October 7: Happy Birthday Thom Yorke and Tim Minchin
Thom Yorke turns 49 today. He was attending Abingdon School in Oxfordshire, England, when he and four schoolmates, Ed O’Brien, Phil Selway, and Colin and Jonny Greenwood, formed a band they called On a Friday. After a hiatus or two in the late 1980s, the band signed a recording contract in 1991 and took a new name—Radiohead. Yorke is their lead vocalist—rated as one of the 100 greatest singers of all time by Rolling Stone—and plays guitar and keyboards.
Radiohead has become one of the most important voices in alternative rock. They released their first studio album, Pablo Honey, in 1993, and gradually built an audience. Between 1997 and 2007 they had five consecutive albums reach #1 in the UK, and they’ve had two #1 albums in the US. They have received over twenty Grammy nominations, with four wins, mostly in Alternative music categories.
Yorke has also recorded two solo albums, and is a member of the experimental rock supergroup Atoms for Peace. He contributed several vocals to the soundtrack of the 1998 film Velvet Goldmine, wrote music for a 2015 Broadway revival of Harold Pinter’s Old Times, and composed the soundtrack for the upcoming film Suspiria, a remake of Dario Argento’s film of that title, which stars recent birthday celebrant Dakota Johnson.
Tim Minchin turns 42 today. He earned degrees from the University of Western Australia and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, and began to pursue a career in music. He found it hard to interest record companies in his particular style of music, so he began doing live shows that evolved into the “funny cabaret shows” which he is known for. He began to enjoy success with his 2005 and 2006 live shows, Darkside and So Rock, both of which have been released as albums. He has released a total of seven albums in a little over fifteen years.
Minchin has acted on stage and screen—some might remember his recurring role on season 6 of Californication—but his other major area of accomplishment is in musical theater. In 2009, the Royal Shakespeare Company commissioned him to write the music and lyrics for a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. Matilda the Musical had its West End premiere in 2011, and won seven Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical (shared by Minchin and Dennis Kelly, who wrote the book). The production moved to Broadway in 2013, and won five Tonys. Minchin’s second musical was Groundhog Day (adapted from the film), which premiered last year at the Old Vic in London, and won Minchin a second Olivier Award for Best New Musical; it moved to Broadway earlier this year.
Two actresses are sharing a 31st birthday today. Amber Stevens West costarred in 22 Jump Street and has been a regular on several TV series—Greek, the recently-canceled The Carmichael Show, and now on Fox’s new series Ghost, which premiered last Sunday night. Holland Roden (also covered in last year’s article) played Lydia Martin on all six seasons of MTV’s just-concluded Teen Wolf. She will be part of the cast of the third season of the anthology horror series Channel Zero.
Director Andrew Dominik, who turns 50, made his debut with the Australian crime drama/biopic Chopper. He has since made The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Killing Them Softly, both starring Brad Pitt. Nicole Ari Parker is 47; she was known for a lot of 1990s indie films, especially for starring in the lesbian romance The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love, and then was a regular on Showtime’s Soul Food. Omar Benson Miller, a regular on HBO’s Ballers, turns 39. Jake McLaughlin, who is turning 35, is one of the stars of ABC’s Quantico. Kira Kosarin, who celebrates her 20th, is best known as the star of Nickelodeon’s The Thundermans.
Several figures from the literary world were born on this date. Australian writer Thomas Keneally is best known for his 1982 novel Schindler’s Ark, which won the Man Booker Prize and was the source for the film Schindler’s List. Amiri Baraka (1934-2014; also known as Leroi Jones) won the PEN Open Book Award for his short story collection Tales of the Out and Gone and also was known for his several collections of poetry. Sherman Alexie, who turns 51, is known for his American Book Award winning novel Reservation Blues and his short story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven; some of the stories in the latter were the basis for the film Smoke Signals. Helen MacInnes (1907-1985) was married to a classics scholar who also was an MI6 agent; she used the knowledge she gained thereby to write over twenty espionage thrillers, several of which were adapted into film.
Henry A. Wallace (1888-1965) was an agricultural researcher and newspaper editor who served as Secretary of Agriculture and then Vice-President under President Franklin Roosevelt, and ran a controversial campaign as a third party candidate for President in 1948. Elijah Muhammad (1897-1975) became one of the earliest members of the Nation of Islam in 1931, and the movement’s leader after its founder, Wallace Fard Muhammad, disappeared in 1933. Desmond Tutu, who turns 86, is a South African Anglican clergyman and human rights activist. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership of the anti-apartheid movement, became the first black Archbishop of Cape Town in 1986, and chaired South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the 1990s.
Our headliners on this date one year ago were John Mellencamp and Toni Braxton.
John Mellencamp, who turns 66, released his latest album, Sad Clowns & Hillbillies, which featured several duets with Carlene Carter, in April. He and Carter toured in support of the album for most of the summer. Mellencamp also contributed the title song to this year’s movie The Yellow Birds, which premiered at Sundance in January. Toni Braxton is 50 today. Her latest album, Sex & Cigarettes, will be released early next year, while the first single off of the album, “Deadwood,” came out in September.
Twin brothers Aaron and Shaun Ashmore are 38 today. Aaron continues to star on the Canadian series Killjoys, which airs on Syfy in the US. Shawn was a regular on ABC’s Conviction, which was canceled in May after one season. Jamie Hector, who celebrates his 42nd, continues to play Harry Bosch’s partner Jerry Edgar on Amazon’s Bosch, which will be returning for a fourth season. Reality TV competition host and judge Simon Cowell is 58; his latest gigs have been on America’s Got Talent and The X Factor. Film composer Marco Beltrami turns 51; his latest scores have been for The Shallows, the remake of Ben-Hur, and Logan. Gabriel Yared, who is 68 today, continues to compose for film as well; his latest is the upcoming The Life and Death of John F. Donovan.
Finally, we have a few people to catch up on who had birthdays yesterday, most of them covered in last year’s October 6 article, which had Elisabeth Shue and Carol Lombard as headliners.
Elisabeth Shue celebrates her 54th. She plays Bobby Riggs’s wife, Priscilla Wheelan, in Battle of the Sexes and will appear as Lucy Kersey in next year’s remake of Death Wish. She is, of course, a WTHH subject. Amy Jo Johnson, who is 47, was the star, producer, director and writer of The Space Between, which screened earlier this year at the Calgary Underground Film Festival. She also, fittingly, made a cameo in Power Rangers. Ioan Gruffud, who is 44, starred in the miniseries Liar, a Sundance/ITV co-production. Jeremy Sisto, who stars on the Audience Network’s Ice, turns 43. Olivia Thirlby, who turns 31, is a star of the Amazon web series Goliath.
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 7, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged Amber Stevens West, Amy Jo Johnson, Andrew Dominik, Elisabeth Shue, Helen MacInnes, Holland Roden, John Mellencamp, Kira Kosarin, Nicole Ari Parker, Sherman Alexie, Thom Yorke, Tim Minchin. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.