On This Day … 07 February [2023]

People (Births)

  • 1915 – Eddie Bracken, American actor and singer (d. 2002)
  • 1922 – Hattie Jacques, English actress (d. 1980)
  • 1946 – Pete Postlethwaite, English actor (d. 2011)
  • 1955 – Miguel Ferrer, American actor and director (d. 2017)
  • 1960 – James Spader, American actor and producer
  • 1962 – Eddie Izzard, English comedian, actor, and producer

People (Deaths)

  • 2017 – Richard Hatch, American actor (b. 1945)
  • 2019 – Albert Finney, English actor (b. 1936)

Eddie Bracken

Edward Vincent Bracken (07 February 1915 to 14 November 2002) was an American actor. Bracken became a Hollywood comedy legend with lead performances in the films Hail the Conquering Hero and The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek both from 1944, both of which have been preserved by the National Film Registry. During this era, he also had success on Broadway, with performances in plays like Too Many Girls (1940).

Bracken’s later movie roles include National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), Oscar (1991), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), Rookie of the Year (1993), and Baby’s Day Out (1994).

Hattie Jacques

Hattie Jacques (born Josephine Edwina Jaques; 07 February 1922 to 06 October 1980) was an English comedy actress of stage, radio and screen. She is best known as a regular of the Carry On films, where she typically played strict, no-nonsense characters, but was also a prolific television and radio performer.

She was the youngest child of Robin Rochester Jaques (1897-1923), a serviceman in the British Army and later the Royal Air Force, and Mary Jaques (née Thorn), a nurse who served in the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD).

At the outbreak of the Second World War Jacques became a nurse in the VAD; she served in a mobile unit in London, attending bombed sites during the Blitz. After a reorganisation in the VAD, Jacques sought new work and, in the summer of 1943, she became a welder in a factory in north London, a job that lasted until the end of the year. Around this time she became romantically involved with an American soldier, Major Charles Kearney. Jacques later claimed that the pair had been engaged and that Kearney had been killed in action, although her biographer, Andy Merriman, discovered that Kearney had a wife and children in the United States when he had proposed to Jacques, and had returned to them after the war.

Jacques began her association with the Carry On series in March 1958 with the first film in the series, Carry On Sergeant. She played the small role of Captain Clark, a “battleaxe medical officer” who fails to believe the fabricated ailments of the hypochondriac Private Horace Strong, played by Kenneth Connor.

Pete Postlewaite

Peter William Postlethwaite, OBE (07 February 1946 to 02 January 2011) was an English character actor.

After minor television appearances, including in The Professionals, his first major success arose through the British autobiographical film Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988). He had a transatlantic breakthrough when he portrayed David in Alien 3 (1992), and his international reputation was further solidified when he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for In the Name of the Father. Following this role, he portrayed the mysterious lawyer Mr. Kobayashi in The Usual Suspects, and went on to appear in a wide variety of films.

On television, Postlethwaite played Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill in Sharpe. He trained as a teacher and taught drama before training as an actor. Director Steven Spielberg called him “the best actor in the world” after working with him on Amistad (1997). He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2004 New Year Honours list. Less than one month after his death, he was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in Ben Affleck’s The Town (2010).

Miguel Ferrer

Miguel José Ferrer (07 February 1955 to 19 January 2017) was an American actor. His breakthrough role was as Bob Morton in the 1987 film RoboCop. Other film roles include Quigley in Blank Check (1994), Harbinger in Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993), Shan Yu in Mulan (1998), Eduardo Ruiz in Traffic (2000) and Vice President Rodriguez in Iron Man 3 (2013). Ferrer’s notable television roles include FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield on Twin Peaks (1990–1991, 2017), Tarakudo on Jackie Chan Adventures (2000–2005), Dr. Garret Macy on Crossing Jordan (2001–2007) and NCIS Assistant Director Owen Granger on NCIS: Los Angeles (2012–2017).

James Spader

James Todd Spader (born 07 February 1960) is an American actor. He has portrayed eccentric characters in films such as the drama Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989) for which he won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor, the action science fiction film Stargate (1994), the controversial psychological thriller Crash (1996), the erotic romance Secretary (2002) and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (2012). He also voiced and performed motion-capture of the titular character of Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

His television roles include those of attorney Alan Shore in the last season of The Practice (2003–2004) and its spin-off Boston Legal (2004–2008) (for which he won three Emmy Awards), and Robert California in the comedy-mockumentary The Office (2011–2012). He currently stars as high-profile criminal-turned-FBI-informant Raymond “Red” Reddington in the NBC crime drama The Blacklist (2013–present) for which he has earned two Golden Globe Awards nominations.

Eddie Izzard

Edward John Izzard (born 07 February 1962) is a British stand-up comedian, actor and activist. Her (Izzard is genderfluid and prefers she/her pronouns but “doesn’t mind” he and him) comedic style takes the form of what appears to the audience as rambling whimsical monologues and self-referential pantomime.

Izzard’s stand-up comedy tours have included Live at the Ambassadors (1993), Definite Article (1996), Glorious (1997), Dress to Kill (1998), Circle (2000), Stripped (2009), Force Majeure (2013) and, most recently, Wunderbar (2022). She starred in the 2007 television series The Riches, and has appeared in numerous films, including Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen, Shadow of the Vampire, The Cat’s Meow and Valkyrie (2008).

