October 5: Happy Birthday Guy Pearce and Heather Headley
Guy Pearce celebrates his 50th today. Born in England, he spent most of his youth in Australia, and began his screen career with a three-year run on the durable Australian soap opera Neighbors, after which he had a brief stint on the other long-running Aussie soap, Home and Away, and a regular role on Snowy River: The McGregor Saga. He also made a few Australian films in the early 1990s; he played a drag queen in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which was a surprise success.
However, Pearce was still little-known in the US when he was cast as Ed Exley, one of the three protagonists of Curtis Hanson’s neo-noir L.A. Confidential, adapted from James Ellroy’s novel. After that success, Pearce appeared in two major Hollywood productions in 2000. One, Rules of Engagement, was a relative failure, barely making back its production budget, while the other, a more modestly-budgeted picture, overcame marketing and distribution difficulties to become a financial and critical success.
Pearce received a number of acting accolades for Memento. Since then he has largely divided his career between Australia and Hollywood. In his home country, he is a major leading man, having received four nominations for the AACTA Award (or its predecessor, the Australian Film Institute Award) for Best Actor, for films such as The Proposition and 33 Postcards. In the US and other international cinema, he is normally a character player, and often a villain, playing roles such as Peter Weyland in Prometheus, Charlie Rakes in Lawless, and Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3.
Actress and singer Heather Headley is turning 43. Born in Trinidad, she moved with her family to the US, and attended Northwestern for three years, dropping out to take part in the world premiere cast (in Toronto) of the musical Ragtime. She was then literally plucked from the chorus line to be offered a starring role, and her Broadway debut as Nala in the musical adaptation of The Lion King. Following that she starred in the title role of a second Tim Rice-Elton John musical, Aida, a role which brought her a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical.
Following her success on Broadway, Headley turned to a career as an R&B/soul singer. She released four albums from 2002-2012. Her 2006 album In My Mind was her biggest commercial success, reaching #5 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the R&B chart. However, it was her next album, Audience of One, which brought her a Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album. Since then, Headley has returned to the stage. She starred in the original West End production of the musical adaptation of the movie The Bodyguard, and received an Olivier Award nomination. Last year she returned to Broadway, replacing Jennifer Hudson in a revival of the musical version of The Color Purple as Shug Avery.
Director Tom Hooper is 45 today. He began his career working in British television, first on series such as EastEnders, then on miniseries such as an adaptation of George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda. He made his feature directing debut in 2004 with Red Dust, and then in 2008 directed the HBO miniseries John Adams, which won thirteen Emmys. He directed the 2010 Best Picture winner The King’s Speech, and won Best Director for it. Since then he has directed Les Misérables and The Danish Girl.
Daniel Baldwin, the second oldest of the four acting Baldwin brothers, is 57. He starred as Det. Beau Felton on the first three seasons of Homicide: Life on the Street, and also had a major role in the 2009 HBO movie Grey Gardens. Composer Harold Faltermeyer, who turns 65, is best known for film work such as the soundtracks to Beverly Hills Cop (including the famous “Axel F” theme) and Top Gun, each of which brought him a Grammy.
Mario Lemieux, one of the NHL’s all-time greats, turns 52 today. Despite a variety of injury problems during his career, he won the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP three times and led the Pittsburgh Penguins to two Stanley Cups. Since his retirement he has become the Penguins’ majority owner and has seen the franchise win three additional Stanley Cups. Bill James, who is celebrating his 68th, never played baseball professionally, but has influenced the game enormously as a writer, particularly as one of the “founding fathers” of analytical baseball research, often called “sabermetrics.”
We have a wide variety of “literary” birthdays today. Congregationalist preacher Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was a central figure in the religious revival movement called the First Great Awakening, and his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is considered one of the earliest classics of American literature. Bob Thaves (1924-2006) was known for creating the newspaper comic strip Frank and Earnest, which is still being produced by his son Tom. Louise Fitzhugh (1928-1974) wrote children’s literature. Her most famous book was Harriet the Spy, which was adapted into a 1996 feature film starring Michelle Trachtenberg. Václav Havel (1936-2011) was leading figure in Czech literature during the final decades of Communist rule, known for his plays such as The Garden Party. He then served as President of Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic after the collapse of the Iron Curtain. Neil deGrasse Tyson, who turns 59, is an astrophysicist who is one of the leading writers of popular science of our time. He is known for a number of books such as Just Visiting This Planet and The Pluto Files and for hosting the 2014 documentary series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.
Chester A. Arthur (1829-1886) became the 21st President of the US when he succeeded the assassinated James Garfield. He is remembered as the president who signed the Civil Service Reform Act of 1883. Ray Kroc (1902-1984) became one of the pioneers of the fast food industry in the US when he entered a partnership with a pair of brothers named Richard and Maurice McDonald in 1955. By 1959 there were over 100 McDonald’s in the US, by 1968 over 1000. Michael Keaton played Kroc in the 2016 film The Founder.
On October 5 of last year, our headliners were Kate Winslet and Jesse Eisenberg.
Kate Winslet is celebrating her 42nd birthday. She was part of the ensemble cast of last December’s Collateral Beauty, and stars with Idris Elba in The Mountain Between Us, which was screened at Toronto and enters general release tomorrow, and also will be featured in Woody Allen’s upcoming Wonder Wheel. Jesse Eisenberg is turning 34. He returns to the role of Lex Luthor in Justice League and has a number of other projects in the works (there are even rumors of a Zombieland sequel). He also composed and wrote Shoshana and Her Lovers for the ninth annual 24 Hour Musicals in Los Angeles earlier this year.
Karen Allen, who turns 66, starred in this year’s adaptation of Joan Anderson’s memoir, A Year by the Sea. Scott Weinger, who is 42, returned to the role of Steve Hale (now Dr. Hale) on Fuller House. Also 42 is Parminder Nagra, most recently seen on the British sci-fi series Fortitude. Stuntwoman Chloe Bruce, who is 34, has been busy in the last year, doubling Daisy Ridley in the upcoming The Last Jedi and also working on The Mummy and Blade Runner 2049.
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 October 5, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Bill James, Guy Pearce, Heather Headley, Jesse Eisenberg, karen allen, Kate Winslet, Mario Lemieux, Tom Hooper. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.