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August 14: Happy Birthday Marcia Gay Harden and Danielle Steele

0814HardenSteel

Oscar and Tony winning actress Marcia Gay Harden is turning 58 today.  While attending the University of Texas, she appeared in a short film directed by Edward Dmytryk, who was teaching a class there.  After she graduated from Texas she earned an MFA at NYU and began making television guest appearances.  Her first big film role was as Verna Bernbaum in Miller’s Crossing in 1990; three years later, she made her Broadway debut in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, and received a Tony nomination.

Harden won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress as Lee Krasner in the 2000 film Pollock, and was nominated for a second Oscar for the role of Celeste Boyle in Mystic River.  A few of her other notable films include The Spitfire Grill, Casa de los Babys, The Dead Girl, and American Gun.  Recently she has appeared in the Fifty Shades of Grey films as Grace Trevelyan Grey.  She won a Tony for starring in Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage, and currently stars as Dr. Leanne Rorish on CBS’s Code Black.

No living author has sold more books than Danielle Steel, who turns 70 today.  She shares an alma mater with today’s other headliner, having graduated from NYU.  She worked in public relations and advertising for a few years, before writing her first novel, Going Home, which was published in 1973.  She has gone on to write over 100 novels, sometimes as many as three a year, which have sold in excess of 500 million copies worldwide.

If you read what critics have to say about Steel’s books, words like “formulaic” will come up a lot.  While I can’t claim any personal experience with them, at first glance a lot of them would seem to be romantic melodramas, with one or more protagonists in each book facing some sort of life-changing crisis.  But while she may not be very original, it’s hard to dispute that she is very good at what she does.  Over twenty of her novels have been adapted for the screen, primarily as TV movies or miniseries, with the largest number of the adaptations having been made in the years 1990-1996.

Also turning 70 today is English folk-rocker Maddy Prior.  Prior has done several solo albums, a number of others with the early music group The Carnival Band, and two with folkie June Tabor, but she is best-known as the longtime lead singer of the folk rock ensemble Steeleye Span.  She was one of the group’s founding members in 1969 and, except for one period of a few years, has been with them ever since—she is the only founding member still with the band.  Steeleye Span were most successful in the mid-1970s, when they had some charted singles, one of which reached #5 in the UK.

Christopher Gorham, who is 43, is known for his regular roles on Popular, Ugly Betty, and Covert Affairs, and will star on the upcoming Netflix series InsatiableAdrian Lester, who is 49, was an Olivier Award winner as Bobby in a 1995 revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Company and has appeared in films like Primary Colors and Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Love’s Labour’s LostJackée Harry, who is 61, was the first African-American actress to win the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy series for NBC’s 227Susan Olsen, who played Cindy on The Brady Bunch and several reunion specials and series, turns 56 today.  Carl Lumbly, best known for his regular roles on Cagney & Lacey and Alias, is 66.

Pianist and composer Terry Adams is 69.  He co-founded the New Rhythm and Blues Quartet in 1967 and continues to record and tour with them.

Gary Larson, who is turning 67, began writing a comic titled Nature’s Way in 1979.  A year later, he began syndicating it under the title The Far Side, and for the next fifteen years it was enormously popular.  In 1995, Larson chose to retire it rather than have it, in his words, enter the “Graveyard of Mediocre Cartoons.”

Australian swimmer Kieren Perkins is 44 today.  One of the greatest distance freestylers of all time, he won gold medals in the grueling 1500 meter freestyle at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics and a silver in the event in 2000.

Alice Ghostley (1923-2007) was an Emmy nominee as Bernice Clifton on Designing Women, and also may be remembered for roles like the inept witch Esmerelda on Bewitched.  In the decade before his death from lung cancer, Millard Mitchell (1903-1953) had a nice run as a character actor.  He won a Golden Globe for My Six Convicts, and appeared in notable films such as Kiss of Death, Twelve O’Clock High, Singing in the Rain, and The Naked Spur.

John H. “Doc” Holliday (1851-1887) had a degree in dentistry, but became known in the American West as a gambler and gunfighter.  He was famous for his friendship with Wyatt Earp, which led to his participation in the Gunfight at the OK Corral and the so-called Vendetta Ride.  Holliday has been played on film by, to stick to some of the most famous portrayals, Victor Mature, Kirk Douglas, Jason Robards, Stacy Keach, Val Kilmer, and both Dennis and Randy Quaid.  Jeremy Renner will play Holliday in an upcoming film adapted from the novels Doc and Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell.

Last year on August 14, Halle Berry and Mila Kunis were our headliners.

Halle Berry, who is celebrating her 51st, is currently starring in the thriller Kidnap.  She will appear later this year in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and stars with Daniel Craig in Kings, which will screen next month at Toronto.  Mila Kunis is 34 today.  She continues to voice Meg Griffin on Family Guy, and will star in A Bad Moms Christmas, which comes out in November.  She also will star with Kate McKinnon in The Spy Who Dumped Me, scheduled to come out next summer.

As Steve Martin turns 72, his career includes a lot of writing for the stage.  His musical Bright Star opened on Broadway in 2016, while his play Meteor Shower will premiere on Broadway this November, with a cast slated to include Amy Schumer and Laura Benanti.  Wim Wenders‘ newest film Submergence, starring Alicia Vikander and James McAvoy, will also screen next month at Toronto.  Wenders is also 72 today.

Brianna Hildebrand is turning 21; she starred earlier this year in Tragedy Girls and will return to the role of Negasonic Teenage Warhead in Deadpool 2, while also joining the cast of season 2 of Fox’s The ExorcistJames Buckley, who is 30, stars on the BBC comedy series White GoldCatherine Bell, who is turning 49, currently stars on Hallmark’s Good Witch as Cassie Nightingale.  Sarah Brightman celebrates her 57th; she is working on a new studio album for release at the end of this year or early in 2018.  David Crosby, who is 76, has just released his newest album, Sky Trails.

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 14, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I’ve enjoyed a number of Marcia Gay Harden’s films over the years. She is terrific in Miller’s Crossing and Mystic River. Among her less-known films, Casa de los Babys and The Dead Girl are both worth a look.

    Danielle Steel doesn’t write books for readers like me, but she does clearly write books for a lot of eager readers.

    Steeleye Span, with the soaring vocals of Maddy Prior, is one of my favorite bands.

    Doc Holliday left a lot of colorful stories behind, and even if many of them are legends, they certainly provided lots of fodder for film Westerns. Victor Mature and Kirk Douglas were pretty good as Doc, although they were both a little to healthy and hunky for the consumptive dentist/gambler. Jason Robards is good in Hour of the Gun, and I’m looking forward to what Jeremy Renner does in the role. But the definitive screen portrayal of John H. Holliday is Val Kilmer:

    Like

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