November 15: Happy Birthday Ed Asner and Petula Clark


Ed Asner is celebrating his 88th birthday today.  He graduated from the University of Chicago and spent some time in theater in Chicago before moving to New York, where played Jonathan Peachum in the off-Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera, and made his Broadway debut in Robert L. Joseph’s Face of a Hero in 1960.  He made his feature film debut in The Satan Bug in 1965, and has had prominent roles in El Dorado, Fort Apache, the Bronx, Daniel, Hard Rain, and other films.

However, Asner is best known for his television career.  He is a seventeen-time Primetime Emmy nominee, and has won seven times.  Two of his wins were for the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man and Roots.  The other five were all for playing the character of Lou Grant—three for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and the other two for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama on Lou Grant.  Asner is one of only two people to win an acting Emmy in both Comedy and Drama categories for the same role (the other is Uzo Aduba of Orange is the New Black), and also one of only two people to win an Emmy for the same role in two different series (along with James Spader).

Petula Clark is turning 85 today.  She made her performing debut at the age of nine, during a BBC radio program which was interrupted by an air raid.  She had a number of singing engagements during the remainder of the war, sometimes alongside another young performer by the name of Julie Andrews.  By the end of the 1940s, she was recording regularly, and during the 1950s she had several hit singles in the UK and Australia.

In the mid-1960s, Clark became a major international singing star.  Her 1964 single, “Downtown,” became her first success in the US, where it was a #1 single (as it was in several other countries).  She went on to have several additional top 10 hits, including “I Know a Place,” “My Love,” and “This is My Song.”

Clark also had a film career.  She began appearing in British films as a pre-teen, including a small part in I Know Where I’m Going, and had several lead roles in the early fifties.  In the late sixties she appeared in the musicals Finian’s Rainbow (as Sharon McLonergan) and Goodbye, Mr. Chips.  She is still an active performer; she is currently touring all over the US.

Kathleen Rose Perkins, who turns 43, is best known for her regular role on Showtime’s EpisodesLaci J. Mailey, a regular on Hallmark’s Chesapeake Shores, is celebrating her 27th.  Emma Dumont, who is 23 today, is currently a regular, as Lorna Dane/Polaris, on The Gifted, before which she starred on NBC’s Aquarius.

William Pitt the Elder (1708-1778) was best known as the English prime minister (in fact if not title) during most of the Seven Years War, and the architect of England’s victorious strategy.  He was known for most of his career as The Great Commoner, for his refusal to accept any title from the king—until 1766, when he accepted the honor of being the first Earl of Chatham.  His son, known as William Pitt the Younger, was also England’s prime minister, during the first part of the Napoleonic Wars.  William Herschel (1738-1822) was one of the leading astronomers of his time, known for discovering the existence of the planet Uranus and for developing many new techniques in the field.

Last year on this date we had Jonny Lee Miller and Shailene Woodley as headliners.

Jonny Lee Miller is turning 45.  He continues to star as a modernized Sherlock Holmes on Elementary, which will return for its sixth season in January, and also returned to the role of Simon “Sick Boy” Williamson for T2 TrainspottingShailene Woodley celebrates her 26th today.  She was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for Big Little Lies, and will star in Baltasar Kormakur’s upcoming Adrift.

Sam Waterston, who is 77, is a regular on Netflix’s Grace and Frankie and appeared in last fall’s Miss Sloane.  Director Roger Donaldson’s latest feature was a documentary about auto racer Bruce McLaren; Donaldson is 72 today.  James Widdoes, who is 64, works regularly as a director on CBS’s MomSean Murray, currently in his 14th season as a regular on NCIS, turns 40 today.  Yaya DaCosta, who is 35, remains a regular as April Sexton on Chicago MedVirginie Ledoyen is turning 41; she remains active in French film and television, appearing in features like this year’s Strange Birds and the upcoming MILF.  Her compatriot Laura Smet, seen in The Guardians, which screened at Toronto, is 34.

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 15, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The Mary Tyler Moore show was part of my parents’ regular viewing in the seventies, so that’s where I know Ed Asner from for the most part. He also played one of the villains in Howard Hawks’ El Dorado.

    Petula Clark’s “Downtown” and a few of her other hits were still getting some airplay when I first started listening to the radio for more than just sports in the seventies.

    Sam Waterston has had a nice career. I particularly liked him in Hopscotch opposite Walter Matthau.

    Owing to there not being a lot of big names with birthdays—and to my having tests to grade 🙂 —the birthday series will take a day off tomorrow, and return on Friday with a couple of fairly big-name headliners and some catching up on a number of other folks.


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