Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy birthday, Billy Graham!


No, you read that heading right—and yes, I know it’s a bit out of character for me to give a shout-out to someone who’s in the religion business because I’m pretty much a full-blooded skeptic when it comes to all matters of faith.  But Reverend Billy Graham—born on this date in Charlotte, NC—turns ninety-two years old today, and regardless of whether or not I agree with Mr. G’s religious philosophy and political beliefs (for the record, I most assuredly do not—the picture above demonstrates the kind of unsavory characters with which he kept company) there’s no denying that he is the most popular evangelist of his time…and quite possibly any other time, come to think of it.  Besides, he also used to double-date with God.  (Yes, I stole that from Sleeper [1972]—always take from the best, as I’m often fond of saying.)

Oh, and my Facebook chum and blogging compadre HouseT celebrates a birthday today, too.  (I had a picture of him with Billy, but I lost it during a computer crash.)

Anyway, here are the rest of the fine individuals who share a natal anniversary today:

Madame Marie Curie (1867-1934) – Discoverer of radium

Lucille La Verne (1872-1945) – Stage and silent/sound film actress seen in such vehicles as Orphans of the Storm, Kentucky Kernels and A Tale of Two Cities…but remembered by movie buffs today as the voice of the Wicked Queen in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) – Communist revolutionary/leader

Joe May (1880-1954) – Austrian émigré director who was one of the founders of German cinema but once across the pond directed films such as The Invisible Man Returns and The House of Seven Gables

Phil Spitalny (1890-1970) – Orchestra leader who became famous for his all-female musical aggregation, including “Evelyn and her Magic Violin”

Edward Sedgwick (1892-1953) – Motion picture writer-director and longtime crony of comedian Buster Keaton, helming his last two silent comedy features The Cameraman and Spite Marriage

Leatrice Joy (1893-1985) – Motion picture actress whose fame began in silents, notably in several films directed by Cecil B. DeMille including Manslaughter, The Ten Commandments and Triumph

Herman J. Mankiewicz (1897-1953) – Academy Award-winning screenwriter whose films include Dinner at Eight, Citizen Kane and The Pride of the Yankees

Grace Stafford (1903-1992) – Wife of animation giant Walter Lantz and the voice of his most famous creation, Woody Woodpecker

Dean Jagger (1903-1991) – Academy Award-winning character actors whose vehicles include When Strangers Marry, Twelve O’Clock High and Bad Day at Black Rock; also played the principal on the TV drama Mr. Novak

Ernest James “Red” Ingle (1906-1965) – Singer-songwriter and musician renowned in the 1940s for his comedy and novelty records, many of them recorded as a member of Spike Jones’ City Slickers


Norman Krasna (1909-1984) – Academy Award-winning writer-director and playwright whose films include Bombshell, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The Devil and Miss Jones and Princess O’Rourke

Albert Camus (1913-1960) – French author, journalist and philosopher who wrote The Stranger

Archie Campbell (1914-1987) – Country music comedian who was a writer and performer on TV’s Hee Haw for nearly twenty years

Joe Cobb (1916-2002) – Little Rascal

Edith “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale (1917-2002) – Socialite/cabaret performer and first cousin to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis whose life with her mother (Edith Ewing Bouvier, aka “Big Edie”) is documented in the fascinating 1975 documentary Grey Gardens

Aline Towne (1919-1996) – Motion picture actress remembered primarily for her work in five Republic Studios serials from 1950 to 1954: The Invisible Monster, Don Daredevil Rides Again, Radar Men from the Moon, Zombies of the Stratosphere and Trader Tom of the China Seas

Al Hirt (1922-1999) – Jazz trumpeter whom I often used to confuse with Sebastian Cabot


Derek Francis (1923-1984) – British stage, screen and television character actor whom, I’m ashamed to admit, I remember more for his work on Britcoms like Oh Brother! and Whoops Baghdad!

William Wharton (1925-2008) – American novelist whose books include Birdy and A Midnight Clear

Joan Sutherland (1926-2010) – Australian operatic soprano dubbed “La Stupenda” (The Stupendous One)

Lila Kaye (1929-     ) – British stage, screen and television character actress whose vehicles include See No Evil, An American Werewolf in London and Nuns on the Run

Gloria LeRoy (1931-     ) – Film and television character actress who has small but memorable roles in such films as The Night They Raided Minsky’s, Cold Turkey and The Day of the Locust; her regular TV gigs include Hot L Baltimore, Kaz and soap opera like Days of Our Lives and Passions

