Just as everyone has an opinion, a favorite meal and a nose — albeit a fake one at times — so too does everyone have a birthday. Even celebrities. Here at Birthday Bash, it’s my mission to salute the fine actors, filmmakers and other Hollywood heroes that are celebrating their special day this week. After all, it’s cheaper than mailing a cake.
This week, Birthday Bashers will catch the train leaving Platform 9 3/4 heading for the Cave of Wonders, battling blood-sucking vampires along the way. Or maybe we're just celebrating some actors who've done that dirty work for us. Either way, let's get to the party!
Robin Williams (July 21): Few actors in Hollywood can juggle the role of gut-busting comedian and tear-jerking dramatist like Robin Williams, as seen by his performances in "Good Morning, Vietnam" and "Mrs. Doubtfire," among others. Seriously, go back and check out the cross-dressing comedy -- it's a lot sadder than you remember! Still, I prefer to think on the happier times with Mr. Williams, like his memorable voice work as the Genie in "Aladdin" or as Peter Pan in "Hook."
Birthday Wishes: I've enjoyed seeing Robin play against type in recent years, portraying villainous roles in "August Rush," "Death to Smoochy" and the Christopher Nolan-directed "Insomnia" -- but is it too much to ask for another "Dead Poets Society" or "Fisher King" caliber performance?
Daniel Radcliffe (July 23): Oh, come on, like you don't already know this guy? Goggle-like glasses, oversized wizarding robe, conspicuous thunderbolt scar on his forehead? Daniel Radcliffe is most easily identified as the reason that the "Harry Potter" movie franchise has been so enormously successful. Alongside co-stars Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, the actor's literal on-screen growth from boy to man has been nothing short of captivating and, dare I say it, magical.
Birthday Wishes: After the opening weekend of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," I suppose I won't need to wish him well on the saga's final two-part movie. What I will root for is a continued career filled with dramatic roles after Radcliffe graduates from Hogwarts. I never got to see "Equus," though I heard that the actor really bared his, ahem, soul.
Anna Paquin (July 24): Believe it or not, Anna Paquin's starring role as Sookie Stackhouse on "True Blood" isn't the only reason that the young actress is a popular culture fixture. Paquin played the power-stealing Rogue in the first three installments of the "X-Men" movie franchise, showcasing a romance with fellow mutant Bobby "Ice-Man" Drake that prepared both the actress and audiences for further geeky love-fests on the HBO vampire drama. Her talents date even further back to 1993's "The Piano," a role that earned the 11-year-old Paquin an Oscar nomination.
Birthday Wishes: As "True Blood"'s second season starts to heat up, I can only hope that Paquin and her co-star Stephen Moyer -- who plays Sookie's vampire boyfriend Bill on the show -- continue their real-life romance. Given how steamy the sex scenes have gotten, it'd be more than a little awkward if their relationship took a turn for the south.
Special shout out goes to a television staple who is no longer with us. Billy Mays (July 20), the star of Discovery Channel's "Pitchmen" and frequent product pusher for OxiCleean, Orange Glo and other household items, passed away just last month at the age of 50. His door-in-the-face technique and full-bearded visage is already sorely missed on TV screens around the world.
Be sure to come back next Monday for an all-new edition of Birthday Bash!