Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy birthday today to…

Normally I’d select a person on today’s birthday list for a special shout-out but because I’m kind of pressed for time (it’s being written on Saturday; I’m heading over to the ‘rents to watch the WVU-Rutgers game and have some good grub for a change) I opted out of the whole biographical sketch thing.  Besides, it was sort of hard to choose between such notables as Fritz Lang, Al Boasberg, Walt Disney, William Spier, Abe Polonsky…you get the idea.  So the happiest of natal anniversaries to these fine folks…and I’ll pick up the pieces on Monday.

Martin Van Buren (1782-1862) – Eighth president of the United States

George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876) – U.S. Army General and Cavalry commander immortalized in this song:

Fritz Lang (1890-1976) – Austrian émigré motion picture director whose oeuvre includes Metropolis, M, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, Fury, The Woman in the Window, Scarlet Street and The Big Heat

Al Boasberg (1892-1937) – Veteran radio and silver screen comedy writer/gag man considered by many to be the dean of them all; his cinematic contributions include The General, Cracked Nuts, Freaks, The Nitwits and A Night at the Opera

Stuart Heisler (1896-1979) – Journeyman motion picture and television director-editor whose oeuvre includes Among the Living, The Glass Key, Along Came Jones, Blue Skies, Smash Up: The Story of a Woman and The Star

Nunnally Johnson (1897-1977) – Motion picture writer-director-producer whose directorial oeuvre includes Night People, Black Widow, How to Be Very, Very Popular, The Three Faces of Eve and The Angel Wore Red

Lige Conley (1897-1937) – Unsung silent-sound film comic whose vehicles include Fast and Furious, Air Pockets, The Battling Kangaroo and Matrimony Blues

Grace Moore (1898-1947) – Metropolitan Opera soprano and film/musical theatre actress whose films include One Night of Love, Love Me Forever, The King Steps Out and When You’re in Love

Ray Whitley (1901-1979) – Country-western singer and B-movie cowboy star (in many of Tim Holt’s westerns) who was the original composer of Gene Autry’s theme song Back in the Saddle Again

Walt Disney (1901-1966) – Legendary animation pioneer and head of one of the most successful and profitable film studios geared towards family entertainment

Strom Thurmond (1902-2003) – Oh, come on…you know where this is going

Emeric Pressburger (1902-1988) – Hungarian/British writer-director-producer remembered for his film collaborations with Michael Powell including One of Our Aircraft is Missing, A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes

Harold Huber (1904-1959) – Stage, screen, radio and television character actor seen often in Charlie Chan films such as Charlie Chan on Broadway and Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo; also played Agatha Christie creation Hercule Poirot on radio

William Spier (1906-1973) – Film, television and radio writer-director-producer who’s best known as the man behind The March of Time, The Adventures of Sam Spade and the early years of Suspense

Otto Preminger (1905-1986) – Austrian émigré motion picture director (and sometimes actor) whose directorial oeuvre includes Laura, Forever Amber, The Moon is Blue, Carmen Jones, Anatomy of a Murder, Advise and Consent and Stacia fave Skidoo

Abraham Polonsky (1910-1999) – Motion picture and television writer-director and “Hollywood Ten” member whose cinematic contributions include Body and Soul, Force of Evil, Odds Against Tomorrow, Madigan and Tell Them Willie Boy is Here

Margaret Hayes (1916-1977) – Stage, screen and television character actress whose vehicles include Take a Letter, Darling, The Glass Key, One Dangerous Night, Violent Saturday and The Case Against Brooklyn

Hal Goldman (1919-2001) – Emmy Award-winning veteran radio and television comedy writer who wrote—with partner Al Gordon—many of Jack Benny’s television shows; also worked for the likes of George Burns, the Smothers Brothers, Flip Wilson and Carol Burnett

Alvy Moore (1921-1997) – Stage, screen and television character actor best remembered by legions of couch potatoes as the incredibly dim Hank Kimball on TV’s Green Acres

George Savalas (1924-1985) – Stage, screen and television character actor whose landing of the role of Det. Stavros on TV’s Kojak probably had little to do with the fact that his brother Telly was the star

(Little) Richard Penniman (1932-     ) – Rock ‘n’ roll/R&B vocalist

Adolph Caesar (1933-1986) – Stage, screen and television character actor whose vehicles include Che!, A Soldier’s Story, The Color Purple and Club Paradise

Calvin Trillin (1935-     ) – Journalist/humorist/author and longtime poet laureate for The Nation

Jeroen Krabbé (1944-     ) – Dutch stage, screen and television actor whose vehicles include Soldier of Orange, Spetters, The Fourth Man, The Living Daylights, Crossing Delancey and The Fugitive

Jim Messina (1947-     ) – Buffalo Springfield and Poco member best known for his musical collaborations with Kenny Loggins

Morgan Brittany (1951-     ) – As moppet actress Suzanne Cupito her vehicles include Gypsy and Yours, Mine and Ours; as “Brittany” she’s best known as Katherine Wentworth on TV’s Dallas

Andy Kim (1952-     ) – Canadian pop-rock singer-songwriter

Brian Backer (1956-     ) – Stage, screen and television actor who I’ll always associate as the nerd trying to bed down Jennifer Jason Leigh in Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Connie Needham (1959-     ) – Stage, screen and television actress who played the smokin’ hot (but then again, all the daughters were pretty much lookers) Elizabeth Bradford on TV’s Eight is Enough

Carrie Hamilton (1963-2002) – Singer-actress daughter of Carol Burnett best known as Reggie Higgins on the TV series version of Fame

Gary Allan (1967-     ) – Country music singer-songwriter

Lisa Marie (1968-     ) – Film and television actress-model associated with many of director Tim Burton’s films, including Ed Wood, Mars Attacks!, Sleepy Hollow and Planet of the Apes (it probably wasn’t because they were engaged or anything)

Margaret Cho (1968-     ) – Standup comedienne/actress whose TV gigs include All-American Girl and Drop Dead Diva

Morgan J. Freeman (1969-     ) – Motion picture and television writer-director-producer whose oeuvre includes Hurricane, Desert Blue and The Cherry Picker

Amy Acker (1976-     ) – Film and television actress who played the hot demon Illyria on TV’s Angel; also had roles on such series as Alias, Dollhouse and Happy Town

Frankie Muniz (1985-     ) – Malcolm in the middle

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