Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy birthday, Ken Berry!


Today’s birthday celebrant is a figure easily recognizable to those who frequent this little scrap of the blogosphere—he’s Kenneth Ronald Berry, born seventy-three years ago on this date in Moline, Illinois.  Each week here at TDOY, we dissect an episode of the sitcom that made Ken a household name in the 1960s and 1970s—though if I were being completely honest, I wish it were F Troop as opposed to Mayberry R.F.D.  From The Ann Sothern Show (where he played Woody the bellhop) to Mama’s Family (as the Goober-like Vint Harper), Berry is a regular TV icon…and after learning that he divorced wife Jackie Joseph, one of my pretend girlfriends, I don’t feel so bad about implying that his Sam Jones character is a bit of a schmuck.

By the way, another famous Mayberry resident also has a birthday today—actress Aneta Corsaut, who played schoolteacher (and eventual wife of Sheriff Andy Taylor) Helen Crump, was born in 1933 as well, in Hutchinson, Kansas.  (Sadly, Aneta is no longer with us, have passed away in 1995.)  In fact, if we were to throw a party for all the famous celebs born on this date, here’s a list of who might show up:

John Montagu (1718-1792) – This is the guy who invented the sandwich (4th Earl of Sandwich)

Stephen F. Austin (1793-1836) – Father of Texas (this is mostly for Bill Crider’s benefit)

Paul Panzer (1872-1958) – Unsung silent/sound film character actor whose ghost haunts the discussion boards at In the Balcony

Ford Sterling (1883-1939) – Silent film comedian and Keystone Kop chief for whom the term “understated acting” definitely does not apply

Walker Evans (1903-1975) – Famed American photographer who depicted much of life during the Great Depression

Jack Donohue (1908-1984) – Former dancer-turned-director who helmed a few M-G-M films (The Yellow Cab Man, Watch the Birdie) and later went into television, supervising shows like The Lucy Show, The Odd Couple and Chico and the Man

Bronko Nagurski (1908-1990) – Football player fortunate to have a blogathon named after him

James “Scotty” Reston (1909-1995) – American journalist intensely disliked by Richard Nixon, which is why he rates a mention here

Gilbert Mack (1912-2005) – OTR/voice actor best remembered as the voice of early TV sci-fi star Johnny Jupiter

Dean Riesner (1918-2002) – Film and television writer (and son of director Charles) who penned scripts for the likes of Sugarfoot, Cheyenne and The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis

Ludovic Kennedy (1919-2009) – British journalist/author and humanist who authored Ten Rillington Place and The Airman and the Carpenter, two important non-fiction books on the death penalty

Bert Freed (1919-1994) – Ubiquitous character actor seen in such vehicles as Detective Story, Paths of Glory, The Gazebo and the TV version of Shane

Charles Bronson (1921-2003) – Film and television actor whose vehicles include The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Dirty Dozen and two million Death Wish movies

Leonard Stone (1923-     ) – Ubiquitous stage, screen and television character actor best remembered as Violet Beauregard’s pop in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and as Doc Joslyn on TV’s Camp Runamuck

Wanda Hendrix (1928-1981) – Film and television character actress whose vehicles include Confidential Agent, Nora Prentiss and Ride the Pink Horse; one-time spouse of WW2 hero/actor Audie Murphy

Lois Smith (1930-     ) – Ubiquitous film and television character actress whose vehicles include Five Easy Pieces, Resurrection and Dead Man Walking

Peggy McCay (1930-     ) – Ubiquitous film and television character actress who I always remember as Mason Adams’ wife on Lou Grant but is probably better known among soap opera fans as Days of Our Lives’ Caroline Brady

Larry Gelman (1930-     ) – Iconic film and television actor most associated as poker player Vinnie Barella on The Odd Couple and Dr. Bernie Tupperman on The Bob Newhart Show

Monica Vitti (1931-     ) – Italian actress heavily associated with the films of director Michelangelo Antonioni: L’Avventura, La Notte, L’Eclisse, etc.

Michael Dukakis (1933-     ) – Former governor of Massachusetts and 1988 Democratic Presidential candidate

Jeremy Brett (1933-1995) – British actor considered by legions of Baker Street Irregulars to be the definitive Sherlock Holmes

John Barry (1933-     ) – Academy Award-winning composer/conductor whose immortality is assured since writing the James Bond theme

Lynn Woolsey (1937-     ) – My kind of Congresswoman

Brian Poole (1941-     ) – Tremelo


Tom Shales (1944-     ) – Pulitzer Prize-winning TV critic for The Washington Post

Tom Savini (1946-     ) – Legendary makeup/special effects master

Lulu (1948-     ) – Scottish actress/singer-songwriter best known for appearing (and singing the title tune) in To Sir with Love

Anna Wintour (1949-     ) – Fashion maven and editor of Vogue magazine

Mike Evans (1949-2006) – Stage, screen and television actor best remembered as Lionel Jefferson on All in the Family and its spin-off, The Jeffersons; also co-created and wrote the sitcom Good Times

Roseanne (1952-     ) – Subject of a hit song by the rock group Toto…wait a sec, I got that wrong—this is the comedienne who had the self-titled sitcom on ABC

Jim Cummings (1952-     ) – Voice artist best known for taking over as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger now that Sterling Holloway’s departed from the scene

Dennis Miller (1953-     ) – Standup comedian-talk show host, SNL regular and un dickhead formidable who’s held a grudge against my home state of WV ever since he was roughed up by a bunch of rowdy Mountaineers fans during a WVU football game (judging from his wiseass persona, he was probably asking for it)

Kate Capshaw (1953-     ) – Thoroughly mediocre actress whose marriage to director Steven Spielberg has thankfully kept her off film and television screens

Kathy Kinney (1954-     ) – Mimi

Adam Ant (1954-     ) – Actor and one-hit wonder (well, at least in this country)


Godzilla (1954-     ) – Giant dinosaur-like beast who likes to go walkabout in downtown Tokyo

Kevin Murphy (1956-     ) – MST3K writer and performer (that’s for Scott’s benefit)

Dolph Lundgren (1957-     ) – Swedish beefcake actor best known as Rocky Balboa’s opponent Ivan Drago in Rocky IV

Hal Hartley (1959-     ) – Motion picture director whose films include The Unbelievable Truth, Trust and Simple Men

Lee Montgomery (1961-     ) – Moppet actor who, like Moosie Drier, Rodney Allen Rippy, etc. seemed to be everywhere on TV in the 1960s and 1970s; his cinematic resume includes Ben and Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Karl Michaelson (1961-     ) – Moppet actress who played Katie on Gimme a Break!—there’s really no reason why I should remember stuff like this, but I do

Debbie Rochon (1968-     ) – Cinematic “Scream Queen” who keeps turning up on my “suggested friends” Facebook list for some odd reason


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3 comments:

quizshowbob said...

YAY Godzilla! My favorite movie monster.

Peggy said...

I passed the Debbie Rochon & Tom Savini birthday info on to T.L. Bugg over at The Lightning Bug's Lair. They are a couple of his favorite peeps.

Birthdays! YAY!! Thanks!!!

Scott said...

Considering how often the lovable Thunder Lizard guest-starred on MST3K, it's all too appropriate that he shares a birthday with Tom Servo.