January 12 & 13: Happy Birthday Simon Russell Beale and Julia Louis-Dreyfus


Simon Russell Beale, acclaimed as one of the finest stage actors of his time, celebrated his 57th yesterday.  Born in present-day Malaysia, he studied literature at Cambridge, and began working in British theater in the 1980s.  He has, as you’d expect, had a noted career as a Shakespearean.  He has played the title roles in Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and Richard III, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, Iago in Othello, and both Prospero and Ariel in The Tempest.  He is a three-time Olivier Award winner—for Best Performance in a Supporting role in a revival of Ben Jonson’s Volpone, Best Actor in a Musical in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, and Best Actor in the title role of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya.

Beale has appeared in supporting roles in films such as The Deep Blue Sea, My Week with Marilyn, Into the Woods, and The Legend of Tarzan.  Recently he gave an acclaimed performance as Lavrentiy Beria in The Death of Stalin.  He has worked regularly on television since the late 1980s.  He has had regular roles on series such as the BBC’s Spooks and Showtime’s Penny Dreadful.  He has won two BAFTA Television Awards, one for playing Kenneth Widmerpool in an adaptation of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time, and the second as Falstaff in the Henry IV segments of the BBC’s The Hollow Crown.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is turning 57 today.  She studied theater at Northwestern, dropping out before she finished her degree to work with Chicago’s The Practical Theatre Company; she was then invited to join the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1982, at the age of 21.  After three years on SNL, she moved on to roles in films like Hannah and Her Sisters, and on the short-lived sitcom Day by Day, before landing her breakthrough role, as Elaine Benes on Seinfeld.  During the show’s nine season run, she won an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

Louis-Dreyfus has made a few films during Seinfeld’s run and since it ended, such as Deconstructing Harry and Enough Said, but has mostly stuck to television.  She headlined the short-lived Watching Ellie, and then starred as Christine Campbell on The New Adventures of Old Christine, a role which brought her her second Emmy.  Since 2012 she has starred as Selina Meyer, the title character of HBO’s Veep, which will return for its seventh and final season this April.  Louis-Dreyfus has won six straight Emmys as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Veep, and shared in three more for Outstanding Comedy Series as an executive producer.

Other birthdays from yesterday include Katherine MacGregor, who is 93, and is remembered for playing Harriet Oleson on Little House on the PrairieAnthony Andrews, who is 70, won Golden Globe and BAFTA Television Awards for starring in the British miniseries Brideshead Revisited, and is known for roles in films like The King’s SpeechAndrew Lawrence, youngest of the trio of acting brothers, is 30; he has been a regular on Brotherly Love and Oliver Beene.  Norwegian actor Jakob Oftebro, who is 32, has been in several Scandinavian films like Kon-Tiki and appeared in last year’s The SnowmanIssa Rae, who is 33, is the creator and star of HBO’s Insecure, which is partly based on her web series Awkward Black Girl.  Independent filmmaker Mary Harron, known for films like I Shot Andy Warhol and American Psycho, is 65.

James Farmer (1920-1999) was an important figure in the Civil Rights Movement in the US, as a founder of the Congress on Racial Equality and the organizer of the Freedom Rides of 1961.

Today’s birthdays include Julian Morris, who has been in films ranging from the horror movie Cry Wolf to the historical drama Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (as Bob Woodward); Morris is 35.  William B. Davis, known for playing the Cigarette Smoking Man on The X-Files, turns 80.

Millions of children around the world have been entertained by the books of Michael Bond (1926-2017), the creator of a bear by the name of Paddington.

Last year’s headliners on January 12 were Kirstie Alley and Luise Rainer.

Kirstie Alley, who is turning 67, does not appear to have had any new projects since the cancellation of Scream QueensOliver Platt, who turned 58, is a part of Dick Wolf’s Chicago franchise as Dr. Daniel Charles—a regular on Chicago Med with crossovers to the rest of the franchise.  John Lasseter, who is now 61, continues in his chief creative officer roles with Pixar and Disney Animation; in addition to his producing roles in films like Coco and the upcoming The Incredibles 2, he will have a story credit on Toy Story 4Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who continues to star on USA Network’s Shooter, turned 33.  Rachael Harris, who is 50, remains a regular on Fox’s LuciferNaya Rivera, who turned 31, appeared in the feature Mad Families and will be a regular on the upcoming web series Step Up: High WaterZayn Malik, who celebrated his 25th, won a number of music awards last year of the “best new performer” type, and released two singles from an upcoming second solo album.  Novelist Walter Mosley’s latest, Down the River unto the Sea, comes out next month; Mosley turned 66 yesterday.

The headliners a year ago today were Orlando Bloom and Gwen Verdon.

Orlando Bloom celebrates his 41st birthday.  One of two of our WTHH birthdays today, he returned to the role of Will Turner last year for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.  He also appeared in films like Romans and Unlocked, and will star on the upcoming Amazon Video series Carnival Row.

Penelope Ann Miller, our second WTHH birthday celebrant, is turning 54.  She will appear in the upcoming film American DresserShonda Rhimes, whose latest projects are producing the series For the People and Still Star-Crossed, turns 48.  Patrick Dempsey, who is 52, will appear in the upcoming films Berlin, I Love You and The Postcard Killings.  Country singer Trace Adkins, who is 56 today, appeared in last year’s Hickock, and released his 16th studio album, Something’s Going OnLiam Hemsworth, who is 28, will be in the upcoming features Killerman and Isn’t It RomanticRuth Wilson, who celebrates her 36th, continues to appear on Showtime’s The Affair and starred in a Royal National Theatre revival of Ibsen’s Hedda GablerMichael Peña, who played Frank Poncherello in CHiPs and will return to the role of Luis for Ant-Man and the Wasp, is 42 today.

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 January 13, 2018, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: