November 1: Happy Birthday Dennis Muren and Jim Steinman
Today we have a pair of headliners who are known for their out-of-the-public-eye contributions to the entertainment world.
Dennis Muren is turning 71 today. While studying at Pasadena City College, he made a short film called Equinox, for which he also created the visual effects. After earning his degree he went to work with a business that was then a newly-started company called Industrial Light & Magic. He is still with ILM over 40 years later; his first project with them was a little film titled Star Wars.
Muren has won or shared nine Oscars during his career. He has worked on six Star Wars films to date; some of his other major films have included E.T., Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Terminator 2, and Jurassic Park and additional films in that franchise. Muren was one of the developers of the CGI techniques used with the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park (which resulted in one of his Oscars), and helped persuade Spielberg to go with CGI as opposed to stop-motion techniques. Our Disney theme park fans will probably also be interested in his involvement in Star Tours and Captain EO.
Jim Steinman is celebrating his 70th. While studying at Amherst, he began writing music for stage productions, and also wrote the music, lyrics, and book for a musical, The Dream Engine. He has remained active in the musical theater world through the years. His musical More Than You Deserve was performed at the Public Theater in 1973. In 1997 he wrote the music for a German musical, Tanz der Vampire, which later was brought to Broadway as Dance of the Vampires. Bat Out of Hell: The Musical, adapted from the Meat Loaf album, made its North American premiere in October.
In the popular music world, Steinman is best known for his collaborations with Michael “Meat Loaf” Aday and Bonnie Tyler. He was the composer for four of Meat Loaf’s Albums, including the first two in the Bat Out of Hell trilogy, and produced Bat Out of Hell II. He produced two of Tyler’s albums and wrote many of her most famous hits, such as “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Holding Out for a Hero.” He also wrote hits like “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” for Air Supply and “It’s All Coming Back to Me Know” for Celine Dion, and contributed two memorable songs to the soundtrack of Walter Hill’s “rock & roll fable,” Streets of Fire.
Robert Foxworth, who is 76 today, had a long film and television career, including starring as Chase Giorberti on Falcon Crest and voicing Ratchet in several Transformers films. Director Lucky McKee, who turns 42, is known for horror films like All Cheerleaders Must Die and May and this year’s thriller Blood Money. Max Burkholder, best known for his regular role on Parenthood as Max Braverman, is turning 20.
Grantland Rice (1880-1954) was one of the pioneering figures of sports journalism in the early 20th century, known for his elegant prose, and even poetry, as he chronicled the great sporting events of his time. Al Arbour (1932-2015) had a playing career of over 15 years in the NHL, but is remembered more as a highly successful coach, who took the New York Islanders to four straight Stanley Cup wins in the early 1980s; he is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
James J. Kilpatrick (1920-2010) was a newspaper editor and columnist remembered for his Point/Counterpoint segments on 60 Minutes in the 1970s, which were famously parodied on Saturday Night Live and in the movie Airplane!, and also, less favorably, for his relentless defense of segregation in the South in the fifties and sixties.
Our November 1 headliners last year were Lyle Lovett and Toni Collette.
Lyle Lovett turns 60 today. He has not released any new records lately, but he did make a TV guest appearance on Life in Pieces earlier this year. Toni Collette, who is celebrating her 45th, has five features on her filmography for this year, ranging from XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, to the indie film Full Mom Diner, to the upcoming French production Madame.
Penn Badgley, who turns 31, will star on the upcoming Lifetime series You. Anthony Ramos, who will star on Spike Lee’s upcoming Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It, is turning 26. Logan Marshall-Green, who celebrates his 41st, appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and is yet another regular on an upcoming series, USA Network’s Damnation. Natalia Tena, who is 33, is currently a regular on the new CBS series Wisdom of the Crowd. Jenny McCarthy, who is turning 45, can be seen on the reality TV series Wahlburgers and Donnie Loves Jenny. Aishwarya Rai, who is celebrating her 44th, had one of her biggest commercial successes last fall in the Bollywood film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Her compatriot Ileana D’Cruz, who is 30, starred in two films released this year. Anthony Kiedis, who is 55, spent much of the past year touring with Red Hot Chili Peppers on their Getaway World Tour.
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.