birthdays: december 11

Rita Moreno, 79, undoubtedly, this Puerto Rico native is most remembered as the opinionated Anita in her Academy Award-winning role in 1961’s West Side Story, but she’s had quite the career since, as one of the premier Latina actresses in the business, with a part in Carnal Knowledge, hundreds of episodes of The Electric Company, a starring role in the TV adaptation of Nine to Five, and a regular role as a nun in the HBO series Oz
Mo’Nique, 43, after all the episodes of Moesha and The Parkers on the now-defunct UPN and parts in Two Can Play That Game, Soul Plane, Hair Show, and Phat Girlz, not a single soul ever expected she would eventually gain the title of Oscar winner for her unforgettable performance as an abusive mother in Precious; but I must admit, I was semi-addicted to the surprisingly poignant Flavor of Love Girls Charm School all thanks to the mesmerizing host
Rider Strong, 31, everyone knows him as the hair-flipping teen idol Sean Hunter in the TGIF classic Boy Meets World, but after the show pushed him into the position of sappy, melodramatic speech-orator by the series’ end, his subsequent career has consisted of frequent guest gigs on shows such as The Practice and Law & Order: Criminal Intent and a memorable role in the cult horror flick Cabin Fever
Teri Garr, 61, Oscar-nominated for the ’80s uber-comedy Tootsie, she’s best known for her comedic roles as Inga in Young Frankenstein, working mom Caroline in Mr. Mom, and the astoundingly accurate doppelganger of Lisa Kudrow in Friends; and then there was that part as disapproving wife to Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Rachel Portman, 50, probably the most successful female score composer in film history, she managed to crack the boys’ club of the scoring branch at the Academy Awards to pull out nominations for The Cider House Rules and Chocolat, as well as a win for Emma (1996); she also wrote the scores for Benny & Joon, The Joy Luck Club, To Wong Foo…, Marvin’s Room, Beloved, Nicholas Nickleby, The Duchess, and Never Let Me Go
Big Mama Thornton, (1926-1984), famously big-voiced singer with an unfortunate penchant for having her most popular songs successfully covered by mainstream white artists; if you need proof of her incredible fortitude, listen to any recording, live or studio, of her rendition of “Hound Dog” – it will change your life
Brenda Lee, 66, high-flying chart-topper of the ’60s, she sang her way to 37 charted hits, a number surpassed only by four other artists, including Elvis Presley and The Beatles; she’s best known for her debut song “I’m Sorry” and the holiday hits “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Jingle Bell Rock”
Gary Dourdan, 44, actor best known for his role as Warrick Brown on the original C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation, he’s also had recurring roles on A Different World and Soul Food, and parts in Alien: Resurrection and the upcoming comedy Jumping the Broom
Jon Brion, 47, for the purposes of this blog, his work in film scoring includes Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, I Heart Huckabees, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Synecdoche New York, and The Other Guys; in addition, he got his start as a pop-rock performer and has produced albums for Rufus Wainwright, Fiona Apple, Kanye West, and Dido

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One response to “birthdays: december 11”

  1. Dan says :

    Teri Garr. Always felt she's a bit underrated as an actress. She's great in Close Encounters but I particularly liked her in Scorsese's After Hours. She's also good in small roles such as Tootsie and Let It Ride (again playing opposite Richard Dreyfuss as his wife).

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