September 5: Happy Birthday Raquel Welch and Werner Herzog


Raquel Welch is turning 77 today.  She studied ballet as a girl and won a number of beauty pageants as a teenager.  She was born Raquel Tejada, but used her first husband’s last name professionally, even after they divorced, to avoid being typecast as a Latina.  She began working in film in the mid-sixties; one of her most famous early roles was in the 1966 version of One Million Years B.C., in which she had only three lines, but will always be remembered for her deerskin bikini costume.

Welch starred in over two dozen films from 1966-1977.  She made several Westerns, including Bandolero! and Hannie Caulder, played a skydiver caught up in an espionage caper in Fathom, and starred with Frank Sinatra in Lady in Cement.  She was a roller derby queen in Kansas City Bomber, a detective in an adaptation of Ed McBain’s Fuzz, and a beautiful actress in The Last of Sheila.  One of her best roles was as Constance Bonacieux in Richard Lester’s two-film adaptation of The Three Musketeers, for which she won a Golden Globe.

Welch’s film career became very sporadic after 1977.  She did a lot of television work, and received a second Golden Globe nomination for the TV movie Right to Die.  Earlier this year, she returned to the big screen for the first time in over a decade in a supporting role in How to Be a Latin Lover.

Werner Herzog, one of the key figures of the New German Cinema, is turning 75 today.  He began making short films in the early sixties, and directed his first feature, Signs of Life, in 1968.  It won a Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival that year, as well as a German Film Award.  Starting in the early seventies he made a sequence of films that established his reputation worldwide, including Aguirre, the Wrath of God, The Enigma of Kasper Hauser, Nosferatu the Vampyre, and Fitzcarraldo.

The filming of Fitzcarraldo was a great story in itself, told in the documentary Burden of Dreams.  Herzog is, interestingly, a significant documentarian himself—he has made more documentaries than he has narrative features, with a couple of the best known being Grizzly Man and the Oscar-nominated Encounters at the End of the World.  Many of his more recent features have been international productions that have featured stars who are well known in Hollywood, such as Queen of the Desert with Nicole Kidman or Salt and Fire with Michael Shannon.

Carol Lawrence, who celebrates her 85th, is best known for her musical theater work; she was a Tony nominee for originating the role of Maria in West Side Story and also starred on Broadway in musicals like I Do, I Do and Kiss of the Spider Woman.

Gage Golightly, who is a regular on Amazon’s Red Oaks, is 24; she was also a regular on Nickelodeon’s The TroopLaura Bertram, who is 39, is know for her regular roles on Ready or Not and Andromeda.  Also turning 39 is Yu Nan, who in addition to her work in Chinese film is know to American audiences for roles in Speed Racer and The Expendables 2.  Director Dennis Dugan is 71 today; he is best known for directing a number of Adam Sandler’s films, such as Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, and Grown Ups.

Terry Ellis celebrates her 54th birthday today.  She has been a member of the R&B vocal group En Vogue since their founding in 1992—they are seven-time Grammy nominees—and has also done a little bit of solo work.

Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864) was a German-born composer who achieved his greatest successes in French grand opera.  He is remembered for operas like Les Huguenots and L’Africaine.  Of the many sons of J. S. Bach, one of the most talented was Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782).  He was known to the young Mozart and influenced his style somewhat, and is remembered as the “English Bach” as he spent the last twenty years of his life there.

Arthur Koestler (1905-1983) was a British-Hungarian novelist and journalist, who is best remembered for the anti-Stalinist novel Darkness at NoonFrank Yerby (1916-1991) achieved two milestones with his novel The Foxes of Harrow—it was the first bestseller by an African-American novelist, and the first novel by an African-American to be adapted into film by a Hollywood studio.  Cathy Guisewite, who turns 67, is a cartoonist know for the newspaper comic Cathy, which ran from 1976-2010, and was adapted into a Emmy-winning television special in 1987.

