September 8: Happy Birthday Patsy Cline and Peter Sellers


Patsy Cline (1932-1963) was born in Virginia, and when her father walked out of the house when she was 15, she dropped out of high school to work as a waitress and bring in some income.  She began singing at a local radio station, and for several years became increasingly popular in the tri-state area where she lived.  In 1955 she signed her first record contract.  She made a lot of records in the late 1950s, and had one major hit, “Walkin’ After Midnight,” which reached #2 on the Country chart in 1957.

However, it wasn’t until she got free of her initial record contract, which had some very restrictive provisions, that Cline began to enjoy consistent success.  She had her first #1 hit, “I Fall To Pieces,” in 1961; it also did well as a crossover hit.  Although she had a temporary setback due to a late 1961 auto accident, she rebounded with several additional hit singles in the next year and a half.  She also began to act as a mentor and support figure for other women trying to make it as solo country acts, like Loretta Lynn and a very young Barbara Mandrell.

Sadly, as some may recall from last year’s article, Cline’s life and career ended in tragedy in early 1963, when she died in a small plane crash.  She has been played in films by Beverly D’Angelo in Coal Miner’s Daughter, and by Jessica Lange, who was nominated for an Oscar, in Sweet Dreams.

English comic actor Peter Sellers (1925-1980) was the son of two variety show entertainers and began to develop his own talents for comedy in his early teens.  He was active in ENSA, the British equivalent to USO, during World War 2, and began to work in theater and television after the war.  His first big success came with the BBC radio comedy series The Goon Show in the early 1950s.  Beginning in the mid-fifties, he began getting good roles in films like The Ladykillers, The Mouse that Roared, and, in 1962, in Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Lolita, as Clare Quilty.  He also had a large involvement in an Oscar-nominated short, The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film.

Sellers hit his peak in the mid sixties.  In 1963, he starred for the first time in his best-known role, as Inspector Jacques Clouseau in The Pink Panther, and won a Golden Globe.  A year later, he returned to the role of Clouseau in A Shot in the Dark, and played three characters, including the title role, in Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, which brought him a BAFTA Award and an Oscar nomination.  After that, his successes were intermittent.  He returned to the role of Inspector Clouseau three further times prior to his death, and in 1979 he capped his career in the role of Chance, the Gardener, in Being There, receiving another Oscar nomination and winning a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award.

Producer and director Brad Silberling, who is 54, has a lengthy list of film and TV credits.  He has directed feature films such as City of Angels, Moonlight Mile, and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, while his TV resume includes being executive producer of series like Jane the Virgin and the recently-concluded ReignHeather Thomas, who turns 60, will be remembered by many eighties TV fans as stuntwoman Jody Banks from The Fall GuyBrian Huskey, who celebrates his 49th, has a long list of TV credits which include regular or semi-regular roles on Another Period and People of EarthElla Rae Peck, who has been a regular on Deception and Welcome to the Family and will be on the upcoming Hulu series The Looming Tower, is 27 today.  Adrian Cronauer, the Vietnam War era Armed Forces Radio Service DJ who was immortalized in film by Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam, is 79 today.

William Fawcett (1894-1974) earned a Ph.D. in literature at Nebraska and then taught drama at Michigan State for several years before he decided to pursue an acting career.  He was best known as a regular on the NBC Western Fury from 1955-1960.  Alexander MacKendrick (1912-1993) directed a number of the post-World War 2 Ealing Studio comedies, most significantly The Ladykillers (with Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers), and then came to Hollywood where he directed Sweet Smell of Success.  He later became a professor and dean at the California Institute of the Arts.  French actress Denise Darcel (1924-2011) did most of her film work in the US, where she appeared in films like Battleground, Westward the Women, Tarzan and the Slave Girl, and most famously Vera Cruz.

Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904) was one of the greatest composers of the 19th century.  The Czech native, somewhat of a protege of Johannes Brahms, was known for incorporating elements of Bohemian and Moravian folk music into his compositions.  He wrote nine symphonies, of which the 7th, 8th and 9th rank among the finest of the Romantic era; his Cello Concerto is also considered among the finest ever composed.  He is also known for his opera Rusalka and his Slavonic Dances.

Two US Senators who failed to win presidential nominations were born on this date. Bernie Sanders turns 76.  The unsuccessful runner-up for the Democratic Party nomination last year, Sanders continues to serve as a Senator from Vermont; before that he was Mayor of Burlington, VT and then a US Congressman.  Robert A. Taft (1889-1953) sought the Republican nomination in 1940, 1948, and 1952 without success.  The son of President (and later Chief Justice) William Howard Taft, Robert Taft served as a Senator from Ohio for over 14 years.

The headliners last year on this date were Martin Freeman and Pink.

Martin Freeman is turning 46.  He will star in the upcoming Australian film Cargo, and next year will resume his Marvel Cinematic Universe role of Everett Ross in Black Panther.  He stars on the Crackle series StartUp, which returns for its second season in a few weeks, and appeared earlier this year on season 4 of Sherlock as Dr. John Watson.  Pink is 38 today.  Her seventh studio album, Beautiful Trauma, comes out next month, while the lead single has already been released.

Larenz Tate, who is turning 42, was featured in Girls Trip, which came out earlier this year, and stars as the title character of Netflix’s DeucesThomas Kretschmann is celebrating his 55th.  He has supporting parts in the recent British thriller Stratton and the upcoming Australia film JunglePascal Greggory is 63.  The French actor’s current projects include the television series The Frozen Dead, adapted from a novel by Bernard Minier.  Aimee Mann, who released her ninth studio album, Mental Illness, earlier this year, is turning 57.  As rapper Wiz Khalifa turns 30, his newest album, Rolling Papers 2, is reportedly in preparation.

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 8, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. While she is not one of my personal favorites when it comes to country performers, Patsy Cline is clearly an important figure in that area of music. There is an entire generation worth of female country singers who Cline either directly mentored in some way or indirectly inspired.

    What is astonishing about Peter Sellers, I think, is that although his comic genius is held in very high regard—some call him England’s greatest comic actor since Charlie Chaplin—his reputation rests on a fairly small body of work. Other than Dr. Strangelove, Being There, and the first two Pink Panther films, many of his films are are lesser material.

    An interesting coincidence in today’s birthdays—we have a professor who became an actor, and also a director who became a professor (and dean).

    Antonin Dvorak is one of my very favorite classical/operatic composers; he would probably make my personal top 5 along with Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Verdi. He wrote some of the most listenable, accessible orchestral music ever, partly because of an exceptional gift for melody.


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