November 17: Happy Birthday Rachel McAdams and Rock Hudson


It’s Rachel McAdams’s 39th birthday today.  The Canadian actress studied theater at Toronto’s York University.  She made her film debut in a Canadian production titled My Name is Tanino, and then appeared in a film adaptation of Judith Thompson’s play, Perfect Pie.  Although she was already in her twenties, her first Hollywood productions cast her as high school students.  She first played a cheerleader who somehow swaps bodies with Rob Schneider in The Hot Chick, but her real breakout came when she was cast as Regina George in Mean Girls.

McAdams followed up by starring with Ryan Gosling in the romance The Notebook, was one of the stars of the surprise hit of 2005, Wedding Crashers, and played the heroine of Wes Craven’s thriller, Red Eye.  At this point, as she was being hailed as a budding superstar—“the next Julia Roberts,” according to some—McAdams appears to have consciously decided to slow her career down, turning down some big roles and taking a couple of years off from film.

That’s not to say that she’s gone away for good.  Since her return to film in 2008, McAdams has appeared in prominent roles in big-budget productions, playing Irene Adler in two Sherlock Holmes features, and joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Christine Palmer in Doctor Strange.  She had a major financial success with the romantic drama The Vow, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for 2015 for Spotlight.  She stars with Rachel Weisz in Disobedience, which screened at Toronto this year and goes into general release next spring.

Today, Rock Hudson (1925-1985) is very possibly best known for being the first major celebrity to die from complications of AIDS.  But before that, he was one of the biggest film stars of the late fifties and early sixties.  Hudson began working in films in the late forties, and in the early fifties appeared in a number of Westerns.  He had supporting roles in Anthony Mann’s Winchester ’73 and Bend of the River, and went on to star in films like The Lawless Breed and Gun Fury.  In the mid-fifties he starred in two of Douglas Sirk’s famous melodramas, All That Heaven Allows and Written on the Wind, and in between those two he received his only Oscar nomination, for Giant.

The failure of A Farewell to Arms in 1957 was a setback, but in 1959 Hudson starred in what was probably his biggest hit, playing a playboy who shares a party line with interior decorator Doris Day.

After Pillow Talk, Hudson and Day were reunited for two additional films.  He also found success in other comedies like Come September and Man’s Favorite Sport.  When his film stardom faded towards the end of the sixties, he found success on television, starring on NBC’s McMillan & Wife for six seasons, and then, in his final year of life, appearing in a recurring role on Dynasty.

Alexa Havins, best known for her Daytime Emmy-nominated performance as Babe Carey on All My Children, turned 37 yesterday.  Brooke Elliott, who celebrated her 43rd yesterday, starred as Jane Bingum on Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva.

Stephen Root, who is 66 today, starred on NBC’s late 1990s sitcom NewsRadio and has done a wide range of voice work.  Harry Lloyd, who will star on the upcoming Starz series Counterpart and played Viserys Targaryen on Game of Thrones, is turning 34.  Also 34 is Évelyne Brochu, who played Delphine Cormier on Orphan Black.

Our November 16 headliners last year were Maggie Gyllenhaal and George S. Kaufman.

Maggie Gyllenhaal celebrated her 40th yesterday.  She stars on HBO’s The Deuce as Eileen “Candy” Merrell; the series just completed its first season and has already been renewed for a second.  Earlier this year she was on the jury for the Berlin Film Festival.

Director Alison Anders, who is 63, has been working recently on television, directing episodes of Riverdale and GravesValeria Bruni Tedeschi turned 53; she was a Cesar nominee for last year’s Slack Bay, and is directing and starring in the upcoming Les Estivants.  Harry Lennix, who shares a birthday with Tedeschi, remains a regular on The Blacklist as Harold Cooper.  Also 53 is jazz musician Diana Krall, who released her thirteenth studio album, Turn Up the Quiet, in May of this year.  Martha Plimpton, who returned to feature films for the first time in seven years in the musical Hello Again, turned 47.  Also 47 is Jamie Babbitt, another director doing a lot of television work these days, on series like Silicon Valley and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (which stars Danny DeVito).  Pete Davidson is 24; he will be seen in the upcoming films Going Places and Set It Up.

Martin Scorsese and Danny DeVito were the headliners on this date one year ago.

Martin Scorsese celebrates his 75th.  His latest feature, Silence, came out last December, and he is currently filming the biopic/crime drama The Irishman, his latest collaboration with Robert De NiroDanny DeVito is turning 73.  He continues to star as Frank Reynolds on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  He received a Drama Desk Award and a Tony nomination in his Broadway debut in a revival of Arthur Miller’s The Price.

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, who is 59, is appearing as the recurring character of Marion Jones on The PunisherLeslie Bibb, who appeared in supporting roles this year in To the Bone and The Babysitter, is 43 today.  Zoë Bell, who turns 39, continues to be in demand for stunt work; she was Cate Blanchett’s main double as Hela in Thor: Ragnarok.  Also 39 is Tom Ellis, who continues to star as the title character of Fox’s LuciferDylan Walsh is 54 today; he will appear on the upcoming CW midseason series Life SentenceDavid Ramsey, who is still starring on Arrow (with a few crossover appearances) as John Diggle/Spartan, is 46.  Kara Hayward, who turns 19 today, had a supporting role in Manchester by the Sea.  Director Roland Joffé, who is 72, directed all eight episodes of CMT’s miniseries, Sun RecordsLorne Michaels is 73 today.  He produced last fall’s comic caper film Masterminds and remains the executive producer of Saturday Night Live.

To close today, let’s have a musical number from the great Irish folksinger Luke Kelly (1940-1984)—a recording of which, by Kelly and The Dubliners, was used in the soundtrack of Sherlock Holmes.

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 17, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m pretty sure I first saw Rachel McAdams in Wedding Crashers; since then I’ve enjoyed several of her other films as well. While she never became quite the huge star that some were expecting her to be, she’s had quite a nice career—and one that’s still going.

    I’ve never gotten around to checking out any of the Rock Hudson/Doris Day comedies, but I thought he did some nice work in early 1950s Westerns and was a great fit for Douglas Sirk’s films like All That Heaven Allows.


    • At some point, just about each of the Mean Girls cast was saddled with great expectations of stardom. Lindsay Lohan crashed and burned under the pressure. McAdams isn’t an A-lister, but she has maintained a very respectable career.


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