Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happy birthday today to…

Louis J. Gasnier (1875, French émigré motion picture director who helmed a few noteworthy movies including The Perils of Pauline, The Mystery of the Double Cross, Topaze and The Last Outpost…but is remembered primarily today as the director of Reefer Madness)

Robert Benchley (1889, pictured, humorist featured in a series of M-G-M and Paramount one-reel comedies from 1935 to 1944; also played character roles in films like China Seas, Foreign Correspondent, The Major and the Minor and It’s in the Bag!)

Agatha Christie (1890, “The Queen of Crime”; legendary mystery novelist and creator of fictional sleuths Miss Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot)

Jean Renoir (1894, French motion picture director whose oeuvre includes La chienne, Boudu Saved From Drowning, Grand Illusion, La bête humaine, The Rules of the Game, The Southerner, Diary of a Chambermaid and The River)

Roy Acuff (1903, country music legend crowned “The King of Country Music” [Wabash Cannonball, Great Speckled Bird])

Sheilah Graham (1904, famous Hollywood gossip columnist who also knew author F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Biblical sense)

Tom Conway (1904, film, stage and television actor famous for replacing his brother George Sanders in R-K-O’s Falcon film series; also appears in Tarzan’s Secret Treasure, Cat People, I Walked With a Zombie and The Seventh Victim)

Fay Wray (1907, iconic actress who spent a good deal of time in King Kong clutched in the paw of a giant monkey; also can be seen in The Wedding March, Thunderbolt, The Four Feathers, The Most Dangerous Game and Mystery of the Wax Museum)

Jimmy Wallington (1907, OTR announcing great who worked on such shows as The Life of Riley, The Big Show, Screen Director’s Playhouse and Fred Allen’s programs in the 30s/40s; also narrated many of Universal’s Stranger Than Fiction shorts)

Jack Bailey (1907, legendary emcee of radio and TV’s paean to bad taste, Queen for a Day; also hosted Truth or Consequences on television from 1954-56)

Penny Singleton (1908, vivacious film, television and stage actress best known for playing Blondie on radio and in the long-running movie series and voicing Jane Jetson on the primetime cartoon sitcom The Jetsons)

Jules Schermer (1908, film and television writer-producer whose vehicles include Framed, The Man from Colorado, Union Station and Pickup on South Street; he also served as the producer on TV’s Lawman for its first three seasons)

Phil Arnold (1909, unsung screen, stage and television thesp who worked in movies, B-westerns, serials and TV shows; best known role was as Zerbo on Cowboy G-Men)

Charles A. Nichols (1910, longtime animator who started out at Walt Disney and then later became a top director at Hanna-Barbera overseeing The Flintstones, Top Cat, The Jetsons, Magilla Gorilla, Peter Potamus, Jonny Quest and many others)

Joseph Pevney (1911, motion picture director whose films include It Happens Every Thursday, 3 Ring Circus, Female on the Beach and Man of a Thousand Faces; later worked extensively in television on such shows as Wagon Train, The Munsters and Star Trek)

Margaret Lockwood (1911, British actress whose films include The Lady Vanishes, Susannah of the Mounties, The Stars Look Down, Night Train to Munich, The Man in Gray, The Wicked Lady and Cast a Dark Shadow)

John Conte (1915, actor-announcer heard on such shows as Burns & Allen and Silver Theater; appears in such films as Lost in a Harem, The Man with the Golden Arm and The Carpetbaggers and on TV as the host of Matinee Theatre)

Clifton Young (1917, moppet actor featured in the Our Gang comedies [as “Bonedust”] who later graduated to roles in Dark Passage, Trail of Robin Hood and as “Homer” in the Joe McDoakes comedy shorts)

Nipsey Russell (1918, “The Poet Laureate of Television”; actor-comedian who’s best remembered as a perennial game show panelist in addition to his TV roles on Car 54, Where are You? and Barefoot in the Park; also appears in the films The Wiz and Wildcats)

Norma McMillan (1921, voice actress supreme who supplied the speaking voices of such characters as Gumby, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Kokette, David “Davey” Hansen and Underdog’s Sweet Polly Purebred; mother of Allison “Nellie Oleson” Arngrim)

Jackie Cooper (1922, 88, the crème de la crème of child actors; one-time Our Gang member who later went on to a career as an Emmy Award-winning television director and starred in the sitcoms The Peoples’ Choice and Hennesey)

Forrest Compton (1925, 85, film and television stalwart best known as D.A. Mike Karr on the soap The Edge of Night…though he holds a special place in TDOY’s heart for his recurring turn as Col. Edward Gray on Gomer Pyle, USMC)

Norm Crosby (1927, 83, malapropism-prone stand-up comic seen frequently on TV variety shows and particularly on The Liar’s Club; also hosted the syndicated program The Comedy Shop in 1978)

Henry Silva (1928, 82, film and television actor whose vehicles include The Tall T, A Hatful of Rain, The Law and Jake Wade, The Bravados, Ocean’s Eleven, The Manchurian Candidate, Johnny Cool, The Secret Invasion and Alligator)

Julian Edwin “Cannonball” Adderley (1928, jazz saxophonist popular in the 50s/60s [Mercy, Mercy, Mercy])

Henry Darrow (1933, 77, film and television character thesp best known for his role as Manolito Montoya on the TV oater The High Chapparal; also played Lt. Quinlan on Harry O, Don Diego la Vega on Zorro and Son, Don Alejandro de la Vega on the 1990s revival of Zorro and Dr. Nunez on the soap The Bold and the Beautiful)

Jimmy Gilmer (1939, 71, frontman for the Fireballs [Sugar Shack, Bottle of Wine])

Merlin Olsen (1940, former pro football player-turned-actor who appeared on TV’s Little House on the Prairie, Father Murphy and Aaron’s Way; also shilled for FTD)

Ron Shelton (1945, 65, motion picture writer-director whose oeuvre includes Under Fire, The Best of Times, Bull Durham, White Men Can’t Jump, Cobb, The Great White Hype, Tin Cup and Play it to the Bone)

Carmen Maura (1945, 65, film and television actress cast frequently in Pedro Almodóvar vehicles like What Have I Done to Deserve This?, Matador, Law of Desire, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Volver)

Francine Tacker (1946, 64, television actress best known as law student Elizabeth Logan in the inaugural season of The Paper Chase; also had roles on Goodtime Girls and Dallas)

Oliver Stone (1946, 64, controversial Academy Award-winning motion picture writer-director-producer whose oeuvre includes Salvador, Platoon, Wall Street, Talk Radio, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, Natural Born Killers, Nixon and World Trade Center)

Tommy Lee Jones (1946, 64, Academy Award-winning actor whose vehicles include Coal Miner’s Daughter, Stormy Monday, JFK, The Fugitive, The Client, Men in Black, U.S. Marshals, Double Jeopardy and No Country for Old Men)

Wendie Jo Sperber (1958, TDOY actress fave seen in such films as I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Used Cars, Bachelor Party and Back to the Future; also had roles on TV’s Bosom Buddies, Private Benjamin, Women in Prison, Babes and Hearts Afire)

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1 comment:

Scott said...

MST3K fans will remember Tom Conway from 12 to the Moon (where, despite being born in Russian, he couldn't manage a Russian accent) and The She Creature (where the Falcon's brother played opposite Boston Blackie).

They'll recall Henry Silva from his turn as the villain with "Ricky Ricardo Tourettes" in Escape 2000 ("leave the Bronx!") and Merlin Olsen as the thug wearing Andy Capp's cap in Joel Hodgson's finally epiosde, Mitchell.