Teri Garr is turning 73 today. She got into movies through a friend, choreographer David Winters, who got her several parts as a dancer in 1960s films, including several Elvis Presley musicals. She also began making TV guest appearances in the mid-sixties. Over the years she made memorable guest appearances on Star Trek, MASH, and Friends (as Phoebe’s mother). She was a regular on the short-lived CBS series Women of the House, a Designing Women spinoff.
Garr had her first speaking feature film role in 1968, but her breakthrough came in 1974, when she played Gene Hackman’s girlfriend in The Conversation, and Gene Wilder’s assistant in Young Frankenstein. Over the next decade or so she had major roles in a number of films, including Oh, God!, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Black Stallion, and Mr. Mom. Her biggest fame came from her Oscar-nominated role as Sandy Lester in Tootsie.
Garr’s career slowed down considerably starting in the mid-1980s. The full story as to why would probably require a WTHH article, but part of the reason is that she began feeling the symptoms of what would later be diagnosed as MS.
Victor McLaglen (1886-1959) won Best Actor for The Informer, but spent most of his career as a character actor. By the time he began working in film in his mid-thirties, he had been a soldier who served in World War One, a police constable, a circus performer, and a boxer. Although he was born in England, he became one of the definitive Hollywood Irishmen—at least in the sound era, his most famous characters were Irish. He starred in silent films like The Unholy Three and What Price Glory?, but his sound films are better known.
McLaglen had major roles in films like The Gay Caballero, Gunga Din, and The Princess and the Pirate. However, he is probably best remembered for the seven films he made with director John Ford. The first was The Lost Patrol, the last was The Quiet Man (as Red Will Danaher). In between, he starred as Gypo Nolan in The Informer (winning that Oscar), costarred with Shirley Temple in Wee Willie Winkie, and appeared in all three films of Ford’s “cavalry trilogy,” as a hard-drinking, hard-fighting sergeant named Mulcahy or Quincannon.
Australian actor Alex Russell, who is 30, starred in the found footage sci-fi film Chronicle, and is a regular on CBS’s new series S.W.A.T. Ashley Hinshaw, who costarred in Chronicle as Russell’s girlfriend and is a regular on Crackle’s StartUp, is turning 29. Max Martini, who turns 48, was a regular on CBS’s The Unit and is also known for roles in films like The Great Raid and Pacific Rim. Gary Dourdan, who was a regular on the first nine seasons of CSI as Warrick Brown, is celebrating his 51st. Nesta Cooper, who is 24, is a regular on the Canadian sci-fi series Travelers. Gary Carr, a regular on HBO’s crime drama The Deuce, is turning 31. Director Tom Shadyac, known for comedies such as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Bruce Almighty, turns 59.
Indian actor Dilip Kumar is 95 today. He is a winner of nine Filmfare Awards, with a record eight of them in the Best Actor category. He is sometimes considered a counterpart to Marlon Brando in his impact on later generations of Indian actors.
Our historical figure for today is George Mason (1725-1792). Mason was a leading figure in Virginia politics during the era of the American Revolution and authored the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He attended the Constitutional Convention of 1787, but declined to sign the Constitution since it did not include a bill of rights.
Michael Schoeffling, who turned 57 yesterday, was known to 1980s movie viewers for his roles in Sixteen Candles and Vision Quest. Alicia von Rittberg, a rising star of German film who has appeared in the war movie Fury and the British thriller Our Kind of Traitor, celebrated her 24th.
Douglas Kenney (1946-1980) was one of the founders of the magazine National Lampoon. He co-wrote the Tolkien parody Bored of the Rings, and also the screenplay for Animal House, in which he played the Delta house member Stork. Will Forte stars as Kenney in the upcoming film A Futile and Stupid Gesture.
Historical birthdays from yesterday include William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879). Garrison, an American journalist and social activist, was best known for his involvement in the abolitionist movement, particularly as the editor of the newspaper The Liberator. Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), the daughter of the poet Lord Byron, was an English who worked with engineer Charles Babbage on his Analytical Machine, and is considered to have written the first computer program in history. American librarian Melvil Dewey (1851-1931) was the inventor of the Dewey Decimal System, used to classify and catalogue books in libraries all over the world.
A year ago, we had Rita Moreno and Hailee Steinfeld as headliners.
Rita Moreno is still working as she turns 86; she is a regular on Netflix’s series One Day at a Time, a loose reworking of the CBS series that aired from 1975-1984. Hailee Steinfeld is turning 21. She received her first ever Golden Globe nomination for starring in last year’s The Edge of Seventeen (somehow, she didn’t get one for True Grit). She returns to the role of Emily Junk in Pitch Perfect 3 later this month, and in the last two years has also started a singing career, which so far has led to four singles charting on the Hot 100.
Jean-Louis Tritignant made his first film appearance in about five years in Michael Haneke’s Happy End, which premiered at Cannes and will be released in the US later this month. Tritignant is 87 today. Rider Strong, who is 38 today, returned to the role of Shawn Hunter one last time in the final episode of Girl Meets World. Rachel Portman, whose latest film score was for Lasse Hallstrom’s A Dog’s Purpose, turns 57. Rocker Nikki Sixx is 59; he will make the final broadcast of his syndicated radio show, Sixx Sense, on December 31.
Last year’s headliners on December 10 were Kenneth Branagh and Michael Clarke Duncan.
Sir Kenneth Branagh is celebrating his 57th birthday. Earlier this year, he was part of the ensemble cast of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, and he directed and stars (as Hercule Poirot) in the recent adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express. His next project is reported to be an adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl books.
Raven-Symoné is 32, and has returned to a starring role on the Disney Channel in Raven’s Home, a spinoff of That’s So Raven. Emmanuelle Chriqui, who turns 42, is a regular on Hulu’s Shut Eye, the second season of which was just released. Patrick Flueger, who continues to be a regular on Chicago P.D. (with crossovers to Chicago Fire), is turning 34. Also 34 is Xavier Samuel, who has been working in his native Australia, starring in the thriller Bad Blood and on the TV series Seven Types of Ambiguity. Nia Peeples, who is 56 today, returned for the season finale of Pretty Little Liars as Pam Fields. Fionnula Flanagan is 76; she is a regular on the British-Irish TV series Kat & Alfie: Redwater.
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.