Today is March 22, 2010 and the 81st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 283 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 1005 days till the end of the current cycle. Today is “Talk Like William Shatner” day. Here are five people that share a birthday on this day:
William Shatner (Born 1931)
This Canadian actor, singer, writer, and director was born in Montreal, Quebec and is probably best known as his role as Captain James Tiberius Kirk on televisions original Star Trek series (1966-1969) and Boston Legal. William Shatner is one of the most recognizable stars working today. His distinctive voice and cadence have been the subject of many imitations, spoofs, and parodies—all contributing to his status as a pop icon. In addition to being an Emmy Award-winning actor, he has also written numerous books, directed several projects, and even recorded a few albums. In 1956, Shatner made his Broadway debut in Tamburlaine the Great. He also found work in the emerging medium of television, appearing on such shows as the Goodyear Television Playhouse, Studio One, and Playhouse 90. Playing one of the title characters, Shatner made his film debut in 1958’s The Brothers Karamazov with Yul Brynner. That same year, he returned to Broadway for a two-year run in The Secret Life of Suzie Wong. He won the 1959 Theatre World Award for his performance. In 1966, Shatner took on the role that made him famous around the world. As Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek, he commanded the U.S.S. Enterprise, a starship traveling through space in the twenty-third century. Kirk encountered all sorts of unusual aliens and challenging situations during his journeys. Accompanying him on these adventures was his loyal crew, which included first officer Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and medical officer Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley). The science fiction series, created by Gene Roddenberry, premiered on September 8, 1966, and lasted for three seasons. During the run of the show, Shatner also made an unusual career move. He recorded an album, The Transformed Man (1968), which featured spoken word versions of contemporary pop hits. Already known for his overly dramatic, but earnest delivery of his lines on Star Trek, Shatner really went over the top with his renditions of such songs as the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Returning to the role of Kirk in 1979, Shatner starred in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The film’s warm reception by film-goers showed how much affection the public had for the old series. At the beginning of the film, Kirk has become an admiral, Bones has retired, and Spock has returned to the planet Vulcan. But the three return to work on a new version of the Enterprise to solve a crisis involving a mysterious cloud that has destroyed several spaceships. Soon after, in 1982, around the time Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was released, Shatner returned to television, as a cop, on the series T.J. Hooker. The supporting cast included Heather Locklear and Adrian Zmed as younger officers who worked with and looked up to Shatner’s character. Shatner, however, never abandoned the part that made him famous. During the run of T. J. Hooker, Shatner appeared in two more Star Trek films, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986). He remained a fixture on television even after T. J. Hooker went off the air, becoming the host for Rescue 911 in 1989. This was an early entry into the reality television genre, featuring reenactments of emergency situations. The next chapter in the Star Trek film series received a lukewarm reception. For Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Shatner not only returned as Kirk, but made his debut as a feature film director as well. During the writers’ strike of 1987, he transformed a screenplay idea into a novel. The result was TekWar (1989), a work of science fiction featuring a middle-aged private detective working in the twenty-second century. More Tek titles followed and were later adapted for television. More recently, Shatner has worked with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens to create a series of Star Trek novels. Also a veteran of nonfiction, Shatner co-authored Star Trek Memories (1993) and Star Trek Movie Memories (1994) with Chris Kreski. He and Kreski also worked together on Get a Life! (1999), a look at the whole Star Trek fan phenomenon. His most recent work is Up Till Now: The Autobiography (2008) with David Fisher.
Louis L’Amour (1908-1988)
Born Louis LaMoore in North Dakota, this author left school at the age of 15 to work and travel throughout the American West and the world. He held a number of jobs, ranging from lumberjack to elephant handler. He returned home to pursue his dream of becoming a writer and published his first book of poetry in 1939. L’Amour’s plans were soon interrupted by World War II, for which he served as an Army lieutenant in Europe. After an honorable discharge, L’Amour published several short stories, but it was his first Western novel, Hondo (1953), that gained him instant success. Although L’Amour later wrote a non-fiction book about the frontier, and numerous film and television scripts, it was his many Westerns that gained him great popularity among a wide spectrum of readers. His most popular books include 1960’s Flint, 1963’s Catlow and 1968’s Down the Long Hills, along with the Sackett Family series, which were made into a television miniseries in 1979. Having written more than 100 books and 400 short stories, L’Amour remains one of the most prolific and popular authors in the world. There are more than 200 million copies of his books in print and more than 45 of his novels were adapted into Hollywood films. He has also written under the pseudonyms Tex Burns and Jim Mayo. He received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1983 and was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Reagan in 1984. Even though L’Amour was a non-smoker, he died of lung cancer in 1988.
Karl Malden (1912-2009)
Born Mladen Sekulovich in Chicago, Illinois, this actor was the son of Serbian immigrants, Malden worked in the steel mills of Gary, Indiana before pursuing a career in acting. Malden has established a venerable career as a character actor, appearing in close to seventy films in his fifty years in Hollywood. In 1952, he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire. Malden, who at one time served as the president of the Motion Pictures Academy of Arts and Sciences, was also nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for On the Waterfront (1955) and an Outstanding Lead Actor Emmy Award for The Streets of San Francisco (1976). Malden died on July 1, 2009, of natural causes. He was 97 years old.
Marcel Marceau (1923-2007)
One of the most popular mime artists of all time, Marceau was born Marcel Mangel in Strasburg, France. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and with Etienne Decroux. In 1948 he founded the Compagnie de Mime Marcel Marceau, developing the art of mime, becoming himself the leading exponent. His white-faced character, Bip, based on the 19th-century French Pierrot, a melancholy vagabond, is famous from his appearances on stage and television throughout the world. Among the many original performances he has devised are the mime-drama Don Juan (1964), and the ballet Candide (1971). He has also created about 100 pantomimes, such as The Creation of the World. In 1978 he became head of the Ecole de Mimodrame Marcel Marceau.
Andrew Lloyd Webber (Born 1948)
English composer of musical theater born in London, England. A musical prodigy, Webber started composing music at the age of six and published his first piece by the age of nine. He has achieved success for a number of his musicals, including: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1969), Jesus Christ Superstar (1970), Evita (1976), Cats (1981), and The Phantom of the Opera (1986). His plays have run for decades at London’s West End theater district and on Broadway. In total, he’s composed 13 musicals, a song cycle, two film scores and a Latin Requiem Mass. In 1992, he was granted knighthood. His awards include: six Tony Awards (out of 40 nominations), three Grammy Awards (with 60 nominations), and an Academy Award. His company, The Really Useful Group, is one of the largest theater operators in London.