Sunday, January 16, 2011

(belated) birthdays: january 12 thru january 15

Luise Rainer, 101, having the unique distinction of being the oldest living Oscar winner is something in and of itself, but this actress also holds the distinction of being the first double-Oscar winning actor and the first back-to-back acting winner - quite a doozy; she hasn't appeared in a film in almost 15 years, and she was hardly prolific (her filmography includes only 24 credits) - her two Academy Award-winning roles were in 1936's The Great Ziegfeld and 1937's The Good Earth, and she attributes her meteoric rise to fame to her subsequent lack of success in movies after 1937
Oliver Platt, 51, very active character actor whose work in television and films began in the 1980s; though he's never gotten a lot of awardage (outside of for his work on the short-lived TV series Huff), he's had plum roles in such works as Bulworth, Pieces of April, Frost/Nixon, and Please Give, as well as in the TV series The West Wing, Nip/Tuck, Bored to Death, and, most recently, The Big C
Kirstie Alley, 60, though her steep descent from fame was catalogued by the tabloids and her self-deprecating cable show Fat Actress, she at one time was a major star, starring in the epic miniseries North & South, headlining the big casting change on Cheers, co-starring with John Travolta in the popular family comedy trilogy Look Who's Talking, and leading her own NBC sitcom in the 1990s - Veronica's Closet
John Lasseter, 54, though he got his start as one of Disney's animators, working on such films as Mickey's Christmas Carol, his work with fledgling studio Pixar made him a legendary director and idea man; he directed Toy Story and Toy Story 2, A Bug's Life, and Cars, and he wrote the screenplays for each as well - oh, and he's got two Oscars and four other nominations to boot
Orlando Bloom, 34, though his skyrocket to fame thanks to the blockbuster trilogies The Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean quickly made him a household name, he's been largely invisible since; he had parts in Troy and the flops Kingdom of Heaven and Elizabethtown, but he has some high-profile flicks in the pipe - The Hobbit and The Three Musketeers
Robert Stack, (1919-2003), known for his film acting in the '40s and '50s (he was nominated for an Oscar for 1956's Written on the Wind), his most famous role would come much later, as the host of the 15-year series Unsolved Mysteries; other notable credits included To Be or Not To Be, a regular role on TV's The Untouchables, and Airplane!
Patrick Dempsey, 45, though his breakout role was in the '80s teen flick Can't Buy Me Love as dork-turned-Casanova Ronald Miller, it was his second-stage career as the lead Dr. Shepherd in Grey's Anatomy that made him famous to modern audiences; additionally, he wooed Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama and wooed Eric McCormack on Will & Grace
Rachael Harris, 43, though I've always adored this funny lady for her punditry on VH1's addictive I Love the... shows, she's also had notable roles as a woman giving birth on Friends, lesbian lover Mary Pat in For Your Consideration, overbearing girlfriend Melissa in The Hangover, and overbearing mom Susan in Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 50, thanks to a role as the self-absorbed, obnoxious Elaine on the hit series Seinfeld, she's the proud winner of an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and two SAG awards; additionally, her work on the recently canceled The New Adventures of Old Christine won her another Emmy and long-awaited critical and audience acclaim (no easy feat for a Seinfeld alum it turns out); other credits include a series regular on Saturday Night Live, voice of princess Atta in A Bug's Life, a recurring role as a "blind" attorney in Arrested Development, and recently playing Tina Fey's character Liz Lemon on a live edition of 30 Rock
Jason Bateman, 42, though he got his start as a child actor, with regular roles on Little House on the Prairie, Silver Spoons, and Valerie's Family, he transitioned to adult roles, most notably as Michael Bluth in the acclaimed series Arrested Development (for which he won a Golden Globe and an Emmy nomination), as well as in the critically acclaimed Jason Reitman efforts Juno and Up in the Air
Gwen Verdon, (1925-2000), one of Broadways' big names back in its heyday, she originated the roles of Lola in Damn Yankees, Essie Whimple in Redhead, Charity Valentine in Sweet Charity, and Roxie Hart in Chicago on Broadway, before transitioning to television and film work, including roles in All My Children, Cocoon, Magnum P.I., and Marvin's Room
Steven Soderbergh, 48, director who's breakout hit was the festival favorite sex, lies, and videotape in 1989 before going on to directing Out of Sight, Erin Brockovich, Traffic, the Ocean's Eleven trilogy, Solaris, and The Informant!; he garnered an Oscar nod for screenwriting sex, lies, and videotape, and was double-nominated in 2000 for directing Brockovich and Traffic, the latter film he won for
Holland Taylor, 68, though her breakout roles were in the soap All My Children and the sitcom Bosom Buddies, she's gone on to do a considerable amount of character work in movies Romancing the Stone, To Die For, One Fine Day, George of the Jungle, The Truman Show, and Legally Blonde and in the TV series Going Places, The Naked Truth, The Practice (for which she won an Emmy), The L Word, and Two and a Half Men (for which she's been nominated for four Emmys)
Emily Watson, 44, one-time Oscar go-to in the '90s - she was nominated for her performances in Breaking the Waves and Hillary and Jackie - she's also had plentiful high-profile film roles in The Boxer, Angela's Ashes, Gosford Park, Punch-Drunk Love, Red Dragon, and Synecdoche, New York; next up, she's got a part in the latest Steven Spielberg effort War Horse
Shonda Rhimes, 41, one of the biggest names in TV production these days, she wrote and created Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice; of course, she also wrote the screenplays for Britney Spears' Crossroads and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, so... let's call it even thanks to her writing the successful TV movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
Kerri Green, 44, one-time kid star and part of the '80s teen troupe of actors, she played the love interest of Corey Haim in Lucas, Josh Brolin's squeeze Andie in The Goonies, and has since largely retired from acting to go to college and start a family, though she continues to screen-write
Bruno Coulais, 57, an Oscar nominee for writing "Look to Your Path" from the French film The Chorus, he's a widely known film composer who's worked on Winged Migration, The Secret of Kells, Coraline, Oceans, and Babies
Nick Clooney, 77, though he took a stab at film acting in 1958 (just two films, though), he's most famous for being the dad of actor George Clooney, the brother of Rosemary and Betty Clooney, and for his work in television hosting, particularly for introducing old films on American Movie Classics

