February 21: Happy Birthday Sophie Turner and Ellen Page


Our headliners for today have each appeared in the X-Men film franchise.  Turner has played Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse, and will return to the role in X-Men: Dark Phoenix later this year.  Page played Kitty Pryde in X-Men: The Last Stand, and returned to the role in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Sophie Turner is celebrating her 22nd today.  She grew up in Warwickshire, England, and as a young girl was involved in Warwick’s Playbox Theatre Company (for children and young adults).  She was 15 when she made her screen debut, in what is still probably her best known role, as Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones.  She made her feature film debut in 2013 in Another Me, and starred with Hailee Steinfeld in Barely Lethal.  Aside from Dark Phoenix, her upcoming films include Time Freak, a time-travel rom-com, and a thriller titled Josie.

Ellen Page is turning 31.  The Nova Scotia native began acting at the age of ten, in the Canadian TV movie and series Pit Pony.  She worked regularly for several years in Canadian television and film, and in 2005 she gave an acclaimed performance in the dark thriller Hard Candy.  After her first X-Men film a year later, she starred in the 2007 film that brought her an Oscar nomination and a long list of accolades, and that many thought was her first step towards stardom.

As we now know, Juno did not set Page on the road to A-list stardom.  Her biggest film role since then has probably been as Ariadne in Christopher Nolan’s Inception; she also returned to the X-Men franchise, as noted, and starred in last year’s poorly-reviewed remake of Flatliners.  Otherwise, most of her projects have been lower in profile, including some which she has co-produced, such as the 2015 films Into the Forest and Freeheld.  She is the co-host and an executive producer of the Viceland channel documentary series Gaycation, and will star in the upcoming Netflix series The Umbrella Academy.

Kumail Nanjiani, who turns 40 today, is currently an Oscar nominee for Best Original Screenplay for The Big Sick, which he also starred in.  Nanjiani is also a regular on HBO’s Silicon ValleyJustin Roiland, who is 38, is the co-creator of Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty, and voices both title characters.  Scout Taylor-Compton, who played Laurie Strode in the rebooted Halloween series in the 2000s and Lita Ford in The Runaways, is 29 today.  Also 29 is Corbin Bleu, known for playing Chad Danforth in the High School Musical films and for his work in musical theater.

Rhiannon Giddens, the lead singer and fiddler of the old-time country/blues band Carolina Chocolate Drops, turns 41 today.  She won a Grammy with the Carolina Chocolate Drops for Best Traditional Folk Album for Genuine Negro Jig, and has been nominated for three as a solo performer.  Giddens has made guest appearances on seasons 5 and 6 of Nashville as Hallie Jordan

Rue McClanahan (1934-2010) had a long career, especially on television, highlighted by four Emmy nominations (with a win in 1987) as Sophie Devereaux on The Golden Girls.

Kelsey Grammer and Sam Peckinpah headlined this article one year ago.

Kelsey Grammer, who turns 63, won a Daytime Emmy for voicing the character of Blinky on Trollhunters, and also was a voice actor for the animated feature Bunyan and Babe.  He had a supporting part in the recently released Guardians of the Tomb.

Christine Ebersole, who is 65 today, was nominated for a Tony for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for the original production of War PaintTyne Daly, who had supporting roles in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Basmati Blues, is turning 72.  Anthony Daniels, also 72, returned to the role of C-3PO in The Last JediKim Coates, who celebrates his 60th, stars on Syfy’s Ghost WarsAunjanue Ellis, who is 49, has left the cast of Quantico after 2 seasons, but has been cast in the pilot for a projected CBS drama, ChiefsTituss Burgess, who is turning 39, received his third consecutive Emmy nomination as Titus Andromedon on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  Also 39 is Jordan Peele, who received three Oscar nominations for Get OutMelanie Laurent, who is celebrating her 35th, will appear in Chris Weitz’s upcoming Operation FinaleAshley Greene, who recently has been a regular on Rogue as Mia Rochland, is 31 today.  Tuppence Middleton, who is also celebrating her 31st, continued to play Riley Blue on Sense8, and presumably will return this year for the series finale.  Hayley Orrantia, who continues to play Erica Goldberg on The Goldbergs, is turning 24.

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 21, 2018, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Sophie Turner seems to be in a position where she has a decent chance to become a pretty major star. Her character on GoT has had one of the more interesting arcs in the series.

