Grab a party hat and noisemaker, please, and join us. Here at Anglophenia, we’re kicking off a new weekly feature running on Mondays in which we highlight the birthdays of well-known Brits.
This week, running from June 24 through June 30, features a swell mix of folks representing the literary, entertainment and even royal world. Look who’s getting older:
Wake him up before he go, goes to the party: Pop performer George Michael turns 50 on June 25. The London born singer is estimated to have sold more than 100 million records over his 30-year career, which dates back to his days as part Wham! with schoolmate Andrew Ridgeley. A solo artist since 1987, his major hits include “Do You Know It’s Christmas,” “I Want Your Sex,” “Faith” and “Fastlove.” Michael, who surprised no one when he officially confirmed that he was gay in 1998 following an arrest in Beverly Hills for a “lewd act” at a public restroom, is currently writing songs for a new album while recovering from a head injury suffered in May in an auto accident.
Order a cake for The Office: Funny man Ricky Gervais turns 52, also on June 25. The creator of the British version of The Office, Extras and Life’s Too Short and Golden Globes m.c. extraordinaire has lately had aging on his mind because his latest TV show, Derek, is set in an old folks home. (It will begin streaming on Netflix on Sept. 12.) He told The Guardian last February that he has plans for his own sunset years. Confessing that he hadn’t picked up a novel since he was 28 and read The Catcher in the Rye, he said, “I just don’t read books. I’m going to do that when there’s nothing else to do and I’m 70 and lying on a beach.”
Actress Shirley Anne Field, a one-time pin-up girl and veteran of such classic British films as The Entertainer, Peeping Tom,Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Alfie and My Beautiful Launderette, turns 75 on June 27. She began her career as pulchritudinous window dressing in early films but has taken on markedly more challenging roles with the passing of the years, discounting a stint as a nasty vamp on the American daytime soap opera Santa Barbara in the 1980s. “You can’t make great movies all the time, but I seem to make at least one each decade. Now I need to find one for this decade!” she said in a recent interview.
Others Brits celebrating birthdays this week include:
Novelist Mary Wesley, who published her first adult novel, Jumping the Queue, at age 71 and then wrote nine more novels, including The Chamomile Lawn, would have turned 101 today (June 24). She died in 2002 at age 90.
Drummer Mick Fleetwood, a founder of Fleetwood Mac, the still popular rock band that bears his name, turns 66 today (June 24). The musician is the only original member of the band, first formed in London in 1967, who’s still remains with it.
Writer George Orwell, author of those high school English class classics, 1984 and Animal Farm, would have celebrated his 110th birthday on June 25. Orwell, who suffered from tuberculosis, died in 1950 at age 46.
Actor-musician Ed Westwick, best known for portraying hedonistic playboy Chuck Bass on TV’s Gossip Girl, turns 33 on June 27.
King Henry VIII, the Tudor ruler famed for having six wives and founding the breakaway Church of England, was born on June 28 in 1491. He died at age 55 in 1547.
London-born actress Zuleikah Robinson, who has appeared in TV’s Lost and Homeland, turns 36 on June 29.
Singer Cheryl Cole (aka Tweedy), who has served as a judge on The X Factor TV singing competitions on both sides of the Atlantic, turns 30 on June 30.
Whose birthday party of those listed above would you most like to attend?