December 14 & 15: Happy Birthday Vanessa Hudgens and Tim Conway


Vanessa Hudgens turned 29 yesterday.  The Filipina-American actress began working in regional musical theater as a child and made her first TV guest appearances at the age of thirteen.  A year later, she made her feature film debut in a supporting role in Thirteen.  A year later she appeared as Tintin in the feature film adaptation of Thunderbirds, which was a flop.  She bounced back from that setback in the role that is probably her most famous, Gabriella Montez in the High School Musical trilogy—the first two were Disney Channel TV movies while the third was released theatrically.

Subsequently, Hudgens has had lead roles in films like Beastly, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, The Frozen Ground, and Gimme Shelter.  She has had supporting parts or been part of ensemble casts in Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, Sucker Punch, and Machete Kills.  She has returned to musical theater several times—she starred as Mimi Marquez in a Hollywood Bowl production of Rent, made her Broadway debut in a revival of Lerner and Loewe’s Gigi (in the title role), and played Betty Rizzo on Fox’s Grease: Live.  Earlier this year, she starred in NBC’s midseason series Powerless, which was pulled before the end of its first season.  She will appear in Peter Segal’s upcoming Second Act.

Tim Conway is celebrating his 84th.  The six-time Emmy winner worked on local TV in Cleveland for a few years, before becoming known nationwide as Ensign Parker on McHale’s Navy, a role that brought him his first Emmy nomination.  Conway was a regular presence on television for over five decades.  He has won Emmys for guest roles on Coach and 30 Rock, and headlined two short-lived series, both titled The Tim Conway Show.  However, his most famous TV work was undoubtedly on The Carol Burnett Show; after appearing as a frequent guest during the fist eight seasons, he became a regular for the final three.  He won four Emmys on the series, one for writing, the other three as a supporting performer known for characters like The Oldest Man.

Conway has worked periodically in feature films.  He made a number of Disney live-action films in the seventies, such as The World’s Greatest Athlete, The Apple Dumpling Gang, and The Shaggy D. A.  He is also known for the Dorf series, a set of satirical how-to videos on sports with Conway in the title role; Dorf on Golf was the first in the series.

Other birthdays from yesterday include Michaela Watkins.  Watkins, who turned 46, is the star of Hulu’s Casual, recently renewed for a fourth season, and also appeared in several films this year, such as Brigsby Bear and How to Be a Latin LoverRebecca Gibney, who is now 53, is a major star of Australian television over the past 30 years or so, on series like The Flying Doctors, Halifax f.p., Packed to the Rafters, and her current series, Wanted.

Lester Bangs (1948-1982) was a music journalist sometimes known as “America’s greatest rock critic.”  Known for his contributions to Rolling Stone and Creem in the 1970s, Bangs was played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in the movie Almost Famous.

Today’s birthdays also include Nichole Bloom, who is 28; Bloom is a regular on NBC’s SuperstoreGeoff Stults, who is turning 40, has been a regular on 7th Heaven, October Road, and The FinderReginald Hudlin, who directed the legal drama/biopic Marshall, which came out earlier this fall, turns 56 today.

Playwright and screenwriter Maxwell Anderson (1888-1959) won the Pulitzer Prize for his play Both Your Houses.  His other plays, many of them adapted for film, include What Price Glory, Mary of Scotland, Key Largo, and Anne of the Thousand Days.  He wrote screenplays for films like Death Takes a Holiday and was an uncredited script doctor on Vertigo and Ben-Hur.

Last year’s December 14 headliners were Jane Birkin and Patty Duke.

Jane Birkin turned 71 yesterday.  She starred in the Oscar-nominated short film La femme et le TGV, which she has said will be her final acting role.  Earlier this year she released the album Birkin/Gainsbourg: Le Symphonique, a collection of songs written for her by her longtime lover and creative partner Serge Gainsbourg.

Jackson Rathbone, who turned 33, was a semi-regular on season 4 of The Last Ship and stars in the indie drama Until We Meet AgainMiranda Hart, who is 45, published her fourth book this year and will appear in the upcoming The Nutcracker and the Four RealmsTammy Blanchard, who starred in last year’s Tallulah and in the recently completed Warning Shot, turned 41.  Natascha McElhone, who turned 48, had her Designated Survivor become central to a major plot twist; she will also star on Hulu’s new series The FirstTed Raimi appeared on season 2 of Ash vs Evil Dead; he turned 52.  Dee Wallace, who is 69, appeared this year in the horror films Red Christmas and Death House.  Singer Tori Kelly, who is 25 as of yesterday, concluded her Unbreakable tour earlier this year, and made her voice acting debut in last December’s Sing.  Folk-rocker Mike Scott celebrated his 59th; he and The Waterboys released their latest album, Out of All This Blue, earlier this year.

Michelle Dockery and Charlie Cox headlined last year’s birthday article on this date.

Michelle Dockery celebrates her 36th.  She appeared earlier this year in The Sense of an Ending.  On the small screen she stars as Letty Raines on TNT’s Good Behavior, which returned recently for its second season, and also on the Netflix miniseries GodlessCharlie Cox, who turns 35, continues to play Matt Murdock/Daredevil on Daredevil and also starred in the same role on the miniseries The Defenders, both of which air on Netflix.

Don Johnson, who is 68 today, had prominent roles this year in Vengeance: A Love Story and Brawl in Cell Block 99Helen Slater, who continues to appear periodically on Supergirl as Eliza Danvers, turns 54.  Director Julie Taymor is 65 today; her latest project was a recent Broadway revival of M. ButterflyMichael Shanks, who is 47, recently finished the final season of the Canadian series Saving HopeRalph Ineson is 48; he will be seen in the upcoming films The Hurricane Heist and Ready Player One (the latter directed by Steven Spielberg).  Rachel Brosnahan, who celebrates her 27th, just received a Golden Globe nomination for starrring on the first season of The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselCamilla Ludington, who remains a regular as Jo Wilson on Grey’s Anatomy, is 34 today.  Adam Brody, who is 38, is a regular on Crackle’s StartUpStefania Owen, still a regular on Hulu’s Chance, is 20.  And finishing our roster of continuing series regulars, Emily Head, known as Rebecca White on the English soap Emmerdale, is 29.

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 15, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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