Friday, September 23, 2011

Rant #587: Happy Birthday To You All

On some days, the people who are celebrating birthdays is kind of staggering, on other days, kind of interesting.

Today, the list of people celebrating birthdays is kind of interesting.

At the top of the list is Mickey Rooney. Rooney is certainly the last of his kind. He could act, sing, act, dance and do just about anything he wanted to do.

He was perhaps the biggest star Hollywood had in the mid to late 1930s. He made a number of "for the time"-type movies and while his stardom faded over time, he can be called a survivor.

In fact, my favorite movie of his came in the early 1960s: "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," one of the funniest movies ever made.

Amidst all the cameos featured in the movie, Rooney was one of the film's true stars. He played Dingy Bell, who along with Benjy Benjamin (Buddy Hackett), are two friends on their way to Las Vegas. Of course, their course gets interrupted by pure greed, and the rest is film history.

Rooney has been ill in recent years, but I wouldn't count this now 91-year-old out just yet.

Paul Petersen was one of the first teenybopper stars generated by television. His turn on "The Donna Reed Show" as Jeff Stone made him into both a TV and recording star, and he teamed with Shelley Fabares as really the archetype for all the teen idols that followed them.

After the run of the show, Petersen, by his own admittance, fell on some hard times, but he has bounced back, representing other former child stars who haven't been able to come to grips with adulthood.

He has far outlasted the teen idol monicker, and has done so with a lot of grace and dignity as he turns 66 today.

Next we have Bruce Springsteen.

No, I have never been a fan of his, have never jumped on his rock 'n roll bandwagon, but I understand his importance in the history of that musical genre.

This Jersey boy, who turns 62 today, stands as the beacon of light for a dying music. He puts out an album every year or so, tours endlessly, and people absolutely swear by him.

He apparently doesn't have a phony bone in his body. What you see is what you get, which is rare among pop entertainers today.

Another singer I have never gotten into is Julio Iglesias, who turns 68 today.

Some people believe that he is one of the sexiest men alive. I don't know about that, but his love songs--in English, Spanish and other languages--have captivated many from around the world.

Finally, we have Mary Kay Place, a performer whose popularity came in the 1970s.

Turning 64 today, Place was on "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," one of the revelations of the mid 1970s. This send up of soap operas hit a chord with the public, and while she has been busy since, this actress' career has been defined by her participation in that venture.

Sure, there are others who celebrate their birthday today, but this group stands out by itself as an eclectic group of people who made it during their lives.

Love 'em or hate 'em, when you hear their names, they do conjure up clear images in your mind.

And isn't that their true legacy?

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