November 29: Happy Birthday Diane Ladd and Hinton Battle


Three-time Oscar nominee Diane Ladd celebrates her 82nd birthday today.  She began making television guest appearances in the last half of the 1950s, and with increasing frequency in the sixties.  In 1968 she made her Broadway debut in Robert Alan Aurthur’s Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights, and in the early seventies she started getting good supporting roles in films like White Lightning and Chinatown (as the false Mrs. Mulwray).  Her first really big success in film came in 1974, when she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, and won a BAFTA Award, as Flo Castleberry in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.

Ladd did not return to the role of Flo for the TV series Alice, but after Polly Holliday, who played the role of Flo in the series, left because her character got her own series, Ladd joined the cast as Belle Dupree, and received a Golden Globe.  Her career has remained very busy since then, so there’s only space to hit a few high points.  She was nominated for Oscars and Golden Globes for Wild at Heart and Rambling Rose (both movies in which she costarred with her daughter, Laura Dern).  In the 1990s, she was a three-time Emmy nominee in the Outstanding Guest Actress categories, for appearances on Dr. Quinn, Grace Under Fire, and Touched by an Angel.  Recently she played Jennifer Lawrence’s grandmother in Joy and was a regular on Hallmark’s Chesapeake Shores.

Hinton Battle turns 61 today.  He was born in Germany, the son of a US Army officer, and attended the School of American Ballet on a scholarship.  He made his Broadway debut while still in his late teens, as the Scarecrow in The Wiz, and received a Drama Desk Award nominee.  He has won three Tony Awards, all in the Best Featured Actor in a Musical category—for the revue Sophisticated Ladies, as Dipsey in The Tap Dance Kid, and as John Thomas in Miss Saigon, in which he costarred with past headliner Lea Salonga.

Battle has made a limited number of film and television appearances.  He played tap legend Bill “Bojangles” Robinson in the TV movie Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story, was part of the cast of the film version of Dreamgirls, and has made guest appearances on series like Quantum Leap and Touched by an Angel.  Possibly his best-known screen appearance was as the dancing demon, Sweet, in “Once More With Feeling,” the musical episode of Buffy.

Jeff Fahey, who turns 65 today, starred as Winston MacBride, the title character of ABC’s mid-1990s series The Marshal, and is also known for his roles in films like Silverado and MacheteJanina Gavankar, who in recent years has had regular roles on True Blood, The Mysteries of Laura, and Sleepy Hollow, celebrates her 37th.  Gemma Chan, who is 35, is a regular on the AMC/Channel 4 sci-fi series HumansLarry Joe Campbell, best known for his regular role on ABC’s According to Jim, is turning 47.

Wendell Phillips (1811-1884) was one of the leading figures in the abolitionist movement in the 19th Century US, a speaker so effective he was known as “abolition’s golden trumpet.”  Another prominent abolitionist was the transcendentalist philosopher Bronson Alcott (1799-1888), who was also notable as the father of novelist Louisa May Alcott (who was also born November 29, and is covered in last year’s article).

On this date last year, our headliners were Joel Coen and Don Cheadle.

Joel Coen celebrates his 63rd today.  The Coen Brothers’ latest projects include collaborating on the screenplay for Dark Web with Dennis Lehane, and creating and directing the upcoming Netflix anthology series The Ballad of Buster Suggs, set to premiere next year.  Don Cheadle is 53.  He will return to the role of Col. James Rhodes/War Machine in Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel, and is reported to be producing and starring in Prince of Darkness, a biopic of Jeremiah Hamilton.

Andrew McCarthy is 55 today.  Earlier this year he became one of the latest subjects of the WTHH series.  He continues to be active as a television director on series such as The BlacklistChadwick Boseman is turning 41.  He starred as Thurgood Marshall in the legal drama Marshall, released earlier this fall to good reviews, and will return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe next year in the title role of Black Panther, and also in Avengers: Infinity War.  In his career, Boseman has now played three extremely famous 20th Century African Americans—James Brown, Jackie Robinson, and now Marshall.

Cathy Moriarty, who turns 57, made her first screen appearance in about three years in this year’s Patty Cake$Tom Sizemore is turning 56; he was seen in the Twin Peaks revival earlier this year and in the feature Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White HouseAnna Faris, who continues to star on CBS’s Mom with recent headliner Allison Janney, is celebrating her 41st.  Also 41 is Julian Ovenden, who will be a regular on the upcoming History Channel series KnightfallLauren German, who is 39, remains a regular on Fox’s Lucifer.  Also continuing in a regular TV role is Lucas Black, who is turning 35; he continues to star on NCIS: New OrleansLaura Marano, who is 22, appeared in this year’s Lady Bird, and signed a recording contract with Warner’s.  Jordan Knight is 47; he and the New Kids on the Block released a new EP, Thankful, earlier this year.

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 29, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. While I have seen Diane Ladd in several things, the first thing that comes to mind is that she is Laura Dern’s mother. That leads me to her frightening performance in Wild at Heart. I wasn’t sure who Hinton Battle was until you got to Once More With Feeling. I know that episode well.

    My first exposure to Jeff Fahey was The Lawnmower Man. He’s only gotten better with age. As one of the newest WTHH subjects, Andrew McCarthy will receive his gallery today.


  2. Diane Ladd, mother of Laura Dern, former husband of Bruce Dern; yeah, I think they are great acting family. I suppose I like Diane Ladd best in the 1976 film “Embryo” ( I mean, she was in “Chinatown, but, c’mon, I’m thinking the great Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson there!).
    I knew a female who went to school with Jeff Fahey; she was quite fond of him. I’ll admit, I like “The Lawnmower Man”, but I like 1990’s “Impulse” as well (I liked what both the equally awesome Theresa Russell and him had with the onscreen chemistry department, and I felt they made a good story together there!).
    Andrew McCarthy, well, we love him! I never thought he had the right role, but I thought he was cool (for example, he didn’t have a role like Judd Nelson’s John Bender role from “The Breakfast Club”) Then again, he had love scenes with Jacqueline Bisset, so it wasn’t all bad for him).


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