November 27: Happy Birthday Callie Khouri and Bruce Lee


Today, our headliners are a female filmmaker and a short-lived legend who became famous in the late sixties and early seventies.

Director, producer and writer Callie Khouri turns 60 today.  She studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in Los Angeles and began her film career as a production assistant on commercials and music videos in the mid-eighties.  Her first film credit was as a production coordinator on Aria.  During the late 1980s she began writing her first screenplay, about two women who take a vacation together that turns into an epic run from the law.  It was, of course, Thelma & Louise, and Khouri won Best Original Screenplay, along with several other screenwriting honors.

Following her successful debut, Khouri was only intermittently active in film.  She wrote the screenplay for Something to Talk About, and made her directing debut with Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, both of which received mixed reviews.  She also devoted a lot of time to activism and to leadership roles in the WGA.  She re-emerged in 2012 as the creator, executive producer, and director of several episodes of the ABC series Nashville, which now airs on CMT and will return for its sixth and final season in January.

Lee Jun-fan, known worldwide as Bruce Lee (1940-1973), was born in San Francisco’s Chinatown, but grew up in Hong Kong, as his family returned their shortly after his birth; it was there that he began his study of the martial arts.  He returned to the US to attend the University of Washington, and also began teaching martial arts and participating in martial arts competitions and exhibitions.

Lee had been appearing in films since he was very young—his father was a Cantonese film star—and by his late teens he had even had a few starring roles.  However, his first exposure to Western audiences came when he was cast as Kato on ABC’s The Green Hornet in 1966 (he and Van Williams also made a few crossover appearances on Batman).  He had a few guest roles on American television and a supporting role in the 1969 film Marlowe, before being cast in the first of the sequence of five Hong Kong martial arts films that are the source of his lasting fame, The Big Boss.  It was followed by Fist of Fury and three others, the last of which, Enter the Dragon, was a posthumous release, coming out just days after Lee’s death from an allergic reaction to a painkiller.

Elizabeth Marvel, who turns 48 today, became a regular on season 6 of Homeland as President Elizabeth Keane, after two years as a regular on House of Cards (as a presidential candidate).  Michael Vartan, who is 49, played Michael Vaughn on Alias, and is now a regular on The ArrangementTadanobu Asano, the veteran Japanese actor best known to American audiences as Hogun the Grim from the Thor films, is celebrating his 44th.  Kirk Acevedo, who is turning 46, is known for his regular roles on Fringe and 12 Monkeys, and currently plays the recurring character of Ricardo Diaz on ArrowBrooke Langton, who is 47, was well-known to late-nineties TV viewers for her regular roles on Melrose Place and The Net.  Also known to TV audiences of that time was Jennifer O’Dell, who is 43—she played Veronica Layton on The Lost World.

We also have a few birthdays from yesterday who weren’t in last year’s article.  Jessica Camacho, who is 35, plays the recurring role of Gypsy on The Flash and will be a regular on season 2 of TakenTrevor Morgan, who turned 31, was a child/adolescent actor in films like I’ll Remember April and The Patriot at the end of the 1990s and beginning of the 2000s.  Garcelle Beauvais, who is now 51, was a regular on The Jamie Foxx Show and was seen earlier this year in Spider-Man: Homecoming as Doris Toomes.

Sarah Grimké (1792-1873) was a leading social activist in early 19th Century America.  Along with her younger sister Angelina she was active in the abolitionist movement, and was also one of the first agitators for political and social equality for women.

Our headliners a year ago on this date were Kathryn Bigelow and Jimi Hendrix.  That is, a female filmmaker and a short-lived legend who became famous in the late sixties.

Kathryn Bigelow is turning 66 today.  Her latest feature, Detroit, came out over the summer, to positive reviews but weak box office returns.  She has been associated with a couple of other projects, including an adaptation of The True American by Anand Giridharadas, but there’s not a lot of solid information out there at the moment.

Jaleel White, who turns 41, was a regular this fall on CBS’s short-lived Me, Myself & I (pulled after six episodes).  Sharlto Copley, who is 44, was part of the cast of this year’s Free Fire and will appear in Amazon Studios’ upcoming GringoAlison Pill celebrates her 32nd.  She was a regular on American Horror Story: Cult, the seventh season of the anthology series, was featured in last year’s Miss Sloane, and will play Mary Cheney in Backseat, the upcoming Dick Cheney biopic.  William Fichtner, who is 61, remains a regular on Mom and will be seen in the upcoming films Finding Steve McQueen and 12 StrongBill Nye, who celebrates his 62nd, currently hosts Netflix’s Bill Nye Saves the World.

Last year we had Tina Turner and Charles M. Schulz as November 26 headliners.

Tina Turner is 78 today.  Her big project in the past year has been the musical Tina, which will open in London next year—previews begin in March with the formal premiere in April.  Adrienne Warren, a recent Tony nominee, will star as Turner.

Kristin Bauer van Straten, who appeared in last fall’s Nocturnal Animals, is turning 51 today.  Mark Margolis, seen in this year’s movie Valley of Bones, and on season 3 of Better Call Saul as Hector “Tio” Salamanca, is 78.  John McVie is turning 72; he continues to play bass with Fleetwood Mac and also did so on the recent album Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVieNatasha Bedingfield, who toured as Train’s opening act earlier this year, is 36.  English pop singer Rita Ora, who is 27, returned to the role of Mia Grey in Fifty Shades Darker.

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 27, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Callie Khouri will always be remembered for Thelma & Louise; it’s been some time since I watched it but I recall it as quite good. I had forgotten we had the movieline article on her, so it’s nice that it came up as an autolink.

    I have never gotten into Bruce Lee’s movies but he pretty clearly was the pioneer for a certain type of Asian, particularly Hong Kong, cinema.

    It’s nice to see Alison Pill getting some good roles; she’s a talented actress who for a time seemed to be getting lost in the Hollywood shuffle.


  2. Interesting trivia: Jaleel White used to transform himself into Bruce Lee on “Family Matters”. But I had no idea that they shared a birthday.


  3. As far as I am concerned, Tina Turner had one of the greatest comebacks in music history in 1984. What makes her comeback doubly impressive is, after more than a decade without a Top 40 hit from her Ike and Tina years, Tina found herself in her mid 40’s and struggling; a has-been playing the nostalgia circuit on small stages.

    Not to make age an issue here, but to be honest the music industry has always been geared towards youth, most people who buy singles and albums are in their teens and twenties. Tina Turner was facing an insurmountable mountain in attempting any kind of comeback. The fact that she broke out huge with her single “What’s Love Got To Do With It”, and followed up with several other big top 10 hits afterwards is, honestly, astonishing. This kind of comeback into the mainstream normally does not happen. But somehow, through perserverance, Tina made it happen. And her streak of hit singles ran for another 10 years or so, it wasn’t a flash-in-the-pan comeback. It’s extraordinary.


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