August 25: Happy Birthday Tim Burton and Billy Ray Cyrus


While our two headliners have apparently never been photographed together, in researching this article I did learn that Tim Burton has a son named Billy Ray.

Director Tim Burton is turning 59 today.  He made a pair of animated shorts while studying at the California Institute of the Arts, and worked for a short time as an animation apprentice at Disney.  Paul Reubens saw a short that Burton made at Disney, and invited him to direct Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, a film that also saw the beginning of a durable partnership between Burton and composer Danny Elfman.  Burton then directed Michael Keaton in two films—a comedy/fantasy titled Beetlejuice, followed by one of the most financially successful comic book adaptations ever brought to film.

While Batman will probably never be considered the definitive screen version of the character, it took home roughly seven times its reported production budget in US box office receipts alone, a pretty impressive accomplishment.  Much of his career since then has centered on films with some kid of fantasy element, from 1991’s Edward Scissorhands, to last year’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  His directing projects have also included 2001’s Planet of the Apes, Sweeney Todd, and the 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland.  He is currently at work on a version of Dumbo which, like Alice, will include live-action and animated elements.

Billy Ray Cyrus is turning 56 today.  Along with his daughter Miley, he makes up one of three (at least) father-daughter headliner pairings we’ve had in this series.  He dropped out of Georgetown to pursue a music career in the early 1980s, but it took him a decade or so to establish himself as a solo artist.  He has released 14 studio albums, and had a lengthy list of charted country singles.  His biggest hit remains the first single he released as a solo performer, 25 years ago.

Cyrus has also had an acting career.  He has made a few feature film appearances, but is more likely known for his television work.  He starred as Dr. Clint Cassidy on Pax TV’s Doc from 2001-04, and played Robby Ray Stewart on Hannah Montana.  He currently plays the lead role on CMT’s Still the King.

Marshall Brickman, who turns 78, is a writer best known for his work with Woody Allen; he collaborated with Allen on several screenplays and shared an Oscar for Annie Hall.  He has also written screenplays for films like The Manhattan Project and co-wrote the book for the musical Jersey Boys as well as the screenplay for the film adaptation.

Director Joe Wright is 45 today.  After working for several years in British television, he made his feature debut with the 2005 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice.  He has subsequently made literary adaptations (Atonement, Anna Karenina), an action thriller (Hanna), and the Peter Pan prequel Pan.  His latest film is Darkest Hour, with Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, due out in November in the US.

John Savage, best known for his roles in films like The Deer Hunter, The Onion Field, and Salvador, turns 68.  Joanne Whalley, who celebrates her 53rd, has starred in films like Willow and Kill Me AgainKel Mitchell turns 39; he was a star of Nickelodeon’s Kenan & Kel and appeared in films such as Mystery Men and Good BurgerAlly Walker, who is 56 today, is best remembered as the star of NBC’s Profiler in the late 1990s.  China Ann McClain, who turns 19, starred on Disney Channel’s A.N.T. Farm for three years, and with her sisters Sierra and Lauryn makes up the girl group McClain.

Baseball Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers is 71 today.  He was the second relief pitcher ever named to the Hall of Fame, after Hoyt Wilhelm, played for three World Series champions with the Oakland A’s, and won the American League’s Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards in 1981.

Walt Kelly (1913-1973) worked as an animator for Disney, contributing to Pinocchio, Fantasia and Dumbo, before pursuing a career as a newspaper cartoonist; he is most famous as the creator of the strip Pogo.  Irish-Canadian novelist Brian Moore (1921-1999) was known for books such as The Luck of Ginger Coffey and The Great Victorian Collection, and also wrote a number of screenplays, including Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain.

Mel Ferrer (1917-2008) appeared in a number of major films of the 1950s, such as Scaramouche and War and Peace, often as a major secondary character.  He was not related to actors Jose and Miguel Ferrer, but he was once married to Audrey Hepburn.

Our historical figures today are all at least a bit on the notorious side.  Ivan IV of Russia (1530-1584), often known as Ivan the Terrible, was the first man to take the title of Tsar of All the Russias.  An effective ruler for much of his reign, in the last years of his life he became increasingly prone to violent outbursts of temper, one of which led him to kill his son and heir.  Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845-1886) was thought to be insane during his lifetime, a judgment some modern historians dispute.  He is likely to be remembered today for his extravagant patronage of the composer Richard Wagner.  George Wallace (1919-1998) is remembered for his four terms as Governor of Alabama, his three failed attempts to win the Democratic Party nomination for President, his independent presidential candidacy in 1968, and for surviving a 1972 assassination attempt.  But his greatest notoriety, indeed infamy, comes from his role as a leading defender of segregation in the 1960s.

One year ago today, we featured Sean Connery and Blake Lively as headliners.

Sir Sean Connery, 87 today, has been retired from acting for several years.  Blake Lively turns 30; since we last checked in with her, she and husband Ryan Reynolds have welcomed their second daughter, Ines.  Lively stars in Marc Forster’s All I See Is You, out next month, and will star with Anna Kendrick in Paul Feig’s adaptation of Darcey Bell’s novel, A Simple Favor.

Tom Skerritt continues to work at 84; he appeared earlier this year in LuckyBlair Underwood turns 53, and is currently a regular on Quantico.  Also 53 is Marti Noxon, who is currently very busy with several TV series, most notably as the creator and executive producer of Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, and as the writer and director of the recent feature To the BoneRachel Bilson played the recurring part of Alyssa Greene on the latest season of Nashville; she is 36 today.  Alexander Skarsgård, who turns 41, played Perry Wright on Big Little Lies, and will star in the upcoming films Mute and The AftermathTom Hollander is turning 50; he will be featured in Andy Serkis’s upcoming Breathe and in Tulip Fever.

Elvis Costello, who is turning 63, is currently on his latest tour.  Gene Simmons appeared in the recent horror film Armed Response and remains an active member of Kiss; he is 68 today.

Scottish folk-rocker Amy Macdonald turns 30.  She released her fourth studio album, Under Stars, earlier this year.  I’ll let Amy have the last word for today’s article.

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 25, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Tim Burton’s Batman films, on the whole, may not match up to Christopher Nolan’s. But Batman is still quite watchable. Batman Returns, not so much, although Michelle Pfeiffer was a pretty decent Catwoman. I rather liked Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

    Joe Wright is someone to keep an eye on; I am definitely interested to see his Churchill film.

    And I may be her only fan here, but I loves me some Amy Macdonald. So, I’m going to bring her back for an encore, singing Scotland’s unofficial national anthem:


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