The urbane British journalist, author and TV host Alistair Cooke was born on Nov. 20, 1908, and passed away in 2004. Probably best loved here for his longtime hosting duties on PBS' Masterpiece Theatre, he was a welcome visitor to our homes as he brought us such delights as Upstairs, Downstairs and I,Claudius. Watching these brilliant programs wouldn't have been half as enlightening without his introductions.
Kaye Ballard turns 88 today! This multi-talented show business veteran has done it all and is still doing it, with a new CD and an autobiography out. Kaye's got a terrific website which you should visit by clicking here. Happy Birthday, Kaye Ballard!
Estelle Parsons turns 86 today, also. Estelle started her career in TV on the Today show as a news personality back in 1952, and transitioned into acting with roles in quality TV dramas of the early sixties. Her work in movies earned her an Academy Award for 1967's Bonnie and Clyde. Parsons mixed the big screen work with her prodigious stage career and even more roles on TV, including amazing work in The UFO Incident as Betty Hill, her long stint on Roseanne and a recent appearance on The Good Wife. Happy Birthday, Estelle Parsons!
Hogan's Heroes co-star and longtime Family Feud game show host Richard Dawson was born on this date in 1932 and passed away in June of 2012.
One half of the Smothers Brothers was born on this date, as Dick Smothers celebrates his 74th birthday today. This enormously talented musician, actor, and comedian was one of the pioneers pushing the boundaries of television content past the comfortable norm on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour variety show in 1967. Fewer remember that he and his brother Tommy had an earlier sitcom of a more conventional nature. Familiar and welcome faces all over TV, Dick Smothers and his brother Tom's affability allowed them to lead with laughs and take television to a better and more honest place. Happy Birthday, Dick!
Veronica Hamel celebrates her 70th birthday today. Best known for her co-starring role on Hill Street Blues during the 1980s, before that breakout success she was a frequent guest star on a wide variety of series. Veronica subsequently became a mainstay female lead in a wide assortment of TV movies and other TV appearances, including a recurring role on Lost. Happy Birthday, Veronica Hamel!