    If you had asked me 8-10 years ago, I would have said that Ellen Page was going to be a big star. What happened, I don’t know. I do know that for me, her Kitty Pryde will always be one of the few redeeming things about X-Men: The Last Stand.

    Discovering the work of Rhiannon Giddens has been one of my great musical pleasures of the past couple of years—she is extremely talented.

    Jordan Peele deserves some props for being the main creative force behind a rare horror film to get several major Oscar nominations.


  2. Given her stature on GoT,Turner has a chance 2 be a huge action star if she chooses the right scripts……..I also thought Page would B a major player after Juno,but she’s not the Emma Stone/Jen Lawrence/Brie Larson type you would want 4 your picture & IMO wisely went back 2 the type of indie projects she knew best!!!!


    • There are several reasons why I think that Ellen Page never lived up to her A-list potential post-“Juno”:
      *This is the big elephant in the room, she came out of the closet (or at least, she came out too early). I’m a bit worried about saying this because of how one may interpret it, but I honestly in my heart believe that even now you can be an openly gay man or woman in Hollywood and expect to get leading roles in mainstream pictures. I guess Jodie Foster is an exception to the rule, but even she didn’t talk about her sexuality for the longest time. And Kevin Spacey was pretty much forced to out himself after all of the allegations of sexual misconduct against him started to pile up. In fairness to Ellen Page, she was never a romantic lead anyway.

      *Ellen when you get right down to it can be a bit difficult to cast. She’s 5 feet tall, much younger-looking than her true age (thus it would be difficult to buy Ellen in mother roles or authority figure roles), has boyish figure, is kind of butch, and is cute but not conventionally pretty.

      *After “Juno”, she apparently wanted to avoid being typecast as the odd, spunky, rebel, hipster girl, despite that being her forte.


  3. I was very impressed by Ellen Page in Hard Candy, so when she exploded after Juno, I was very interested (though I wouldn’t see that film until years later). However, I’m not surprised that she didn’t secure a spot on the A-list. She’s quite a talented actress, but talent is not the only factor that goes into stardom.

    I don’t think her coming out is an explanation. By that time, her momentum had already stalled.

    I didn’t know she was trying to avoid typecasting. The character she plays in Whip It seems to fall within that “odd, spunky, rebel, hipster girl” type. But if some may think she failed to play to her strength, her co-star Michael Cera shows the perils of not avoiding typecasting. He prominently played an awkward geek in a number of movies that, individually, were artistic or commercial successes, but stuck him with that image. Then he suddenly disappeared. WTHH to Michael Cera…

    (For an actress whose lack of success does surprise me, I’d cite Isabelle Fuhrman. While I didn’t necessarily think she’d be A-list, I expected her to get far more prominent opportunities than she’s gotten since Orphan.)

    I’ll point out that Sophie Turner’s arc as Sansa Stark, which the author finds so interesting, has diverged considerably from the books. There, she is still in the Vale, and friendly with Littlefinger. The show merged Sansa’s storyline with another, in which Littlefinger marries off an Arya impostor to Ramsay Bolton (working with the Lannisters rather than behind their backs). With the slaughter of Winterfell’s inhabitants, he figures the few people left who know the real Arya won’t want to cross the Boltons.

    In fact, I feel the show missed an opportunity for some character development. On the show, Sansa and Tyrion appear to form an amicable (though unconsummated) marital relationship, and she seems reasonably happy during this period. In the books, she is melancholy after the disasters that have befallen her family, and Tyrion is frustrated by his inability to reach her emotionally.


    • Speaking of which, when is the next WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO….? article coming back. I hope that we don’t have to wait another year like from Kelly McGillis to Rachael Leigh Cook’s article. I have two in mind right now, Cameron Diaz and Kevin Spacey.


      • I have one very close to finished. It’s just a matter of putting on the finishing touches. I have looked at Diaz a few times, but I don’t find her story all that compelling as a WTHH. I wouldn’t have written up Spacey while he was on House of Cards. But now, he’s on the list. Part of the problem with Spacey is he’s in the headlines so much, everyone knows what the hell happened to him. So I’m not in a big hurry to get to him.

        There’s so much to do and so little time. I have a pretty lengthy list of updates I want to get to including Brendan Fraser now.


  4. I was listening to NPR’s Weekend Edition this morning, and who should they have on but Ellen Page, talking about The Cured, a movie which she stars in and co-produced. It’s a zombie movie with a twist—someone has come up with a cure for zombies, who must now re-integrate into society. It screened last September at Toronto and went into general release over this weekend.


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