Jackie Joseph (1933-     ) – Major TDOY actress fave who won my heart as a regular on The Doris Day Show but is also in such vehicles as The Little Shop of Horrors, Who’s Minding the Mint and the Gremlins movies; also provided the voice of Melody in the Josie and the Pussycats cartoon (and I still can’t believe Ken Berry divorced this incredible lady…or maybe she kicked him to the curb)

Judy Parfitt (1935-     ) – Peerless British stage, screen and television actress whose vehicles include Maurice and Dolores Claiborne…but who I’ll always remember as the Lucille La Verne-like Wicked Queen on the TV sitcom The Charmings

Barry Newman (1938-     ) – Stage, screen and television actor best remembered by legions of couch potatoes as lawyer Anthony J. Petrocelli in the TV series of the same name

Dee Clark (1938-1990) – R&B/pop music vocalist (Raindrops)

Dakin Matthews (1940-     ) – Stage, screen and television character actor seen in many TV shows including Soul Man, King of Queens and Gilmore Girls

Jean Shrimpton (1942-     ) – Supermodel who was the flavor of the month in the 1960s until the arrival of Twiggy; also did some acting in films like Privilege

Johnny Rivers (1942-     ) – Pop music singer-songwriter who scored a huge hit with Secret Agent Man, the theme song to the Patrick MacGoohan spy drama Secret Agent


Joni Mitchell (1943-     ) – Folk/jazz music singer-songwriter who clued us into the fact that they paved paradise and put up a parking lot


Anthony Slide (1944-     ) – Prolific author and film historian

Earl Boen (1945-     ) – Stage, screen and television character great seen in a gazillion things but whom I always remember from the sitcom Making a Living (aka Living It Up)

James Houghton (1948-     ) – Film and television actor who started writing for soap operas after he penned a few episodes of Knots Landing, on which he had a regular role as Kenny Ward

Su Pollard (1949-     ) – Television comic actress who appears in such Britcoms as Hi-De-Hi!, You Rang, M’Lord? and Oh, Doctor Beeching!

Lawrence O’Donnell (1951-     ) – Political analyst, Emmy Award-winning writer-producer (The West Wing), actor and now MSNBC talk show host

Judy Tenuta (1956-     ) – Standup comedienne who’s a bit of an acquired taste

Stuart Shostak (1956-     ) – Standup comedian, Internets talk show host and Facebook pal

Christopher Knight (1957-     ) – Former moppet actor best known as Peter Brady on The Brady Bunch who fearlessly allowed television audiences to view his courtship with now-wife Adrianne Curry on the reality show My Fair Brady

Dana Plato (1964- 1999) – Former moppet actress best known as Kimberly Drummond on the sitcom Diff’rent Strokes who had difficulty adjusting to life after kiddie stardom and succumbed to an accidental overdose of painkillers in 1999

Morgan Spurlock (1970-     ) – Writer-director-producer and Parkersburg, WV native whose documentary Super Size Me will literally make you think twice about ever eating at McDonald’s again

Christopher Daniel Barnes (1972-     ) – Film and television actor whose resemblance to Barry Williams’ “Greg Brady” has allowed him to play the character in movies and TV shows; also had regular roles in such sitcoms as Day by Day and Malcolm & Eddie


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4 comments:

Java Bean Rush said...

"the picture above demonstrates the kind of unsavory characters with which he kept company" - Ivan

Actually, Ivan, Billy Graham would meet with any president who was willing to receive him (which have been all of them since about the mid-20th century). He is interested in their spiritual well-being, because whatever theology or philosophy leads the leader of the free world is pretty important.

Now, THEIR motives for inviting Billy Graham to some function are more suspect; it makes a great photo op for a politician to be seen with a well-liked man known for honesty, principles, etc.

Still, some of them may have genuinely had theological questions, agreed with him or just liked Graham personally.

I wish Billy Graham all the best and I'm glad you included him in your birthday round up. :)

Scott said...

Well, to be fair, it wasn't all spiritual maintenance. According to the Nixon tapes, sometimes the Reverend Mr. Graham just liked to drop by the White House and swap anti-Semitic anecdotes and observations with the President.

Perhaps his was indeed a purely evangelical purpose, but people who make a lifelong habit of cozying up to power often don't often have the most selfless of motives.

Winifred said...

Ahh Jean Shrimpton commonly known as the Shrimp! She was gorgeous said to be the only woman to have a good passport photograph!

Matthew K. said...

@Ivan great eclectic list of celeb Bdays! Love being reminded of some of these almost forgotten stars. @Winifred - ditto on Jean Shrimpton, whose breakup with Terence Stamp allegedly caused Stamp to give up acting for a few years- until his triumphant return as Zod in "Superman I & II".