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January 10 & 11: Happy Birthday Pat Benatar and Rod Taylor

 

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Four-time Grammy winner Pat Benatar turns 65 today.  She dropped out of college to get married, worked for a short time as a bank teller, and then quit to take a job as a singing waitress at a night club.  She worked as a club singer for much of the 1970s, in the Richmond, VA, area and then New York, before being signed to a recording contract in 1978.  Her first album, In the Heat of the Night, came out a year later, but it was her second album, Crime of Passion, that established her as a star—it included her first top 10 hit and won her her first Grammy.

The 1980s were Benatar’s heyday.  She had five consecutive Platinum albums, several hit singles, and won the Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for four years in a row.  In the early days of MTV, she was featured regularly—her “You Better Run” video was the second video ever played on the network.  Although she hasn’t released a studio album in over a decade, she still tours almost every year and released a pair of singles in 2017.

Rod Taylor (1930-2015) began working in theater in his native Australia when he was about twenty.  He made his feature film debut in the 1954 Australian production King of the Coral Sea, following which he relocated to the US.  He made several television appearances, and then had supporting roles in films like Giant, The Catered Affair, and Separate Tables.  In 1960, he landed his first big starring role, in a film adaptation of H. G. Wells’ novel The Time Machine.

Taylor was a fairly prominent leading man in the sixties.  His most famous and recognizable roles were as Mitch Brenner in Hitchcock’s The Birds, and as the voice of Pongo in Disney’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians.  He starred in a pair of romantic comedies with Doris Day, Do Not Disturb and The Glass Bottom Boat, in war-adventure films like Dark of the Sun and The Hell with Heroes, and as John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee in Darker than Amber.  In the seventies he transitioned to supporting roles and began doing more television work.  His final film role was as Winston Churchill in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.

Additional January 10 birthdays include Spanish actor Martiño Rivas, who turned 33; he was a Goya Award nominee for the film The Blind Sunflower, and currently is a regular on Netflix’s Las Chicas del CableEvan Handler, a regular on Showtime’s Californication for seven seasons as Charlie Runkle, celebrated his 57th.  Lauren McCrostie, who is now 22, is known for roles in the films The Falling and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar ChildrenKalki Koelchlin, who turned 34 yesterday, is a French actress who works primarily in Indian film.  She won a Filmfare Award in her debut film, Dev. D, and wrote and starred in That Girl in Yellow Boots.  Writer and director Gurinder Chadha, known for films like Bend it Like Beckham, Bride and Prejudice, and the recent Viceroy’s House, turned 58.

Astronomer and physicist Robert W. Wilson, who turns 82, is a Nobel Laureate in Physics who worked at Bell Laboratories for several decades and was the co-discoverer, along with his colleague and fellow Nobelist Arno Penzias, of the Cosmic Microwave Background, one of the most important findings in modern astrophysics.

Today’s birthdays include Devin Ratray, who turns 41; known for playing Buzz McAllister in two Home Alone films, as an adult he has starred in the well-regarded indie film Blue RuinRockmund Dunbar, who stars on Hulu’s The Path, is 45 today.  Melanie Hill, who turns 56, is known to British TV audiences for her roles on Bread and Playing the Field, and as part of the current cast of Coronation Street.

Mexican actor and director Alfonso Arau is turning 86.  He has directed films like the award-winning Like Water for Chocolate and A Walk in the Clouds.  1980s filmgoers would have known him for his supporting roles in Three Amigos and Romancing the Stone.

A year ago, the January 10 headliners were Walter Hill and Rod Stewart.

Walter Hill celebrated his 76th birthday.  He was a producer of last year’s Alien: Covenant, and is directing the second season premiere of Amazon’s legal drama GoliathSir Rod Stewart turned 73.  His Las Vegas Residency show, Rod Stewart: The Hits, ended last year after a six year run.  He has announced a number of tour dates all over the world this year.

Fran Walsh is 59; she and Peter Jackson collaborated on the screenplay of the upcoming Mortal Engines, adapted from Philip Reeve’s novel.  Jemaine Clement turned 44; he starred in last year’s Humor Me and had a supporting role in Brad’s StatusSarah Shahi, who is 38, will star on the upcoming NBC series ReverieEmily Meade, a regular on HBO’s The Deuce, turned 29 yesterday.

Mary J. Blige and Amanda Peet were the headliners last year on this date.

Mary J. Blige, who turns 47, had an active 2017.  Her thirteenth studio album, Strength of a Woman, came out in April and reached #3 on the Billboard 200.  She also was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress as Florence Jackson in the film Mudbound (as well as for a SAG Award in the same category).  Amanda Peet, who is 46 today, stars on the IFC sitcom Brockmire as Jules James.

Phyllis Logan, who turns 62, is a regular on the British TV series The Good Karma HospitalMalcolm D. Lee, who celebrates his 48th, directed last year’s financially successful comedy Girls Trip; his next film is the upcoming Night SchoolMarc Blucas, who is 46, appeared in last year’s Brawl in Cell Block 99Aja Naomi King remains a regular on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder as she turns 33.  Diana Gabaldon, who is turning 66, is in the process of writing the ninth Outlander novel, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.

German actress Christine Kaufmann (1945-2017), a Golden Globe winner in 1961, passed away last March of leukemia at the age of 72.

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 11, 2018, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Our headliners today had in common that they were pretty big in their time, but not the biggest star around. Pat Benatar was not the biggest name in 1980s music, not on the Madonna/Michael Jackson level, but she was a pretty big success, especially in the first half of the decade. Likewise, Rod Taylor, while not a star on the level of John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Jack Lemmon, or other really big names in film during the sixties, was a pretty successful leading man.

    Alfonso Arau’s scene-stealing turn in Romancing the Stone is one of my favorite “one-scene wonder” roles of all time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely listened to some Pat Benatar growing up! No, not Micheal Jackson/Madonna level, but Hit Me With Your Best Shot takes me right back to the early 80’s. It’s still popular enough for my kids to know the song without my influence.

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    • Another reason why Rod Taylor wasn’t as big of a star as Lemmon, Hudson, etc was he concentrated too much on action roles in the mid to late 60’s. Those roles were not believable. Critics thought he was too old and out of shape for those roles. To make a long story short, those movies flopped, and Taylor’s movie career ended.

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  2. I recently started my new job, so I haven’t been on here as much.

    Amanda Peet was incredibly funny in “The Whole Nine Yards”. “The Whole Ten Yards” isn’t great, but it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of Peet, Matthew Perry, or Bruce Willis. I’ve seen a little of “Brockmire” as well. It isn’t my favorite, but I do like Peet and Hank Azaria.

    I finally got around to seeing the Rod Taylor version of “The Time Machine”. Another good Taylor movie is “Sunday in New York”. It’s a little dated now but my favorite part was when he danced with Cliff Robertson. And who can forget “The Birds”? That was a pretty wild movie.

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