Saturday, August 7, 2010

Happy birthday today to…

Billie Burke (1884, fluttery character actress who made her presence known in vehicles like Dinner at Eight, Doubting Thomas, the Topper films, Merrily We Live, The Young in Heart, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Father of the Bride…and especially The Wizard of Oz)

Renie Riano (1899, British character actress whose specialty was playing maids—particularly the housekeeper in the Nancy Drew film series; later played Maggie in Monogram’s Bringing Up Father movie series)

Ann Harding (1901, leading lady whose films include Holiday, East Lynne, Prestige, The Animal Kingdom, When Ladies Meet, Double Harness, The Life of Vergie Winters, Enchanted April and many more)

Rudolf Ising (1903, animation pioneer who, along with partner Hugh Harman, played a substantial role in the founding of the Warner Bros. and M-G-M cartoon studios)

Ernestine Wade (1906, film, television and radio character actress best remembered as Sapphire Stevens, the shrewish wife of the “Kingfish” on radio and TV’s Amos ‘n’ Andy)

Abby Berlin (1907, journeyman motion picture director who helmed many of the films in Columbia’s Blondie series; later worked on TV shows like The Life of Riley and Lassie)

Joseph M. Newman (1909, journeyman motion picture director who helmed many of the Crime Does Not Pay shorts; also directed features like 711 Ocean Drive, This Island Earth and King of the Roaring 20’s: The Story of Arnold Rothstein)

Ben Maddow (1909, blacklisted screenwriter who contributed to films like The Man From Colorado, Intruder in the Dust, The Asphalt Jungle, The Wild One, God’s Little Acre, The Unforgiven and The Mephisto Waltz)

Freddie Slack (1910, pianist and orchestra leader seen with his musical congregation in films like Reveille With Beverly, The Sky’s the Limit, Follow the Boys and Seven Days Ashore)

Nicholas Ray (1911, TDOY director god who helmed such classics as They Live by Night, In a Lonely Place, On Dangerous Ground, The Lusty Men, Johnny Guitar, Rebel Without a Cause and Bigger Than Life)

Felice Bryant (1925, songwriter who with husband Boudleaux composed classic tunes like Rocky Top, Love Hurts, Bye Bye Love, Wake Up Little Susie and All I Have to Do is Dream)

Stan Freberg (1926, 84, pictured with Daws Butler, comedian-satirist who worked in cartoons, radio, television, film and recorded media…and who also created some of the funniest commercials in history)

Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer (1927, Little Rascal)

James Randi (1928, 82, magician, escape artist, skeptic and professional debunker of paranormal, supernatural or occult horsesh*t)

Verna Bloom (1939, 71, TDOY actress fave seen in vehicles such as Medium Cool, High Plains Drifter, Animal House, After Hours and The Last Temptation of Christ)

B.J. Thomas (1942, 68, county-pop music vocalist [Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, Hooked on a Feeling, Rock ‘n’ Roll Lullaby])

Garrison Keillor (1942, 68, folk humorist/author/host of radio’s Prairie Home Companion)

David Rasche (1944, 66, film and television character actor who’s appeared in a gazillion movies and TV shows…but is revered here at TDOY for his starring role in the sitcom Sledge Hammer!)

Peggy Noonan (1950, 60, wigged-out columnist and GOP mouthpiece)

Alan Keyes (1950, 60, perennial political office nominee, right-wing nutcase and un dickhead formidable)

Rodney Crowell (1950, 60, country music singer-songwriter [I Couldn’t Leave You if I Tried, She’s Crazy for Leavin’, After All This Time] and one-time son-in-law of Johnny Cash)

John Harkness (1954, Canadian film critic and Usenet sage still missed terribly here at TDOY)

Wayne Knight (1955, 55, helllllo Newman…)

Maggie Wheeler (1961, 49, film and television actress remembered as the adenoidal Janice Litman on the sitcom Friends even though she also had good roles on Everybody Loves Raymond and These Friends of Mine [the early incarnation of Ellen])

DeLane Matthews (1961, 49, film and television actress seen in TV series like Eisenhower & Lutz, FM and Laurie Hill…but who achieved boob tube immortality as Beth Barry on Dave’s World)

Charlize Theron (1975, 35, Academy Award-winning actress whose acting isn’t necessarily my cup of lemon zest but she was smokin’ hot in 2 Days in the Valley and The Devil’s Advocate)

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Scott C. said...

MST3K fans are, of course, grateful to Mr. Newman for directing the movie in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. ("Then I ram my ovapositor down your throat and lay my eggs in your chest, but I'm not an alien.")

Brent McKee said...

John Harkness was also a pretty damned good poker player who made the final table at a World Series of Poker event a few weeks before hedied. I credit John with getting me involved in Internet poker.