February 4 & 5: Happy Birthday Tom Wilkinson and Laura Linney


Many readers probably know that our two headliners appeared together in the HBO miniseries John Adams—she was Abigail Adams, he was Ben Franklin—and that they each won an Emmy and a Golden Globe.  What you may not know is that they also appeared together in the 2005 horror film/courtroom drama The Exorcism of Emily Rose; Wilkinson was a priest who attempted the titular exorcism, Linney the attorney who defended him in court.

Tom Wilkinson is turning 70 today.  He began acting in the mid-seventies, and worked in relative obscurity for nearly 20 years, largely in British theater and television.  He began to build a reputation when he was a BAFTA Television Award nominee for an adaptation of Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit in 1994, and then won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor for The Full Monty.  He began working in Hollywood in films like Shakespeare in Love and The Patriot, and was nominated for Best Actor for the 2001 drama In the Bedroom.

Like most actors who are primarily character/supporting players (In the Bedroom was a rare lead role for him), Wilkinson keeps busy.  In addition to his award winning turn in John Adams, his television career has brought him Emmy nominations for the TV movies Normal and Recount, and the miniseries The Kennedys (as Joe Kennedy).  He received a second Oscar nomination for Michael Clayton, and has appeared in big budget action films like Batman Begins and Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, and historical dramas like Valkyrie and Selma.  He was recently reunited with his John Adams costar, Paul Giamatti, in The Catcher Was a Spy, which screened last month at Sundance.

Laura Linney is celebrating her 54th today.  She studied at Brown and then at Juilliard, and began working in theater, film and television shortly after her 1990 graduation from Juilliard.  One of her first major roles was as Mary Ann Singleton in a British miniseries adaptation of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City; she reprised the role in two sequel series produced by Showtime.  She began getting high profile film roles in the mid-to-late nineties, in films like Primal Fear, Absolute Power, and The Truman Show, and received her first Oscar nomination, for Best Actress, for 2000’s You Can Count on Me.

Linney’s Emmy for John Adams is one of four she has won; the others were for the TV movie Wild Iris, for a guest appearance on Frasier, and for the miniseries The Big C: Hereafter.  She has been nominated for two additional Oscars, for Kinsey and The Savages, and has received nominations for a BAFTA Award, for Mystic River, and for a Golden Globe, for The Squid and the Whale.  In the last couple of years, she has had prominent roles in films such as Mr. Holmes, Sully, and The Dinner, and on Netflix’s Ozark.

Other birthdays today include Jeremy Sumpter, best known for his juvenile/teen roles as the title character of 2003’s Peter Pan and on Clubhouse and Friday Night Lights.  Sumpter is 29 today.  Sara Foster, who turns 37, starred in the lesbian rom-com D.E.B.S. and the 2004 remake of The Big Bounce, and more recently played Jen Clark on 90210 and starred as herself on the VH1 parody series Barely Famous.  Also turning 37 is French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve; she received a Cesar nomination for Best First Feature for her feature debut, All is Forgiven, and won the Silver Bear for Best Director at Berlin in 2016 for Things To Come.

American author William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) was one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation.  He is remembered for novels such as Naked Lunch and the Nova Trilogy, in which he experimented with the so-called “cut-up technique” of writing.

Additional birthdays from yesterday include Canadian actress and comedian Lauren Ash, who turned 35; she stars as Dina Fox on NBC’s Superstore, now in its third season.  Brandon “Bug” Hall, who is 33, was a child actor of the 1990s, notably as Alfalfa in The Little Rascals, and most recently appeared in the indie thriller The Shadow PeopleJim O’Heir, best known for playing Jerry Gergich on Parks and Recreation, turned 56 yesterday.

One year ago today, directors Michael Mann and Christopher Guest were the headliners.

Michael Mann is turning 75.  He is developing what will be his first feature since 2015’s Blackhat, a biopic of Italian race car driver and builder Enzo Ferrari.  Christopher Guest, who celebrates his 70th, does not appear to have any new projects since 2016’s Mascots.

Charlotte Rampling, who celebrates her 72nd, has not rested on her laurels since her Oscar nomination for 45 Years.  She won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at Venice last year, for Hannah, and starred in the mystery The Sense of an Ending.  This year she will have a prominent role in Red Sparrow.  Jennifer Jason Leigh, our WTHH birthday, is 56.  She is producing and starring on Netflix’s Atypical, appeared in several episodes of the Twin Peaks revival, and appeared in the critically-praised drama Good Time and in Amityville: The Awakening.

Michael Sheen, who is 49, appeared in the rom-com Home Again and the comedy-drama Brad’s Status, and will star on the BBC/Amazon miniseries Good OmensTony Jaa, who celebrates his 42nd, appeared in XXX: The Return of Xander Cage and in the Chinese-language action film ParadoxChris Parnell, who is turning 51, continues to be a busy voice actor, and also has a live-action role on Freeform’s Grown-ishAlex Brightman, who appeared in an off-Broadway revival of the musical Assassins, is 31.  Darren Criss, also 31, is starring on the second season of American Crime Story on FX, The Assassination of Gianni VersaceErrol Morris, who is turning 70, directed and produced the docudrama miniseries Wormwood, released by Netflix in December.  Country singer Sara Evans, who released her eighth studio album, Words, last July, is celebrating her 47th.

Our February 4 headliners last year were Rob Corddry and Ida Lupino.

Rob Corddry is 47.  He continues to star as Joe Krutel on HBO’s Ballers, and had supporting roles in several films last year, such as Shimmer Lake and The LayoverPatrick Bergin, who turned 67 yesterday, has recently joined the cast of the durable English soap opera EastEnders as Aidan Maguire.  Gabrielle Anwar, who is now 48, also has a new regular TV role, joining the season 7 cast of ABC’s Once Upon a TimeHannibal Buress, who turned 35, continues to co-host The Eric Andre Show, and had a small role in Spider-Man: HomecomingAlice Cooper (aka Vincent Furnier), who turned 70, released his 27th studio album (along with the band that bears his name), Paranormal.

George Romero (1940-2017), known as the “Father of the Zombie Film,” died last summer at the age of 77.

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 February 5, 2018, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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