December 6: Happy Birthday Tom Hulce and Ira Gershwin


Today is Tom Hulce’s 64th birthday.  After graduating from the North Carolina School of the Arts, he made his acting debut in the original Broadway production of Peter Shaffer’s Equus, as a replacement in the role of Alan Strang.  He would remain active in theater while also pursuing a film and television career.  He first became widely known for the role of Larry “Pinto” Kroger in Animal House, and won a Primetime Emmy for starring in a 1995 TV movie adaptation of Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles.  He was also known for starring in the 1988 film Dominick and Eugene (for which he was a Golden Globe nominee), and as civil rights activist Mickey Schwerner in the 1990 TV movie Murder in Mississippi (receiving Emmy and Golden Globe nominations), and for his Annie Award-nominated voice acting as Quasimodo in Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The peak of his film career, however, was his Oscar-nominated performance as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the 1984 adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s play Amadeus.

Hulce, as I noted, had remained active in the theater all along—he was a Tony nominee for the original Broadway production of A Few Good Men, in the role of Lt. Daniel Kaffee.  After the mid-1990s, he largely retired from acting, to become a theatrical producer.  He has produced two musicals which received Tony nominations, Spring Awakening and American Idiot, as well as an acclaimed Off-Broadway production of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads.  His most recent Broadway production was Joshua Harmon’s Significant Other, which premiered earlier this year.

Ira Gershwin (1896-1983) grew up in New York City, attended CCNY briefly, and worked in the family business before he was hired to write the lyrics for the 1921 Broadway musical Two Little Girls in Blue.  Later that year, he collaborated for the first time with his younger brother George, on a musical titled A Dangerous Maid.  In 1924, the Gershwin brothers had their first Broadway hit, Lady, Be Good, and in the next decade-plus, they teamed up on another dozen musicals—including Strike Up the Band, Girl Crazy, and the Pulitzer Prize winning Of Thee I Sing—the opera Porgy and Bess, and several film musicals including the Astaire/Rogers musical Shall We Dance.

After George’s death in 1937, Ira retired from songwriting for a few years, but he returned to the musical world in the 1940s and fifties.  He worked with Jerome Kern on the film musical Cover Girl, wrote lyrics to Harold Arlen’s music for the 1954 version of A Star is Born, and teamed with Kurt Weill on musicals like Lady in the Dark.

Colin Salmon turns 55.  He is known to fans of the James Bond films for the role of Charles Robinson in three of the Pierce Brosnan films and as James “One” Shade in the Resident Evil series.  More recently he has been a recurring character on Arrow and a regular on the British crime series No OffenceLindsay Price, who turns 41, played Janet Sosna on Beverly Hills, 90210 and will be a regular on ABC’s upcoming Splitting Up TogetherTorri Higginson, who is 48 today, currently stars on the Canadian web series Inhuman Condition and was a regular for three seasons as Elizabeth Weir on Stargate AtlantisNora Kirkpatrick, the creator, writer and director of Hulu’s Virtually Mike and Nora, a virtual reality sketch comedy series, is 33 today.  Danish actor Ulrich Thomsen, who is 54 today, is a five-time nominee for the Bodil Award (Danish Oscars) for Best Actor, winning twice.  He has had supporting roles in a few Hollywood films like Kingdom of Heaven and The International.  Indian director Shekhar Kapur is 72.  He became known for the Bollywood film Bandit Queen, and has directed the biopics Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age, starring Cate Blanchett.

On this date last year, Judd Apatow and Agnes Moorehead were our headliners.

Judd Apatow celebrates his 50th today.  His biggest film project this year was as producer of the indie rom-com The Big Sick, which grossed over $50 million world wide on a $5 million budget.  He is also an executive producer and frequent director on HBO’s Crashing and is producing the upcoming film adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel Juliet, Naked.

JoBeth Williams, who turns 69, appeared in the recent release BarracudaCraig Brewer, who is 46, has been writing and directing for Fox’s EmpireNoel Clarke, who will appear in the upcoming films I Kill Giants and Mute, celebrates his 42nd.  Sarah Rafferty, who is 45 today, remains a regular on USA Network’s SuitsAshley Madekwe, who turns 34, has finished the final episode of WGN’s SalemNick Park, who is 59, has written and directed the upcoming stop-motion animated feature Early Man.

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 December 6, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Tom Hulce, no doubt; he rocked me in “Amadeus” and also in the much maligned 1987 film “Slamdance” (I liked both Virginia Madsen and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in that film as well, but I tend to enjoy them in any project).


    • Whatever happened to Tom Hulce?

      Tom Hulce starred in three of the most iconic movies of the 1970s and 1980s: He portrayed freshman fraternity pledge Larry Kroger in the college classic Animal House, composer and Salieri hate-target Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the Oscar-winning Amadeus, and as the tragically flaky Larry in the dramedy Parenthood. Hulce was one of the most talented and dedicated actors working in film–right until he just about up and disappeared from screens in the ’90s. Here’s a look at what Tom Hulce has been doing over the past couple of decades.


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