January 25 & 26: Happy Birthday Scott Glenn and David Strathairn


Our headliners today are a pair of well-regarded character actors who have each gotten lead roles from time to time.

Scott Glenn is turning 77 today.  He graduated from William & Mary, served in the Marines for three years, and went into acting in the mid-sixties, making his Broadway debut in a play titled The Impossible Years (which was co-written by Groucho Marx’s son Arthur).  He worked in relative obscurity in the seventies, although he had small roles in a pair of iconic 1970s films, Nashville and Apocalypse Now, before a breakthrough role in Urban Cowboy.  In the early 1980s he played astronaut Alan Shepherd in The Right Stuff, and had leading roles in Michael Mann’s The Keep and Lawrence Kasdan’s Silverado.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Glenn remained a fairly high-profile performer without becoming a big star.  He starred in the 1987 version of Man on Fire and had major roles in films like The Hunt for Red October and The Silence of the Lambs.  He seemed to be fading into obscurity by the early 2000s, making mostly TV movies, but his career has rebounded in the last decade.  He has had prominent film roles as a fictional CIA director, in two of the Bourne movies, and a real-life Secretary of Defense (Donald Rumsfeld), in Oliver Stone’s W.  He has also had roles in films such as Secretariat and Sucker Punch.  He has been seen on television quite a bit in the past few years, as Kevin Garvey, Sr., on HBO’s The Leftovers, and as the blind martial arts master Stick on Daredevil and The Defenders.

David Strathairn is celebrating his 69th today.  He attended Williams College, where he became friends with John Sayles; Strathairn made his film debut in Sayles’ The Return of the Secaucus Seven, and has worked with the director several times since then, on films such as Matewan, Eight Men Out, City of Hope (winning an Independent Spirit Award), and Limbo, to name a few.  In the nineties, he had major roles in films including Sneakers, Lost in Yonkers, and L.A. Confidential (as Pierce Patchett).  More recently, he, like Glenn, appeared in two of the Bourne movies (as Noah Vosen), and he also played Nathan Zuckerman in an adaptation of Philip Roth’s American Pastoral.  The high point of his film career was undoubtedly his Oscar-nominated performance as Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck.

Strathairn also has a lengthy television resume.  He won a Primetime Emmy for the HBO biopic Temple Grandin, and was nominated for a second for playing John Dos Passos on Hemingway & Gellhorn.  He has done TV movies like Day One (as J. Robert Oppenheimer) and Son of the Morning Star, and recently had a recurring role on The Blacklist.  He is a busy stage performer as well—he has appeared on Broadway several times, including parts in Chekhov’s The Three Sisters and Oscar Wilde’s Salome, and has also had a long history with Harold Pinter’s plays, appearing in productions of The Birthday Party and Ashes to Ashes, among others.

Other birthdays today include Kelly Stables, best known for starring as Eden Konkler on The Exes; she turns 40 today.  Taylor James, who plays the title character in the upcoming biblical drama Samson, is 38.  Paul Johansson, who is 54, played Dan Scott on One Tree Hill and currently is a regular on Van HelsingHannah Arterton, who turns 29 today, is known for her regular role on the British crime series The Five and will also be a regular on Netflix’s upcoming Safe.

Birthdays from yesterday include Spanish actress Christina Ochoa, who turned 33; she is known to US audiences for her regular roles on The CW’s Valor, where she is currently a regular, and Syfy’s Blood Drive.  Ochoa shares a birthday with Claudia Kim, who played Arra Champignon in last year’s The Dark Tower and may also be remembered for her role in Age of UltronAna Ortiz, best known for her regular roles on Ugly Betty and Devious Maids, turned 47.  French writer and director Olivier Assayas, who is 63, is known for films like Clouds of Sils Maria and Personal Shopper, both of which featured Kristen Stewart.

Wayne Gretzky and Paul Newman, neither of whom has anything to report on in the way of updates, were the headliners on this date last year.

