November 23: Happy Birthday Ricky Whittle and Boris Karloff


Ricky Whittle is turning 36 today.  He began working as a model for Reebok in 2000, and as he had been a footballer in school, he had the background to win his first regular TV role, as a member of the fictional Harchester United side on the British series Dream Team.  He then became a regular for about five years on the British teen soap Hollyoaks as Calvin Valentine.  He made his feature film debut in Austenland, and was a regular on seasons 2 and 3 of The 100.  He currently stars as Shadow Moon on the Starz adaptation of American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

Boris Karloff (1887-1969, given name William Henry Pratt) attended King’s College, London, but did not graduate.  He migrated to Canada, and by 1912 had begun working in theater.  He later had a respectable Broadway career, appearing in the original production of Arsenic and Old Lace and receiving a Tony nomination for starring in Jean Anouilh’s The Lark.  Late in his life, he was known for his part in the animated Christmas special, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and won a Grammy for Best Recording for Children for the album adapted from the special.

However, Karloff was best known as a film actor.  And although he had a varied career in silent film, and appeared in early sound films such as The Mask of Fu Manchu, the original Scarface, and John Ford’s The Lost Patrol, his film reputation is largely based on his work in horror films.  His first big horror film role is still probably his best known.

After playing the monster in Frankenstein, Karloff returned to the role in Bride of Frankenstein and Son of Frankenstein.  During the 1930s, he also appeared in classic Universal horror films such as The Old Dark House, The Mummy (as Imhotep), and The Black Cat,  as well as The Black Room for Columbia and The Walking Dead for Warner’s.  In the 1940s he made “crossover” monster films such as House of Frankenstein and a couple of Abbott and Costello films.  One of his final appearances was in Peter Bogdanovich’s first credited feature, Targets.

English model and actress Kelly Brook turns 38.  Her biggest acting role to date has probably been as a regular on NBC’s short-lived One Big HappyMaxwell Caulfield, who is 58, might have had a chance at stardom after being cast as one of the leads in Grease 2—had it not flopped.  Rodrigo Prieto, who turns 52, is a two-time Oscar nominee for cinematography, for Brokeback Mountain and Silence, and these days seems to be Martin Scorsese’s cinematographer of choice.

Alfonso X of Castile (1221-1284) was known for his cosmopolitan court and the range of scholarship which flourished during his reign.  History gives him the name of Alfonso the Wise, and he has a crater named after him on the moon.

Last year’s headliners on this date were Miley Cyrus and Vincent Cassel.

Miley Cyrus turns 25 today.  She released her sixth studio album, Younger Now, earlier this year.  Two singles from the album, “Malibu” and the title track, have reached the Billboard Hot 100, with the former reaching #10.  She has also returned as a coach for season 13 of The VoiceVincent Cassel celebrates his 51st.  He has appeared in multiple French films this year, including Gauguin-Voyage de Tahiti, in which he played painter Paul Gauguin.  Next year he returns to Hollywood, costarring with Kristen Stewart in the action thriller Underwater.

Franco Nero is still working as he turns 76; this year he has appeared in John Wick: Chapter 2 and the British road movie The Time of Their LivesLucas Grabeel, who is 33, saw Switched at Birth come to the end of its run, but is still keeping busy with voice work.  Chris Hardwick, who is turning 46, continues to host Talking Dead, and has added a couple of other “aftershow” gigs, with Talking Saul and Talking PreacherJonathan Sadowski, who continues to star on Freeform’s Young & Hungry, is turning 38.  Salli Richardson is 50.  While her Freeform series, Stichers, came to an end, she has been doing a lot of TV directing in the past couple of years.

James Toback is 73.  His film The Private Life of a Modern Woman screened at Venice, however, these days you are more likely to recognize him from the recent LA Times coverage of a flood of sexual harassment and assault allegations against him.

Finally, let’s have a musical close in honor of Jerry Bock (1928-2010, see last year’s article); since I used a Fiddler on the Roof excerpt last year, let’s have another Bock-Harnick musical represented today.

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 23, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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