Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy birthday, Ruth Gordon!

Tomorrow is Halloween…and what better way to celebrate than by watching one of the scary-ass horror films of all time, Rosemary’s Baby (1968)—a movie that won today’s birthday girl an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress?  Ruth Gordon Jones was born on this date one hundred and fourteen years ago in Quincy, MA—and her burning desire to become an actress was so great that her efforts to convince her sea captain father that she had a flair for the buskin were chronicled in the play The Actress, which was adapted as a motion picture starring Jean Simmons, Spencer Tracy and Teresa Wright in 1953.

Gordon had a rather sporadic film career in her halcyon cinematic days; she appeared in a handful of silent movies in 1915, and then concentrated on making a name for herself on the stage before once again turning to the flickers with Abe Lincoln in Illinois in 1940.  Her marriage to playwright-director Garson Kanin resulted in successful screenplays for such films as A Double Life, Adam’s Rib, The Marrying Kind and Pat and Mike.  Returning to films in the mid 1960s, her Oscar win paved the way for her to be cast in a buttload of movies that cast her as a feisty but cuddly curmudgeon, including the Clint Eastwood orangutan epics Every Which Way but Loose and Any Which Way You Can.

But there are other notable famous people born on this date, too:

John Adams (1735-1826) – Second President of the United States who, like Ruth, was also born in Quincy (Braintree)

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) – Author of Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov

William F. “Bull” Halsey (1882-1959) – Admiral who commanded the U.S. Third Fleet during WW2

Ezra Pound (1885-1972) – American poet who misbehaved during WW2 (treason) and was later pronounced insane

Warren Doane (1890-1964) – Motion picture producer and one-time general manager of the Hal Roach Studio

Charles Atlas (1893-1972) – Famous muscular guy

Louise Keaton (1906-1981) – Buster’s sis

Paul J. Smith (1906-1985) – Academy Award-winning composer/musician who worked at the Walt Disney Studios for most of his career

Sue Carol (1906-1982) – Former silent/sound film actress who retired to become an agent and later married Alan Ladd

Patsy Montana (1908-1996) – Country music great who was the first female vocalist to have a million-selling record in I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart

Ruth Hussey (1911-2005) – Stage, screen and television actress whose vehicles include The Philadelphia Story and The Uninvited

Hugh Reilly (1915-1998) – Stage, screen and television actor immortalized on TV as Paul Martin, dad to the insufferable Timmy on Lassie

Jane Randolph (1915-2009) – Stage and screen actress whose vehicles include Cat People, The Curse of the Cat People and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein

Fred W. Friendly (1915-1998) – Producer, Edward R. Murrow crony and one-time president of CBS News (1964-66)…and one guy who didn’t love Lucy

Joan Banks (1918-1998) – OTR veteran who also dabbled in films and television; also known as Mrs. Frank Lovejoy (and was born in Petersburg, WV!)

Dickie Henderson (1922-1985) – British stage, film and television comedian whose self-titled sitcom was a big boob tube hit in the 1960s

Herschel Bernardi (1923-1986) – Stage, film and television actor best known as Lieutenant Jacoby on Peter Gunn and the titular hero of the sitcom Arnie

Jacques Aubuchon (1924-1991) – Stage, film and television character actor whose vehicles include So Big, The Silver Chalice and Thunder Road

William Campbell (1926-     ) – Cult film and television actor known for such vehicles as Cell 2455 Death Row and Dementia 13…and for appearing in two iconic Star Trek episodes: “The Squire of Gothos” (as Trelane) and “The Trouble with Tribbles” (Koloth)

Nestor Almendros (1930-1992) – Academy Award-winning motion picture cinematographer whose vehicles include Days of Heaven, Kramer vs. Kramer and Sophie’s Choice

Richard “Dick” Gautier (1931-     ) – Multi-talented performer who is beloved here at TDOY for his portrayal of Hymie the Robot on the classic sitcom Get Smart

Louis Malle (1932-1995) – Acclaimed motion picture director whose vehicles include Murmur of the Heart, Atlantic City and Au revoir les enfants

Hamilton Camp (1934-2005) – Stage, screen and television actor-singer fondly remembered here at TDOY as building superintendent Andrew Hummel on the woefully short-lived He & She

June Blair (1936-     ) – Former Playboy Playmate turned actress and one-time wife of David Nelson of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet fame

Claude Lelouch (1937-     ) – Academy Award-winning motion picture director whose vehicles include A Man and a Woman, And Now My Love and Cat and Mouse

Grace Slick (1939-     ) – Singer-songwriter and a member of Jefferson Airplane (later Jefferson Starship and then Starship)

Eddie Holland (1939-     ) – Songwriter who, along with brother Brian and Lamont Dozier, penned some of the best damn rock ‘n’ roll hits ever recorded

Ed Lauter (1940-     ) – Superlative character actor whose vehicles include The Longest Yard and Family Plot; also played Captain John Sebastian Cain on BJ and the Bear and The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo

Otis Williams (1941-     ) Temptation

Henry Winkler (1945-     ) – The Fonz

Andrea Mitchell (1946-     ) – News whore who claims her journalistic integrity was never compromised by the fact that she’s married to former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan

Timothy B. Schmit (1947-     ) – Rock ‘n’ roll musician who was both in The Eagles and a founding member of Poco

Harry Hamlin (1951-     ) – Stage, film and television actor whose marriage to Lisa Rinna is systematically destroying what’s left of the once-great TVLand channel

Charles Martin Smith (1953-     ) – Stage, film and television actor-writer-director whose vehicles include American Graffiti and Never Cry Wolf

Pete Hoekstra (1953-     ) – Certifiably insane Republican Congressman from Michigan

T. Graham Brown (1954-     ) – Country music vocalist/actor and the Pride of Arabi, GA

Shanna Reed (1956-     ) – Film and television actress best known as Polly Cooper McGillis on the sitcom Major Dad

Kevin Pollak (1957-     ) – Actor/stand-up comedian and William Shatner impersonator whose vehicles include A Few Good Men and The Usual Suspects

Charnele Brown (1965-     ) – Film and television actress whose main claim fame was playing Kim Reese on the sitcom A Different World

Nia Long (1970-     ) – Film and television actress seen on such TV series as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Third Watch

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quizshowbob said...

I just love birthday posts. Charlie Martin Smith was also the guy that Greg tried to sell his lemon of a car to on 'The Brady Bunch'.

Jeff Overturf said...

Ruth Gordon had a delivery and cadence to her voice that was completely her own. Damn near every line that came out of her mouth (including the sinister ones) made me want to laugh.

Cliff Aliperti said...

I always want to like Ruth Gordon when I see her in an oldie, but my God, no matter how young she is her image always hits my eye looking exactly as she did in Rosemary's Baby. For me she's an old lady even as a young woman!

Scott said...

No love for Harold and Maude?

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

No love for Harold and Maude?

I'm going to get into trouble for saying this, but I'm not a fan of the film. I think Bud Cort's suicide attempts are falling-down funny, but the ending of the film doesn't quite jibe with what preceded it, and ultimately warps the movie's message.