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January 6: Kate McKinnon and Rowan Atkinson

0106McKinnonAtkinson

Actress and comedian Kate McKinnon is turning 34 today.  She studied theater at Columbia and participated in The Varsity Show for three consecutive years.  After graduating she became part of the cast of Logo TV’s The Big Gay Sketch Show.  She also began performing regularly at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.  She made her first appearance on Saturday Night Live in April, 2012, and in 2016 won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on SNL.  She is known for her SNL characters like Sheila Sovage and Mrs. Rafferty and for celebrity impersonations that include Justin Bieber, Hillary Clinton, and Kellyanne Conway.

McKinnon has done a great deal of voice work on television (The Venture Bros, Nature Cat, etc.) and in film (Finding Dory, Ferdinand, etc.).  In the past couple of years she has had several prominent feature film appearances.  She was in 2016’s Masterminds and last year’s Girls Night, and will star with Mila Kunis in The Spy Who Dumped Me.  Her best known feature film role to this point is probably Dr. Jillian Holtzmann in the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot.

Rowan Atkinson is celebrating his 63rd birthday today.  The English comedian and actor studied at Oxford, where he met his frequent collaborator Richard Curtis.  He first became known for the BBC sketch comedy series Not the Nine O’Clock News, which began airing in 1979; Atkinson won a BAFTA Television Award for it in 1981.  In 1983, Atkinson and Curtis created the first Blackadder series, one in a set of comic series set in different periods of British history.  The final series brought Atkinson a second BAFTA Award.    The two then collaborated on Atkinson’s most famous TV project, the sitcom Mr. Bean (which also branched out into two feature films and an animated series).

Atkinson made his first feature film appearance in the non-canonical Bond film Never Say Never Again.  He has worked with Curtis, appearing in Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually, and was the voice of Zazu in The Lion King.  He was nominated for a European Film Award for starring in Johnny English; he returned to the role for Johnny English Reborn, with a third in the series due out this year.  He won an Olivier Award in 1981 for Rowan Atkinson in Revue, and was nominated for another for starring as Fagin in a 2009 revival of Oliver!  His latest TV project has been starring as Jules Maigret in a British adaptation of the mystery novels by Georges Simenon.

Cristela Alonzo, who is 39, was the creator, producer, sometime writer, and star of the short-lived ABC sitcom Cristela, the first US Network series created, written, produced and starring a Latina.  English actress Sylvia Sims, who celebrates her 84th, is a three time BAFTA Award nominee, for Woman in a Dressing Gown, No Trees in the Street, and The Tamarind Seed.  Composer A. R. Rahman, who is 51 today, is a fifteen time Filmfare Award winner, and won two Oscars, for Best Original Score and Best Original Song, for his work on Slumdog Millionaire.

Our sports birthday is golfer Nancy Lopez, who turns 60.  A member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Lopez won 48 career events on the LPGA tour, including three wins at the Women’s PGA Championship.

Bonnie Franklin (1944-2013) was an Emmy and Golden Globe nominee for starring as divorced mother Ann Romano on One Day at a Time.  Her stage career included a Tony nomination as part of the original cast of the musical Applause.

Our historical birthdays are a pair of important past leaders in the US Congress.  Charles Sumner (1811-1874) served as a Senator from Massachusetts for over 20 years.  A leading abolitionist in the pre-Civil War Years, he became one of the architects of the Reconstruction of the postwar South.  Sam Rayburn (1882-1961) was elected to the House of Representatives from a Texas district in 1913.  He became one of the leaders of the Democratic Party in the House and in 1940 was elected the Speaker of the House, a position he held, other than two periods of Republican control, until his death.

Eddie Redmayne and Loretta Young were our headliners on January 6 of last year.

Eddie Redmayne is turning 36 today.  In the coming year he will return to the role of Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and voice one of the main characters in the stop-motion animated film Early Man.

Norman Reedus turns 49.  He continues to star on The Walking Dead as Daryl Dixon and is also doing quite a bit of voice work.  Jérémie Renier is 37; he starred in L’Amant Double, which screened last May at Cannes.  Rinko Kikuchi, who will return to the role of Mako Mori for Pacific Rim: Uprising, is also 37 today.  Genevieve O’Reilly, who is 41, starred on the British-Canadian series Tin Star and returned as a voice actor to the role of Mon Mothma for episodes of Star Wars RebelsCourtney Eaton, who celebrates her 22nd, starred in the recent release Newness and also will be in the upcoming Status Update.  Novelist Karin Slaughter, who released two books in 2017, the novel The Good Daughter and a short story collection, Last Breath, is 47 today.  John Singleton, our WTHH birthday, is 50; he is the co-creator and executive producer, and directed the season 1 finale, of FX’s Snowfall (recently renewed for a second season).

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 6, 2018, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Thanks so much for covering Rowan Atkinson! Blackadder is one of the truly great comedy series in television history and he is consistently funny as a supporting player and yes even as Mr Bean. I would also like to recommend the Jeff Goldblum/Emma Thompson theatre spoof The Tall Guy, in which Atkinson plays a big-headed comic whose successful show Goldblum is the fall man for. It’s a very funny party of a movie.

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    • Seconded on ‘The Tall Guy’ – very much overlooked these days, despite including one of the funniest sex scenes on celluloid. Atkinson’s officially the most influential bloke in my life outside family, given that he’s the reason I heard about electrical engineering. My entire career has followed on from that; I now work in a vineyard. Make of that what you will. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved Kate McKinnon as Holtzie in Ghostbusters—she was easily the best thing about that movie.

    Never Say Never Again was the first Bond film I ever saw in a theater (or anywhere else), and so I’ve been at least aware of Rowan Atkinson for a long time. Blackadder is on my very long list of “things to check out someday.”

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    • Agreed on McKinnon in the Ghostbusters remake.

      It’s been a long time since I saw Never Say Never Again. I don’t remember Rowan Atkinson in it. I wanted that to be my first in-theater Bond movie but my dad refused to let me go. Yes, I’m still bitter.

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    • Might I suggest moving ‘Blackadder II’ onto your shortlist of “must get around to it soon”? Some of the performances in ‘Blackadder the Third’ (yup, Hugh Laurie, I’m looking at you) are things of beauty for the ages, but the complete piece of work is better in ‘… II’.

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      • I would start from the first episode and watch the whole thing. Each season means more having experienced the one before it. My personal favorite season is III, but all of it is excellently funny.

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        • Oh, watching the whole thing is definitely recommended. It’s just that S1 is comparably weak enough that someone who wasn’t sure might not want to go on to the rest. Whereas if you start with S2 and don’t enjoy it, there’s a decent chance you might be dead. 😀

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