February 22: Happy Birthday Julie Walters and Robert Young


Dame Julie Walters is celebrating her 68th birthday today.  She worked in the insurance business and studied nursing before deciding to go into acting.  She began working in British television in the mid-1970s, and made her London stage debut at about the same time.  She began to be well known early in the 1980s, when she teamed with Victoria Wood on a sketch comedy series, Wood and Walters.  At about the same time, she starred in the original West End production of Willy Russell’s Educating Rita, in the title role.  In 1983, she starred opposite Michael Caine in the film adaptation, receiving a Best Actress nomination, and winning Golden Globe and BAFTA honors in that category.

Walters has had another of those incredibly busy careers that can only be summed up here.  Her notable stage career is highlighted by an Olivier Award for Best Actress, in a revival of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons.  She has won four BAFTA Television Awards in the course of a very productive career in British television.  In film, she was a BAFTA nominee for Personal Services, and a BAFTA winner and Oscar nominee for Best Supporting Actress as the dance teacher in Billy Elliot.  Last year, she and Billy Elliot costar Jamie Bell were reunited for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, and this year she will appear in Mary Poppins Returns.  Many filmgoers, however, will know her best for her seven appearances as Molly Weasley in the Harry Potter films.

Robert Young (1907-1998) was appearing in a traveling theater production when he was discovered by an MGM talent scout and signed by the studio in 1931.  For the next two decades he was a mainstay at MGM, appearing in prominent roles in films like Three Comrades, Northwest Passage, Western Union, and That Forsyte Woman.  He also made some major films on loan to other producers, including Hitchcock’s Secret Agent and the RKO film noir Crossfire.

As his film career faded in the 1950s, Young remade himself as a television star.  He had begun making the radio show Father Knows Best in 1949, and continued in the lead role of insurance agent Jim Anderson when the program moved to television in 1954.  After a relatively dry patch in his career in the 1960s, Young came back to prime time in 1969, starring in the title role of Marcus Welby, M.D.  Over the course of the two series, Young won three Emmys and a Golden Globe.  However, one imagines that Dr. Welby’s style of dispensing medical advice might not go over particularly well today.

Tibetan-Australian actress Dichen Lachman, who is turning 36, is a regular on Netflix’s Altered Carbon, and previously has had roles on the Australian soap opera Neighbors and on DollhouseJames Hong, who is 89 today, is known for his roles in films like Blade Runner, Big Trouble in Little China, and Wayne’s World 2, and as a voice actor in Mulan and the Kung Fu Panda films.  Character actor John Ashton, best known for his work in the eighties in films like the Beverly Hills Cop movies (as Sergeant Taggart) and Midnight Run, is turning 70.  German singer Jeanette Biedermann, who is 38, was one of the biggest stars of European pop music in the 2000s, before announcing her retirement at the age of only 30 in 2010.

Novelist Philip Kerr is turning 62.  He has written nearly thirty adult novels, most notably his lengthy series of historical thrillers about German police inspector Bernie Gunther, of which the latest, Greeks Bearing Gifts, comes out in April.  Kerr has also written several children’s novels, most of the part of his Children of the Lamp fantasy series.

Interestingly, the birth date of George Washington is also that of American painter Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860), who is best known for his portraits of American historical figures like—George Washington.  Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) was one of the leading figures in 19th Century philosophy, known for his The World as Will and Representation and as one of the first European philosophers to take an interest in Asian thinking.

On this date last year, Drew Barrymore and Lea Salonga were the headliners.

Drew Barrymore is celebrating her 43rd today.  She remains the star and executive producer of Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet, and also hosts the NBC reality series First DatesLea Salonga turns 47 today.  She is currently starring in the Broadway revival of the musical Once on This Island.

Kyle MacLachlan, who turns 59, received a Golden Globe nomination for his return to the role of Dale Cooper in the revival of Twin Peaks.  He will also star as Isaac Izard in the upcoming adaptation of John Bellairs’ The House with a Clock in Its WallsEllen Greene, who is 67 today, appears in the upcoming indie film The Untold StoryJeri Ryan celebrates her 50th; she appeared on seasons 2 and 3 of Bosch as Veronica Allen.  Thomas Jane, who is 49, will appear in the upcoming The Predator and starred in last fall’s 1922Elodie Yung, who celebrates her 37th, played Elektra Natchios on The Defenders and costarred in The Hitman’s BodyguardZach Roerig, who turns 33 today, has wrapped the final season of The Vampire Diaries, and will appear in the upcoming The Last Full MeasureRachel Dratch, who costars in Adam Sandler’s upcoming The Week Of, is 52 today.  Paul Lieberstein, who is 51, recently became the showrunner on Fox’s Ghosted.

Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme (1944-2017) died last April at the age of 73; his final work was an episode of Fox’s Shots Fired.  Also passing in the last year was Bond Girl Karin Dor (1938-2017) from You Only Live Twice.

Let’s have a musical closer with Lea Salonga singing a pair of wonderful Broadway numbers:

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 22, 2018, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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