December 2: Happy Birthday Lucy Liu and Julie Harris
Lucy Liu is turning 49 today. She studied at Michigan and began working in film and television in the early 1990s. She began getting larger film roles later in the decade, in films like City of Industry and Payback, and also landed two regular roles on television. CBS’s Pearl was canceled after one season, but in 1998 she joined the regular cast of Ally McBeal as Ling Woo, for which she received an Emmy nomination.
Early in the 2000s, Liu appeared in what are probably her most famous film roles, as Alex Munday in the Charlie’s Angels films, and as the assassin O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill. She also was a kidnapped princess in Shanghai Noon and a perky and quirky romantic lead in Lucky Number Slevin. These days, most of her feature film work is as a voice actor—she is the voice of Silvermist in the Disney Fairies series and Master Viper in the Kung Fu Panda franchise. For the last five years, she has also been back on series television, as Joan Watson in Elementary, which will return for season 6 next year.
Julie Harris (1924-2013) was one of the most distinguished American stage actresses ever—her ten Tony nominations in acting categories are tied with Chita Rivera for the most ever, and her five acting Tonys (all in the Best Actress in a Play category) trail only Audra McDonald. She made her Broadway debut in 1945, and won her first Tony in the role of Sally Bowles in John Van Druten’s I Am a Camera. She subsequently won Tonys for Jean Anouilh’s The Lark, Pierre Barrilet’s Forty Carats, James Prideaux’s The Last of Mrs. Lincoln, and William Luce’s one-actress play The Belle of Amherst. She was also noted for playing Frankie Addams in The Member of the Wedding and Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie.
Harris was a three time Emmy winner for her television work, for the TV movies Little Moon of Alban and Victoria Regina and the documentary Not For Ourselves Alone. She received her only Oscar nomination for the film version of The Member of the Wedding (as Frankie Addams again) and also brought her stage role of Sally Bowles in I Am a Camera to the big screen. But her most memorable screen role may have been starring opposite James Dean, as Abra Bacon in East of Eden.
Alfred Enoch, who turns 29, played Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter films, and went on to be a regular on the first three seasons of ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder. Rena Sofer, who is 49 today, is best known for her work in soap operas; she was a Daytime Emmy winner during her run on General Hospital. Actress and singer Jana Kramer, who was a regular for four seasons on One Tree Hill and has had two Top 10 Country albums, is turning 34. Joe Lo Truglio, who is 47, plays Charles Boyle on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Wilson Heredia, who is celebrating his 46th, won a Tony Award in the role of Angel Dumont Schunard in Rent, which he also played on the West End and in the film adaptation.
French painter Georges Seurat (1859-1891) was a major innovator who developed the techniques known as chromoluminarism and pointilism. His most famous painting was probably A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, which inspired Stephen Sondheim’s musical Sunday in the Park with George.
Britney Spears and Maria Callas were our headliners on this date a year ago.
Britney Spears is turning 36 today. She has divided the past year between her Britney: Piece of Me live show at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas (her residency there ends in December) and the Britney: Live in Concert tour.
Daniela Ruah continues to star as Kensi Blye on NCIS: Los Angeles as she turns 34; the series is in its ninth season. Brendan Coyle, who turns 55, will be a regular on the BBC’s upcoming supernatural drama Requiem. Nelly Furtado celebrates her 39th. She released her sixth studio album, The Ride, earlier this year.
Finally, to remember the birth date of musical theater and film musical great Adolph Green (1914-2002), let’s have a number from one of the musicals he contributed lyrics to (lyrics cowritten with Betty Comden; music by Leonard Bernstein).
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.