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February 7: Happy Birthday Ashton Kutcher and Pete Postlethwaite

0207KutcherPostlethwaite

Ashton Kutcher turns 40 today.  He grew up in Iowa, and dropped out of the University of Iowa when he won a modeling contest.  After working as a model for a short time, he moved to Los Angeles in 1998, and was cast in the period sitcom That ’70s Show in the role of Michael Kelso.  He remained with the series for seven seasons and made several guest appearances during the 8th and final season.  In the early 2000s he also began working regularly in film.  He starred in a number of films, such as the comedies Dude, Where’s My Car? and Just Married and the sci-fi thriller The Butterfly Effect, which were poorly received critically but were financial successes (thanks in part to being modestly budgeted).

In 2003 Kutcher and Jason Goldberg created the MTV reality comedy series Punk’d, which Kutcher hosted from 2003-2007.  He has also been a producer on several other television programs, like the reality series Beauty and the Geek.  He continued to work regularly in films like What Happens in Vegas and No Strings Attached, but has done little film work since playing Steve Jobs in the 2013 biopic Jobs.  He has returned successfully to series television; he replaced Charlie Sheen as the lead on Two and a Half Men for its final four seasons, and currently stars on Netflix’s The Ranch.

Pete Postlethwaite (1946-2011) studied acting at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (another alum is recent headliner Olivia Colman).  He began his stage career with the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool and later moved to the Royal Shakespeare Company.  His notable stage roles have included Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the title role in King Lear, Max in Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming, and the title character of Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones.  He worked for over thirty years in British television, receiving BAFTA Television Award nominations twice, one for the 1994 miniseries Martin Chuzzlewit (in which one of his costars was Monday headliner Tom Wilkinson).

Postlethwaite began to be recognized as a film actor with his starring appearance in the 1988 drama Distant Voices, Still Lives.  Many of our readers will probably remember him as the attorney Mr. Kobayashi in The Usual Suspects, and he has had prominent roles in films like Amistad and The Lost World: Jurassic Park.  More recently, two of his final roles were as Maurice Fisher in Inception and Fergie Colm in The Town; he received a BAFTA Award nomination for the latter.  His most famous role was probably his Oscar-nominated turn as Patrick “Giuseppe” Conlon in In the Name of the Father.

Cerina Vincent, who is turning 39, is a regular on Disney Channel’s Stuck in the Middle, now in its third season, and has also written three books with Jodi Lipper; the first was How To Eat Like a Hot ChickJason Gedrick, best known for starring in 1980s films like The Heavenly Kid and Iron Eagle, is 53 today.  Irina Björklund, who is turning 45, is a Swedish-Finnish actress who has done a lot of work in Finnish film and television and might be recognized by US audiences for her small but significant role in The American.

Eddie Bracken (1915-2002) had a long career on Broadway that was highlighted by a Tony nomination for the 1978 revival of Hello Dolly!  He is also remembered for starring in a pair of Preston Sturges comedies, Hail the Conquering Hero and The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek.  Argentine-born director Hector Babenco (1946-2016) was an Oscar nominee for Best Director for Kiss of the Spider Woman, and also directed films like Pixote and At Play in the Fields of the Lord.

John Deere (1804-1886) designed and built a steel plough that was a substantial improvement over previous designs in 1837, and went on to found the manufacturing company that bears his name.

Our headliners a year ago today were Garth Brooks and Chris Rock.

Garth Brooks is 56 today.  Brooks was honored last year as Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association, for the second consecutive year, and continued with active touring accompanied by his wife, Trisha Yearwood.  Chris Rock, who is 53, made a cameo as himself in the film Sandy Wexler and will costar in Adam Sandler’s upcoming The Week Of.

Eddie Izzard, who turns 56, was the voice of Lord Voldemort in The Lego Batman Movie and played the Prince of Wales in Stephen Frears’ Victoria & AbdulJames Spader, who is celebrating his 58th, continues to star as Raymond “Red” Reddington on The Blacklist.  Also 58 is Robert Smigel, who is the director of the aforementioned The Week Of, continuing his lengthy association with Adam Sandler.  Deborah Ann Woll is 33; she continues to play Karen Page on Daredevil and also appears in the same role on The Defenders and The PunisherAlexander Dreymon, who stars as Uhtred of Bebbanburg on The Last Kingdom, is celebrating his 35th today.

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 February 7, 2018, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Ashton Kutcher has largely stayed off my radar—the kind of movies he makes don’t generally overlap that much with my tastes, and I never really got into That ’70s Show. But he’s been pretty successful, more so than most of his ’70s Show costars (except that one he’s married to, of course).

    Pete Postlethwaite had a terrific career. He was great in The Usual Suspects in a small role and graced a wide variety of films, sometimes rising above mediocre material like The Lost World, other times making an already good film better.

    I know Eddie Bracken mostly for his two classic roles for Preston Sturges; it was nice to find out about his fine stage career in writing this article up.

    Like

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