September 13: Happy Birthday Frank Marshall and Claudette Colbert


Producer Frank Marshall is turning 71 today.  He got his start in the film industry through Peter Bodgdanovich; he met the director at a party and wound up as Bogdanovich’s assistant on Targets.  He then worked with Bogdanovich on several subsequent films, taking on more responsibility each time until he was a credited producer on Nickelodeon.  Marshall then worked with Martin Scorsese on The Last Waltz and with Walter Hill on The Driver and The Warriors.  In 1981, he began his must durable association with a director, working on a film that became the first of five Best Picture nominees he would produce.

The same year as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Marshall, Steven Spielberg, and Kathleen Kennedy founded Amblin Entertainment.  Marshall and Kennedy, who married in 1987, also created their own Kennedy/Marshall Company.  Between their two companies, Marshall has been involved as a producer or executive producer on many of Spielberg’s films, the Jason Bourne series, several films in the Jurassic Park series, and Best Picture nominees The Sixth Sense, Seabiscuit, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Claudette Colbert (1903-1996) was born in France, but moved to the US with her family as a young girl.  Interestingly, she got her entertainment start by attending a party, which led to playwright Anne Morrison casting her in a Broadway production.  She worked on Broadway for much of the 1920s, and then signed with Paramount at the very beginning of the sound era.  She quickly established herself as a major leading lady, making several films a year, and starring with the likes of Maurice Chevalier, Gary Cooper, and Frederic March.  In 1934 she starred in possibly her most famous role, and one of the most famous of all romantic comedies.

It Happened One Night was the first film to sweep all of the “big five” awards at the Oscars, including Colbert’s win for Best Actress.  She remained a major star for another 20 years, moving easily between comedy and drama, and received additional Best Actress nominations for Private Worlds and Since You Went Away.  She starred with Fred MacMurray in seven films between 1935 and 1949, including The Gilded Lily and The Egg and I.  Among her other starring roles were John Ford’s Drums Along the Mohawk, Preston Sturges’ The Palm Beach Story, and the World War 2 film So Proudly We Hail!

After the early 1950s, Colbert rarely worked in film.  She returned to Broadway, and received a Tony nomination for starring in the original production of The Marriage-Go-Round.  She also did a good deal of television work, and remained at least semi-active through the 1980s, receiving a Golden Globe for the 1987 miniseries The Two Mrs. Grenvilles.

Australian actor Louis Mandylor, younger brother of Costas, turns 51 today.  He is best known for his role of Nick Portokalos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and its sequel.  Vella Lovell, who plays Heather Davis on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, is turning 32.  Lili Reinhart, who celebrates her 21st, currently stars as Betty Cooper on The CW’s Riverdale.

Heavy metal fans will celebrate the 50th birthday of Tim “Ripper” Owens, best known for his stint as lead singer of Judas Priest.  Joe Don Rooney, the lead guitarist and high tenor vocalist for country trio Rascal Flatts, is turning 42.  Mel Tormé (1925-1999) was a popular jazz vocalist for several decades and is also known for co-writing the holiday song “The Christmas Song” (aka “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”).

Our big sports birthday is sprinter Michael Johnson, who turns 50.  Johnson was the dominant figure in the 200 and 400 meter dashes in the 1990s, despite periodically being hampered by injuries.  He won both races at the 1996 Olympics and held the world records in both events for over a decade.

Historical birthdays include William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley (1520-1598), the chief minister and advisor of Queen Elizabeth I of England from her accession to the throne until his death.  His descendants included two Prime Ministers of Great Britain.  Richard Attenborough played him in Elizabeth, one of many times he has been depicted on screen.  Oliver Evans (1755-1819) was an American inventor and engineer who is most remembered for his role in developing a high pressure steam engine suitable for powering railroads or steamships.  Walter Reed (1851-1902) was a doctor in the US Army who made an important contribution to modern medicine and public health when he demonstrated that yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitoes.

The headliners on September 13 of last year were Tyler Perry and Jacqueline Bisset.

Tyler Perry celebrates his 48th.  His projects over the last year include two Madea Halloween movies, Boo! A Madea Halloween, released last October, and the upcoming sequel Boo! 2.  He is also still producing and writing multiple series for the Oprah Winfrey Network.  Jacqueline Bisset, who is 73, appeared in last fall’s The Last Film Festival and also in the just released 9/11.

Jean Smart, who turns 66, is a regular on FX’s Legion as Melanie Bird and also appeared in last fall’s The AccountantColin Trevorrow, who is 41, directed The Book of Henry, which came out in June, but had a career setback when he was replaced as the director of Star Wars IXBen Savage, who just finished with the final season of Girl Meets World, is turning 37.  Dave Mustaine turns 56 as he continues to tour with Megadeth, who are teaming with Scorpions for the Crazy World Tour.  Robbie Kay, who is 22 today, has two films in post-production, No Postage Necessary and Locating Silver Lake.

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 13, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I don’t really have a good sense of how involved Frank Marshall is in the many movies he’s been associated with, but he has a lot of popular successes on his filmography, and you have to give him some credit for that.

    There’s a widely held opinion these days that Bette Davis, in Of Human Bondage, gave the most outstanding performance in 1934. But Claudette Colbert is very good in It Happened One Night, which is also one of the relatively rare cases of the Academy not undervaluing comedies. Colbert is also worth checking out in Drums Along the Mohawk and The Palm Beach Story.

    In addition to having two Prime Ministers among his descendants, William Cecil was also the ancestor of a Nobel Peace Prize winner, whose birth date is, in fact, tomorrow. I’m not sure if he will make it into the article, but I will at least bring him up in comments. The Cecils were a very important family in English political history.


  2. How come no one loves Fiona Apple? I feel that she brilliant and crazy, so she’s my kind of songstress. Along with Liz Phair or Tori Amos, I think Fiona Apple is just amazing.


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