Frank Thomas (1912-2004) was one of Disney’s “Nine Old Men,” a team of animators who worked for the studio from the twenties or thirties until, in most cases, sometime in the seventies.  Thomas himself worked on virtually every Disney animated feature from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs through The Fox and the Hound.  He and another of the “nine,” Ollie Johnston, co-wrote the book Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, and were the subject of the 1995 documentary Frank and Ollie.

Louis XIV of France (1638-1715) became King of France before his fifth birthday; his reign of over 72 years is the longest one recorded in the history of Europe.  He was known as the “Sun King,” and ruled at a time when France was the dominant power in Europe.

Carice van Houten and Michael Keaton were the September 5 headliners last year.

Carice van Houten is celebrating her 41st.  She returned to the role of Melisandre for season 7 of Game of Thrones, and last year appeared in the feature films Race (as director Leni Riefenstahl) and Brimstone (where her costars included her current partner Guy Pearce and her GoT costar Kit Harrington).  Michael Keaton is 66 today.  He appeared earlier this year as Adrian Toomes/Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, will co-star in the upcoming American Assassin (adapted from Vince Flynn’s novel), and will have a major role in Disney’s live-action remake of Dumbo.

George Lazenby is 78 today.  He is the subject of the documentary Becoming Bond, which began airing on Hulu earlier this year.  Kristian Alfonso, who is 54, continues to appear on Days of Our Lives as Hope Williams Brady.  Paddy Considine turns 44.  He made his stage debut earlier this year in Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman and has a role in The Death of Stalin, which will screen at Toronto later this month.  Born the same day as Considine, Rose McGowan will star in the upcoming horror film The SoundKat Graham, who is 28, recently finished the final season of The Vampire Diaries, and appeared in the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me.

Finally, let’s remember the birthday of folk-rocker John Stewart (1939-2008; see last year’s article for more detail) with the sound of his biggest hit.

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 September 5, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Raquel Welch has somewhat faded from the public consciousness, but there was a time when she was very big. Her Constance in the Musketeers duology will always be my favorite among her performances. The Last of Sheila is also a favorite of mine, although Welch is not the strongest presence in the cast in that one.

    A footnote to that clip from The Four Musketeers in the article—at the end, where the Musketeers and Constance are riding to safety, Constance is ostensibly being carried by Porthos (Frank Finlay). But in reality, Finlay was having trouble managing the horse when they were filming, so Welch, an accomplished horsewoman, took the reins, while Finlay simply held onto her.

    Several of the people in today’s article have been the subject of documentaries—Werner Herzog, Frank Thomas, George Lazenby, and Louis XIV.


  2. Why did Welch’s movie career come to a screeching halt in 1978? Very suspicious. I know she blames the Cannery Row fiasco but that was not until the early 80s.


  3. One more thing I meant to mention in commenting—if that John Stewart song sounds to you like it might belong on a Fleetwood Mac album, you’re not wrong. Lindsay Buckingham produced Stewart’s Bombs Away Dream Babies album, which “Gold” comes from, and Stevie Nicks sang backup vocals on that number.


  4. Why Hollywood won’t cast Rose McGowan anymore

    She’s had a tumultuous relationship with Hollywood over the course of her career to date, but Rose McGowan was already used to sticking it to the man by the time she made her film debut in poorly received 1992 comedy Encino Man, having survived the first several years of her life moving around Europe as part of a polygamous cult that blended free-love with Christianity. She rebelled from the start, telling People, “I lit a wall of Bibles on fire, took a candle to it.”

    After fearing that she would end up the victim of sexual abuse if they stayed, it was McGowan’s father who smuggled her out of the commune and back into their native United States where she would eventually launch her acting career. While she enjoyed moderate success in the ’90s, she became best known for her drug-fueled relationship with controversial rock star Marilyn Manson and later for playing Paige Matthews in Charmed from 2001 to 2006. But soon after that she pretty much disappeared from the radar. So what went wrong for her, exactly? This is why Hollywood won’t cast Rose McGowan anymore.


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