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January 23: Happy Birthday Rutger Hauer and Randolph Scott

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Dutch actor Rutger Hauer is turning 74 today.  He worked as a deckhand on a freighter and then as an electrician, while taking acting classes at night.  He worked in experimental theater for a few years before hooking up with director and producer Paul Verhoeven, who cast Hauer in a Dutch TV series, Floris, and then in several films during the 1970s, such as Turkish Delight and Soldier of Orange.  Hauer made his first English language film, a British production titled The Wilby Conspiracy, in 1974, and his first Hollywood film, Nighthawks, in 1981 (costarring with Sylvester Stallone).  However, it was his second role in an American film that became his most famous.

After playing the anti-villain (or anti-hero, perhaps) Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Hauer starred in films like The Osterman Weekend (Sam Peckinpah’s final film) and Ladyhawke, and reunited with Verhoeven on Flesh and Blood.  Later in the 1980s he made the horror film The Hitcher and the martial arts action comedy Blind Fury.  On television he won a Golden Globe for the 1987 TV movie Escape from Sobibor.  Some of his notable later roles included the vampire Lothos in the feature film Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cardinal Roark in Sin City, and, in a return to Dutch film, the famed Dutch admiral Maarten Tromp in Michiel de Ruyter.

Randolph Scott (1898-1987) grew up in North Carolina, and learned to ride and shoot while serving in World War One.  When he became interested in acting as a career, his father, a successful businessman, provided him with an introduction to Howard Hughes, who gave Scott his first film role.  By 1932 Scott was contracted with Paramount, and later that year he appeared in his first starring role, a Western adapted from Zane Grey’s Heritage of the Desert.

Scott had one of the longest and busiest associations with Westerns of any major star.  During the 1930s and early ’40s, he moved between Westerns and other genres almost constantly.  He starred in the 1936 adaptation of The Last of the Mohicans, but also the Astaire-Rogers musical Follow the Fleet and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm with Shirley Temple.  He had starring roles in Westerns like Frontier Marshal (the first major western with Wyatt Earp as a main character), while playing “sympathetic antagonist” roles opposite Tyrone Power in Jesse James and Errol Flynn in Virginia City.

From 1946, beginning with his starring role in Abilene Town, Scott worked exclusively in Westerns.  While the films he made were not as famous as those of John Wayne or James Stewart, they were successful enough that Scott ranked in the top 10 of the annual Quigley’s listings of top box office stars from 1950-53.  Later in the fifties, Scott made a series of films known as the “Ranown Westerns.”  All but one of them were produced by the Ranown company created by Scott and Harry Joe Brown, all were directed by Budd Boetticher, most of them were scripted by Burt Kennedy.  Seven Men From Now was the first, Comanche Station the last, and, perhaps, Ride Lonesome was the best.  After the Ranown pictures, Scott made only one more film, Sam Peckinpah’s classic Ride the High Country.

Of course, many film viewers would recognize Scott’s name even having never seen a single one of his films:

Native American actress Julia Jones, who turns 37, will be remembered by fans of the Twilight films for playing Leah Clearwater; she is also known for films like The Ridiculous 6 and Wind RiverChanel Cresswell, who is 28 today, has played Kelly Jenkins in the various installments of the This Is England franchise, and won a BAFTA Television Award for This Is England ’90.  Writer and director Derek Cianfrance, known for films like Blue Valentine and The Light Between Oceans, is turning 44.  Kyle Newacheck, who is turning 34, is known for his involvement with Comedy Central’s Workaholics, as a co-creator, writer, director, and recurring cast member.

Shin’ichi “Sonny” Chiba, who is celebrating his 79th, is one of the most important figures in Japanese martial arts films.  He has a very long filmography in Japanese cinema and has made periodic appearances in English-language films, notably as Hattori Hanzo in Kill Bill Vol. 1.

Greg Hildebrandt, who is 79 today, and his brother Tim (1939-2006) were painters who collaborated as The Brothers Hildebrandt.  They did art for many media, and were particularly known for doing the art for the annual Tolkien Calendars for many years, for illustrating books such as Terry Brooks’s The Sword of Shannara, and for film posters, particularly one for Star Wars.

Chita Rivera and Jeanne Moreau were the headliners on January 23 of last year.

Chita Rivera is turning 85 today.  The Broadway great is still active, teaming with multiple-Tony winner Tommy Tune as Chita & Tune for a concert tour that will run through sometime this spring.  Jeanne Moreau (1928-2017) passed last summer at the age of 89.

Tiffani Thiessen, who turns 44, currently hosts Dinner at Tiffani’s on the Cooking Channel.  Richard Roxburgh, who is 56 today, continues to work in Australian film, such as last year’s Breath, which screened at Toronto last fall.  Mariska Hargitay continues to star as Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as she turns 54.  Ewan Bremner, who celebrates his 46th, returned to the role of Daniel “Spud” Murphy in T2 Trainspotting, and played the sharpshooter Charlie in Wonder WomanJack Reynor, who is turning 26, had roles in The Man with the Iron Heart and Kathryn Bigelow’s DetroitDavid Patrick Kelly, who returned to the role of Jerry Horne for the Twin Peaks revival, is 67 today.  Ariadna Gil, who is 49, made her first screen appearance in about three years in the action thriller Rescue Under Fire.

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 23, 2018, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I think I fit into the group that only knows Randolph Scott from the gag in Blazing Saddles. I was never much of a Western guy.

    Rutger Hauer was amazing in Blade Runner. He’s usually reliable in things like The Hitcher. He clearly had no idea what Buffy the Vampire Slayer was supposed to be, but I don’t think he was alone there. Only Paul Reubens seemed to understand what kind of movie he was in.

    I know “Sonny” Chiba from Kill Bill. Wasn’t a big martial arts movie guy either.

    Like

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