Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy birthday today to…

O.P. Heggie (1877, silent and sound film character best known for his portrayal of the blind hermit in Bride of Frankenstein; also can be glimpsed in Smilin’ Through, Zoo in Budapest, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Prisoner of Shark Island)

George Cleveland (1885, stage, screen and television character great remembered by legions of coach potatoes as George “Gramps” Miller on Lassie; also can be glimpsed in The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap and Miss Grant Takes Richmond)

Gabriel Heatter (1890, legendary radio journalist whose newscasts frequently began with his catchphrase: “Ah, there’s good news tonight”)

Leslie Goodwins (1899, journeyman motion picture whose specialty was two-reel comedies and B-films; directed many of the Leon Errol shorts and Mexican Spitfire features before finishing his career directing TV shows like The Cisco Kid, Sugarfoot, My Favorite Martian and Gilligan’s Island)

Harold Bennett (1899, elderly British comic actor best known as the curmudgeonly Mr. Blewitt on Dad’s Army and department store magnate “Young” Mr. Grace on Are You Being Served?)

Jules White (1900, journeyman writer-director who helmed the abysmal “Dogville” two-reel comedy series at M-G-M before being hired by Columbia’s Harry Cohn to run the studio’s shorts department…where he supervised the likes of the Three Stooges, Andy Clyde, Charley Chase, Harry Langdon and many others)

Esther Ralston (1902, silent and sound film actress whose vehicles include Oliver Twist, The Marriage Circle, Peter Pan, A Kiss for Cinderella, The American Venus, Old Ironsides, The Case of Lena Smith, Rome Express and Sadie McKee)

Dolores Costello (1903, silent screen goddess seen in such vehicles as When a Man Loves, Old San Francisco, The College Widow, Noah’s Ark, The Show of Shows, Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Magnificent Ambersons)

Edgar G. Ulmer (1904, émigré motion picture director known for making “art” with B-picture fodder like The Black Cat, Tomorrow We Live, Bluebeard, Strange Illusion, Detour, The Strange Woman, Carnegie Hall and Ruthless)

Jerry Colonna (1904, comedian-musician who enjoyed a long and fruitful association with Bob Hope’s radio show in the 30s/40s; also appears in such films as Road to Singapore, Sis Hopkins, It’s in the Bag! and Road to Rio)

Alice Yourman (1907, OTR actress best remembered for roles on Archie Andrews, Cavalcade of America and X-Minus One; later landed television gigs on Guiding Light and The Edge of Night)

Helen Vinson (1907, stage and screen actress whose vehicles include Jewel Robbery, I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang, Broadway Bill, The Wedding Night, Two Against the World, In Name Only, Torrid Zone and Nothing But the Truth)

Charles Isaacs (1914, veteran comedy writer who worked on the radio shows of Phil Baker, Al Pearce, Rudy Vallee, Bing Crosby, Fanny Brice, Al Jolson and Martin & Lewis; later moved on to TV penning scripts for Jimmy Durante, Alan Young, Red Skelton and Johnny Carson; husband of character actress Doris Singleton)

Ursula Howells (1922, British actress with whom I’m familiar from her work on the Britcom Father Dear Father; also appeared on The Many Wives of Patrick and Something in Disguise)

Hank Williams (1923, country music legend and one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time)

Donnie “Beezer” Smith (1924, 86, Little Rascal)

Reginald Marsh (1926, British character actor who appeared in quite a few Britcoms, notably The Old Campaigner, Never Say Die, How’s Your Father?, The Good Life, George & Mildred and Terry & June)

Curtis Harrington (1927, motion picture writer-director whose oeuvre includes Night Tide, Queen of Blood, Games, Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?, What’s the Matter with Helen? and Ruby)

Bill Black (1926, bassist for Elvis Presley and front man for Bill Black’s Combo)

Roddy McDowall (1928, former moppet actor who made good in adulthood and whose films include Man Hunt, How Green Was My Valley, My Friend Flicka, Lassie Come Home, Macbeth, The Loved One, That Darn Cat! and Lord Love a Duck)

David Huddleston (1930, 80, peerless film, television and stage character actor whose vehicles include Rio Lobo, Fools’ Parade, Bad Company, Blazing Saddles, Breakheart Pass, Capricorn One, The Big Lebowski and The Producers)

Anne Bancroft (1931, Academy Award-winning actress whose films include Gorilla at Large, The Raid, Nightfall, The Miracle Worker, The Pumpkin Eater, The Graduate, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, The Turning Point and The Elephant Man; wife of Mel Brooks)

Robert B. Parker (1932, acclaimed mystery novelist and creator of the private eye Spenser)

Dorothy Loudon (1933, Broadway singer-comedienne who appeared mostly on stage but appears in a few films including Garbo Talks and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; was also a regular on The Garry Moore Show and headlined a short-lived, self-titled TV sitcom in 1979)

Pat Crowley (1933, 77, pictured with Mark Miller, film and television actress who starred in the 1965-67 sitcom Please Don’t Eat the Daisies as well as playing teenaged Judy Foster in the radio-to-TV transplant A Date With Judy; can be glimpsed in such films as Money from Home, Forever Female, Walk the Proud Land and Hollywood or Bust)

Paul Benedict (1938, comic character actor whose television immortality was cemented by playing next-door neighbor Harry Bentley on The Jeffersons; also played “The Mad Painter” on Sesame Street)

John Ritter (1948, son of country singer/B-western cowboy Tex Ritter and television icon [The Waltons, Three’s Company, Three’s a Crowd, Hooperman, Hearts Afire, 8 Simple Rules])

Jeff MacNelly (1948, Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist and creator of Shoe)

Fee Waybill (1950, 60, Tube)

Cassandra Peterson (1951, 59, smokin’ hot TDOY actress fave glimpsed in such films as Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure…but recognized more by legions of fans as horror movie host Elvira, Mistress of the Dark)

Steve Sanders (1952, singer-guitarist who replaced Oak Ridge Boys baritone William Golden in 1987; left the group in 1996 and committed suicide two years later)

Rita Rudner (1953, 57, stand-up comedienne/actress whose film appearances include The Wrong Guys, Gleaming the Cube, Peter’s Friends and Love Hurts)

Bryan Singer (1965, 45, motion picture writer-director-producer whose oeuvre includes Public Access, The Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil, X-Men, X2, Superman Returns and Valkyrie)

Kyle Chandler (1965, 45, film and television actor whose television gigs include Tour of Duty, Homefront, Early Edition and Friday Night Lights)

Because the new changes made at the IMDb...well, not to put too fine a point on it, suck...this will conclude our daily birthday post salute. The new IMDb layout takes me twice as long to do these write-ups, and I just can't spare what little time I have futzing with them. Tomorrow, TDOY will return to singling out just one individual for a natal anniversary shout-out.

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Scott said...

Damn IMDB. It's remains one of the best excuses for the internet, but damn 'em...I'm gonna miss this feature.

Laura said...

I wonder if there's a way to complain to IMDb. I just got my first look at the "new" IMDb yesterday -- and it's ridiculous to no longer be able to pull all of an actor's credits up on the first page. I can't fathom why they're turning it into a cluttered mess which requires many more scrolls and page clicks.

Best wishes,

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I can't fathom why they're turning it into a cluttered mess which requires many more scrolls and page clicks.

I'd be willing to bet it probably has a lot to do with this 20th anniversary business they'll be celebrating in October. One of these days, people in charge of this sort of thing will say to themselves: "Hey, there's a reason why people say 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'" ...and the rest of the free world will be stunned at their foresight when they leave things alone.