birthdays: december 24
Ava Gardner, (1922-1990), long-standing reigning queen of beauty in Hollywood, she was one of the biggest female stars of the 1940s and 50s; though her one and only Oscar nomination came in 1953 for Mogambo, she also was famous for her roles in Showboat, The Barefoot Contessa, The Night of the Iguana, and Earthquake
Moose, (1990-2006), probably one of the best dog actors in the biz, he spent 193 episodes keeping Martin Crane company as the shockingly animated Eddie on Frasier and he melted hearts as Frankie Muniz’s compadre in the 2000 movie My Dog Skip; before his death in 2006, he reportedly spent his final days hanging out with his son, his trainer, and the dog who played Verdell in As Good As it Gets – not even kidding
Mary Higgins Clark, 83, prolific, bestselling mystery novelist known as the “Queen of Suspense,” she’s written 42 bestselling novels and has sold 80 million copies of her books in the United States alone – she resides comfortably within the top 75 bestselling fiction writers of all time; her novels have been adapted into TV movies many times, but the only big-screen credits resulting from her books are 1982’s A Stranger is Watching and 1986’s Where Are the Children?
Michael Curtiz, (1886-1962), filmmaker famous for directing the film often considered the all-time best, Casablanca, he also helmed more than 100 films in his career, including Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Mildred Pierce, Angels with Dirty Faces, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and White Christmas
Lee Daniels, 51, though he had his big breakthrough late in life, he produced the 2001 Oscar favorite Monster’s Ball, he produced the 2004 controversial Kevin Bacon drama The Woodsman, and finally garnered two Oscar nominations for producing and directing the high-profile drama Precious
Howard Hughes, (1905-1976), though he obviously had quite the career in aviation first and foremost, his contributions to film include the giant-budget (for the time), high-profile movies Hell’s Angels and the scandalously racy The Outlaw; beyond directing he also produced the original The Front Page and Scarface, and his life story gave Leonardo DiCaprio his arguably best performance in 2004’s The Aviator
Franz Waxman, (1906-1967), major score composer of the ’40s and ’50s, his two Oscar wins were for Sunset Blvd. and A Place in the Sun, but he also scored Rebecca, Suspicion, The Nun’s Story, Mr. Skeffington, Rear Window, Come Back Little Sheba, Mister Roberts… need I go on?
Diedrich Bader, 44, thanks to his gawky facial expressions and slapstick innateness, his most memorable role was as Oswald on The Drew Carey Show; he also had film roles in Office Space, Napoleon Dynamite, and The Beverly Hillbillies and is currently starring in the NBC comedy Outsourced