February 9: Happy Birthday Tom Hiddleston and Zhang Ziyi


Our two headliners today are both connected to the Warner Brothers/Legendary Monsterverse franchise.  Hiddleston was one of the stars of Kong: Skull Island, while Zhang will appear in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which will come out next year.

Tom Hiddleston is turning 37 today.  He began acting in student productions at Cambridge, and later studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.  He began working in British film, theater and television in the early 2000s.  One of his early television roles was Randolph Churchill in the BBC/HBO production The Gathering Storm, while on stage, he won an Olivier Award in a dual role in a 2007 revival of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, and a year later played Cassio in a production of Othello.  In 2011, he made his first appearance in his best known film role.

Hiddleston has made four appearances to date, with more to come, as the “puny god” Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  He appeared as F. Scott Fitzgerald in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, and starred opposite Rachel Weisz in an adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea.  In 2015 he starred in Crimson Peak and High-Rise, and last year was one of the leads in Kong: Skull Island.  On stage, he was nominated for another Olivier Award for the title role in a revival of Coriolanus, and last year played the title role in a production of Hamlet.  He won a Golden Globe for starring in the 2016 miniseries The Night Manager (carried on AMC in the US, and also starring recent headliner Olivia Colman).

Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi is celebrating her 39th birthday today.  She made her first feature appearance, in Zhang Yimou’s The Road Home, while still attending Beijing’s Central Academy of Drama.  She then became known internationally for playing Jen Yu in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and made her first appearance in English-language cinema in Rush Hour 2.  She received critical acclaim for starring in Hou Yong’s Jasmine Women, and worked with Zhang Yimou again on Hero, in a supporting role, and then in a starring role in House of Flying Daggers.

Zhang has remained a major star in Chinese cinema.  She has made multiple films with Wong Kar-Wai, including The Grandmaster, possibly her most acclaimed performance to date.  She also starred in John Woo’s 2-part epic, The Crossing.  She makes periodic returns to American cinema, with major roles in Memoirs of a Geisha (where her casting was controversial), in the psychological horror film Horsemen, and in The Cloverfield Paradox, currently streaming on Netflix—not to mention that upcoming Godzilla movie.

Writer and producer René Balcer, who turns 64, is best known for his involvement in the Law & Order franchise; he won an Emmy as a producer (and was nominated seven times) on the original series, and was the developer and showrunner of the spinoff series Law & Order: Criminal Intent.  Russian-born actress Margarita Levieva, who is 38, is a regular on HBO’s The Deuce, and is known for her recurring roles on Revenge and The Blacklist, and for films like Adventureland and The Lincoln LawyerA. J. Buckley, best known as a regular for several seasons on CSI: NY, is turning 40.  Also turning 40 is director Fede Alvarez, who made the horror films Evil Dead (the 2013 reboot) and Don’t Breathe, and the upcoming The Girl in the Spider’s WebKelli Berglund, who celebrates her 22nd, starred as Bree Davenport on Disney Channel’s Lab Rats.

Our headliners a year ago were Mia Farrow and Carole King.

Mia Farrow, who turns 73, has apparently been retired from acting for several years.  Carole King is 76.  Her latest entertainment industry activity seems to have been reprising her role of Sophie Bloom for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

Ciarán Hinds is turning 65; he was the voice and motion capture actor for Steppenwolf in Justice League, and will be featured in the upcoming Red SparrowJoe Pesci, who is 75, will be coming out of retirement to appear in Martin Scorsese’s The IrishmanJudith Light, who continues to appear as Shelly Pfefferman on Transparent, is turning 69; she received her second consecutive Emmy nomination for the show last year.  Rose Leslie, who is celebrating her 31st, is currently starring on the CBS All Access legal drama The Good FightMichael B. Jordan, who will have a major role in Black Panther, out next weekend, is also 31.  Avan Jogia, who is turning 26, is starring on Syfy’s Ghost WarsRawson Marshall Thurber, who is 43, directed and wrote the upcoming thriller SkyscraperCharlie Day, who remains the star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, is 42; the series is currently on hiatus but has been renewed for two more seasons.

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 9, 2018, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Tom Hiddleston remains the only really good villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I don’t really see that changing any time soon. Sorry Thanos.

    Judith Light was also in that episode of American Crime Story last week.

    Michael B. Jordan will apparently fight Ivan Drago’s son in Creed 2. I’m hoping Stallone doesn’t have too much influence over that one.


  2. Beyond being a fine MCU villian (with just a touch of anti-villain at times), Tom Hiddleston has had a very nice stage career. Who knew that Loki would be quite the Shakespearean? He was a satisfactory lead in Skull Island, although not quite as effective as Brie Larson or some of the supporting players.

    I have enjoyed Zhang Ziyi’s work in Crouching Tiger, Hero (although her part is not that big) and House of Flying Daggers, and hope to check out more of it in the future.

    Rose Leslie had a nice year—not only landing a new major role, but getting engaged to Game of Thrones costar Kit Harington.


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