Gerard Butler, who as you can possibly tell from the above photo is Scottish, is celebrating his 48th today. He studied law at the University of Glasgow and worked for a short time at an Edinburgh law firm, before beginning an acting career in a theatrical adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel Trainspotting (also the source for Danny Boyle’s film). He made his film debut in Mrs. Brown in 1997 and appeared in a bit part in Tomorrow Never Dies the same year.
Butler moved to Los Angeles a couple of years later and began getting starring roles in films in the early 2000s. Films like Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and The Phantom of the Opera were high-profile productions, but not financial successes; however, he had a breakthrough in 2007 when he starred as the historical character of King Leonidas of Sparta, in a film that very, very loosely retold some historical events.
Whoopi Goldberg turns 61 today. After appearing in an avant-garde film called Citizen: I’m Not Losing My Mind, I’m Giving it Away, she created a one-woman stage show, originally titled The Spook Show. Mike Nichols offered to produce it on Broadway, where it ran for several months. One person who saw it was none other than Steven Spielberg, who offered Goldberg the lead role in his adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple.