November 28: Happy Birthday Karen Gillan and Mary Elizabeth Winstead


It’s Karen Gillan’s 30th birthday today.  She grew up in the Highlands of Scotland, and thnm moved first to Edinburgh and then to London to study acting.  Her first acting role was a guest spot which, appropriately for a Scottish actress, was on Rebus (a series adapted from Ian Rankin’s novels).  She was part of the main cast of the sketch comedy series The Kevin Bishop Show, and made appearances on Harley Street, The Well, and an episode of Doctor Who during the Tenth Doctor era.  The latter turned out to be a foretaste of the role that would first make her well known, when she was cast as the initial Companion to the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy Pond (the one who was “made of legs”).

Gillan made her first feature film appearance in Outcast in 2010, and two years later had her first starring role, in We’ll Take Manhattan.  She has since starred in Not Another Happy Ending and Oculus, and had supporting roles in films like In a Valley of Violence and this year’s The Circle (and a small part in The Big Short).  She will star in the upcoming Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and make her writing and directing debut with next year’s The Party’s Just Beginning.  Her best-known film role to date has almost certainly been as Nebula in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  She first appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy, returned this year in the sequel to that film, and is scheduled to appear in Avengers: Infinity War and its untitled sequel.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is celebrating her 33rd birthday.  She began acting in her early teens in guest spots on television, and in her first regular role played Jessica Bennett on the first season of Passions.  She was also a regular on the short-lived CBS series Wolf Lake.  She began working regularly in feature films in the mid-2000s.  Some of her roles, in films such as Black Christmas and Final Destination 3, seemed to put her in the scream queen category, but she also appeared in non-horror films such as Sky High and Live Free or Die Hard (as Lucy McClane).  She had some decent lead roles, playing Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and the tenacious survivor Dr. Kate Lloyd in the 2011 version of The Thing.

Winstead continues to work regularly in film, with recent starring roles in Alex of Venice and 10 Cloverfield Lane (the latter being, surprise, a horror film), and will play the title character in the upcoming All About Nina.  She has also returned to series television lately—in the past couple of years she has had four regular roles, although she has yet to find a series with any staying power.  Most recently she was a regular on season 3 of Fargo.

S. Epatha Merkerson, who is turning 65 today, is best known for her long run—she appeared in more episodes of the series than any other cast member—on Law & Order as Anita Van Buren.  She won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for starring in the TV movie Lackawanna Blues, and her stage career has brought her two Tony nominations.

Joe Cole, who turns 29, was a regular on the BBC crime drama Peaky Blinders, and has had major roles in films like Green Room and the recent release Thank You For Your ServiceAimee Garcia, a regular on Fox’s Lucifer also known for her roles on Dexter and George Lopez, is 39 today.  Korean-American actor Daniel Henney, who turns 38 today, is a regular on Criminal Minds and also starred on the Korean series My Lovely Sam SoonEmun Elliott, our second Scottish actor in today’s article, is 34; he has done a lot of British television work, most recently on the series Clique and Trust Me.  German actress Emilia Schüle, who is 25, was acclaimed for her starring role in the recent film High Society.

Our November 28 headliners last year were Ed Harris and Alfonso Cuarón.

Ed Harris is turning 67 today.  He will return to Westworld for its second season, and in the past year appeared in films such as Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! and the recent release GeostormAlfonso Cuarón celebrates his 56th.  His latest feature is Roma, which was filmed last fall in Mexico City and is scheduled for release next year.

Johnny Simmons, who turns 31, was a regular on the single season of Netflix’s Girlboss, and starred in last fall’s The Late Bloomer, directed by Kevin PollakAlan Ritchson, who is 33 today, also starred on a one-season series, Syfy’s Blood DriveLouise Bourgoin is 36; the French actress starred in two films this year, Under the Same Roof and L’Un dans l’autre, both comedies.  Ryan Kwanten, who stars in the upcoming disaster/thriller film The Hurricane Heist, directed by Rob Cohen, is 41 today.

Our two WTHH birthdays today are director Joe Dante, who is 71, and who most recently has produced the upcoming horror film Camp Cold Brook, and Judd Nelson, who appears in the upcoming Billionaire Boys Club, who turns 58.  Their WTHH articles are here and here.

Jon Stewart, who is 55 today, remains an executive producer of The Late Show with Stephen ColbertAgnieszka Holland, who is turning 69, received the Alfred Bauer Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival for her latest feature, SpoorRandy Newman celebrates his 74th.  He released his eleventh studio album, Dark Matter, earlier this year, and also composed the scores for The Meyerowitz Stories and Cars 3.  Also releasing a new studio album—his seventh, Tremaine—this year was Trey Songz, who is 33 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 28, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I knew Karen Gillan from her short-lived and under-rated sitcom, Selfie. The first time I saw her in anything was Guardians of the Galaxy, but she was buried under make-up so I didn’t recognize her later on TV.

    I had seen Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Scott Pilgrim, Die Hard and Cloverfield Lane, but it wasn’t until Fargo that I really took notice. The third season wasn’t the show’s best, but Winstead’s part was memorable.

    Jon Stewart completely reshaped late night comedy. That’s a pretty impressive feat for a host on a basic cable show.


  2. Karen Gillan is having one of the best post-Doctor Who careers of any of the Companion actors or actresses. Billie Piper is in a class by herself at the moment, with that shiny Olivier Award on her mantle, but Gillan is doing very well—even though she is completely unrecognizable in the Guardians films. 🙂

    I’ve enjoyed Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s performances in films like Scott Pilgrim and The Thing and always thought she brought some real acting talent to the table. She seems to be starting to get some recognition the last couple of years.


  3. I like Ed Harris, I always thought he’s been a consummate pro (he’s done narration work too, which I tend to be a sucker for!). Wow, what is my favorite Ed Harris film (I thought he was great in “Apollo 13”)? It has to be 1985’s “Sweet Dreams”.
    Mary Elizabeth Winstead, poor thing, she was in that remake of “Black Christmas” (I like to have my Christmas white, with lots of bright lights! No murder!:-). I liked her best in “Final Destination 3” (she was a leader and final girl!). Oh, and I liked “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” too (the general concept has always made me laugh, and it allowed me to like vampires again:-); I thought she played a good Mary Todd Lincoln.
    I remember Aimee Garcia best from “Dexter”; I thought she played a cool character (I like Jennifer Carpenter’s Debra Morgan the best, and actually the final season’s Cassie character too, played by Bethany Joy Lenz. I like Kay Lenz too, by the way!).
    S. Epatha Merkerson was a favorite of my mom, since she watched a ton of “Law and Order” (in later seasons there, I thought her character carried the show, and I’m glad her character survived cancer! For me, on a “liking women” level on that show, it’s Alana de la Garza; I still think she’s gorgeous!).



    Mary Elizabeth Winstead is an actress and singer who was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, on November 28, 1984. She began her career in television when she had a few small roles in television. Her breakthrough in terms of movies came when she performed in the Disney movie ‘Sky High’. She is best-known for playing the roles of Wendy Christensen in ‘Final Destination 3’ and Heather Lee-Fitzgerald in ‘Black Christmas’. In 2016, she starred in ‘Swiss Army Man’, ‘The Hollars’, and ’10 Cloverfield Lane’. Her most recent work is as the lead in ‘All About Nina’, a date for the release of this movie is not yet announced. Here are five things you might not know about Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

    She is an Award-Winner

    Throughout her career, Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been nominated for many awards in recognition of her performances. Of these, she has won three. She won her first award in 2006 when she received the Hollywood Film Festival Award for Best Ensemble Cast for ‘Bobby’. She then won a Dallas International Film Festival Shining Star Award for Best Actress in 2013 for her performance in ‘Smashed’. Her most recent accolade was in 2017 when she won a Saturn Award for Best Actress for ’10 Cloverfield Lane’.

    She Was in a Band

    Not only is Mary Elizabeth Winstead a talented actress, she also has the gift of an amazing singing voice. Although this was not a career she intended to pursue, she has been in a band. When she was in the 2007 movie ‘Death Proof’, director Quentin Tarantino asked her to sing an a cappella version of ‘Baby It’s You’. The cast and crew were stunned by her singing voice. Despite encouragement, she still insisted she had no intention of pursuing a singing career. However, in 2012, she formed a band with Dan the Automator called ‘Got a Girl’. They released their debut single ‘Did We Live Too Fast’ on June 3, 2014. This was followed by their first album ‘I Love You but I must Drive Off This Cliff Now’ on July 22, 2014.

    She Has Appeared in Three Music Videos

    Although Mary Elizabeth Winstead is best-known for her roles in film and television, she has also appeared in three music videos. In 2010, she was in the video for ‘Love Your Flawz’ by Caitlin Crosby. She was then in the 2014 music video for her own song Did We Live Too Fast’ by Got a Girl’. Finally, she was in the 2016 music video for ‘Noise Pollution (Version A, Vocal Up Mix 1.3)’ by Portugal: The Man.

    She was Married to Riley Stearns

    In 2010, Winstead married Riley Stearns, a director, and screenwriter from Austin, Texas. They had been dating since Winstead was 18 after meeting on an ocean cruise. The couple even worked together in 2014 when Winstead starred in ‘Faults’ which was Stearns’ debut feature film. Unfortunately, the couple’s marriage ended in 2017.

    She Was a Victim of the 2014 Celebrity Pictures Hack

    In 2014, Mary Elizabeth Winstead was one of the victims of the iCloud leak of celebrity photographs. Over 500 photographs of various celebrities were made public when they were leaked on the Internet and some of these photos contained nudity. Other victims of the leak were Jennifer Lawrence, Kae Upton, and Kaley Cuoco. They all confirmed the authenticity of the photos. However, there were other celebrities who denied the authenticity of the photos, including Ariana Grande and Yvonne Strahovski.


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