Ellen DeGeneres is turning 60 today.  She continues to host The Ellen DeGeneres Show, for which she won her 29th Daytime Emmy last year, and as of December is also hosting Ellen’s Game of GamesColin O’Donoghue, who is 39, continues to play Captain Hook on Once Upon a TimeRachel DiPillo, who continues as Dr. Sarah Reese on Chicago Med, is 27.  Mimi Leder, formerly an executive producer of The Leftovers, is directing her first feature in nearly a decade, a biopic of Ruth Bader Ginsberg titled On the Basis of Sex; Leder is 66.  George Tillman, Jr., is 49; he is directing the upcoming The Hate U GiveLucinda Williams, who celebrates her 65th, released her latest album last year, This Sweet Old World, and was named by Rolling Stone to be one of the 100 Greatest Country Artists of All Time.

On January 25 of last year, Alicia Keys and Etta James were the headliners.

Alicia Keys turned 37 yesterday.  She will be returning as a coach for the 14th season of The Voice, and is working on her seventh studio album.

Mia Kirshner, who turned 43, recently made a guest appearance on Star Trek Discovery as Amanda Grayson.  Christine Lakin, who starred as herself on Hollywood Darlings, celebrated her 39th.  Michael Trevino, who is 33, completed the final season of The Vampire Diaries, and appears in the upcoming action thriller Out of ControlCharlie Bewley turned 37; he appeared in last year’s RenegadesJenifer Lewis, who is 61, remains a regular on ABC’s Black-ishStephen Chbosky, who celebrated his 48th, wrote the screenplay for one of last year’s biggest hits, Beauty and the Beast, and wrote and directed the financial and critical success Wonder.

Tobe Hooper (1943-2017), famous for directing The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Poltergeist, died last summer at the age of 74.

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 26, 2018, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. The first thing that comes to mind for me when I think of Scott Glenn is Silence of the Lambs. I have always found his character a little creepy. Yes, he’s a law and order guy, but I always felt like he was harboring some unprofessional thoughts towards Clarice. Obviously, he manipulated her and some of those gazes go on a little too long. Compared to most of the men in the movie, he’s a stand-up guy but I still think there’s some ick-factor in there. I shared this theory with my dad and he totally disagreed with me.

    I guess I hadn’t seen David Strathairn in a while. I didn’t recognize him at all in that picture! For a brief moment, he was flirting with leading man roles. But he’s always been a terrific character actor. I guess he’s doing TV now.

    Everyone loves Ellen, right? I don’t watch her daytime talk show, but I generally enjoy her whenever I see her pop up in something. The kids have discovered Ellen’s Game of Games which is an extremely silly show that I can watch with them.

    I was trying to think of where I had heard the name Mia Kirshner before… It sounded so familiar. Then I remembered we had a Movieline interview with her a few months ago.

    I’ve been reading a bit about Tobe Hooper. Man, something just went horribly wrong with his career and no one seems to know for sure what happened. Having written about some Cannon films recently, I watched one of Hooper’s three movies for the studio. Invaders From Mars is generally considered the worst of the three and it’s easy to understand why. But it’s a pretty fascinating misfire.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Since Paul Newman’s birthday article last year, I watched “Cool Hand Luke” for the first time. It easily became one of my favorite Newman movies. (Wayne Rogers, best known as Trapper John on “MAS*H”, played a small role in it.) He had good chemistry with Robert Redford in the movies they did together. One of Newman’s last roles was the voice of Doc Hudson in the Pixar movie “Cars”.


  3. I saw Silverado in the theater during its initial release; that was the first time I became familiar with Scott Glenn. He’s someone I always like to see show up in a film, even ones that aren’t that great otherwise—his cool oldtimer character was the best thing about Sucker Punch.

    David Strathairn I am pretty sure I first saw in Sneakers in the early 1990s. I have caught up with quite a bit of his work over the years, such as his films with Sayles, his supporting part in L.A. Confidential, and more. He was terrific as Edward R. Murrow in Good NIght, and Good Luck.


    • I remember Silverado in theaters, but I had little interest in seeing it. I liked my Westerns set in outer space. It wasn’t long before it was on cable all-day everyday. I have spent a lot of time watching Silverado, but I don’t know that I have ever seen it from beginning to end. I don’t remember Glenn in Sucker Punch, but I have mostly blocked the movie from my memories. What an atrocity! I can easily imagine him being the best part.

      I first became aware of Strathairn in Memphis Belle in 1990. Between Sneakers and A League of Their Own, 1992 was a big year for him. Then in 1994, he really got a shot at mainstream leading man roles in The River Wild even if Meryl Streep was clearly the star.


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