November 22: Happy Birthday Mark Ruffalo and Mads Mikkelsen


We have three prominent Marvel Cinematic Universe birthdays today, and two of them are our headliners—the third was a headliner last year.

Mark Ruffalo is celebrating his 50th today.  The three-time Oscar nominee studied at the Stella Adler Conservatory in Los Angeles, and worked as a bartender and with an LA area theater company during the 1990s while also appearing in some film roles.  His first major film role came in 2000, when he starred with Laura Linney in the family drama You Can Count On Me.  Over the next ten years, Ruffalo mixed some lead roles, in films like Just Like Heaven and The Brothers Bloom, with supporting roles in the likes of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Collateral.

From about 2010 on, Ruffalo has had a much higher profile.  In that year, he received his first Oscar nomination for The Kids Are Alright, and also starred in Shutter Island.  Since then he has joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a man with breathtaking anger management issues, and also appeared in the Now You See Me series of caper films.  He won a Primetime Emmy as a producer of the TV movie The Normal Heart and received an acting Emmy nomination as well.  And he added two more Oscar nominations, for Foxcatcher (which allowed him to draw on his high school wrestling experience) and Spotlight.

Like many international stars, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, who is turning 52, is a major leading man in his home country’s cinema, but more of a character player in Hollywood.  Mikkelsen studied ballet and danced professionally for several years before moving into acting.  He made his film debut in 1996 in Nicolas Winding Refn’s crime drama Pusher in a supporting role, and returned for the sequel several years later, in which his character of Tonny was the protagonist.  He won Denmark’s Bodil Award for Best Actor for Pusher II, and again in 2012 for The Hunt.  A few of his other notable Danish films have been Open Hearts and After the Wedding (both directed by Susanne Bier), Flame & Citron, and A Royal Affair.

Mikkelsen made his Hollywood debut in 2004 in King Arthur, as Tristan.  He has sometimes played supporting characters on the side of the heroes in action films like the remake of Clash of the Titans, and, as Galen Erso, in Rogue One.  But more frequently he’s been a villain.  He played Rochefort in the 2011 version of The Three Musketeers, and entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Kaecilius in Doctor Strange, but his first big villain role was as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale.

Alden Ehrenreich had central roles in the Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar! and in Rules Don’t Apply, and next year will play the title character in Solo: A Star Wars Story; he turns 28 today.  Dacre Montgomery turns 23.  He played the Red Ranger in this year’s Power Rangers and is a regular on Netflix’s Stranger ThingsAuli’i Cravalho, who is 17 today, was the voice of the title character in Disney’s latest animated feature, Moana, and will be a regular on NBC’s upcoming series RiseRichard Kind is celebrating his 61st.  He was a regular on Spin City and was a Tony nominee in a 2013 revival of Clifford Odets’ The Big KnifeMichael K. Williams, who is 51, is one of the title characters of Sundance TV’s Hap and Leonard, and a two-time Emmy nominee, most recently for the HBO miniseries The Night Of.

Hockey Hall of Famer Yvan Cournoyer turns 74 today.  Known as “the Roadrunner,” Cournoyer spent his entire NHL career with the Montreal Canadians, helping them win nine Stanley Cups

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976; Baron Britten of Aldebergh near the end of his life) was one of the greatest English composers of the 20th century, if not of all time.  Many people will have learned the different major instruments of the orchestra from his Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.  His other major compositions include the Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, the War Requiem, and many operas, most notably Peter Grimes.  He wrote the title role of that opera, and major roles in most of his other operas, for his life partner, the tenor Sir Peter Pears.

We have a handful of November 21 birthdays who did not make it into last year’s article.

Colleen Ballinger, who is the creator and star of the Netflix series Haters Back Off, built around her internet character Miranda Sings, is 31 today.  Brian McNamara, who is 57, was a Golden Globe nominee for Billionaire Boys Club and a regular on Lifetime’s Army Wives.

Earl “the Pearl” Monroe, who is 73 today, is a Basketball Hall of Famer who starred for the Baltimore Bullets and New York Knicks of the NBA.  In New York, he and Walt Frazier formed the “Rolls Royce backcourt,” and took the Knicks to the 1973 NBA title.  Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman turns 51.  The six-time Pro Bowler quarterbacked the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl wins during his career.

Isaac Bashevis Singer (1902-1991), the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature for 1978, was one of the leading figures in Yiddish literature during the 20th Century.  He was known for novels such as The Magician of Lublin and Enemies, A Love Story.

A year ago today, our headliners were Jamie Lee Curtis and Scarlett Johansson.

Jamie Lee Curtis is turning 59 today.  She will be returning to the role of Laurie Strode in a new Halloween film, and will also star in the upcoming thriller The PagesScarlett Johansson, who is celebrating her 33rd, has appeared this year in Rough Night, and, in a case of somewhat controversial casting, in Ghost in the Shell.  She will return to her MCU role, as Natasha Romanoff, in next year’s Avengers: Infinity War.

Jamie Campbell Bower, who played Christopher Marlowe on TNT’s short-lived Will earlier this year, is 29 today.  Katherine McNamara, who turns 22, continues to star as Clary Fray on ShadowhuntersMadison Davenport, who is turning 21, will be a regular on HBO’s upcoming series Sharp Objects, adapted from Gillian Flynn’s novel.  Adèle Exarchopoulos is 24 today; the French actress stars in Racer and the Jailbird, which screened at Toronto in September of this year.  Terry Gilliam, whose latest film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, is in post-production, is celebrating his 77th.  Steve Van Zandt, who is turning 67, continues to tour with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and released a new solo album, Soulfire, earlier this year.

Sir Peter Hall (1930-2017), who died of pneumonia in September of this year at the age of 86, was eulogized as “the most important figure in British theatre for half a century” by the Times of London.

On November 21 last year, Goldie Hawn and Harold Ramis were the headliners.

Goldie Hawn is 72.  This year she made her first feature film appearances in over a decade, starring in Snatched with Amy Schumer (the film was titled Mother/Daughter while in development) and also serving as the narrator for the romantic comedy SPF-18.  She and longtime partner Kurt Russell received stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame earlier this year.

Jena Malone turned 33 yesterday.  She starred in this year’s releases Lovesong and Bottom of the WorldJimmi Simpson, who is 42, will appear in the upcoming Under the Silver Lake; it’s unclear if he will return for season 2 of WestworldCherry Jones, who is now 61, was nominated for an Olivier Award as Amanda Wingfield in a West End revival of The Glass Menagerie (she lost out to Billie Piper), and and appeared in the recent British film The PartyAlexander Siddig, who turned 52, has joined the cast of Gotham for season 4 as Ra’s al Ghul.  Icelandic singer Björk, who shares a birthday with Siddig, has been working on her latest album, Utopia, scheduled for release on Friday.  Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen, who is 32, will be Katy Perry’s opening act during the early 2018 portion of Perry’s Witness: The 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.


Posted on November 22, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I like Mark Ruffalo; my favorite film he was in was “You Can Count On Me” (his character I found relate worthy, plus Laura Linney plays his sister there, and I always found her to be a strong performer; I love her Masterpiece Theater hosting too!).
    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! My family isn’t what it used to be, but I have stuffing!:-).


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