Izzard has also worked as a voice actor on films such as Five Children and It, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Abominable and the Netflix original series Green Eggs and Ham. Among various accolades, she won two Primetime Emmys for Dress to Kill and was nominated for a Tony Award for her Broadway performance in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.

In 2009, Izzard completed 43 marathons in 51 days for Sport Relief, despite having no history of long-distance running. In 2016, she ran 27 marathons in 27 days in South Africa in honour of Nelson Mandela, raising £1.35 million. In addition to her native English, she regularly performs stand-up in Arabic, French, German, Russian, and Spanish, and is an active supporter of Europeanism and the European Union.

A dedicated Labour Party activist, she twice ran unsuccessfully for the party’s National Executive Committee but temporarily joined as runner-up after Christine Shawcroft resigned in March 2018. In 2022, Izzard attempted to become the party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Central, but was not selected in the members’ ballot.

Richard Hatch

Richard Lawrence Hatch (21 May 1945 to 07 February 2017) was an American actor, writer, and producer. Hatch began his career as a stage actor before moving on to television work in the 1970s. Hatch is best known for his role as Captain Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica television series. He is also widely known for his role as Tom Zarek in the reimagined Battlestar Galactica.

In 1978, Hatch gained a starring role in Glen A. Larson’s sci-fi series, Battlestar Galactica (1978), which aired for a single season before its high cost motivated its cancellation by ABC-TV. Hatch was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for the role. However, because Hatch held out for more money in the series’ toy merchandising with Mattel, his character was conspicuously absent in its action figure line, although Apollo would appear in subsequent revival Battlestar Galactica toylines over the decades.

n abridged version of the pilot episode of Battlestar Galactica was released in cinemas, initially overseas and then for a limited run in the US, as was a sequel film, Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack, which was also made from episodes of the series.

Battlestar Galactica Revival Attempt

In the 1990s, Hatch attempted to revive Battlestar Galactica. He began writing novels based on the series, and also wrote, co-directed and executive-produced a trailer called Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming in the hopes of enticing Universal Studios – the rights holders for the franchise – into producing a new series. Hatch’s series would have been a direct continuation of the original 1978 series, and would have ignored the events of the failed spin-off Galactica 1980, in which Hatch had not appeared. Original actors John Colicos (Baltar), Terry Carter (Colonel Tigh) and Jack Stauffer (Bojay) appeared in the trailer with Hatch. Though the trailer won acclaim at science-fiction conventions, Universal was not interested in Hatch’s vision for the revival of Battlestar Galactica, and instead opted for a remake rather than the sequel for which Hatch had campaigned. Hatch, who had reportedly re-mortgaged his own house to produce the trailer, was bitterly disappointed by this turn of events and was highly critical of the prospective new series.

In 2004, he stated to Sci-Fi Pulse that he had felt resentment over the failure of his planned Galactica continuation and was left “exhausted and sick… I had, over the past several years, bonded deeply with the original characters and story… writing the novels and the comic books and really campaigning to bring back the show.”

Battlestar Galactica Re-imagining

Despite his resentment, Hatch developed a respect for Ronald D. Moore, the remake show’s head writer and producer, when Moore appeared as a featured guest at Galacticon (the Battlestar Galactica 25th anniversary convention, hosted by Hatch) and answered questions posed by a very hostile audience. Later, in 2004, Hatch was offered a recurring role in the new Battlestar Galactica series, which he accepted. He portrayed Tom Zarek, a terrorist turned politician who spent twenty years in prison for blowing up a government building. After Zarek’s death, Hatch commented that “never did I play this character as a villain nor did I think he was one and I still feel that way,” and that he considered the character to be a principled figure who is driven to violence after being “blocked in every way possible” by Roslin and Adama. “Zarek, Adama and Roslin all wanted power for the same reason, to make a positive difference.”

Other Work

Alongside his attempts to revive the original Battlestar Galactica, Hatch created a trailer for his own space opera entitled The Great War of Magellan.

Hatch appeared in InAlienable, a 2008 science-fiction film written and produced by Walter Koenig (of Star Trek fame). In 2014, he played the Klingon Commander Kharn in the Star Trek fan film Prelude To Axanar and was to appear in the subsequent fan production Star Trek: Axanar in 2015, though legal issues with Paramount Pictures prevented the project from being completed.

With various co-authors, Hatch wrote a series of seven tie-in novels set in the original Battlestar Galactica universe.

Albert Finney

Albert Finney (09 May 1936 to 7 February 2019) was an English actor. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and worked in the theatre before attaining prominence on screen in the early 1960s, debuting with The Entertainer (1960), directed by Tony Richardson, who had previously directed him in the theatre. He maintained a successful career in theatre, film and television.

He is known for his roles in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), Tom Jones (1963), Two for the Road (1967), Scrooge (1970), Annie (1982), The Dresser (1983), Miller’s Crossing (1990), A Man of No Importance (1994), Erin Brockovich (2000), Big Fish (2003), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007), and the James Bond film Skyfall (2012).

A recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe, Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, Silver Bear and Volpi Cup awards, Finney was nominated for an Academy Award five times, as Best Actor four times, for Tom Jones (1963), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Dresser (1983), and Under the Volcano (1984), and as Best Supporting Actor for Erin Brockovich (2000). He received several awards for his performance as Winston Churchill in the 2002 BBC-HBO television biographical film The Gathering Storm.

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