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December 22: Happy Birthday Maurice and Robin Gibb

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Our headliners today were twin brothers who were part of one of the best-known brother acts in the history of popular music.  That’s Robin on the left in the above photo, Maurice on the right, and older brother Barry Gibb (born just over three years earlier) in the middle.

Robin Gibb (1949-2012) was born on the Isle of Man, just over half an hour before his fraternal twin brother Maurice Gibb (1949-2003).  Along with their older brother, they began performing in the mid-fifties, before any of them had even turned ten.  The family moved to Australia in the late fifties, where the brothers began performing as the Bee Gees.  In 1966, having released a pair of albums with modest success, the trio returned to England.  In the late sixties, they were a successful pop-rock act, with hits like “Massachusetts” reaching the top 20 in the US and doing even better in the UK and elsewhere.

The trio temporarily split up in the late sixties, only to reunite in 1970.  They had a few hits, but were seemingly in decline until about 1975, when they remade themselves as a disco band (with R&B and soul influences), and enjoyed their most successful period.  Beginning with 1975’s “Jive Talkin’,” they had eight singles reach #1 on the Hot 100 from 1975-1979, many of them songs that people who lived through that era could probably sing from memory even today.

Although the Bee Gees did not enjoy the same level of commercial success after 1980, they remained a popular touring act for another two decades, and are recognized as one of the great songwriting teams of their time.  After Maurice’s death in early 2003, Barry and Robin decided to discontinue the band.  Robin performed and recorded as a solo artist for several years before his death from complications of colon cancer in 2012.

Actress Poorna Jagannathan, who celebrates her 45th birthday, is the daughter of an Indian diplomat—she was born in Tunisia and has lived all over the world.  She was recently a regular on Netflix’s Gypsy for its single season, and before that on the HBO miniseries The Night OfGreg Finley, who is 33, is best known for his regular role as Jack Pappas on The Secret Life of the American TeenagerGregor Fisher, who is 65, has been starring as the title character of the BBC Scotland’s Rab C. Nesbitt since 1988, and might be known to American audiences for his role in Love ActuallyHeather Donahue, who is 43 today, has only a short filmography, but one entry on it is the surprise 1999 hit The Blair Witch Project.

Ruth Roman (1922-1999) had prominent roles in a number of 1950s films, notably Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train and Anthony Mann’s The Far Country.

For the second straight day we have a historical birthday for someone who was instrumental in founding one of the thirteen American colonies—James Ogelthorpe (1696-1785), a soldier turned political leader who served as the first Governor of Georgia.  J. Arthur Rank (1888-1972, later Baron Rank) was a major figure in the British film and entertainment industry, who founded the Rank Organisation, one of the biggest media conglomerates in the UK for much of the 20th Century.  Among the films they released were Olivier’s Henry V and Hamlet and several of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s “Archers” productions.  Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson (1912-2007) was the wife of US Senator and President Lyndon B. Johnson, and a significant figure in her own right, as the owner of several Texas radio and television stations, and as the first First Lady to make a solo campaign tour, during the 1964 election.

A year ago today, Ralph Fiennes and Peggy Ashcroft were the headliners.

Ralph Fiennes celebrates his 55th today.  He voiced Alfred Pennyworth in this year’s The Lego Batman Movie and will play Professor Moriarty in next year’s Holmes and Watson.  He also returns to the stage next year as Antony in a National Theatre production of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.

Vanessa Paradis turns 45; last year she was recognized as a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, and earlier this year she appeared in the Lithuanian film FrostDina Meyer, who is 49 today, appeared in the horror film The Evil Within, and returned to the role of Dizzy Flores (as a voice actor) for the animated feature Starship Troopers: Traitor of MarsChris Carmack, who celebrates his 37th, will return to the role of Will Lexington for the sixth and final season of NashvilleGenevieve “G” Hannelius, who turns 19, appeared in the role of Christa Carlyle on Netflix’s mockumentary series, American VandalDavid Goyer turns 52; his latest project is as the creator and executive producer of the upcoming Syfy series KryptonHector Elizondo, who is 81, joined Ralph Fiennes in the voice cast for The Lego Batman Movie, as Commissioner Gordon.  Meghan Trainor, who celebrates her 24th, is working on a third studio album, and will be a judge on Fox’s upcoming music competition series The Four.  Novelist Charles de Lint, who is 66, published his first adult fantasy novel in nearly a decade this year, The Wind in His Heart.

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.

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Posted on December 22, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. While disco was not exactly my kind of music back in the seventies, the Bee Gees were very big back then without a doubt. They certainly were talented.

    Here’s what will happen with the birthday articles over the next few days. December 23 and 26 are both days which are very light on celebrity birthdays, so those will be off days. Articles will appear on December 24 and 25, and again on the 27th.

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  2. He he, my mother was a Bee Gees fan (she was more Jefferson Airplane and Grace Slick at heart, and definitely a lot of Kurt Cobain); but she caught the Night Fever though! Heck, I think they’re pretty cool as well; plus, they started out kind of like The Beatles or maybe Cream as a band, but re-invented themselves; I like that, and it isn’t just the night fever talking!

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