February 19: Happy Birthday Victoria Justice and Smokey Robinson


Today is Victoria Justice’s 25th birthday.  She began getting TV guest roles when she was 10 years old, and in 2005 was cast as Lola Martinez on Nickelodeon’s Zoey 101, beginning a lengthy association with Nickelodeon.  She then starred on Nick’s TV movie musical Spectacular!—she also contributed to several numbers on the soundtrack, which reached #44 on the Billboard 200.  In 2010, she was cast in the starring role of Tori Vega on Victorious, a show about an aspiring teenage singer.  Justice was also featured, naturally, on the soundtrack albums for all three seasons of the series, the first two of which reached the Top Ten, and the first of which included three charted singles.

Justice made her first feature film appearance in When Do We Eat? in 2005 and has appeared in a variety of relatively low profile films like The Kings of Appletown, The First Time, Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, and The Outcasts.  She starred on the sole season of MTV’s thriller series Eye Candy, and played Janet Weiss on Fox’s TV movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again.

William “Smokey” Robinson is turning 78 today.  He grew up on Detroit’s North End, where for a time one of his neighbors was Diana Ross.  In high school he formed a doo-wop group that was initially called the Five Chimes.  In 1957 they auditioned for Brunswick Records; while the company did not sign them, they made an impression on songwriter Berry Gordy.  Gordy got them a record distribution deal and they changed their name to The Miracles, while Gordy soon formed his own record label, which after briefly being known as Tamla Records was soon renamed Motown.

The Miracles had their first major hit in 1960 with “Shop Around,” and were the first major stars of the Motown label.  Robinson emerged as the group’s main creative force as well as their frontman, and by the mid-1960s they were being billed explicitly as Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.  They had a long string of R&B hits through the sixties and early seventies, several of which were also major crossover successes on the Hot 100.

Robinson left the Miracles in 1972 to focus more on his family and on his responsibilities as a vice president of Motown.  He had a prominent solo career in the seventies and eighties, with several hit singles topped by “Crusin'” and “Being With You,” both of which reached the top 5.  He was named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an individual in 1988; there was some controversy over the fact that the rest of the Miracles were not honored with him—the band as a whole were finally inducted in 2012.

Arielle Kebbel, who is turning 33, is a regular on NBC’s Midnight, Texas (adapted from the novels by Charlaine Harris), which will return for a second season.  Ophelia Lovibond, who turns 32, is known to British TV viewers for her regular roles on W1A and Hooten & the Lady, the latter of which aired on The CW in the US.  She also played Taneleer Tivan’s slave Carina in Guardians of the Galaxy.  English TV audience also know Sam Reid, who is 31 today; he recently starred as DI Len Bradfield on Prime Suspect 1973, a prequel series to the long-running police procedural.

Writer and director Josh Trank, who is 34, earned praise for his feature directing debut, Chronicle, in 2012.  However, his reboot of Fantastic Four was not well received, and his response to Fox’s recutting the film in post-production may have hurt his career.

Last year’s headliners were Benicio del Toro and Lee Marvin.

Benicio del Toro is celebrating his 51st today.  He appeared in a supporting role in The Last Jedi as the codebreaker, DJ.  In the coming year he will return to two of his better-known recent roles—as Taneleer Tivan/The Collector, in Avengers: Infinity War, and to his BAFTA-nominated role of Alejandro Gillick, in Sicario 2: Soldado.

Jeff Daniels is turning 63.  He was a SAG Award nominee for his performance as Frank Griffin on the Netflix miniseries Godless, and will play World War 2 spymaster Wild Bill Donovan in this year’s The Catcher was a Spy, and FBI counterterrorism expert John O’Neill in Hulu’s miniseries The Looming Tower, which debuts on February 28.  Ray Winstone, whose latest film was Jawbone, is 61 today.  Bellamy Young, who is turning 48, continues to star as President Melody Grant on ScandalJustine Bateman, who is 52, directed, wrote and produced the short film Five Minutes, which screened last fall at Toronto.  Luke Pasqualino, who turns 28, currently stars on Sony Crackle’s Snatch.  Mexican actress Paulina Gaitán, who celebrates her 26th, did not return for season 3 of Narcos, but is working steadily in Mexican film and television.  David Mazouz continues to appear as a teenage Bruce Wayne on Gotham as he turns 17.  Millie Bobby Brown, who turns 14, received an Emmy nomination for Netflix’s Stranger Things.  R&B/soul singer Seal, who turns 55, released his tenth studio album, a collection of covers with the apt title of Standards.

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 19, 2018, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Victoria Justice has been upstaged by her former costar Ariana Grande quite a bit in the last couple of years, but she still seems to have a fan base.

    Smokey Robinson has been a big figure in popular music; he is sometimes considered to be among the finest songwriters of the last several decades.

    Jeff Daniels is doing a lot of interesting work, as is Benicio del Toro.


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