October 30 & 31: Happy Birthday Juliet Stevenson and Piper Perabo


English actress Juliet Stevenson turned 61 yesterday.  She studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and then began to make appearances with the Royal Shakespeare Company.  Her Shakespeare roles have included Rosalind in As You Like It, Gertrude in Hamlet, and Hippolyta and Titania (commonly a dual role) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  She is a five time Olivier Award nominee, winning Best Actress in a Drama for the original London production of Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden.

Stevenson began working in British television soon after starting her stage career.  She has been nominated three times for BAFTA Television Awards for Best Actress—for a televised version of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, for the miniseries The Politician’s Wife, and for an episode of the anthology series Accused.  She has had supporting roles in a number of prominent films, including Bend It Like Beckham, Mona Lisa Smile, and Infamous.  Her most significant lead role in film, for which she was a BAFTA Film Award nominee for Best Actress, was in the romantic drama (with a fantasy element) Truly, Madly, Deeply.

Piper Perabo is celebrating her 41st birthday.  She earned a degree in theater from Ohio University, and then moved to New York to pursue an acting career, making her feature film debut in 1999 in Whiteboyz.  A year later she made two higher-profile features, playing an FBI agent who teams up with a certain Moose and Squirrel in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and a bartender with aspirations of a music career in Coyote Ugly.  For the next several years she was a fairly familiar face on movie screens, appearing in the Cheaper by the Dozen films and The Prestige, among others.  She also seemed to have the market cornered on lesbian romances in the early 2000s, starring in the rather dark drama Lost and Delirious, and with Lena Headey in the romantic comedy Imagine Me & You.

While Perabo has never become a major film star, she did land a plum TV role, starring on USA Network’s Covert Affairs as Annie Walker for five seasons, and receiving a Golden Globe nomination.  She made her Broadway debut in 2009 in Neil LaBute’s reasons to be pretty, and starred on ABC’s short-lived crime/legal drama Notorious.  Earlier this year she starred in the thriller Black Butterfly.

Other October 30 birthdays include Charles Martin Smith, who celebrated his 64th.  Smith starred in Never Cry Wolf and had prominent roles in films such as American Graffiti, Starman, and The Untouchables, and has also directed features like Stone of Destiny and Dolphin TaleNia Long, who turned 47, joined the season 9 cast of NCIS Los Angeles, and has starred in films like Love Jones and Big Momma’s HouseMaria Thayer, who has had regular roles on Adult Swim’s Eaglehart and TruTV’s Those Who Can’t, turned 42.  Fiona Dourif, something of a scream queen of the last several years who has starred in two of the Child’s Play films and other recent horror movies, turned 36.

Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723) was a leading scientist of his time and one of the founders of the Royal Society, but is remembered even more as an architect who designed a number of buildings built in London in the late 17th century, most famously St. Paul’s CathedralRobert Caro, who turned 82 yesterday, is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, the first time for The Power Broker, about New York City’s “master builder” Robert Moses, and the second for Means of Ascent, the second volume in his ongoing life of Lyndon B. Johnson.

Today’s additional birthdays start with director Ruben Fleischer, who made a very Halloween-appropriate debut with Zombieland.  He went to direct 30 Minutes or Less and Gangster Squad, neither of which was as well received as his debut, and is now working on Venom, about Marvel’s villain-turned-antihero.  Fleischer turns 43 today.

Sally Kirkland, who is turning 76, was an Oscar nominee and a Golden Globe winner for Best Actress, for the 1987 film Anna.  Scandinavian actor David Dencik, who is 43, has done a lot of work in Swedish and Danish film and television and appeared in American films such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Girl With the Dragon TattooJustin Chatwin, known for roles in War of the Worlds, Dragonball Evolution, and last year’s Urge, turns 35.  Voice actor Nolan North turns 47.  He has voiced DC and Marvel characters ranging from Superman to Deadpool.  He has also done some live action work—he was a regular on Port Charles and played Peter Hastings on Pretty Little LiarsNeal Stephenson, who is 58, is a science fiction novelist known for works like The Baroque Cycle, a Lotus Award winning trilogy.

