Who’d’ve guessed that Marty McFly, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Padmé Amidala would all share a birthday — or, rather, that the actors famous for playing those roles would? Yes, as it happens, June 9 is a big day in geek history, apparently, and today happens to be a milestone birthday for two of the three actors, too!
Michael J. Fox, who will forever be known for his iconic role as Marty McFly in the Back to the Future trilogy, hits the half-century mark today! If that makes you feel really old, remember that when the first of the BttF movies came out he was already 24, and by the time the third one hit theaters he was just shy of 29. To put it another way, remember Fox made up as “old” Marty in BttF II? Well, “old” Marty was supposed to be 47 years old, and Fox is three years older than that already. Most of Fox’s other roles were in movies outside of the geekier genres, especially if we forget (as we’d like to) Teen Wolf. Fox was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease 20 years ago, and since publicly revealing his diagnosis in 1998 has become a prominent activist for research into finding a cure for the disease, including speaking out strongly and often in support of stem cell research.
Johnny Depp, who has been acting in geeky movies off and on since 1990′s Edward Scissorhands, turns 48 today. Most moviegoers today know Depp, of course, as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, a role in which it is simply impossible to picture another actor — I think it’s safe to say that, without Depp in the role, there would only have been one PotC movie, because, let’s face it, nobody went to the sequels to see Orlando Bloom, right? Anyway, Depp is certainly one of the finest, and quirkiest, actors of his generation, and I figure it’s only a matter of time before he gets an Oscar (he’s been nominated three times, but hasn’t won yet). Depp’s other geeky movie credits are too numerous to list here, but some favorites of mine are Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which many people disliked, I realize, but I really enjoyed his interpretation of the role) and Ed Wood in the eponymous film.
And last, but not least, today is Natalie Portman’s 30th birthday! For someone so young she’s managed to build quite a career for herself already, helped of course by the fact that she made her first films at the age of 13. Aside from an appearance in Tim Burton’s love-it-or-hate-it Mars Attacks! in 1996, her primary contribution to the world of geeky films is, of course, her role as Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The fact that those movies are — how shall I put this? — bad is certainly in spite of her rather than in any way because of her: I doubt any actor in the world could deliver the lines Portman was given any better than she did, because the dialogue is really just that lousy. I mean, really: “What if the democracy we thought we were serving no longer exists, and the Republic has become the very evil we have been fighting to destroy?” Anyhow, crappy dialogue aside, she did kick some ass, and give birth to Luke and Leia, so Portman does belong among those whom geeks celebrate.
So, please join all of us at GeekDad in wishing a very happy birthday to Michael J. Fox, Johnny Depp, and Natalie Portman, and many more to come!