Today's Birthdays 12/15

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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Today's Birthdays 12/15#0
Posted: 12/15/03 at 12:42pm
Nero 12/15/AD 37 - 6/9/AD 68 Roman emperor, source mat'l

Maxwell Anderson 12/15/1888 - 2/28/1959 Producer, Writer, Lyricist, Production Crew - What Price Glory (George Tobias, Brian Donlevey); The Buccaneer (Estelle Winwood); Elizabeth the Queen (Lunt & Fontanne); Key Largo (Paul Muni, José Ferrer, Uta Hagen); Anne of the Thousand Days; Tea and Sympathy; Sabrina Fair; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; The Gazebo; Five Finger Exercise; The Best Man

Tim Conway 12/15/1933 - performer - tv's McHale’s Navy, The Tim Conway Show, The Carol Burnett Show

Don Johnson 12/15/1949 performer - tv's & film's Nash Bridges, Miami Vice, Harrad Experiment, A Boy and His Dog, The Long, Hot Summer, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, Revenge of the Stepford Wives

Felicity LaFortune 12/15/1954 performer - A Month of Sundays (Jason Robards, Lynne Thigpen, Patricia Elliott); Sex and Longing (Sigourney Weaver, Dana Ivy)

Justin Ross 12/15/1954 performer - replacement in Pippin & Chorus Line; The Magic Show (Robert LuPone, Doug Henning, Anita Morris); Got Tu Go Disco (Irene Cara, Laurie Dawn Skinner)


1925 The Dybbuk runs at the Neighborhood Playhouse. David Vardi and Alice Lewisohn stage this S. Ansky tale of a wronged spirit possessing the body of his beloved. The directing team based this version on the Israeli Habimah Troupe's production. A more recent adaptation of the play, by Angels In America's Tony Kushner, overlay the story with intimations of the Holocaust and its devastation of European Jewry.

1952 Bette Davis stars in Two's Company, Charles Sherman's musical revue with music by Vernon Duke, lyrics by Ogden Nash, choreography by Jerome Robbins, and a cast that also includes David Burns and Nora Kaye.

1964 Buddy Hackett and Coney Island may have sounded like a can't-miss combination, but the musical I Had a Ball ran just 199 performances at the Martin Beck Theatre, on the appeal of the star and the Jack Lawrence/Stan Freeman score.

1966 The Oscar Brand/Paul Nassau rock musical A Joyful Noise opened today and ran only 12 performances through Christmas Eve at the Mark Hellinger Theatre, but it provided Broadway with a great Christmas present: it was the first musical choreographed solely by Michael Bennett, who would go on to do Company, Follies, A Chorus Line.

1977 One of the high water marks of the Circle in the Square troupe at its uptown theatre, a revival of Shaw's St Joan stars Lynn Redgrave, Philip Bosco, Tom Aldredge, Robert Lupone, Paul Shyre, and Joseph Bova.

1982 Betty Comden makes her dramatic debut in Wendy Wasserstein's revised Isn't It Romantic, which opens tonight at the Playwrights Horizon. The stars also include Christine Rose and Lisa Banes in this show about big city romance and career opportunity.

1991 Nick & Nora, a new musical with a book by Arthur Laurents (Gypsy) and a score by Charles Strouse (Bye Bye Birdie) and Richard Maltby, Jr. (Miss Saigon), plays its last performance tonight. It had opened only one week before on Dec. 8th. The show's run of just 9 performances classifies it as one of the biggest flops in recent Broadway history. The musical stars such major theatrical talents as Joanna Gleason, Christine Baranski, Barry Bostwick, Debra Monk and Faith Prince.


1939 The motion picture ''Gone With the Wind'' had its world premiere in Atlanta. Author Margaret Mitchell’s working name for her lead character was Pansy O’Hara. The final version of GWTW read Scarlett O’Hara. Among the many actresses considered for the role before Vivien Leigh was chosen to star were Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Miriam Hopkins, Susan Hayward, Paulette Goddard, Norma Shearer, Lana Turner, Jean Arthur, and Joan Bennett. Vivien Leigh earned $30,000 for the role that keeps on playing. A theatre at the CNN Center Cinemas shows only "Gone With the Wind". The famous flick plays continuously on a daily schedule. The movie is now owned by Ted Turner. He acquired the entire MGM film library for TBS & TNT.

1943 - Famed composer, blues singer, piano and pipe organ player, Fats (Thomas Wright) Waller died at the age of 39 from pneumonia - Ain’t Misbehavin’

1954 - Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter was featured on Walt Disney’s TV series for the first time. Crockett was played by Fess Parker. It wasn’t long before the Davy Crockett craze brought a new number one song to the pop music charts. “Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier.”

1962 Actor Charles Laughton dies at the age of 63 in Hollywood. He made his stage debut in 1926 in The Government Inspector. He appeared in plays such as Macbeth, Measure for Measure, and the English version of Galileo Galilei , on which he worked closely with Bertolt Brecht. Laughton also appeared in various films thoroughout his career (like The Canterville Ghost & Witness for the Prosecution) and directed the seminal thriller, "The Night of the Hunter." He was married to actress Elsa Lanchester.

1966 Movie producer Walt Disney died in Los Angeles.

1986 - Violinist Isaac Stern arrived in a horse-drawn carriage to cut the ribbon for the renovated Carnegie Hall in New York City.

(sources: IBDB, NYT's ON THIS DAY,’s Those Were The Days,