Gene Hackman celebrates his 87th today. The five-time Oscar nominee worked for nearly 50 years in film, television and theater. He had been acting for about a decade when he had his first big break, receiving a Best Supporting Actor nomination in 1967 as Buck Barrow in Bonnie & Clyde. He picked up a second Oscar nomination for 1970’s I Never Sang For My Father, and then was cast in one of the relatively few genuine starring roles in his career:
Hackman swept almost all of the major Best Actor awards for 1971, including winning the Oscar, as Popeye Doyle in The French Connection. He did not go on, though, to become a really major leading man. He has had some good lead roles—his Oscar-nominated FBI agent in Mississippi Burning, Coach Norman Dale in Hoosiers, and a pair of PI-types named Harry in The Conversation and Night Moves—but by and large he is known for villains and character roles. His villains include Lex Luthor in three Superman films, and Little Bill Daggett in Unforgiven, for which he won his second Oscar, for Best Supporting Actor. One of his more interesting character parts was Harry Zimm in Get Shorty.
Retired from acting since 2004, Hackman has written a number of novels, many of them historical fiction.
Vanessa Redgrave is turning 80 today. One of the most highly-regarded actresses of the past fifty years, she is a winner of the unofficial Triple Crown of Acting. She made her film debut in Behind the Mask, a medical drama in which she and her father, Sir Michael Redgrave, played father and daughter. In 1966, she had her first Oscar-nominated role in the comedy Morgan—A Suitable Case for Treatment. She has received a total of six Oscar nominations, winning Best Supporting Actress for Julia. She has also worked regularly in British and American television, winning two Emmys; the second for the 2000 HBO movie If These Walls Could Talk 2:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) was the 32nd President of the US. He has been played on screen by actors such as Ralph Bellamy, Edward Herrmann, Jason Robards, John Lithgow, and Kenneth Branagh. Richard Cheney, who turns 76, was the 46th Vice President of the US. Evaluating the political careers and accomplishments of either man is far beyond the scope of this blog.
If today is your birthday, congratulations on sharing your big day with these notable names. Birthday wishes to everyone celebrating a big day today. Come back tomorrow for more celebrity birthdays.