March 5 & 6: Happy Birthday Connie Britton and Lou Costello


Connie Britton is celebrating her 51st today.  After graduating from Dartmouth, she studied with Sandy Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York.  She worked in off-Broadway theater for a few years, before making her film debut in Edward Burns’s The Brothers McMullen in 1995.  She had some prominent film roles in the 2000s, in The Next Big Thing and Women in Trouble, to name a few.  More recently she has had prominent roles in films like American Ultra and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women.

Britton is best-known for her television work.  After appearing in a recurring role on Ellen, she was cast in the regular role of Nikki Faber on Spin City, appearing for the series’ first four seasons.  In the past decade, she has been a four-time Emmy nominee.  The first two were for the role of Tami Taylor on Friday Night Lights, while the third was for starring on season 1 of American Horror Story.  More recently, she received her fourth nomination during her five year run starring as Rayna James on Nashville, a role that has also brought her some musical success, as she has had several charted singles off of the show’s soundtracks.  Her Nashville character having died, Britton now is a regular on Ryan Murphy’s 9-1-1 on Fox.

Heeeeyyy, Abbott!  Your longtime partner in comedy, Lou Costello (1906-1959), is a headliner today.  After growing up in New Jersey, Costello hitchhiked across the country to California and worked at MGM as an extra and laborer, before becoming a burlesque theater performer in the early 1930s; it was during this period that he first began working with Bud Abbott.  By the late 1930s, the duo were appearing regularly on Kate Smith’s radio show, where they first performed their famous “Who’s on First” routine.

Abbott and Costello began making films in the 1940s; their first appearance was in One Night in the Tropics, but they began starring in their own films with Buck Privates in 1941.  Through most of the 1940s they consistently ranked in the Top Ten on the annual Quigley’s Lists of top box office stars.  In 1948, someone at Universal got the idea of putting the twosome into a film with some other characters associated with the studio, and the result was one of their most popular films, one that is in the National Film Registry and makes many lists of the greatest comedies ever.

Abbott and Costello also had a successful radio show during much of the 1940s, and a television series in the early fifties.  By that time, Costello was suffering from heart trouble, which eventually caused his 1959 death.

D. L. Hughley, who turns 55, starred on the ABC/UPN sitcom The Hughleys from 1998-2002.  Shaun Evans, who stars on the British crime drama Endeavor, is turning 38.  Norwegian actress Alisha Boe, who is 21, starred on 13 Reasons Why as Jessica Davis and in the indie crime film 68 KillAmy Okuda, who turns 29 today, is currently a regular on Netflix’s Atypical, and previously appeared on the web series The Guild.  Spanish actress Clara Lago was 12 when she was a Goya Award nominee as the title character in Carol’s Journey; now 28, she works regularly in Spanish film and television, and appeared in the recent release The CommuterRosie Day, known for films like the British thriller The Seasoning House and the rom-com All Roads Lead to Rome, is 23.

Sylvia Robinson (1936-2011) had a successful career as a recording artist, including the #1 R&B hit “Pillow Talk” from 1973, but is most likely to be remembered as the “Mother of Hip-Hop,” for her role in producing a number of pioneering rap records in the late seventies and early eighties.

Other birthdays yesterday include Hanna Alström, who turned 37.  The Swedish actress has a busy career in her native country and has played Princess Tilde in the two Kingsman films.  Talia Balsam, who turned 59, is currently a regular on HBO’s DivorceMatt Lucas, who is 44, has had a lengthy career in British television, and played Tweedledee and Tweedledum in the two live-action Alice in Wonderland films.  Jake Lloyd, who is now 29, made only a handful of films as a child actor, but one of his roles was as Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom MenaceAasif Mandvi, who turned 52 yesterday, has had a wide variety of film and television roles, but may be best known for his long run on The Daily Show.

Lisa Robin Kelly (1970-2013) costarred as Laurie Forman on That ’70s Show, but developed serious substance abuse problems which led to her death in the summer of 2013.

Rob Reiner and Stephen Schwartz headlined the March 6 article last year.

Rob Reiner turns 71.  His film LBJ, made in 2015 and screened at Toronto in 2016, finally got a theatrical release last fall, to mixed reviews.  His Shock and Awe premiered at the Zurich Film Festival last September.  Stephen Schwartz is 70 today.  His latest musical, The Prince of Egypt (based on the Dreamworks animated feature), has been produced at a variety of regional venues around the world in the past two years.

Moira Kelly, who celebrates her 50th, has had some recent coverage at le Blog.  She still gets roles in TV movies with some regularity.  Shuler Hensley, who is 51, recently appeared as the Monster in the  original West End production of the musical Young Frankenstein, a role he also created on Broadway.  Tom Arnold, who appeared in last year’s Maximum Impact, is 59.  Amy Pietz, who turns 49, stars with Jason Alexander on Audience Network’s Hit the RoadYael Stone, who continues to portray Lorna Morello on Orange is the New Black, celebrates her 33rd birthday.

Director Lewis Gilbert (1920-2018), known for three James Bond films as well as others such as Sink the Bismarck!, Alfie, and Educating Rita, passed away just a few days ago, just shy of what would have been his 98th birthday.

Last year’s March 5 headliners were Elaine Paige and Rex Harrison.

Elaine Paige is celebrating her 70th.  She recently returned to the London stage in a production of Dick Whittington, in the role of Queen Rat.

Penn Jillette is 63.  He and partner Teller currently combine touring with their regular show at the Rio in Las Vegas.  Kevin Connolly, who is 44, directed the crime film/biopic Gotti, which is currently in search of a distributor.  Riki Lindhome celebrates her 39th.  She continues to star on Comedy Central’s Another Period (which she co-created) and was the voice of Poison Ivy in The Lego Batman MovieLucian Msamati, who is 42, starred on the recent British miniseries Kiri.

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 March 6, 2018, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Here’s a double musical bonus for today, as we have a couple of major musical theater talents in this article.

    First, Elaine Paige:

    Next, Shuler Hensley, in the role that brought him an Olivier and a Tony.


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