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January 3: Happy Birthday Stephen Stills and Ray Milland

0103StillsMilland

Singer-songwriter Stephen Stills, the first person ever to be inducted twice on the same night to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, turns 73 today.  He dropped out of Louisiana State University in the early 1960s and moved to New York to pursue a music career.  As a member of the house band at New York’s Cafe au Go Go, he worked for a time with Ritchie Furay; a couple of years later, Stills, Furay, Neil Young, and a few other musicians formed Buffalo Springfield.  Although they were not a huge commercial success, and only stayed together for about two years, they had a big influence on the sound of California rock.  Stills wrote the band’s sole Top Ten hit.

After the breakup of Buffalo Springfield, Stills teamed with David Crosby and Graham Nash to form Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN; a Y would be added during those periods when Neil Young joined them).  CSN/CSNY had huge successes in the early 1970s with their albums Deja Vu and CSN.  They have released eight studio albums and toured regularly; their latest tour (by CSN) ended in 2016.  Stills has also made several albums as a solo artist, and as noted, received that double induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of both CSN and Buffalo Springfield).

Ray Milland (1907-1986) was born in Wales and served for a short time in the British Army before beginning an acting career.  He made a couple of appearances in British films at the start of the 1930s before moving to the US.  A contract with MGM did not lead to success, but Milland was then signed by Paramount.  Stuck in supporting parts, he got a pair of breaks in 1936.  He was loaned to Universal for Three Smart Girls, which became a big hit, and then was chosen to do test readings with actresses being considered to star in Jungle Princess—when Dorothy Lamour was cast as the star, she persuaded the studio to make Milland her leading man.

Milland was a successful leading man through the mid-1950s.  He moved easily between genres, starring in the action-adventure classic Beau Geste, film noirs like Ministry of Fear and The Big Clock, comedies like The Major and the Minor and The Trouble with Women,  and Hitchcock’s mystery/thriller Dial M for Murder.  He won the Oscar for Best Actor for starring in The Lost Weekend, which also won Best Picture for 1945.

Milland directed his first feature, a Western called A Man Alone, in 1955.  He directed several additional features in the fifties and sixties.  He began working regularly in television in the early fifties, and starred on two CBS series, the sitcom Meet. Mr. McNultey and the private eye drama Markham.  One of his last major film roles was as Oliver Barrett III in Love Story, which put him on the receiving end of the famous line “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

English actress Florence Pugh, who attracted a lot of critical praise for her starring role in last year’s Lady Macbeth, turns 22 today.  She will have a major role in the upcoming historical drama Outlaw King (which, interestingly given another of today’s birthdays, is about Robert the Bruce).  Nicholas Gonzalez, who stars on CBS’s The Good Doctor, is celebrating his 42nd today.  Also turning 42 is Alisen Down, best known for her regular roles on the Canadian series Mysterious Ways and Robson ArmsKate Levering, who is 39, is best known for her regular role as Kim Kaswell on Drop Dead Diva.

Wes Kenney (1926-2015) was a prominent figure in daytime television for close to fifty years, winning seven Daytime Emmys, primarily for his work on Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, and The Young and the Restless.

Our January 3 headliners last year were Mel Gibson and J. R. R. Tolkien.

As he turns 62, Mel Gibson can look back at his first major success in years.  Hacksaw Ridge was a financial success, and received several Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture and for Gibson himself for Best Director.  He appeared as Kurt Mayron in the recent release Daddy’s Home 2, and will star with Sean Penn in in The Professor and the Madman.  His WTHH article has not gone away. 🙂

Danica McKellar celebrates her 43rd birthday today.  Her fifth book, Goodnight, Numbers (a bedtime story book), was published earlier this year.  She continues in her regular role on Netflix’s  Project Mc2, and has returned to her voice role of Miss Martian on Cartoon Network’s DC adaptation Young Justice.  Editor Thelma Schoonmaker, whose latest work was on the recently released British thriller The Snowman, is 78 today.  Dan Harmon, who is 45, is an executive producer of the YouTube web series Good GameMatt Ross, who is 48 today, continues as a regular on HBO’s Silicon Valley.  Brazilian actor Matheus Nachtergaele, who turns 49, had a major role in the Argentine film Zama, which screened last September at Toronto.

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 January 3, 2018, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Stephen Stills may not be quite as influential a figure in music as his sometimes-bandmate Neil Young, but he’s pretty significant.

    I have enjoyed several of Ray Milland’s performances, in films like Beau Geste and The Big Clock. I sometimes get him confused with Raymond Massey, however. 🙂

    Danica McKellar continues to be awesome.

    Like

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