May 5, it seems, is not just a day for Americans to celebrate Mexican heritage by consuming large quantities of nachos and tequila. As it happens, today is also the birthday of quite a few famously talented people, most notably — from a geeky standpoint, at least — Michael Palin and John Rhys-Davies.
Michael Palin, born on this date in 1943, is of course best known for his excellent comedy work as a member of Monty Python and for his more recent career as a travel writer and documentarian. As a Pythoner, he was a key part of many of the group’s best bits, including the “Dead Parrot” sketch (though of course John Cleese had the best lines), the “Spanish Inquisition” episode, and the “Cheese Shop” sketch — and of course he played the subject of the immortal “Lumberjack Song.” His post-Python acting work includes a memorable role in A Fish Called Wanda and a smaller part in Terry Gilliam’s great dystopian sci-fi film Brazil.
One year to the day after Palin’s birth, John Rhys-Davies entered the world. Rhys-Davies has appeared in such live-action roles as Sallah in the first and third Indiana Jones films, Professor Maximilian Arturo on the TV series Sliders, and, of course, Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He has lent his considerable voice-acting talents to such characters as Macbeth on the Gargoyles TV series and the ent Treebeard, also (of course) in The Lord of the Rings. He also had a memorable recurring role on Star Trek: Voyager as a holodeck version of Leonardo da Vinci. Yes, it’s safe to say Rhys-Davies’s geek entertainment credentials are solid.
So please join all of us at GeekDad in wishing a happy 68th birthday to Michael Palin and a happy 67th to John Rhys-Davies, and many more to come!