Look Who’s Turning 65
June 7—Liam Neeson
Irish actor Liam John Neeson, who began acting on stage at the tender age of 11, made his professional acting debut with the Belfast Lyric Players’ Theater in the play The Risen People. That led to a variety of roles in with Dublin’s Abbey Theater and, eventually, to Hollywood. In the early 1980s, he and actress Helen Mirren lived together. She convinced him to find an agent, which helped him garner meatier roles in the States.
A nomination for Best Actor from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films in 1991 for Darkman, along with a 1992 win for Best Actor in the movie Under Suspicion from Cognac Festival du Film Policier cemented his reputation as a leading man. He was selected to play Oskar Schindler in Schindler’s List (1993), a role that finally catapulted him to A-List stardom with his first nominations in best actor categories with the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences (the Oscars), the Golden Globe Awards and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Although he never has won any of those awards, he has won 19 other awards and been nominated for a total of 38 acting awards.
Neeson, who became an action star in his fifties with movies like Taken, currently commands $20 million per film. He says that Ralph Fiennes is one of his closest friends. “He’s very into yoga and I do bits of that with him. We hike and walk and talk a lot.”
June 18—Miriam Flynn
Voice actress Miriam Flynn, born in Cleveland, Ohio, is also a beloved character actress. Perhaps best-known for her roles in two well-loved franchises (National Lampoon’s Vacation flicks, in which she played Cousin Catherine, and The Land Before Time movies, in which she stars as Grandma Longneck), Flynn was initially a member of The Second City improv troupe alongside James Belushi, Shelley Long, and George Wendt.
She was a cast member in and writer for The Tim Conway Show, which aired for a single season in the early 1980s. In 1995, she voiced the character of Maa, an aging ewe, in the surprise smash movie Babe, the story of a pig who learns to herd sheep. Flynn has also guested on numerous television series (Cheers, L.A. Law, Scandal, and The Middle, to name just a few.) Overall, she has 143 film, writing and television credits to her name.
Married and the mother of two children, Flynn lives a private, quiet life in Pacific Palisades, California.
June 20—John Goodman
St. Louis native John Goodman started out adult life as a professional bouncer and earned a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Southwest Missouri State University in 1975. He studied there with actors Kathleen Turner and Tess Harper. He started down the fast lane to stardom in New York City with an appearance in a Burger King commercial (he spoke no lines.) During his struggling-actor days in NYC, he befriended Bruce Willis, Dennis Quaid, and Kevin Kline while working off-Broadway. He also worked as a waiter and bartender to pay the bills on his apartment in Hell’s Kitchen.
Some says Goodman is best known for his role as Dan Conner on the television series Roseanne, which aired from 1988 until 1997 and earned him a Best Actor Golden Globe award. But for the past 20 years, Goodman has built a movie career that few can rival. His appearances in Coen brothers movies, such as Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski, and O Brother, Where Are Thou? have earned him a cult following of sorts, plus led to work in more than 50 other films. He is known for voicing roles in more animated films than any other actor in history.
Saturday Night Live fans know him from 14 gigs hosting the show (one more than the show record previously held by comedian Steve Martin). Dart gaming fans recognize Goodman for his unique style of throwing darts: He holds the pointed tip with his thumb and index finger, then throws the dart with the opposite end pointing to the board so that the dart turns 180-degrees in mid-air. Watch movies like King Ralph to catch him displaying this distinctive style.
FAMOUS & 65 is a featured article in the Senior Spirit newsletter.
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