Actress and singer Ethel Waters (1896-1977) became the second African-American Oscar nominee when she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Pinky, and the first African-American Emmy nominee for a guest appearance on Route 66.  She was also a notable jazz and blues singer who recorded hits like “Am I Blue” and “Stormy Weather.”

Chiang Kai-Shek (1887-1975) was the leader of the Kuomintang, or Chinese Nationalist Party, for nearly 50 years.  As such he was the leading figure in the government of China from the late 1920s until the KMT were driven out by the Communists in 1949, after which they maintained control of Taiwan.  Dan Rather, who turns 86, was the anchor of the CBS Evening News for nearly 25 years, during the era of the “Big Three” of network news anchors, who also included Tom Brokaw of NBC and Peter Jennings of ABC.

Headliners last year on October 30 were Henry Winkler and Kevin Pollak.

Henry Winkler, who turned 72 yesterday, can be seen as himself on NBC’s reality-travel series Better Late Than NeverKevin Pollak turned 60; he was seen recently in Three Christs, which screened at Toronto.

Harry Hamlin, who appears in the recurring role of Addison Hayes on Shooter, celebrated his 66th.  Jessica Hynes continues to be seen in a variety of British TV programming, such as the revived game show The Crystal Maze; she is now 45.  Matthew Morrison, who was 39 yesterday, had a supporting role in the recent release Tulip FeverJanel Parrish, who turned 29, will return to her role of Mona Vanderwaal on Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, a spinoff of the just-concluded series, and has several feature appearances coming up as well.  Singer Gavin Rossdale, who turned 52, joined The Voice UK as a coach for its sixth season.  Vanessa White of The Saturdays turned 28; she released her second solo EP, Chapter Two, earlier this year.  Clémence Poésy turned 35.  She starred in Stanley Tucci’s Final Portrait, which came out earlier this year.

Peter Jackson and Michael Landon were the October 31 headliners a year ago.

Sir Peter Jackson turns 56.  He is writing and producing an adaptation of Philip Reeve’s post-apocalyptic novel Mortal Engines, scheduled for release in December of 2018.  He has also acquired the movie rights to another fantasy series, Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series.

Stephen Rea turns 71; he was last seen on the BBC miniseries adaptation of War and PeaceRob Schneider, who is 54, costarred earlier this year in Adam Sandler’s latest, Sandy WexlerDermot Mulroney, who celebrates the same birthday, can be seen in the current release The Mountain Between UsMike O’Malley, the creator and executive producer of Starz’s just completed Survivor’s Remorse, is 51.  Deidre Hall continues to be a regular on Days of Our Lives as she turns 70.  Eddie Kaye Thomas is 37 today; he can be seen as Toby Curtis on CBS’s Scorpion, now in its fourth season.  Vanessa Marano, who is turning 25, has completed the final season of Switched at BirthScott Clifton, who is 33, won his third Daytime Emmy as Liam Spencer on The Bold and the Beautiful.

Finally, folkie Tom Paxton is turning 80.  He has cut back on his touring but still records, and released a new album this year.  Let’s have a closing number from him, joined by another famous name in folk music:

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 31, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Juliet Stevenson is not well known in the US, but she’s clearly had a very good career. It’s one of those very English acting careers—lots of theater, including a fair amount of Shakespeare, plenty of British TV work including a number of costume dramas, and some substantial film roles for leavening. I wouldn’t be completely surprised to see her become Dame Juliet one of these years.

    Piper Perabo usually projects a very likable screen personality. I thought that she and Lena Headey were adorable together in Imagine Me & You.

    Ruben Fleischer has quite an appropriate birthday. Had his subsequent film work matched his debut, you might be reading about him as a headliner. But 30 Minutes or Less (which I have not seen) was not well-received, and Gangster Squad is a movie that wants ever so badly to be LA Confidential, but ends up being just a moderately watchable street Western.

    I have now given Tom Paxton the “closing number” on two consecutive October 31 birthday articles—you may be able to guess that he’s a favorite of mine.


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