Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy birthday, Dick Van Dyke!

I’m going to keep today’s list short and sweet (well, I’ll try to anyway) because there a lot of celebrity notables with natal anniversaries and I’ve got an episode of Mayberry R.F.D. to watch later today.  But I did want to give a birthday shout-out to the amazing Dick Van Dyke, who turns eighty-five today—I’m sure it has not escaped anyone’s notice that the multi-talented entertainer is held in the highest esteem at this little scrap in the blogosphere.  The Dick Van Dyke Show is my favorite situation comedy of all time; I even remember as a kid practicing tripping over an ottoman in the living room…something that did not particularly go over well with my mother, I might add.

Actor Van Heflin was also born on this date one hundred years ago…and I was asked by the esteemed proprietor of Edward Copeland on Film to work up a little tribute to Mr. Heflin, which you can read here.  Heflin is a true TDOY favorite; an actor who wasn’t the handsome thespian to ever trod the boards or appear on celluloid (“I just didn't have the looks and if I didn't do a good acting job I looked terrible”) but who appeared (and did first-rate work) in many of my favorite films including Kid Glove Killer, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Act of Violence, The Prowler, Shane, The Raid, Patterns, 3:10 to Yuma and Gunman’s Walk.  So happy birthday to these superlative talents…and to their fellow birthday celebrants as well:

Albert Austin (1882-1953) – Stage and screen character actor-writer-director chiefly remembered for his many supporting turns in Charlie Chaplin’s films

Marc Connelly (1890-1980) – Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Algonquin Round Table member whose works include Dulcy, Merton of the Movies, The Green Pastures, Captains Courageous and I Married a Witch

Dreer Pooson—er, Drew Pearson (1897-1969) – Television and newspaper journalist best known for his investigative column Washington Merry-Go-Round

Jay Jostyn (1901-1976) – Stage, screen, radio and television actor best remembered by OTR fans as radio’s Mr. District Attorney

Norman Foster (1903-1976) – Motion picture and television director (and one-time actor) whose oeuvre includes several of the Mr. Moto films, Journey into Fear, Rachel and the Stranger and Woman on the Run

Lillian Roth (1910-1980) – Stage, screen and television actress-singer whose vehicles include The Love Parade, The Vagabond King, Animal Crackers, Madam Satan and Ladies They Talk About; her story is told in the 1955 biopic I’ll Cry Tomorrow

Archie Moore (1913-1998) – Champion light heavyweight prizefighter who later went into acting, appearing in such films as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Carpetbaggers, The Fortune Cookie, The Outfit and Breakheart Pass

Larry Parks (1914-1975) – Stage, screen and television whose career was sidelined by the blacklist but who’s best known for his impersonation of Al Jolson in the films The Jolson Story and Jolson Sings Again

Ross Macdonald (1915-1983) – Mystery and crime fiction novelist best known for his literary creation of sleuth Lew Archer

Curt Jurgens (1915-1982) – Stage, screen and television character actor whose vehicles include Bitter Victory, The Enemy Below, The Longest Day, Lord Jim, The Mephisto Waltz and The Spy Who Loved Me

Mark Stevens (1916-1994) – Stage, screen and television actor whose vehicles include From This Day Forward, The Dark Corner, The Street with No Name, The Snake Pit and TV’s Martin Kane, Private Eye and Big Town

John Hart (1917-2009) – Stage, screen and television actor best known for his starring turns in the serials Jack Armstrong and Adventures of Captain Africa and for playing The Lone Ranger on TV after star Clayton Moore walked out over a salary dispute

Don Taylor (1920-1998) – Stage, screen and television actor whose vehicles include The Naked City, Father of the Bride and Stalag 17; later became a film and television director with features like Escape from the Planet of the Apes, The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday and The Final Countdown on his resume

Albert Paulsen (1925-2004) – Stage, screen and television character actor whose vehicles include All Fall Down, The Manchurian Candidate, Gunn, Che!, The Laughing Policeman and TV’s Cliffhangers (“Stop Susan Williams”)

Geneviève Page (1927-     ) – French stage, screen and television actress whose vehicles include Song without End, El Cid, The Day and the Hour, Belle de Jour and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

Christopher Plummer (1929-     ) – English stage, screen and television actor whose vehicles include The Sound of Music, The Man Who Would Be King, Murder by Decree, Dreamscape, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and The Insider

