September 23: Happy Birthday Anthony Mackie and John Coltrane
Anthony Mackie is turning 39 today. He graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts and then from Juilliard. He made his film debut in Curtis Hanson’s 8 Mile in 2002, and had his first starring role in Brother to Brother two years later. He had a breakthrough performance in the 2009 Best Picture winner, The Hurt Locker, and since then has had prominent supporting roles in films such as Notorious, The Adjustment Bureau, Man on a Ledge, and Triple 9. But the film role he is best known for is undoubtedly that of Sam Wilson/Falcon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He has appeared in four installments so far, with at least two more in the offing, and has been a popular character since his first appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Mackie has made a few television appearances, notably as Martin Luther King, Jr., in the HBO adaptation of the play All the Way. On stage, he won an Obie Award as part of the original cast of Carl Hancock Rux’s Talk in 2003, and was one of the stars of the original Broadway production of Martin McDonagh’s A Behanding in Spokane. Mackie’s older brother Calvin is an award-winning engineer who was involved in Louisiana’s reconstruction efforts after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and appeared in Spike Lee’s documentary When the Levees Broke.
John Coltrane (1926-1967) was one of the legends of mid-20th Century jazz, and one of the greatest saxophone players ever. He first took up the saxophone during high school, and then played as part of a Navy ensemble while serving in the military in the mid-1940s. After his military service, he began working as a sideman; playing with a variety of ensembles over the next decade-plus. He worked at different times with Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and on more than one occasion with Miles Davis.
Coltrane made his first album as a leader in 1957, but he really stepped out as a solo performer with his 1960 album for Atlantic, Giant Steps. When it came out, he had less than eight years to live. In that time, he was incredibly prolific, recording approximately 20 albums. He was also constantly experimenting and innovating, trying out new and different styles, so that it is hard to pick a representative Coltrane recording. In the fifty years since his death of liver cancer, he has remained a major influence in jazz music.
Karl Pilkington, who turns 45, is known for his roles in several productions from the team of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, such as The Ricky Gervais Show and An Idiot Abroad. He was also the star of the travel documentary/comedy series The Moaning of Life, and has written six books, several of them tie-ins to his television projects. Kip Pardue, known for films like The Rules of Attraction and Thirteen, is 42. He will be a regular on the upcoming series Marvel’s Runaways. Warren Kole, who is 40, is a regular on Shades of Blue and might also be known for his cameo, as “the Galaga man,” in The Avengers.
Award-winning comic book writer and novelist Peter David turns 61. He has written for both DC and Marvel, and is particularly known for his long tenures writing The Incredible Hulk and, more recently, X-Factor. Walter Lippman (1889-1974) may have been the most influential political journalist in the US in the 20th century. He was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and also is known for his book Public Opinion, a classic in the literature of media studies.
Paolo Rossi, who is turning 61, was the star of the 1982 World Cup. He won the Golden Ball as the Cup’s outstanding player, along with the Golden Boot as the top goalscorer, while leading Italy to their third World Cup.
Finally, today is the generally accepted birth date for two of the most famous rulers of large empires in world history. Gaius Octavius, later known as Augustus (63 BC-14 AD) was the first Roman Princeps (his official title; we think of him as the emperor of Rome today). He brought a long period of civil war in Rome to an end, and created many of the institutions that allowed the Roman Empire to last as long as it did. Kublai Khan (1215-1294) became the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire in 1260, and also completed the Mongol conquest of China, establishing himself as the first Chinese Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, which lasted until 1368.
A year ago, we featured music greats Bruce Springsteen and Ray Charles as headliners.
Bruce Springsteen, who turns 68, has spent much of the past year on The River Tour 2016 and its Summer ’17 successor. Next month, he begins what will be a run of several months performing Springsteen on Broadway.
Skylar Astin, who appeared earlier this year in Speech & Debate, turns 30. Anneliese van der Pol, who is 33, has returned to the role of Chelsea Daniels for Disney Channel’s Raven’s Home. Rob James-Collier, who is turning 41, was most recently seen on the British TV series The Level. Jason Alexander celebrates his 58th; his most recent project was a voice part in the documentary The Gettysburg Address. Ani DiFranco is turning 47. She released her twentieth studio album, Binary, earlier this year on her Righteous Babe label. Eric Bogle, who is 73, released his album Voices last fall. Also releasing a new album is Julio Iglesias, who turns 74; his new album Dois Corações came out earlier this year.
We’ll let the Boss handle the closing number today.
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.