December 7: Happy Birthday Nicholas Hoult and Harry Chapin


Today is Nicholas Hoult’s 29th birthday.  He first became known as a child actor; he made his debut in a small role in the 1996 film Intimate Relations, and then had some guest roles on British television.  He first became known as the titular “boy” of About a Boy, which was filmed when he was eleven.  In 2006 he was cast on the British teen drama Skins, as one of the central “first generation” characters, Tony Stonem.

Hoult began to transition to adult roles when he played a college student in A Single Man (adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s novel) in 2009.  He has starred in films such as the zombie rom-com Warm Bodies, the fairy tale adaptation Jack the Giant Killer, and the thriller Dark Places (adapted from the novel by Gillian Flynn).  This year, he has played J. D. Salinger in Rebel in the Rye and Nikola Tesla in The Current War (which screened at Toronto and goes into general release in 2018), while next year he stars in the biopic Tolkien, as the title character.  Readers of this blog, however, are most likely to know him for his roles in high-profile action films—he plays Hank McCoy/Beast in the current cycle of X-Men films, and was the warboy Nux in Mad Max: Fury Road.

Folk-rocker Harry Chapin (1942-1981) was born in New York City, into a musical family.  His father, Jim Chapin, was a well-known jazz drummer and teacher, his brothers Tom and Steve Chapin also had careers as folk musicians, his daughter is folk and jazz musician Jen Chapin, and Tom’s daughters Abigail and Lily and stepdaughter Jessica Craven perform as the Chapin Sisters, a folk-pop group.  At one point Chapin pursued a career making documentary films; he directed an Oscar-nominated documentary, Legendary Champions, in 1968.

But by the early 1970s, Chapin was set on the path that defined his life, one that combined music and philanthropic activism.  More than half of the concerts he gave during his career were benefits of some kind, often to raise money to combat hunger in he US—he founded the anti-poverty and hunger organization World Hunger Year (non known as WhyHunger).  Musically, he is remembered for his intricate, emotional “story songs.”  Some of them, like “Taxi” and “W*O*L*D,” were moderately big hits, while others, like “Mr. Tanner,” were more personal statements.  But he did have one huge hit, a #1 single that anyone who paid attention to popular music in the seventies was at least a bit familiar with.

Patrick Fabian, who is a regular on Better Call Saul as Howard Hamlin, turns 53 today.  Mark Rolston, who is 61, made his feature film debut as Private Mark Drake in Aliens, and has been working steadily in film and television for nearly 40 years.  Christa Campbell, who turns 45, had a modest acting career, but has had more success as a producer on films like Texas Chainsaw 3D and The Hitman’s Bodyguard.  Tunisian filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche, who is 57 today, wrote and directed the much-acclaimed Blue is the Warmest Color, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2013.

Other music birthdays include Bobby Osborne, who turns 86; he was from another musical family, as he and younger brother Sonny made up the legendary bluegrass brother act the Osborne Brothers; Bobby is still working and released an album earlier this year.  Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945) is sometimes thought of as a “one hit wonder” of the opera world, for his classic one-act opera Cavalleria rusticana; fans of his other operas, such as L’amico Fritz, might not agree.

Retired NFL star Alan Faneca turns 41.  One of the best offensive linemen of the 2000s, Faneca made nine consecutive Pro Bowls from 2001-2009.  Hermann Maier, who turns 45, is one of the all-time greats of alpine skiing.  The “Herminator” won Olympic gold medals in the giant slalom and Super-G in 1998, is a four time overall World Cup champion, and won 54 World Cup races in his career, the second highest total ever.

Ellen Burstyn and Sara Bareilles were the headliners on this date last year.

Ellen Burstyn is turning 85 today.  She was an executive producer and played a supporting role in this year’s The House of Tomorrow, and also had a featured role in A Little Something for Your BirthdaySara Bareilles celebrates her 38th.  Sara Bareilles added a Grammy nomination for the cast album of her musical Waitress to last year’s Tony nomination.  Having written the music and lyrics for the show, earlier this year she made her Broadway debut in the lead role (replacing original star Jessie Mueller).  Bareilles is also working on a new studio album.

Caleb Landry Jones, seen in several movies this year including Get Out and The Florida Project, and also on Showtime’s Twin Peaks, is turning 28.  Emily Browning, who turns 29, currently stars as Laura Moon on American Gods, and also headlined the movie Golden ExitsShiri Appleby, who is 39, will return to her starring role on Lifetime’s Unreal when it returns for a third season early next year.  Also 39 is Kristofer Hivju, who continues to play Tormund Giantsbane on Game of Thrones.  A third 39th birthday celebrant is director Jeff Nichols, who is currently working on a remake of Alien NationJack Huston turns 35; he starred in The Yellow Birds, which was well-received at Sundance, and also is a lead in Philip Noyce’s upcoming Above SuspicionJennifer Carpenter, who starred in the recent Brawl in Cell Block 99, turns 38.  Mark Duplass, who turns 41, is a co-creator of HBO’s Room 104 with his brother Jay; the two also co-wrote this year’s Table 19C. Thomas Howell continues to work regularly at 51; he played Walter Jenkins in LBJJeffrey Wright turns 52; it is not known if he will return for season 2 of WestworldTom Waits is 68 today.  The singer-songwriter and actor will appear in next year’s The Old Man and the Gun.

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 7, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Nicholas Hoult seems to be building a very nice filmography. He isn’t a top-rank leading man as of now, but he could get there in the future. The Tolkien film looks interesting.

    Although, as I noted last year, I didn’t really become a fan of Harry Chapin’s music until after his death, I have loved his songs for a long time. So here’s a Chapin encore, one of his songs performed by the Chapin Sisters—Abigail and LIly Chapin and their half-sister Jessica Craven (who is the daughter of Wes Craven).


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