August 28: Happy Birthday David Fincher and Jack Black


Director and producer David Fincher turns 55 today.  He began his film career working in the visual effects field; at Industrial Light and Magic in the early 1980s he worked on Return of the Jedi and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  Later in the decade he directed a number of music videos and commercials.  His first feature directing job was Alien 3, which is not a favorite with many people.  But he really put himself on the map with his next feature, a contemporary noir with a famously dark ending.

After Seven, Fincher has gone on to make a number of highly acclaimed films.  Even if you have never seen Fight Club, you surely are aware of its famous “first rule.”  Zodiac was critically acclaimed, although it did not receive a single Oscar nomination, and Fincher then received Best Director nominations for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Social Network.  He has also directed a number of Oscar-nominated performances—Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network, Rooney Mara for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl, to name three.  He is an executive producer of House of Cards and will be playing the same role in Netflix’s upcoming series Mindhunter.

Jack Black is 48 today.  He dropped out of UCLA to begin an acting career at the beginning of the 1990s.  Over that decade he played small roles in a number of films, and also had a variety of TV guest roles and TV movie appearances, before making his breakthrough in High Fidelity in 2000.  He then starred as the title character of the rom-com Shallow Hal, and co-starred with Colin Hanks in Orange County.  He received a Golden Globe nomination, for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, for starring in School of Rock.

Black has subsequently received a second Golden Globe nomination for starring in 2011’s Bernie.  He played a more dramatic role than usual as one of the leads in Peter Jackson’s King Kong, provided the voice of Po for the Kung Fu Panda films, and produced and starred in Nacho Libre.  This December he will be seen in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.  He has also had a music career as a part of the comic-rock band Tenacious D, who won Best Metal Performance at the 2015 Grammys.

Kelly Overton, who turns 39 today, stars as Vanessa Van Helsing on Syfy’s Van Helsing, which returns for its second season in October.  Sarah Roemer, known for films such as Disturbia and Falling Up, and as a regular on The Event and Chosen, turns 33 today.  Amanda Tapping, who starred on Stargate SG-1 as Samantha Carter, is celebrating her 52nd.  Katie Findlay, who turns 27, played Maggie Landers on The Carrie Diaries and was a regular on season 3 of Man Seeking Woman.

Brian Thompson, who is 58, will be remembered by Buffy fans for playing two prominent villains—Luke during Season 1 and the Judge in Season 2.  Also well known to Buffyverse fans is J. August Richards, who played Charles Gunn on Angel, and more recently has appeared as Mike Peterson/Deathlok on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Richards is 44 today.

Character actor Simon Oakland (1915-1983) had a long television career that included regular roles on Toma, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and Baa Baa Black Sheep.  He also had prominent supporting roles in films like Tony Rome and BullittNancy Kulp (1921-1991) also had a lengthy television career, during which her most famous role was as Miss Jane Hathaway on The Beverly Hillbillies.

We have a pair of major figures from science fiction and fantasy among today’s birthdays.  Jack Vance (1916-2013) wrote a long list of science fiction novels and stories, including the Hugo Award winning The Dragon Masters and The Last Castle, along with two major fantasy collections, the Dying Earth stories (which influenced the creators of Dungeons and Dragons) and the Lyonesse trilogy.  Barbara Hambly, who turns 66, may be recognized as a writer of Star Wars and Star Trek novels.  She is also the author of several fantasy series, including the Darwath novels (beginning with The Time of the Dark), the Winterlands series (beginning with the acclaimed Dragonsbane), and the Windrose Chronicles (the first of which is The Silent Tower).

Conductor Karl Böhm (1894-1981) was one of the 20th Century’s leading masters of the Austrian and German repertoire of the Classical and Romantic eras.  He had long and successful associations with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic, and was a regular at Bayreuth in the sixties.  His son was the actor Karlheinz Böhm, known for starring in Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom.  István Kertész (1929-1973), another prominent conductor, was one of the few members of his Hungarian Jewish family to survive the Holocaust.  Before his premature death of drowning, he conducted all over Europe and was particularly known for his interpretations of Dvorak.

“There are your enemies, the Red Coats and the Tories. They are ours, or this night Molly Stark sleeps a widow!”

~John Stark, before the Battle of Bennington in the American Revolution

John Stark (1728-1822) was one of the abler military leaders during the American Revolution.  He led troops from his native New Hampshire at Bunker Hill, and at the battles of Trenton and Princeton.  But he was most famous for winning the Battle of Bennington in 1777, the occasion for the memorable quote above, and a key turning point in the Saratoga campaign.

A year ago it was “Country Pop Day” here, with Shania Twain and LeAnn Rimes as our headliners.

Shania Twain, who turns 52, released a new single, “Life’s About to Get Good,” earlier this year.  It comes from her upcoming album (and first in 15 years), Now, which comes out in September; Twain has also announced her Shania Now Tour, which begins next spring.  LeAnn Rimes is 35 today.  Her sixteenth studio album, Remnant, was released earlier this year, and she makes a cameo, as herself, in the movie Logan Lucky, which is now in theaters.

Jennifer Coolidge, who appeared last fall in Christopher Guest’s latest mockumentary, Mascots, is 56 today.  Jason Priestley, who celebrates his 48th, has had lead roles on two Canadian TV series in the last year, Raising Expectations and Private EyesCarly Pope is 37; she has been appearing on Arrow in the recurring role of Susan Williams.  Armie Hammer, who is 31, was in last year’s Nocturnal Animals and in Call Me by Your Name, which premiered at Sundance this year.  Quvenzhané Wallis turns 14.  She had a small voice roll in last falls’ TrollsCassadee Pope, who is 28, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Duo for her duet with Chris Young, “Think of You.”

For a little musical bonus for today, how about Shania Twain’s latest:

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 28, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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