January 17: Happy Birthday Zooey Deschanel and Betty White


Our two headliners today were photographed together at the Emmys a few years ago.

Actress and musician Zooey Deschanel is turning 38 today.  She is from a major Hollywood family, the daughter of cinematographer Caleb Deschanel and the younger sister of Emily Deschanel of Bones fame.  She made her film debut in Lawrence Kasdan’s Mumford in 1999 and then had a number of supporting roles in film before her first lead role in All the Real Girls.  For the rest of the 2000s she was a very busy film performer, known for her roles in films like The Go Getter and, as the title character, (500) Days of Summer.

While Deschanel never really established herself as a major film actress, in the current decade she has had a major success on television.  She has starred on Fox’s New Girl as Jessica Day since 2011; the series returns this spring for its seventh and final season.  The role has brought her nominations for three Golden Globes and an Emmy.

Deschanel has also had a successful music career.  In the early 2000s, she and Samantha Shelton performed as a cabaret act, If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies.  She has sung in several of her film roles, and wrote and performed the theme song for New Girl.  She also wrote the Grammy-nominated song “So Long” for Disney’s Winnie the Pooh.  For over a decade she and folkie M. Ward have recorded and performed together as She & Him; the two have made six albums together to date.

Betty White, who has been working in the entertainment industry for nearly 80 years, is celebrating her 96th today.  She began working in radio at the end of the 1930s, and during the next decade she appeared on shows like Blondie and The Great Gildersleeve.  Her film career includes playing the only woman in the Senate in Advise & Consent, and Ryan Reynolds’s grandmother in The Proposal.  However, she is most famous, by far, for her television career.

White began working regularly in television in the late forties, as the cohost of Hollywood on Television.  In the early fifties she was the producer and star of the syndicated sitcom Life with Elizabeth, and over the years she has been seen regularly on game shows like To Tell the Truth and Password.  In recent years she has been a recurring character on That ’70s Show and Boston Legal, and starred on TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland.  Her most famous roles, which between them brought her ten Emmy nominations (with three wins) have been as Sue Anne Nivens on the final four seasons of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls.

Kelly Marie Tran, who turns 29, can currently be seen in theaters as Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last JediHale Appleman, who is a regular on Syfy’s The Magicians, is 32 today.  Jake Paul, who is 21, plays Dirk Mann on Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark.  Spanish actress Adriana Ugarte, who is turning 33, was a Goya Award nominee for Cabeza de perro and starred in Pedro Almodóvar’s JulietaBart Freundlich, known for writing and directing films such as The Myth of Fingerprints and Wolves, is celebrating his 48th.

A year ago James Earl Jones and Jim Carrey were our headliners.

James Earl Jones is turning 87.  He appeared in the indie thriller Warning Shot and will return to the voice role of Mufasa in the remake of The Lion KingJim Carrey, who is turning 56, appeared in the well-received documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, which came out last November.

French actress Sylvie Testud, who celebrates her 47th, appeared in Stanley Tucci’s Final Portrait and costars in a remake of Dario Argento’s Suspiria, which will be released later this year.  Freddy Rodriguez, who continues to star on CBS’s Bull, is turning 43.  Leigh Whannell, who turns 41, continues his involvement with the Saw and Insidious horror franchises, as an executive producer on Jigsaw and writing Insidious: The Last KeyGenndy Tartovsky, who is turning 48, directed and wrote the upcoming animated feature Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer VacationNaveen Andrews, who is 49 today, continues to appear as Jonas Maliki on Sense8 and will be a regular on the upcoming CBS police procedural InsightDennis O’Hare, who is celebrating his 56th, received the third Emmy nomination of his career for a guest appearance on This Is UsJoshua Malina, who remains a regular on Scandal, is 52.  D. J. Caruso, who turns 53, directed last year’s XXX: The Return of Xander CageSteve Harvey, who is 61, picked up two Daytime Emmys last year, one each for hosting his own talk show and Family FeudSteve Earle is 63 today; the country singer-songwriter released his latest album, So You Wannabe An Outlaw, last June.

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 17, 2018, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Nice job getting both headliners in one shot!

    I haven’t ever tuned into New Girl, though I hear good things. I guess I first spotted Zooey Deschanel in Mumford, though I didn’t put a name to the face until much later. Probably around Elf.

    I know Betty White is a national treasure and I certainly wish her a happy birthday. My wife is a huge fan of The Golden Girls, but I have to admit I never understood the appeal of the show. Is it just me or is it not funny? I realize I am outside of the show’s target demo so I guess I’m not supposed to get it.

    Kelly Marie Tran was a terrific addition to the Star Wars cast. James Earl Jones, of course, will always be the voice of Darth Vader (and Mufasa), but he’s more than just that. That Jim Carrey documentary was, um, enlightening.


  2. Jim Carrey, of course, is today’s WTHH birthday celebrant:


  3. Not sure how many knew this, but James Earl Jones himself did not believe that Vader was actually Luke’s father when he first read the script. As Jones remembers, “When I first saw the dialogue that said, ‘I am your father,’ I said to myself, ‘He’s lying. I wonder how they are going to play that lie out?'”

    I was a kid when I first saw Empire on the big screen, and I vividly remember spending those next three very long years wondering if this was the truth or not, because I legitimately believed Vader was lying to him. Still, that twist -which was fully earned – is the greatest moment of George Lucas’ career as a storyteller.


    • I had the opposite reaction. Looking back, it’s kind of silly but I never doubted Darth Vader. Or if I did, it was only for a second. Once he said “search your feelings” and Luke looked despondent, I was sold.


      • You would think over the course of three years waiting for Return of the Jedi and spending far more time than I care to admit pondering if it was true or not, I would finally have picked up on that subtle nuance, right? Nope. At that young an age, clearly I needed to be hit over the head with a fact for it to register. But that’s ok; I read a study once that showed that the majority of kids aged 8 and younger tended to believe it was a lie, while a majority of those older than that tended to accept it as truth. As it happens, I was 8 years old when I saw Empire on the big screen.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t seen much of Zooey Deschanel’s work, although I’ve seen Almost Famous and The New Guy, but she certainly seems to be an interesting talent.

    I can remember Betty White as a game show panelist and, since The Mary Tyler Moore Show was regular viewing for my parents in the seventies, as Sue Ann Nivens. Life with Elizabeth was long before my time, but worth noting as White was the first woman to be the credited producer on a sitcom.

    Liked by 1 person

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