September 19: Happy Birthday Jimmy Fallon and Danielle Panabaker


Jimmy Fallon celebrates his 43rd birthday today.  He dropped out of college in 1995 to pursue a career in comedy.  He got his start, as have a number of our past headliners, with The Groundlings, the LA area improv comedy troupe.  After three years with them, he achieved a longtime dream when he was added to the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1998.  He was known for celebrity impersonations, for being one of the Boston Teens with Rachel Dratch, and for “anchoring” Weekend Update with Tina Fey.

Fallon began working in film in the early 2000s.  He had a small role in Almost Famous, and about the time he left SNL, he appeared in his first starring role, in the action comedy Taxi.  He followed that up a year later by starring with Drew Barrymore in a remake of the English rom-com Fever Pitch, which relocated the story to the US and substituted baseball for soccer.

Although his film career never took off, Fallon has since found his niche—he has become a fixture on late night television.  In 2009, he succeeded Conan O’Brien as the host of Late Night, and when he proved a success there, in 2014 he was chosen to succeed Jay Leno as the sixth host of The Tonight Show.

Danielle Panabaker is celebrating her 30th today.  She graduated from UCLA before her 20th birthday, by which time she was already becoming known as an actress; in 2005 she had major roles in the feature film Sky High and the HBO miniseries Empire Falls.  She has had major roles in films like Home of the Giants and Girls Against Boys, while on television she was a regular on CBS’s Shark and has had recurring roles on Necessary Roughness and Justified.  These days, she is best known as Dr. Caitlin Snow in the Arrowverse; she stars on The Flash and has made appearances on Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.

Paul McGuigan, who is 54, became known for directing films like Gangster No. 1 and Lucky Number Slevin.  More recently, he has directed multiple episodes of series like Sherlock and Luke Cage; his latest feature, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, comes out in December.  Like Jimmy Fallon, Cheri Oteri, who turns 55, was a Groundlings alum who moved on to Saturday Night Live, where, among other things, she was known for the Spartan Cheerleaders skits she did with Will Ferrell.  Randolph Mantooth, who is 72, is best known for starring on Emergency! as paramedic John Gage.  Kevin Zegers, who turns 33, became known as a child actor in the 1990s in the Air Bud films and others; as an adult he has been in films like Transamerica, The Narrows, and Aftermath.  Chilean actress Lorenza Izzo, known for horror fare like The Green Inferno and Sex Ed, is celebrating her 28th.

Daniel Lanois, who is 66, has released a number of records as a singer-songwriter.  However, he is best known as a producer; three albums he has worked on, including U2’s The Joshua Tree, have won Album of the Year, while he also produced Emmylou Harris’s Wrecking Ball, which won Best Contemporary Folk Album.  Playwright and screenwriter Patrick Marber is 53 today.  He won an Olivier Award for his 1998 play Closer, which was also nominated for a Tony.  He later wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation, for which Clive Owen and Natalie Portman each receive a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination.  While Jimmy Fallon is known for late night television, Joan Lunden is known for hosting morning series like Good Morning America and the Today Show.  Lunden turns 67.

Italian actress Mariangela Melato (1941-2013) was a major star in her home country; she won the David di Donatello Award for Best Actress four times from 1975-1981.  American viewers might remember her as General Kala from 1980’s Flash GordonDon Harron (1924-2015) became known for his character of Charlie Farquharson on Hee Haw; he later wrote several books in character as Charlie.  Frances Farmer (1913-1970) was a star for a short period beginning around 1936, appearing in films like The Toast of New York (with Cary Grant) and Son of Fury (with Tyrone Power).  However, she is more famous for being involuntarily committed to mental institutions for much of the 1940s.  Jessica Lange was an Oscar nominee for playing her in the 1982 film Frances.

Damon Knight (1922-2002) was a prominent science fiction author, editor and critic.  He wrote a number of novels, but was particularly known for his short stories, and his often acerbic reviews of others’ fiction; he popularized the concept of the “idiot plot.”  Baseball Hall of Famer Duke Snider (1926-2011), known as “the Duke of Flatbush,” was a star center fielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers teams known as The Boys of Summer.  He was an eight-time All-Star and helped the Dodgers win the 1955 and 1959 World Series.  Brian Epstein (1934-1967) became famous as the manager of The Beatles from early 1962 through his death of a drug overdose in 1967.

Last year’s headliners on this date were Jeremy Irons and Trisha Yearwood.

Jeremy Irons celebrates his 69th birthday.  He returns to the role of Alfred Pennyworth in Justice League later this year, and will play a critical supporting role in next year’s adaptation of Red SparrowTrisha Yearwood, who turns 53, released a holiday album, Christmas Together, in collaboration with her husband Garth Brooks.

Katrina Bowden, who turns 29, appeared in The Last Film Festival and has several movies in different stages of production.  Ramin Karimloo, who returned to Broadway in the musical adaptation of Anastasia earlier this year, is turning 39.  Alison Sweeney, who celebrates her 41st, stars in a series of TV movie adaptations of Joanna Fluke’s Hannah Swensen series of cozy mystery novels.  Sanaa Lathan is 46; she starred earlier this year on Fox’s Shots Fired, and plays a major role in American Assassin, currently in theaters.  Paul Williams, who turns 77, had a small role in Baby Driver, his first film in over two decades.  Nile Rodgers of Chic, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, turns 65.  Tegan and Sara Quin are 37; their latest album, Love You to Death, came out last year, and the duo continues to tour actively.  David McCallum, who is 84, continues to be a regular on NCIS, and published a novel, Once a Crooked Man.

Adam West (1928-2017), famous as TV’s Batman, passed from the scene earlier this year at the age of 88.  He continued to voice the Caped Crusader to the very end; the animated film Batman vs. Two-Face will be released next month.

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 19, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Since I’m not a big late night TV person, I know Jimmy Fallon mostly from Fever Pitch (which I decided to watch again last night). Fever Pitch, for me, is an excellent example of how successful rom-coms run on having a likable lead couple with chemistry. Every time I watch it, I find that I’m rooting for Ben (Fallon) and Lindsey (Drew Barrymore) to get together by the end. Of course there are other attractions, like baseball and a soundtrack that includes both “Sweet Caroline” and the Dropkick Murphys. But if you aren’t pulling for Fallon and Barrymore, the movie doesn’t work, especially not the wonderful but unrealistic romantic gesture at the end. 🙂


  2. Might I draw people’s attention to Patrick Marber’s earlier work as part of the ‘On the Hour’ / ‘The Day Today’ spoof news team with Armando Iannucci, Steve Coogan, etc.? Terrifying how prescient they were in this age of Trump & friends.


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