lot of interesting work in the last 8-10 years, and he did the best he could in Man of Steel.

    Rodney Crowell I’m mostly aware of because of his past and present association with Emmylou Harris; I may want to check some of his music out.

    Yesterday we had the actress named the #1 Action Heroine of all time as a headliner; today we have Charlize Theron, who could make a claim to having the most “action girl” cred among actresses working right now.

    Karen Olivo is another of my favorite musical theater actresses; I like how she’s not consumed by her performing career and can regularly take sabbaticals to pursue her passion for teaching.

    Finally, with Felice Bryant we have half of another of those great songwriting teams that have created so many of our favorite tunes. So here’s a little musical bonus for today:


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