Faye Dunaway, 70, one-time screen siren and Oscar winner for Network, she had major roles in the movies Bonnie and Clyde, The Thomas Crown Affair, Little Big Man, Chinatown, and The Towering Inferno before taking the B-movie world by storm as notoriously foul-tempered Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest (a Razzie-winning performance); since she's been largely low-profile, besides roles in the movies Don Juan Demarco, The Handmaid's Tale, and The Messenger and in her Globe-nominated turns in TV movies Running Mates and Gia
Regina King, 40, after a stint on 227 and roles in critically acclaimed Poetic Justice and Boyz N the Hood, she played small roles in countless movies including Jerry Maguire, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Enemy of the State, Miss Congeniality 2, and Ray before returning to her roots with regular roles on 24, The Boondocks, and Southland
Zach Gilford, 29, though he's had bit parts on varied television series and a role in the indie drama Dare, his biggest critical success came with starring as hesitant quarterback Matt Saracen on NBC's Friday Night Lights
Lloyd Bridges, (1913-1998), one-time leading man film star and patriarch of the Bridges acting dynasty (father of Beau and Jeff), he transitioned to TV in the '50s, starring in Sea Hunt, The Lloyd Bridges Show, and The Loner; he since played a memorable role in Airplane!, co-starred with his son in Tucker: The Man and His Dream, and was nominated for an Emmy for his recurring role on Seinfeld
T-Bone Burnett, 63, long-time songwriter and producer, his work in films have included an Oscar-winning track from Crazy Heart, an Oscar-nominated track from Cold Mountain, and soundtrack work on O Brother Where Art Thou?, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and The Ladykillers
Margaret O'Brien, 74, famed '40s child star, she had a major role alongside Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis and played roles in adaptations of Jane Eyre, Little Women, and The Secret Garden; she's since done mostly scarce television work
Harold Russell, (1914-2002), considered one of the only two non-professional actors to win an Oscar, he famously portrayed Homer Parrish, a double-amputee following Word War II, in 1946's The Best Years of Our Lives; the remainder of his acting career was very miniscule - as a real-life double-amputee, he went on to work in advocating for military veterans who'd been handicapped during battle

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