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January 27: Happy Birthday Alan Cumming and Rosamund Pike

 

0127CummingPike

Today’s headliners have in common that each one appeared in a James Bond film during the Pierce Brosnan era—one in Brosnan’s first Bond film, the other in his final one.

Tony and Olivier Award winning actor Alan Cumming celebrates his 53rd today.  He began both his stage and screen careers in the mid-1980s and quickly became a prominent stage performer.  He received an Olivier Award nomination for Most Promising Newcomer in his debut in Conquest of the South Pole, and in 1991 won the Olivier for Best Comedy Performance in Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist.  He is also known for playing Mack the Knife in The Threepenny Opera, Trigorin in Chekhov’s The Seagull, and for his one-man version of Macbeth.  But his most famous stage role is no doubt the Emcee in Cabaret, a role he played in the 1993 West End revival (receiving an Olivier Award nomination), the 1998 Broadway revival (winning a Tony), and the 2014 Broadway revival.

Cumming made his feature film debut in the 1992 film Prague.  Fans of big-budget action films know him as Boris Grishenko from Goldeneye and Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler from X2: X-Men United; he also played Fegan Floop in the Spy Kids films.  Other viewers may know him better for his work in the likes of Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion or The Anniversary Party, which he not only starred in but directed, produced and wrote (in collaboration with Jennifer Jason Leigh in all three cases).  He was a regular on The Good Wife as Eli Gold, receiving three Emmy nominations.  He recently costarred as Ted Tinling in Battle of the Sexes, and will star on the upcoming CBS series Instinct.

Rosamund Pike is turning 39.  While studying literature at Oxford, the English actress began working in British television, notably in the miniseries Love in a Cold Climate.  She made her feature film debut as the Bad Bond Girl Miranda Frost in Die Another Day in 2002.  Over the next decade or so she found steady film work.  She played Jane Bennet in the 2005 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, and received critical praise for films like The Libertine and Made in Dagenham.  She had prominent roles in action films like Jack Reacher and Wrath of the Titans, and in the action comedy Johnny English Reborn.  In 2014 she was nominated for a host of awards, including Best Actress, in Gone Girl, adapted from Gillian Flynn’s novel.

Since starring in Gone Girl, Pike has gone on to play historical figures in the films A United Kingdom (Ruth Williams Khama) and The Man With the Iron Heart (Lina Heydrich).  She is the voice of Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward in the animated series Thunderbirds Are Go.  She starred in the recently released Western Hostiles, and will be in the upcoming political thrillers Entebbe and Beirut.

Philip Rosenthal, a television writer and producer who is a two-time Emmy winner as an executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond, turns 58 today.  Tamlyn Tomita, who is 52, made her debut in The Karate Kid Part II, and is currently a regular on The Good Doctor.

Howard McNear (1905-1969) was best known for playing Floyd Lawson, the barber, on The Andy Griffith Show.

Wilhelm II (1859-1941) was the Kaiser (Emperor) of Germany from 1888 to his abdication in 1918.  He became the symbol of Germany’s attempts to become a global, colonial empire, a naval power, and Germany’s role in World War One.  Edward Smith (1850-1912) was an English merchant seaman who rose to become the commodore of the White Star Line, meaning he was assigned to captain the line’s flagship passenger liners.  As a consequence, in April of 1912, he was the captain of White Star’s newest ocean liner on her maiden voyage.  That ship’s name—the Titanic.

Bobby “Blue” Bland (1930-2013) was known as the “Lion of the Blues,” and was one of the leading blues musicians of the later 20th century.  Kate Wolf (1942-1986) was one of the most respected singer-songwriters in the folk music world of the seventies and eighties, in spite of having her life cut short by leukemia when she was only 44.

Last year, our January 27 headliners were James Cromwell and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

James Cromwell celebrates his 78th today.  Last year he appeared on season 2 of TBS’s The Detour as J. R. Randall, and as a judge in the legal drama/biopic Marshall.  He will costar in this summer’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Bridget Fonda, our WTHH birthday, remains retired from acting; she turns 54 today.  Patton Oswalt, who turns 49, is the narrator of ABC’s The Goldbergs, and is part of the cast of the revived Mystery Science Theater 3000Susanna Thompson, who is 60, plays the recurring character of Carolyn Preston on NBC’s TimelessFrank Miller, who turns 61 today, is at work on a new graphic novel, Superman: Year One.

Finally, let’s have a musical close courtesy of two giants of music born on this date.  First of all we have last year’s headliner, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791).  Last year we featured a sampling from one of his operas.  This year let’s turn to another musical form where he was at his best, his piano concertos.

Broadway great Jerome Kern (1885-1945) is best known for his collaborations with Oscar Hammerstein II, but he composed for almost every prominent lyricist of the early 20th century.  This song won an Oscar when it was used in the film Swing Time.

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 27, 2018, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Pretty sure I discovered both of our headliners in James Bond movies from the Brosnan era. Alan Cumming in Goldeneye and Rosamund Pike in Die Another Day. Both have been better served in other movies. Gone Girl was trash, but dang Pike delivered an amazing performance.

    I’m fond of James Cromwell, Bridget Fonda and Patton Oswald for very different reasons.

    Like

  2. I also first encountered both Alan Cumming and Rosamund Pike in their Bond movie appearances.

    In addition to all of his work mentioned in the article, Alan Cumming was in Josie and the Pussycats, which I know that a few of our readers have a bit of a liking for.

    Rosamund Pike seems to have gotten a nice career boost from her Gone Girl acclaim; she’s moved from being a supporting actress/sometimes leading lady to consistently getting lead roles.

    As a musical bonus, here’s one of my favorite Kate Wolf songs:

    Like

    • Josie and the Pussycats is a fun little movie. It’s a shame more people didn’t see it. It’s been a long time, but I also remember Cumming stealing Romy and Michelle.

      Like

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