Before his death, at a tragically young age in an auto accident that can only be described as incredibly improbable, Anton Yelchin (1989-2016) was building an impressive resume as a film actor. Born in Russia, he moved to the US as an infant. He began working in film in 2000. In 2004, he was cast in a regular role on Showtime’s Huff, which ran for two seasons. He then went on to a supporting role in Alpha Dog (one of his costars was yesterday’s headliner Olivia Wilde), and then played the title character in Charlie Bartlett.
His best known film role was as Pavel Chekov in the 2009 Star Trek reboot, a role he returned to in two sequels. He also played Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation, and starred in the 2011 remake of Fright Night. But besides those high-profile films, he also made nearly 20 other features in his last few years of life. A sampling of these would include starring in the romantic drama Like Crazy with Felicity Jones and Jennifer Lawrence, playing the title role in an adaptation of Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas, and playing a central role in the ensemble cast of Jeremy Saulnier’s highly-acclaimed Green Room (which reunited him with his Fright Night costar Imogen Poots). He had completed five films that were unreleased at the time of his death; the last of them, Thoroughbreds, came out last Friday.
Ten-time Grammy winner Bobby McFerrin is turning 67 today. McFerrin put in a number of years paying his dues, including as part of the show band for the Ice Follies as well as with cabaret acts and cover bands. Over the course of the 1970s he developed the talents that would make him one of the most gifted and innovative of modern jazz vocalists, known for his skills at improvisation and at singing with no instrumental accompaniment.
His eponymous debut album came out in 1982, but it was with his second album, The Voice, on which he sang with no other musicians and no instruments, that he really began to make his mark. He won his first Grammys, in 1985, for his collaboration with Jon Hendricks and Manhattan Transfer on “Another Night in Tunisia.” McFerrin capped the eighties with his hugely successful single “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” which won three Grammys, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year, and which became the first a cappella song to reach #1 on the Hot 100.