Robert Prosky (1930-2008) – Stage, screen and television actor best known as Sgt. Stan Jablonski on TV’s Hill Street Blues

Lou Adler (1933-     ) – Grammy Award-winning record producer and manager who dabbled in film directing and producing, notably The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Up in Smoke

Richard D. Zanuck (1934-     ) – Academy Award-winning motion picture producer son of legendary 20th Century-Fox studio head Darryl F. whose vehicles include The Sound of Music, Jaws, The Verdict, Driving Miss Daisy, Deep Impact and Road to Perdition

John Davidson (1941-     ) – Actor, singer, game show host and TV personality whose gigs include The Girl With Something Extra, That’s Incredible! and Hollywood Squares

Kathy Garver (1945-     ) – Stage, screen, radio and television actress remembered by legions of couch potatoes as Catherine “Cissy” Patterson-Davis on TV’s Family Affair

Ted Nugent (1948-     ) – Rock ‘n’ roll guitarist, activist and un dickhead formidable

Paula Wilcox (1949-     ) – English TDOY actress fave best known for her roles in such Britcoms as The Dustbinmen, The Lovers, Man About the House, Miss Jones and Son, Fiddlers Three and The Smoking Room

Randy Owen (1949-     ) – Lead singer of the pop/country music group Alabama

Robert Lindsay (1949-     ) – English TDOY actor fave best known for his roles in such Britcoms as Get Some In!, Citizen Smith, Seconds Out, Nightingales and My Family

Heather North (1950-     ) – Film and television actress best known to Saturday morning aficionados as the second actress to voice Daphne Blake on Scooby-Doo

Wendie Malick (1950-     ) – TDOY actress fave whose TV gigs include Trauma Center, Dream On, Just Shoot Me!, Frasier, Jake in Progress and Hot in Cleveland

Karl Howman (1952-     ) – English stage, screen and television actor best known for his roles on such Britcoms as Get Some In!, Brush Strokes and Mulberry

John Anderson (1954-     ) – Country music singer-songwriter and the only singer I know who can make the word “bank” into a five-syllable word (Money in the Bank)

Steve Forbert (1954-     ) – Pop music singer-songwriter

Morris Day (1957-     ) – Time keeper

Steve Buscemi (1957-     ) – Stage, screen and television character actor-director whose vehicles include Parting Glances, Reservoir Dogs, Living in Oblivion, Fargo, Trees Lounge, The Big Lebowski and TV’s The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire

Amy Stock-Poynton (1958-     ) – Stage, screen and television actress best known as Beth Yardner-Dillon-Reardon, the daughter of Matt Dillon in the 1990s Gunsmoke TV-movies

Lynn-Holly Johnson (1958-     ) – Former professional ice skater who took up acting in such films as Ice Castles, For Your Eyes Only, Where the Boys Are ’84 and Alien Predator

Clark Brandon (1958-     ) – Former teen idol-turned-director whose vehicles include the TV shows The Fitzpatricks, Out of the Blue and Mr. Merlin; his 1989 feature Fast Food features a walk-on by my sister Debbie

Johnny Whittaker (1959-     ) – Former moppet actor-singer who’s best known as Jonathan “Jody” Patterson-Davis on TV’s Family Affair and Johnny on the Saturday morning Sid & Marty Krofft fave Sigmund and the Sea Monsters

Ben Model (1962-     ) – Composer-musician for silent films and Facebook compadre

Jamie Foxx (1967-     ) – Academy Award-winning stage, screen and television actor/standup comedian whose vehicles include Any Given Sunday, Ali, Collateral, Ray, Jarhead and TV’s In Living Color and The Jamie Foxx Show

Taylor Swift (1989-     ) – Pop/country music phenom who, since she turns twenty-one today, should go out later and toss back a few with Kanye West

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Yvette said...

I LOVE Van Heflin! My favorite Heflin film is the Lily Mars one he did with Judy Garland. (If I'm remembering correctly.) Thanks for the tip-off on Ross MacDonald's birthday, he's one of my very favorite authors. Maybe I'll write about him later on my blog. :)

The Lady Eve said...

Dick Van Dyke is 85!!! OMG, I remember when he was youngish Rob Petrie, with Laura and Ritchie and the gang...
Love your description of Ted Nugent, by the way...