October 29: Happy Birthday Ben Foster and Tracee Ellis Ross


Ben Foster is turning 37 today.  He made his acting debut in 1995 starring in the Disney Channel Series Flash Forward, which also starred Jewel Staite.  On television, he has gone on to win a Daytime Emmy for the 2002 TV movie Bang Bang You’re Dead and to play the recurring character of Russell Corwin on Six Feet Under.  However, he has chosen to concentrate more on feature films.  He had a major role in the fourth of Barry Levinson’s “Baltimore films,” Liberty Heights, and then, in what seemed almost an obligatory step for young performers of his generation, he starred in a high school rom-com, Get Over It.

Foster has had a few lead roles, as in 2009’s The Messenger, but generally has played character or supporting parts.  He has made a small number of big budget films—he was unable to soar above the mess that was X-Men 3, but appeared to better effect as gunfighter Charlie Prince in the remake of 3:10 to Yuma.  He has generally preferred to work in smaller productions, like 11:14, Nick Cassavetes’s Alpha Dog, or last year’s Hell or High Water, for which he won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Foster’s upcoming films include the Western Hostiles, out in December, and next year’s Galveston, adapted from Nic Pizzolatto’s novel.

Tracee Ellis Ross, the daughter of singer Diana Ross, is turning 45 today.  She began working in film and television in the mid-1990s, but it wasn’t until 2000 that she had her big breakthrough, when she was cast as Joan Carol Clayton on UPN’s Girlfriends, which ran for eight seasons.  Near the end of the show’s run, Ross had a major role—probably her biggest feature film role—in Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls.

After Girlfriends’ run ended, Ross starred on the first season of Reed Between the Lines.  She currently stars as Dr. Rainbow “Bow” Johnson on ABC’s Black-ish, which recently had its fourth season premiere.  Ross has been nominated for two Primetime Emmys for the series, and earlier this year won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Comedy Series.

Television writer and producer Michael Schur is 42 today.  He got his start as a writer for Saturday Night Live in the late 1990s, then wrote and produced for The Office.  He was the co-creator of Parks and Recreation (with Greg Daniels) and Brooklyn Nine-Nine (with Dan Goor), as well as an executive producer on both series, and he is most recently the creator of NBC’s The Good Place.

English actress Finola Hughes, who turns 58, is best known for her work in American soap operas; she is a seven time Daytime Emmy nominee, winning Best Actress in a Drama for General Hospital in 1991.  Rufus Sewell is turning 50.  He has won an Olivier Award and been nominated for a Tony for starring in Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n’ Roll.  On screen, he has been a BAFTA Television Award nominee for playing Pertruchio in The Taming of the Shrew for the BBC series ShakespeaRe-Told, and appeared in movies such as Dark City, A Knight’s Tale, and The Illusionist.

Italia Ricci, who is turning 31, stars on Designated Survivor as Emily Rhodes, and previously played the lead role on ABC Family’s Chasing LifeCleopatra Coleman, who is best known for her regular role on The Last Man on Earth, celebrates her 30th birthday today.

Bluegrass great Sonny Osborne, for nearly fifty years part of the Osborne Brothers with his brother Bobby, turns 80 today.  Cuban musician Omara Portuondo, a member of the Buena Vista Social Club, is celebrating her 87th.  Neal Hefti (1922-2008) was known for his work as a jazz musician, particularly with Count Basie, and for composing the themes for a pair of iconic 1960s television series, The Odd Couple and Batman.

Hockey Hall of Famer Denis Potvin turns 64.  One of the best defensemen of his time, Potvin was the captain of the New York Islanders as they won four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980-1983.  Amanda Beard turns 36.  The swimmer won medals for the US at three consecutive Olympics, in breaststroke and individual medley events and as a relay team member.

Our literary birthday today is James Boswell (1740-1795), best known for his Life of Johnson.  Often described as the best biography ever written in the English language, it tells the life story of poet and literary critic Samuel Johnson.

A year ago today, Richard Dreyfuss and Winona Ryder headlined the birthday article.

Richard Dreyfuss, who is 70, starred earlier this year on Fox’s Shots Fired, and returns to feature films next year in Book Club and The Last LaughWinona Ryder, our WTHH birthday, celebrates her 46th birthday.  She stars on the Netflix web series Stranger Things, which just had its second season released.  Ryder received Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for the first season.

Dan Castellaneta continues to voice Homer Simpson and several other characters on The Simpsons as he turns 60.  Aksel Hennie, who celebrates his 42nd, will star in the upcoming God Particle, the third in the Cloverfield series.  Gabrielle Union, who stars on BET’s Being Mary Jane, is 45 today.  Brendan Fehr is 40; he recently finished the fourth and final season of The Night ShiftJanet Montgomery, who is 35, also finished the final season of a series she starred on, WGN’s SalemIndia Eisley, seen earlier this year in Netflix’s Clinical, is 24 today.

Lee Child, the creator of Jack Reacher, is 63.  The past year has seen the release of No Middle Name, a collection of short fiction about Reacher, and the short story “Faking a Murderer,” a collaboration between Child and Kathy Reichs which teams Reacher and Reich’s Temperance Brennan.  The Midnight Line, the 22nd Reacher novel, comes out next month.  Asked for comment on all of this, Reacher said nothing.

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 29, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I actually saw a few episodes of Flash Forward with Ben Foster and Jewel Staite back in the late 1990s, back when I spent more time in front of the TV screen than the computer monitor. He has gone on to an interesting career and made a number of interesting movies, although without becoming a big star. He was very good in 3:10 to Yuma and Hell or High Water.

    If you click through to the April 3 article, you find that I included a bit about Ben Foster in that article as well. What I think happened is this—there is an English footballer named Ben Foster, whose birthdate is April 3, and at some point one of the sources I use for finding birth dates must have gotten the two confused. Or maybe I did. 🙂

    Looking ahead to Monday and Tuesday, I see one good headliner candidate for tomorrow, but only one, and a couple of possibilities for Tuesday. So what I’m going to do is another consolidated article that will come out on Tuesday.


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