November 9 & 10: Happy Birthday Neil Gaiman and Roy Scheider


Neil Gaiman, who is turning 57 today, has won writing awards for science fiction, fantasy, horror fiction, and children’s literature, not to mention general writing awards like a British National Book Award.  He began writing professionally in his early twenties; both his first short story and his first nonfiction book (about the band Duran Duran) were published in 1984.  A friendship with Alan Moore brought him into writing for comics; probably his best known work in that medium has been his revival of DC’s The Sandman.  His first novel, Good Omens, was a collaboration with the late Sir Terry Pratchett of Discworld fame.  His best known novels include American Gods (winner of a bunch of honors including Hugo and Nebula Awards), The Graveyard Book, winner of a Hugo as well as the Newberry and Carnegie Awards, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, honored by the British National Book Awards.

Gaiman has written regularly for film and television as well as having several of his works adapted for the screen.  He created and wrote the mid-1990s BBC fantasy series Neverwhere, and wrote the story and screenplay for the film MirrorMask.  His novels Stardust and Coraline, and his short story “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” have all been adapted into feature films.  He is currently an executive producer of the Starz network series adapting his novel American Gods.

After a bit of a slow start to his screen career, Roy Scheider (1932-2008) emerged as one of the most prominent actors of the 1970s.  Scheider had a few small film and television roles during the 1960s, but nothing really major until 1971.  That year he had prominent supporting roles in Klute, as the pimp of Jane Fonda’s character, and in The French Connection, as Cloudy Russo.  He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for the latter film.  He went on to star in a number of high-profile 1970s films, such as Marathon Man and Sorcerer, and was nominated for Best Actor as Joe Gideon in All That Jazz.  However, his most famous and iconic film role came in 1975, as the police chief of a New England resort town.

Through the 1980s, Scheider continued to star in films like Blue Thunder, 2010, the Elmore Leonard adaptation 52 Pick-Up, and Cohen and Tate.  As his film career faded, he landed a starring role on television, as Captain Nathan Bridger on SeaQuest DSV, although he left the series over creative differences during the third and final season.  He continued to work in film until shortly before his death from myeloma in 2008; one of his late roles was as Frank Castle, Sr., in The Punisher.

Walton Goggins, who turns 46 today, became known for his regular roles on The Shield and Justified.  He has had roles in Quentin Tarantino’s two latest features, Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight (as Chris Mannix), and will appear next year in Lara Croft and Ant-Man and the WaspJosh Peck, who played one of the title characters on Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh, turns 31 today; he recently starred in Netflix’s Take the 10Heather Matarazzo, who won an Independent Spirit Award for starring in her debut film, Welcome to the Dollhouse, and who later appeared in the Princess Diaries films, Scream 3, and more, is 35.  Mackenzie Phillips, who is 58, starred as Julie Cooper Horvath on One Day at a Time, and later starred on Disney’s So WeirdKiernan Shipka, who is turning 18, was a regular on seasons 4-7 of Mad Men.  Rapper and actress Eve, who celebrates her 39th, won a Grammy for “Let Me Blow Ya Mind,” a duet with Gwen Stefani, and played Terri Jones in the Barbershop films.

William Butterworth III, better known by his most common pen name, W. E. B. Griffin, is 88.  He is the author of nearly three dozen military fiction novels, such as the Brotherhood of War series, the Badge of Honor series of police procedurals, and much more.

Debra Hill (1950-2005) was a screenwriter and producer, known particularly for her work with John Carpenter, on films like Halloween and Escape from New York.  She was also a producer on Adventures in Babysitting, Crazy in Alabama, and World Trade CenterRussell Means (1939-2012) became known as a Native American activist, a leader of the American Indian Movement for many years.  He later had an acting career, most notably playing Chingachgook in Michael Mann’s The Last of the MohicansMikhail Kalashnikov (1919-2013) was a Russian military engineer and small arms designer who was most famous for designing the famous AK-47 assault rifle, often known informally as the “Kalashnikov.”

We have a few birthdays to catch up on from November 9, when last year’s headliners were Ryan Murphy and Hedy Lamar.

Ryan Murphy’s birthday actually seems to be November 30, so we will catch up with the co-creator of Glee, American Horror Story, and more on that date.

Eric Dane, who is 45, stars on The Last Ship, which just finished its fourth season and will return next year for a fifth.  Nick Lachey, who is turning 44, can be heard on Let It Snow, the recent Christmas album from 98 Degrees.  He and his wife, model Vanessa Minnillo Lachey, who celebrates her 37th, were both contestants on season 25 of Dancing with the Stars.  Danish director Bille August, who is turning 69 today, has had two films come out this year, The Chinese Widow and 55 Steps.

On this date one year ago, Miranda Lambert and Ellen Pompeo were our headliners.

Country star Miranda Lambert celebrates her 34th today.  She released her sixth studio album, The Weight of These Wings, last November, and spent most of this year on her Highway Vagabond Tour in support of it.  Ellen Pompeo continues to star as Meredith Grey on Grey’s Anatomy as she turns 48, and made her directing debut with the 13th season episode “Be Still My Soul.”

Taron Egerton, who turns 28, returned to the role of Eggsy Unwin for Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and will appear in the upcoming Billionaire Boys Club and in the title role of Otto Bathurst’s Robin HoodZoey Deutch, who starred in the indie film Before I Fall and will appear in the upcoming Flower, is turning 23.  Mackenzie Foy, who is 17, will star as Clara in next year’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

Hugh Bonneville, who turns 54, is appearing in the recent release Breathe, and starred earlier this year in the historical drama Viceroy’s HouseTracy Morgan is 49; he will star on the upcoming TBS series The Last O. G.  Composer Ennio Morricone is still active at 89; he scored Giuseppe Tornatore’s romantic drama The Correspondence, which came out last year.  Sir Tim Rice is 73; he wrote some of the lyrics in this year’s hit Beauty and the Beast.

For our musical closer for today we will turn to Abigail Washburn, who turns 40.  She and her husband, banjo great Béla Fleck, won a Grammy for Best Folk Album for their album Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, and recently released another album, Echo in the Valley.  Here’s a number from Abby’s City of Refuge album.

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 November 10, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Oops—forgot to schedule this one to go up tomorrow morning at the usual time before I hit the “schedule” button. 🙂


    • LOL. I have hit “publish” on articles that were nowhere near finished. That’s part of the reason I started scheduling in advance. If I put in a future date, at least it won’t instantly post to the site when I hit the wrong button.

      Nothing wrong with starting the birthday celebration a little early!


  2. Neil Gaiman I know from the film adaptation of Stardust and from MirrorMask. I understand that Stardust the film is quite a bit different in tone and outlook from Gaiman’s novel, but Gaiman gave his blessing to Matthew Vaughn’s alterations, or so I have read. MirrorMask doesn’t completely work, but it’s a visually striking fantasy with an original premise that I found refreshing in an age of sequels and remakes.

    Roy Scheider wasn’t the biggest star of the 1970s, but he had some big roles and got to deliver one of the most memorable and oft-quoted (and misquoted) lines in film history.

    You can tell when watching The Last of the Mohicans that Russell Means was a novice actor, but he did have impressive physical presence as Chingachgook.

    Abigail Washburn isn’t a big name but she’s been a favorite of mine for about a decade, and so I have to give her an annual birthday plug.


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